1815 : Eugene understands that God was calling him to invite other like-minded men to participate in his missionary dream
It is the second time in my life that I am making a decision of the utmost importance as a result of a strong impulse that comes from outside of me.
When I reflect on it, I am convinced that is how God wants to put an end to my indecisiveness.
Letter to Forbin Janson, 23 October 1815, E.O. VI n.5
1815, 2 October: Eugene bought the former Carmelite convent in Aix. He needed a large place in which to gather the nearly 300 young men who came every Thursday and Sunday to participate in the activities of the Youth Congregation. At the same time he needed a place where he could bring together a permanent community of missionaries.
1816, 25 January: the start of the community life of the Missionaries of Provence (later known as OMI)
The undersigned priests… deeply moved by the deplorable situation of the small towns and villages of Provence that have almost completely lost the faith… Convinced that missions are the only means by which these people who have gone astray can be brought out of their degradation… have the honour of asking your authorization to come together in Aix in the former house of the Carmelites
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, E.O. XIII n.2
I prefer no doubt that you employ your zeal in favour of the poor abandoned mountain people rather than waste your time with the proud citizens of disdainful cities..
1816, 11 February to 17 March: mission in the village of Grans. It was the first of some 3000 parish missions preached in France during the lifetime of Eugene.