In March 1844, Father Joseph Martin panicked at the negative reaction of the upper class of Brignoles to the preaching of the young missionaries. He wrote to Eugene
We who are only used to evangelize the poor people of the countryside… find ourselves out of our element here…. A certain class of pious people of the upper class would have preferred flowery and mystical discourses rather than mission sermons
Original in the General House Archives, Rome
Eugene responded to the whole group by clarifying the purpose of Oblate mission preaching:
…this faint-heartedness that has possessed all of you is truly strange; this childish fear of what people might say, this cry of distress that all of you uttered when you saw the formidable town of Brignoles which stunned you, that which demoralized you so that people could see straight through you, and all of that dismay because Father Courtès was not there.
In truth, if another sentiment had not taken hold of me at that time, I would have laughed at this panic. Come on!
When you are sent in the name of the Lord, once and for all leave aside all these human considerations, the effect of poorly hidden pride and lack of confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ whose instruments you have however been over so many years. You deserve that this divine grace be withdrawn from your ministry, it is then that you could be fearful of people’s judgment. But as long as it is with you, you will convert them, with sermons that are simple, not affected and inspired only by the spirit of the Lord who does not work through the well-rounded phrases and the fine language of orators.
Letter to Jean Magnan, 8 March 1844, O.W. X, n. 836.