Father Mille was 33 years old, had been ordained a priest for only fifteen months and he was the superior of the Oblate scholasticate in Switzerland. He was young and inexperienced, but the political crisis in France had forced Eugene to appoint him to this responsibility. He was finding the burden heavy, and Eugene wrote to encourage him:
So if you renounce yourself entirely, together with your tastes and even the reasoning your mind may entertain, you will give a good account of yourself in the delicate task imposed on you. I am not trying to minimize your own estimate of the burden that weighs you down.
On the contrary, I agree that it could not weigh more heavily on your shoulders, but by living in close union with God, pondering frequently on the importance of your tasks and studying how men who have achieved success in this field have acted, you will achieve the same results.
Stay close to the God who has called you, reflect on the importance of what has been entrusted to you, and learn from others who have had more experience in this field. Good advice to all of us when we find the burdens of service heavy.
But you must apply yourself to your task and tell yourself again and again that God, Church and religious family will be demanding an account villicationis tuae [ed. “Give an account of your management” Luke 16:2]
Go ahead finally with full confidence and quietly correct in the light of experience the small mistakes that come to light as you go on your way.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 25 September 1831, EO VIII n 404