A year after starting the youth congregation, Eugene could see results in the lives of the young people. The letters from its members, that we have in the archives, show that these fruits lasted well into their adulthood.
What had started with 7 young men had grown to 60 in 1814 – and was eventually to reach 280 three years later. Profiting from Forbin Janson’s visit to Rome (which was to include meeting the Pope) Eugene asks him to arrange some official recognition for the youth congregation, so that its members could benefit spiritually in a more formal way.
The change that takes place in most of the young people who come to my place (that is what distinguishes them from the other young people in the town: “he goes to M. de Mazenod’s”), has been so striking that Christian parents, all of them, would like me to take charge of their children.
But it calls for more conditions than their simply wanting it.
It is to cement more the good that is done in this congregation that I would like to obtain from the sovereign Pontiff some indulgences, approvals, and encouragements. You understand the effect that that would produce.
To Forbin-Janson, June 1814 in O.W. XV n 125