1823 : nomination as principal Vicar General of his uncle, Bishop Fortuné de Mazenod. It was a difficult work of restoration and rebuilding a diocese that had not had a resident bishop for 21 years. For Eugene, who was a dynamic preacher and loved being in the field of evangelization, having to be an administrator in an office (and often a disciplinarian to correct abuses) entailed great personal suffering and sacrifice for him. He did it for love of the Church.
I must resume my post. This will be, I hope, again to do my duty there, to try by my every zealous effort to bring a little bit of life back into a dead diocese whatever appearance of health it may have; there will no doubt be new crises, there was never a reform without hurting, wounding plenty of people! No matter; have God alone before us, the honour of his Church, the salvation of the souls entrusted to us; consult only the divine Wisdom, trample on human wisdom, and God will be our help. But one must have much virtue to sacrifice one’s peace for one’s duty, to face the hatred and persecution of men precisely so as to do good for men. This virtue is acquired and conserved only by union with God, prayer and meditation, etc., walking always before God and keeping one’s eyes on heaven alone and its rewards which are none other than God himself. Lord! Grant me the grace of being ever more deeply imbued with these thoughts!
Retreat notes, May 1824, E.O. XV n.156