A close priest friend, Charles Forbin Janson, had invited Eugene to join his group of missionaries, the Missionaries of France who preached in French throughout France. In this brief extract we see the commitment of Eugene and his prospective companions to the necessity of preaching in Provencal for the benefit of the abandoned inhabitants of the countryside of Provence.
What touched the heart of Eugene and made him respond was the plight of people in Provence who were not being adequately catered for by the normal ministry of the local church.
Now, you will perhaps ask why, since I wish to be a missionary, I do not join you as well as the little band I could bring together….
But what must be remembered is that our regions are without any help, that their peoples offer hopeful signs of being converted and must not therefore be abandoned. Yet we would abandon them if we joined you because we alone, and not you, can help them. We have to speak in their own tongue in order to be understood by them. We have to preach in Provençal.
Letter to Father Forbin Janson, 28 October 1814, O.W. VI n 2
The sight of these evils has so touched the hearts of certain priests, zealous for the glory of God, men with an ardent love for the Church, that they are willing to give their lives, if need be, for the salvation of souls.
“We will always be close to the people with whom we work, taking into account their values and aspirations. To seek out new ways for the Word of God to reach their hearts often calls for daring; to present Gospel demands in all clarity should never intimidate us.” CC&RR Constitution 8