On leaving France, Eugene travelled to Turin, where he wrote:

we spent several hours going through, from cellar to attic, their beautiful college of the Nobles, while waiting for Father Rector to return.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 8 November 1825, EO VI n. 205

 During his exile, Eugene had been a pupil at this school from 1791 to 1794. As I have not published anything of this here before, I would like to spend some time looking at some of the entries of his diary referring to this period.

The College of Nobles where I was placed had just been entrusted to the Barnabite Fathers by King Victor Amadeus. These religious devoted themselves to giving a polished education to the children of the distinguished families entrusted to them. I was among the first to enter this college, and Father Scati, who was rector, made me his great friend from that moment…
I stayed at the College just over three years. My teacher was Father Massimini, and at that time Father Cadolini, today bishop in the Marches of Ancona, was one of my masters. M. Tavenet, of St. Sulpice, was assistant of one of the dormitories I lived in, and I owe it to his severity that I studied properly, and was consistently at the top of my classes.

Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI p. 28


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Albert Einstein

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Accompanying Eugene on his travels to Rome, and now through his life as a young man in exile has been and continues to be an invitation to look back on my own life – with gentleness and with gratitude. I am prompted, impelled, to realise the healing that takes place in the most ordinary circumstances, if and when we allow it.

    Looking at Eugene and the his memories of his early teachers and the fondness and gratitude that he accorded to, in his own words the man whose “severity” gave him so much. As I read this the first time lines from Tennyson’s poem Ulysses “I am a part of all that I have met” prompted me to recall the teacher who first introduced me to this poem, the one that I have always loved more than others. I am a part of all that I have met and so am a part of Sister Mary Catherine, a gift of incredible proportions. I think of what is surely a part of my very DNA as my thoughts flitter around some of the memories of my childhood that were nothing short of a living hell. Yet now, for perhaps the first time in my life I can look at some of those early memories and see past them somehow. I think of the pain that could only have been a part of my parents and can only now look with great compassion on the pain that was theirs. And although they are both dead I am moved to ask them to forgive me.

    Yesterday I received the sacrament of Reconciliation, the sacrament of Forgiveness. Such is the wonder of God’s healing love. Is it any wonder that I go now to greet the day, my heart singing of Yahweh’s love which lasts forever.

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