In the midst of religious persecution and all the disappointments and losses that Eugene had experienced for two years, he recalls one of the most important events of our Oblate life. It was the day when the Oblate adventure began – in the midst of great simplicity and poverty – and with much joy because they had discovered God’s way for them!
Tomorrow I celebrate the anniversary of the day, sixteen years ago, I left my mother’s house to go and set up house at the Mission. Father Tempier had taken possession of it some days before. Our lodging had none of the splendour of the mansion at Billens, and whatever deprivations you may be subject to, ours were greater still. My camp-bed was placed in the small passageway which leads to the library: it was then a large room used as a bedroom for Father Tempier and for one other whose name we no longer mention amongst us. It was also our community room. One lamp was all our lighting and, when it was time for bed, it was placed in the doorway to give light to all three of us.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 24 January 1831, EO VIII n 383