Shortly after the Oblate mission in Digne, Eugene writes about a confrontation with the Bishop of Gap, the neighboring diocese in which our sanctuary of Laus was situated. Clearly Eugene, whose life changed at the foot of the Cross when he had personally experienced God’s mercy, would never compromise on leading others to the same experience of mercy, even if this would cause a break with the local authorities.

His Lordship at Gap ungraciously refuses to give us a recruit ….
He has sent me five moral propositions to which he demands a categorical reply, while telling me his responsibility is compromised. I have written him a letter which could well bring on a break in relationships.

Letter Hippolyte Courtes, 31 January 1827, EO VII n. 261

In a footnote to this letter Father Beaudoin gives us the background. “Bishop Arbaud had written to the Founder on January 22 to complain especially about Fr. Touche. Fr. de Mazenod replied that the Oblates followed the moral teaching of the Blessed Alphonse de Liguori. In September, he wrote once more to the Prelate, this time not to defend himself but to attack: ‘In my presence and when speaking to me, you are full of goodness and, when you write to me, one would say your inkwell is sour’…”


“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”    Victor Hugo

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Jesus knew personally what it was like to be on the receiving end of this type of behaviour. And Eugene, as if he didn’t have enough to worry about, here months after receiving approval of his fledgling congregation the Bishop of Gap continues to put up road blocks. This type of opposition has spanned the ages and can be found today in lesser and greater ways. Looking closely this morning I have had to focus on how this has looked in my own life and what my reaction or my response has been.

    In honesty I have also had to look at how I have acted like the Bishop, at what that has looked like. Look at the times when I faced another with a smile but then when I turned away allowed my true thoughts and my tongue to oppose that person. I must look at the times I have failed to speak up and out at an injustice against myself or more importantly against another. The latter being most important for I have a voice, but the other – perhaps he or she or they are voiceless. Opposition can come disguised as logic and reason, wealth and good business, piety and self-righteousness. It seems most commonly to hide behind “everybody’s doing it”.

    I must always remember my core – the root and pulse of my life, my God who dwells within and not allow myself to deny or compromise that in any way. I give thanks because here in this place I am reminded to search out all that I would allow and even to to disguise and hide, cover up that which is most central to my life. Bad enough when another tries to do it to me, but when I myself do it – may God continue to have mercy.

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