With the French patriots, the account says, threatening to overrun the whole of Piedmont, my father did not feel his family to be safe in Turin: he made the decision to leave this city to move to Venice, and take shelter in the lagoons of a republic which he thought would be respected by the French republicans.
Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI p. 32
Eugene’s visit to Turin in 1825 would have revived all these memories of his boyhood experience 29 years earlier. Living through eleven years of exile had given him an understanding of what exiles and immigrants experience. Later, as a priest and bishop this was to lead him to reach out and minister to others in that situation: Austrian prisoners of war, Italian dock-workers in Marseille, child chimney-sweepers from Savoy etc.
It is a ministry that the Oblates continue today in a multi-cultural world more increasingly marked by movements of peoples, with distressing consequences of marginalization and abandonment.
We will let our lives be enriched by the poor and the marginalized as we work with them, for they can make us hear in new ways the Gospel we proclaim. We must always be sensitive to the mentality of the people, drawing on the riches of their culture and religious traditions.
CC&RR, Rule 8a
“Only the misfortune of exile can provide the in-depth understanding and the overview into the realities of the world.” Stefan Zweig