The hectic social activities after Eugene’s return from exile, which we have been looking at, gradually began to lose their attraction.

Questo paese non mi conviene. [ed. This is no place for me.], and that is why I have a repugnance for everything. Sometimes I am three weeks without going out; I only make exception in the case of La Poire [ed. a friend of his father]. In general, there is one enormous defect prevalent here, people are distant and very egotistic. “Questo paese non mi conviene. I say it again, and quietly lay my plans to bring about a parting of the ways.

His search for a rich wife were producing no results and he seemed to have no clear directions for a future life and career. At this moment, his family’s livelihood came from their properties and the produce of the land. He certainly did not see this as his future direction eikther:

Furthermore, it has to be said, this repugnance is also due to the fact that it is not in my character to spend my life planting cabbages.

There was an underlying unhappiness in his life that showed itself if many areas of his life.

I have the feeling that I am not where I should be, and I get angry when I see the best years of my life draining away in idle obscurity. You can judge yourself if I should be bright and cheerful when you know that these thoughts go round and round in my head whenever I am alone. Goodbye, dear father, I feel a sadness coming on.”

Letter to his father, 12 March 1804, Méjanes, Aix

It would still take him a couple more years to find the remedy for his underlying unhappiness.


“To be happy is only to have freed one’s soul from the unrest of unhappiness.”   Maurice Maeterlinck

This entry was posted in LETTERS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Some real highs for Eugene and then some real lows. There is a part of me that could dismiss him by saying that perhaps he is depressed, or he sounds a little manic. That word ‘dismiss’ stops me where I am. That I who have struggled with depression throughout my life, I who have at times felt dismissed by others should do the same to another … God have mercy on me. Have never had the thought that most surely I could not possible belong where I am in a place and way of being that had no light or joy?

    Equally dismissive I could pass off where Eugene was when he wrote this – he was still fairly young at the time and I am looking at him from the viewpoint of having experienced many more years of living. I also know how he ended up. I sit here and am reminded of the times when I have asked God why it took me so long to become aware of him? Why after finding Him, why it took me so long to find where and how I really belong with him, where I should really be, who I belonged to, etc. etc. I don’t ask those questions so much now because there is no answer, just as there is no necessity to have an answer. No different really from the question of why did I become an alcoholic and worse? It was not so that I could gain the many graces that have come from that. Those graces were the product of living through all of it.

    I look at it and see how my life has never been all neat and tidy, without struggle. And even as I write this I think of the cross and the resurrection, of the ongoing living of the paschal mystery. Perhaps I would not be so appreciative of all that I’ve been given if it had always been perfect from the beginning.

    I think of the small changes I am having to make in my life right now and of how I have to ‘let go’ of little ‘ways of how I live’. I think of the new graces which my Beloved most sure takes delight in feeding to me. The words ‘magnificent love’ comes to mind. I think of Peter and his feet being washed by Jesus and how he says to Jesus to then wash all of him – there is a small part of me that says still very quietly to my Most Beloved – take everything, take it all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *