Napoleon was definitely defeated in June 1815. Leflon writes:

Napoleon’s downfall made it possible for the Church not only to re-establish her spiritual rights in papal, episcopal and capitular jurisdiction but also to open the way completely for her apostolic activity. To Father de Mazenod, it seemed a providential liberation which at one and the same time answered the needs of the religious situation and opened up to his zeal paths he had aspired to tread for a long time. Years later he wrote:

The reign of Napoleon, who had his turn in persecuting the Church, nullified all the efforts of our young fellow-priests. If all their plans, like our own, had not been hampered by that iron rule, their zeal would have supplied for their lack of numbers. The Empire was overthrown, and it was only with our emergence from that crisis and with the return of our legitimate princes that we felt any hope of realizing for the good of the people of France some of the ideas we had constantly nurtured during the entire course of our seminary training and during the first three years of our priesthood. (Eugene de Mazenod, “Memoires,” quoted in Rambert I p.161

Leflon II, p 10-11

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I began this morning reading the words of Eugene and of Leflon and as I read I was congratulating myself on living where I was born and not having been a part of anything so drastic as what happened in France, or indeed in other countries throughout history. But there can be a small inherent lie in doing that for I believe that all of us can experience in some manner what Eugene and the people of France went through.

    No matter what it looks like, there have been times when I have felt quite powerless as a person, felt like my dreams and aspirations had to be put on hold or moved to a back burner and I was unable to even look at that until after I was free to pull them out again. And again if I am to be truly honest with myself I must also look at how during my life there have been those times when I returned to the comfort of those old ways that I had shrugged off – for they were known to me.

    Looking this morning at what Eugene lived through and how he managed to hold on to his dreams and aspirations, how he lived in those hard times and found outlets for his love and loyalty. I was about to write that this was St. Eugene though and so of course nothing in my life could be that great or worthy. Then I thought of a friend who tells me from time to time that her struggles are not so great as mine, her works are not as good as mine: and whenever she says things like that I counter and correct her telling her it is the same, it is great and good – all of her life and her very self. Perhaps it is all in how we look at it.

    If anything this morning has brought be closer to my real self and to Eugene, Saint Eugene de Mazenod. Wow!

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