“In other superiors you will find fathers,” the Blessed once said to his religious.  “In their successors you will have leaders; only in the founder do you have a mother… Yes, I have a mother’s affection for you.”

And to make his thought even clearer to them, he added: “Hear this well; I am baffled when I say it. Superiors who are founders receive the truth by impression, in consequence of a special grace of state, not only as regards purely material things, but also with reference to men themselves. And this is independent of any natural perception they may have. So, my dear children, I see as clearly in you as in the light of day; I consider what you have and what you lack, but only, I confess, in what pertains to your vocation, since your personal defects I do not want to see too much or at least I do not seek them out, in order to love you as a sheep does its young – however ill-favoured – as long as it is a little lamb.”

But how to portray, even in an approximate fashion, what was the nature of an authority which, based on a divine instinct granted by supernatural inspirations, also drew on the ineffable secrets of maternal love and, in the manner of the latter, knew how to make apparent weaknesses avail in the most powerful mode of action? Kind to everyone, Father Eymard seemed to be so to a fault towards his disciples, and not so much – as one might imagine – out of natural disposition, but motivated by a principle of government and of virtue.

Blessed Peter Julian Eymard. Rio de Janeiro:
Eucharist Press, 1953, p. 504


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