Shortly after the Oblate mission in Digne, Eugene writes about a confrontation with the Bishop of Gap, the neighboring diocese in which our sanctuary of Laus was situated. Clearly Eugene, whose life changed at the foot of the Cross when he had personally experienced God’s mercy, would never compromise on leading others to the same experience of mercy, even if this would cause a break with the local authorities.
His Lordship at Gap ungraciously refuses to give us a recruit ….
He has sent me five moral propositions to which he demands a categorical reply, while telling me his responsibility is compromised. I have written him a letter which could well bring on a break in relationships.
Letter Hippolyte Courtes, 31 January 1827, EO VII n. 261
In a footnote to this letter Father Beaudoin gives us the background. “Bishop Arbaud had written to the Founder on January 22 to complain especially about Fr. Touche. Fr. de Mazenod replied that the Oblates followed the moral teaching of the Blessed Alphonse de Liguori. In September, he wrote once more to the Prelate, this time not to defend himself but to attack: ‘In my presence and when speaking to me, you are full of goodness and, when you write to me, one would say your inkwell is sour’…”
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” Victor Hugo