“Seeing the world through the eyes of the Crucified Christ” as a Missionary Oblate, Eugene was always close to the people of his diocese and aware of their needs. He responded by establishing various Works of Charity to meet the material and spiritual needs of the various groups of people.
In explaining what this work of charity was, I am not afraid of proclaiming, in order to reply to those who could be surprised that someone was proposing a new work to them, that this would not be the last.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 January 1845, EO XXI
This short sentence is significant because it presents three distinguishing marks of Eugene’s episcopal reaching out to the needs of his people.
1/ Firstly, his practical response to the needs of specific groups of people was always to create a work of charity. In this case it was the “Oeuvre des Domestiques” – the Work of the Domestic Servants. He makes it clear that he would continue this process of reaching out for the rest of his life.
2/ Secondly, on the day of this diary entry, he had been to the Chapel of the Mission of France, which he had turned into a meeting center for all the works of charity that did not have a special place to gather. He thus provided for the structure and administration of all the groups he established and involved as many people as possible to be the ones to care for that particular need.
3/Thirdly, he was creative in his responses and wanted as many people involved as possible. To support the work of the laity, he aimed to bring to the diocese religious congregations who focused on specific groups of needy people. When none were available, he became instrumental in the foundation of new religious congregations in his diocese. It was to this that today’s diary entry refers.