As I read Eugene’s retreat reflections, I constantly hear echoes of his Good Friday experience of his brokenness and his awareness of God’s healing love. It was a conviction that never left him and that was at the basis of all his ministry: to lead others to his same experience of being loved by and of loving God, despite their sinfulness.
That is where things stand, it is the feeling that predominates in my soul, an unlimited trust in the goodness of my God. I am a sinner, a very great sinner. After 21 years of ministry preceded by three years’ preparation, after working more than many another, both myself and through a great number of co-operators whom I have set in motion, after succeeding in many undertakings conceived and carried out for God and the Church, I acknowledge myself to be without virtues and merits, and notwithstanding that I do not despair of my God’s goodness, and I count always on his mercy, and I hope that I will finish by becoming better, that is, with the supernatural help and habitual assistance of grace, I will acquit myself better of my duties and cooperate with the plans of the heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ, my most lovable Saviour, and the Holy Spirit who hovers over my soul prior to entering it again in a few days time. Amen, Amen, Amen.
Retreat journal before being consecrated bishop, 7-14 October 1832, EO XV n 166