In his private journal, Eugene continued to jot down his impressions of the morning, as he recalled them. He cannot resist noting his amusement at the Dominican priest in the audience room whose discomfort in waiting was clear as his empty stomach rumbled, and whose face must have been a picture when Eugene was called in to the Pope before him!

I will not begin to transcribe everything that happened during that precious audience which lasted for more than half an hour, to the undoubted regret of the Dominican Father who had not had lunch, nor more than I who had been fasting.

His experience of the person of the Pope was one of indescribable kindness

 The Pope showered me with indescribable kindness. He talked for a long time and listened very attentively when it was my turn to speak. We talked in Italian and he always referred to me in the third person, the most polite form. He gave me very detailed explanations where he could have abbreviated things.

Roman Diary, 20 December 1825, EO XVII

 To Henri Tempier he confided:

It would be impossible for me to relate to you all that was said, still less to describe to you the goodness, the pleasant manner and courtesy of the sovereign Pontiff.
I was kneeling beside him. Several times he motioned for me to rise; I did not wish to, I was comfortable at his feet, besides I leaned against the desk. I could have remained longer in this position without discomfort.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 December 1825, EO VI n 213


“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”     Mark Twain

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I love how Eugene described the Dominican – not to be unkind, but it was sort of funny and Eugene was able to recognize that and and share it in his diary.

    Eugene’s seems to have been really struck by the kindness of the pope towards him. He did not enter that room [the pope’s quarters] all puffed up about himself, or with a need to show just how great and worthy he himself was, but rather to speak about his congregation. He found himself in the presence of someone he looked up to, someone who he maybe deemed to be very holy and who was treating him with dignity and respect, with ordinary love and kindness. It would seem they talked as equals, with familiarity. I wonder if perhaps the pope himself did not recognize the love and the presence of God in Eugene and respond to that just as he was responding to the pope.

    It would seem that when we are truly assured of the immense love of God of our own selves we are able to put away certain small jealousies and needs and recognize that very love in others. We open ourselves and respond in kind to it. And it can often be a bit of a surprise to us because we are not thinking of ourselves in those moments but of the other.

    The word ‘rightness’ comes to mind, two great persons who loved greatly coming together, each affording the other the kindness, mutuality of respect, goodness and real love. This morning I shall remember some of the people who I call ‘great’, who have shown me a great kindness in the most ordinary of ways. I am so grateful for such love and goodness [godness], for it has been such an unexpected gift.

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