It was far more important, however, to straighten out matters with Bishop de Bausset since the latter had planned to take more extreme measures. On October 22, 1823, the archbishop’s interview with Father Courtès, who had been delegated by the Founder to iron things out with His Excellency, lasted for two and a half hours and very quickly took on a stormy character. The prelate insisted that the “missionaries belonging to his diocese were not to renew their vows and his threat to recall them seemed to be the club he was using to ensure his strongly expressed wishes of being carried out.” What was even more serious, if we can judge from the reply which Father de Mazenod sent to Courtès, a formal indictment gave an added sharpness to the notification regarding these decisions.
Leflon II p. 249.
Eugene’s reaction was to place his faith in God, who is the author of the evangelical counsels, to which the Missionaries had vowed themselves.
I have found it quite easy in my heart to pardon the Prelate for the calumnies of which I am willing to believe he is only the echo…
The Society is strongly assailed by the tempest but let us not lose courage… It is not difficult to perceive in all this a kind of aversion for the evangelical counsels and that makes me hope that He who, the first, made them honorable will take in hand the defense of His work.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 23-25 October 1823, EO VI n. 116
With faith in God, the Missionaries must persevere:
Let us not lose courage, we can only be destroyed if we allow it and that we will never do. I groan to be far from you. I grieve that you are alone in moments when we would need to share mutually our sentiments and our energy. It is too true that we are afflicted, profoundly afflicted, but we will not let ourselves be beaten… Even were we to be dispersed, we would not be less united.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 29 October 1823, EO VI n. 117
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi