Continuing his narration of his early priestly ministry in Aix en Provence, Eugene told his friend, Father Forbin-Janson:
“Next, I go twice a month to the seminary and try, by the example of my conduct, to bring no dishonour to the priesthood that the Lord in his infinite mercy has seen fit to invest me with.”
April 9, 1813 in O.W. XV n. 116
He began an apostolic association among the seminarians through which he aimed to help them to prepare to be the best possible priests. A month later, Eugene copied parts of a letter he had received which echoed the sentiments he tried to inspire:
Here is something another one, who was sent a little while ago to be professor in the minor seminary, wrote me: “As for myself, I am always united with you, as when I was at … always carrying out, so far as I can, the practices you were so kind as to give me. The good that these practices have done me obliges me again to give you testimony of my sincere gratitude. You can assure my dear brothers [the seminarians] on my behalf that they will see infinitely better even than now the importance of the service you have rendered them, when they have left the major seminary.” Eugene concludes the narrative saying: “What hope for the future!”
May 12, 1813 in O.W. XV n. 119
Eugene’s conviction of the need for good priests was thus not restricted to achieving his own sanctification, but to working at doing whatever he could to ensure that all priests come to love God as fully as possible and to give their lives generously for God as God’s instruments of salvation for others. Some years later the success of these experiences would lead him to list the ministry of priestly formation as one of the more important ministries for his Oblates of Mary Immaculate.