Receiving news of the zealous preaching and ministry of the Oblates during the jubilee celebrations in Aix, Eugene responded:
The news that you give me about the Jubilee of Aix is murderous. It is not possible for our Brothers to resist such fatigue. That is what we did in our beginnings, to the great detriment of my health. I fear lest Fr. Mye and Fr. Suzanne especially who rises to such occasions with such vivacity, will be affected. We must do everything to avoid ruining workers of this calibre.
He concludes the letter by stressing the same point:
When writing to our Fathers, commend me to them and to their prayers, while advising them not to tempt God by working to excess which is not in order. Adieu to all.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 30 March 1826, EO VII n 233
Eugene was speaking from personal experience of having allowed himself to be carried away by his missionary zeal until his body collapsed. He did not want his collaborators to do the same. During a period of enforced rest and recuperation ten years earlier, he had resolved in his diary:
So he must sleep and eat; and when he is tired he must rest. It is a great pity I did not understand this a lot sooner. There is still time to get there, the damage is not irreversible; but it would be foolish to delay any longer.
Whatever happens, I will get the sleep needed so as not to be exhausted when I get up in the morning, as is usually the case. I have been guilty of excesses in this area, going back to my first years in the seminary. I acknowledge I would be blameworthy not to change my ways, since my health, until now always good, has already suffered a lot as a result.
The example of the saints seduced me, but it seems God in his goodness does not ask the same of me, as he seems to be warning me by a lessening of my energy and the upset of my health.
Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139
If we were at least able to form two rolling balls of fire, that is, if we could be two teams of which one would rest while the other was active, we would them be able, with God’s help, to do a great deal of work.
Letter to M. Arquier, Parish priest of Saint-Remy, 25 December 1816, O.W. XIII n 4