A VISIT TO ROME
Following our chronological exploration of the life and writings of St Eugene, we see that in July 1847, two reasons called him to Rome. The biographer, Rey narrates:
“On July 11, Mgr de Mazenod embarked from Marseille on the steamship Sésostris. The main reason for his trip was the insisence of his entire family to bless the marriage of his only niece, Mlle Césarie de Boisgelin, to Mr. Marquis de Damas, who lived with his mother in Albano. Mgr d’Isoard, nephew of Cardinal d’Isoard, who died in Paris in October 1839 and a great friend of both families, had been the gifted and devoted intermediary in this marriage. Mgr de Mazenod could not refuse everyone’s wishes, and his absolute devotion to the interests of the Church added a powerful attraction to those of his paternal affection for his niece. Fr. Jeancard accompanied him, and he left ‘in the care of God and our good Mother’.“
After the wedding, Rey recounts: “Returning to Rome, he requested an audience with the Pope, which was granted the same day. The Holy Father detained him for an hour and a half, and treated him with extraordinary affection, even embracing him affectionately.”
Eugene, who had a number of topics to discuss with Pope Pius IX, wrote:
I confess that I was singularly touched by this truly pontifical consideration, and I couldn’t help expressing my admiration for the Pope. I was touched to the depths of my soul, so I asked the Holy Father for permission to make known this truly remarkable circumstance in the history of this controversy. I won’t repeat all that was said in that memorable audience. I feel I did my duty as a bishop in the presence of the head of the Church, who treated me as a brother from the outset, when he prevented me from kneeling before him, and throughout the session, when he embraced me affectionately, pressing me to his heart and expressing his desire to see me again before I left Rome, where I had told him I had come to bless the marriage of my niece…
The Holy Father was delighted to meet a French bishop with whom he could speak at ease in Italian.
Rey II pages 212-214
During the few days spent in Rome after the marriage, Eugene met with a number of Cardinals to discuss controversies concerning the Church in France.
Eugene was described as having a heart as big as the world: a heart that was open to God, and in God in response to every aspect of the world and its needs.
“God does not begin by asking our ability, only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, God will increase our capability.” (Neal A. Maxwell)
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