Continuing the narrative of his time at school in Turin, Eugene speaks about receiving the sacrament of confirmation.

The treatment was prolonged, so much so that the time for the general confirmation having arrived, there was a fear that Eugene would not be able to take part. His Eminence Cardinal Archbishop Costa, Archbishop of Turin, had the goodness to suggest confirming him in private. But it proved unnecessary to have resort to this kindness, and the child was confirmed with all the others on Trinity Sunday 1792, in the tiny church adjacent to the Archbishop’s palace.
Eugene’s attraction to piety sustained him throughout the time he spent in the college. It showed itself in the pleasure he always showed for religious ceremonies.

Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI p. 30

Again, the brief narrative hides the richness behind this event. After his episcopal ordination Bishop Eugene constantly celebrated the sacrament of confirmation and regularly reflected on his experience and its meaning. One example:

What need has one of tongues of fire to see, in some way, the presence of the Holy Spirit? On these occasions, his presence for me is palpable and I am so imbued with the Spirit that I cannot hide my emotion. I have to do violence to myself not to shed tears of joy, and, in spite of my efforts, often tears I cannot withhold betray the sentiment which animates me and fills me to overflowing in the full sense of the word!

Diary, 18 February 1844, EO XXI (not yet published in English)

What fruits has my confirmation produced in my life?


“My spirituality is my Christian living as guided by the Holy Spirit….Each [spirituality] is a living out of the Christian life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the gifts the indwelling spirit produces in us for our own personal sanctification and our contribution to the life of the community.”   Walter Burghardt, S.J

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  1. Patrick M McGee, OMI says:

    “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21)

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have thought for a long time now that the Holy Spirit has worked overtime on me, that it has been the Holy Spirit who has been responsible for leading me, putting people into my path, or I into theirs. Yet for the past year or so there has been a small sadness within me whenever the sacrament of Confirmation has been mentioned for I have very little memory of my own confirmation. I took as my confirmation name the name of Theresa after St. Theresa but I can no longer remember why. I do know that the bishop spoke of becoming a soldier for Christ, but I did not want to become any kind of a soldier for anybody. I really did not and perhaps still do not have very much of an idea of what it is all about. In this, the second half of my life, I have sort of thought that maybe it didn’t take – you know – maybe the sacrament just didn’t work with me. Silly and shameful to admit perhaps, but there it is.

    And this morning, even as I sit here and write my thoughts, I find myself rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, in all that the Spirit has done in my life. For she has been my constant companion in my life; shepherding, inspiring, leading and filling me with gifts of compassion and love and all of the goodness that is within me. With Frank’s question of “What fruits has my confirmation produced in my life?” I had to look up what were the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Loyola Press states: “the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the observable behaviors of people who have allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit to be effective in them.” I list them here only because there is joy in my heart at seeing what they are because I recognize them as being a part of my life. They are: charity, generosity, joy, gentleness, peace, faithfulness, patience, modesty, kindness, self-control, goodness and chastity. I am not bereft of these qualities. If I try to answer the question posed by Frank I can see how the Spirit of God has filled me much, and most especially joy. I am a little surprised that gratitude is not listed there for it seems to be the greatest gift of all.

    Unlike Eugene I am unable to look back and find a ‘defining’ moment such as my Confirmation when the Spirit became evident in my life. For me the Spirit is like a mighty river which has been there since the beginning of time, winding it’s way through different countries and terrains, carving out a path when it must, with currents strong enough to move and affect all in it’s path, but gentle enough to carry a leaf on it’s waters, giving life to all along its course, steady. My experience of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. Perhaps it is the whisper of her breath that moves me so. I have to laugh a little at myself for the sacrament that did not seem to “take on me” most certainly has left it’s mark upon me. And so another day begins in joy and gratitude. Immense gratitude that it is the Spirit of God within me, always present to me, to all of us. Not charging forward but with a force of life that is inexorable.

    I want to go now and sing and laugh and dance with the joy that this day brings.

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