1837 – nomination as Bishop of Marseille, the second-largest city of France

Here I am in fact pastor and chief pastor of a diocese which, whatever one says of it, is not inhabited by saints. It was given me, I would not have chosen it. However, I must attach myself to this people as a father to his children. My existence, my life, all my being must be consecrated to it, I must have no thought but for its good, no fears other than I have not done enough for its welfare and sanctification, no other solicitude than that which must include all its spiritual interests and even in a certain way its temporal welfare. I must in a word consume myself for it, be ready to sacrifice my leisure, my desire, rest, life itself for it.

Retreat in preparation for taking possession of the Diocese of Marseille, May 1837, E.O. XV n.185

From the first day I can be canonically instituted, that is to say, placed by Jesus Christ to watch over the fold, charged to instruct it, feed it, edify it … to become pastor and father, invested with the very authority of Jesus Christ whom I must represent in the midst of that portion of his flock that will become thus my own flock for which I shall have to render an account to the Sovereign Pastor of our souls who will have given them to me to save them in sacrificing myself for them.

Retreat in preparation for taking possession of the Diocese of Marseille, May 1837, E.O. XV n.185

For further details, see Alfred Hubenig and René Motte: “Living in the Spirit’s Fire” pages 171 – 205



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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Sometimes as Eugene’s speaks of his duty I find myself tempted to respond to him about the very words he uses. Surely it was more than just his ‘job’ that he fulfilled; he did it with so much love!

    “We are your servants for Jesus” he wrote and then later “…I considered myself just as blessed as he was to be able to approach the poorest of my children in this way…” These sentiments convey so much more than simply ‘doing a job’; Eugene’s heart was fully engaged as he did it.

    When the pandemic arrived at our shores and lockdowns became the order of the day, I along with most others struggled to find some normalcy in my life. It was hard.
    A huge loss to me was in being unable to take the Eucharist every Sunday afternoon to a sick friend in the hospital; even knowing he would receive the Eucharist from a chaplain did not make up for the loss of being able to do that which I loved so dearly – it had been a duty of love – for both of us.

    Gradually and very slowly I was able to pick myself up and look around me at others who were struggling surely as much as I – even more.

    I found ways to try and communicate with others, to reach out to others using technology and draw them together. Being a presence – even using online tools to do this took on a new life of its own, especially in how we could gather in prayer. I looked for new ways to gather my brothers and sisters around me using ZOOM and Google Meet… I searched out those who were missing and tried to gather them into my encircled ‘bubble’. I watched some of them allow themselves to be slowly drawn in, appearing to draw a new interest and way of being. I think of that woman that Eugene visited who had become bitter with the pain of her life and who he blessed and spoke with, writing so as to try to communicate (she was deaf) and how he watched her slowly open her heart and respond to God.

    When asked”why” by a friend I said that this was my duty and my responsibility for the simple reason that God has given me so much. Love. Much as Eugene in the earliest parts of his ministry would ask himself what would Jesus do I have found myself asking “What did Jesus do – what did Eugene do?” Look at the models that I have found myself called to follow!

    It can be tiring yes, but at the end of the day I go to bed, nestled in the embrace of my Beloved. And when the dawn arrives each morning I begin all over again. This is how I live and love as an Oblate Associate in this world – in my own words.

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