References to the numerous confessions are to be found in all the plentiful accounts of the missions. Eugene’s conviction as a mission preacher was that:
The ministry of the Word cannot be substituted for the sacrament of penance instituted by J. C. in order to reconcile man with God.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 12 March 1825, O.W. VI, n. 173.
It was here that the encounter between the person and his or her personal Saviour took place, and led to the
unbounded happiness of several of those who went to confession, a happiness whose effects are shared by their families.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 23 November 1816, O.W. XVI
This pattern began on their very first mission that they conducted in Grans in 1816, and set the direction for all their missions:
The day after our arrival, we set up confessionals for the four missionaries, they were besieged from three o’clock in the morning, I tell you this because it is a fact, and we stayed there for the following 28 hours. Twenty-eight hours, I must repeat it so that you don’t think I made a mistake in writing it.
As for the details as to what happened during the mission, it is impossible to attempt to tell them. Excessive cold did not stop the church from being full from three in the morning onward.
Letter to his father, Charles-Antoine de Mazenod, 1 May 1816, O.W. XIII, n. 3.