As Vicar General of his uncle Bishop Fortuné, Eugene had had to be the hatchet man in the diocese to clean up many messy situations and to instill a measure of discipline among the clergy, who had not had a resident bishop for over 20 years, and many had become independent “bishops” in their parishes – this resenting any interference from the Vicar General in the name of Bishop Fortuné
I thank God for having enlightened me in this regard by some quite cruel experiences. In my vanity had I not told myself many times that although so many people suddenly rose up against me because of a clearly unjust and blameworthy prejudice, it was due perhaps more to the fact that I was misunderstood than to the jealousy and hatred which useful ideas and salutary reforms, even necessary ones provoke. But again, this also was vanity [Ecclesiastes 2;2].
Have I not been misunderstood, misjudged, mocked, calumniated, and hated by those who do not know me well, or who at least who could have known me – living with me, seeing me in action with their very eyes – and by those who had been not only the witnesses of my excessive kindness, but also its recipients and by those upon whom I had lavished many favors? Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. But again, this also was vanity [Ecclesiastes 1:2;2:1].
What possessed me to write all these things? My heart overflows…[Psalm 45:1]. Here I have opened my heart to express very poorly what I thought I would never be able to say. Let’s get back to my Diary.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX