A VOYAGE TO AFRICA

Eugene wrote in his diary:

Yesterday, the bishop of Algiers unexpectedly entered my office. The bishop extraordinarily urged me to accompany him to Algiers on his return from Pavia, where he is going to take a notable relic of Saint Augustine.

Before becoming Bishop of Marseilles, Eugene had been given the title of Bishop of Icosia, a former diocese in Algeria.

My position as the last bishop of Icosia, the desire to give more splendor to the ceremony, etc. inspired in him this thought of inviting me to go there. He would like me to consecrate a church under the title of Saint Charles and to bless the foundation stone of another to be built in honor of Saint Eugène. The prelate used every manner of charm, and I admit that I was tempted to give in to his invitation; it is a matter only of an absence of fifteen days.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 4 October 1842, EO XXI

Father Tempier accompanied him on this visit, which included bringing the relic to the site of the ancient city of Hippo, where Augustine had been bishop.

The detailed narrative of this journey can be found in the Diary of 1842 (http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?page_id=2362 in the entries from October 22 onwards)

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1 Response to A VOYAGE TO AFRICA

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene in some ways was not adverse to making a spectacle of what he was doing, perhaps in making an event noticeable and attractive to the ordinary people of his time. Splendor would draw and attract people to come and witness what was taking place, drawing attention to that which was of great importance.

    Eugene was a man of his time, using processions and pomp as necessary; all this being a part of the norms of his day and practiced by Bishops and the hierarchy of the Church. It was not practiced in order to draw attention to himself, but rather to draw attention and awe to God, to the Kingdom of God, redemption and salvation. I am reminded of his first Lenten Homily and the words used: God’s children… heirs to his eternal kingdom… holy nation, kings, priests… dignity…

    Once again, I am touched by God, for there is an understanding and acceptance (more than mere tolerance) within my heart that pushes away thoughts of judging and thinking that in our time we do not need to use certain symbols and traditions; these practices draw me away from God and the other rather than allowing to get closer. “Let your eyes see for once beneath the rags that cover you, there is within you…”

    I find myself grateful to God and Eugene; for teaching me more than toleration, but including me in how they walk, and see through the eyes of our crucified Saviour.

    Love and acceptance.

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