On his 56th birthday, Eugene was spending a few days at his sister’s summer home at St Martin de Pallières. Out on an excursion in a horse-drawn carriage he narrated:
Coming back to St. Martin, my brother-in-law and I tipped over. I hit my head, but my hat saved me and, above all our guardian angels, whom I thanked for drawing me out of the carriage, which was upside down. Without this help from on high, this birthday would have been the last day of my life, but I am sure that at the very moment I was falling, several of God’s friends were praying for me.
For quite some time now, only saints’ prayers have kept me alive. I hope they will help me to work out my salvation which, it seems to me, is daily becoming more difficult.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 1 August 1837, EO XVIII