Journeying towards France by slow stage coach, Eugene wrote to his Oblate family from Milan, where he was able to pray at the tomb of the patron saint of the de Mazenod family, St Charles Borromeo.
I have reserved my place for Thursday morning; I will be at Turin Wednesday evening or at the latest, Saturday morning. My first care will be to run to the post office to seek the letters you must have addressed to me there and which I am longing to receive, as it is indeed for a long time that I have been deprived of news of the family. I hope that you are all well… It is high time that I see you again. I dare not tell myself how long I have been living away from you. If I had considered that before leaving, I would have had much trouble deciding myself to set forth on a journey so prolonged.
Had he taken only human considerations into account, and had he known the prolonged difficulties he would have faced in Rome, he would never have had the courage to undertake this task. Yet, God led him gently step-by-step and Eugene had achieved all that was necessary.
The good God spares our weakness by leading us gently to his ends. Until now, it has been impossible to succeed better from every point of view…
He echoes the experience of St Paul:” “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
For the rest, the happiness of pressing my friends, my brothers, my children to my heart means everything to me on earth. I embrace you all with these sentiments; I embrace my uncle, mama, my sister and her children. This morning I thought of you all at the tomb of Saint Charles and am about to return there. Adieu, we are no longer so far from one another as when I was at Rome. Adieu.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 14 May 1826, EO VII n 240
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mahatma Gandhi