In his letter to his father Eugene had told him about his venture of bringing together a group of missionaries:
… It is a foundation of Missionaries whose duty it will be to cover the countryside and bring people back to the religious sense that they have lost. We will establish ourselves in the former Carmelite monastery and go out from there on our apostolic travels. The newspapers took the initiative of giving an account of it and have totally overlooked me as the leader of this establishment…
Letter to Charles Antoine de Mazenod, 8 November 1815, O.W. XIII n.1
President de Mazenod’s reply of 27 February 1816 contains two interesting “prophetic” glimmers. Firstly he refers to the foundation by Alphonsus Liguori of the Redemptorists – little realising the influence the example this group was going to have on his son’s new foundation, and that Eugene would get him working to translate a biography of Alphonsus into French. The second is his father’s wishful thinking (with tongue in cheek?) about his own son’s beatification – which was to happen 160 years later!
We have here a similar group of holy priests who have gathered to give missions in the surrounding area and are doing a lot of good. As well there is an almost similar institution called Missionaries of the Redeemer established all’Uditore. They recognize their Founder as Bishop Liguori of St-Agatha in the kingdom of Naples, who died in the odour of sanctity and whose beatification they are presently working on in Rome by the Pope’s command. I flatter myself that sometime in the future some Sovereign Pontiff will give the same orders in favour of Charles Joseph Eugene, but while waiting I would have liked you to send me the newspapers that speak of your Institute and of yourself…”
(Original in the Méjanes Library, Aix)