One of the reasons for the success of the ministry of the Missionaries was their quality of being close to people. They were missionaries because they cared for the welfare of others. Their main concern was for the salvation of the most abandoned, but this did not remain in the area of the “spiritual” only. The village of Saint Etienne, not far from Laus, was destroyed by a fire. The Missionaries immediately responded, as Eugene’s letter shows:
If only I had been with you on the day of your noble behaviour at Saint-Etienne. From here, I behold you in the midst of the flames giving aid everywhere and intelligently which must have saved a great number of persons. I am not surprised that people do not cease to speak of this splendid devotedness.
Four missionaries engaged in such an exercise of charity preach better still than in the pulpit, at least they are better understood.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 29 June 1819, O.W. VI n. 45
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of people. That is what love looks like. Saint Augustine