1812 : returned to Aix as a young priest and lived in the house of his mother in the centre of the city
My major occupation will be to love Him, my greatest concern will be to make Him loved
Retreat notes, December 1812, E.O. XV n. 109
1813: Beginning of his ministry among the most-abandoned. They were those who were not being touched by the structures of the Church of Aix: the youth, the prisoners, the people of Provence who did not speak French
… my whole ambition was to consecrate myself to the service of the poor and of the youth. I thus started out in the prisons, and my first apprenticeship consisted of gathering around me young boys whom I instructed. I formed a large number in virtue. I saw up to 280 grouped around me, and those who today still remain faithful to the principles that I had the happiness of instilling in their souls and who do honor to their faith in every rank of society or in the sanctuary, will uphold for a long time, either in Aix or in the other places where they are dispersed, the reputation that this congregation had rightly acquired for itself while I was able to care for it.
Diary of 31 March 1839, E.O. XX