Eugene was absent nearly seven months from Marseilles, because of bad health. He undertook a journey into Switzerland on July 6, on the explicit orders of his doctors and of Fr Tempier. It was also an opportunity to help his sister, Eugenie de Boisgelin to take her mind off the sorrow caused by the death of her daughter Nathalie. (REY p 486)

This letter gives us a glimpse into the affectionate and caring nature of Eugene for his family.

Since you cannot come, my dear mamma, and I am obliged to postpone my journey to Aix, I will write you two words to express to you the regret I feel at not seeing you at the time when I was looking forward to embrace you.
I came twice to spend 24 hours in St. Joseph’s, my usual refuge when I want to enjoy a little tranquility. There is no way I can manage to write even one letter in Marseilles…
 My plan is always to go to Aix for the elections, that is to say on the 22nd of this month. We shall be able to return together to prepare for the journey to Freiburg, which I undertake only because my sister has a real need of it. This woman is always more angelic, and it is not possible to be more virtuous, but she needs to have some diversion from her sorrows. The journey will be appropriate to do this.
If she did not have so much distaste for milk, I would count on this food to fatten her a little; But she does not want to try. Perhaps the milk of Switzerland will nauseate her less.
And you, what benefit did you get out of your thermal baths? It seems to have happened on purpose, that you were disturbed when you were determined to take them properly. God grant that the care you have given to my uncle [ed. her cousin Francois Roze-Joannis] will not have wearied you, and will cause all the fruit of these healing waters to be lost! I hope the patient is better, and I shall be glad to learn that your pains have calmed a little.
… Goodbye, very dear and good mother. I kiss you with all my heart. Remember me to my uncle. I greet my brother and I am your very affectionate son. Everyone is well at the bishop’s house.

Letter to his mother, 15 June 1830, OMI General Archives, Rome, AGR FB I-9

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A bit of a delight to read this today, this letter being that of the love of a man for his family. It is written in the ordinary of the day, not a letter to instruct or run a society or to preach, just a regular letter to say hi, here’s what’s going on and I love you. And I can only imagine the swell of love and joy that this letter gave to Eugene’s mother as she read it. Incredible what something so small and ordinary can give to another.

    This past Sunday promised to be a quiet one at Church as it was a part of Canada Day weekend, with many people away on holidays or visiting with family. Much like Eugene’s letter to his mother would have been received, so was that day for me. I got to see and ‘visit’ with so many, but in particular two stood out. A friend who lives across the river and so has her own parish to attend made a surprise visit to my parish and joined me for Mass. The joy that I received from her being there transformed the ordinary into incredible extraordinary. And then part way through Mass I noticed three more visitors who were there, from out of town, in fact from out of province. Talking with Debbie and two other Oblate Associates after Mass, hugs and laughter – like the icing on a cake that just puts the finishing touch on the cake transforming again the ordinary into the extraordinary. A little later in the Church I attended a concert. One of the ladies from our Church choir was a soloist, and she shared the incredible gift of her voice with us as she sang and transformed some music that I was familiar with but that I shall hear quite differently from in the future because of the incredible beauty that she sang with. What an incredible gift the entire day was, with everyone that I met seeming to make it quite extraordinary.

    Dear Eugene, you did not start or coin this way of being and loving, giving and receiving, but you most certainly opened my eyes to it, you introduced me to it in a whole new way, and as I hung around you and yours I seemed to copy and make my own this way of being and living.

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