Hours before his episcopal consecration in Rome, Eugene felt the absence of his mother and loved ones in Aix.
I leave to your imagination, my darling beloved mother, the disappointment I experience at being separated from you in such an important event in my life, when it would be so consoling for me to receive your blessings and then pour out on you the first and most abundant of those it will be in my power to bestow in the sublime order to which I am going to be raised tomorrow.
He offers this to God as an act of prayer asking for the graces he will need as a bishop:
It is the greatest sacrifice that could be imposed on me, and I offer it to the Lord in compensation for what I lack in virtue to be worthy of the high vocation to which I am called by the totally free mercy of God.
Then Eugene continued, in a characteristic of his spirituality, to remind her that they would be united at the same time in the presence of God
However, my dear mother, you must know that, although you are very far away from me, you are always present to me, and that tomorrow especially there will be no distance at all in my mind, surrounded as I shall be by all those who have the right to my affection and on whose concern I am counting. So, removing itself from the crowd of curious onlookers my eyes may see, my soul absorbed in God will see you in Him…
Letter to his mother, 13 October 1832, EO XV n 167
This is what we call “oraison” – that special moment of prayer where Eugene and his missionary sons and loved ones were united in prayer at the same time despite geographical distances. Here is just one of many examples he wrote to the Oblates in the distant foreign missions:
I have only one way of drawing near to, and that is in front of the Blessed Sacrament where I seem to see you and to touch you. And you for your part must often be in his presence. It is thus that we meet one another within this living center which is our means of communication.
Letter to Albert Lacombe, 6 March 1857, EO II n 229