THE TALENT FOR BEING CLOSE TO THE POOREST OF THE CITY

Marseille was a large city with a varied population, for whom different missionary methods were needed. Leflon describes the differences between the Missionaries of France and the Missionaries of Provence in approach to the 1820 city mission:

Now, in order to distribute to best advantage a personnel, composed of distinctly different personalities, a certain amount of adaptability was needed when dealing with the Marseilles pastors who, at times, claimed the right to reject or accept the missions. Some of them preferred the Missionaries from Paris who were not involved in local disputes and who enjoyed a certain renown due to their coming from the capital and to their established reputation. Their more lofty style and their mastery of the French language seemed better suited to urban listeners than the informal style and dialect of Father de Mazenod and his confreres who specialized in evangelizing the rural districts.

Leflon 2, p. 107 – 108

Eugene’s Missionaries brought with them their talent for being close to the poorest of the city:

My confreres … are concerned more with evangelizing poor people of the rural areas than city dwellers, and in this I agree with them. The need of the former is incomparably greater and the fruits of our ministry amongst them more assured.

Letter to Forbin Janson, July-August, 1816, O.W. VI n. 13

 They were this given three churches to work from: St Laurent, Les Carmes and St Victor. The three were in the area of the port and were made up of people from the poorer classes.

 

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.   Mother Teresa

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