Eugene de Mazenod was Superior General of the Oblates, while at the same time being Bishop of Marseilles. He thus had the overall responsibility for the missionary work of the Oblates and took a direct interest in all that they were doing. He rejoiced in their successes.
My dear Father Semeria, every time I receive your letter, I must begin with fervent thanks to God for all that he deigns to do through your ministry.
The Oblates had been on the island of Corsica for six years, in charge of the major seminary and preaching village missions. The island, at that time, was known for violent family feuds and bloodshed. They had just finished a mission in the town of Zicavo where they had managed to be peacemakers among the warring factions.
This time I admit that we must even redouble our gratitude for the marvels of this beautiful mission of Zicavo: we have to shed tears of joy.
From here. I see you surrounded by all these bloodthirsty men who become like lambs at your call, the daggers falling from their hands: they forgive and embrace each other. Oh how beautiful this is! And this moving response: now that their arms, loaded as they were to kill their enemies, now that these latter no longer existed. it was only right that they be shot off in your honour. Yes, that is superb!
Letter to Fr. Etienne Semeria, 16 October 1841, EO IX n 741
Eugene’s joy is that of Jesus who had used the missionaries as His ministers of making God known and bringing about God’s reconciliation.
“At that time Jesus said, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:25-29)