Yesterday at last, the “Constitutionnel” of the 31st informed us of the state of affairs, by what it said and by what it omitted. Some letters, addressed to Swiss families, whose heads are in the service of France, confirmed in part the accounts of the journalist. Now it remains to know what happened where you are. Whatever they may tell me here, if you think at Marseilles that it would be necessary that I return, you are to send for me. My ailment is not one of those that a change of air can cure; my heart left me rather tired during the course of yesterday; I am well otherwise.

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

The news had reached Eugene in Switzerland. There had been riots in Paris, and looting and destruction in the residence of the Archbishop, in the church of St. Germain l’Auxerrois, in the Jesuit novitiate and the destruction of public mission crosses. Was this the signal of a new persecution of the Church as the events of 1789 and the Reign of Terror had been? Was the alliance between the “Throne and the Altar” that the Bourbon kings had restored going to be destroyed again? Were the Oblates going to be persecuted?

The convalescing Eugene’s frustration at being far away is evident. Unrealistically he wanted to return to France yet, realistically, he continued to experience the physical symptoms of a “tired heart.” Like our patron saint, we also often struggle between unrealistic ideals and the realism of our situation. He remained focus on God, and inspires us to do the same.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning I was startled as I read ‘our patron saint’ – it stopped me and caused me to think for a second. Eugene of course is our patron saint, it is just that I am not used to thinking of him in that way. He is Eugene to me. At the same time he is also St. Eugene, Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Bishop of Marseille, friend, father and probably more if I were to reflect more deeply on him. Patron saint – surprise, delight and wonder and my being lights up and smiles from within. A slight distraction from the topic at hand, a small gift that sets me on the course of my day.

    ‘Like our patron saint, I also often struggle between unrealistic ideas and the realism of our situation.’ Being passionate, full of life, zeal. Sometimes wanting to do more than I can, more than I am called to do and be… Here I am reminded that instead of trying to run full-tilt in a direction I might want to slow down and walk, looking around as I move and taking in the magnificence of life. I need to wait and listen for the Spirit’s whisper and that might mean remaining where I am, focusing on my daily life and routine, staying the course to where God brings me, entering more deeply into prayer. And like Eugene I might be a little impatient, and want a response that is in line with my personal urging and leanings, but I will try to remain obedient. Surprise at that word ‘obedient’ for there is a gift in it and it contains depth, peace, freedom, openness and willingness. Look Eugene where I am led as I sit with you this morning. Another small gift setting me on my way.

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