As we have seen, Bishop Fortuné’s tactic to save the pastoral life of the Marseille diocese – when the government’s threat to suppress the diocese would go into effect – was to have his nephew Eugene made a bishop so as to assure that confirmations and ordinations would continue. (Refer to the entry above also to the “Oblate Historical Dictionary for the background.)

Bishop Fortuné had sent Fr Tempier to Rome to arrange this with the Pope. The Pope agreed to the plan and summoned Eugene to Rome where he would be ordained as a bishop.

Eugene named Father Courtès to be Vicar General of the Oblates during his absence, and left for Rome, arriving in mid-August. In this letter he informs him of the latest developments (referring to himself in the third person so as to avoid the government censors)

My very dear friend, you ought to have received details of my news from Marseilles. I asked for that in all my letters. I delayed writing until I was ensconced in this capital and brought up to date concerning “certain matters” which touch the people you know.
Even before seeing the Holy Father. I was informed of his intentions: they correspond to what I told you. It is what he thinks, what he wants, he confirmed it personally in the audience he gave me yesterday that lasted nearly three-quarters of an hour…
The Holy Father spoke first and disclosed his intentions to me about the person in whom you take such interest, in the kindest way. He told me plainly that he was busy finding the best means to achieve the end proposed. He added some flattering words to what he had to say in which one can lawfully take some pleasure as coming from the mouth of the Head of the Church and when the recipient has the spirit of faith and sees Jesus Christ in his Vicar. You see that I did not have to open my mouth, although I understood that patience is going to be called for in the matter as in everything that goes on here.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 29 August 1832, EO VIII n 428

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “…although I understood that patience is going to be called for in the matter as in everything that goes on here.” Patience can be a difficult thing when it is to be applied to a specific action or event to take place, especially when it is desired or deemed to be necessary for other things to continue or even to be born. And with this was also the note that a change to the Constitutions was required regarding a member of the congregation being made a Bishop. The will of God is not always a straight line, nor is the process in attaining, in becoming and living that holy will.

    And history has proved Eugene’s prophetic words about patience to be true.
    I think about that patience and what it might look like in my own life especially in regards to the Church. There are many changes I would like to see in the Church, and I would prefer to see them take place now rather than 50 or 100 years from now. The words “see how I have loved you” come to mind. They are not from scriptures but still they continue to sit at the forefront of my thoughts like a whisper that will not be silenced.

    Eugene’s patience and acceptance were to be put to the test shortly after this letter was written – difficult for one who was filled with fire and passion. “See how I have loved you” – the thought returns for Eugene indeed had “the spirit of faith” and saw “Jesus Christ in his Vicar”.

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