I no longer feel anything from my fall, so let there be no more mention of it.

While proceeding from Gap to Notre Dame du Laus. the carriage provided by the Bishop of Gap overturned as it approached the village of Rambaud and Eugene struck his head violently and received a cut over the temple. He offered his pain and discomfort to God in atonement for the anti-religious actions of the government. The first of the government’s “June decrees” made ecclesiastical secondary schools subject to the rule of the University and the certificate of studies. It explicitly forbade the Jesuits to teach.

Please God I might exhaust upon myself all the bolts of divine anger with which France is menaced. The decree which, by expelling the Jesuits, deprives all Christian families of the kingdom of the sole means that remains to them to have their children raised in the principles of our holy religion and to preserve their morals from the frightful contagion that the University colleges propagate, is a public crime which has as many accomplices as it has people to approve it.

To make matters worse, the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs in the government was a bishop:

The scandal of seeing a Bishop countersign this decree and provoke it by a revolting report, is also a misdeed which it will not be easy either to expiate.
How can I express the sorrow that I feel at the sight of such great disorders? You understand, you who share so well my sentiments. It is not enough to groan, one must make resound in the entire world the voice of the strongest protests…

He feels powerless

… I find myself like a lion who feels all his vigor, his strength and his courage, but who gnaws impotently on his chain and bit, whitening them with his froth.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 24 June 1828, EO VII n 304

Pope Francis continually echoes the same sentiments today in the face of increasing human suffering. Inviting us into the attitude of the compassion of Jesus, he constantly asks us as Eugene does: “How can I express the sorrow that I feel at the sight of such great disorders?”


“The culture of well-being, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalization of indifference. In this world of globalization we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.” Pope Francis

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  1. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    I just reread the homily Francis gave at Lapadusa after the tragic death of so many in the waters of the Mediterranean. And this week it has happened again. As part of the Oblate family we need to remember that our Founder was a refugee who was fleeing war and persecution. For all who are present in theses difficult situation, we pray for and support you in this difficult work.

    Thank you Frank for the powerful text and reflection.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    For all that things change – they don’t. There seem to be many things wrong in this world and even within the Church in places. I have spent the day thinking of people I know, well at least a person. Like me this person is a ‘doer’, actually this person can run circles around me. And although my friend is ‘doing’ alot I believe she is trying to do it ‘all’. I want to tell her that she doesn’t have to do it all herself but she doesn’t want to hear anything, not from me, not from anybody. And that sorrows me immensely. I recognise myself in her but am impotent to help her, or even slow her down. Powerless like the lion that Eugene has described so well.

    This is not a big wrong being done by member of the clergy or by a bishop but rather a small thing that can affect many, made by one very ordinary person, someone I know and care about. I find myself asking ‘how can I express the sorrow that I feel at the sight of such great disorders? I pray for inspiration, patience and courage.

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