On returning to Aix as a newly-ordained priest, Eugene had set the tone of his ministry:

My chief occupation will be to love him, my chief concern to make him loved. To this I will bend all my efforts, time, strength, and when after much toil I have succeeded in winning but a single act of love towards so good a Master, I will rightly consider myself very well paid.

Retreat notes, December 1812, O.W. XV n. 109

As a gifted preacher, Eugene was capable of successfully transmitting this primary concern to his listeners. His uncle Fortuné describes the opening sermons of the mission in Aix, in which Eugene had preached in Provençal (feeling ill at ease in the presence of the ecclesiastical dignitaries):

Last evening, your son delivered the opening sermon of the mission at Saint Sauveur Cathedral and also at Saint Jean’s church in the suburbs, both of which were packed solid. He commanded perfect silence and spoke with the tongue of an angel although he himself felt that he must have sounded like a bumpkin at Saint Sauveur, since it was the metropolitan church, and the Archbishop and the entire Chapter were present. In fact, he humbled himself to the extent of making a public apology at the end of his sermon. This affected his listeners so deeply that Father Guigou, speaking in Provencal for the Archbishop, replied that Father de Mazenod was doing himself an injustice by thinking that his language was not lofty enough for the sacred ministry he has been serving with such credit to himself and with such gratification to the public. As the Archbishop passed me on his way to celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, he remarked: “Your nephew is much too modest. Would that I could do as well.”

Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene’s father, 13 March 1820, P.R. FB VI-3
(Quoted in Leflon 2, p.121)


“Lord, make my life a window for Your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect Your love to all I meet.”      Robert Schuller

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    The more I get to know Eugene the more I think we would have gotten on very well together as friends who would have ‘discussed’ a lot of things. It sounds like Eugene would not have had a lot of spare time, but imagine what fun it would have been to just sit and talk with him! Although its been quite a while I did a lot of public speaking for many years and it was something that I did well. Apparently I was known to break many of the ‘rules’ of public speaking, but I see in Eugene that same ability to disarm his audience and draw people in. I’m willing to bet that before he began speaking his prayer would have been along the lines of letting go of ‘himself’ and asking God to give him the words, let the peoples see through him to find God. Perhaps that’s where a lot of his eloquence came from, along with the many gifts God gave to him.

    I love the quote from Robert Schuller. “Lord, make my life a window for Your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect Your love to all I meet.” Just to read it and repeat it is to bring light and a smile into your being. It is hard not to be filled with joy and anticipation of the day to come when saying this simple phrase.

    Some days – like today – it is a gift just to be able to read what is offered, to sit back and let it settle within, thank God for such a wonderful gift and to do nothing else. The words and images become a part of me for they are a gift to be experienced and enjoyed. There is delight somewhere in there.

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