On February 16, 1826, the day following the meeting of the cardinals, we find St. Eugene celebrating Mass at a Jesuit church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola at the Campus Martius. As he was waiting for the final decision of the Pope Leo XII he came to pray at the tomb of a 17-year-old religious St Aloysius Gonzaga. The young man wasn't given many years to grow up but he made most of the years he was given and at the age of 17 he was a saint already. I believe that was attracted Eugene to the place was the strong desire for holiness that was found in the young saint who kept saying: "I don't want to be good. I WANT TO BE HOLY." How similar it is to St. Eugene's words: "I will not accept to the Oblate Congregation those who want to be average. Only those who desire to be saints can enter our ranks." In the same church thermos also the tomb of St. Robert Bellarmine who was the mentor of St. Aloysius. Sainthood is contagious. One saint implants a similar desire in another person, like St Robert nurtured the faith of his pupil, St Aloysius. In the same church one can find a third tomb of a saint. It is another young Jesuit: Saint John Berchmans who died at the age of 22. It was 30 years after the death of St Aloysious. St John was deeply moved and drawn to the spirituality of St Aloysious. As I was praying in the same church where Fr de Mazenod celebrated Mass in anticipation of the Pope's decision I could easily imagine our Holy Founder imploring this network of holy friends to implant in his Oblates the same desire for holiness. At that time most of the Oblates were young men so St Eugene turned to young Saints praying for his companions.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest