From 14 January to 25 February 1821 Eugene and the Missionaries had preached a demanding mission in the town of Brignoles. As was their custom, the Missionaries wanted to arrange the dates for a return visit during the following year. The pastor of this town had responded negatively and had written a defamatory letter to Eugene, who now responded in strong terms to the accusations.
What strikes me is the centrality of the concern of the Missionaries for the welfare of the people of the town. They had spent six weeks evangelizing them and for their spiritual welfare wanted to consolidate the good that they had begun.
Dear Pastor, possibly I have been too sensitive in regard to your behavior; it may be that I have expressed too honestly a reaction that is too strong. If that is the case, I do not intend to justify myself.
What man, however, would not feel badly wounded when he saw you apply as much care to keep us away from your parishioners (at the time of the return mission), as everyone else in like circumstances would have applied to bring us close to them. Do not think that the righteous dissatisfaction I express has any other motive than the duty our [ed. missionary] character lays on us.
If we consider the matter from a human point of view, it is of little importance to us to reappear at your place for a return mission; we wanted merely to consolidate by renewed effort a work so happily begun. If I asked you for it, it was for a greater good and contrary to my own inclination and needs which rather have led me to take a rest.
If you had some good reason for putting off these exercises which are considered everywhere as necessary after a mission, it was easy for you to tell me so politely without having recourse to an out-and-out defamation. After all, wasn’t it at your insistent demand that we went and sacrificed our rest and health for two whole months in order to be of some use to your people?
Letter to the Pastor of Brignoles, 23 August 1821, EO XIII n. 39
“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou