Beginning in 1812, I had introduced to this seminary… the zealous association which I had known in the seminary in Paris.
Diary of 20 August 1838, E.O. XIX
Pielorz’s research into Eugene’s activities in the Association at the seminary concludes:
These details, perhaps more than all the others, reveal to us the ardent spirit of the zealous seminarian. If, among the 90 seminarians, he was deemed worthy of being chosen as a member of an elite group and of soon becoming its secretary, if he succeeded in giving new life to this ailing organization, it was due to the fact that his practices of mortification, detachment, self-denial and especially his love for Christ, the Savior, had had their effect. From the former Count [ed. A title that the adolescent Eugene had invented for himself when he was mixing with titled people in Palermo.], they produced a model seminarian and a zealous director.
PIELORZ, The Spiritual Life, p. 308-309
The Association was a concrete response to a need of the Church, and it gave Eugene a formation in a dynamic and a method that successfully formed an elite corps to be an instrument of change of a larger group. What he learnt here was fundamentally important for his life as it gave him the basis of the method he would use again in Aix for his work in the seminary, among the youth and in the founding of the Oblates.
Were it a question of going out to preach more or less well the word of God, mingled with much alloy of self, of going far and wide for the purpose, if you wish, of winning souls for God without taking much trouble to be men of interior life, truly apostolic men, I think it would not be difficult to replace you.
But can you believe I want merchandise of that sort?
We must be truly saints ourselves. In saying that, we include all that can possibly be said.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 December 1815 E.O. VI n 7
“By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier.” Susan Lieberman