After the failure of Eugene to obtain legal approbation from parliament and the king, the fact remained that the Missionaries still did not have a legal status and the security of some authority to protect them. An opportunity arrived, however, with the decision of the government to re-establish the Diocese of Marseille that had been suppressed in 1801. It was this circumstance that would make it possible for Eugene to achieve his long-term dream of bringing his father and uncles back to France while, at the same time, providing the Missionaries of Provence with a protector.
Ever since the end of his exile and his return to France as a 20 year-old, Eugene dreamed of re-uniting his family. As the eldest son it was his responsibility to do everything possible to help his father and two uncles who were living in poverty in Palermo. His letters constantly repeat the theme of his trying to find situations in France that would ensure financial stability. For his uncle, Father Fortuné de Mazenod, Eugene saw his holding a position in the Church as a way for him to support himself.
The Cardinal who was responsible for the naming of bishops in France told Eugene that the priest approached to be Bishop of Marseille had refused to accept. Eugene then suggested the name of his uncle, Fortuné de Mazenod, for this position. Before and during the beginning of the Revolution Fortuné had been well known and respected in Aix and Marseille as a Canon – he was thus an acceptable candidate for this position. The suggestion was accepted.
Eugene could not announce it in public, but could not contain his excitement as he wrote to Henri Tempier:
We must admit however that we serve a great master and that one never loses anything on his account. I have just been more than ever confirmed in this conviction; so have I told myself, no later than this very day, in the Church of the Assumption where I went to thank him for a notable and unexpected grace which he had just granted me, and of which the consequences will be so felicitous for our holy house, that I wish to abandon myself to Him without ever being anxious about anything, doing everything for his glory and leaving him to care of the rest. It is truly inconceivable how he makes everything accord with his designs by ways we never would have thought of.
All that is very enigmatic for you. This is not yet the time for me to explain. I shall not delay in associating you with my gratitude, and all the more because I feel incapable of making any return by myself for all that I owe to this good Master, who truly arranges everything “suaviter et fortiter.” He has only to decide and kings themselves are obliged to obey. It is astonishing; it is stunning. I cannot say more to you; only let the community pray for my intention.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 August 1817, O.W. VI n.21