I enjoy Eugene’s exaggerations when he tries to emphasize his point. He had heard that one of his Oblates was ill, and his genuine concern was such that he “could hear the cough” 20 miles away! He demands immediate attention from Doctor d’Astros who looked after the Oblates

My dear friend, if it is true that Father Bernard is as ill as I am told he is, he must be freed immediately from all work, d’Astros must be consulted and his directions followed to the letter. If the doctor thinks a rest in the country can help his recovery and that the house of Saint-Just, in the Marseilles area and away from the sea, is suitable for the patient, send him to me without delay. There is no time for hesitation when one is faced with such symptoms: an excessive thinness on top of his cough – and such a cough! I can hear it from here. If the service of the Church must suffer in consequence it is a misfortune, but the greatest tragedy of all is to see a man wear himself out and fall victim to a fatal consumption. Spare no effort in this regard.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 21 July 1831, EO VIII n 396

Tragically it turns out that the illness was more than a cough and Marius Bernard was eventually forced to leave the Oblates. Eugene noted: “Dispensed for reasons of over-excitability approaching madness. In this state he was putting the reputation and honour of the Congregation in jeopardy.”

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene’s concern for Oblates when they were sick was real, for he had pushed himself, ministering to the prisoners to the point where he was sick and dying. The young do not worry so much about their own mortality as do their parents – in this case a father and his son.

    As for his exaggerations – a part of his personality, they are endearing and fill me with small points of delight. It is this that I reflect on this morning. Last night while doing my studies I was inspired to look at all those who have been like ‘leaven’ in my life. It was intentional and direct and there were many wonderful memories and images that came to mind. All have been ‘connected’ with God, with many of them being members of the Mazenodian Family and so I reflected briefly on them and what they brought to me – these ‘Don Bartolos’ of my life.

    This morning I spend time remembering how they were/are so very endearing. It is this that I will carry with me today as I begin to write my course assignment and move into the weekend. What a delightful way to ‘be’ on an early Friday morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *