Henri Tempier, Eugene’s main support in the foundation of the Missionaries of Provence, did not actively participate in the mission to Grans, because one of the group had to stay behind to look after the youth congregation and direct their activities in the house in Aix. He notes:
… To be sure, there was still a lot to be done in terms of the interior decoration and the building’s furnishings; but in comparison to its original state of degradation, doing what was most urgent and having made it fit for the celebration of divine worship was already a great achievement
Henri Tempier, “Memoires on the beginnings of the Congregation,”
in Collection Oblate Writings II,2 p.203
Although not physically present in Grans, Henri Tempier was very much part of the mission in the heart and mind of Eugene.
It is absolutely impossible for me to write to you, my good brother and friend. We have no time to eat, nor even to sleep…
Eugene, in staccato fashion, uses the short time snatched from the mission activities to share as much as he can of the excitement of their first mission:
I send this to you as an open letter so that you may read it and have it read to our friends [ed; the members of the Youth Congregation].
Were I to enter into details, you would be moved to tears.
I miss you ten times daily.
Religion would be lost in this country without the mission. It is a triumph.
Though it be the death of us, I will not complain.
Our work is indispensable and only if we are twelve shall it be able to continue.
Plead for recruits in your prayers.
I shall regret all my life that you have not been here with us, but God will take into account your sacrifice.A thousand regards for all friends, great and small. I think of them every day in the holy sacrifice. Let them not forget us.
Letter to Henri Tempier from Grans, 24 February 1816, O.W. VI n. 10