Visit from my uncle in my room in an extraordinary state of jubilation bearing in his hand the royal ordinance that names me Bishop of Marseilles consequent upon the resignation that this venerable old man has tendered of his Diocese.
This was the worst news that Eugene could receive. Five years earlier, to save the Diocese of Marseilles from being eliminated by the government, he had agreed to be ordained titular bishop of Icosia without the responsibility of a diocese. (See the article “Icosia” in the Oblate Historical Dictionary https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/icosia-bishop-of/ and chapter 5 of the book by Hubenig and Motte, Living in the Spirit’s Fire https://www.omiworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Living-in-the-Spirits-Fire.pdf)
My own anxiety must have been in striking contrast with the sentiments my uncle was expressing.
This appointment was his doing, he had succeeded in getting all he wanted, he was happy to see his Diocese safe and confided to a man he judged fitted to continue his episcopate.
But I who have always dreaded the responsibility of a diocese, and who was happily content with my independent position in the Church, I who up to now had been able to plead the necessity of staying by my uncle’s side to avoid the dreaded responsibility of the title of first pastor… I was dumbfounded to see myself as it were caught in the trap…
Eugene’s uncle, Bishop Fortuné, had resigned from his diocese on condition that the Vatican and the King appoint Eugene as his successor. Eugene knew nothing about this “trap” and was dumbfounded and had no choice but to accept it as a manifestation of the will of God.
The will of God is manifested in a way that cannot be mistaken. And I find myself in a position of not being able to refuse
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 9 April 1837, EO XVIII