I locked myself into my office to clear my desk. These audiences every day take all of my time. Nevertheless, they are necessary. It is the duty of a bishop to make himself available to all his flock. I have the satisfaction of seeing everybody satisfied with the way they have been received when they leave. I must give advice and help, each one has the right to be listened to by their pastor.
The ”audiences” that Bishop Eugene refers to was a period of four hours from 10 am to 2 pm each day when he was present to receive people in his office. Everyone was always welcome and there were no appointments – people just waited one after the other.
Barthélemy des Martyrs [ed. One of the outstanding episcopal figures of the 16th century] devoted more time to audiences than I do and it does not seem to have been time wasted. It would be possible to spend it more pleasantly, but that does not matter as long as I am doing my duty. We must not lose sight of that beautiful text from St. Paul: Because we are your servants for the sake of Jesus [ed. 2 Corinthians 4:5]. With that in mind it is possible to put up with every discomfort and every pain.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 8 September 1838, EO XIX