Eugene and the Missionaries had been approached to establish themselves in Alais, in the Diocese of Nimes. Travelling to see the situation, he reported to Henri Tempier:
… Meanwhile, they offer to rent you lodging in a small house at the expense of the parochial administration, to serve as assistant to the parish priest and on Sunday to go two or three leagues from Alais and say Mass in different vacant parishes. I do not see how this can be the vocation of our missionaries. That is why I am very determined not to accept the offers which will be made to us. However, we are going to set out for Alais in order not to appear to act inconsiderately and without knowing the situation.
All however is not lost and the good God, who knows our good desires and the purity of our intentions, will no doubt provide for his work.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 7 April 1825, EO VI n. 176
In the process of discernment, he had to be open to every aspect of the situation so as to understand God’s will for them at that moment. What was clear for Eugene, however, was that the Oblates in France did not accept parish ministry – their mission was to minister to those who were not being touched by the local parish structures.
“The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God’s eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. God’s will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments. It is our business to piece it together, and to live it into one orderly vocation.” Frederick W. Faber