Eugene was no longer in Marseilles and his first instinct was to rush back to the city because the cholera had spread from Toulon and Aix to the city. Father Tempier wrote:
“The Bishop [Fortuné] really would like you to stay away from the epidemic’s influence, since you are absent in any case. We have just received a letter from the Mayor who would like us not to ring the bells as death knell for those who are dying, for he claims that the sound of the bells is frightening the people. Such a request is ridiculous; we haven’t taken any decision in this matter.” Letter of Henri Tempier to Eugene de Mazenod, 16 July 1835, EO2 n 70.
Eugene’s reply shows his distress and grief at the tragedy:
I am in such anguish to know that you are once again in the danger-zone that I would like to go and share it with you, for your own consolation and mine…
We are going to pray for you every day; tell my uncle how much I feel for him, for you and all our friends; the misfortune of so many families touches me deeply. Say just one word and I’ll be there.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 19 July 1835, EO VIII n 523
The life of Eugene was marked by how the suffering of others always impacted on him and compelled him to respond. He saw and experienced the world through the eyes of the crucified Savior, and his response was to try to be the cooperator of the Savior to those in need.