Marseilles, being a port, was always in danger of outbreaks of diseases carried by the many ships which called at the harbor. The inhabitants of this city had lived through many cholera epidemics, with 1835 being one of these. 1835 was to be a difficult year for St Eugene. He continued to be embroiled in the ongoing conflict with the French government over having accepted to be made Bishop of Icosia without their permission in 1832. we have seen in many entries above how this conflict played out. It was also a time when some priests of the diocese had to be disciplined and who went public in their unfounded condemnations of Eugene. All in all, a difficult year.

In the midst of all these difficulties, his faith in God shone through:

Provided God be exalted, what does it matter if one remains humiliated, overlooked, abandoned by nearly everyone? I pray that in the eyes of men “I am willing to look even more foolish than this” [ed. 2 Samuel 6:22], even to be humiliated. Ever since I came into the world, God has led me by the hand; he has had me accomplish so many things for his glory, that I had reason to fear pride if men had perceived them and shown gratitude towards me; it is better for me that they be unjust and ungrateful; in this way God will be my sole reward, as he is already my sole strength, my only hope.

Letter to Bishop Frezza, 27 April 1835, EO XV n 177

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think for a moment of Jesus – persecuted and put to death on the Cross; and my thoughts stray to St. John of the Cross who was imprisoned by his own brother priests. And here is Eugene being condemned by some of the priests in his diocese as well as by the government and courts of France for not bowing to the authority of the King in the manner that was demanded. I look at our own beloved Church and notice how often Pope Francis is condemned by many of his own, surely he has earned the rewards of being trusted and followed?

    “Provided God be exalted, what does it matter if one remains humiliated, overlooked, abandoned by nearly everyone?” This was not just another ‘dramatic’ moment with Eugene – he suffered with what he was feeling and experiencing at the hands of so many around him.

    Constitution 32: “Our life in all its dimensions is a prayer that, in us and through us, God’s kingdom come.” Whatever it takes Lord. Eugene’s way of accepting the struggles laid on his shoulders and finding his way of working over, around and through them.

    I know the end of Eugene’s story and take solace in seeing how Eugene came through that difficult time in his life, of seeing the transformation within him following this time. Reviewing it inspires and allows me to trust and have hope; to be inspired when I am going through a difficult time. I give thanks for having been called to follow Eugene in the way that I have, to be a part of a community, a family.

    Today I go on a day-long retreat with other members of the family – not to try and get my problems solved but rather just to be strengthened with and by those around me so as to continue on this part of my journey. “…in this way God will be my sole reward.”

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