Just because the Missionaries had been forced to cancel two parish missions because of exhaustion, did not mean that they sat around idly. The normal ministry of the community to the youth and to the people of Aix in the Church of the Mission kept them busy. Their first Rule of life had established the principle:
When their apostolic journeys are over, they will return to the community to rest from their labours by exercising a ministry that is less demanding, and to prepare themselves through meditation and study for a more fruitful ministry when next called upon to undertake new work.
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, O.W. XIII n.2
Eugene’s Diary of the Youth Congregation shows some of this “less-demanding” ministry over and above the twice-weekly gatherings with the youth and the many hours of personal meetings:
Blessing of the Ashes preceded by an instruction and the recitation of the seven penitential psalms in congregation.
4 February 1818
Blessing of Palms. Procession on the Place des Carmelites. The Holy Week Services followed carefully by the congregants. Holy Thursday. The Mandatum.
15 March 1818
Plus the intense preparation of some of the congregants to receive confirmation:
His Lordship the Bishop of Digne came to say Holy Mass in the church of the Mission and conferred the sacrament of confirmation on several congregants who had been prepared for it according to our customs.
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation, 26 March 1818, O.W. XVI
Uncle Fortuné gave a description of the Easter period, speaking of his nephew:
Our missionary has not been too fatigued by the considerable work that his zeal provided him with, and his confreres have taken on a good part of it to make his task easier. Among other things they took responsibility for the sermons on the passion and resurrection that would have overwhelmed him. Our church has been extremely busy and all the ceremonies were performed in a marvelous way.
Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene’s father, 23 March 1818, OMI General Archives F.B. V, 1-7
“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Spanish proverb