ONE MUST, WE KNOW, LEAVE SOMETHING TO PROVIDENCE
Do I believe that when a door closes, God opens a window?
In 1841 when the Oblates discerned that God was calling them to establish a missionary community in Canada, it seemed like an impossible undertaking for a Congregation of 47 men who could not cope with their many commitments in France. Yet they trusted in divine providence, and we have seen how much was achieved in four years. Requests for more Oblates continued to arrive. Eugene’s exasperation at not being able to do more is evident in this letter to the Bishop of Montreal:
If this keeps up much longer, very dear Monseigneur, there will soon be nothing left in France of our poor little Congregation. Here am I sending you three more men and, in order to make this response to the entreaties of our Fathers in Canada, I have to refrain from founding this year an establishment in the diocese of Viviers considered necessary as a hopeful source of suitable recruits for the service of the Church in the ministries undertaken by our Congregation. So I am doing for Canada more than is possible.
Eugene’s trust in God’s providence made him continue to dare the seemingly impossible:
…. Beginnings are feeble as a rule; the impossible is expected of no one. One must, we know, leave something to Providence. I implore you, Monseigneur, to impress this upon those who are obsessed with ideas of perfection which would discourage anyone from undertaking anything in this world.
Finally he refers to a journey he was undertaking to Rome to officiate at his only niece’s marriage and also to consult with the Pope and other members of the Curia on topical issues regarding the delicate Church-State relationship in France.
On the point of departing for Rome, I am in such a hurry that it is on the run that I scribble these lines while reiterating the assurance of my respectful and most tender sentiments.
+ C. J. Eugene, Bishop of Marseilles.
Letter To Bishop Bourget of Montreal, 9 July 1845, EO I n 58
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