The Oblates had been at the shrine of Notre Dame du Laus since 1819 and, in those 13 years, had made it a flourishing center of mission activities which attracted many pilgrims. The local bishop, who was Jansenist and a Gallican, objected to the pastoral approach of the Oblates which was based on the mercy of God manifested in Jesus Christ the Savior and not on the rigorous harshness of legal prescriptions. He had written two strong letters to Eugene, who responded:
I deliberately put off replying to the two letters that you did me the honor of writing. I had hoped that further reflection would soften the extensive rigor of your thinking, and that you would not insist on cruelly grieving priests who pride themselves on having some claim to your affection and to whom you have not denied your high regard.
God is my witness that in my relationships with you, I have done all that depended on me to avoid a collision. I had to place many things at the foot of the cross, for I have scarcely been spared.
Letter to Bishop Arbaud of Gap, 20 February 1833, EO XIII n 81
It was always to the Cross that Eugene looked to for inspiration, strength and endurance in difficult situations.
He poses a challenging question: when I am upset with someone do I first lash out and then calm down and go to the foot of the Cross to ask forgiveness – or can I go to the foot of the Cross first as St. Eugene teaches?