Three weeks earlier, Eugene’s despondency and suffering as the result of the harsh treatment he had received from the local authorities and from some of the priests of Marseilles (which we saw in earlier entries) had led him to this outburst.

As to my position concerning Marseilles, it has been made absolutely clear, my ties were broken by my resignation and the appointment to the office of vicar general of my successor.
I’m not the pastor of the people of Marseilles, and I don’t ever want to be; what does their opinion matter to me? People’s injustice has taught me to scorn infamous judgments that come down always on the side of lies rather than truth.
Regarding Marseilles, I gave them all for twelve years; sacrifices of all kinds; complete devotedness, with no return on the part of the townsfolk except the basest ingratitude. I made up my mind long ago, that after the death of my much loved and venerable uncle, I’d keep my independence and free myself of all the cares that have taken their toll of me during all the years I was everyone’s lackey, even my bitter enemies’.
I do not want to become the pastor of Marseilles, never with a capital N.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 31 July 1835, EO VIII n 528

Now, just a few weeks later, they were pressurizing him to change his mind and accept a diocese!

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Poor Eugene – I think of how he has founded a congregation. He truly has given his all and still God continues to ask for more. And as he speaks of all that he gave them; sacrifices of all kinds; complete devotedness, with no return…” I am reminded of Jesus – in the Garden, of his betrayal and being handed over to the authorities.

    I read Eugene’s words and recognise yet another battle where he seems to be somehow fighting for his life. It would seem he is once again being asked to let go of everything.

    I remember how Eugene suffered when he looked into the eyes of his crucified Saviour that one Good Friday as he stood before the cross. I keep reminding myself that this dear man who I have come to love – yes he was canonized as a saint, but he was also so very human. Just as the divinity within Jesus did not rob him of what it was like to be perfectly human, neither did the divinity within Eugene rob him of his humanness, of his many wounds.

    Time to sit and wait with Eugene, or a best friend or even myself. I have always said that I need to be able to say ‘no’ before I can let go and say ‘yes’. It would seem looking at Eugene that he might this time need to be allowed to do the same thing; to be able to face down the fears that beset him before letting them go and standing tall and moving forward – just as that beautiful statue which hangs in the General House (and the one in Klokoty) suggest was his norm as he seems to stride forward with the cross in his hand stretching forward.

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