Eugene had finally returned to Marseilles, where he could experience at first-hand the anti-religious attitude of the authorities. He remained calm, confident that Gd would never abandon the Church or him”and to adore God and his ways even when I find them very hard.”

Writing o the scholasticate in Switzerland he warns then t be careful.

… From now on address your letters to Marseilles. I do not need to remind you it would be imprudent to be very explicit in what you write, for the religious persecution is still raging.
You will not find one action or a single letter coming from the ministry of ecclesiastical affairs that is not oppressive of the Church and her ministers. And this is still nothing in comparison with what they promise us. There is no lack of determination on their part: we must be grateful for their attentions as we wait for them to achieve even greater feats.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 24 January 1831, EO VIII n 383

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think for a moment of the state that Eugene must have been in as he saw the fetters being put on to the Church and her servants. He had seen the Church all but destroyed in France following the 1789 Revolution and this was more insidious, being done under the auspices of the government, all very civilized for the most part and appearing to be very reasonable. And Eugene knew that government men were keeping a close eye on him and his congregation.

    They must have been a tremendous threat to the government when they did not ‘roll over’ to new edicts. The government was not just satisfied with trying to stifle a few, to win a few – they wanted to be in charge of the Church and her people. They, rather than the Church, rather than God were going to decide what the church and her people would look like, and they would attempt to stamp out anything that looked different from their view.

    It sounds very familiar – in small ways and in big ways of today, on a global scale and down to how we treat each other. It can start so small and become so regular as we act out of our own needs, our own brokenness – that we don’t recognize it, don’t recognize what we are actually doing to another(s).

    I have been struggling with a situation that affects my own personhood and it affects some of those around me (who do not seem to mind so much or see the insidiousness of it). I have spent time in the past couple of months watching it grow and wondering what I can do to stop it and realizing that I am quite powerless to stop or change another(s). I refuse to walk away or blind myself to it in the hopes that it will change, and I do not want to just accept what another tells me is the new norm.

    And again I come here to this place, to sit with Eugene and listen to him speaking. “…adore God and his ways even when I find them very hard”. I find consolation though in listening to that. Perhaps if I can focus all of my attention on God, allow him to guide me, to walk beside me…

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