Despite Eugene’s lack of interest, his mother and her cousin Roze never gave up trying to find him the rich girl of their dreams. Eugene wrote about once such incident to his father:

Last night someone came to officially ask my mother whether I had the intention to marry; that it concerned a young lay full of good qualities, etc. The same story, with a dowry of 40,000 francs which would come on the day of the marriage, and the other 20,000 on the death of the parents. As soon as my mother heard what the dowry was, knowing exactly what I demand in this respect, she answered the ambassadress quite honestly, that I was only twenty-two years old and had very little desire to be married at the moment; furthermore, that I was about to do some traveling…; that she greatly appreciated the kindness of the people who were interested in me, but that she thought it better that they look elsewhere. They didn’t tell her who the young lady’s parents were, enough to say that she was not from Aix and from a middle-class family.
You can imagine how interested I was in all this. Forty thousand francs, when I want 150,000! And middle class! How do you think that fits in with my plans? If they can’t do better than that, I’m afraid that I shall die a virgin, if you’ll pardon the expression

Letter to his father, 18 January 1805

Money and class-consciousness made a prisoner of the young Eugene. How great God’s transforming grace would be that would set him free.


“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”    Erich Fromm

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I wonder if Eugene really knew what he was looking for, what he really wanted. He thought (mistakenly) that wealth, social status and attitude would fill that yawning emptiness within himself. It sounds a lot like my addictions – the big ones like alcohol and drugs. Then there are the more socially acceptable ones like fine clothing, things (such as books, cars, bigger houses than what the neighbours have. Even I think religion and spirituality – the need to be the ‘holiest’, the most pious, the most beloved of God.

    I wonder if some of this is what we call ‘original sin’. It would seem that there are endless ways of being greedy which seem to come from our deepest woundedness and they succeed only in building great walls around our hearts. Then there is a silent but deafening need to escape those walls, a need to escape and fill the emptiness.

    I am not so very different from Eugene in some ways. The outside dressings might look different, the intensity might be not quite so strong, the flame not as bright, but it is still there. I too looked for happiness outside of God, and if I am very truthful I still can play little games in my head to try and fill that hole that is no longer as big as the universe but is still there. Coming here to this place each morning, with St. Eugene reminds me to be ever vigilant, to look at myself.

    Funny how we come to know ourselves through others. God blesses us greatly.

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