Despite all their ministry engagements, Eugene always insisted that the Missionaries come together to celebrate the Easter mysteries as a family in their communities. Being in Paris, this was the first time in 7 years that he was not with his community in Aix for these ceremonies, and he wrote on Holy Thursday:
My heart was sad, my dear Courtès, as I came back from the church where I had just offered the Mass with people I did not know, in a somewhat alien land, so to speak, far from you from whom I have never been separated on this memorable day. Yes, it is the first time since our coming together that I have not celebrated Easter with my brothers. I am inconsolable over this immense privation. To soften my grief, I said Mass quite close to the time that I knew you would be assembled, Dominicam Coenam manducare [ed. “To eat the Lord’s Supper”]
Being away, he resorted to his usual means of being united with his religious family in prayer: oraison
But, although in the presence of the same Lord, my heart felt all the weight of the distance which separates us and while, thanks to the arrangement I had made, we were celebrating at the same time the same mysteries, we nevertheless did not celebrate together and my isolation in such a circumstance wrenched sighs from me even at the altar, seeing that I was not surrounded by my excellent and beloved family.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 27 March 1823, EO VI n 98
“The deepest of level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless … beyond speech … beyond concept.” Thomas Merton