Much work still faced Eugene before the final brief of the approval of the Oblates could be issued by the Pope. Today’s technology would have assured its completion within a couple of days. In Eugene’s time everything had to be written by hand.
The brief will only be given to us after I shall have terminated a large work. I have to copy the entire volume of the Rules and Constitutions, because it is this copy which will be endorsed and put back into my hands. The original, to which are appended the approbations of the Bishops and the signature of the members of the Society, must remain in the archives of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. I am somewhat dismayed by this task…
Letter to Henri Tempier, 18 February 1826, EO VII n 226
He tried to engage a professional copyist for the task but no one was prepared to do the work in less than three weeks – and that would delay Eugene’s return to France even more. So he decided to do the job himself.
I calculated that it would take about fifty hours of writing; I barged through this job in three days and part of the nights; I must admit it was an enormous task; I can also say that I was in it from head to toe; with head, chest, arms, hands, legs, feet and an unmentionable part of me being cruelly tried. But there remains not a trace of this temporary suffering which I was well inspired to offer to the good God, in expiation of my sins and for the good of our Society.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 27 February 1826, EO VII n 227
“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.” William Ralph Inge