Another young Oblate in formation in Aix, Hippolyte Guibert, was preparing to receive ordination to the diaconate. Eugene wrote to congratulate and encourage him. Even though there was not an open persecution, like those of the early Christians by the Jews and pagans, the young clerics needed strength to minister in an atmosphere in France that could be strongly anti-clerical and difficult.
I take this occasion several days in advance, my dear and good friend, to congratulate you and rejoice in your future promotion to the order of diaconate. I wish you, my dear son, all the heroic virtues of the saints who are soon to become your patrons. Although we do not live at the centre of Judaism or amongst pagans, we are nonetheless subjected to a kind of persecution which renders this robur, which the Holy Spirit grants to deacons, very necessary and of which I promise myself you will make good use on every occasion.
Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 15 December 1824, EO VI n 160
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” John F. Kennedy