Eugene writes to Henri Tempier from Rome as he begins to discover the reason the Pope has called him there.

“I understood enough not to be under any illusion on the matter in question and it was one reason more for me to await the command of the Holy Father who was so very impatient for my arrival. […] He confirmed my suspicions of Saturday, namely that I am the victim of a governmental intrigue and I was subsequently assured of the fact by Bishop Mai, the present Secretary of Propaganda, whom I saw as I came down. They have at least received my letter which was placed yesterday before the Pope. The whole thing is nothing but an intrigue of the French Government which wished to suppress the diocese of Marseilles and fears my influence in the country.”  (Letter to Father Tempier, at Marseilles, August 20, 1833 – 454:VIII in Oblate Writings)

The full letter was lengthy with names of those against Eugene, those who were mounting a campaign against him and the Church.  What struck me most though was the lack of anger and very real distress in his letter. I do not believe he was trying to hide anything from Henri Tempier, yet he could be a very volatile person at times.  Something was holding him back from striking out.  It’s as if he was somehow being protected.

I found myself looking at events in my life – especially those where I seemed to be under attack in some way, and wonder if I would be quite so sane.  My citizenship was never taken away from me however my personhood was – for many years.  So I will journey with Eugene – there is an unexpected grace here in walking with…who better than him to walk with for he knew intimately what abandonment and threatened death felt like.

I find myself embraced and cloaked in garments woven of belonging and of being infinitely cherished.  Perfect for the journey ahead.


About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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