When Eugene had become Vicar General of his uncle in Marseilles, life had not been easy for him. Bishop Fortuné was elderly, and so it was his nephew who had to be the hatchet-man to correct and discipline a diocese that had been without a bishop for 22 years. It made him very unpopular among most of the priests and others in authority.
In July 1831 he was on his way to Notre Dame du Laus to do the canonical visitation of the community. In Marseilles disturbances and rioting had broken out on the occasion of elections, and Eugene had been obliged to cut short his trip and return immediately to the city. He was welcomed with open expressions of joy.
… It is on these occasions that one can see if the clergy is behind me.
The fact is that they understand my dedication; they feel stronger when I am with them.
But it is not only the clergy, all the faithful have displayed a satisfaction that is quite remarkable, and I am thankful to them for it.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 17 July 1831, EO VIII n 395
Eugene’s persevering dedication in the midst of difficulties and rejection was beginning to bear fruit!