Having just outlined the evil situation in which the young people found themselves, Eugene saw the urgency of responding to Napoleon’s attacks, despite the personal danger this would entail from him from Napoleon’s police. The central thrust of the newly-ordained priest’s ministry for the next few years would be to establish a support system to attempt to preserve the youth of Aix from the evils with which they were threatened:
Must one, a sad spectator of this deluge of evil, be content to bemoan it in silence without supplying any remedy? Certainly not. And should I suffer persecution or be destined to fail in the holy enterprise of raising a barrier against this torrent of iniquity at least I shall not have to reproach myself with not having made the attempt.
What means are to be employed to attain success in so great an enterprise? None other than those employed by the seducer himself. He felt he could succeed in corrupting France only by perverting the youth, it is towards them that he directs all his efforts.
Very well, it will also be upon the youth that I will work; I will strive, I will make the attempt to preserve them from the evils with which they are menaced, that they suffer already in part, inspiring in them early-on the love of truth, respect for religion, taste for piety, horror of vice.
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation, 25 April 1813, EO XVI.