St. Eugene wrote to Bishop Garibaldi who was the internuncio[1] in Paris.   He wrote that he was accepting to becoming the Bishop of Marseilles – out of obedience to his uncle and to do in this way God’s will.  He requested that he be excused from going to Paris for the “canonical informative process’ because of the pastoral visits that were already arranged to take place, and because travel was still difficult for him due to health problems.

“Constrained by the will of His Lordship the present Bishop of Marseilles which I believe to be the expression of God’s will, I have accepted the heavy assignment it is desired to lay upon me. I must therefore carry out under your auspices the prescribed formalities for the informative process. For this purpose I would set out for Paris without delay, but […] my absence during these summer months would cause as well a considerable upheaval in the diocese. As I did not foresee the present situation, I thought I was free for the duration of the summer season and the parishioners of the various parishes have been advised and are preparing for confirmation and the pastoral visits whose dates have been fixed. It would be all the more troublesome to cancel all that as one would be obliged to postpone considerably what is both indispensable and expected by everyone.

 I beseech you therefore to be so kind as to dispense my going to Paris for the information process. If you would be so good as to delegate someone here for that purpose, His Lordship the Bishop of Marseilles, for example, you would be rendering the diocese a service for which I would myself be very grateful; by means of a delegation things would go as if they had taken place before you. (182:XV in Oblate Writings)

 This letter is amazing.  Since having come through what we now call the Icosia Affaire Eugene seems to exude a gentleness and acceptance.  There is a strong peace about him that is noticeable in his letter.  His love of the people he has become a shepherd to, his flock, is evident when he states that he does not want to change the schedule of his pastoral visits.  I hear in this letter the words and voice of a man who lives to love and to serve.

I see him as having surrendered himself to God, to the Church and to his family, his congregation.

The gift for me this morning is that I am able to see and know him as I do.  It inspires me yet again and renews my desire to surrender all that I am to God.  On seeing the outcome of that very thing in Eugene how could I not desire to live as did he.  There is this morning a huge gratitude within me for all that God gives to me , for all that God gives to all of us.


[1] Internuncio is the one below the Nuncio.  In the Catholic Church the ‘Nuncio’ is the Papal Ambassador in a foreign country.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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