Now that the door had been opened, Father Guibert wrote about the next step to be taken. (All the interactions were done by letter because Guibert was in Paris, Eugene was at ND du Laus and Henri Tempier was in Marseilles.)

The Bishop of Marseilles and the Bishop of Icosia will write letters to the king, calculated to remove any suspicion of hostility. The Bishop of Icosia, moreover, will assure the king that the charge of his being an enemy of the government was a calumny, that when he accepted the titular bishopric, if he had thought that this would pain his majesty, he would have refused; that, moreover, if there was anything irregular in that, he begs his majesty, by his sovereign will, to kindly remedy it.

Hippolyte Guibert to Bishops Fortuné and Eugene, 17 August 1835 quoted in Leflon II p 498

Eugene was not happy at having to overlook the harsh treatment he had received from the government and to pretend that it had all been his fault.

My dear Tempier, you saw in my last letter that I agree with what Guibert sends you without raising any doubts that he has been able to prepare the way and that the King showed himself to be very disposed.
As to the letter you advise me to write, I don’t think it opportune at this moment, for it would be difficult to do it without humiliating oneself. When I have received justice, if they decide to do so, then will be the time to say thank you; but now, when I am still liable to be rejected, I put too much at risk. That Minister has taught me to fear those kinds of set-backs; I still remember the insolent reply he gave to my generous overtures; so I am not going to write. I want at least to preserve my dignity, even if I am the victim of injustice and calumny.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 21 August 1835, EO VIII n 535

Tempier’s replied, not hiding his exasperation:

Oh, how tedious it all is when we apply the zeal and activity that we have put into this affair! This lack of appreciation takes away half of my strength and courage and I admit that if my motives for acting were not as strong as they are and if the person in whose favor we are so concerned were not so close to me and dear to my heart, I would take it much, much easier. . .

Letter of Henri Tempier to Eugene de Mazenod, 23 August 1835, EO2 Tempier n 82


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How many of us in our own lives have experienced something similar to this, where we had to be the ‘bigger person’ to our superior, our boss at work, the head of our family, a politician or leader – so that we could move on to accomplish what we were trying to do. We allow ourselves to be humbled – before God – before the Church – before those we love.

    Such a small subtle difference between being humiliated and being humbled. Humiliation has the sense of being ridiculed by others – an empty effort; whereas being humbled somehow has the sense of giving oneself over to that which is greater than us and which both carries and is carried by love.

    I am reminded for a moment of Eugene’s own words of having “looked for happiness outside of God”. And I think of Jesus on the cross endured. There was nothing dignified or proud about his death, and in his death even his body betrayed him.

    An opportunity this morning to look at my own behaviour wondering how I unknowingly have placed another in the position that Eugene found himself to be. And an opportunity to look at how I myself might have experienced being in the position of being treated without dignity and how I responded or reacted. Looking back I was not humiliated – except perhaps in my own mind.

    It is only through forgiveness within our hearts that we grow and move forward. Forgiveness is required with both; I need to be forgiven for my treatment of another and that I need to be able to forgive another for how I have been treated.

    Eugene de Mazenod – this wonderful man who had offered his entire life and being up to God, up to his crucified Saviour was worried about being humiliated and losing his dignity. So human, so incredibly and lovably human. I could laugh and cry at the same moment.

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