Father Bermond had begged Eugene to be sent to Canada as one of the pioneer missionaries, but Eugene had reasons to hesitate and so did not include him. In the previous entry we saw how Bermond had resisted to be changed from one community in France to another. Eugene responded to his request in a blunt, but loving way.
But after reflection I come back to your letter. I ought to tell you that it has given me much grief. Your resistance over such an easy thing, the miserable reasons you allege, the insistence with which you oblige me to revoke my decision without worrying about the trouble you may cause me, all this gives me food for thought. First, if your health is so feeble as to make you afraid of several months of a change of air from Marseilles to Aix, will it not be supremely imprudent to risk transferring you 2000 leagues away where you will live in a country of which the climate is so rigorous, so cold in winter and so hot in summer?
Moreover, in such distant missions where one can expect so many frustrations, so many vexations, and where to serve demands so much sacrifice for the will, so much fatigue for the body, men are needed who are firmly rooted in holy indifference, devotedness, absolute obedience, men of sacrifice who act promptly and willingly in opposition to their own ideas, etc. If you have failed, my dear son, in a trial so weak as the one which has been the first to present itself, what will you do in the midst of the obstacles of a difficult mission?
… My duty is to send men strong in integrity, lovers of religious discipline, jealous of the honour of the Congregation which others compromise by their murmuring, their spirit of independence and their lack of regularity… Do you feel yourself to be one of these strong men I seek?
I end, my dear son, for lack of paper yet still with enough space to embrace you.