On 4 July 1830, France had conquered Algeria. As soon as Eugene heard this, he saw an opportunity for mission to the most abandoned and immediately offered to send Obate Missionaries there.
As soon as Algers had fallen to the arms of good King Charles X, I set to work in an attempt to provide the Catholics in the colony with the assistance of our religion. Ever nourishing the hope of one day seeing many infidels open their eyes to the light of the Faith, I wrote to my uncle, the bishop of Marseille and asked him to write both to the Prime Minister at that time and to the Cardinal Chaplainfor aid and protection to that effect. The project was very warmly received and we were informed that this very important subject would be immediately broached and our Congregation given the protection and aid as requested.
The Government had liked the idea, and just as Eugene was about to write to the Pope for permission, the July Revolution had broken out – and that was the end of the project.
I was about to write to the Supreme Pontiff, our dear and ever magnanimous protector,when all of a sudden the disastrous revolution befell us.We waited to see what was going to happen and whether or not France would keep its conquest.
Two years later the great need continued – Eugene thus renewed his request to be able to send Oblates.
The news we later received from those territories revealed the insufficiency, considering the number of Catholics flocking to those regions, of the assistance that the few priests who are unaccustomed to the sacred ministry can give them. That was when I felt a renewed desire to step forward and offer anew the services of our Congregation, not to the Government which no longer harbours the same zeal for the faith, but to Rome, which by right and disposition, entertains the “sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum” (ed. “The concern of all the churches”)…
In any case, should your Eminence wish to increase the size of the Mission, I again offer our tiny Congregation
Letter to Cardinal Pedicini, Prefect of the Sacred Cogregation of Propaganda Fide, 10 April 1832, EO V n 1
Yvon Beaudoin concludes in a footnote: “Cardinal Pedicini took this letter very seriously since he wrote to the Nuncio in Paris on the matter. The latter answered, on June 29, 1832, that the Government would not accept the Oblates because the Congregation was not officially recognized, and because Fr. de Mazenod and his missionaries were not held in favour.”