The poor state of the church necessitated expenditure to make it usable. Initially it was the choir – the internal chapel once used by the Carmelite sisters – that needed repair, and thereafter the church itself. The very first group to make use of the internal chapel was the youth congregation, and thus Eugene asked them to contribute towards its repair:
The Congregation’s… choice fell on the former church of the Carmelites where it hopes to settle permanently. As this necessary change must entail some expense, the Council in its session today decided to provide for it by means of a voluntary subscription which has been fixed at one to six francs. This subscription must only be asked of the more well-off congregants …]
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation, November 1815, O.W. XVI
With a membership of nearly 300 youth, the appeal would have brought in a considerable sum – in fact, enabling them to begin to use the venue within a matter of weeks. Since then this internal chapel has been the place of prayer for the Oblate community. Today those who come for formation sessions at the International Mazenod Centre, use this as their chapel. In this way the tradition of the internal chapel as a place of being moulded by God has always continued – since Eugene and his first companions made it a place of prayer, and continued the traditions established by the contemplative Carmelite sisters.