This series of daily reflections on the writings of St Eugene de Mazenod has been going since May 2010. In just over ten years, we have covered the period of his writings until 1839. It is good to pause, from time to time, to get our compass bearings.
So, for the next couple of weeks I will republish a series recalling the basic points of his life, using his own words.
Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod was born on 1 August 1782 – birth in Aix en Provence. Son of Charles Antoine de Mazenod, President of the Court of Accounts, and of Marie Rose Joannis, he had a great love for his family.
I have not changed over the years. I idolize my family.
I would let myself be cut up into little pieces for some members of my family, and that stretches out to quite a long way for I would give my life without hesitation for my father, mother, grandmother, my sister and my father’s two brothers.
Generally speaking I love with passion everybody I believe loves me, but theirs must be a passionate love too.
So gratitude is the final constituent that goes to make up my heart’s passion.
Self-evaluation written for his spiritual director in 1808, EO XIV n. 30
He recalls his childhood years, in which we recognize traits that he would show throughout his life.
It is hard to understand, given the portrait of myself I have just painted, how sensitive a heart I have, overly so in fact. It would take too long to give you all the stories of my childhood traits I have had related to me and which are really rather surprising.
It was quite normal for me to give away my breakfast even when I was hungry to satisfy the hunger of the poor, I used to bring firewood to people who complained of the cold and of not being able to afford to buy it, on one occasion I went as far as to give away the clothes off my back to clothe a poor person, and many, many other stories in the same vein.
Self-evaluation written for his spiritual director in 1808, O.W. XIV n. 30