To ensure ongoing harmony in relationships in the villages the missionaries established the “peace offices.” Thus during the mission at Barjols, for example, we find Eugene saying:
People are publicly and spontaneously reconciled at the foot of the cross. It is marvellous
Letter to Fortuné de Mazenod, 22 November 1818, E.O. XIII n. 20
The peace offices aimed at backing up the preachers’ work. Yvon Beaudoin explains their importance: “Thanks to the moral authority and Christian spirit of the leading men who composed it, this office, while having no official standing, brought those who spontaneously had recourse to it to acknowledge their general reciprocal wrongs.”(Diary of the Marignane Mission, O.W. XVI footnote 18).
The letters of the Oblates describing their experiences in the villages show the importance of this practical step. An example is found in the account of the mission of Rouviere:
A scandalous court case between a father and his son was suspended; we were the ones who actually wrote the letter to stop the proceedings. Father and child were in tears as they hugged each other.
Letter of Hippolyte Guibert to Henri Tempier, 16 December 1825 in PAGUELLE DE FOLLENAY, Vie du Cardinal Guibert, p. 180