Looking back on his time in Venice, Eugene traced the hand of God constructing his life-direction through others:
Can I ever thank God sufficiently for getting for me, out of his infinite goodness, help such as this precisely at the most difficult time of life, a decisive time for me, in which were planted by a man of God, in my soul prepared by his skillful hand and the grace of the Holy Spirit whose instrument he was, the fundamentals of religion and piety on which the mercy of God has built the structure of my spiritual life?
The method used by Don Bartolo was simple: to provide a loving environment.
From this time on, every day over a period of four years, I went after Mass to be with these most benevolent teachers who put me to work until midday. After lunch, D. Bartolo, whose health required a lot of attention, would come to find me at home to go for a walk, which had in view a visit of some church where were would stop to pray. On our return, I got back to work, which lasted until evening. Some priests got together at that time to say the office in common. Then we would come down to the drawing room, where some family friends entered into some wholesome recreation. We had coffee and went away, except for myself who already in a way formed part of the family, and stayed for supper and to say the rosary and pray with them following the holy custom of that country, that was at that time so good.
Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI
It was in this loving family community that the young adolescent grew and developed. In later years, Father Eugene used this same method of providing a loving community as the environment for the growth of the members of his Aix Youth Congregation. Later it was the spirit he wanted for the Oblate communities.
Reflecting on the experience of the young Eugene, I am led to reflect on some of the events, places and people who contributed to my development. Who and what helped me to discover a dream and to make it a reality?
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” Walt Disney