The nomination of Fortuné de Mazenod as Bishop of Marseille, in January 1823, meant that he had to go to Paris immediately to fulfill the necessary ecclesiastical and civil processes required by this appointment. Eugene accompanied him on this journey, which was to keep them in Paris for six months.
From this moment, Eugene’s life was to change radically. In 1817, when Fortuné’s nomination had first become a possibility, he had insisted to Eugene: “Remember that after God you are my guide and right arm…” (Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene de Mazenod, 9 October 1817, P.R., FB I-2)
In the face of all this Eugene had had no alternative but to accept the will of his uncle:
Yes, yes, my dearest uncle, I take all the responsibility on myself…
Letter to Father Fortuné de Mazenod, in Palermo, 17 November 1817, O.W. XV n. 143
Leflon sums up the situation:
On February 9, Bishop-elect Fortune and Father de Mazenod set out for the capital. A new era had begun for both of them. More closely associated than ever before, the two were now to work in concert at the same task, in a diocese whose numerical, economic, political, social and religious development was in full swing; and, true to the Founder’s foresight, his uncle’s installation upon the See of Lazarus would permanently assure the Society of the Missionaries of Provence, still small in number and still poorly consolidated, not only solid bases, but bases for expansion.
Leflon Volume 2, Chapter Five
Now that the appointment had become fact, Eugene was forced to leave Aix permanently and transfer himself to his uncle’s side in Marseille, and to add the responsibility of being Vicar General to that of being Superior of the Missionaries. This shared responsibility between the Missionary Oblates and the Diocese of Marseille would be the pattern of his life of love for the Church for the next 38 years. This spirit continues today:
Our love for the Church inspires us to fulfil our mission in communion with the pastors whom the Lord has given to his people; we accept loyally, with an enlightened faith, the guidance and teachings of the successors of Peter and the Apostles.
We coordinate our missionary activity with the overall pastoral plan of the local Churches where we work, and we collaborate in a spirit of brotherhood with others who work for the Gospel.
CC&RR Constitution 6
“The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you. To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.” Bernadette Devlin