The first couple of years of Eugene’s presence in Marseille as Vicar General were demanding because there was so much to be done to re-establish the diocese after the absence of a bishop on the spot for over 20 years.
Eugene’s lifestyle changed radically. His spirit of oblation meant that he dedicated himself totally to the service of the Church through the Diocese of Marseille and through the Missionary Oblates
The time for renewing jurisdictions overworks us unbelievably; we usually work until midnight with Father Tempier; it has happened to us to be kept at it separately until two o’clock in the morning. The budget of the Prefect, the business of the bishop’s house and of the seminary, the town councils that have to be attended, all these things come all at once and crush us.
Letter to Marius Suzanne,16 December 1823, EO VI n 122
Here he refers to some of the urgent preoccupations of getting the diocese running: the appointment of clergy to the parishes, persuading the city authorities to grant them money for the diocesan expenses of maintaining the parishes. The Revolution had taken over the bishop’s house and the seminary. The house had to be made livable again, and premises found for the seminary, as well as finding professors for the seminarians. Relations also had to be built with the various civic bodies in the city and in the surrounding towns.
“All these things come all at once and crush us,” but it was the spirit of oblation that made it possible to cope and to transform each of these necessary tasks into mission, no matter how mundane they may have been. Oblation made it possible to keep in mind that working to establish and strengthen the structures to promote evangelization was, in fact, mission
“Some people can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement.” Theodore Roosevelt