June found Eugene again writing to Fr. Guigues in Notre Dame de l’Osier about an Oblate he was sending to Osier with mention of some of his qualities as well about the Founder’s (Eugene de Mazenod) proposed visit in July.
“This letter will be brought to you by our Father Kotterer who is going to put himself under obedience to you. […] While he has some negative traits, he does respond to kindness. He is of good heart, and open to reason. In my opinion he has matured.
I have just been invited to do the ordination at Avignon on the 28th of this month, so it will only be in the first days of July that I will have the pleasure of going to greet you.
Make some summer arrangements for your district. A man can’t work the whole year through without taking a break from ministry.
Goodbye. dear Father Guigues. You don’t write often enough.” (518:VIII in Oblate Writings)
There is something about this letter that I love and respond to. It is in part business as usual for St. Eugene as he speaks about the new priest Fr. Kotterer who will be sent to Osier and letting Fr. Guigues know that he plans on visiting him in July – it is evident that he is looking forward to that.
He speaks also about Fr. Guigues needing to take care of himself and find some time for himself in the year (some down time). Eugene would often speak to his sons about this, especially after he himself almost died from not taking adequate care of himself very early on after returning to Aix from the seminary.
It is the last line though that touches me the most – “Goodbye dear Father Guigues. You don’t write often enough.” Eugene depended on receiving letters from the various Superiors to know how all of his sons were faring. His love for them all was real and given with a heart as big as the world. He wanted to hear from them, how they were doing, what they were doing – not just to be able to check on how they were doing with their missions, but how they, each one of them was doing with their lives. Who among us would be any different?