Poor Eugene! Frustrated because of his slow convalescence. Disappointed with the behavior of some of the Oblates. Annoyed because he could not be fulfilling his responsibilities as Vicar General in Marseilles. Now came the political crisis and we touch something of his raw state of nerves and anxiety for the Oblates and for his uncle, the 83-year old Bishop Fortuné.
Is it conceivable that you have had the hard-headedness, in such times as we are traversing, to leave me without letters from July 27 to August 4! I told you, in my last letter, to let me know immediately whether my uncle would consider it wise that I return to his side. I repeat the same question; I am utterly out of my element here, being moreover of no use for anything or to anyone.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 August 1830, EO VII n. 353
Four days later we find him still suffering from his inability to do anything.
Unless, my dear friend, you may have written letters to me on the 20th, the 27th and August 4th, it is impossible not to be afflicted over your failure to send me news of yourselves of which I have such great need. I am tired of repeating that, in the grave circumstances in which you are, it would not be too much to write three times a week. You can imagine that I think only of you and that I feel here like a fish out of water.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 August 1830, EO VII n. 354
We can all identify with the experience of worrying about loved ones who are far away and may be in danger – and we seemingly can do nothing for them because of distance, illness, age or other circumstances. We are encouraged by Eugene:
I will say to you however that I am not discouraged and that I am afflicted without being laid low. It seems to me that Our Lord will help us by his grace to endure all our sorrows.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 23 August 1830, EO VII n 359