Family was important for Eugene. We have seen something of the role he played in the family of his sister, Eugenie de Boisgelin, and particularly how he accompanied the illness and death of his niece, Caroline. Now, back in Marseille, and physically and emotionally drained by those events, his mother had invited him to spend some days with her at the home of her cousin Roze Joannis in Grans.
My dear mother, I would very much have wanted to accept your invitation and come to spend a week with you in Grans. It would have been a real joy for me, but it all came too soon and I would have had to leave too soon. After the time that I have been absent, I need to get on top of what has been happening and I do not understand how it is that I have been diverted until the present moment. I thus have to give up this project, as pleasant as it would have been.
Letter to his mother, 16 August 1825, General Archives Rome, AGR MJ I-1
The love that he had for his family was the training ground for the love he showed in his ministry for those he worked with, and in a special way for the Oblates. The only model that he had of the Oblate congregation was that of a family centered on God – of which he was the father.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Desmond Tutu