Until the time that the Oblates began to receive new members in the foreign missions in the late 1840’s, Eugene had a personal relationship with each of his missionary sons. In his correspondence we constantly see how he loved and watched over them with a father’s heart. When one of them contracted a life-threatening illness, Eugene would drop his activities to spend time as much time as possible at his bedside and keep vigil. In the case of some of the young ones who he had known and guided since their adolescence, he had a deeper bond extending over many years. Marius Suzanne was one of these who was very special to him. Unable to be with him at the beginning of his serious illness, Eugene wrote to Hippolyte Courtès:
I write to comfort my heart, being unable to be at the place and beside the bed of our sick one so as to take care of him. I think only of him and it is with more painful feelings than when I see him.
I pray and have prayers said but I would need above all to ask for and obtain resignation. It costs me nothing when it is for my own sake but for you and whatever concerns you it is another matter.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 16 February 1827, EO VII n 262
Struggling to resign himself and accept the situation, he invites others to pray with him.
“Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.” Saint Teresa of Avila