Once the confessions began, the missionaries spent most of their time in the confessional.
But the fact remains that we are in the confessionals all the time we are not in the pulpit or at the altar, we scarcely give ourselves time off to take our meals; it is only with difficulty that we take a half-hour’s recreation after dinner, and indeed that time is always employed in the business that the mission involves, making the peace, negotiating, private instruction of those whom one has come across in the confessional, ignorant of the truths necessary for salvation, etc.
Diary of the Marignane Mission, 10 December 1816, O.W. XVI
Sevrin writes an excellent passage on this ministry, throwing light on the experience of the missionary himself:
Confession, which reconciles souls with God, was the big issue, the pivot of the whole mission; and if it demanded a generous effort on the part of the penitent, especially the men, it was for the priest the most tiresome and the most comforting, the most obscure and the most glorious ministry. Going almost non-stop from the pulpit to the confessional and from the confessional to the pulpit, was what they found themselves doing in many missions. There was a physical fatigue and a moral tension unknown to those who do not confess; but perhaps we would also be mistaken if we hardly supposed that the recollection of so many confidences received, of so many consciences reassured, of so many hearts set at peace, of so many sincere resolutions, even if they were not tried and tested, in brief that so many miracles of grace they were witnesses of, achieved more than everything else to strengthen the missionaries in the unshakable conviction that their work was good and willed by God. (SEVRIN, “Les missions” I, p. 236)
Add to this description the fact that the Oblate missionary was conscious that above all he was doing this ministry as a co-operator with Christ the Saviour, as a “co-Redeemer” and there we have a full picture of his missionary vocation.