During his retreat of May 1818, Eugene continued to reflect on the activities of the year. These included the return visits to some of the places where they had already preached missions. He wrote about this in the Rule:
The missionaries will return to the place where they gave a mission four or five months later to give several spiritual exercises, but the return must be shorter than the mission, and there will be fewer missionaries. In this way they will solidify the benefits produced by the mission.
1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 2, §1, Article 12
Uncle Fortuné, who was always fussing about the health of his nephew and the other Missionaries expressed the same sentiment to Eugene’s father:
I would be very happy if after Easter they were to go out and spend twelve or fifteen days in the places where they had done their apostolic ministry last year with such great success. The parish priests desire that they consolidate their good work. This expedition would not be tiring and would produce the greatest good.
Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene’s father, 7 March 1818, OMI General Archives F.B. V, 1-7
A month later, Fortuné give a description of these visits to places where they had preached over the previous two years: Arles, Grans and Mouriès. The latter two parishes were important because they had no permanent priests at that time, and so the people were able to fulfill their Easter duties. He adds: “Eugene is doing well despite the fatigue of his apostolic journeys” (12 April)
We received news from our missionaries by the return of the carriage which had brought them. Their journey has been very happy; after dining at Salon they slept at Eyguières, where your son preached on his arrival, to the great satisfaction of all the people of good will. As this place was not the purpose of their apostolic labors, he sent two of his confreres to Arles on Tuesday. He went on the same day to Grans with Father Tempier, his close friend, to start his work and give all the spiritual help possible to a large parish, which currently has no parish priest and no curate. He will go from there to Mouriès, which also does not have a priest and as it will be more tiring, the Missionaries sent to Arles will join him. That’s the awful situation in which the vast diocese of Aix finds itself, and certainly it is not the only one …
Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene’s father, 9 April 1818, OMI General Archives F.B. V, 1-7
“When you drink the water, remember the spring.” Chinese Proverb