Thirty years later, Eugene still vividly remembered the struggle he had in order to go against his mother’s opposition to his vocation. Her reaction, and that of his grandmother, must have been very extreme for him to use such strong language so many years later:
I renounced the comforts of a private life and I violently tore myself loose from the embraces of maternal tenderness, personified above all in the person of my grandmother for whom I was an idol;
and after a prelude of some works of charity among the sick and the prisoners, I embraced the ecclesiastical state
because it was only in this state that I could realize that which my heart inspired me to do for the salvation and consequently for the true happiness of people.
Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX
The intensity of the gaze of the Savior had certainly penetrated his heart and he was compelled to dedicate himself to bringing others to what he experienced as the only source of true happiness – whatever the personal cost.
“The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37
To complete the picture, it must be said that Madame de Mazenod was to become one of her priest-son’s greatest supporters. Without her help many missionary projects for the “true happiness of people” would not have been possible.
“Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me!” M. Luther (Words spoken in a very different context, but very applicable to all decisions regarding our relationship with God)