1802 – At the insistence of his mother, Eugene returned to France at the age of 20. His mother had divorced his father in order to regain the family wealth from the Revolutionary authorities who had confiscated the properties of the nobility.

Eugene threw himself into the lifestyle of a young nobleman. He had no sense of direction and one finds him alternating between a life of pleasure and a life of boredom with no future prospects.

There is not a single girl who suits me in Aix… And above all, the one I want must be very rich, and that is difficult to find.

Letter to his father, 10 May 1804, Mejanes Library Aix

How can one have enough of the pleasures that the charming city of Aix presents me with ?

Letter to his father, 27 January 1804, Mejanes Library Aix

Take all that into account, and you will see that one could die of pleasure in Aix..

Letter to his father, 18 January 1805, Mejanes Library Aix

It has to be said, this repugnance is also due to the fact that it is not in my character to spend my life planting cabbages. I have the feeling that I am not where I should be, and I get angry when I see the best years of my life draining away in idle obscurity. You can judge yourself if I should be bright and cheerful when you know that these thoughts go round and round in my head whenever I am alone..

Letter to his father, 12 April 1804, Mejanes Library Aix

This entry was posted in LETTERS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene, this young man saying ‘how can one have enough of the pleasures’; seeming to be ‘out of sync’ from where he thinks he should be; thinking to find a way through riches and deciding that he should be able to die of the pleasures surrounding him in Aix. Unsettled, full of doubts, questions, yearnings still hidden so that he is unable to put a name to them. How man of us would dare to say that we have not been in the same place?

    Yesterday we celebrated the Eugene, his Feast Day, while still in the midst of ‘renewing our life and mission’. Looking at where we have come from, sharing our stories and where we are now, where might we want to be and what the struggles might be to get there. Going back to Eugene, again and again, here was our Founder, our Father, our inspiration. Unsettling. Hard work. Perseverance is required for us to get to where we are going. And yet done together, with not one person having all the ideas or answers. Not having to do it alone. Never before have I felt such a real and strong connection with these Oblates, a part of, and being where we are supposed to be as Oblate Associates. So amidst the work and the questions, the striving to pull out with words where we want to be; not alone but shared and that brings it’s own joy and consolation. As Fr. Louis Lougen said at our 2011 Convocation – it is good to be here.

    The dawn this morning with a mixture of clouds and colours, ever changing and coming together until the sun has risen fully into the heavens. It is like sitting and listening to a symphony, with each moment’s vision being the notes rising to a crescendo. The colours not competing with each other, but rather moving back and forth with themselves and the clouds all creating a majestic tapestry. The red ball of fire now just breaking past the top of the hills. I look down at my screen and then back up at the unfolding panorama which continues to change and grow and can only sit in wonder and praise God. For all of this has been given to us and I find myself filled with gratitude.

    The sun has slow risen from behind the hills into the sky – as it did the day before and the day before that. It is not the sun that has changed, but rather my view and perception of it. It was like this with Jesus and his apostles, before and then after on the road to Emmaus and even later; with Eugene and his Oblates, the mission and how we lived out this most precious spirit given by him. I look and the ball of fire has now slipped behind a cover of clouds, still there but the light is changing. This time, this place – it is good to be here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *