Eugene’s Diary narrates the events that changed his life when he was 20 years old:
Eugene’s relatives in France were continually urging his father to reach a decision to let him return to his native land. The country was in a state of tranquility since Bonaparte had seized power. His mother, and specially his grandmother, feared the coming of death before they could embrace this child they loved so tenderly. Their dread was that in case of death their inheritance to him would be disputed. In short, they produced so many good reasons that his father made up his mind to let him leave.
It was on October 11, 1802, that Eugene embarked on the vessel that was to bring him to France. There is no need to recount the distress involved in that separation; Eugene’s father, uncles; his two faithful friends, the sons of the Duke of Cannizzaro; their tutor, Mr. de Galembert, and the maid Nanon whom he would never see again, all mingled their tears with his which flowed bitterly. … Finally, after fourteen days at sea, they entered the port of Marseilles. And so ended Eugene’s exile
Diary of the Exile in Italy, EO XVI
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
The eleven years of exile formed a crucible out of which a deep and lasting spirituality would be formed. It would take another 5 years of life experiences to begin to become visible. In his exile he had known defeat, suffering, struggle, loss and immersion into a life of aristocratic self-centered luxury. It would be the affectionate embrace of Jesus the Savior who would help him to find his way out of those depths – and make him into the beautiful person he became.