On a rare break with his mother and his sister’s family, Eugene described his impressions in glowing terms. The family gathering was to be the last with his nephew, Louis, who was terminally ill. Two of Louis’ sisters had died in their teens, and now he faced death at the age of 26. Only two of his siblings were to survive: Eugène and Césarie.
We had community life at the chateau. It was inspiring to see around me so many Christian souls who joined the most amiable qualities to the charm of virtue.
Our good octogenarian mother, model of patriarchal customs, so exact in all her religious duties, reciting with my sister her daily Office with an admirable devotion and recollection; my sister, true angel of piety, a strong woman tested in the crucible of suffering and bearing with heroiccourage, which does not exclude deep feeling, the cruel loss of her children so worthy of our most bitter regrets.
My brother-in-law, is the most honorable man I know, who lacking only in what the Lord has granted through the prayers of his virtuous wife andall of ours, that is, practices the religion he had always honored with deepest respect.
What shall I say of my nephew Louis so holy, so spiritual, so accomplished and his brother Eugene who charmed everyone and has proven to all that the praise of Fr. Pillon, rector of the college of Brugelette, was rightly deserved.
As for Césarie, all who know her will agree with me when I say that she is as lovable as she is good, that her mind, her heart and her character make her a perfect subject.
The happiness of finding myself with persons so beloved was troubled and mingled with bitterness when considering the suffering of our poor Louis….
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 16 September 1841, EO XX