I was only twelve years old when God aroused in my heart the first and very efficacious desires to dedicate myself to the mission, to work for the salvation of souls.
Letter to Ambroise Tamburini, EO XI n 1292.
Bishop Jeancard wrote: “While he was still in Venice, shortly after his First Holy Communion, he used to read with avidity Les lettres édifiantes sur les missions de la Chine et du Japon [ed Edifying Letters on the Missions in China and Japan]. . He had a great desire of devoting himself one day to the conversion of the unbelievers.” (Melanges p.68)
These letters were written by missionaries who were Jesuits, whom Bartolo Zoinelli dreamt of joining. The Jesuits had been disbanded in Europe at this time, and Bartolo and his brother were waiting for the Society to be re-established so as to join them. Inspired by Ignatius of Loyola, they would have communicated his spirit of “finding God in all things” to the impressionable young Eugene. Eugene became a life-long admirer of Ignatius and his methods. It was a heritage he would communicate to his Oblate family.
“God is not remote from us. God is at the point of my pen, my pick, my paintbrush, my needle — and my heart and my thoughts” Teilhard de Chardin S.J.