Aude Bauguin: Father, you will be heading for the Philippines in just a few days. Which cities will you be visiting and who are you planning to meet?
P. Jean-Michel Amouriaux: I am indeed very happy to return to the Philippines and meet the Eudists and the candidates. I have very pleasant memories of contacts during my first visit and, since then, new relationships have been made. I will begin the trip in Manila where I’ll stay in the Formation House, but I certainly plan to go to the Center for Spirituality where the Eudists are working as well as in the parishes where they are also at work. I hope to get out of Manila and meet with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Usually, my agenda is fixed by the fellow members so I let myself be driven around!
AB: You have already paid a visit to this region at the beginning of your mandate as General; why are you going back so soon?
Correct, I went to the Philippines last April in the context of a Canonical visit former to the nomination of a new Provincial Superior. I had then promised to come back and stay longer to meet the fellow members, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and the Little Sisters of the Poor. I shall also take part in what is called the « Special time of Eudist formation » by conveying my perceptions of the spirituality of Saint John Eudes, especially from the viewpoint of the Christology cherished by our Founder. The visit also responds to a request from the Assembly that the General Council take a better part in the future of this Foundation. In our professional jargon, a « Project of Congregation » implies that the General Council must commit itself directly to discern, together with the ones who partake in it, the paths for the future, the needs required for formation, the economical implications… This Project of Congregation was entrusted to the care of the North American Province. It has invested quite a lot in the last twelve years, along with the other Provinces, both from the viewpoints of financing as well as personnel. For the moment, one of our companions from the United States, and another from Benin, are working there. More financial commitments are being made by the Province as well as by the general administration and the local community. I’ll be working on planning the future of the project together with those who are directly involved, with the Superior and the Council of the Province. We are now at the crossroads in this Foundation because of the increasing number of Eudists in the Philippines that require that decisions be made for the setting up of missions within the framework of our charisma, for raising financial support to slowly insure its autonomy, for the development of a Eudist way of life keeping with the cultural reality of the Philippines.
The case for the Doctorate is well under way. An Internet site has been inaugurated. How is the Eudist spirituality being spread in the Philippines? Are there yet any Associates in the country?
I am very happy to give notice of the book written by Bishop Luc Crépy and Sister Marie-Françoise Le Brizaut and say that it has been translated into English, then published in the Philippines with the foreword by Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. This is very promising because it demonstrates the possibilities we have of producing works in English. It’s a real challenge to publish Eudist materials in English but we have managed it with the help of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd whose main language now is English. The Eudists in California belonging to the same Province could be of great help in working closely with them in this field.
As for the Associates, there are none in the Philippines for the moment, although I had brought up the idea, last year, of gathering a few people for this purpose. Needless to say, it’s only a matter of time for we must remember that this Foundation is only twelve years old!
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd have been working considerably for the establishment of a Eudist community in the Philippines. Have you planned meeting with them?
Of course! There are frequent contacts between our institutes founded by Saint John Eudes. A full day meeting has been planned with the Sisters. Moreover, Sister Marie-Françoise Le Brizaut will accompany me for much a part of my stay and will intervene in the discussions with the candidates participating in the «Special time of Eudist spirituality». Wherever I go, as well as here and now, I keep promoting the necessity of reinforcing relationships between our institutes. I’m quite convinced that we have much to learn from the Sisters about implementing the Eudist spirituality in our lives, in our different cultures. This is also relevant to the Associates as they apply this spirituality to their own ways of life.
What is your top priority for this Foundation in the Philippines?
What I prize the most is the passing on of our Eudist DNA! It has been done since the beginning but we must continue, specially in the training work with our own candidates. When Saint John Eudes asks us to give priority to the service of priests, to their formation and their close support, this is an appeal to a huge responsibility to which we can only reply with the highest standards of formation. And this includes the quality of the formation we give to our own trainers! This is one of the fundamental matters I wish to discuss with our companions in the Philippines.
Traduction du français à l’anglais : Pierre Loiselle, associé des Eudistes, Province d’Amérique du Nord.