What French history has referred to as “The Three Glorious Days” (27-29 July 1830) were anything but “glorious” for Eugene. For the preceding few years government anti-religious sentiments and actions had been increasing. (cf the entry from onwards)

Now these erupted and revolt broke out in Paris, leading to the abdication of King Charles X and the takeover of power by Louis Philippe. He named himself not “King of France”, but “King of the French.” The “Citizen King,” as opposed to the line of Bourbon monarchs, was going to change the relationship between the State and the Church – and we shall see how Eugene was to be affected at great personal cost to himself in the years that followed.

Eugene was in Switzerland, while Henri Tempier was in Marseilles. Rumors of the violence that had been happening in Paris had filtered through to him, and he was anxious:

You can understand, my dear friend, how impatiently I await news from you. You did not write on the 30th, the day, by my calculations, when you ought to have been informed of the events at Paris.
You were at fault, for you can imagine the extent of my anxiety after the rumors, increasingly exaggerated one after the other, during the three days that the post failed to arrive.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 4 August 1830, EO VII n. 352

Eugene’s anxiety was focused on whether the violence had spread to the south of France and the danger to his Oblates and to the diocese of Marseilles. Was this going to be a repetition of 1789?

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    For Eugene it had to be terrifying to see what had happened 40 years earlier was again taking place. And he was out of the country, quite separated from those he loved so dearly. He needed to be able to hear from Henri Tempier how they were being affected, was it touching them personally – were they okay?

    I am not sure how any revolution could be called ‘glorious’ for it means death and incredible hardship and suffering. The stakes are life itself. I am reminded of the term ‘Arab Spring’ which became popular but which does not seem to come close to describing the lived experiences and sufferings of so many. What is it like for those who experience, survive and live through such violence and cruelty? It would be so easy for me to say that I am not a part of that or any other revolution or war and so it will not touch me in any way. I have to work so as to ensure that I do not allow my heart to become deadened over something that is so far away – or even over something that happened 200 years ago. My fear is that I might distance myself from it, close my heart to it – I do not want ever to become silently complicit with it.

    I look at what Eugene has been through up to that point, and know that his struggles are still a long way from being fixed and smoothed out. I look forward to the coming days and weeks as we go deeper into his life.

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