Eugene had been born in Aix en Provence, it had been the scene of his first ministry as a priest (especially the youth ministry) , it was the place of foundation of the Oblates and the city where his mother and sister lived. Aix was thus the place where all the people he knew and loved, and who loved him, were situated. Marseille was a new place for him and he suffered from its hostility – especially in his attempts to reorganize a diocese that had lain uncultivated for so many years before the appointment of his uncle as residential bishop. He longed for that human warmth, especially from the community of Missionaries in Aix.

I am sending you, my very dear Guibert, the two volumes of Cardinal Gerdil that I had promised you. I would have wished to bring them to you myself, so happy do I feel when in our holy house where everything pleases and edifies me, also I always think of myself as in a state of duress when taken away from it and it needs nothing less than being persuaded that the good God demands this enormous sacrifice of me in view of a greater good, to resolve myself to submit thereto without murmuring. Though that is a word I do not use for the frequent complaints which escape from me and which are quite justified being the kind which Our Lord uttered on the cross or in the garden of Olives.

Letter to Joseph Hippolyte Guibert, 19 January 1824, EO VI n. 125


We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” Dalai Lama

This entry was posted in LETTERS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Aix was thus the place where all the people he knew and loved, and who loved him, were situated.” This is key for me this morning. “All the people he knew and loved, and who loved him…” Not just Eugene loving, but also Eugene being loved. I firmly believe that God created us to be loved. God created us so that he could love us. It is a part of our DNA, of who we are as humans. When we find ourselves loving and being so loved in return – that deep soul connecting love – then to leave that is hard. Perhaps that is why a small child growing up without being loved latches on to whatever may look like love or be presented as love especially in their teens and early adulthood.

    Eugene, who loved God with everything that he was, gave himself over to God as much as was possible for him to do. It was in loving people that he did it. The Church, his family, his community of Oblates, the poor around him, even those who treated him abysmally.

    I know this and yet this morning there is a small but deeper touch of awareness, like a light has been turned on for a few minutes and I am grateful for that.

    Another awareness is also coming into the light but not quite there yet. It comes from what Eugene is saying about the enormous sacrifice being asked of him by God. It was enormous. As are the sacrifices that are asked of each of us (I tend to want to downplay what is being asked of myself or what I am willing to give, more than what might be asked of others.) Another small light of awareness coming on. Amazing what we catch glimpses of, how we come to know ourselves bit by bit, not on our own, but with and through those around us, those we love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *