By temperament Eugene was a talented leader who was used to being involved in everything – today we could use the expression of tending towards “micromanagement” to describe this. Having arrived in Barjols, full of enthusiasm, ready to preach and give himself generously with his companions, he takes up the story:
When we arrived at the church, we found it crammed and as many people remained outside as there were inside. Unfortunately too much had been said to me about the church being unresonant, which is untrue. On seeing this immense crowd, I overstrained my voice in my opening discourse, which I made in French. I strained it again in the announcements in Provençal which I prolonged still more because I had spoken French in the discourse.
The result of all that is that I cannot preach any more. I gave the announcements yesterday evening quite softly without in the least sounding forth; I was heard well enough because of the great silence; but, as for preaching, I must not think of it.
His frustration is evident:
I am decidedly immobilized, my dear friend; my wretched chest absolutely refuses to render service and I have the sorrow of not being able to force this carcass to fulfil its functions. It is like a mule, and when I want to force it to preach, it refuses to speak; if I do not wish to become dumb, I need to humour its caprice and remain a spectator and simply listen to the good things that the others say…
You realize how diverting that can be in a mission and especially in a mission like this one when the church is not big enough to contain those who wish to profit therefrom.
He has to accept his enforced silence and listen to the sermons of his five companions and make the best of the situation – where normally he would have been the main animator. It was an invitation to “Let go, let God”:
One must be patient, since the good God wishes this to be so.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 November 1818, O.W. VI n.32
“Illness has always brought me nearer to a state of grace.” – Abbé Pierre