I DON’T CARE IN THE SLIGHTEST FOR PEOPLE’S OPINION

In the midst of the published criticisms against him Eugene shares with Henri Tempier:

I don’t get too upset at everything the culprits are staging against me; I would sometimes be tempted to shield myself even from the tiresomeness of having to know what they are plotting against me, taking no more part in human affairs.

For himself, Eugene did not care about these attacks on his person, but they were linked with his office as a bishop and with the whole diocesan administration, and so he felt that a response had to be made.

However, I realize that it isn’t the moment to deliver the sanctity of my episcopal character and the honour of my ministry to the calumny of men who are out to condemn in my person the whole of the administration and the diocesan bishop himself.
It seems to me that my uncle ought to make a public protest … But as always I leave my opinion to another’s judgment and remain passive, with no anxiety and with no great effort. So you can go ahead freely; whether a strong stand is taken or nothing at all is done is a matter of indifference to me, for I don’t care in the slightest for people’s opinion.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 13&14 July 1835, EO VIII n 522

Having officially left the diocese, the decision as to whether to respond or not was left to others – and Eugene was at peace with this, yet humanly it did weigh on him as he confided to his long-time friend, Forbin Janson.

As for myself, I am so weary of my fellow men that all my efforts go to arranging a place of solitary retirement, there to devote all my time to the business of my own salvation in the peace of a regular life divided between prayer and things I choose to do, no longer at the beck and call of all the people whose superior one is and who in actual fact are in a very real sense our masters.

Letter to Charles de Forbin Janson, 16 July 1835 EO XV n 178

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One Response to I DON’T CARE IN THE SLIGHTEST FOR PEOPLE’S OPINION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “…the people whose superior one is and who in actual fact are in a very real sense our masters.” It is those words which capture my focus this morning – those last few words from Eugene to Forbin-Janson. They are like a small sign in the midst of great and bright, neon-lit signs in the middle of Times Square. Once our eyes are drawn to
    the space with little lighting in the midst of the other signs which seem constantly trying to out-do themselves with each other we find a small space of peace and truth.

    Amidst the riot of over-bright and intrusive commands to be noticed we may find an invitation to rest in the truth and quiet of the one small under-lit notice. While Eugene was a priest and bishop, he was also the Founder of a congregation, a brother and a son, a friend. He gave himself in his Oblation to all he served.

    I cannot help but reflect for a moment on our ‘old’ administration in our Lacombe Province and our new Provincial and council. They do not rule or command, but rather they lovingly serve all their brothers and sisters in an ever-growing family.

    Eugene had served the world in many ways and he would rise to that way of being again. I think of the term “Servant Leadership” – exactly what Jesus on the Cross modeled for Eugene and which Eugene in turn models for us. It is in the light of ‘servant leadership’ that Eugene speaks-of and shares-with all of us members of the Mazenodian Family and then outward from there.

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