In a later letter, continuing to lecture his uncle as to the necessity of accepting the nomination as Bishop of Marseille, Eugene realized that because this step was essential for the survival of the Missionaries, he would have to commit himself to assisting his uncle. This meant that Eugene was prepared to establish the Missionaries in Marseille, so as to be near the Bishop and to assist him and be his “other self.”

The King has named you Bishop of Marseilles, and everyone approves of this appointment. I announced it to you in a thousand letters written from every direction and I am writing this one without attempting to repeat all that I said in previous ones.
God alone is the author of this appointment; men have been involved in it only in as much as that was needed to obey and follow the direction indicated by Divine Providence. It chose Marseilles for you, which in my opinion is the most valuable See in France because there you will be able to support and protect all the good that my fervent community has done unceasingly since it began. It needs such support and God, in whom alone it has always placed its hopes, has provided it.
You see that I consider things with a faith-vision; that is the only thing that I have in mind when I feel obliged to tell you, in line with the opinion of all who are the most reliable here, that you are obliged in conscience to respond to the King’s confidence and to consecrate yourself with absolute devotion to the service of the Church in the post being assigned to you…
As for myself and my work, which are the salvation of youth and the poor countryside people, that is all that I could ask from God.
Come right away by the shortest route. Farewell.
P.S. Take courage, I will be your other-self.

 Letter to Fortuné de Mazenod, 16 September 1817, O.W. XIII n. 12

Fortuné responded a couple of weeks later:

… I submit, albeit with fear and trembling. And if I have the good fortune of accomplishing any good in the diocese of Marseilles, I will be the most convincing proof that the Lord has no need of the talents of any creature and can, if He so pleases, use the weakest and lowliest instruments to accomplish His holy purpose and manifest His glory.

Letter of Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene de Mazenod, 9 October 1817,
P.R., FB I-2

The three brothers arrived in Marseille on 27 December and were met with joy by Eugene after a separation of 15 years. His father and his uncle Louis settled in Marseille.

The agreement between the Pope and the King of France, the Concordat, did not go through and consequently the Diocese of Marseille was only re-established in 1823. Fortuné would spend the next five years waiting for the re-establishment of his diocese. He spent these years living in Aix en Provence with the community of the Missionaries. All Eugene’s dreams of episcopal protection were to wait until then.

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  1. John Mouck says:

    Poor Eugene and Fortune having to endure this 5 year purgatory.
    Isn’t it so typical for God to make us wait for the answer to prayers. I am curious to see His purpose for them in this formative time. I hope we find out in future postings.

    Is it just me that tends to be impatient with God?
    I wish my concept of time and His were congruent.

    Patience, patience,

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Since Eugene stays silent I decided to go back a year and see what has been written. I find myself perplexed because so far I am unable to understand Eugene’s reference to being “your other-self”. Having read this several times over I am unsure if this is his way of offering Fortune his full support in every way possible, he will be his strength perhaps?

    “God alone is the author of this appointment” – I get the feeling that Eugene, skilled speaker and writer that he is, is pulling out all of the stops in urging Fortune to accept this position which he does not want. Eugene adds in his letter “As for myself and my work, which are the salvation of youth and the poor countryside people, that is all that I could ask from God.” Interesting is that God will later on invite and author the same appointment to Eugene himself.

    I see how God often urges, gently prods and pulls us away from our comfort zones. God asks ‘more of us’. Perhaps this is one of the ways that God calls us to “our full potential”, to “our truest selves”. What are you calling me to today Lord? Help me to stay open that I might hear Your voice in the others around me. Eugene please pray for me that I will continue to listen to the voice that calls and to follow the path already chosen – I dare say to persevere. And perhaps for a little insight.

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