Jacques Marcou was 23 years old and had been ordained less than a year. In those days the studies for the priesthood were very rudimentary and took two years (as opposed to a minimum of 7 today). For this reason Eugene insisted that the young Oblates spend time on preparing their sermons and then get them approved and improved by one of the more experienced Oblates. Father Marcou was spending some time helping a local pastor to prepare the youth for confirmation, Eugene advised him:
I do not wish you to preach sermons which have not been written out and approved. I counsel you to have the utmost reserve and not seem to have a mania for speaking in public, at the risk of being scorned; keep yourself to what is strictly necessary. Be doubly prudent and circumspect when the Bishop is on the premises.
If you are invited, refuse absolutely to preach, giving as pretext your hurried departure from Aix which did not permit you to bring your notebooks and your youth and inexperience which oblige you expressly not to risk compromising the Word of God.
Seemingly the Pastor with whom Marcou was working was a difficult man, and so Eugene counseled the young man:
tell yourself beforehand that it is very important to endure everything from him and from those who are beside him; the good of all demands that you make on this point strong resolutions and that you do not fall away from them.
Adieu, may the good God go with you and bless your steps.
Letter to Jacques Marcou, 11 August 1824, EO VI n 150
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