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

This entry was posted in LETTERS and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I remember first hearing “Let go and let God” at my AA meetings. I at that time was slowly coming to realise that “I was powerless” and yet at the same time to turn it, whatever it was, to turn it over to God. For some reason I was sure that I could do it much better than God – my life was in absolute shambles and there was no place left to go but up, and yet I could do it better than God! I can look back now and laugh but it took another 30 years to really be able to turn it over to God – on a semi-regular basis. God still has to find ways to slow me down.

    An illness – particularly one that does not “show” is a great leveller. I have lung disease and there are times when I simply can not do what I have decided I should do – no more breath translates to no more strength and energy (two things that I of course have always taken such great pride in!). It can be incredibly hard at times to allow someone else do whatever I thought was so necessary – harder yet to have to ask some one to do what I can’t.

    It is then at those times that all I can really do is step back into the arms of God and thank Him for for all that He gives.

    • John Mouck says:

      Amen to all that, Eleanor. How flat out stupid we were – God had to drag us up out of our self-made quagmire, kicking and screaming like spoiled little brats. We were perfectly happy / in total control – yeah right!
      And yet we had to go there. It made us who we are. It gave us the wisdom and the “right” (if you would) to BE in our mission.
      As a wise man that we both know once said to me, “Your life is a living testimonial for others.”

Leave a Reply to Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *