The young Father Eugene was a fireball of energy during his first years of ministry. Apart from preaching to the people who spoke mostly Provencal, he gave importance to his ministry with the prisoners in Aix. Writing to his friend Forbin-Janson, describing his work, he says:
On Sunday too, I used to go to the prisons to give an instruction to those unfortunates in French, after which I went on to the confessional to hear the confessions until 6:00 p.m. of those of the prisoners who presented themselves. Before and after the instruction, some hymns are sung. I finish up by giving them evening prayer.
Letter to Forbin Janson 9 April 1813, O.W. XV n. 116
One of Eugene’s early biographers, Rey, describes this voluntary chaplaincy to the prisoners:
“He visited them practically every day, and applied himself to instructing them, comforting them and encouraging them until they showed a desire to return to the practice of their Christian duties. In this way he brought about a noteworthy change in these degraded souls.” (REY, Histoire de Monseigneur Charles Joseph-Eugene de Mazenod, Volume I, Maison Générale, Rome, 1928, p. 158)