The Diary entry continues with a reflection on the relationship between Eugene and the members of the Youth Congregation. It was not just as a chaplain to a group that he functioned, but he worked at developing a bond with each member. He became like a father to the members of the youth congregation, and they became like his children:
Dear children, allow me also to write down in this register, which must serve for the instruction of those who have the happiness of following in your footsteps, the feelings of love, esteem, thanks, admiration that you have inspired me with by your behaviour in my regard.
How could I not have for you a father’s heart after you have proved that you love me as if you were my children? It is true that I loved you first, but is it not a merit at your age to be able to appreciate a feeling that was principally directed towards your souls for the salvation of which I would gladly have contributed with the price of all my blood.
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation ,
May 1814, O.W. XVI
The notion of paternity was always to figure prominently in Eugene’s life: he regarded himself as the father of the Oblates as their founder, and as the father of the Diocese of Marseille as its bishop.