The Icosia saga was brought to an end with Eugene’s reconciliation with the King in January 1836 in Paris. Eugene describes the audience.

At midday the door of the King’s chambers opened and my name was called. The King came to meet me, paying me a small and very gracious compliment, then he had me sit down opposite him, and after I had expressed a few words of thanks to him, he told me that he was enchanted that I had gone to him, and he went on from there to recount, very ably, the story of the events that had forced him, against his will, to accept the crown so as to save France from the anarchy into which it was on the point of falling. Every time the name of Charles X came up in his narrative, it was always in the acceptable way. Every now and then I interjected some words, more to avoid seeming dumb than to interrupt.

Since the 1830 Revolution, Eugene had made no secret that he considered Louis-Phillipe to be a usurper to the throne of Charles X through his coup d’état. This explains why the King’s justified himself and his action.

I also brought the conversation around to the terrible incident that put the King’s life in grave peril: he spoke very strongly on that; he had a lot to say on his good intentions to do all he could for the advancement of religion; he hadn’t always done all he would have wished, but there were grave obstacles. He wishes to increase the bishops’ stipend, as he acknowledges it is inadequate.

The King had been in charge of an anti-religious government since 1830, and thus took pains to stress that his position had changed regarding religious tolerance.

In a word, how can I tell you everything he said to me in the course of a conversation that lasted three-quarters of an hour. I forgot that, at the outset of the audience, he asked me news of my uncle and reminded me of Palermo.
We talked a little about Marseilles, and he didn’t conceal the fact that the clergy had been represented as hostile to the Government. I told him the truth about that. I finished by asking permission to pay my homage to the Queen. So he loudly summoned his Chamberlain, and in such a way that all who were awaiting an audience could hear, he commanded that the Queen be advised of my visit, and when on taking my leave I reminded him that it was on Monday that I was to return to him to take the oath, he very graciously replied: “Yes, my Lord Bishop, it is on Monday that I will have the pleasure of seeing you again, and it is with every confidence that I will receive your oath. I went to the Queen’s apartments who had me sit beside her; we spoke about my uncle, the Queen of Naples, the welcome the King had just given me, and several other matters, and I withdrew.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 20 January 1836, EO VIII n 556

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Two different men coming from opposite sides of the coin – each finding balance on the rim of that coin with the help of the other and from there moving forward – each in his own way. Neither having had to let go of that which was most precious to them. They were able to walk side-by-side without falling from that narrow linear space.

    Eugene let go and moved past the disquiet and struggle within himself – realizing there was no humiliation or lessening of his values or his oblation to God and his congregation. We are all familiar with the term ‘picking our battles’.

    I look at the people I have met and made friends with during my life; so many of them are of a different religious practice or spirituality from mine. If we meet in love then we meet in God – seeing the other through the eyes of our God, no matter the name. I know that I always walk away the richer and freer from those experiences.

    I think of how so many of us came together yesterday from all corners of the world; not limited by time or milieu or how we sat, walked or ran as we joined in Oraison. The gift of that which is possible in and through God.

    I find myself singing some of the words from the hymn “Something Which Is Known “
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
    Something which is known to have been from the beginning:
    this we have heard and seen with our own eyes;
    something we have touched and have carefully watched:
    the Word who is life, this we share with you. R
    This is the life of our God, so gracious, Word become flesh:
    there is no greater wonder.
    All that we have witnessed became new vision:
    this our hope for you, alive in God’s own spirit. R
    He it is in whom we have found the light of truth,
    source of our hope, abiding gift of God’s love.
    Through that love we pass and are born in life unending:
    Jesus, our Lord, the fullness of our joy. R

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