Concluding a letter to Henri Tempier, Eugene expresses who Tempier was for him:
Adieu, my faithful and dear companion, son, brother and cherished father ….
Letter to Henri Tempier, 21 October 1828, EO VII n 313
Tempier, throughout 45 years, was to be Eugene’s “faithful and dear companion.”
When he was 26 and entered the seminary, Eugene had written:
I have always longed for a friend, but I have never found one, at least one such as I am seeking; it is true that I am hard to please for as it is my nature to give generously I expect the same in return.
Self-evaluation written for his spiritual director in 1808, O.W. XIV n. 30
As a young priest, he was to find this friend in the person of Henri Tempier – but more than a friend, he had found a faithful companion with whom, he could share his ideals. Yvon Beaudoin tells us: “His encounter with Father Tempier in 1815-1816 brought him what he was looking for and even more. Besides sharing plans and giving comfort in troubles, Father Tempier, a man who was calm, pondered and much less emotional than the Founder, tempered the outbursts of the Founder’s character and helped him ‑ at times also replacing him ‑ perseveringly to accomplish all his plans and undertakings.
Bishop de Mazenod had a real affection for and always esteemed this collaborator and friend from whom he kept no secrets. He wrote to him often, entrusted all positions of trust to him, openly admitted to him that he considered him as one identical to his own self.” Yvon Beaudoin, “Henri Tempier” in the Oblate Historical Dictionary http://www.omiworld.org/dictionary.asp?v=5&vol=1&let=T&ID=998
Tempier had understood the God-given spirit of the Missionaries from the very beginning.
First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others; you have not deviated in the slightest from the path we resolved to follow; everyone knows this in the Society and they count on you as they count on myself.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, EO VI n 86
“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.” Charles Kingsley