Convinced that the priest in question had a genuine vocation to Oblate missionary life, Eugene advises him to be patient and not be put off by opposition. God’s will would triumph in the long run.
In your particular case, I tell you that it is impossible not to recognize your vocation to the religious state; that the constant attraction you have for the missions indicates the choice that you ought to make, that I would consequently be very disposed to admit you to our novitiate, that the Bishop of Digne who still employs our Society in his diocese should not refuse you permission to join us; we are forced, however, in spite of all the rights you would have to follow your vocation and all our privileges to make it easier for you to do so, to wait until it pleases His Lordship to grant you permission to carry out your plans.
Unity with the chief Pastor was essential for Eugene, who prays that all the parties concerned would find their agreement and peace in serving the glory of God and the most abandoned souls. Interestingly, the bishop in question, Miollis is identified as the bishop immortalized in literature in “Les Miserables.” He and Eugene knew each other from Aix, and it was he who had invited his Provencal compatriot to take over the shrine of Notre Dame du Laus.
Your Prelate is undeniably a holy bishop; he should thus know the Rules of the Church. He should not then think he can oppose your vocation, but he is allowed to test you; he can then make it difficult, turn a deaf ear, with the idea that your position is only wishful thinking, only the result of a passing fancy. Be insistent with him, point out the main reasons for your vocation to a more perfect state; entreat, beg, try again, do not be deterred by evasive answers. He will not resist persevering requests which will prove to him the reality of your vocation.
I have now only to express the wish that the Lord may inspire in both of you whatever will contribute most to his glory and the accomplishment of his merciful plans for the most abandoned souls to whose service our Society is especially devoted.
Letter to a priest of the diocese of Digne, 22 July 1827, EO XIII n 61
“One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal.” Henri Nouwen