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Sketches of the life of Mgr. de Mazenod, bishop of Marseilles, and founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate,… Cooke, Robert, 1820?-1882 1879

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           I f
^txabm ai t|at jfeklg
By the Eev. ROBERT  COOKE,  O.M.I.
[All Rights Reserved.^ The Author begs to tender his grateful acknowledgments to
"William A emit, Esq., Secretary to the Hudson Bay Company,
and to J. H. O'Neil, Esq., Agent for the Province of Quebec, for
their courtesy and kindness in allowing him to consult the books of
the libraries attached to their respective departments, when compiling the present volume.
I ni
I    .        AND DESMOND. ^^'bHHH
My dea.r Lord Denbigh,
With your Lordship's kind permission, I dedicate
to you the accompanying pages.    At an early stage of your
Lordship's Catholic life, the hand of Divine Providence
brought you into contact with Monseigneur de Mazenod. In
him you beheld a great Bishop of God's Church, and a true
Apostle of the poor of Jesus Christ, whose exalted virtues
you revered, whose wise counsels you valued, and whose
friendship you enjoyed. In your Lordship, at that time, the
venerable Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, saw
the youthful but intrepid Confessor of the Faith, who had
then made the generous sacrifice of class and home feelings,
and of much that was to be prized in future prospects, at
the shrine of his religious convictions. In later years, when
a work had to be accomplished which Monseigneur de Mazenod had much at heart, and which he had often urged
myself to seek to bring about—the establishment of his
Missionaries in London among the poor of that metropolis,
1   L IV
your Lordship became a providential agent in its furtherance. The leading and generous part which you took in
co-operating with the Fathers of Tower Hill Mission in
establishing Schools for their poor children, entitles your
Lordship to our deep and lasting gratitude.
With sentiments of affectionate respect,
I remain,
My dear Lord Denbigh,
Yours ever faithfully,
Great Prescot Street,
London, E.
June Uth, 1879. CONTENTS.
Birth and parentage—Traits of early virtue—Feats of charity
in childhood—Kugene and the charcoal vendor—His parents
wisely foster his early spirit of charity—His love of truth—His
strong power of sympathy with others in their sufferings.
CHAPTER IL        ...   Jf     ...'■»...       I ... Mm ••• IB •••
The early home of Eugene—His father's hospitality assembles
there some of the first families in France—Religious character
of his father's household—Clouds gather round his early days
— Outbreak of the Great French Revolution in 1789—Eu-.
gene's father marked out for death by decree of Robespierre—A
further decree orders children of nobles to be put to death—Eugene
sent to Italy for safety—He enters College of Nobles at Turin—-
Proof given by him of great delicacy of sentiment and firmness of
CHAPTER III *      ...
Piedmont threatened by advancing wave of French Revolution—Further flight necessary for safety of emigres—Touching
incidents of departure from Turin—The De Mazenod family
'embark on the Po for Venice, accompanied by many venerable ecclesiastics—They fall in on their way with many old
friends who are also fleeing from danger—The joyous resignation
of emigres under their trials — Arrival of the De Mazenod's at
Venice with remnant of their fortune—Poverty begins to tell on
that noble family of exiles—A providential circumstance occurs
which is to influence the future career of Eugene—Eugene and
Bartolo Zinelli—His holy rule of life and order of studies at Venice
—His contempt for the vanities of the world—His life of prayer
and self-denial—His first manifestation of a vocation to the priesthood—Courageous reproof to Infidel scoffers.—Dines at Spanish
Embassy, conquers human respect on that occasion—His high-
spirited protest against words wanting in due respect to the Holy
See, spoken in his presence.
12 VL
CHAPTER XV.        ... ... ••• ... ••• •••
Further flight of emigres—The De Mazenod family seek
shelter in Naples—Intimacy with the family of the Marquise
de Talleyrand—Eugene meets Lord Nelson in the salons of the
Russian Embassy—The Republican army of France approaches
the gates of Naples—The Queen of Naples sends a messenger to
inform the De Mazenod family of the approaching danger—Great
popular commotion in Naples—Angry crowds fill the streets to
prevent the flight of the Royal Family—The Russian Consul
wounded mortally—A royal courier massacred—Eugene's uncle,
Admiral de Mazenod, secures shelter for the De Mazenod family
on board a Portuguese ship of war—Eugene heads a small party of
Portuguese sailors sent to convey luggage on board—His gallant
conduct when confronting a fierce multitude—He rescues a boat's
crew in a storm by his presence of mind and personal daring—
Arrival at Palermo—Eugene a great favourite at Court—His exemplary conduct—His intimacy with the Duke de Berry, brother
of Louis the XVI.
Advent of Napoleon to power—Return of the emigres
to France—Death of Eugene's father—Eugene succeeds to a large
inheritance—He devotes himself in his native town, Aix, to
works of charity—He spends the chief portion of his time in
hospitals and prisons, and in the homes of the destitute poor—
The widows and orphans of those who fell in the lute wars excite
his deep compassion—He grieves especially over the spiritual wilderness created by the Revolution—Eugene feels that God calls
him to renounce the world, to enter the priesthood, and to devote
his whole life and means to charitable labours in behalf of the
poor—He resolves to follow what he believes to be a call from
Eugene enters the seminary of St. Sulpice—The Abbe
Emery, superior of St. Sulpice, becomes Eugene's spiritual
guide and director—The Abbe Emery and Napoleon—Eugene
becomes the faithful copyist of the virtues of the great servant of
God, the Abbe Emery—Eugene the constant attendant and companion of the Abbe Emery during his last illness—Letter of
Eugene to his mother, Madame de Mazenod, on the death of the
Abbe Emery.
After Eugene's ordination as priest he refuses offers of
preferment—He wishes to labour solely for the poor—In his
native town, Aix, he seeks a field for his zeal in the prisons of
that place—Large numbers of Austrian prisoners of war are in
the prisons of Aix—A dreadful plague breaks out in their midst—
The chaplain, the physician, and military officer in charge of them
catch the plague and die—The Abbe de Mazenod volunteers his
services as chaplain to the plague-stricken—The civil authorities
are [unwilling to expose a life so precious to the grave danger of
catching the plague—The Abbe de Mazenod insists and receives
the appointment he covets—He is struck down by the plague—
Universal sorrow in Aix—Public prayers for his recovery in all
the churches of the city—He receives the last sacraments and his
life is despaired of—God hears the prayers offered for the holy
priest's recovery—He aims at accomplishing a greater good than
can he achieved by his personal efforts—He seeks association with
kindred spirits, men gifted with a spirit of interior piety, men of
action and of prayer, who are desirous to walk in the footsteps of
the Apostles for the saving of souls—The Abbe Tempier, the Abbe
Mye, and others, with Father de Mazenod, form a community of
Missionaries—Father de Mazenod chosen Superior.
All Christian virtues flourish in the new community—
Other disciple3 range themselves under Father de Mazenod's
guidance—Characteristic virtues of Father de Mazenod—
First mission is given by the new community—Father de Mazenod draws up the rules of his new society—His retreat at St. Laurent de Verdon—Scope of the rules of the new society.
CHAPTER IX.        ... ...
First vows pronounced by Father de Mazenod and confreres
on the first of November, 1818—Great mission at Marseilles
—Assassination of the Duke de Berry—Disturbance prevented
at Marseilles by Father de Mazenod—The saintly Don Carlo
Albini enters new community of missionaries—A young church
student named Guibert, now Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris,
becomes a member of Father de Mazenod's community—Mission
in the Cathedral of Aix—Father de Mazenod, under the counsel
of many wise and holy persons, resolves to seek for the solemn
approbation of the Holy See for his institute of missionaries—He
proceeds to Rome—His favourable reception by Leo XII.—His
Holiness shows a warm interest in Father de Mazenod's work—
69 VH1
Unexpected opposition to his undertaking—Delays and disappointments—His trust in God—He becomes more earnest in prayer and
in works of self-denial—Final and complete success of his cause
—Solemn approbation of the society and rules of the Oblates of
Mary Immaculate given by Leo XII.—His Holiness declares to
Father de Mazenod his desire to create him Cardinal—His'humble
refusal of that dignity.
Cardinal Pacca and Father de Mazenod—Proposal of Cardinal
Pacca to establish the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Rome—
Devotion of Father de Mazenod to St. Alphonsus—He has an
audience with the Holy Father before leaving Rome and obtains
the grant of several important privileges for his new society—He
returns to France—First general chapter—An episode—Father
Susanne's virtues, labours, and saintly death—Affectionate tenderness of Father de Mazenod's character displayed during the last
illness of Father Susanne.
CHAPTER XL        ...   I     ... ... ■ ^K... ■p.,. ^B'...
Monseigneur Fortunatus de Mazenod, uncle of Father
de Mazenod, raised to the See of Marseilles—St. Lazarus,
whom our Lord raised from the dead, first bishop of that city—
Belsunce—Father de Mazenod named vicar-genei al of Marseilles
—His prodigious zeal and activity in his new capacity, which he
combined with the office of superiorship of his society of missionaries—Death of his Uncle—He is named bishop of Marseilles by
the direct appointment of Gregory XV I.—Difficulties with the
French government—His holy firmness, blended with his spirit of
wise conciliation, conquers difficulties—His devotion to the ancient
saints who were bishops of Marseilles.
Extraordinary development of the society of the Missionary
Oblates—The bishop of Montreal invites them to .his diocese
—They establish houses in Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec
—Their labours among the lumber men in Canadian forests—
Their labours in Labrador— Testimony of Professor Hind to zeal
of the missionaries—Forlorn spiritual condition of the Indian
tribes in the North West of America—A vast district almost as
large as Europe without priests, page 145—The Canadian bishops
make joint application to Monseigneur de Mazenod for a body of
Oblate   missionaries   to   evangelize   those   vast   North-western
regions, page 148—Monseigneur de Mazenod accepts the proposal
of the bishops of Canada—Vocation of Father Tache to be an
Oblate of Mary Immaculate, page 151—Departure from Canada
of first Missionary Oblates for the Red River—Arrival at St.
Boniface, Red River, after a journey of 62 days, page 154—Great
missionary success of Father Tache at Athabaska, page 157—
Father Tache and Father Faraud at He a la Crosse—The latter
meets Lieutenant Hooper of the " Plover " Expedition in search
of Sir John Franklin, page 160—Testimony of Sir John Richardson to the success of the labours of the Missionaries, page 163—
Father Tache appointed coadjutor-bishop of St. Boniface—He
proceeds to Marseilles—He meets for the first time the Founder
of the Oblates and is consecrated bishop—He returns to the Red
River—Description of an episcopal journey through snow-clad
wilderness, page 167—Failure of fishery at Lac la Biche—Famine
—Great sufferings of Indians and missionaries—Arrival there of
Monseigneur Tache —A Novena in honour of the fisherman, St.
Peter—Wonderful take offish, page 170 — Monseigneur Tache
succeeds Monseigneur Provencher at death of latter—Sad and
terrible events at St. Boniface—Missionary lost in snow-storm
—"Without food for several days—Found near his dead horse
—Feet frozen—Removed to bishop's house, St. Boniface—Amputation of both feet found to be necessary—Bishop's house takes
fire—Difficult rescue of invalid—A poor blind Indian perishes in
the flames—House consumed to ashes—Cathedral takes fire—
Burnt to the ground—Burning of Convent of Sisters of Charity
and all their stores—Arrival of Bishop Tache after a journey,
duiing which he slept sixty nights successively on snow in open
air—His grief—Death of Superioress of Sisters of Charity—Great
flood—Ruins of Cathedral flooded at her funeral—No dry spot for
her remains—Submission to God's will, page 178—The bishop's
efforts to re-build cathedral, &c, blessed by God—Professor Hind
—The poet Whittier—" Chicago Advertiser," page 183.
Father Grandin consecrated coadjutor-bishop of St. Boniface
—Undertakes the visitation of the northern regions of that vast
diocese—Great Portage la Loche—Athabaska Slave River—The
Salt River—A fine old chieftain, Beaulieu, Sir John Franklin's
guide and hunter, a devout Christian—Various striking traits of
character—His zeal for the sanctification of his family and tribe
—The Great Slave Lake—St. Joseph's mission on shores of the
lake—Fathers Eynard and Gascon and Brother Kearney—Great
privations—Indians of the Big Island—The Mackenzie River—
Fort Simpson—The   River   Liard—Hair-breadth   escapes—The CONTENTS.
bishop saves his life by leaping from one canoe to another to avoid
huge boulders rushing from overhanging precipice—Mission to
Indians at Fort Liard—Father Gascon sets out to visit Indians on
banks of Courant Fort—Runs great risks amidst rapids and eddies
—Attempts to scale precipitous mountain—Death stares him in
the face at every step—Foiled in his attempt—After several days
spent in vain efforts to reach the Indians at Courant Fort is compelled to renounce his project for that time. (
CHAPTER XIV.     ... ... ... •••_ ... ...
Mission conducted by Bishop Grandin for tribes assembled at
Fort Simpson—Beaulieu's grandson, the bishop's little sacristan,
rings his bell in the woods to assemble the Indians to the religious
exercises—Arrival of an absent chieftain—Ceremonious solemnity
with which he is received—Surprise of bishop at seeing the chieftain clad in ragged attire—The chieftain's reasons for dressing
shabbily—His conversion to Christianity—Many of his principal
huntsmen follow his example—The bishop embarks in his birchbark canoe on the Mackenzie—One of the crew falling ill, the
bishop himself has to become oarsman for the remainder of the
voyage—His great hardships—Icebergs make their appearance in
the river—Canoe comes into collision with an iceberg and is
wrecked—Bishop and party cast on desolate shores of Mackenzie
—Their supplies run short—Painful suspense—A sail appears
in sight, their deliverance, page 232—Arrival at the Mission of
Fort Good Hope—Great poverty of the Oblate community in that
desolate spot—The sun disappears for two consecutive months
—Scarcity of candles—The repairs of their hut performed by
the Fathers—The bishop joins in the manual labour—A famine
breaks out—Dreadful cases of cannibalism, page 208—Freezing of the great rivers of the north—Journey of the bishop
to Fort Nornian on the frozen bed of the Mackenzie—They
bivouac on the frozen bank—For ten weary days the bishop keeps
his place walking on the frozen Mackenzie at the head of his
team of dogs—Arrival at junction of Great Bear River with the
Mackenzie on its way to the Arctic Ocean—Bishop's life exposed
to imminent peril on evening of tenth day's march—A roar and a
rush of waters are heard—The ice -has given way, page 213—
Arrival at Fort Norman—Mission to Indians at Providence—
Summary of bishop's sermon—The bishop and young Beaulieu, his
little sacristan, overtaken by violent storm whilst travelling over
frozen surface of the Slave Lake—The night comes on—They
lose their way—Bishop lamed by'striking foot against sharp ice
splinter—Cold forty degrees below zero, severe enough to freeze
mercury—They wander about for hours—Sink on tbe ice exhaus-
ted—They have little hope of saving their lives—They prepare
for death—They make one final attempt for life—Day breaks—
They see land in the distance—They reach it with difficulty—
Supply of food exhausted—Discover package of tea in luggage—
" The cup that cheers but does not inebriate " did good service that
morning by the frozen shores of Great Slave Lake, page 224—
Mistake of guide—Mirage—Hunger stared the whole party in the
face—It was resolved to kill one of the dogs for food—Providential discovery of footprints in the snow, page 228.
First two-storied house built in the regions of the Mackenzie-
—Monseigneur Grandin a whole year without tasting bread or
meat or vegetables—Fish, and that often decayed and rotten, only
food for that period—The Rev. G. Grant, in his work " Ocean to
Ocean," bears testimony to zeal of bishop and missionaries.
CHAPTER XVI  ...  234
Father Grollier—He enters Society of the Oblates with the
hope of being employed among the Indians of North America—He
advances on his missionary expeditions far into the Arctic Circle
—He meets tribes of Esquimaux and Blackfeet—Reconciles hostile chieftains—The first to evangelize the tribe of Peaux de Lievre
—He advances northwards to the Peel River among the nation
of the Loucheux—The extent and success of his labours recall the
days of St. Francis "Xavier—He suffers from chronic asthma—
His great privations during his illness—He wishes to die at his
post—Grief of the Indians when they hear of the dangerous illness
of their apostle—His holy death—Major Butler, in his work the
i( Great Lone Lane," on Oblate Missionaries in Saskatchewan.
CHAPTER XVII. ...[ -1... SB'... WBl '"^m "'Wt I 243
Father Lacombe—He has devoted himself for twenty-six
years to the Blackfeet, the Crees, and other tribes—He is the first
to introduce a plough into the Saskatchewan regions—The first to
build a bridge there—His visit to the Blackfeet—Night assault by
the Crees, great numbers killed and wounded—Bullets fall like
hail around Father Lacombe—He administers last Sacraments
courageously to the dying—In the morning he advances between
combatants with flag of truce—The Crees do not recognize him at
first—He is struck by a bullet on the forehead—Not injured—
When Crees recognize him they cease firing—He makes peace—
His great hardships—He is several days without food—He is visited by Viscount Milton and Dr. Cheadle, and afterwards by Lord
Southesk. Xll
Father Petitot—His visit to the dog-ribbed Indians—Deputation from the tribe of the Trakwelotine—Great hardships—A
morsel of a candle his only food for three days—Meets tribe —
Many think of gratifying their curiosity in gazing upon him—
Nobody thinks of seeking to appease his hunger—The tribe on
march, strange scene, page 262—Opposition of sorcerers—A
journey over dangerous ice—Plot to assassinate him—Four Indians
told off to fling him over rapids—Discovery of plot, page 267—
Arrival of Father Petitot in France—His services to the cause of
science recognised—His presence at congress at Nancy—Instructions of Monseigneur de Mazenod to missionaries on the part they
should take in advancing civilization of Indian tribes, page 280—
Monseigneur Clut undertakes to convey supplies to the missions
of the distant North, page 282—He leaves Montreal on the 5th of
May—Arrives at Lac la Biche on the 8th of August—A sister of
charity and a little orphan companion join the travelling party—
They enter the river of Marshes—Dismay at finding that the
waters of the river had subsided—All had to disembark—Forcing
the barque up the rapids one 'of the party swept away by the
torrent—His life saved—Painful journey by the banks of the
river, which told severely on Sister of Charity and little orphan—
They arrive in presence of great rapid—Crew forsake the bishop
and his travelling party—How extricate themselves from horrors
of perishing in the wilderness—The sister of charity falls seriously
ill—Bishop and Father Pourtrier go forward to distant fort to
seek another crew—Absent for four weeks—Finds Sister of Charity
delirious in the little encampment on solitary banks of Athabaska
Enters the Great Slave Lake on 18th of October—Visits Oblate
Fathers on Elk-deer Island—Resumes his voyage on the 21st—
Great fall of snow—Violent storm—Barque run ashore—Crew
refuse to proceed further—They dread being caught in the ice,
which is rapidly forming on the lake—On the morning of the
22nd to his dismay he sees sheets of ice spreading far and wide
over lake—Persuades crew to set sail—Risk of the sides of the
barque being stove in by pressure of ice—Crew again mutiny—
His only trust is in God—A partial thaw takes place during the
night—They are able to enter the Mackenzie river—On the evening of the 26th of October they descend this river in the midst of
great floating icebergs—Frightful night on the half-frozen Mac-'
kenzie—On the 27th of October they arrive at Providence, and
land the supplies—Great rejoicings, page 303.
Missionary Fragments—Louis Daze, the Canadian carpenter CONTENTS.
—His gratuitous services for twenty years to Oblate Missionaries
—Lost in a snow-storm—Without food for six days—Found dead
with scapular in his hands, and frozen tears on his cheeks—St.
Albert's orphanage for Indian waifs and strays—A little orphan of
the Blackfeet found lying on dead body of his mother—Paul
Fayans the devout Indian sacristan and his holy wife—The Christian chieftain, Louison Montaignais and his holy child—The child
predicts his mother's death and his own—Events verify prediction
—Father Fourmond and Mr. James Trow, Chairman of the Colonization Committee—Small-pox at St. Albert's—Father Fourmond
accompanies numerous tribe out of the Great Prairie—The epidemic pursues them—First victims of small-pox in the desert—A
hundred lie smitten at the same time—These victims of small-pox
have to be borne from one place of encampment to another-—Melancholy march through the wilderness—Father Fourmond the
only white man—He is nurse, physician, undertaker, as well as
priest in their midst—The prairie takes fire, page 318—The flames
advance from the distance and encircle them—All avenues of escape cut off—The Great Spirit alone can save them—All assemble
in prayer—Efforts to rescue the plague-stricken from advancing
sea of fire—Father Fourmond exposes his life several times in
rescuing the sick from the burning lodges—Stifling bmoke, profound darkness, heat intolerable—Prayers loud and fervent—All
grouped together in narrow circle—The fire reaches the circle and
is stopped by the hand of God—Thanksgiving—Further march
through a wilderness of ashes and cinders—Small-pox still pursues
them—Arrival of Monseigneur Grandin—His departure—Starvation of the tribe—Timely succour—The Oblates in British Colum--
bia—Celebration of Queen's Birthday—The Governor invites
missionaries to assemble Indians—Three thousand five hundred
Indians led by missionaries—Morning prayer in the forest—Seven
hundred canoes launched on the Frazer—Arrival at New Westminster.
Father D'Herbomez—Consecrated Bishop of British Columbia
— Visits tribes of the interior—Father MacGuckin—Cross the
Frazer in the hollow of a fallen tree—Meet Giant River in desert
—They seek to cross it on a raft—Raft swept away by impetuous
torrent—Great danger of bishop and party—A great tree stretches
out a friendly branch—With quick and combined movement Sam
the Indian and Charles the half-breed seize the projecting branch
—the bishop and party saved, page 333—Great tribe of Indians
meet them at Stony Creek—A forest on fire—Lake Stuart—Letter
of Bishop D'Herbomez to Canadian Government—Father Durieu
329 XIV
visits the tribe of the Skeromish—Meets Government agent, who
is surprised to meet a priest in a spot scarcely fit for wild beasts to
inhabit—A series of great risks in travelling—In thirteen villages
visited by him, only three persons refused to become Christians.
...    347
Father Chirouze—Conversion of celebrated sorcerer—The Indian Christians know how to forgive their enemies and to pray for
them—Touching story of the death of an Indian youth, Felix,
and of the conversion of his apostate uncle Jacques.
CHAPTER XXII.  ... '.flL.  Sr" lit--- SI— I'     I
Frightful results from the introduction, of intoxicating drinks
among the Indians of British Columbia—Nearly all the Catholic
Indians of British Columbia total abstainers—A ship laden with
whisky ordered off the coast by Indian chieftain—The tribe resist attempts of crew to land cargo—Whisky barrels emptied into
the sea—Ship set on fire—Crew taken prisoners by tribe, page 353
—Refusal of Victor, a young Indian teetotaler, to pilot a whisky-
laden barque—Rejects bribe—Taken forcibly on board, his life
threatened, beaten savagely—He still refuses—Would die rather
than consent—Swift judgment of God upon his persecutors, page
355—Industrial school for little Indians—Passages quoted from
a work entitled i Vancouver Island and British Columbia," by
Forty-seven chieftains, with their followers, take temperance
pledge—vaccination of fifteen thousand Indians in one year by
missionaries—Sudden death of a sorcerer whilst performing incantation—Father Lejacq in the lodge of the great chieftain of the
Babines—Arrival of delegates from a hostile pagan tribe—Solemn
reconciliation promoted and presided over by Father Lejacq—He
attends a sick call under great difficulties—He has. to cross the
summit of a high mountain covered with pine forest—The forest
in flames—He and guide lose their way in the thick clouds of
smoke—They wander about for hours during the night in the midst of
dangerous precipices—Striking conversion, page 383—Great snowstorm—Father Pandosy abandoned by guides in forest—The deep
snow has obliterated every trace of pathway—He kneels and
makes act of faith in mystery of Immaculate Conception, asks deliverance through that mystery, rises, finds pathway at his feet
369 r—
where none existed before he prayed, page 388—A circumstance
in keeping with foregoing incident in curious old volume lately
purchased at bookstall in Holborn—Indian procession of Blessed
Sacrament—Winnepeg—Father Lacombe—Lord Dufferin—Monseigneur Tache — The Irriquois — Apostolic Delegate — Father
' 'CHAPTER I.       " '^^^M
was born at Aix, in Provence, the 1st of
August, 1782. His family was illustrious by its
rank, and by the eminent position in the magistracy
of that country, occupied at various times with distinction by some of its members. His father was
admitted to the intimate friendship of the Dauphin,
the father of Louis XVI. Signs of future greatness
and sanctity began to manifest themselves at an early
age in young Eugene de Mazenod. Whilst yet a
child in the arms of his nurse, an infallible means of
silencing his cries when he wept, was to take him to
a church. There he instantly became calm and still,
no matter how excited he was before entering the
sacred edifice. Was this a presage of that deep
reverence for the Sanctuaries of God which became
| striking characteristic of his after-life ? A great
force of will began to show itself in him at a very
early age. He never asked for anything with the
sobs or tears of a child, no matter how much he desired it; but with calm resoluteness would he say:
11 will have it." Such proud bearing in a child so
young often provoked the smile of the cursory looker-
on; but more thoughtful observers would predict
for him a future, marked by a strong will, either for
good or evil.    Happily it has been for the former.
Surrounded by a numerous retinue of domestics,
all ready to lavish their services upon him, young
Eugene refused to receive at their hands any service
that was not absolutely required, or which he could
render to himself. He was scarcely six years old
when he began to exercise acts of benevolence towards the poor, even at personal inconvenience and
sacrifice. One day at this age, he met in the street a
poor little charcoal vendor, all in rags. Moved with
a sudden feeling of compassion, he quickly divested
himself of his jacket and joyfully placed it on the
shoulders of the poor half-naked boy. His maternal
grandfather, a venerable nobleman of extraordinary
piety and great experience of the world, had much
to do in forming the character of Eugene. He wisely
counselled that a free scope should be given to his
childish ardour in relieving the wants of the poor,
and that small sums of money should be placed at
his disposal for this object. A close intimacy existed
between the family of the De Mazenods and that of M. Eevest, an eminent lawyer, who resided also at
Aix. One day Eugene, who was a frequent and
welcome visitor of the Eevest family, entering their
drawing-room, perceived they had no fire, though
the day was cold. f What! " he exclaimed, " you
have no fire on so cold a day." A lady present,
wishing to test what she had heard of his compassion
for every sort of suffering in others which came under
his notice, feigning poverty, said: " We are poor,
and wood is dear." Hearing these words, Eugene
quickly bowed and withdrew. An hour elapsed,
and a knocking was heard at the outer gate. It was
young Eugene rolling a small wheelbarrow filled
with pieces of wood which he had collected. Advancing with his precious burden, the fruits of his
charitable labour, he deposited it at the door of the
apartment where the Eevests were assembled, saying : " Now you can make a fire and warm yourselves." Wiping the tiny sweat drops from his
little brow, he hastily retired. He was only six
years old when he performed this feat of charity.
Great was the emotion of those who witnessed that
act of juvenile devotedness. Many years afterwards,
members of the Eevest family related this occurrence
with tears in their eyes. ^ His thoughtful parents,
whilst yielding to the advice of his grandfather in
giving full scope to the benevolent zeal of Eugene,
always kept him in view themselves, or had him 4   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
followed by a tutor, whose eye was ever upon him
in their absence, without his being aware of the strict
surveillance which was being exercised over him.
He never spoke himself of the good works he thus
performed, and his parents acted as if they were in
complete ignorance of them. During his whole life
a tender sympathy for the sufferings and afflictions
of others, and especially of those from whom he had
received marks of kindness, was a beautiful feature
in his character. When ten years old, being at the
College of Turin, he received news of the death of
the daughter of the femme de chamhre of Madame
de Mazenod, his mother. The thought of the grief
which this poor woman, who had been very kind
to him, would suffer at the death of her child, so
afflicted him that he lay for hours upon his bed,
bathed in tears and moaning deeply. He manifested
from the beginning a frank and upright spirit, and
showed an abhorence of every species of untruthfulness. He never excused himself when he committed
a fault. One day, thoughtlessly, he gave to a young
boy whom he chanced to meet, a costly article from
his mother's toilet table in exchange for some other
object. The parents of this boy were frightened
when they found in his possession an article of such
value. I Discovering that it belonged to Madame
de Mazenod, they compelled him to go with them to
restore to her the article in question.   Eugene hear- ing the cries of the poor boy, whom his parents were
accusing of dishonesty, rushed out, exclaiming with
vehemence: "He is innocent; it is I who committed the fault. Do not blame him, it is I who
ought to be punished." Madame de Mazenod, addressing some words of gentle reproof to her son,
praised the upright conduct of the parents of the
poor boy, and handed back to his mother the article
that had been restored to her, as a gift, in testimony
of her appreciation of their conduct in the matter.
Eugene, even when a mere child, took no interest
in the ordinary sports of children. He showed a
preference for the society of grown-up persons, and
would listen for hours attentively to conversations
upon serious matters, seated at the feet of the speakers, and looking up with deep interest into their faces,
scanning every expression of their countenances.
He amused himself, however, willingly, in erecting
mimmic oratories, and in representing with his companions the ceremonies of the Church. He did this
with great gravity and composure, and he would
show himself much displeased if his companions
smiled at his sermons, or seemed distracted or dissipated in the functions he assigned to them. SBBffl
§S0:^^§^   CHAPTEE II.   fg| •.
Hitherto the days of young Eugene de Mazenod
were spent in the sunshine of a happy home. In a
human sense, his position was well-nigh everything
that could be desired; wealth, rank, refinement,
shed their lustre upon his path. The last male heir
of an honoured house, he was the object of the fondest love of devoted and most worthy parents. His
father's hospitality often assembled around him some
of the most distinguished names of the noblesse of
Provence, and other parts of France. But it was
the religious character of his father's household that
gave its chief charm in the eyes of this pious child
to his early home. Good example and inducement
to piety encircled him on every side. His soul
remained ever pure and unworldly. This was the
secret of his unselfishness, of the depth and tenderness of his friendships, and of his pure attachments. If young De Mazenod had been destined
merely to fill the place of a christian gentleman in
the world, he might have been well formed for his
post in such a home as that which we have been de- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
scribing. But his was to be a loftier destiny. The
plant of holiness within his soul has to grow up and
become strong as the young oak amidst storms. This
happy household is to be dispersed; its members
have to seek safety in flight to another land. The
Eevolutionary tempest has burst over France.
Eugene's father is marked out for death by a decree
of Eobespierre. Fortunately he received an early
intimation of his intended doom, and saved himself
by fleeing to Italy. Another decree is passed by the
infamous convention, ordering the children of nobles
to be put to death. Eugene's life is in danger. An
immediate departure from France is necessary for
his safety. A day's delay may be fatal to him.
He has not yet reached his ninth year, and he has
just risen from a bed of severe illness, when he is
forced to set out upon an exile which will continue
for several years. The morrow is fixed for his departure. All arrangements have to be made in profound secrecy; an indiscreet word might prove fatal.
The secret is confided to the child, and he keeps it
with fidelity. The only favour he asks is, that he
may be allowed to embrace his friends of the Eevest
family before parting from them, perhaps for ever.
His request is granted, but on condition that he
makes no mention of his departure. Iff He paid his
visit, and he kept his secret. But it cost him sorely
to do so; the tears in his -eyes and his sobbing breast I  I
as he bade them adieu, almost betrayed him. The
next day they learnt the cause of his emotion, and
then it became their turn to shed many tears.
Eugene left Aix in the company of his uncle, for
Nice, where he sojourned for months, and where he
was joined by his mother and his grandfather. In
one of his notes, written when a boy, he says, in
reference to this occurrence of his life: "As it
appeared likely that things would not alter soon in
France, my parents decided on providing for my
education, by placing me in the College of Nobles
at Turin; my mother and my grandmother undertook to conduct me thither. My mother was then
but thirty years old, and my grandmother was over
fifty. Everything that reminds me of my grandmother touches me to the heart. I loved her as
dearly as I loved my mother; that is to say, I loved
her as much as one can love another in this life."
The tenderness of the filial love of this pious child
appears in these words. His piety did not interfere
with his deep affections for those to whom he
was bound by the ties of kindred, nor did his love
for them cloud or chill his piety. The college in
which he was placed at Turin was conducted by the
Barnabite Fathers. Eugene stayed there three years*
He made his first Communion on Holy Thursday,
1792. He had not then reached his tenth year. He
always headed his class whilst in that college.    He OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
was remarkable for his spirit of regularity and love
of rule. The Eector, noticing these qualities in him,
assigned to him a certain post of authority over his
fellow-pupils. With perfect ease he took up his
proper position, and his ascendency was cheerfully
acknowledged by those placed under his surveillance.
He gave tokens, even then, of being born to guide
and direct others. His father, who never lost an
occasion of giving good counsel to Eugene, wrote to
him to use wisely the authority confided to him, and
to temper it with compassion for the weaknesses of
his companions. The superiors of the college, who
always treated him with the greatest affection, often
proposed him as a model for the other pupils to imitate. In the interval between his first Communion
and his Confirmation, he gave proof of great delicacy
of sentiment and firmness of character. An excrescence had appeared close to one of his eyes, for the
removal of which it was necessary that he should
undergo a painful operation, which was to be performed by Dr. Pinchinati, the first Surgeon to the
King. The day for the operation was fixed, and
Madame de Mazenod was to come from Nice on the
previous day to be present at it. Eugene wished to
spare his mother the pain of seeing him suffer. He
begged earnestly of the Eector to fix an earlier day
for the operation than that which had been appointed, so that when his mother arrived she might find 10   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
it  already  performed.     The  Eector was   greatly
pleased with the delicate foresight of Eugene, and
readily consented to  his  wishes.     Arrangements
were speedily made for the performing of the operation, which was to take place in the Eector's room.
The surgeon arrived, accompanied by several of his
pupils.    Eugene was complimented on his courage.
But what a humiliation was awaiting him! ; - The
poor child's resolution began to fail him at sight of
the array of surgical instruments which were to be
employed in the operation. §He begged the doctor
and his pupils to retire, and he withdrew, terrified,
into his chamber.   Presently he began to reflect upon
his sudden cowardice, and to seek to discover its
cause.    A moment's reflection brought to his mind
the fact that he had not prepared himself for the
operation by earnest prayer, and that he had been
trusting too much in his own resolution and courage,
without asking God for help.   Not losing a moment,
he flung himself on his knees in spirit at the feet of
Jesus Christ, whom he tenderly invoked.    He addressed, also, a most fervent prayer to the Holy
Ghost, asking for the gift of fortitude.    His prayer
was heard, for he immediately felt a new courage
kindling within his breast.    He returned without
delay to the Eector's rooms, and declared himself
ready to undergo the operation, and begged that the
doctor, who had not yet left the premises, might OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
again be asked to perform it. The operation was
very long and very painful; the heroic child never
once winced under it. Not a tear rolled down his
cheek, not a sigh or complaint escaped from his lips,
for then he was sustained not merely by a human,
but by a supernatural courage—by that gift of fortitude which the Holy Ghost, in answer to his fervent prayer, bestowed upon him. His mother
arrived that same evening. Her joy was great
when she learnt that, owing to the affectionate
thoughtfulness of her child, and his heroic courage,
she was spared the pain of witnessing his great sufferings under the operation. On Trinity Sunday,
1792, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation at
the hands of the Archbishop of Turin. The ardour
of Eugene in the practice of piety was not slackened
during his stay in the college. 12   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF1 MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Louis XVI., the martyr-king, had laid his head
upon the block. |:The revolutionary wave was
rolling from France towards neighbouring countries.
Piedmont was threatened. The emigres who had
taken refuge there had to seek for a safer asylum.
Eugene had to flee with the rest. Shelter was to be
sought by many in Venice. The departure from
Turin was solemn and touching. Many of the first
families of France were assembled in this latter place,
in comparative poverty. To save their lives they had
to quit their homes in haste, taking with them
whatever fragments of their fortunes they could
collect together in the hurry and terror of the
moment. Many ecclesiastics, —some of the highest
rank, and some far advanced in years—were also
amongst the exiles. JLet us allow Eugene to describe, in his own words, the departure for Venice :
I On the 2nd of May, 1794, my father freighted a
vessel of considerable size, in which he embarked
with all his family, which was composed of the
following members:   my father,   Charles Antoine OF TEE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
de Mazenod; my mother, Marie Eose Eugenie de
Joannis; my great-uncle, Auguste Andr£ de
Mazenod, Archdeacon and Vicar-General of Marseilles; my uncle, Charles Fortune de Mazenod,
Vicar- General of Aix; my uncle, Eugene de
Mazenod, Vice-Admiral of the king's navy; my
aunt, the Marquise de Pierrefere; and the young
Marquis, her son; and Nanon, the femme de
chambre of my mother. A great number of
emigres begged of my father to be allowed to
embark with us, to which request he willingly
consented. Amongst these were very many Priests.
Our voyage lasted twelve days. We stopped every
night in some place along the banks of the Po.
We met everywhere with the most cordial hospitality. The revolutionary bands had not yet
reached these places. All vied with one another in
acts of kindness towards us. At Cremona the
Marquise de Colonia, who, with her husband, had
joined our party, was followed in the street by a
devoted and generous person, who, touched with
compassion at the sight of the misfortunes of so
many noble emigres fleeing from their country,
sought to slip into her hand a package containing
several pieces of gold, which, however, this lady
politely refused. The next day we cast anchor in
a delicious spot. Here our party wished to repose
under the  shade of   wide-spreading trees.      The 14   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
joyousness of the scene communicated itself to our
hearts: some sang, some engaged in lively conversation. No one seeing us would imagine that we
were a band of refugees fleeing from tyrants who
sought' our lives, and had taken possession of our
goods. A vessel, also laden with emigres, among
whom were many priests, followed us closely and
stopped at the same spot. My parents had here the
consolation of meeting many old friends, amongst
whom were the Bishop of Frejus, and the Marquis
Grimaldi. They shed tears together over their common misfortunes, and consoled one another as well
as they were able."
Venice was at last reached, and lodgings were
secured with difficulty. The city was crowded on
their arrival, owing to the public festivals which
were then being celebrated, and the price for apartments was high. Poverty began to tell painfully
on this occasion. That noble family of exiles, including two venerable ecclesiastics, and one faithful
domestic—eleven in all—had to crowd themselves
into a narrow dingy lodging; but every heart was
resigned, and God's holy will was praised. Here
Eugene was schooled by personal experience in the
knowledge of the privations which the poor have to
endure. It was well that it should be so, for he
was afterwards to become the distinguished apostle
of the poor.    By the sale of Madame de Mazenod's OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
diamonds, his father was enabled to secure a more
suitable abode for his family.
We will here draw attention to a circumstance in
connection with this new residence, of a most Providential character, and which had a marked and
most decisive influence on the whole of the after
career of Eugene. Opposite this residence stood
the house of one of the richest commercial families
of Venice, which was noted for the piety and munificent character of its members. The name of this
family was Zinelli. It consisted of a venerable
mother and six sons, two of whom were ecclesiastics
—one in deacon's orders, and the other, who was
named De Bartolo, was a priest, who died afterwards in the odour of sanctity. It was this holy
priest whom God placed in the way of Eugene at
a critical and trying moment. The poor boy found
himself in Venice without books or professors, and
the straitened circumstances of his exiled family for-
bade all human hope of his educational needs being
soon supplied. He ;was then in his thirteenth year,
and a precious period of his life was being spent in
forced idleness. The attention of the Zinellis was
drawn to Eugene ; even at that early age he had a
grave and noble bearing stamped upon him, that
forcibly struck beholders. He was tall beyond his
years, and a chaste beauty, which distinguished him
through after-life, was marked upon his features. 16 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
The holy priest, De Bartolo Zinelli, became deeply
interested in this modest and intelligent boy, whom
he saw frequently passing before his door. He
perceived that Eugene was following no course of
studies, he guessed at the probable cause of his
inaction, and was most desirous to render him assistance. One day seeing Eugene listlessly gazing
from a window he accosted him, saying : "Master
Eugene, are you not afraid of losing your time in
thus gazing idly from a window ? " " Alas ! sir,"
replied Eugene, 11 cannot help it. I am a stranger here, and I have not a single book at my
disposal." I Let that be no obstacle, my child,"
kindly answered De Bartolo, I my library is well
supplied with all the books you may require, and it
is entirely at your service." De Bartolo invited
Eugene to visit him the following day, which he
did with his father's ready consent. Eugene thus
describes his first visit to De Bartolo. I He
received me with the greatest kindness. He conducted me through his library, and from that to his
cabinet where he spent his days in study with his
brother, who was then only a deacon. He pointed
to a vacant place at the study table and said : 'That
place was occupied by a dear brother whom God
has lately called to Himself. I shall be most happy
to see you occupy it in his stead. | It will be a
great gratification to me to direct your studies, and OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
to help you to complete them.' One may well imagine how great was my surprise and joy at such a
proposal. I accepted it with expressions of lively
gratitude, being certain that my father would gladly
give his consent. When I communicated the good
news to my parents, they thanked God for having
secured for me so great an advantage. From that
day, for four years, I pursued my course of studies
with unvarying constancy, under the guidance of
my benevolent tutor, whom I sought every morning
immediately after hearing Mass. I worked at my
studies till mid-day, when I returned home for dinner. After dinner De Bartolo came for me to join
him in a walk to visit some church, where we stopped for a while to pray. I then returned to my
studies, and continued at them till evening. At
that hour several priests in the neighbourhood
assembled to recite the Holy Office with De Bartolo,
after which all met in the drawing-room, where we
joined some friends of the family in an hour's cheerful recreation, Coffee was then served round, and
everybody but the members of the household, and
myself, retired. As I was looked upon as one of
the family I stayed behind for supper, and also for
the Eosary and night prayers." Such was the manner of life led by Eugene for four years, under the
judicious and saintly care of De Bartolo, who was a
refined scholar and a great servant of God.    Under
such tuition, the soul of Eugene made rapid progress in the most exalted virtues. He learned
quickly to despise the vanities of the world, for
which he began to conceive a supreme contempt.
Prayer became his chief delight, and he secretly
practised extraordinary mortifications. He slept on
the bare ground and fasted frequently. The intervals between his hours of study were spent, for the
most part, in prayer or spiritual reading. He made
his confession every Saturday, and received Holy
Communion on Sundays and on the chief festivals.
He served Mass every morning, and recited daily
the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. Such was
his method of life between his thirteenth and sixteenth years. The desire of consecrating himself to
God, and of becoming a priest, manifested itself
about this time.
■ "One day," as he relates himself, "after I had
read for my great-uncle, as I had been daily accustomed to do, a chapter of the New Testament, he
said to me gravely, (Eugene, is it true that you
wish to embrace the ecclesiastical state ?' I \ Yes,
Uncle,' I replied without hesitation, 'it is quite
true !' < How could you think, my child,' he then
said, < of such a thing ? Are you not the last link
of our family, which will become extinct if you accomplish such an intention ? ' I was astonished to
hear such words fall from the lips of one so venera- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
ble  and holy;   I  answered with much  emotion,
'Uncle, what could be  more honourable for  our
family than to end in a priest.'    My uncle had
spoken thus only for the purpose of testing my feelings.    When he heard my answer, he at once expressed his delight.that a child of thirteen years
should utter such sentiments.   He tenderly embraced
me, and gave me his blessing." I This early vocation
was to be followed only after the lapse of several
years.     Eugene had to pass through many trials,
and undergo a long period of exile, before the desire
of consecrating himself to  God in the priesthood
could be accomplished.   In the meanwhile De Bartolo
proceeded in carrying out the pleasing task he had
undertaken, of educating the mind, heart, and inner
soul of his holy pupil. JThe intellectual progress of
Eugene corresponded with  the high expectations
which had been formed of his capacity during his
stay at the College of Turin.    But what delighted
his pious teacher most, was to witness the unmis-
takeable signs of his rapid and solid progress in the
knowledge and love of God. ^^^^^^^^^S^^^B
A short journey that he had to make at this time
gave him an opportunity of exhibiting, on a small
scale, that zeal for the divine glory and the good of
souls, which in after years was to display itself over
so wide a surface. Madame de Mazenod had to return to France to settle some family affairs.   Eugene Bp
accompanied her to Tuscany. The great revolution
was then extending its ramifications: the overthrow
of Christianity was its main object. Eugene longed
for an opportunity of publicly declaring his faith in
Christ crucified, and even of suffering for it. In
starting on his journey he hung a large crucifix
around his neck, as a symbol of his belief in the
great mystery of the redemption, and of his readiness to confess it before the world. The servants at
the first hotel at which he stopped on his journey,
were tainted with infidel notions. His crucifix was
caught sight of, and forthwith they commenced to
utter blasphemies against Jesus Christ, and to laugh
mockingly at the devout child, who lovingly bore
the sacred image. The holy boy, instead of being
cowed or intimidated, boldly rebuked them for their
unbelief, and reduced them quickly to silence. Their
scorn' was soon changed into admiration by his
words, so full of energy and wisdom, and by his
courageous attitude in defending, on that occasion,
the interests of religion, which bespoke in him the
true confessor of the faith. When he reached
Livorno, his party delayed for some days in that
city. Eugene made the discovery, that a poor servant in the house where they were staying, was
ignorant of the principal mysteries of religion.
Filled with zeal in her behalf, he undertook at once
the task of instructing her.    This became his chief OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
occupation during the days he remained in that city.
He explained the catechism to her in a manner so
interesting, and so full of holy doctrine, that the
proprietress of the establishment, a lady of good
education, came to listen to him, and acknowledged
that she had profited greatly by his instructions.
This was a prelude to that ministry of zeal which he
was to exercise at a future day in behalf of ignorant
and neglected souls. He returned to Venice, and
resumed his studies under the direction of De Bartolo. An accident occurred to him about this time,
which nearly cost him his life. One day while
taking his recreation after dinner, close to his
house on the banks of the Grand Canal, his foot
slipped, and he fell into the water, which was
twelve feet deep. No one was present to render
him assistance, but God was watching over a life
which was to be dedicated entirely to His glory. He
rose again to the surface, and was able to extricate
himself without any help. His great fear was, that
his mother should hear of the occurrence before he
could assure her himself that he was quite safe.
The tender affectionateness of his disposition,
which showed itself so frequently through his life,
lessened in no degree that firmness of character,
which on future occasions he knew how to employ.
The following instance will show how ready he was to
trample human respect under foot, whenever the 22   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
fulfilment of a religious duty was in question. One
day, being invited to a public dinner at the Spanish
Embassy, he perceived that all were taking their
places without the usual prayers being said : he remained still standing after the company, which was
very numerous, had sat at table. Every eye was
fixed upon him. Indignant with himself for having
hesitated a moment, he openly made the sign of the
Cross; he recited quietly and devoutly the accustomed prayers, not heeding what remarks people
might make about him. He has been sometimes
heard to say, that he never conquered human respect
without being interiorly rewarded by our divine
It was Eugene's good fortune, when at Venice, to
mix in the society of learned and holy men, and to
take part in their conversation. He turned this
opportunity to the fullest account, and frequently
listened to discussions upon questions of philosophy and religion. Occasionally he interrogated the
speakers in terms that filled them with astonishment.
They were amazed that one, who was still a child in
years, should display such an amount of knowledge,
and such lucidity of thought, on abstruse and difficult questions.
■ The following incident will show how far he was
versed in the question of grace, and what a horror
he had conceived of the heresy of Jansenism.    A OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY,
little book fell into his hands, entitled " L'ami de la
Jeunesse," written by the Abb£ Felasier, which he
read with much pleasure, but having discovered that
its author was suspected of a tendency to Jansenism,
Eugene felt it his duty to write a profession of anti-
Jansenist faith in the commencement of the volume.
The book was lying on Eugene's table, when one
day he was visited by Monseigneur de Montenac,
Bishop of Tarbes, who happened to open it and read
what Eugene had written. The clear and precise
terms in which the subtle heresy of the Jansenists
was repudiated, and the opposite doctrine of grace
set forth in this profession of Eugene's faith, made
it difficult for the good prelate to believe that it had
been written by a child.
That filial reverence and love for the Vicar of
Jesus Christ, that readiness to defend the rights
of the Holy See, for which he was to become conspicuous in after-life, as a great Bishop of God's
Church, began to appear in his early youth. One
day, a Canon of Paris forgot himself so far as to
indulge in an unbecoming witticism, of which the
Holy Father was the object. The high-spirited
boy waited to see whether somebody in the company, older than himself, would remonstrate on
the impropriety of such language; but finding that
nobody undertook this duty, he ventured himself
respectfully but courageously to do so.    He spoke 24 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
in tones of fearless energy, that startled the aged
ecclesiastic into a sense of the impropriety of his
language, and silenced him for the rest of the
evening. This incident, which was much spoken
of, reached the ears of members of the exiled Eoyal
Family of France, and drew words of high praise
from their lips. CHAPTEE IV. p^^^
The army of the French Eepublic had entered
Venice. A further residence in that city was full
of danger for the emigres. Eugene's father resolved
to remove with his family to Naples. It cost the
grateful boy a bitter *pang to separate from the
Zinelli family, and especially from his beloved preceptor and friend, De Bartolo. The separation was
for life; but an intercourse by letter was kept up till
the saintly death of the latter.! The journey to
Naples was decided upon, partly in consequence of
the pressing invitation of the family of Baron
Talleyrand, with whom the De Mazenods were on
terms of intimacy at Venice. The utmost economy
had to be practised on that journey. To travel by
land from Venice to Naples would be too expensive;
the route by sea was consequently selected. They
left Venice on the 11th November, 1797, in a
wretched cattle-boat, and arrived in Naples on the
1st January, 1798, having spent fifty-one days at
sea, and suffered fearful hardships.
Eugene passed sorrowfully the year he spent at 26    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Naples. He led a retired life in that capital, and
did not wish to make new acquaintances. He went
occasionally with his father to spend the evening
with the Marquise de Talleyrand. Whilst at Naples,
and again at Palermo, in the salons of the Eussian
Embassy, he met Admiral Lord Nelson. Speaking
in one of his notes of this meeting, he says : " Nelson, no doubt, is a great sailor, but neither his
appearance nor his manner is in his favour."
Still onward rolls the tide of Eepublican triumph. The French army is approaching the gates
of Naples. The royal family is preparing for flight,
Nelson is commanding a squadron of the British fleet
in the Bay of Naples, to afford a safe means of escape
for the King and Queen, and their followers. Some
Portugese ships of war are also cruising in the Bay
for the same object. The Queen of Naples, who
took a kind and deep interest in the De Mazenod
family, sent a messenger to inform them of the approaching danger, and to offer them means of escape
on board one of the royal ships. On the memorable
morning of the 21st of December, 1798, the whole
population of Naples and its environs was on the
alert at an early hour. A vast multitude advanced
tumultuously towards the royal palace. The rumour
had spread that the King and Queen were about to
flee from Naples, and the people were bent on preventing their flight.    It was a moment full of dan- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
ger for the French emigres. The Eepublican army,
led by General Championet, was approaching the
gates of Naples. A further delay in that city on
the part of the emigres would be likely to lead to
imprisonment or death. The populace, in frantic
dread of the approaching invasion, began to treat all
foreigners as Jacobins or spies. Departure from
Naples was the only chance of safety. This might
have been accomplished easily a few days before, but
now access to the shipping is cut off. The streets
are full of angry crowds, who block up all approaches
to the harbour, being determined to allow nobody
to embark. Several poor emigre families who were
endeavouring to escape, were seized and cast into
prison, and the packages containing their goods were
broken open and scattered. Some lost their lives;
the Eussian Consul received a mortal wound and
a royal courier was massacred on that occasion.
The Portugese Admiral, who was an old friend of
Admiral de Mazenod, Eugene's uncle, had made
arrangements for the reception on board his ship of
the De Mazenod family. A few sailors were sent on
shore to aid in embarking their luggage. Eugene,
who had spent the previous night in packing up,
started at day-break in company of the armed band
of Portugese sailors, unaware of the tumult that had
been suddenly aroused in the city. The news of the
rapid approach of the Republican army had come BS5B
during the night, and the city awakened up in
terror. I Unexpectedly Eugene found himself in the
midst of a fierce multitude, f His way to the harbour lay through the square that fronted the royal
palace, where the crowd was thickest, and the excitement greatest. Eugene was then a youth of
seventeen, but he looked already the full-grown
man. A glance of his eyes revealed to him the full
extent of his danger, and in his heart he renewed
the prayer which he had made that morning before
setting out upon his way. Who can be so brave in
the hour of peril as those who feel that God is with
them ? Eugene had a something to preserve almost
as precious in his eyes as his own life; it was the
last remnant of the household goods of his family.
Modest in bulk, yet it contained many souvenirs, to
nearly every one of which was attached some special
value, j Some were sacred objects, holy vessels of the
altar, and vestments which had been in the use of
his venerable uncle. Some had a domestic sacred-
ness about them. They had come down as heirlooms
—as gifts made upon death beds, by the loving to
the beloved. Some were of a more homely character,
but their loss would impose grave privations, especially in their present straitened circumstances, on
the members of his family. § These Eugene was
resolved to preserve as a sacred deposit, even at the
risk of his life.    Some are born to sway crowds; k	
they have the gift of fascinating multitudes. Eugene
seemed to be possessed of some such gift on that
memorable day. Onward he continued to advance,
inspiring with confidence the few brave men who
carried his effects, though at every step death
stared them in the face. The door of the arsenal
was seen in the distance; he resolves to reach it
through the crowd. Fierce glances are bent upon
him, but no one dares to molest him. He arrives at
the arsenal gate. He speaks with authority to the
sentinel, and is allowed to pass in. He is saved!
That day the rumour had reached his father and his
uncle that he had been assassinated. Eugene's
presence, happily, dispelled their fears. His first
act was to go to the nearest church to give thanks
to God for his deliverance from danger, by assisting
at the Holy Mass. The next day a reaction set
in; the wild excitement that had agitated the population of Naplesr gave way to a stupor of despondency. The departure of the emigres was no longer
opposed by the people. The King and Queen and
royal children took refuge on board Lord Nelson's
ship, which immediately put to sea and sailed for Palermo. The following day the De Mazenod family
embarked for the same port, in the ship commanded
by the Count de Puys^gur, the Portuguese Admiral.
A violent gale suddenly sprang up. Fortunately
Eugene's party had not yet left the harbour.    But mm
I 1
the king and his suite were overtaken by the storm
on the high sea. Prince Albert, the king's youngest
son, died in the transit from fatigue. For several
days the Portuguese ship lay at anchor in the Bay,
waiting for the gale to subside. During this delay,
Eugene visited the shore to arrange some matters
which had been overlooked in the hurry of departure. In returning to the ship, an opportunity
was afforded him of giving proof of great personal
courage and physical prowess, by which probably
several lives, including his own, were saved. They
had scarcely put off from the shore, when their little
bark was caught in a hurricane. The night had
fallen, and it was pitch-dark The sailors gave
themselves up as lost. A poor woman who was
going to join her husband on board the ship, lay
paralysed with fear. Eugene alone retained his
presence of mind. Instinct in that perilous moment
served him in place of experience. He assumed the
command of the boat, and enforced obedience. His
voice was heard above the storm, encouraging the
crew to make those desperate efforts that were necessary for their safety. With great difficulty the
ship's side was reached. §The great frigate rolled
fearfully. The little boat threatened every moment
to disappear in the surf. With rope in hand, Eugene
sprang upon the bulwarks of the ship: the distance
he had to span in that leap was so great, that those OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
who witnessed it expected, in the instant, that he
would sink midway. Great was their surprise when
they saw him emerge from the spray in safety, and
proceed heroically to the rescue of the companions
of his danger. Palermo was reached on the Feast
of the Epiphany, 1799.
Eugene had now arrived, in appearance, though
not in years, at man's estate. In person he was
tall and well-proportioned. A manly beauty shone
in his countenance; his bearing was courtly, without being in any way effeminate. A great gentleness of manner, combined with a cheerful disposition,
graced his intercourse with those around him. He
was a close observer of men and things; in conversation he could pass, with easy transition, from the
great questions of religion and politics, which were
then agitating Europe, to the eloquent critique on
works of ancient and modern art. He had a rare
power of putting his soul into his words, especially
when virtue had to be defended, or the cause of the
poor and afflicted pleaded. We need not be surprised that he should become quickly the favourite
of that distinguished society, which was then assembled in Palermo, where the royal family of Naples
were holding their Court. He was in particular
relationship with the family of Prince Vintimelli,
with whom he was connected by ties of kindred.
The holy Princess Vintimelli desired very much that 32 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
her two sons, who were grown-up youths, should
be brought, as much as possible, into contact with
Eugene, to be benefited by the example of his extraordinary virtues. He had a second home in the
beautiful residence of the Prince Vintimelli. It was
there that he became the intimate companion and
friend of the unfortunate Duke de Berry, brother of
the martyr-king, Louis XVI., who was a frequent
visitor there, and who quickly entered into terms of
close friendship with Eugene. They frequently
made excursions together, during one of which
Eugene met with a severe accident, which became
the occasion of his receiving much kindness on the
young prince's part.
It required a virtue as solidly grounded as that of
Eugene, to resist the false charms and enticements
which the world put in his way at this period of his
life. He was possessed of those qualities which the
world would seek most for in its favourites,—rank,
beauty, a noble bearing, sparkling powers of
conversation, a winning fascination of manner,
ready wit, and the prospect of some day inheriting
great ancestral wealth. He might have become one
of its idols, had he so chosen. The paths to its
honors and pleasures were open to him. Tempters
were not absent, who brought all their powers to
bear on his young heart and imagination. Those
vices which are too often fostered in the atmosphere OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
of Courts, rose as a stumbling block in his way, but
they did not cause him to stumble. His heart ever
remained chaste and pure. It was tender to overflowing, and full. of loving sympathies, but it was
also as firm as a rock in resisting the torrent of evil.
The chastity of the young christian heart under
temptation, is a thing not of sentiment, but of faith.
0 yes, it is that faith which opens heaven and hell,
and the view of the judgment-seat of God, to the
eye of the young soul under temptation, which keeps
that soul chaste and pure. It is that faith which
reveals God's perfections to the gaze of the soul,
and fills it with the love of His eternal beauty,
that disenchants it from the spell of earthly fascination. His faith was Eugene's safeguard. Living
in the midst of a Court, assailed by the most seductive forms of temptation, sometimes having to battle
against special temptations, wickedly and designedly
put in his way to cause his fall, he allowed not the
innocence of his soul to be sullied.
The advent of Napoleon to power enabled the
emigres to return to their homes. Eugene is again
in his native town, Aix, surrounded by the members of his family. The death of his father, who
died in the sentiments of a devout and humble christian, placed him at the head of his house. From the
straitened circumstances of his exile, he passed to
the sudden possession of great wealth, on the restoration of their estates to his family; but this made
no change in the simple and austere habits of his
life. It afforded him but greater opportunities of
doing good to others. An ample field for the exercise of his charity lay before him. The victims of
the revolutionary tempest were craving on every
side for help. Crowds of homeless wandering poor
were to be met everywhere.! The widows and
orphans of those who had fallen in the recent wars
were, in most cases, left to their own resources. The
prisons were full. 1 The sight of all this misery
deeply affected the compassionate heart of young De Mazenod; he laboured with all his might to
render aid to the suffering poor of his native city.
His deepest compassion was excited by the wretched
condition of the unhappy prisoners, who had to bear
the two-fold torments of close confinement and insufficient food. Their rations consisted almost entirely of black bread. Eugene took a leading part
in a society formed for their relief. .He himself had
recently passed through the privations of a long
exile, and learnt thereby to sympathize with those
who were there, under his eyes, suffering from cold
and hunger within their blank prison walls. Several
times every week he visited these poor captives in
their cells, distributing with his own hands portions
of bread and meat to each, and supplying to those of
delicate health such food as their condition needed.
There was a charm in his manner that consoled and
cheered them, more than any gift of his, by itself,
could do. But his enlightened charity aimed more
at benefiting their souls than their bodies. He discovered among them many who were steeped in
ignorance of the principal truths of religion. These
he would come, day after day, to instruct. When
he heard of a poor prisoner being condemned to
death, he would seek access to him, and endeavour to dispose him to repentance and for the voluntary sacrifice of his life, by his exhortations and
prayers, especially during the night preceding the 36 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
poor prisoner's execution,   which he would spend
with him in his cell. ^^^^^^8 - ^S^ §
1 Some years of Eugene's early manhood, after his
return from exile, were spent in the discharge of
these works of devoted charity, ft But his soul
sighed for a higher form of promoting the divine
glory and of doing good to others, especially to the
poor and the spiritually abandoned. The temporal
desolation which the Eevolution left in its wake,
was a small evil to his glance of strong faith, when
compared to the spiritual wilderness which it produced on its track. The faithful clergy had been
sent en masse either to the scaffold or into exile.
Those who managed to conceal themselves were few
in number, and broken down by privations. Jj The
spiritual abandonment, especially of the poor in
country places, was appalling. In sight of these
evils, the desire of renouncing the world and of entering the priesthood, to devote himself to the salvation of souls, which had been so long stirring within
his breast, now became irresistible. There was
much to keep him then in the world, ft The charms
of a holy and happy home, which had special attractions for one with a heart so warm in its affections
as his ; his duties as the head of his house, and as
the last male representative of the elder branch of
the De Mazenods; the brilliant worldly career which
seemed to lie before him; the prospect of the good rMH
he might do as a devout layman in the world. All
these obstacles to his vocation yielded to the voice
which spoke within his heart, saying, " Follow thou
In the lives of holy personages, we may remark
how strikingly God watches over their journeying
forwards en the path of their special call. How, at
critical and decisive moments, He comes marvellously
to their help. How He sends to the individual soul,
at the very moment she needs it, her guide, her prophet, her apostle. Thus saints become the precursors of saints. Such was Elias to Eliseus; such was
Paul to Timothy; such was Ignatius to Xavier.
We have seen, already, how a holy priest rose up
upon the path of young De Mazenod, when in exile
at Venice, sent on his way by God, to plant the first
seeds of the priestly calling in his soul, and to foster their growth by the light and warmth of his teaching and example. Eugene was then a mere youth.
Tears had to elapse before it was permitted to him
to approach the threshold of the sanctuary. He has
now arrived at man's estate; a great future is before
him. If we lift the curtain of that future, we shall
behold, appearing on the scene, the zealous missionary—the holy Founder, in the Church,  of a new society of apostolic men—the great Bishop of the oldest Christian city in France. All these he will one
day become. In his soul, in his mind and heart,
there were aptitudes for every single phase and development of his triple calling. But the skilful
hand was needed to mould them on the perfect
priestly type, and to fit them for the great works
which he was called to accomplish. At that time
there was in France a man providentially raised
up by the hand of God, as another Noah, whose
ark, during § the revolutionary tempest, was to
ride upon the waters of the deluge, laden with the
germs of the priestly life, for the bringing forth of
new generations of learned and holy priests in his
country, after the floods had subsided. The venerable Abb£ Emery, the worthy successor of M. Olier,
and the faithful disciple of his virtues, was then
Superior of St. Sulpice. He was an intrepid confessor of the faith; he suffered imprisonment, and
was condemned to be guillotined, but escaped death
by a sort of miracle. But he was to exhibit no less
courage and firmness in opposing the daring encroachments of Napoleon upon the liberties of the
Church. One day, during his contest with the
saintly Pius VII., the Emperor sent for M. Emery,
and asked, in a tone of furious anger, I What is the
Pope ? " " Sire," he replied, 11 can hold no other
opinion on that point than that which is contained fl
in the catechism, taught by your Majesty's orders
in all the churches of France: l The Pope is the
Head of the Church, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to
whom all christians owe obedience.' j Can a body
exist without its head, without Him to whom, by
Divine right, it owes obedience?" "Well," rejoined the Emperor, 11 grant the spiritual power;
but the temporal power was given to the Pope by
Charlemagne, and I, as Charlemagne's successor,
feel bound to take it back from him, because he does
not know how to use it, and it hinders him in the
discharge of his spiritual functions." Emery was
prepared for this attack, j Tour Majesty," he said,
I knows the great Bossuet, and Bossuet, Sire, speaks
thus: I We are all aware that the Eoman Pontiffs
and the priestly order have received, by the grant of
kings, and do lawfully hold, property, rights, and
principalities, as other men do, on very good titles.
We know that these possessions, inasmuch as they
are dedicated to God, should be sacred, and that no
one can, without sacrilege, invade or seize them, or
give them away to seculars. To the Apostolic See
has been given the Sovereignty of the City of Eome,
and of other possessions, that the Holy See may,
more freely and securely, exercise its power throughout the whole world. On this we sincerely congratulate, not only the Apostolic See, but also the
Universal Church; and we pray, with all the fer- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
vour of our heart, that this sacred principle may
remain safe and untouched.' " Napoleon then broke
off the conference. The Emperor afterwards said:
"The Abb£ Emery spoke as a man who is thoroughly
master of his subject. I like to be talked to in that
way."—(Darras' History of the Church.)
United to this firmness, which was unmoved under the frown of princes and under the shadow of
the scaffold, in M. Emery we find a deep and tender piety, a most ardent love of Jesus Christ,
especially in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, a
child-like devotion to the Blessed Virgin, a zeal for
religious discipline and exactitude, and also for the
sanctification of souls, but especially for the sancti-
fication of the clergy. Such was the spiritual master
and guide which a special and loving Providence
ordained for Eugene de Mazenod, as he approached
the holy mountain of God, in following His call to
the priestly state. The virtues and the spirit of the
saintly Emery seemed to run, like liquid gold, into
the mind and heart and bearing of young De Mazenod, in whose life they will often appear again in
bright traits of priestly, and religious, and episcopal perfection, ^^^^^^rk'^^d  'dr-^A. ' ftMfl^Hf
During the years which he spent in the seminary
of St. Sulpice, he was privileged by being admitted,
from the beginning, to the intimate friendship and
confidence of the venerable M. Emery, who was then 42   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
approaching his eightieth year. | He was daily invited to M. Emery's room, and he frequently enjoyed
the advantage of his intimate conversation. Considering the burning questions that were then agitating Europe, and France especially, of the right
solution of many of which M. Emery held the key,
such conversations must have been most profitable
in forming the ecclesiastical mind of De Mazenod.
He had been but a short time promoted to deacons'
orders, when he was to be deprived of his spiritual
father and friend. The good fight had been fought,
and the faith had been kept, even in prison and under chains, and God was about to call His faithful
servant to Himself, to give him the crown of glory
he so well merited. M. Emery may be said to have
died in the arms of the Abb£ de Mazenod, who was
his constant attendant during his last illness. After
his death, the Abb£ de Mazenod wrote in the following terms, to his mother, of the last illness and
death of his spiritual father and friend:—      J?
I If you read the public journals, you will not be surprised
at my prolonged silence. We have lost our venerable Superior. During his last illness, all my time was employed in
waiting upon him; and, after his death, which we all feel
most deeply, the carrying out of the funeral arrangements
devolved chiefly on me, To give you a true idea of the
virtue of M. Emery, I should have to borrow the tongues of
all men of merit to whom he was known. His death is one
of the greatest calamities which could befall the Church in
France, in tbe present critical times.   He was the only bond
r^-"1 of union capable of holding together the divided spirits of
these sad times. All parties respected him, and acknowledged tbe sway of his undisputed merits. The Emperor
himself was silent in his presence. He was one of those
noble spirits—alas ! so rare in our days—who could not betray a duty, nor forsake a right principle. At the same
time he possessed, in a supreme degree, the gift of conciliating all parties. He was, in a word, such a man as the
Church most needed among her defenders in tbe present
crisis. But God, who would have us feel that it is on Himself alone we should place our confidence, has taken from us
one who seemed to be our last resource. May His holy will
be in all things accomplished! I shall never forget the example of priestly vigour and energy which he gave us up to
the last. He yielded only when the approach of death laid
him prostrate. It was impossible to prevent him from saying
tbe Divine Offi.ce on his sick bed. As his end approached, he
insisted on saying the Holy Mass once more before he died.
It was a touching sight to behold that venerable priest, who
was close upon his eightieth year, supported by two assistants, slowly advancing to the altar, thereon to offer the
sacrifice of his life to the Lamb that he, with trembling
bands, was about to immolate. It was my happiness to
serve that last Mass. Deeply was I moved in witnessing
this holy priest, who was almost in the agony of death,
celebrating the sacred mysteries. Tbe impressions then
produced will remain ever indelible in my breast." 44   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
After his ordination as priest, his distinguished
merits opened to him the path of early preferment,
but it was not for the sake of the honours of the
sanctuary that he quitted those of the world. During
the years of his seminary life, he had. constantly before his mind the motive which had induced him to
abandon the world, and to embrace the ecclesiastical
state—that of spending himself in labours for the
souls of the poor and the spiritually destitute. The
prisoners of Aix, his native town, where, as a layman, he had exercised already a true apostleship of
zeal, came first before his mind. 1 After his ordination, he felt a burning desire to labour among
those poor prisoners. His ecclesiastical superiors
willingly seconded his zealous wishes. Though not
officially named Chaplain of the prison, he performed all the duties attached to that office. He
felt moved by an interior impulse to seek occasions
of accompanying criminals to the scaffold, and marvellous were the fruits of his courageous and pious
zeal in this doleful ministry.   Hardened hearts were
softened by his words to repentance, and many died
craving for mercy, who, had it not been for his
charitable endeavours in their behalf, would have
died in their despair. At that time a large number
of Austrian prisoners of war arrived at Aix. Shortly
after their arrival, a fearful plague broke out in their
midst; their chaplain, their physician, and the
military officer in charge of them, were carried off
amongst the first victims of this dreadful malady.
The Abb^ de Mazenod hastened to offer his services
to those poor, plague-stricken prisoners. The civil
authorities were slow to accept this generous offer,
being unwilling to expose a life so precious as his
to so grave a danger; for in the eyes of the public it
was looked' upon as certain death for any one to
enter into the plague-stricken circle where those
poor prisoners lay. But he was not to be deterred
by such fears; looking on it as a privilege to be
coveted, were God so to will it, to die on such a
battle-field of priestly devotedness. He was not long
permitted to discharge his ministry of zeal amongst
the victims of the plague, when the dread malady
seized upon himself. Finding himself attacked, as
he thought mortally, before taking to his bed, he
went for the last time, as it seemed to him, to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and to offer
himself as a victim to God, in union with the Divine
Victim of the altar.    When it was known that the wm
£AH     f   y
fl ;]-]
Abb£ de Mazenod was lying amongst the victims of
the plague, a deep and universal sorrow spread
amongst the inhabitants of Aix. The churches were
filled with devout crowds, imploring of God the
favour of his recovery. The last sacraments had
been administered to him, and he sank into unconsciousness, and it seemed that his death could not
be long delayed. But God was moved by the
earnest prayers offered for his recovery, and a
favourable crisis put an end to the anxious fears
felt for his life..
On his recovery he felt, in his gratitude to God,
still more than ever called to devote himself to the
work of promoting the divine glory, and of labouring for the salvation of souls. At Aix he found
himself surrounded by young men of the upper
classes. The example of his sacrifices, the fervour
of his exhortations, and the sway of his personal influence, drew them around him, and attached them
to him in filial reverence and submission. Availing
himself of the favourable dispositions on their part,
he formed them into a society entitled, " La Congregation de la Jeunesse Chr&tienne." This society
became thoroughly imbued with the spirit of its
holy founder; consisting, as it did, of young men
belonging to the first families of Aix, the edification
given by those who composed it was the more impressive.    Many came forth from it to shed the
lustre of high christian virtue on their various paths
of life. This association presented many vocations
to the priesthood, and some of the first missionary
companions of Father de Mazenod were drawn from
its ranks.
But the evangelizing of the rich was not the mission that he was to choose as the work of his predilection ; his heart was set upon labouring among
the poor. Those splendid gifts of mind and utterance and of personal prestige which he possessed,
were not to be employed in drawing around him
fashionable crowds in favoured localities, but they
were to be lavished amidst the poor in the villages
of Provence, or amongst the working classes in the
slums of great cities. "He has sent me to preach
the gospel to the poor," was his chosen motto.
But he aimed at doing a greater good than could be
accomplished by his individual efforts. Association
with kindred spirits became a necessity, in his mind,
for the evangelizing of the masses of the poor, on
the scale which his ardent zeal suggested to him.
He looked around him for those who would be fit
and willing to join in his undertaking; he prayed
much for light and assistance from God in this most
important matter—the selection of the first companions of his labours. He felt that the missionaries
should be not only men of action, but men of prayer,
in order to walk worthily in the footsteps of the 48 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Apostles, and gain souls to Jesus Christ. He felt
that, if the missionaries were to sanctify themselves
whilst working for others,-feast the exhaustive labours of the missionary life should be preceded and
followed by fitting intervals of community life, with
its circle of religious exercises, its practice of obedience and humility, and its opportunities for sacred
studies and quiet reflection. His first aim was to
bring around him men gifted with a spirit of interior
piety—lovers of solitude and retirement, but ready,
for the good of souls, to go forth at the call of obedience into the midst of the crowd, yea, to the ends
of the earth, if the saving of souls demanded it. He
found little difficulty in bringing to his side helpers
in his missionary works, but he had not yet found
that man of God who would be his second self in the
foundation of the work to which the Divine spirit
was leading him. God is not slow in seconding the
designs of those who labour with a pure intention
for His glory. At that time, the recollection of a
young priest, the Abb£ Tempier, with whom Father
de Mazenod had formed an acquaintance when both
were pursuing their studies at St. Sulpice, and
whom he esteemed very much for his great piety,
rare prudence, learning, modesty, and spirit of
regularity, came vividly before his mind. An interior yoice seemed to say to his soul: I This is he
after whom you have been seeking as the associate OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
of your undertaking." Presently, after an invocation of the Holy Spirit, he sat down and wrote to
the Abb^ Tempier, who was then at Aries, the following impressive and beautiful letter:—
"Aix, October 9th, 1815.
"My Dear Friend,
1 Eead this letter at the foot of your Crucifix, with
tbe intention of listening to the voice of God alone, and of
considering only what the interests of His glory, and the
salvation of souls, demand of you. Impose silence in your
soul on all cravings of the natural man for the goods of this
life; renounce all seeking for your own ease and convenience ; reflect seriously on the spiritual destitution of our
poor, especially in rural districts; consider how great the
number of those is, who have already fallen away from the
faith, and what multitudes are now exposed to a like danger. Irreligion and apostacy are making a frightful havoc
of souls in our midst, and little is being done to impede the
progress of such' evils. Question your own heart, and ask
yourself what sacrifice are you prepared to make, in order to
take your part in the remedying of these disasters, and then
answer my letter without delay.
"In truth, my dear friend, and I will speak to you
plainly, you are necessary for the work which I feel the
Lord has inspired me to undertake. The Head of the
Church is firmly of the opinion, that in the present deplorable state of France, missions alone can bring the people
back to the faith which they have actually abandoned.
And the views of the Supreme Pastor are fully borne out by
all that we know of the spiritual desolation of different
dioceses. I am profoundly convinced, that in missions lies
the remedy for this deplorable state of things. Full of this
conviction, and placing entire reliance on God, I have undertaken to found in this diocese a house of missionaries, who, 50   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
giving the example of a truly sacerdotal spirit, will endeavour
unceasingly to destroy the empire of Satan, and draw souls
to God, by their labours amongst the poor, especially in
rural districts. We shall live together in a house which I
Lave purchased, according to a rule which we shall unanimously adopt. We shall be happy in this holy society,
which will have but one heart and one soul. One part of
the year will be employed in the conversion of souls, and
the other in retreat, study, and our own sanctification. I
shall say no more to you about it just now. This is enough
to give you a foretaste of the spiritual pleasures we shall
enjoy together. If, as I hope, you^w-ill become one of us,
you will not find yourself in an unknown land. You will
have four companions. As yet we are not more numerous,
for we wish to choose men who have the will and the
courage to tread in the footsteps of the Apostles. We must
begin by laying solid foundations. We must introduce and
establish the greatest regularity in the house, as soon as we
enter it ourselves. And this is the precise reason why you
are so necessary for me, for I know you have the courage to
embrace, and the steadfastness to follow out, a life of strict
religious observance. When I receive your reply, I will
give you all the details you may wish for. But in the meantime, my dear friend, I would entreat you not to demur
taking part in this good work, which is one of the greatest
we could undertake for the interests of God's Holy Church.
It will be easy to find somebody to take your place in the
post you now occupy. But it is not easy for me to find men
who wish to devote and consecrate themselves to the glory
of God, and the salvation of souls, without any reward upon
earth; but with the certain prospect before them of much
fatigue, and of many of those trials and contradictions which
our Lord predicted would be tbe lot of His true disciples.
Your refusal would be exceedingly detrimental to our rising
work. I speak with sincerity and reflection. Y^our modesty
will suffer, but no matter.   I will even add, that, if I thought OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
it necessary to go to Aries, in order to determine you, I
would do so at once. Everything depends upon our beginning well; on our being of one mind, and united in devoted-
ness. With you at my side, this.will be possible. Lose no
time, then, in sending me an affirmative answer, and I shall
be satisfied.
" Adieu, my beloved Brother."
To the foregoing letter the following reply was
forwarded by the Abb£ Tempier :—
"Sir, and very dear Brother,
" May God be blessed for having inspired you with
the design of establishing a house of missionaries, to preach
the gospel to the poor, especially to those poor people who,
living in remote country districts, are most destitute of
spiritual aids. I assure you, my very dear brother, that I
completely share your views. Far from needing your pressing entreaties to join in a work so much in harmony with
my own wishes, had I been acquainted with your plans, I
would have been the first to beg admission into your society.
Accept my humble thanks for judging me worthy to be your
fellow-labourer in the work of promoting the glory of God,
and the salvation of souls. It is true I do not possess the
gift of eloquence necessary for a missionary; but alius sic—
alius autem sic. What I may not be able to effect by
eloquent sermons, I will try to make up for by catechetical
instructions and familiar discourses, by my labours in the
tribunal of penance, and by such humble works of zeal for
establishing the reign of Jesus Christ in souls, as may come
within my reach. I shall find nothing low or painful in any
humble or laborious function of the missionary life. In the
meantime, practice will make me more familiar with the
duties of the holy ministry than I am at present. Moreover, I clearly see what you wish to find in those you choose
as your fellow-labourers.    You want priests who, as our 52 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Father Director in the Seminary used to say, i Do not follow
the ordinary humdrum of routine \—priests who are willing
to walk in the footsteps of tbe Apostles, and to labour for
the salvation of souls, without expecting any return on this
earth, but much toil and hardship. By God's grace, I feel
in myself this desire; or if I feel it not, I eagerly wish to do
so. I am sure, with your help, everything will become, easy
to me ; so you may fully reckon upon my good will and cooperation.
1 Good-bye, very dear Brother.
BE 8 B3: 1BBE "Tempier."
Father de Mazenod wrote again in these terms :—
I May God be blessed, my very dear Brother, for the holy
dispositions which He has awakened in your heart. You
cannot believe what joy I felt on reading your letter. I
opened it with some anxiety, but was soon consoled. I
assure you, that I consider it most important for the work
of God, that you be one of us. I depend more on you than
on myself, for the fervour and regularity of a community
which, in my ideas and hopes, will imitate the perfection of
the first disciples of the Apostles. I rest my hopes more
firmly upon that than upon grand sermons. Have grand
sermons ever converted anybody ? Oh, how well, with
God's blessing, you will perform your part in this important
affair! Why are you not near me, in order that I might
press you to my heart ? How sweet are the bonds of perfect charity! Humble yourself as much as you like, but
nevertheless know that you are necessary for the work of the
missions. I speak to you before God and with sincerity. If
we only wanted to go and preach the word of God in an offhand way, to go through the country with the view, if you
like, of gaining souls to God, but without taking much
trouble to become ourselves interior men—truly apostolic
men, I think it would not be hard to find some one instead
of you.    But can you believe that I want people of that
stamp ? We must simply be saints ourselves. This word
comprises everything. The second reason why I look upon
your resolution of joining us as a gift from heaven, is the
need we have of a priest who thinks, as you do, regarding
the interior of our community. -1 am so sure we shall
always understand one another, that I am not afraid to make
a promise of never thinking differently from you on anything relating to the interior life, and to the obligations of
the priestly calling, which are more comprehensive than
they are generally supposed to be. We will draw up together, when we meet, our regulations, and take mutual
counsel with one another regarding all that God may inspire
us to do, for our own sanctification, and the good of our
1 Good-bye, my very dear and good Brother. I embrace
you from my heart, and long for the happy moment of our
" Eugene de Mazenod."
To this letter the Abb£ Tempier wrote the following reply:—
"Arles, December 20th, 1815.
"Holy Friend and true Brother,
" I cannot tell you how much you have done for
my salvation. You are truly the dearest friend of my heart.
I loved you before, and had a special esteem for you ; but
since you have fixed your eyes upon me with the intention
of associating me with yourself, in your apostolic labours,
and of making me a sharer in the fruits of holiness, which
we shall find in our dear congregation, I have no words to
express my sentiments in your regard. May God be praised
for all that he has inspired you to do for me. I would beg
of you, however, to moderate the too good opinion you have
formed of me, and not to think me so necessary for the work
you have undertaken, as you are pleased to say I am.    You 54   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
may find yourself disappointed, when you are in a position
to form a true judgment of me. You will soon see that if I
have a certain amount of good will, I have little else beside.
I am determined to leave for Aix on the day after Christmas, with the firm resolution of not returning to Aries.
" Good-bye, my very dear and good Brother, let us pray
earnestly to the Lord that He may bless our undertaking, if
it be conformable to His will.
" Tempier."
H On the feast of St. John the Evangelist, 1815,
Father Tempier arrived in Aix, and became the
humble and loving disciple of Father de Mazenod.
This spiritual relationship continued unbroken, un-
chilled, and unclouded, for a period extending over
forty-five years. A few weeks elapsed after the
meeting of the two holy friends, before their plans
were ripe for execution. They saw one another
every day, and, we might add, all day long. They
mutually encouraged and comforted each other, and
prepared themselves for that great act which, according to God's intention, was to give birth to a new
religious family in His Church. Father de Mazenod
had already purchased a residence for his future
community. It was an old Carmelite Convent, from
which the daughters of St. Teresa had been driven
forth in the time of the revolution, and which had
since then been in secular hands. He felt happy in
being the instrument, in God's hands, of re-awakening within those holy cloisters the chant of the OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY. 55
divine praises,  after so many years of sorrowful
On the 25th of January, 1816, Father de Mazenod, Father Tempier, Father Mye, and two others,
assembled together for the first time in community,
the requisite diocesan sanction being obtained. The
new Congregation was then founded. A Superior
had to be chosen. His companions at once named
Father de Mazenod to that office. In his humility,
he refused its title and functions. He suggested
that they should spend some days in fasting
and praying, and then proceed to the regular
nomination of a Superior. This being done, the
choice again falling upon him, he at last consented
to accept the office of Superior, but with the express condition that he himself might be allowed to
practice obedience under the direction of Father
Every christian virtue flourished in the new community r the members of which rivalled one another
in the ardent love of God, and in heroic charity for
their neighbour. They were all of one mind and
one heart. The fragrance of their virtues went
abroad, and other disciples came to range themselves
under the guidance of Father de Mazenod. He
possessed an extraordinary power of moulding souls
upon his own type. There was a holy fascination
in his manner which few could resist. He had the
facility of setting hearts on fire with the purest
flames of holy love, simply by his* ordinary conversation. This came from his vivid faith. It was his
habit to speak of the mysteries of faith, as if they
were not mysteries, but things that he saw and
touched and handled. The brightness of his faith
was ever acting ojo. the tenderness of his heart,
hence the copiousness of his weeping at the foot of
the altar, which frequently overtook him whilst celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of Christ's Body and
Blood, or whilst officiating at Exposition or Pro- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
cession of the Blessed Sacrament. The writer of
these lines once saw him, when Bishop of Marseilles,
in presence of the Blessed Sacrament, kneeling before the high altar of the cathedral of that city; his
face was flushed with emotion, and the great tears
chased one another down his venerable cheeks.
The occasion was the opening of a novena of prayer
for the conversion of England. After the ceremony
we ventured to ask the holy prelate the cause of his
emotion. " My child," the good bishop replied, " I
could not help weeping when I thought of England,
once so Catholic, once the island of saints, but now
overrun with all manner of heresies." These manifestations of vivid faith, and of a piety tender and
vehement at the same time, were frequent occurrences in his priestly and episcopal life. Cardinal
Giraud, Archbishop of Cambrai, who was a cleric in
minor orders at Amiens, when Father de Mazenod
was ordained priest in the cathedral of that city,
and who, the next morning, served his first Mass,
thus describes in a conversation he held with
Monsigneur Jeancard, shortly after Monsigneur de
Mazenod's death, the impression produced on him
by what he witnessed on that occasion: 1 Father
de Mazenod, turning to those who were then present
to ask their prayers before beginning his first Mass,
was carried away by an outburst of faith and fervour, to utter words that astonished all present, and 58    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
brought tears to every eye. I never heard such a
discourse; I never witnessed anything like the
effect produced by it. The emotion was general,
and I was overcome like the others. We were all
in tears, i His words seemed to raise us out of ourselves, and above things of earth, and to transport
us to some region all on fire with the love of God.
The furnace of his own loving heart seemed to communicate its flames to our breasts. What lofty ideas
of the priesthood, of the sacrifice of the altar, and of
the mission upon which he was entering, did he not
then impart to us: what eloquence vibrated in his impassioned words ! No, it was not eloquence simply;
it was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that came
rushing on as an impetuous torrent, flooding our
souls with the love of God. Forty years have since
passed away, and the remembrance of that fervid
discourse is still fresh within my breast. I shall
never forget it." As a priest, Father de Mazenod
never administered Baptism without shedding tears,
when the moment for conferring that sacrament
arrived. Afterwards, as a bishop, in administering
the Sacrament of Holy Orders, when the moment
came for conferring the priestly character on those
who were to be ordained, he found it often impossible to control his sighs and tears, so affected was
he by a lively sense of the sublime function he was
There was a startling energy in his utterances
when denouncing vice, even in ordinary conversation. Impressed, as he habitually was, with a
sense of the infinite perfections of God, he felt in
the keenest way any failing in reverence in holy
places; and still more, any grievous violation of
God's law that came under his notice. In his sermons there was an absence of empty enthusiasm and
effervescence, but there was an earnestness of conviction in every word he said, which kindled, as he
went along, into a sort of prophet-like power of
speech, which in turn smote with fear, awakened
tenderest hope, and excited to a heroic love of God.
He seemed ever to live for those around him, and
not for himself merely. The young novice, approaching him for the first time, was often amazed
to find how quickly he was understood and sympathized with, and how he had found a father's kindly
care, and a mother's tender fondness, in his new
Superior. This came from a special gift, which the
venerable founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate
had received from God, to fit him for that patriarchal office which he was to exercise in holy Church,
as the founder of a new family of missionaries, who
were to go forth to the ends of the earth, bearing
the tidings of salvation to many sitting in darkness,
and in the shadow of death. One day the holy
founder expressed himself to the writer thus:  " God 60   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
has conferred on the founders of religious orders
special gifts to fit them for their special works. St.
Ignatius, St. Philip Neri, the blessed Liguori, had
each his own peculiar and appropriate gift. The
gift, my son, which God I feel has conferred upon
me, unworthy though I am to be named with those
great servants of His, is that of the love of a mother
for her children." But there was no weakness in
the tenderness of his love for his spiritual sons. His
aim was to make them truly apostolic men, and
missionaries of the poor. This end he sought to
accomplish first by his own example. In him
they saw one who had trampled the world under
foot, at a moment when some of its highest dignities
and emoluments, and of its most captivating pleasures were within his reach, to give himself to an
austere and humble mode of life, and to the work of
a laborious and obscure ministry. His fasts were
frequent; several times in the week he used the
discipline; his brief sleep was taken upon a hard
bed; his meals were of the simplest and most
frugal kind. Looking on himself as the servant of
the poor, he would imitate the poor, as far as priestly
propriety would allow, in the manner of his attire.
His cassock was often threadbare, and sometimes
patched with his own hands, but always perfectly
clean and without a speck. The length and fervour
of his prayers, and his profound and loving rever- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
ence whei* in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament,
afforded a grand lesson of practical piety to all who
had the privilege of dwelling with him under the
same roof. The first, himself, at eyery spiritual
exercise, he stimulated all round him to regularity
and fervour in keeping the appointed hours of community worship. His zeal was unbounded for the
sanctification of his first companions. Several times
every week he addressed spiritual conferences to the
members of his new community. He would speak
to them so strikingly, as often to move them to tears,
of the necessity of imitating Jesus Christ in his life
of obedience and humility, silence and prayer, in
the obscurity of Nazareth, in order afterwards to go
forth as his disciples, to save souls with Him. The
holy Founder spared not the reprimand or reproach
when he deemed such to be needed. A simple irreverence in the divine worship, some want of punctuality in the performance of religious exercises, or
some negligence in keeping the rules of the community, would draw from his lips expressions of
reproof so severe and stern, that one would be disposed to tax them with exaggeration, who took not
into account the burning zeal of Father de Mazenod
for the perfection of those whom God had intrusted
•to his care. He possessed a marvellous tact in discovering the secret virtues and the hidden weaknesses of his subjects.   The latter, with resolute yet 62   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
gentle hand, he would seek to weed out, in order to
give full play to the growth of the former. No
amount of good dispositions, or brilliancy of talents,
would cause him to shut his eyes to a real defect in
a member of his community, no matter what it
would cost his own feelings, or what pain it would
cause to somebody very dear to him; he would not
rest until the evil was amputated, and the defect
torn up by the root.
Two short months of holy community-life had
barely elapsed when Fathers de Mazenod and Tempier felt mutually drawn, by the Spirit of God, to
perform an act which would bind them still more to
the divine service, and place them in a state of holy
dependence upon one another. On the night of
Holy Thursday, 1816, which these two devoted
priests spent together in adoration before the Altar
of Eepose, after hours passed in prayer, each knelt
before the other, and pronounced the vow of obedience one to the other. They united this act of self-
immolation with the mystery of Calvary, which they
were then commemorating. This was an act of
private devotion on the part of Fathers de Mazenod
and Tempier, of which the other members of the
community at Aix were not cognizant.
The first mission given by the newly-formed community of Aix, opened at Grans on February 11th,
and closed on March 17th.    It produced an abuu- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
dant harvest of souls. Two years well nigh elapsed,
during which Father de Mazenod, and his little body
of missionaries, laboured with extraordinary fruits
of benediction in different towns and hamlets of
Provence. Their numbers had already considerably
increased. A second house had been founded,
Notre Dame de Laus, in the diocese of Gap. Father
de Mazenod felt that the time had come to give a
more definite form to his work, and to prepare a
code of constitutions and rules for the new society.
Hitherto he had confined himself to the establishing
of general regulations, whilst waiting for the acquiring of further experience, and additional light
from God, to complete his work. Now he feels the
time has come to put his undertaking into definite
shape, and to draw up the final rules for the government and mode of life of the members of his
One of the family estates of Father de Mazenod
was situated at St. Laurent de Verdon, a hamlet in
the department of the Lower Alps. On it stood an
ancient Chateau, the favorite resort of the De Maz-
enods in former times, when they sought repose
from official labours in the silent woods in which it
was embedded, and amidst the noble mountain
scenery by which it was surrounded. It was to this
spot, so favorable to quiet contemplation and retirement, that Father de Mazenod came to draw up the 64 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
constitutions and rules of his new institute. He
sought for a spot where he could reflect and pray
much, without being distracted by missionary works
or the concourse of visitors, whilst occupied with
the important task he had laid before himself. His
companions were Father Moureau and Father
Susanne. His venerable mother, Madame de Mazenod, knowing for what object her holy son was
going to St. Laurent de Verdon, begged that she
also might be allowed to accompany him. This
truly christian mother deserves a special notice in
this biographical sketch. The great virtues of
Eugene de Mazenod, which ripened with his years
into heroic deeds, were in a large measure, under
God, the result of her training and of her example.
Instead of throwing obstacles in the way of her
son's vocation, as too many weak-minded and selfish
mothers in similar cases would have done, .she, on
the contrary, did everything she could to aid and encourage her son in accomplishing the sacrifice which
God demanded of him. He revered her, not merely
as his mother, but as a great servant of God, and
sought her counsel and her prayers somewhat as
we may believe St. Augustine did those of St. Monica.
Madame de Mazenod took with her, as a companion
on that occasion, to St. Laurent de Verdon, an aged
lady friend—the Marquise de Eequsse.
The Chateau of St. Laurent became for the time OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
a holy solitude. Its inmates held no communication
with the external world: no visits were made or
received. A rule of life drawn up by Father de
Mazenod was strictly followed by all. At an early
hour, all rose and engaged in mental prayer. A
great part of the day was given to silence and private devotion. Everybody seemed anxious to draw
down, by fervent and prolonged prayers, the blessings of the Holy Spirit on the work of Father de
Mazenod. The venerable founder himself redoubled
his prayers and austerities for the same object. Two
months were thus spent at St. Laurent de Verdon.
It was during that time that Father de Mazenod
drew up the code of rules and constitutions of his
new congregation. Page after page of this holy
volume was written by him on his knees, with his
missionary cross placed before him, to serve, no
doubt, as his source of inspiration, and to suggest to
him the framing of such laws for the spiritual
government of the members of his society, as would
bring their lives most into conformity with the
image of Christ Jesus crucified, and would help
them to imitate this divine model in labouring for
the salvation of souls.
In the opening pages of the first chapter he treats
of the ends of the society, which he declares to be
the evangelizing of the poor; the direction of seminaries for the training of young ecclesiastics, and in 06   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
general the guidance of the young in the ways of
piety; and the giving of retreats to the clergy and
laity, in the houses of the society, or elsewhere. In
the second chapter he lays down regulations for the
giving of missions, which he declares to be the chief
means by which the society is to accomplish its end
of evangelizing the poor. In the third chapter he
enters minutely into the mode of government and
order of discipline, of the theological seminaries under the care of the Fathers of the society. In the
fourth chapter he treats of preaching and of the
administering of the sacraments; the direction of
youths; the visiting of prisons; the assisting of tbe
dying; the performing of the canonical hours; and
the public spiritual exercises to be held during the
year in the churches of the society. In the second
section, chapter the first, he treats of the vows of
poverty, chastity, obedience, and perseverance. In
the second chapter of the same section, he lays down
rules for the observance of silence, and of interior
recollection, for the proper distribution of the devotional exercises of the community, and also for the
practice of mortification, and for the community
meetings and conferences. In the third chapter of
this section, he speaks of the virtues which the
members of the society should chiefly practise, such
as charity, humility, and renouncement of the world.
He speaks also, in this chapter, of the reception of OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
the sacraments and spiritual direction, of the food
and raiment of the members of the society, of intercourse with the neighbour, and of journeys. In
the fourth chapter, second section, he lays down
rules for the care of the sick members of the society,
for the assistance of the dying, and for suffrages for
the dead. In the third section he treats of the
government of the society. There are special paragraphs in this section on the General Chapter, the
Superior-General, the Assistants, Provincials, Local
Superiors, and also on the noviciate; on the qualities candidates should have, to be admitted to the
novice-ship, and on the reception of lay-brothers.
This rapid analysis of the rules of the society of
the Oblates of Mary, will serve at least to make
manifest the character of the work undertaken by
its holy founder, during his seclusion in the Chateau
of St. Laurent de Verdon. His first aim, in the
drawing up of the rules of the new society, was to
provide for the sanctiflcation of its members I that
they, being made holy themselves, might the more
efficaciously labour for the sanctification of many.
No very great austerity is imposed by the letter of
these rules; at the same time, their spirit, if
thoroughly imbibed, will lead to the crucifixion of
the carnal man, and to a close imitation of the
penitential life of the servants of God in all ages.
Prayer, study, labour, the love of Jesus Christ, and 68 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
tender devotion to His Blessed Mother, are the
norma of the life of the true Oblate of Mary
Immaculate. Such was the ideal which rose, in the
vision of his prayer, to the mind of this new lawmaker, whom the Spirit of God led up as if to the
summit of another Sinai, there to reveal to him the
precepts of holiness, which he was to deliver to the
little band of chosen souls who had followed him
from Egypt into the desert. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
Father de Mazenod having completed the work
which he undertook in seeking the solitude of St.
Laurent de Verdon, returned to his community at
Aix, bearing with him the precious fruits of his reflection and prayer, in the code of rules which he
had completed. It was during the annual retreat,
which was to close on the Feast of All Saints, that
he communicated the knowledge of those rules to
his community. Every day during the retreat he
read a portion of the rules, and delivered, in burning words, a viva voce commentary on the portions
read, which wonderfully moved the hearts of his
devout hearers to receive them and observe them.
Self-immolation was the theme of those glowing improvisations. He showed them how the faithful
observance of the rules of life he proposed to them,
led to a mystical death to self and the world. He
urged them to become voluntary victims, and to
make of themselves holocausts on the altar of God's
holy will. A common desire sprang up within their
hearts in listening to the words of their still youth- 70   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
ful though, by virtue, most venerable Superior. It
was that of dying with him to the world, by the
perpetual consecration of themselves to God.
" Eamus et nos ut moriamur cum eoP " Let us also
go that we may die with him," was the sentiment
of their loving devotedness at the close of the
I On the morning of the Feast of All Saints, the 1st
of November, 1818, the whole community assisted
at the Mass of the Superior-General. Before the
communion, he addressed to the community a fervent
exhortation. ' He then made known that he had the
sanction of the Vicars-Capitular of the diocese of
Aix, to receive their vows. Prostrating himself
before the Blessed Sacrament, he pronounced aloud
the formula of his own vows. Father Tempier then
pronounced his vows, as also did Fathers Mye,
Courtes, and others. Another important layer is
now solidly placed on the foundations of the new
society, and we shall see it rise, tier upon tier, until
the summit of the edifice will be crowned by the
hand of Peter with its finishing stone. :y'd-^^$BMM
I A few days after the solemn ceremony of public
pronouncing of vows by the community, the work
of the missions was recommenced with new ardour.
The missionaries of Provence, as they were then
called, headed by their devoted Superior, Father
de Mazenod, went from town to town, and from
village to village, through many dioceses in the
South of France, sowing the seed of the divine word,
and always seeking, by preference, those places
where the poor most abounded, and where souls
were in the greatest spiritual destitution. In the
year 1820 a great mission was opened at Marseilles.
This mission was conducted by two bodies of missionaries. The missionaries of France, of whom
M. Forbin Janson, afterwards Bishop of Nancy, was
Superior; and the missionaries of Provence, under
Father de Mazenod. The evangelizing of the most
crowded and the poorest parishes of Marseilles fell,
to his great gratification, to the share of Father de
Mazenod and his missionaries. As the Prove^al
was the popular language of the poorer localities of
Marseilles, Father de Mazenod delivered all his discourses in that language, of which he was perfect
master. He gained complete sway over those fiery
and turbulent masses whom he had undertaken to
evangelize. They became quiet and tractable as
children under his guidance; ancient feuds were
forgotten; multitudes of men, who had spent the
greater part of their lives in the camp or on the
battle field, and who hadl never once for years
thought of God, were awakened up from their torpor by the inspired preaching of Father de Mazenod
and his companions. During the mission, the news
arrived in Marseilles of the assassination of the Due 72 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
de Berry. The inhabitants of the parishes evangelized by Father de Mazenod were intensely
royalist, and a popular outbreak was dreaded on
their part; but his influence was successful in calming them down. Several of the leading spirits
among them afterwards confessed, that it was the
influence alone of Father de Mazenod which checked
their projects of vengeance against that party at
Marseilles, whom they looked upon as being friendly
to the enemies of the unfortunate Due de Berry.
The labours of the missionaries of France were also
very successful. The mission closed with the planting of the mission cross: forty thousand persons
walked in procession at the ceremony, and Father
de Mazenod preached in ProvenQal at its close, from
a platform erected on the spot where the cross was
to be planted. This was the centre of the district
which he and his brethren had been evangelizing.
The pious enthusiasm of this vast multitude could
not be restrained, even by the solemnity of the occasion from manifesting itself by loud demonstrations,
so moved were all hearts by the kindling and holy
eloquence of the preacher. The cross, which was
then planted, stands erect to this day, and it has become a place of holy pilgrimage. I Shortly after the
mission, the first house of the Oblates of Mary
Immaculate was opened at Marseilles, and the site
selected for this new establishment was very appro- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
priate, for the mission cross stands in the front of
their house and church on the Place du Calvaire.
Father Forbin Janson and Father de Mazenod commenced a mutual friendship on the occasion of their
mission at Marseilles, which death only terminated.
The mission of Marseilles was followed at a short
interval by another great mission by Father de Mazenod, in the cathedral of Aix, with similar success.
His labours during the mission seemed superhuman,
but the ardour of his zeal for souls sweetened every
fatigue and privation that he had to endure in their
behalf. Ten years of active missionary life had now
elapsed. During this period new recruits offered
their services to Father de Mazenod, to be incorporated in his devoted little army of missionaries.
During a mission given by him and Father Susanne,
of holy memory, at Nice, a learned Professor of the
Diocesan Seminary of that city, Don Carlo Albini,
offered himself as a postulant to Father de Mazenod.
Father Albini bore already a reputation of extraordinary sanctity. He had been for a long time
secretly sighing for an opportunity of embracing
community life in some society, dedicated to the
conversion of sinners and the service of the poor.
Having an opportunity of studying closely Father
de Mazenod and his companions, whilst helping
them in hearing confessions during the mission, it
seemed to him that he had found all that he had 74   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
been wishing for so long. He was profoundly
edified both with the holy bearing and the apostolic
zeal exhibited by these servants of God, and he resolved to seek admission into their ranks. At first,
his bishop was greatly opposed to his designs, but
afterwards he consented to the sacrifice, hoping to
have, one day, a foundation of the missionaries of
Father de Mazenod in his diocese. Without suffering any delay to intervene, Father Albini prepared
to follow the divine call; so dead was he to the
world, that he came away without visiting his native
home, which was within a few miles of Nice, and
during the twenty years that he lived as an Oblate
of Mary Immaculate, he never sought the consolation of a visit to his early friends. He always endeavoured to conceal his great sanctity under the
veil of profound humility ; but, with all his efforts,
he could not hide it. At missions and elsewhere,
when people did not know his name, and wished to
speak of him, they designated him by the title of
I the saint." He died in the odour of sanctity, and
miracles are reported to have been worked at his
Shortly after Father Albini joined the new society
of missionaries of Provence, a young ecclesiastical
student offered himself as a postulant to Father de
Mazenod. His name was Guibert. The experienced
eye of the holy Superior quickly discovered in his OF TEE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
new postulant, signs of a marked vocation, and he
adfnitted him to the noviciate without hesitation.
Brother Guibert was destined to become one of the
lights of the new congregation of missionaries.
After his ordination to the priesthood, he was engaged for awhile in giving missions. Afterwards,
his rare prudence, great piety, and his disciplinary
spirit, marked him out as one eminently fitted for
the important office of master of novices. To this
post he was called by Father de Mazenod. Later
on he was appointed Superior of the Diocesan Ecclesiastical Seminary, founded in Ajaccio by the Oblates
of Mary, for the education of the young clergy of
Corsica, and which is still under their direction. He
was afterwards named Bishop of Viviers, and then
Archbishop of Tours, and he is at present Cardinal
Archbishop of Paris. Amidst all these successive
honours, this holy prelate still remains the humble
religious, and glories in his title of " Oblate of Mary
The ranks of the new society being considerably
increased, and fortified by the accession of such
subjects as Fathers Albini and Guibert, and many
others of the same saintly type, an interior voice
seemed to say to Father de Mazenod, that the time
had come for launching out the little bark, of which
he was the pilot, into deeper waters, and that he
should seek a place for his new society among the
recognized religious bodies in the church, by obtaining for its rules and constitutions the approbation of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. The humility of
the holy priest shrank from the idea of putting himself forward as the founder of a new religious congregation, and, for a time, he could not bring himself
to entertain it. At last he yielded to the pressing
solicitations of the members of his community, and
especially to the counsel of Father Albini, whom
he revered as one full of the Spirit of God, and resolved to seek the formal approbation of the Holy
See for the rules and constitutions of his society.
In an affair of such importance, he felt the need of
bringing into play all the agencies which holy prudence might suggest, and his spirit of lively faith
disclose. He took counsel on the matter with
several learned and holy men, but, above all, he
consulted God in prayer. He had prayers said for
the success of his undertaking, not only in the communities under his own jurisdiction, but in the
religious houses in which he had influence, and
these were many. The Capuchin Sisters at Marseilles, and the Poor Clares of that city, communities
in which there were then many living saints, made
frequent offerings of their prayers and acts of penance, to obtain the divine blessing on Father de
Mazenod's undertaking.! Aided by such supernatural helps, and furnished with letters of highest OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
recommendation given by various bishops in whose
dioceses he and his missionaries had laboured, he
left Marseilles  for Eome  on the   1st November,
1825.    . ■     . f " 'J-    JlSllB
We shall now proceed to give some extracts from
the correspondence of Father de Mazenod, written
from Eome to Father Tempier, and other Fathers in
his society at Marseilles. ^^S^^^^^^^^^^^H
f|| "Eome, November 26th, 1825. ^
1 "My dear Friend,
" I reached Eome to-day at too late an hour, unhappily, to say Mass, though I remained fasting until past
two o'clock p.m. for that purpose On leaving
Genoa, my companions were Father Pizzi, a Jesuit; a
Trappist Father; four Carmelite Fathers, and a secular
priest from Sardinia. You see that I was in very good company. By common consent we organized, in starting, a
community method of life for our journey. In the morning
between three and four we made our meditation for one
hour. After that we tried to sleep for awhile. When we
had sufficient daylight to be able to read, we recited together
the Eosary, and afterwards the little hours of the divine
office. When the diligence stopped at breakfast time, I
hastened to the nearest church, and said Mass, at which my
companions assisted. During the day, at intervals, I read
aloud passages from the Imitation of Christ. We said the
Eosary together, and in the afternoon we recited vespers
and complin. Our conversation was always on edifying
" Eome, December 6th, 1895.
" My dear Father Courtes,
" I write to you from the capital of the christian
world.    This beautiful city of Eome deserves well that title, 78   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
1 ill!
for it is the See of the Vicar of Christ, and in some manner,
a compendium of Christianity. Here alone, it seems to me,
is understood what sort of dwelling man should prepare for
his God upon the earth. No idea can be formed by one
who has not been here, of the magnificence which reveals
itself at every step, in the holy temples you meet as you go
along. Sometimes you meet ^.Ye or six churches clustered
in the same vicinity, each rivalling the others in splendour,
and surpassing them by some special beauty of its own. Here
one can form an idea of how, when in heaven, we shall never
tire of giving praise to God, or never lessen in love as we
contemplate His infinite perfections, when we find that the
sight of those beautiful productions of human skill—the
works of the feeble hands of men—excites an admiration
that continues to grow as we gaze. And what a stimulant
to piety is furnished to us by the sight of those many monuments that attest the victories won by those martyrs who
drowned idolatry in their blood. Their bodies are here, and
their memories are as fresh to-day, after the lapse of seventeen or eighteen centuries, as if they had been lately in our
midst. These centuries have swallowed up their persecutors,
and destroyed their works, which they had flattered themselves would be eternal. Here everything is holy for him
who comes hither in the spirit of a true pilgrim. For my.
own part, 1 only see here the Apostles, and Martyrs, and.
Confessors of all ages. There is not a step in Eome where
you do not find some monument of faith and piety."
"Eome, December 9th, 1825.
11 cannot accustom myself, my dear Father Tempier,
to a separation from those I love; 1 have no joy apart from
them. Oh, how great shall our happiness in heaven be!
There we shall abide in loving society with one another, and
shall not be obliged to travel into distances away from our
friends. And though we shall all there be completely absorbed in God, nevertheless we shall be free to love one
li another with intense mutual love. The intuitive vision of
God did not prevent Jesus Christ from loving men, and among
men, some more than others. There are certain over-refined
mystics who deny this, and who would force upon us another
nature, inferior to that which God has given to us. In my
own case, 1 cannot be fully happy whilst separated from the
members of my community, whom I love so tenderly.
1 have not yet seen the Holy Father. Cardinal de Gregorio,
to whom I have been warmly recommended from Turin,
and who has received me with great kindness, gives it as his
positive opinion that the Pope will not grant his solemn
approbation to our Eules. The Holy Father may possibly,
he thinks, give an indirect approbation to our work, by expressing some words of praise in our behalf, and by granting
us certain privileges and indulgences. I say Mass during
this Octave of the Blessed Virgin, to obtain from God the
favours we are seeking for. I do not neglect, at the same
time, the human means which I think needful to employ.
If in the end I do not succeed, I shall have nothing to reproach myself with."
The 20th of December, the Vigil of the Feast of
St. Thomas the Apostle, was the day appointed for
his audience with the Holy Father. The morning
of that day he visited the tomb of St. Peter in the
crypt of the Vatican, and placed the manuscript of
the rules and constitutions of his new institute on the
altar over the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles.
He wept copiously on that occasion, and prayed with
great fervour, invoking the intercession of that
blessed apostle, whom Jesus Christ had appointed to
be head of His church. He then celebrated the
holy Mass, being in tears all the time.    At the ap- 80 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
pointed hour he repaired to the palace of the Pope.
The Holy Father was prepossessed in his favour by
the reports which had reached him of his virtues
and labours. As he entered the audience chamber,
his first appearance produced a most favourable impression on the mind and heart of the holy Pontiff.
His noble bearing, blended with an expression of
the most profound humility and loving reverence
for the Vicar of Jesus Christ, was judged by the
Holy Father to be a faithful revelation of his inner
spirit. Kneeling beside the holy Pontiff, he exposed
the object of his visit to Eome. For three quarters
of an hour he had the privilege allowed to him of
developing the nature of the work he had undertaken for the saving of perishing souls. The holy
Pope was deeply moved as he heard of the good
already accomplished by the members of this new
Society of Missionaries, of whom Father de Mazenod
was the founder. He seemed much impressed with
the practical character of the project presented to
him, and evidently looked on Father de Mazenod as
one raised by God to do some great work in his day,
for the interests of the holy church. At the conclusion of Father de Mazenod's supplication, the
Holy Father appeared to be much affected by what
he had been listening to. Lifting his eyes to heaven, he clasped his hands together, and bent his
head for some moments in earnest prayer.   He then OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
entered into familiar conversation with Father de
Mazenod about his project, and seemed to become at
once its warm advocate. He instructed him in detail as to the steps he should take to obtain the
approbation and confirmation of the rules and constitutions of his society. "In the first place," his
Holiness said, "the secretary of the congregation
will present a report to me on the subject. I will
then appoint a Cardinal to examine it, who will present his report to the congregation. After that
each Cardinal gives his vote. The number of applications which come to us, especially from France,
compels us to adopt a special mode of procedure
which consists in giving praise and encouragement to
the new Institutes, without however granting them
a formal approbation." Father de Mazenod hesitated not to say to his Holiness that it was the
formal approbation of the Holy See which he was
then seeking to obtain for his new congregation.
The condescension of the Sovereign Pontiff on this
occasion was something, remarkable, f He seemed
from that hour resolved. that no time should be lost
in raising the new congregation of Father de Mazenod to the rank of the canonically appointed religious bodies of the Church of Christ. Was he moved
by some supernatural power to this condescending
patronage of an infant work ? 1 Leo XII. was a
man of God, who looked with an eye of more than 82   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
human penetration into the future.     Had his Holiness then some, foresight or presentiment of  the
work which was to be done for God by this new
congregation, once that the blessing of Peter, as a
baptism of the Holy Spirit, had descended upon it,
ahd that a new name  had  been  given  to  it  at
that baptism—that of the I Society of the Oblates
of Mary Immaculate?"*     Did he see, in mental
glance, at that hour, the future sons of this new con-
gregation going forth to reap the ripened harvest
of souls, not only under the sunny skies of France,
but also in the lands of Saxon and of Celt;  yea,
traversing earth and ocean in search of other harvest-
fields,   in regions never trodden by civilized foot,
amidst the glaciers of Arctic forests, or amidst the
burning sands of African wilds ? § Certain it is that
it was no common cause that led the Vicar of Jesus
Christ to depart  from  the  ordinary reserve with
which the Sovereign Pontiff deals with new projects,
even when proposed by Sainte, some of whom spent
many years in obtaining, for orders founded by them,
an approbation similar to that granted almost at
the first audience by Leo XII. to Father de Ma-
At the closeof this memorable audience
* When Leo XII. conceded to the new congregation the title of " The
Society of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate," his Holiness expressed to
Father de Mazenod the great gratification he experienced in having such an
opportunity afforded him, of manifesting his devotion to the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin,
the Holy Father, in his evident zeal to promote
Father de Mazenod's undertaking, gave him precise
instructions as to the first steps he should take to
advance his work. " Go " he said, "to the Arch-
priest, the secretary of the congregation, and tell
him in my name to present his report to me on Friday next, the day of his audience." Fearing that
Father de Mazenod might forget the name or address of the Arch-priest, his Holiness rose and took
from his desk a sheet of paper and a pen, and placed
them before Father de Mazenod that he might write
them down under his dictation.
The following day, Father de Mazenod presented
himself to the Arch-priest, and informed him of his
Holiness's wishes on the subject of the report he
would have him prepare on the rules and constitutions of the society of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Arch-priest, who gave a most
gracious reception to Father de Mazenod, bade him,
however, not expect a formal approbation of his
society, and said that the most he could look forward to, would be a declaration that the rules of his
institute were worthy of praise,—laudandce. 11 This
manner of proceeding is," he said, "in accordance
with the custom now established in dealing with
new institutes, and it is the view which I will support." These words of the secretary of the congregation were a blow to the hopes of Father de 84   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Mazenod, and threw his mind, for a moment, into a
state of much perplexity. The thought presented
itself forcibly to him of abandoning all further
attempts to obtain the formal approbation of the
Holy See for his society, and of returning to France.
But, on reflection, he dismissed this thought, feeling
that he was bound, through respect for the Holy
Father, to pursue, to the end, the negotiations with
the Arch-priest, which he had entered upon under
the direction of his Holiness. In withdrawing from
the Arch-priest, he said, 11 leave this affair in your
hands, and I seek for nothing else but that God's
design may be accomplished." It was arranged, on
that occasion, that he was to return to the Arch-
priest's on the following Saturday morning, to learn
the result of the latter's audience with the Holy
Father, which was to take place on the Friday.
We will give an extract from a letter written
about this time, by the venerable Superior-General
to Father Tempier, in which he touchingly narrates
the circumstances of this eventful period in the
history of his society. It will serye to give us an
insight into that spirit of lively faith, and entire
dependence upon God, which was habitual to him,
especially when anything great or difficult had to be
accomplished by him for the divine glory.
■ I continued to recommend the affair to God, through
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the Angels anc}
Saints, and, in a spirit of entire abandonment of my project
to His holy providence, I awaited the issue of the Arch-
priest's audience with the Holy Father, whatever it might
be.    At the hour when I supposed the audience was taking
place, I addressed myself to God in prayer; not that I
thought that my poor prayers could accomplish what I desired, but it seemed befitting that I should remain in our
Lord's  presence, notwithstanding my unworthiness, at a
moment when divine grace was  operating, and the holy
spirit was guiding the Head of the Church in a matter which
concerned the existence of our society, and the salvation of
countless souls.    This morning, according to appointment,
I visited again the Arch-priest to ascertain the result of
his audience with the Holy Father, which took place yesterday.      He first read to me the report which he had
presented to his Holiness,   which concluded,   as he had
said already it would do, with a recommendation to his
Holiness  that  our  society should be  pronounced praiseworthy (laudanda), simply.    But mark the goodness of God,
and give thanks with me to Him, without ceasing.    The
Holy Father's views were other tban those of the report
presented to him.    'No,' said the Sovereign Pontiff, 'this
society pleases me ; I know the good it is doing.'    He then
entered into a number of details concerning the society,
which astonished very much the Arch-priest.     11 wish,'
his Holiness continued,  I to favour it.    Choose a Cardinal
amongst the most kindly disposed in the sacred congregation, to be the promoter of this cause.    Go to him in my
name; tell him that it is my intention that these rules be
not simply approved, but that they be formally confirmed! j
0 Leo XII.! you will always be regarded as the ^Benefactor and the Father of our society.    In leaving the house
of the Arch-priest Andolfi, I said a Te Deum, and I entered
a church, where reposes the body of St. Joseph Calasanctius,
to give thanks to our Lord, and to beg of Him to complete
the work which He had begun.   Let all the brethren of our 86    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
community increase their fervour in the punctual observance
of our rules. You must feel that to-day they become invested with a more solemn character. Let us accomplish all
that the Head of the Church expects of us. This will be
the means of drawing down new blessings from Heaven
upon ourselves and our ministry. Let us especially increase
in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, in order that we may be
worthy to be named Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This
name is a passport to Heaven. How is it we did not think
of it before? How consoling and glorious for us to be
dedicated to her, and to bear her name, I Oblates of Mary
Immaculate !' How grateful is this name to the ear, and
how soothing to the heart! Let us rejoice in it, and bear
her name and her livery."
The Holy Father had manifested his favourable
disposition towards the new society, but the formal
approbation of the rules had not yet been pronounced
by him. Things might still take an unfavourable
turn, and the expectations of the holy Founder might
not be realized.
In the lives of all who do great works for God,
we find alternate hopes and fears. If coming success shines without a cloud to-day, to-morrow the
sky may become overcast and menacing, and signs
of success may disappear. God permits this for the
greater merit of His servants, and to give them an
opportunity of putting forth an increase of faith and
love and confidence. He also thus provides an
opportunity for Himself of making manifest His
providential care and Fatherly love, by coming to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
their aid in critical and decisive moments when all
other helps fail. Great works, undertaken for God
and for the good of souls, have a manner of their
own of reaching the goal of success. They seem
often to fail, when all the while they are in reality
advancing. In the meantime, those who are engaged in carrying them on come in for their meed
of censure and dispraise, much to their soul's profit.
And, like the incoming tide, against which the
wind bloweth, which presents on its surface countless receding waves, whilst it is steadily and irresistibly advancing; so with the progress of many
a work, undertaken for God's glory, in the development of which superficial failures often cover
the deep and irresistible under-current of supernatural success. Father de Mazenod's undertaking
is not to form an exception to the ordinary rule
concerning great works set on foot by God's servants
for the promotion of the divine glory. It has to pass
through the crucible of a great and unexpected opposition. Letter after letter came from certain influential personages in France, addressed to the Holy
See with the intention of defeating Father de
Mazenod's designs of obtaining the confirmation
and approbation of his Institute. Those whom he
had been looking upon as the warm advocates of
his undertaking suddenly, without any seeming
reason, became its bitter opponents.    In the midst 88   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
of this storm of opposition, his soul remained calm
and full of a child-like trust in God. His manner of
acting on this critical occasion affords matter of deep
instruction for all who labour under great opposition
in carrying on works undertaken for God's glory
and the interests of souls. He felt, at such a time,
more than ever bound to avoid the least voluntary
fault which might render him, in any manner, less
worthy of the aid of that special Providence to
which he had been looking i& for- suecess. He thus
unbosoms himself in a letter, written at this period,
to Father Tempier, his alter ego—his other self—to
whom, as his spiritual guide, he was in the habit of
opening the innermost recesses of his heart:—
I Having in my hands an affair of such importance, the
result of which may prove of the greatest consequence to the
interests of Holy Church, the glory of God, and the sancti-
fication of souls,—an affair which is sure to stir up against
it the malice of demons, and which cannot succeed except
through the very special protection of God, to whom it belongs to touch the hearts and guide the wills of men, I
must necessarily feel convinced that it is my duty to do all
that depends on me to live in the most intimate possible
union with God, and to form the resolution of avoiding every
fault, however slight, which would grieve His Holy Spirit.
In the present position of affairs, the least voluntary transgression would appear to me a crime, not only because of its
displeasing God, which would be its chief evil," but also because of the consequences which might follow in its train.
Ever since I left France, and especially since I arrived in Eome,
God has assisted me in all things, in a manner so sensible that it seems to me that I could not, if I tried, cease to experience a loving gratitude which leads me to praise, to bless
and to give thanks to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and,
in due proportion, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Angels,
and to the Saints, to whom I feel indebted for that protection and consolation which I experience. With all that, I
find matter for self-reproach, and for humbling myself before
God in my confession, which I make twice a week."
In a subsequent letter addressed to the same
Father, Father de Mazenod thus writes :—
I To-day I visited again the tomb of the Apostles, there
to imbibe fresh spiritual strength, and to implore further
help from Heaven. For the third time, I have said Mass
at the Confession of St. Peter. I must acknowledge that
God, in His great goodness, has, by the consolation of His
grace, more than made up for all the troubles that the
malice of Hell has excited against us. 1 have invoked Him
with all the fervour of my heart, and He has shown
Himself to be a true protector. I availed myself of that
occasion to recommend you all most earnestly to God. I
asked for you an ample participation in the virtues and
merits of that great apostle. One prays with confidence,
I can assure you, when one finds oneself with Jesus and His
Vicar, and the Apostles and Martyrs. In offering the Holy
Mass on altars, under which repose bodies that once were
animated with such great souls, and which in life had been
in contact with our Blessed Saviour Himself, one's own soul
readily catches the flames of that sacred fire of love which
glowed within their breasts, as they confessed, by their
sufferings and death, the name of their Master and ours.
Let us continue to pray, my dear friend, and let us not
cease to place all our confidence in God. To Him alone it
belongs to rule and dispose all things according to His infinite wisdom and to the greater glory of His Holy name. SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
if Hi   I
I must confess that never in my life did I understand and
feel, as I now do, the value of an unreserved abandonment of
one's self into God's hands. I rejoice now at not having
omitted anything which might render this virtue familiar to
me. The practice of this holy abandonment into God's
hands does not, however, prevent me from asking earnestly
certain special favours from Him; on the contrary, when
we abandon ourselves to God, we pray with greater confidence and with an almost perfect assurance of our prayer
being heard. I have told you, already, that, since my
arrival in Eome, I offer the Holy Mass every day for the
success of our undertaking. I never kneel before the Lord,
in the Blessed Sacrament, without placing my petitions at
His feet. I never invoke a saint without asking him to become our intercessor in this matter. At the same time, I
do not omit to employ such lawful and profitable means, as
human prudence may suggest, to secure a favourable issue
for our cause. I do not spare my feet in journeying hither
and thither. I wiilingly sacrifice my repose of mind in
furthering what I believe to be the designs of God's Holy
Providence. Till now everything has succeeded beyond my
expectations : God has, however, allowed certain drawbacks
and disappointments to occur, thus leaving room for some
anxieties ; but He has not permitted my confidence in Him
to diminish. On the contrary, it is in times of greatest interior trial that my prayer assumes its most tender and
confiding tone^ and addresses itself to God in words fond
and familiar as those of a child speaking to a father. As I
pass in review, before my mind, the progress, from stage to
stage, of this affair, I feel myself carried away by sentiments
of admiration of God's goodness, whose loving hand is so
visible in the whole matter."
ft At length the great undertaking of Father de
Mazenod reached the crowning point of success, The
benediction, which was upon it from the onset, bore OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
it safely through the host of difficulties which beset
its progress. On the 16th of February, 1826, Father
de Mazenod communicated the following joyful news
to Father Tempier :—" The Congregation of Cardinals, presided over by Cardinal Pacca, has unanimously approved of our rules, and has petitioned
the Holy Father to give his supreme sanction to
them in due canonical form."
Full of a sense of the immense debt of gratitude
he owed to God, to whom alone he attributed the
success of his undertaking, he thus writes to his
friend:— ||^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ct[H
I Take measures to obtain prayers of thanksgiving on the
part of all those devout friends to whom, in your prudence,
you have communicated the good news I have forwarded to
you. We must acknowledge that the ways of Divine Providence, in this affair, have been wonderful. God has shewn
Himself, in this matter, to be indeed the Euler of the hearts
of men. It was He who inspired those with whom I came
into contact, whilst carrying it on, with favourable dispositions in my regard. I felt all the while that He was leading me by [the hand, and that His light was guiding my
steps. This gave me such an absolute and filial confidence,
that I spoke to Our Lord, in prayer, as I believe I would
have done if I had the happiness of conversing with Him
when He was on earth."
On the following day, the 17th of February, 1826,
the Holy Father, Leo XII., confirmed the decision
of the Congregation of Cardinals, and gave his
solemn approbation to the Institute, to the Eules and 92 SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Constitutions of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Writing after this event to Father Tempier, the
holy Founder having first expressed his thankfulness to God, says:—   ^^^j^^^^P:': ^:"
1 Henceforward it will be our duty to labour with a new
ardour, and a more entire devotedness, in increasing the
Divine glory by gaining souls to God. From this hour we
should observe our rules with more loving exactitude and
reverence than before. They have now, after a most minute
examination, received the solemn approbation of the Church.
They are declared to be holy and eminently fitted to guide
those who embrace them to the sublime end of Christian and
religious perfection. They have now become the common
property of God's Church. The Vicar of Christ stands
guarantee for them. He whom God employed to prepare
them from this day disappears. He was only the exterior
instrument which the hand of God deigned to employ to
make manifest the way of perfection to chosen souls, called
by Him from the beginning to take part in this work of
mercy, and to become incorporated in this new and bumble
society. Our members, as yet, are not many; but our
society has already an existence as real as that of any of the
most ancient and venerable Eeligious Institutes of the Church
of God. Let us acknowledge, with gratitude, the dignity
conferred upon the society, our Mother, who has been
raised to the rank of a Queen, and enthroned in the house
of tbe Heavenly Bridegroom, to become the fruitful parent
of a numerous offspring, in case we prove faithful to our
calling, but otherwise to be smitten with barrenness. Let
us therefore resolve upon becoming saints, in order to be
worthy of such a Mother."
I The Holy Father had, during the stay of Father
de Mazenod in Eome, already conferred many fa- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
yours upon him, but there is one which deserves
exceptional mention: it is the notification he received of the intention of his Holiness to raise him
to the dignity of Cardinal. This circumstance, so
honorable to Father de Mazenod, was much spoken
of at the time of its occurrence, but afterwards was
seldom alluded to. The recollection of it seemed
to be forgotten. It was, however, revived twenty
years later, in a conversation which took place in
Eome, between Cardinal Orioli and Monsignor
Jeancard, and which we give in the words of this
latter Prelate who, at the time alluded to, was Secretary to Monseigneur de Mazenod:—
"I was at Eome in the year 1845, and was engaged one
day in conversation with his Eminence Cardinal Orioli, who
said to me,' You entertain a great veneration for Monseigneur
de Mazenod, your Bishop, but are you aware that he, at one
time, formally disobeyed the Pope ?' I manifested astonishment. His Eminence continued, 'Yes, he disobeyed the
Pope, and it was Leo XII. himself, who informed me of
it. His Holiness wished to make him Cardinal, but Monseigneur de Mazenod refused the dignity, for he preferred to
employ his devotedness in France, rather than consecrate it
to the service of the Holy See in Eome.' \ But His Holiness,'
I said, \ must have admitted the force of his reasons for that
refusal.' \ Yes,' replied the Cardinal, ( and he admired
his generosity.' Cardinal Orioli was a personal friend of
Leo XII., and one of the most distinguished members of the
During his sojourn in Eome, Father de Mazenod
was admitted to the intimate friendship of Cardinal
Pacca. His Eminence had then completed his
Memoirs of Pius VII., which he hesitated to publish, in consequence of the freedom with which certain high personages were spoken of in them. He
felt also, that their publication might not be well
received at Eome, owing to the greater publicity
which would be thereby given to the act of weakness, into which the aged and infirm Pius VII.
allowed himself to be surprised, under the menaces
of Napoleon, but which he afterwards gloriously
and courageously retracted. The aged Pontiff had
affixed his signature to the pretended Concordat of
Fontainebleau, hoping thereby to stem the evils
which threatened religion. He speedily repented
of this act, for he found that, in consenting to it, he
had infringed upon the liberty of the Church. Once
that he had made this discovery, he hesitated not to
acknowledge his mistake, and he boldly faced the anger of the Emperor by withdrawing his consent
from the document named. Cardinal Pacca, who
deeply revered the saintly Pontiff, dreaded that the
publication of the Memoirs in question might cast
some shade upon his glorious memory. It was on
this point that he consulted Father de Mazenod, in
whose enlightened judgment he placed great confidence. He asked him to read over attentively the
manuscript of his Memoirs, in order to judge as to
their fitness for publication. Father de Mazenod,
after a careful perusal of the manuscript, handed it
back to the Cardinal, with these words :—
^1 entreat your Eminence to publish these memoirs. Far
from lowering Pius VII., you will exalt him in public
veneration, by doing so. Nothing could be more honourable for bim than that full publicity should be given to facts
which reveal the beautiful simplicity of his character, his
humility, his sensitive delicacy of conscience, which forbade
him to approach the altar, and which led him to acknowledge, in the presence of all the Cardinals assembled around
him, the mistake into which he had been betrayed. Nothing
could better show what a Eoman Pontiff really is, than this
courageous resolution to repair a fault regardless of all consequences. The Sacred College appears at the full height
of its position, and the Eoman Church triumphs at a moment
when the world was prepared to hear of its entire destruction. Your Memoirs, my Lord Cardinal, form a magnificent page in the history of the Church, and they should be
preserved for the edification of posterity."
Cardinal Pacca was pleased with this advice, and
years afterwards he acknowledged to Monseiguem' 9G SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
de Mazenod that it contributed very much to induce
him to publish the Memoirs. Another circumstance
arising from the esteem and friendship of Cardinal
Pacca for Father de Mazenod, deserves here to be
noted. His Eminence wished to introduce the
French Seminary system into Italy. It was his desire that one seminary should be formed for the six
suburban dioceses of Eome, over one of which he
himself was bishop, and that this new seminary
should be confided to the direction of the Oblates of
Mary Immaculate. The Convent of St. Alexis, a
spacious building on Mount Palatine, was the place
he had in view for this seminary. Negotiations
were set on foot, and carried on for some time, to
accomplish the proposed project, but owing to unexpected difficulties presenting themselves, it had
to be abandoned.
| During Father de Mazenod's residence in Eome,
he formed an intimate friendship with Father Man-
tone, a Eedemptorist, who had the happiness of
knowing personally St. Liguori. He frequently
sought the society of this good Father to have an
opportunity of conversing with him on the life and
virtues of a saint, towards whom he entertained a
most tender devotion. He had already erected in
the Church of his community at Aix, the first
altar raised in France in honour of the blessed
We find the following entry in Father de Mazenod's journal of his first visit to Eome :—  fipHii
"I have to-day again visited the Liguorian Fathers.
The Father Procurator-General presented me with a large
piece of the Blessed Liguori's cassock. He also allowed
me to see the manuscript of his Moral Theology, written
with his own hand. I kissed the precious miscellany with
deep emotion and reverence. Father Mantone was received
into his society by St. Liguori bimself. He told me there
were then forty Eedemptorists still living, who personally
knew the beatified servant of God. This evening, Father
Mantone made me a precious gift, which I value as a great
treasure. It consists of a portion of one of the bones of the
beatified, and of a letter written with his own hand. I
can never tire contemplating these precious objects."
The time of quitting Eome and returning to
France had now arrived. Father de Mazenod proceeded to the Vatican, to present himself in grateful
homage, at the feet of Leo XII., before taking his
departure from the Holy City. We will quote his
own words to describe what occurred at his final
audience with the Sovereign Pontiff. ^^^^^^^S
" I was received in the same chamber as on the occasion
of my first audience with His Holiness. I began by giving
expression to my gratitude for the favours which His Holiness had bestowed upon me in such abundance. The Holy
Father made me at once feel at home in bis presence,
and entered into an interesting conversation with me. I
availed myself of this excellent opportunity of presenting a
petition for different favours, which I had marked down
under sixteen heads. He granted me, in the most gracious
manner, all that I had asked of him.     He handed me a
letter he had prepared to send to my uncle. I caused him
to smile when I told him. that I had a certain scruple of
conscience in not having previously discharged a duty, imposed upon me by the King of Sardinia. (I have been
charged,' I said, f by his Majesty to express to your Holiness his regret at not being able to come to Eome for the
Jubilee, notwithstanding his great desire to do so. I did
not dare, Holy Father, to acquit myself of this commission
when I first had the honour of being admitted to an
audience, lest I might seem to take the airs of an Ambassador Extraordinary.' His Holiness smiled very graciously,
and having pronounced an eulogium on that sovereign, be
charged me, if I saw His Majesty when passing through bis
States, to make known to him the sentiments with which
he was animated in his regard. His Holiness then spoke
to me of France. He understands her condition much better
than those who would be her counsellors. I was surprised
at his doing me the honour of entering so unreservedly into
particulars in my presence on such high and delicate questions. On my part, I corresponded with this confidence
by expressing freely what I thought of the actual state of
things. I asked His Holiness to give his blessing to our
society and to myself. (Yes, from my heart, I bless you,'
he replied, I de rove coeli,' in saying which be lifted his eyes
to Heaven."
Father de Mazenod having secured, through God's
goodness, the great object which had taken him to
Eome, and having obtained far greater favours than
he had ventured to expect, became as earnest in his
thanksgivings as he had been fervent in his petitions
to Heaven, before the blessings he had been seeking
for were granted him. His last days spent in Eome,
on this occasion, were employed in visiting different OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
churches and sanctuaries of special devotion, everywhere offering thanks to God for the favours that
had been conferred upon him. He made the pilgrimage to Loreto on his way back to France, there
to seek for further blessings on his new society. f||J|
He returned, after an absence of several months,
to the circle of his devoted and attached brethren.
A General Chapter was assembled in the House of
Calvary at Marseilles. All the members of the
society renewed their vows in the presence of the
Blessed Sacrament; a joyful Te Deum concluded
the ceremony.
The solemn approbation given by the Church to
a religious society is a something marvellously sacramental, which imparts to it new impulses and
powers for the accomplishment of its special ends.
The founders of societies thus approved of come in
personally, we may feel sure, for a large share of
the sacramental benedictions, which follow the
solemn approbation of the Church given to their
Institutes. The evangelizing of the poor and the
reclaiming of abandoned sinners were always the
chief ends proposed by Father de Mazenod to the
zeal of his missionaries.-! Hitherto such works of
zeal were matters of choice, now they were works of
obligation.! A Divine voice would seem to say to
him and to his: I Go ye to the lost sheep of the
House of Israel, and say to them, The kingdom of 100    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Heaven is at hand." The apostle now appears in
the holy Founder with authority, and benediction,
and power. He has now a right to call disciples to
himself; to bless them and fit them for their work
of saving souls, and send them forth, yea, to the
very ends of the earth. Band after band of missionaries of his society kneel before him, with staff
in hand and breviary under the arm, to receive his
blessing before they go forth to cultivate their appointed portion of the vineyard. Over each successive group of missionaries he pronounced, according to the ritual of his society, the following words
of blessing:—
"Go ye forth, dearest brothers, to the perishing sheep of
the House of Israel. Let the powers of darkness vanish at
your approach. May the angel of the Lord accompany you
on your way, and may you return to your brethren in peace,
and joy, and holiness. To God alone, the Invisible and the
Immortal, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, descend upon you and remain with you for ever."
The Missionaries having received the blessing of
their Superior, go and prostrate themselves before
our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in adoration.
They then rise and go forth.
Father de Mazenod drew up the following regulations for his missionaries when on their journey to
the place they are proceeding to evangelize :—
a If the town or village where the Mission is to be given is not far distant, the Fathers are recommended to proceed
thither on foot, in order to imitate more perfectly Jesus
Christ and the Apostles, and to have a larger share in the
merits of their journeys and labours.
" On their journey they will frequently converse together
on the virtues of the early missionaries, who had under
their eyes the example of Jesus Christ as he went about
doing good. By this means they will be encouraged to bear,
with cheerfulness, the fatigues and labour they may have to
" They will, as far as possible, perform their spiritual
exercises in common.
" They will endeavour, when travelling, to find an opportunity every day of saying Holy Mass. If all cannot have
this happiness, one, at least, should say Mass, at which the
others should communicate. At the same time the Fathers
should make all possible efforts to avoid being deprived,
even on one day, of the fruits of offering the Holy Sacrifice.
" If they are travelling on foot through a town or village,
they will go to the Church of the place to visit the Blessed
Sacrament. Should the Church be closed, thev will kneel
at the gate for a short time in adoration. If they are travelling in a public vehicle, and cannot perform such visits,
they will, in spirit, direct their thoughts to our Lord in the
Holy Eucharist, and recite the Tantum ergo, to which they
will add prayers to the Blessed Virgin, and the Guardian
Angel, and Patron Saints of the place, and also prayers for
the souls of those buried in the local cemetery.
"Whenever the missionaries, in travelling, hear blasphemies uttered against the Holy name of God, they will
uncover their heads and make the sign of the cross, all
together or each one by himself, according as it will be
judged most expedient, to repair the insult offered to the
Divine Majesty. They will recite the following or some
similar prayer: ' To God alone be honour and glory, for
ever and ever.   Amen.'    If the blasphemy is spoken against
the Divine person of our Lord, they will say : ' Praised be
Jesus Christ for ever,' or some prayer of the same kind."
This extract will suffice to make manifest the
burning zeal of Father de Mazenod for the Divine
glory, and for the sanctification of the members of
his society, especially in their missionary character.
The intermingling of joys and sorrows following
one another in appointed succession, appears in the
lives of all the servants of God. Great was the joy
of Father de Mazenod in seeing the society, as he
says, in words already cited, crowned as a Queen
and enthroned by its solemn approbation in the
house of the Bridegroom. Great was his joy in
witnessing how the number of his spiritual sons
went on increasing, and how God continued to
bless their labours with marvellous results. But he
had to endure keen sorrows, and his loving and
sympathizing spirit was often wounded deeply and
painfully. This happened especially whenever
death removed from his side any of his cherished
sons and disciples. No mother could show more
anguish of heart at the death-bed of an only child,
than he on such occasions. As an episode in this
biographical sketch, we will here introduce an account of the last days on earth, and of the holy
death, of one of his first disciples, and of the most
beloved of his sons, Father Susanne. We trust
our readers will not consider us as thereby straying
needlessly from our text. In introducing this
notice of Father Susanne, our object is twofold.
In the first place, in doing so, we shall find an opportunity of disclosing certain beautiful traits in the
character of Father de Mazenod which, in order to be
appreciated, must be seen in living action. Secondly,
we shall thus have occasion of putting before our
readers several edifying facts, connected with the
closing days of the life of a holy young Oblate
Father Susanne was a young missionary according to the heart of Father de Mazenod. He became first acquainted with the Oblates of Mary at
Foveau, in Provence, a great mining district, where
Father de Mazenod was conducting a mission. He
was then a Church student, and was spending his vacation at Foveau. Struck by the miracles of grace
he witnessed, edified by the lives of the missionaries, but especially impressed by the virtues of
Father de Mazenod, he felt strongly attracted to
seek admission into the new society. He placed
himself entirely, without reserve, under the guid-
ance of Father de Mazenod. He became in a short
time, a faithful copyist of a perfect model. Father
de Mazenod's virtues, as a Eeligious and missionary, began soon to come out distinctly, in bright
reflection, in the life of Father Susanne. There
existed between them, from their first acquaintance 104    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
until death separated them, the love of father for
son, and the love of son for father. Parental love
displays itself not simply in tenderness of affection,
but chiefly in its aims at promoting the highest
good of the object loved. If, in order to promote
this end, it be necessary to give momentary pain, by
administering admonition or correction, true parental love shrinks not from doing so. Amidst the
many virtues of his youthful disciple, Father de
Mazenod detected certain marks of affectation in his
epistolary style, which manifested a spirit not yet
entirely free from vanity and egotism. Unable to
suffer this in one so much loved, he wrote to him
in the following severe terms :—
11 have seen a letter, lately written by you to C .    I
was greatly pained to discover in it marks of a pretentious
spirit in the studied search for fine words, and the ill-concealed affectation it displays. I could not help tracing all
this to its latent source—hidden self-love."
He continued, at much length, to write in similar
severe and plain-spoken terms :—
I Having written thus far, I have debated within myself
whether I should send this letter to you or not, but I came
to the conclusion of doing so, feeling sure that you had virtue enough to bear with my reproach; and besides, I love
you too much to shrink from administering to you a wholesome reprimand, through the dread of giving you pain. If
I loved you less, I should tear this letter up and not send it
to you. You know my heart, and you know how great is
my repugnance to cause even the smallest pain to those I
This young Father flung himself with such de-
votedness into the arena of missionary strife, that
his prudent superior frequently found it necessary
to moderate his zeal. We find him writing to
Father Susanne in these words:— '^^^^^/^^^A
" Why do you labour in a manner that must shorten your
days ? Having worked as a galley slave at the mission of
Tallard, and after having endured sufferings and fatigues at
the mission of Lauzet, you preach twice a day, and, forgetting
yourself, you hear confessions for thirty hours consecutively!
Can you imagine that such conduct on your part would not
cause me grave apprehension for your sake ? You may say
to me, you do not feel overworked; that you eat and sleep
well. All that does not set my mind at ease, for I feel sure
you are shortening your existence by such excesses of zeal.
When you arrive at Entrevaux, provide yourself at once with
such warm clothing as you may require; in a word, take all
necessary precautions to preserve yourself against tbe rigorous cold of these mountains, to the chills of which we are
not accustomed.    I regret very much that I am at a dis-
CD v
tance from you, and that I cannot share in your heroic
labours. Moderate your zeal, my dear Father, have more
confidence in God's grace for the conversion .of souls, than in
any extra labour on your own part; Eestrain your ardour
in preaching, so that you may not come down habitually
from the pulpit breathless and exhausted."
Blessed excess of missionary zeal, which needed
such a reprimand! No doubt, Father Susanne's
humble spirit sought to obey the counsels of his
prudent and beloved Superior. But again and again,
carried away by the vehemence of his desire to
draw souls from sin to God, he would forget him- 106   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
self, and risk his very life by almost superhuman
efforts of zeal.
m After a mission of five weeks in the Cathedral of
Aix, during which Father Susanne laboured day
and night, with wonderful success, especially among
the working men of that city,  his health began
visibly and rapidly to give away.    When it became
known that the life of this apostolic man was in
danger, prayers   were  offered  up,  by  crowds  of
fervent souls, for his recovery. I We should not
pass over in silence an act of heroic generosity performed by three young scholastic Oblates to obtain
from God the preservation of a life so precious to
the congregation, and to the Church at large.   Each
offered his life to God, praying that he might be
taken in the stead of Father Susanne, if such were
the Divine will.    But the hour was approaching for
the faithful servant to receive his reward, and the
prayers offered for his recovery were not to  be
granted. I Father Susanne had not yet realized the
grave nature of his malady, and entertained a full
hope of his recovery.   He had been for seventy days
laid upon a bed of pain; but still the prospect of
returning to his cherished labour for souls had not
abandoned him.    It became necessary to break to
him the intelligence that his life was despaired of.
His afflicted Superior undertook this mournful work
of charity.   The news of his approaching death took <—^
Father Susanne by surprise, but it did not sadden
or terrify him. The moment he heard his life was
drawing to its close, a ray of joy beamed over his
countenance, and a holy transformation seemed immediately to be accomplished in him. All pre-occu-
pation about his recovery ceased, and his thoughts,
from that moment, became fixed on Heaven. His
bodily sufferings were very great. He was a mass
of wounds from head to foot. Violent internal
spasms followed one another in quick succession.
He breathed with the greatest difficulty, but no
complaint fell from his lips, from which sighs of
loving resignation were continually ascending to
God. The Superior-General was at his side encouraging him to patience by his presence and his
tender words of consolation. Looking into the face
of his spiritual Father, he exclaimed, "I suffer much,
but I accept all most willingly." Then fixing his
eyes on the Crucifix, which Father de Mazenod presented, he cried out, I Oh, how deep are the wounds
of my Saviour, yet He was innocence itself." The
hour came for administering to him a very bitter
draught, for which he felt a great natural repugnance, but this he quickly conquered as he remembered the bitter chalice of Our Lord's Passion. His
charitable Superior was about to place some grains of
sugar upon his lips, to remove the bitterness of the
draught, but he declined this consolation with a II ;
smile, wishing to become more intimately united to
the sufferings of our Lord, who, for his sake, had
drunk vinegar and gall upon the Cross. It was
during those hours of the last illness of his beloved
son, which Father de Mazenod spent day after day
at his bedside, that he received from his dying lips
avowals of filial attachment, reverence, and love,
which Father Susanne had never ventured to communicate to him before.
I My Father," would he say to his Superior,
I such has been my attachment to the congregation
of the Oblates that, even though I remained alone
with you, I would never forsake it." Nothing gave
the dying Father greater consolation than to hear
of the successful labours of his brother missionaries.
Knowing this, Father de Mazenod would inform him,
from time to time, of the conversions worked by his
confreres who were then giving missions. On such
occasions, the'sense of bodily pain would appear to
be for the time suspended, as his apostolic spirit
became absorbed in the joyful feelings awakened by
such good news. From time to time he was heard
repeating, with great earnestness, to himself: 1 My
God and my all. Eternity, 0 Eternity! to love
God for all eternity ! " Ij^^^Hj^^^^^H
His soul was continually directing its aspirations
to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. It was his
habit frequently to place himself in spirit, in adora- fc-
tion before the Holy Tabernacle. He received the
Viaticum several times during his last illness. On
one of these occasions, he renewed his vows as
Oblate of Mary Immaculate. Having done so, he
poured out his soul in words of tender thanksgiving
to God for having given him a vocation to the
Society of the Oblates of Mary. He then was heard
to say : " If I had not entered this society, where
should I now be ? " Day after day went by of his
painful malady. All that time his devoted Superior
was seldom absent from his bed-side. He was there
helping him to acquire further merits, and to become
more and more holy as he approached his end.
Father de Mazenod had a great power of inspiring
souls with a love of Christ Jesus crucified. He
brought this power fully to bear on the willing
heart of Father Susanne. The latter would, under
this holy guidance, give utterance to prayers breathing the fullest confidence in the mercy of Jesus
Christ who died for him. At the same time he
made many acts of contrition for his sins. The
thought of his sins, notwithstanding all he had
done to efface them, would sometimes fill him witl
anxiety. At such moments he would appeal with
fresh confidence to the Divine mercy, and, having
done so, his habitual peace of soul would return to
him. " Ah!" would he say, I in what state must
heJ>e, at the moment of death, who has never done 110    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
anything for his salvation ? " To a holy priest, who
had come to visit him, and who was to have been
his associate in a work they were to do conjointly
for God's glory, he said, with a smile: "I thought
we were to be companions for a long time, but we
shall be companions for ever in Heaven. What are
thirty or forty years of life compared to eternity ?"
Then, after a moment's silence, he exclaimed :
" 0 beautiful Heaven! thou shalt be my abode for
On the morning of the 27th January, 1829,
Father de Mazenod entered the room of the holy
invalid at an early hour. The latter, who had suffered much during the previous night, exclaimed :
1 0 my Father, what a happiness it is to suffer for
God ! I ask for no abatement of my sufferings."
"My son," replied the former, "it is thus the
Christian and the faithful Priest of God accomplishes his sacrifice on the Cross of Jesus Christ and
in union with His sufferings." " Be it so for me,"
replied Father Susanne, " may my sacrifice be thus
accomplished ! " These words of the dying son
went to the heart of his loving Father in God, who
could no longer restrain his emotion, but was compelled to withdraw, to hide his tears. He felt that
he also had a share in the sacrifice of that deathbed. Father Susanne, perceiving the ill-concealed
grief of his beloved Superior, said to him,  I My OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
Father, be consoled; we shall meet again." The
Superior, his heart still bleeding, recommended the
society to the prayers of the dying servant of God.
" My Father," replied the holy Oblate, 11 will
never forget our dear society. After the happiness
of possessing God, my next thought will be to pray
for my Brothers in Eeligion." Tears filled his eyes,
and after a pause of a few moments he asked, I But
is it not presumptuous on my part to make this promise ? " " No," replied his spiritual Father, 1 God
is faithful to His promises, His mercy encircles you,
and you do not count on your own merits." I 0
no," exclaimed the dying Oblate, " I have no
merits." The Superior-General suggested to him
to prepare for absolution, and to make a general
accusation of the sins of his life. It was not necessary to excite him to contrition, for he was heard
praying aloud in these words : "0 my God! how
I wish to die of penitent grief! How I wish that
my heart would break with sorrow for having
offended Thee, a God so good, who hast loaded me
with so many favours !" He pronounced these
words in accents of the deepest compunction. His
Superior was still speaking to him, when his eyes
became fixed, as if upon some bright vision, and he
exclaimed: "I see clearly, 0 glorious Heaven ! "
His further utterance then sank into a whisper.
Eesuming his ordinary tone, he  exclaimed:   "I 112    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
owe this to the Blessed Virgin, my good Mother."
These words were spoken in soliloquy. They would
indicate that he was favoured at that moment with
some bright comforting vision, which he attributed
to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin. The
Superior-General thought it well not to question
him on the matter, or to endeavour to penetrate his
holy secret. One of the Fathers of the community
was at his bed-side, and heard him speaking in low
tones words which at first were not intelligible, but
which, on drawing nearer to him, he could clearly
distinguish. They were ejaculatory prayers which
he was addressing to God. They were spoken with
pauses between each short phrase, as if his soul
was tasting in holy meditation the heavenly sweetness of the sentiments he was uttering. He was
heard thus to pour forth his soul in God's presence:
I My God, I love Thee with my whole heart, and
above all things; I would wish to love Thee as the
Angels and Saints love Thee ; I would wish to love
Thee as much as the Blessed Virgin loves Thee;
yet she cannot love Thee as much as Thou de-
servest to be loved. I 0 my God, how good and
how lovely Thou art! To possess God, to enjoy His
presence, to see Him face to face, to be united to
Him, to become one with Him ! Oh, how little do
men understand this happiness ! It is true I suffer
much; but what is all that compared to what Thou —^
hast suffered for me, 0 my God ! Increase my
sufferings, Lord. -Fool that I was ; I desired life ;
now I long to die." The Father, who was listening
to these pious ejaculations, here interrupted him,
saying: "You die, then, willingly." The dying
priest replied, " Is the moment of my death to be
long delayed? What are twenty or thirty years
in comparison with eternity— always to be happy—
always to be with God. Do we reflect on this
happiness ? Holy Virgin, my good Mother, I place
my confidence in thee. Can any one be lost who
places himself under thy powerful protection ? No,
he has nothing to fear. 0 my Mother ! Mater
divince gratice, Mater Misericordioe, tu nos ab hoste
protege et hora mortis suscipe. Let us hasten to go
to Heaven to see God, to possess Him, to be united
to Him. Can we ever do too much for Thee, 0
God !    My happiness is to suffer for Thee."
The Superior-General, wishing that all the members of his community, and especially the junior
members, should benefit by the edification of so holy
a death, introduced them quietly, one by one, into
the apartment of the dying servant of God. When
they were all assembled, addressing himself to
Father Susanne, he asked him to speak to them
some words of holy counsel. "I recommend to
them" said the holy invalid, " ever to keep God in
view in each circumstance of their lives ; never to
act but for Him; never to seek themselves in any
thing they do. It is only by acting thus, that they
will possess true happiness. Oh! how great the
blindness and folly of worldlings, who know not
how to serve to God, and who spend the greater
part of their lives without thinking that it is for
Him alone they were created. Ah ! the thought
of such indifference towards God is enough to make
me die of grief. Let us, at least, who are dedicated
to Him in the religious state, seek, by an increased
fervour, to make amends to Him in some way for
the coldheartedness of worldlings. What a happiness that God should give us so many facilities for
serving and loving Him. This thought should
transport us with joy. It will console us greatly
at the hour of death. Be happy in suffering for
God. I should wish to live in order to suffer more,
but God calls me to Himself. We part from one
another only for a short time. We shall see one
another soon again. A few years will pass by,
then you, my brothers, will be with me in Heaven,
there to be immersed for ever in God. Oh, what
a happiness ! Withdraw now, my sons. Take heed
that you employ fruitfully every moment of the
time that God has given you to spend in His service.
I would have you understand how pleasant it is
to die, when one has faithfully served so good a
Master." ^^^B     J    .^^3S: OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
After the professed Eeligious withdrew, the novices were introduced to the bedside of Father
Susanne. The Superior-General asked him to address to them also some words of edification.
"I pray," said the holy priest, " that they may
be possessed of a great love of the Society of the
Oblates and of its rules; that they may practice
great regularity and obedience, and especially great
simplicity; that they may manifest an open-hearted
confidence in their Master of novices, and, after their
profession, in their Superior; that their religious submission be complete; that simple obedience may
rule their hearts. Happy days of the noviciate ! "
Then, looking with an affectionate glance on two novices, whose period of noviceship was about to expire, he said : I Oh, what a happiness is soon to be
yours, that of dedicating yourselves for ever to God!
Is it not a blessed privilege to be members of our
society? This privilege is now my consolation.
Where should I now be, if I had not become a Eeligious in our society. I further pray that they
may not be afraid to suffer for Jesus Christ. By
suffering for Him, we become like Him. I pray
that they may love God with a great love, and
labour for his glory with indefatigable zeal; never
seeking themselves in any of their works, but always having God in view, God alone, God alone
God before all things.    Let them make no account iff
of human praise, for if they do, they will have no
other reward. Ah, what a miserable reward is
human praise, even though it be sincere ! If you
are successful in your labours, some will be jealous
of you, and others will speak to your advantage;
but their praises will only be momentary." "You
pray for many blessings then upon them ? " said the
Superior-General. "Yes," said Father Susanne,
"I am bound in gratitude to do so. They have
done me many services during my long illness. The
prayers of a dying Eeligious are ever heard; and if
from the height of Heaven, where I hope soon to
be, I saw that any one of them was on the point of
straying from the right path, I would pray for him
that God's holy hand would hold him back from
such danger."
He lived on still for several days, edifying, all
who approached him, by the heroic virtues which
he continued to practice on his bed of death. His
loving Superior scarcely ever left his side all the
time. He was there ready to render him every
possible service in ministering tenderly, with his
own hands, to the wants of the holy sufferer. But
he was far more intent still in ministering consolation and help to the devout soul of his dying son.
The voice of the departing servant of God now sank
to a low whisper; but, in the breathings of that
whisper, one could distinguish these words: " Cupio
dissolvi et esse cum Christo,"—" I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ." At last, fixing his
eyes on the face of his Superior, he said softly:
I Oh, my father, is it not the end that has come ?"
" Yes, my son, I believe it approaches." Then let
me go to God ! It is time." The prayers for the
agonizing were then recited, and, at the words
I Go forth, 0 christian soul! in the name of God
the Father who created thee," he believed that his
deliverance was already accomplished, and he said:
"Is my soul already - separated from my body?"
I Not yet, my son," his Superior answered him,
" but it will soon go to take possession of that heaven which Jesus Christ has purchased for it." He
sank into silence for some moments before his death
a radiant smile passed over his countenance, and he
gently breathed forth his spirit into the hands of
Jesus Christ. IL'Ui:
ffl H   '
The new society of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate
was ushered into existence at a time when France,
and it may be said Europe, was but slowly recovering from the shock of the great Eevolution. The
atmosphere was still laden with explosive elements,
and new revolutions were brewing in the air. It
was a time highly unfavourable for the growth and
development of a new religious order. But God,
who provides shelter for the young birds of the air
amidst the storms of early spring-tide, was not to
leave unsheltered a work which, from its earliest
days, exhibited such signs of being born of Him.
His loving providence was to raise up for its protection a friend and. a father in the person of a saintly
prelate, the uncle of Father de Mazenod, — Monseigneur Fortunatus de Mazenod.
The See of Marseilles was then vacant. This
ancient city was the first in France, it is supposed,
to receive the Christian faith. On the shores of
Marseilles, according to a venerable and well authenticated tradition, arrived Martha, Mary Mag-
dalen, and Lazarus, whom Our Lord had raised
from the dead, having been borne thither, providentially, in an open boat, in which they had
been purposely sent out to sea to perish. Lazarus
became the first Bishop of Marseilles. Many of his
successors in that See were illustrious saints in
God's church. Among them stand out prominently
the names of Theodore and Serenus. The glories
of this ancient See shone forth with new splendour
from the middle to the close of the eighteenth
century in the person of the illustrious Belsunce
and his successor, Monseigneur Belloy. According
to the terms of the Concordat between Pius VII. and
the first consul Napoleon, new limits were to be
assigned to the dioceses of France, and several
dioceses had to become altogether extinct. The
diocese of Marseilles was included in this latter
category. In 1823, Marseilles was restored to its
former diocesan rank, and Monseigneur Fortunatus
de Mazenod, uncle of Father de Mazenod, was named
its first Bishop after the Eestoration. This holy
prelate, who was already advanced in years before
his nomination, had to wait for six years before he
could take possession of his diocese. At last, all
obstacles being removed, he was enthroned Bishop
of Marseilles. In accepting the heavy burden of
his charge, he stipulated that his nephew should be
named his Vicar-General.    This latter office opened !'!
a wide field for the large administrative qualities
and boundless zeal of Father de Mazenod. Whilst
occupied with the affairs of a great diocese, he
forgot not that his chief responsibility lay in the
government of his Society of Missionaries. His
character of Missionary and Eeligious was never
hidden behind any of those dignities of the sanctuary
which were forced upon him, and which in obedience
he accepted. Monseigneur Fortunatus de Mazenod,
the Bishop of Marseilles, his venerable uncle, was,
as might be expected, the warm friend and patron
of the society founded by his holy nephew. He
gladly availed himself of the services of the Oblate
Fathers in the evangelizing of his diocese. The
prisons of Marseilles were thrown open to their missionary zeal. The training of the young clergy was
also confided to them.
For thirty-three years the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were charged with the direction of the
Theological Seminary of Marseilles. The crowds of
holy and learned priests which came forth from that
establishment during the period named, were witnesses to the learning, piety, and wisdom with which
it was conducted.
Father de Mazenod was Vicar-General to .his
uncle for nearly ten years. During that period the
chief burden of the diocese devolved upon him,
owing to the age and infirmities of his venerable OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
uncle. His prodigious energy and devotedness
enabled him to preside over his community, and at
the same time administer the affairs of an important
diocese. It was a time when the walls of Jerusalem
had to be rebuilt. The revolution had left behind
it heaps of ruins. All religious institutions had
been swept away, charitable asylums confiscated,
hospitals closed, churches desecrated—some had
been levelled to the ground, and others turned into
warehouses or other secular purposes. Under the administration of Father de Mazenod, the desert began
to rejoice and flourish, religious communities were
re-established, churches were restored, new churches
erected; schools, orphanages, and hospitals sprang
up as if by some blessed enchantment. The ancient
religious glories of Marseilles.were called back into
existence, in a great measure, by the vivifying
action of Father de Mazenod's zeal.
Gregory XVI. had ascended the chair of Peter.
His attention was soon drawn to the important
works in which Father de Mazenod was engaged at
Marseilles as Vicar-General to his uncle, who was
now evidently drawing nigh to his end. Gregory
dreaded that, at the death of the aged Bishop of that
See, the government of Louis Philippe would nominate some unfit person in his stead. He also wished
to secure for the important city and diocese of Marseilles a continuance of the wise and holy adminis- 122   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
tration of Father de Mazenod. With this double
object in view, proprio motu, he nominated him
Bishop of Icasia, in partibus, and coadjutor to his
uncle, m. In obedience to the voice of Gregory,
Father de Mazenod had to consent to be raised
to the episcopal dignity. I He was consecrated
in Eome by Cardinal Odescalchi, on the 14th of
October, 1832. Gregory's object was that he should
succeed his uncle as Bishop of Marseilles. JjThe
French Government took umbrage at these proceedings. A storm of persecution was let loose upon the
new Bishop. He was declared to have forfeited his
rights as a citizen of France, and other trying and
vexatious measures were adopted in his regard, but
God bore him through the storm, j His holy firmness, blended with the spirit of wise conciliation,
conquered finally the opposition of the government.
At the death of his uncle he became his successor in
the ancient See of St. Lazarus, a.d. 1837.'^HH&|]
I It is not our purpose to enter upon the history of
his glorious episcopate as Bishop of Marseilles; we
leave that to abler hands, j We shall content ourselves with a brief summary of that remarkable
period of his life. In becoming Bishop of Marseilles,
he aimed at once at copying, in his life and in the
administration of his diocese, the examples of his
sainted predecessors in that important See. | The
third in episcopal descent from the great Belsunce,
he would'seem to have fully inherited the spirit of
heroic charity and zeal of that illustrious Bishop.
To the ancient Saints who had occupied the See of
Marseilles, he bore a special devotion, and sought,
with great zeal, to promote their public veneration
in his diocese. One of the noblest churches in Marseilles was already dedicated to St. Theodore; but
the memory of St. Serenus had almost fallen into
oblivion during the revolutionary period. That
saint was Bishop of Marseilles about the end of the
seventh century. One circumstance in the life of
Serenus should make his memory especially dear to
English Catholics; it is the loving co-operation he
lent to St. Augustine of Canterbury, in his first
labours for the conversion of England to Christianity.
St. Augustine and his companions, travelling from
Eome to England, passed through Marseilles, and
tarried for some days under the hospitable roof of
Serenus. Proceeding on their journey, they reached
Aix. Here the companions of Augustine lost the
courage to advance further. At Aix they met with
men who spoke to them discouragingly of their project, representing to them the English people as a
race of monsters, whom it would be impossible to
convert to Christianity. Discouraged by those reports, they refused to continue their journey to
England. In vain did Augustine endeavour to reanimate their courage, and to induce them to accom- 11 li
plish the great mission assigned to them by Gregory.
Eeturning to Marseilles with his companions, Augustine placed them under the care of Serenus, and went
back to Eome to take advice, in the emergency, from
St. Gregory. In the meantime, the wise and holy
counsel of Serenus, joined to the inner workings of
divine grace, succeeded in dispelling their prejudices
and in re-awakening their first missionary courage
and zeal. When Augustine returned from Eome to
Marseilles with the renewed order of St. Gregory to
proceed to England, he found them joyful and willing to accompany him. § On his arrival there, owing
to the miraculous success of his labours, it became
soon necessary for Gregory to send him additional
help, to enable him to reap the harvest of souls
which had suddenly sprung up infripeness and
abundance. Paulinus, who became the first Archbishop of York; Millitus, who was afterwards the
first Bishop of London; and Justus, who was to
be the first Bishop of Eochester, were chosen as
Augustine's fellow labourers. St. Gregory wrote,
at the same time, to St. Serenus, a very beautiful
letter, in which he speaks of the wonders of grace
that were being wrought in England by the
preaching of Augustine, and in which also he recommended Paulinus, Millitus, and Justus to the
hospitality of St. Serenus. j We mention these
circumstances, as we feel our readers will not be s.
loath to be reminded of the indirect, but loving and
efficacious part which a Bishop of Marseilles, in the
seventh century, took in the work of England's conversion to Christianity. St. Serenus, during a journey in Italy, died at Blandaret, a town in the diocese
of Vercelli, where his holy body now reposes, and
where also he is honoured as the patron saint of the
locality. Monseigneur de Belsunce had, in his time,
procured a relic of the saint from his shrine at Blandaret, which was deposited at Marseilles. During
the revolution the relic disappeared, and devotion
towards the saint had become almost extinct. Monseigneur de Mazenod resolved to restore this devotion,
and to obtain another relic of St. Serenus from Blandaret. He published a pastoral on that occasion, in
which he says:—" As David had promised not to
give repose to his eyes until he had found a resting
place for the ark, so did I resolve not to be at
rest until the relics of my sainted predecessor had
again found repose at Marseilles." Full of this
spirit he undertook a holy journey to Blandaret,
where he was to be met by the Archbishop of Vercelli. The news of the arrival of so illustrious a
pilgrim, sped rapidly through the neighbouring
country. Great crowds flocked to meet him. They
rejoiced to see, at the shrine of their patron saint,
his living successor in the See of Marseilles. They
came in processional order to do him honour, filling
JJ 1
I III! 1
;l "Till
the air with the harmonies of sacred music, and
singing canticles in honour of their Saint. As the
Bishop of Marseilles prostrated himself, in the midst
of a kneeling multitude, before the shrine of his
predecessor, the scene was solemn and touching in
the extreme. The holy prelate was favoured on
that occasion by a gift of sensible grace which, while
it illumined his mind with the light of a blessed
vision, awakened the tenderest emotions of his soul,
and brought floods of tears to his eyes. He lay
prostrate before the shrine of the Saint for a considerable time, in a sort of rapture, sighing deeply
and lovingly. The pious crowds were moved to
tears themselves at such a sight, and all felt that a
living Saint was there holding communion with a
Saint departed. In a letter to his flock, published
on his return to Marseilles, he gives us some insight as to what was passing in his mind on that
memorable occasion:—
I How can we describe to you, beloved brethren, the profound emotion we experienced when, after a long journey,
we found ourselves at last in the presence of the venerable
body which, in life, had been quickened by the soul of
Serenus. As our eyes reposed on that holy body, we could
imagine that we already beheld it transformed, as it shall be
on the great day of the Lord—risen in the glory, and vested
in the brightness of the elect; its brow encircled with the
immortal diadem of the Pontiffs of the living God. < Behold,' we said to ourselves, 1 the victory of faith. Behold
the reward of those who have fought the good fight.    Ho who won that victory was once the pastor of that flock of
which we are now the shepherd. He has traced out for us
the path by which we should guide it to Heaven. He was
its father, is now its protector. He will not refuse to help
us, his successor, now that we are at his feet. He will
bless the flock which we have come, from so great a distance, to recommend to his protection.' Such were the
thoughts which filled our breast as we bent our head to the
ground, moved by an irresistible impulse to recognize, by
our profound homage, the incomprehensible glory conferred
by God upon His Saints. From Serenus, our thoughts went
back to Theodore, to Cannat, to Lazarus, the contemporary
and friend of our Lord, whom He raised from the dead, and
who was the founder of the See of Marseilles. We were
then led to contemplate, in its full length, the long chain of
Bishops who preceded us in that See—a chain extending,
link by link, back to the days of Jesus Christ and His
Apostles. The same apostolic traditions were transmitted by
all, the same doctrine was taught by all, the same sacraments
were administered by all, the same authority was exercised
by all. We were filled with admiration, as we contemplated
how, in the history of this one See of Marseilles, we beheld,
revealed in bright outlines, the unity, the perpetuity, the
divine origin and economy of the episcopate of the Catholic
Church at large. We marvelled, as we considered the perfect unity of our episcopate with that of Serenus, notwithstanding tbe interval of twelve hundred years which has
occurred between our days and bis. We are charged with
the care of the flock, over which he ruled so wisely as the
Good Shepherd. He is upon the altar, we kneel at his feet,
our hearts, full of a sense of our own responsibility in being
the successor of so great a Saint."
Such were the inner thoughts of Monseigneur de
Mazenod, as he knelt before the shrine of St. Serenus.    Eeverently and lovingly did the holy Bishop 128    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
of Marseilles convey to his diocese the precious relic
of St. Serenus, given him by the Archbishop of Ver-
celli. An octave of celebrations, on the occasion of
the translation of the holy relic, was inaugurated at
Marseilles, and the devotion to St. Serenus was
solemnly restored in that city.
Serenus, in heaven, could not remain a passive or
an indifferent witness of the signal honour which
was being rendered to his memory by his saintly
successor, to whom, we may believe, he, in return,
communicated abundantly of his own gifts and
merits. If ever living merit deserved to inherit the
mantle of some heavenly patron, it was when De
Mazenod knelt at the shrine of Serenus. Then, we
may believe, that he was admitted to a share in the
indirect, but efficacious, apostleship which that Saint,
in his day, exercised with regard to England. Certain it is that, scarcely had the last notes of the
Te Deum, which was sung in honour of St.
Serenus, on the occasion of the translation of his
relic, died away under the roof of the Cathedral of
Marseilles, when an event of a providential character
occurred which was to open a path to an apostleship
in England for the sons of the devout De Mazenod.
He is soon to see gathering around him, young disciples, whom the spirit of God is to conduct to him
to be formed, under his tutelage, for missionary
work in England.   And on that spot on which knelt Augustine and his companions when on their way to
England, and on which also knelt Paulinus, Millitus
and Justus, to receive the blessing of a Bishop of
Marseilles, there he will also behold group after
group of his own missionary sons, kneeling to receive his blessing before setting forth for that same
land, with intent of treading, albeit in the distance,
in the footprints of England's Missionary Saints and
1  ill
i ■■
• ^^^^^K CHAPTEE XII. g£? : f
We now are about to part company, for a period,
with the venerable Founder of the Oblates of Mary,
whilst visiting, with our readers, field after field of
the missionary labours of the sons of De Mazenod,
to find them sowing the seed of the divine word,
and labouring for the salvation of souls on the
western shores of the great Atlantic, or amidst the
snow-clad pine forests and dismal prairies of the
Hudson IJay territory, or nigh the margin of the
Polar Sea, or among the fastnesses of the Eocky
Mountains, or over the surface of the vast region
which stretches from the base of the Eocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, or on the plains of Texas,
and by the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, or amidst
the burning sands of Southern Africa, or on one of
the fairest Islands in the Indian Ocean—Ceylon.
To all these points of Asia, Africa, and America did
De Mazenod live to see the labours of the Fathers
Oblates of Mary extended.
I But if we break off,  for awhile,  the recital of
the personal history of Monseigneur de Mazenod, we OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
do so in order to follow the transit of his great missionary spirit to those far regions of earth, where
destitute souls are to be saved through the labours
of his devoted disciples. His spirit of prayer ever
accompanied his missionaries, taking part in their
combats and in their triumphs. His spirit of piety,
fortitude, and knowledge which they had already imbibed, was marvellously stirred up and kept alive
within their breasts by his active and loving correspondence, which had a tone of inspiration about it,
as if he had been largely aided by the Holy Spirit
in its composition. No exile longed for father or
mother's letter to cheer him in the land of the
stranger more keenly than did the son of De Maze-
nod sigh for the consolation of a letter from his
father, to gladden him amidst the loneliness of the
trackless forest, or of ocean- like prairie, to enlighten
him in his doubts, to guide him in his undertakings,
and to bless him in his labours.
I Your letter," writes an Oblate missionary from
a distant region in Africa to Monseigneur de Mazenod, "has afforded me joy and consolation beyond
expression. It imparted to me a new stimulus to
labour for God and for souls, with re-kindled fervour
and with a courage equal to the emergencies of my
difficult position in the midst of these poor heathens.
Accept, my venerated and most beloved Father, the
assurances of my deepest gratitude for this proof of 132    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
considerate kindness which you have shown to the
least worthy of your sons."
In another letter addressed from a remote mission
to Monseigneur de Mazenod acknowledging one
received from his lordship, we find the following
I The day on which I received your letter, my Lord and
beloved Father, was a real festival day for me, I could not
tire feasting my eyes upon its pages. One should have-
experienced my sense of isolation and loneliness in the midst
of these desert regions, and amongst those poor wandering
tribes to understand my feelings of relief and happiness in
receiving such a letter. It seemed to me for the moment,
venerated Father, as if I were transported again into your
presence, and allowed to enjoy the great happiness of being
nigh to you, and of sharing with those Fathers and Brothers
who are privileged to dwell beside you, the holy charm of
your society and conversation. You can understand, my
Lord, how those of your sons who in these remote regions are
fighting the good fight against such terrible odds, stand in
need of being guided and inspirited in the hour of combat
by the voice of their General. The soldier spirit within my
breast as a missionary could not fail to be stirred into bold
and courageous action, when the voice of my spiritual
chieftain thus addresses me : (Be a true Soldier of Christ,
a good Oblate, and you will force your way through the
ranks of your enemies. Victory will be the certain reward
of your perseverance.' "
From these extracts we may judge of the character
of Monseigneur de Mazenod's correspondence with
his missionaries, and of the extent to which he contributed, by his guiding and inspiriting counsels, to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
the  wide-spread   and   enduring   success  of their
Canada was the first trans-ocean scene of missionary exploit opened to the zeal of the Oblates of Mary.
At the invitation of the Bishop of Montreal, the
venerable Monseigneur Bourget addressed to the
Founder and Superior General of the Oblates of
Mary, a community of that Missionary Congregation was established in 1841 in the diocese of Montreal. From Montreal the Society extended to
Ottawa, which was then named Bytown. The
geographical position of Ottawa evidently destined
it to become a place of great importance. In 1854
it was raised to the rank of a city and became the
capital of Canada. The first Mass said at Ottawa
was celebrated in 1827 in the cabin of a poor Irishman. In 1832 a wooden chapel was built there,
which was still the only place of Catholic worship in
Ottawa, on the arrival there of the Oblates of Mary
in 1844. A certain progress towards the erection
of a new church had, however, been already made,
the foundations of which were laid and the walls
raised a few feet above ground. Father Guiges,
Superior of the Noviciate House of Notre Dame de
1'Osier, in the diocese of Grenoble, in France, was
chosen as the Superior of the new community at
Ottawa. The question of creating a new diocese, of
which Ottawa was to be the centre, was promoted by [Ml
19 9
1   IlM I
the Bishops of Canada, and accepted by the Holy See.
The eyes of the Canadian prelates, and especially
of Monseigneur Bourget, were fixed on the learned
and holy Father Guiges, as the fittest choice which
could be made to fill the new See. The acceptance
by Father Guiges of the dignity of Bishop of Ottawa
made no change in his ordinary mode of life as a
humble Eeligious. He continued to live after his
consecration with the Fathers of his Society until
the end of his days, following all the community
exercises with the same exactitude as he practised
before hk promotion to the episcopacy. At the
same time he displayed a marvellous energy in the
administration of his immense diocese, and in cooperating by his personal labours in the missionary
works of the Oblate Fathers. The wooden chapel
gave place to a noble church, which was brought to
completion under the surveillance of Fathers Telmon
and Dundurand, both of whom were gifted with a
considerable amount of architectural skill and genius.
The devoted missionary labours of those two last-
named Fathers,  in which Fathers Baudrand  and
Molloy generously co-operated, were eminently
successful in forming and organising a large Catholic
community at Ottawa.    One of the special works of
the Oblates of Mary at Ottawa, was the founding
there of a University College chartered by the State,
which they still continue successfully to direct.    In the meantime, Father Honorat and his brother
missionaries were engaged in planting the roots of
the new society in the diocese of Quebec. The large
and populous district of St. Saviour's, in that city,
was assigned to their care.
But the spirit which Father de Mazenod communicated to his society impelled his Oblates to go
forward in search of souls more in need of help than
those that presented themselves in the ordinary fields
of missionary zeal. In the vast Canadian forests bordering the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and other great
rivers, tens of thousands of men were dispersed in
groups, called Chantiers, during the winter months of
the year, their occupation being to fell great trees and
to prepare them to be floated down the rivers when
the ice broke up in spring. These poor men, who
for several consecutive months were separated from
all ordinary means of approaching the Sacraments,
and of taking part in the public exercises of their
religion, were certainly fit objects for extraordinary
missionary effort, especially as they were exposed
to the great temptations which are ever to be found
in such promiscous gatherings as theirs. The
missionary who approaches these poor sons of the
wild woods must be prepared to endure privations
as great and greater than theirs. I He must be prepared to advance through a trackless wilderness—to
be lost in labyrinths of high brushwood, and of the II
intercepting branches of fallen trees, through which,
with axe in hand, he will oftentimes have to cut his
way. He will find himself at the approach of night
still a wanderer, and compelled to seek shelter until
day again breaks in the hollow of some aged tree.
He will find his path crossed at times by the swollen
torrent, through which he will have to wade at peril
of life. Knee-deep in sludge will he have to travel
through dense forests, which are gloomy and dismal
at mid-day, even as though it were mid-night, by
reason of the heavy curtains of thick snow that hang
upon the bent branches of the giant trees, shutting
out almost every ray of daylight. He arrives at
last at the goal of his journey, hungry, cold, and
wearied. A welcome may await him, or he may be
received with frowns. Even though it be a welcome
which greets him on his arrival, kind wishes may
lighten, but they cannot remove the bulk of those
privations—mental, physical, and moral—which he
as a priest, as a man of education and fine feeling,
will have to endure whilst passing through the
rigours of five long winter months in the open forest,
without other companions than those gangs of rough
untutored men. But it must be acknowledged that
there are attractions of a high order for men of zeal
in such missionary exploits. Eeturning from the
Chantiers in the forest, each Oblate missionary counts
by the thousand the number of poor woodmen he OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
has been instrumental in admitting to the holy
sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The
evangelizing of the Indian tribes on the Canadian
border, and of the inhabitants of the ice-bound coast
of Labrador was undertaken by Oblate missionaries
soon after their arrival in Canada. Among the
devoted labourers in those difficult fields of missionary toil we find the names of Durocher, Pinet
Arnaud, Babel, Charpeney, and others. But still
more distant fields of missionary labour await the
cultivating zeal of the Oblate missionary.
We find the labours of Fathers Arnaud and Babel
spoken of in the following terms by a Protestant
writer, Professor Hind, of the University College,
Toronto, in his work Explorations in Labrador,
published by Longman:—
I The description given by Pere Arnaud of his journey up
the Manicouagan, and bis residence with the Montagnais in
the interior, is very interesting. I met Pere Arnaud at
Seven Islands, and also one of the Indians who accompanied
him on his perilous journey. The Indian drew a map of the
country, which 1 subsequently compared with one which I
obtained from Pierre. The delineations of the windings of
the river and the lakes and portages resembled one another
so completely, that if I had not seen the Indian draw the
map in my tent I should have thought that one had been
copied from the other, on a different scale. Pere Arnaud
started from the mouth of the Manicouagan on August 29tb,
.1853, in company with a little flotilla, consisting of seventeen
birch-bark canoes, eleven manned by Montagnais who were
returning to their hunting-grounds, and six by Nasquapees 138   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
who had come from the far interior to see the priest of
whom they had heard so much from their Montagnais neighbours."
" Pere Arnaud lost the whole of his baggage at the foot
of a rapid they were endeavouring to ascend, and after a
month's toil they reached the borders of Lake Mushualagan
at the beginning of October. At this lake the Montagnais
who accompanied him determined to winter, not only because
it was good hunting-ground, but also on account of its being
a great rendezvous in the spring for the heathen Indians of
their tribe. Lake Mushualagan is about fifty miles long,
and varies from three to nine miles in breadth; it is surrounded
by high mountains, is very deep, and contains pike, the
kokomesh, a variety of salmon trout, the memehil, ' a red
kind of fish,' &c. Pere Arnaud was soon left by the Montagnais and Nasquapee who journeyed with him to Lake
Mushualagan. The Indians found that they could not support such a large party by fishing and hunting in one locality.
The Montagnais departed to seek better hunting-grounds,
the Nasquapees set out to rejoin those of their people who
had their lodges on Lake Pletpi, three days' journey from
Mushualagan, only one family of Montagnais remaining with
the missionary. Three weeks were spent in endeavouring to
lay up a store of food for the winter, when another party in
eleven' canoes came to the lake from the coast, but many of
them were ill, and an unusually large proportion were widows
and young orphan children. The fish began to retire to deep
water beyond the reach of nets, the hunt in the woods was
unsuccessful, and a rigorous winter began to set in. The
Indians who had left the missionary some weeks before began
to return, having also been unsuccessful in their hunt; so
that the entire party were compelled to have recourse to their
supply of winter provisions until the snow became deep and
hard enough for snow-shoes, and the caribou began to descend
from the mountains to the valleys.    As soon as the caribou £3^91
season at the beginning of December arrived, the camp was
raised, and the whole band X proceeded to fresh hunting-
grounds.   They soon found tracks in the snow; but, to their
despair, they ascertained that wolves had been in pursuit.
Tbe hunters followed the tracks, and after three days returned
with the announcement that they had come upon the bones
of a freshly-killed deer, and that wolves were numerous in
tbe neighbourhood.    \Wolves are  around  us;   they will
block and disperse the caribou: we cannot escape death if
this continues,' exclaims the distressed Indians.   A party of
hunters arrived from a different direction two days afterwards, and brought with them the flesh of six caribou and
two porcupines; but they confirmed the impression which
began to prevail that the wolves had driven the caribou
away, and it would be necessary to seek other and distant
hunting-grounds.    Their only hope was the tripe I de roche'
when the caribou failed, and they could not support strength
for any length of time upon such meagre diet.    At this period a runner came from the Nasquapees, who had left them
at Lake Mushualagan, bringing the intelligence tbat this
people were starving, and begging for some provisions.    He
was soon followed by a poor Indian with his family, who
. had become blind during the previous week.    The Indian
imputed his misfortune, unparalleled in the forests which
cover the country like a sea, to having slept on the snow,
with spruce branches for his pillow, without fire or any
covering beyond the clothes he wore.    He was overcome
with fatigue, and far too weary to make a temporary lodge
of spruce boughs, and perhaps, like all his race, too indifferent to the consequences which might follow the terrible
exposure to which he so thoughtlessly submitted himself.
Fortunately for the missionary, the ptarmigan, or white
partridge, came in large numbers to the borders of the lake
where they were at this juncture, so that he was able to
relieve the  necessities  of the Nasquapees and the blind
Indian's family.    They also caught some porcupine and a Ill
few rabbits, which enabled them to delay having recourse to
the tripe ' de roche.' It now became evident that the whole
encampment must break up and separate into single families,
scattering themselves over a wide extent of country, in order
to find the means of subsistence. During three long months
Pere Arnaud remained in one encampment with a number
of the Montagnais who still clung to him; but no heathen
Nasquapees came near their lodges, as he had been led to
expect. Provisions now began to fail; the ptarmigan, which
had been the principal means of support, were about taking
their flight to the north. They tried to fish, introducing
nets below the ice, but without much success. Their misery
increased day by day, until at length it became absolutely
necessary to separate and hunt in a new tract of country.
Pere Arnaud returned with a young Canadian, who had
accompanied him to Lake Mushualagan, still 279 to 300
miles from the sea. He descended in the spring to the
mouth of the river, after having endured much privation
and suffering,
I During the morning a number of squaws passed our
tents with loads of wood on their back, and bundles of fresh
sapin (spruce branches); they were making preparations for
Sunday, collecting a little store of dry wood for cooking purposes, and tbe sapin for re-lining tbeir lodges. Pere Arnaud
is very particular in making them perform their necessary
preparations on Saturday, in order to secure a due observance of the Sunday. Towards evening a runner arrived
from the Moisie with a message to Pere Arnaud—a man
supposed to be dying wished to see the priest. Without a
moment'^ hesitation, although it was raining heavily at the
time, Pere Arnaud set out on foot to walk eighteen miles, to see
the sick man and administer the last consolations of religion.
He hoped to find the horse which had so astonished the
Nasquapee two days before, but if he did not succeed, he
would have to make the journey on foot and return to Seven OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
Islands in time for morning service at eight. Fortunately
the horse was seen about two miles from the lodge, near the
beach in the direction of the Moisie. Pere Arnaud caught
him, and availed himself of the animal's services, much to
the astonishment of the Nasquapee, who ran to see the extraordinary spectacle of a man mounting a horse and galloping away on his back. The poor Indian laughed, shouted,
and danced with delight, expressing in a loud voice his
admiration of both rider and steed. Pere Arnaud reached
the Moisie settlements at 10 p.m. The night was dark and
stormy, yet he crossed the broad Moisie Bay in a bark
canoe, during a storm of wind and rain, administered the
last sacraments to the dying man, re-crossed the bay, remounted his horse, and, following the shore of the gulf,
reached Seven Islands at 2 a.m. Such actions win the
esteem of the half-savage Montagnais and wholly savage
Nasquapees with whom he comes in contact, and are a most
effectual means of securing their lasting attachment. The
influence which Pere Arnaud exercises over these Indians
is extraordinary; and it appears to be well earned by numerous acts of charity, deeds of daring, and much self-
denial, as well as by an entire devotion to the object of his
" At half-past seven on Sunday morning the bell of the
Mission chapel tolled for Mass. By twos and threes the
Indians left their lodges and repaired to the sacred edifice.
A little before eight I entered the chapel and found it
already full; the Indians, however, made room for me, and
I took my place among them. The appearance of the congregation was very impressive; on. one side were kneeling
about eighty squaws and young Indian girls, on the other
side nearly the same number of men. The congregation
consisted of Montagnais from the interior and from the coast,
Nasquapees from Asbwanipi and Petichikapau, a lake beyond Ashwanipi on the table-land, a few French Canadians Il :i
1 t [
from Seven Islands and the Moisie, and a few Montagnais
" When the Indians went one by one to the altar-railing
to receive the Sacrament, the native habits of Otelne and
Arkaske were well displayed. They were squatted on the
floor near me in the background, but when their turn came
they rose and wound their way through the other kneeling
Indians with a silent and quick step, which reminded one
irresistibly of their motions when stealing swiftly through a
thick forest of young trees. They seemed scarcely to touch any
of the worshippers kneeling close together, and when passing
noiselessly through the crowd, they did not appear to cause
the slightest inconvenience, or attract any perceptible attention."     i I    § Sill
I Another comparison forced itself upon my mind as I
was surveying these Indians eating the (pain beni,' which
was handed round in the form of a pyramid prettily decorated
with ribbons, more in keeping with the solemn service in
which they had just been engaged. I thought of the condition
of their wild brethren wandering through the dreary forests
or over the moss-covered rocks of the Labrador Peninsula,
who had never heard of the name of Christ, who had no real
knowledge of sin, none of redemption, and none of the life to
come—who were steeped to the lips in superstition, holding
imaginary communication with evil spirits, and endeavouring
to appease their malice with miserable offerings of food,
blood, and sometimes of human life. I thought, too, of the
years of incessant labour and patient endurance which the
missionary had undergone in order to bring these Indians
together at stated periods and teach them morality, honesty,
and truth, the responsibilities of the present and the hopes
of a future world."
* * * * * *
"At six in the evening we assembled at the chapel to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
take part in a procession which was to march to a large
cross 400 yards distant. After a short preliminary service,
the priest, in his robes, walked out of the chapel, and was
followed by the women, dressed as at morning service. Some
Indian lads bearing a small platform, on which was placed a
half-veiled gilt image of the Virgin and Child three feet
high, next took up their position. The men brought up the
rear. As soon as the whole body of Indians were assembled
in the open air, two children carrying a red cross headed the
procession; the women followed two and two; then came
the lads with the image; then the priest with his two
assistants clothed in surplices, and holding lighted candles;
and finally the men. As soon as the procession started the
women began a chant, in which the men soon joined. The
singing continued until the priest arrived at the cross, when
he entered a little temporary chapel constructed of branches
of trees, and chanted a short service, all the congregation
kneeling on the wet grass. A hymn was then sung, and the
procession returned to the chapel in the same order as before.
Tbe cross is about fifteen feet high, and bears the following
Jesus niran Kaots nipikium.
(Jesus who died on the cross.)
And in smaller characters below—
Kanaskamnest naak kakuskuertak
(Oblat-Marie Immaculee.)
The cross was placed in a small enclosure, and the path to
it was ornamented with spruce trees stuck in the ground and
forming an avenue. The singing of the women sounded very
well in the open air, and the responses of the men were much
less harsh than in a small and orowded chapel. It was dusk
before the procession had returned and re-entered the chapel;
a few candles were lit, a hymn sung, and the ceremony was
closed with the customary priestly blessing. The effect of
this display upon the Indians was very marked, and no one I
present who was familiar with Indian heathen customs,
could fail to rejoice at the contrast it presented to a Medicine
dance, or Scalp dance, or a Dog feast, which were once
common in the same camping ground before the Eoman
Catholic missionaries succeeded in winning the Montagnais
from their earlier customs and superstitions, and instilling
into their minds the germs of a better hope."
I On the 16th, Pere Arnaud, shortly before noon, set sail
for Bersamits in an open boat, with a number of Montagnais.
The whole Indian population of Seven Islands were'about to
disperse as soon as the priest had taken his departure, birchbark lodges were taken down, canoes were launched, and their
little store of worldly goods were all embarked ready for a
start the moment the Pere left the shore. A salute was fired
by the Indians, which was repeated again and again. They
watched the boat until it had reached half way across the
bay, when, one by one, they walked slowly to their canoes.
The Nasquapees were going to the Moisie—some of them
to retrace their steps to Ashwanipi and Petichikapau."
I The description of a station given by Pere Babel expresses the opinion which the Catholic missionaries have
formed of the Montagnais. It differs in no respect from
what we saw at Seven Islands, where Pere Arnaud officiated.
j This last spring (1854) I started for these missions in a
schooner bound for Labrador, and after fourteen davs of
monotonous navigation, I reached the port of Itamameou
(east of Natashquan).
* - * * * * *
"I was truly happy to find myself among my Indians
again; they are so good, so ingenuous, so submissive.- The
missionary is truly amidst them like a father amidst his children. These are the poor people who fear and detest sin.
If you only knew how bitterly they deplore the errors of
their past life; how their perseverance in well-doing, and OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
the harmony of their conduct, are capable of putting to the
blush many Christians far more privileged than they by the
abundance of tbe help which they receive !'
" It is well worthy of notice, that the mission chapels at
Itamameou, Mingan, Seven Islands, Manicouagan, Islets
de Jeremie, &c, &c, are chiefly maintained by the contributions of the Indians. Pere Babel concludes his letter by
the following tribute to the liberality of the Montagnais
towards their religious teachers:—{ The Reverend Father
Durocher, having attended this year the missions of the
Islets de Jeremie, could interest you greatly by the recital
of his travels. The good father could speak to you of the
extraordinary generosity of the Indians who frequent that
post, some of whom deprived themselves of necessaries in order
to provide for the expenses of their chapel
? y>
Far away within the north-western limits of
America, lay regions vast almost as Europe, which
extend from 49° latitude to the Frozen Ocean and
Baffin's Bay, from the Hudson Bay to the Eocky
Mountains. Those desert regions were the domain
of the red man, of the moose-deer and buffalo, of the
wolf and the white bear. There grim winter held
sway the greater part of the year, and fettered land
and lake and river in its chains of black ice, and
clad them in its mantle of thick snow. In the chief
portion of those inhospitable climes, mother earth
refuses bread to her children. There no corn waves
in autumn-tide upon her plains, nor does vegetable
life supply aught to the wants or gratification
of the human palate.     Man might die of hunger
there, though he were lord of boundless territory, if
buffalo or deer or fish from lake or wild bird from
eyrie came not within his reach to supply him with
food from its own substance. But sometimes these
feeders of man hold aloof and mysteriously disappear
and then the awful solitude of the wilderness becomes
more awful still, in the absence of its habitual
denizens. Then does the shadow of death fall
heavily on the gaunt spare figures of the hunger-
smitten tribe. Woe then to the weakest, they often"
at such times become the food of the strongest. The
strong fell the weak. The aged father and mother
and the gentle child are struck down sometimes,
and the men of the tribe devour the horrible repast.
There are few attractions in these howling wildernesses to draw hither the footsteps of strangers from
other lands. The skins and furs of their wild animals
are the only objects which the miserable inhabitants
of those places have to offer in exchange for the
goods of the white man. Here, it is true, nature
reveals herself in forms sublime and terrible in her
forests, over her boundless prairies, up her mountain
ranges, out upon her lakes and rivers and seas, aloft
in her skies, which are sunless for months in certain
latitudes, and which flame oftentimes by night with
fires that rival sunflashes by their brilliancy.
Pilgrims of science, and men of travel and adventure
occasionly come hither; but dame nature is ever
churlish in the reception which she accords to them.
Upon all new comers she imposes pains and penalties,
hardships and privations, oftentimes of a most formidable kind. Many over-adventurous spirits have
forfeited their lives in those frightful regions by
being swept over foaming rapids, or by being crushed
by icebergs, or by being frozen by night-frost, or by
being devoured by red men, or by being hungered
by food dearth. Thus perished upon those barren
steppes, killed by hunger and frost, the noble Franklin and a hundred and more of his devoted followers.
The inhabitants of these melancholy solitudes had
need of the advent of other visitors besides those
who came to trade with them, or to study their
manners and customs, or to photograph their likenesses, or to view the scenery of their lakes and
prairies. They had need of those who would come
to claim them as lost brothers, to acknowledge them
as children of the same Father, to communicate to
them the light of faith, to embrace them in the
bonds of charity, and to teach them how to love
God and how to love one another. To supply these
most pressing spiritual wants of the wandering tribes
of the lone north-west of America, was to become
the very difficult, but the very meritorious mission
of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The immense portion of British America to which
we have just been alluding, was formerly part of the l;iu
i HI
!11ill II
diocese of Quebec. ; More recently it became an independent district, of which Monseigneur Provencher
was appointed Bishop. Gradually the number of
priests under the jurisdiction of this zealous prelate
continued to diminish, and no new vocations presented themselves to fill the vacancies thus created.
Monseigneur Provencher was alarmed at the prospect
of his new diocese becoming extinct for want of
priests. He found himself at last left with only
six priests, some of whom were old and infirm.
In his perplexity he took counsel with the Bishops
of Canada, The result of their deliberations was
their agreeing to make a joint application to the
Superior-General of the Oblates of Mary, in view of
obtaining a body of his missionaries for the evangelizing of the tribes of the vast district in question.
Many reasons at that time combined to deter
Monseigneur de Mazenod from complying with this
request. But there existed one superior motive for
yielding consent to the proposal of Monseigneur
Provencher, which prevailed in the mind of Mon-
siegneur de Mazenod over all reasons to the contrary;
it was that this proposal was made in behalf of the
most destitute souls on the face of the earth. Who so
shut out from the help and sympathy of their fellow
men as those wild wandering tribes of the northwestern deserts of America ? Nobody without risk
and hardship can visit them in their lonely encamp- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
ments; much less can anybody live in their midst
and become all to all among them in order to gain
them to God, without having to endure mental,
physical, and moral tortures that demand in him who
patiently bears such trials, the faith and the courage
of a martyr. There are other heathen lands where
nothing seems to be wild,- or savage, or repulsive, but
man himself—lands in which, if man repels, nature
invites the approach and fosters the sojourn—lands
of bright skies and balmy health-giving breezes,
where to dwell seems to be a paradise on earth. The
home of the red man of the wild north has no such
attraction to offer to the stranger who approaches it.
Everything, on the contrary, connected with that
melancholy land is calculated to isolate its unhappy
inhabitants from the rest of human kind, and to exclude them from the knowledge and sympathy of
their fellow men. Cupidity will induce traders to
visit their ice-locked frontiers. But loftier motives
than those inspired by thirst of earthly gain are
required to induce other visitors to penetrate to the
heart of their lonely encampments in the far wilderness, there to become partakers of all their sufferings and hardships. Their state of utter isolation
and spiritual destitution is to form for the sons of
De Mazenod one of the chief motives of their being
the more earnestly sought after.
In undertaking for his society the evangelizing of
1V1! Sllllm
■iwii'i y
iff            I
the vast regions referred to, Monseigneur de Mazenod counted upon God's sending many additional
labourers into the vineyard, to enable him to carry
on the great missionary work for which he had become responsible. His trust in God was not in vain.
When the news spread abroad in France that the
Society of the Oblates of Mary had undertaken
missions for the conversion to Christianity of the
Indian tribes inhabiting the north-western deserts
of America, an extraordinary development of vocations to that society began to manifest itself.
Applications for admission to its ranks came from
divers points of France, from the shores of the
Mediterranean, from the vineyards and olive groves
on the banks of the Ehone, from the Alpine terraces overhanging the rapid Isfere, from the green
fields and orchards of Brittany and La Vendee,
from the busy centres of Alsace, and the vine-clad
plains of Lorraine. These applications came from
church students, from young priests, from professors
of seminaries, and in several cases from parish priests,
who gave up good appointments to become Oblate
Missionaries to the Indian tribes. The professions
of law, medicine, and the army contributed also a
share to the list of novice missionaries. To these
generous hearts their own Belle France seemed to lose
her power of attraction, and to give place to a rival
land in their thoughts and affections.   To their own OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
historic and beautiful France, the land of literature.
of the arts, and the sciences, they are about to give
preference, as a place of abode till death, to a land
without a history, without a past, without beauty-
lone, desolate, and distant. To that land the finger
of the Divine Will points, and thither are they prepared, at all cost and sacrifice, to go.
Thither are they prepared to go without hope or
desire of coming back again, longing for nothing
more than to be spent and to spend themselves in
labours for the saving of the souls of those dusky
children of the forest and the prairie. The greatest
earthly recompense which these noble apostolic
spirits aim at, is the privilege of dying on the battlefield of their labours, and of finding a grave somewhere on the steppes of the Barren Grounds, or by
the margin of the Great Slave Lake, or by the banks
of the Mackenzie, or the Peel Eiyer, or nigh to
the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Other vocations are
ripening beyond the Atlantic. Canada is to take a
noble part in contributing her contingent to the little
cohort of apostolic men who, with cross upon their
breasts, are to invade the empire of the prince of
darkness in the far north, and to establish on its
ruins the triumphs of faith.   hBI^^^^^^^^^I
One morning, early in the year 1845, a youthful novice knelt before the altar of the oratory, in
the Noviciate House of the Oblates of Mary, at H
Longuiel, near Montreal. He was one who had
before him, whilst still in the world, a future full of
bright promise of preferment and success, being the
nephew of the Prime Minister of Canada, and being
on his own part possessed of great natural abilities,
which were highly cultivated by a careful education.
All these advantages and prospects he renounced in
order to become a humble Eeligious in the Society
of the Oblates of Mary. On the morning to which
we refer, he came to the foot of the altar to plead
for the life of a beloved mother. He had then just
received the news that nothing short of a miracle
could save her life. With loving confidence he
implores God in earnest prayer to work that miracle,
and to grant to him his mother's life. He does not
come empty handed to address this petition to God.
He comes into the Divine presence with an offering:
the offering is that of himself. He makes a promise
in prayer to this effect, that should God restore his
mother to health he would ask his Superiors to allow
him to consecrate his whole life to the evangelizing
of the Indian tribes in the far region of the Eed
Eiver. Scarcely had this prayer been pronounced
and this holy promise made, when his mother was
suddenly restored to perfect health. In fulfilment
of his promise, Alexander Tach^, for such was his
name, having heard of his mother's restoration to
health, presented himself to his Superiors to seek (W-
their consent to his devoting himself to the work of
evangelizing the Indian tribes of the Eed Eiver
regions. Such were the circumstances which led to
the selection of Brother Tach£, while he was yet a
novice, and before he was ordained a Priest, to be
'the companion of the first Oblate Fathejwho was
sent as a Missionary to the Eed Eiver. On the feast
of St. John the Baptist, 1845, Father Peter Aubert
and Brother Tach£ knelt in the Chapel of the
Noviciate House at Longuiel, to receive their obedience for the Eed Eiver Missions from their Superior,
the venerable Father Guiges, who afterwards was
appointed first Bishop of Ottawa. The sentiments
experienced by the youthful Missionary Brother
Tach^, as he quitted, as he then thought for ever,
the precincts of a home he affectionately loved, are
thus portrayed in a letter written by him at a later
" You will allow me to tell you what I felt as I receded
from the sources of the St. Lawrence, on whose banks
Providence had fixed my birth-place, and by whose waters I
first conceived the thought of becoming a Missionary of the
Red Eiver. I drank of those waters for the last time, and
mingled with them some parting tears, and confided to them
some of the secret thoughts and affectionate sentiments of
my inmost heart. I could imagine how some of the bright
waves of this dear old river, rolling down from lake to lake,
would at last strike on the beach nigh to which a beloved
mother was praying for her son that he might become a
perfect Oblate and a holy Missionary.    I knew that being 154    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
intensely pre-occupied with that son's happiness, she would
listen to the faintest murmuring sound, to the very beatings
of the waves coming from the north-west as if to discover in
them the echoes of her son's voice asking a prayer or promising a remembrance. I give expression to what I felt on
that occasion, for the recollection now, after the lapse of
twenty years, of the emotions I experienced in quitting home
and friends, enables me more fully to appreciate the generous
devotedness of those who give up all they hold most dear in
human affection for the salvation of souls."
An unbroken journey of sixty-two days conducted
the two young Missionaries to St. Boniface, on the
Eed Eiver. They met on their arrival with a
fraternal and cordial welcome from Monseigneur
Provencher, who seemed, however, to be somewhat
taken aback by the youthful appearance of Brother
Tache. "I have asked" he said, half playfully,
I for a Missionary, and they have sent me a mere
boy." This I mere boy " in five years, was to become his coadjutor Bishop, then his successor, and
owing to his merits and the success of his labours,
St. Boniface, the title of the new diocese of the Eed
Eiver districts, was to become an Archbishopric.
We would here ask his Grace Monseigneur Tach£,
Archbishop of St. Boniface, to pardon us if he thinks
we have intruded too far into the sanctuary of kis
private life. We feel, however, we have no need of
making an apology on this matter, for such a life as
his belongs necessarily already to the domain of
—»*.:JWtt      jfe. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.       155
Catholic history. On the 1st of September, Brother
Tach^, who had during his journey reached his
twenty-second year, was ordained Deacon, and on
the following 12th of October he was raised to the
Priesthood. That same day his year's Noviciate
terminated, and shortly before the ceremony of his
ordination began, he had the happiness of pronouncing, in the presence of Father Aubert, his Ee-
ligious Vows. These vows were the first ever
pronounced in that land; they were pronounced
on the banks of the Eed Eiver by the great-great-
nephew of Varenue de la Veraudre, by whom that
river and the surrounding country had been discovered. Aft$r his ordination as Priest, Father
Tach£ remained some months at St. Boniface, doing
Missionary work, and occupied also in studying the
languages of those tribes which he expected soon to
be engaged in evangelizing. On the 8th of July,
1846, he received his obedience to proceed to L'lle
a la Crosse, which was reached after a harassing
journey that lasted for two months. On his arrival
he heard of an Indian chief who lay dangerously ill
at Lac Vert, a place ninety miles distant, who desired
to be baptized. Thither the young Missionary
hastened through dismal swamps and vast pine
forests. On his return it was arranged that he was
to proceed after four days rest to Lac Caribou, which 156    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
lay 350 miles to the north-east of the L'lle a la
Crosse. On the feast of the Annunciation, 1847, he
arrived at Lac Caribou, the first who ever reached
that desolate spot, to announce there the gospel of
peace. There he had the happiness of instructing
and baptizing several poor Indians. His next missionary expedition was to Athabaska: on his way
thither he was warned of the fierce and savage
character of the Indian tribes who frequented that
place; but, nevertheless, he courageously pursued
his weary journey of 400 miles to the end, travelling
almost the whole way on foot. A great consolation
and a great missionary triumph awaited him at
Athabaska, which was to compensate him abundantly
for the harassing fatigues of his journey. In the
course of three weeks he baptized 194 Indians of
the Crees and Montaignais tribes. The efforts of the
Missionary, aided by Divine grace, wrought a complete transformation in these poor children of the
wilderness, who in their exterior became gentle and
tractable, and in heart devout and fervent Christians.
The next year he visited them again. He found that
in the meantime the seeds of faith and piety he had
been instrumental in planting, had taken deep root
in their souls, and that all his hopes in their regard
were fully realised. The extreme enthusiasm manifested on the occasion of his first visit had, however,
diminished. He did not look upon this as a circumstance to be regretted, for as he says himself in one
of his letters :—
" Enthusiasm is not the ordinary channel through which
either the vocation to the Apostleship or the vocation to the
true Faith acts. The mature calm of sober reflection sustained by the efficacy of Divine grace, is more to be depended
upon and offers more reliable guarantee for perseverance
than the excitement of an imagination that scarcely understands what it says or does, or of a heart that is too often
forgetful of its own cowardice and weakness."
In 1848, the Indians of Athabaska showed themselves less enthusiastic than they were the previous
year; but, in reality, far more deeply Christian. In
the meantime those divine truths so new to them,
and which their minds so readily imbibed at first
were pondered over by them leisurely; they examined
and discussed them among themselves, and the precise way in which they appreciated them was
calculated to fill one with surprise. It is true as
the young Missionary himself writes :—
I Although the heart which so often rebels against right
reason, not only in the case of the untutored child of the
forest, but also of him born and nurtured in the midst of
civilization still offered its practical objections to the full
Christianising of these Indians, nevertheless, the triumph
of the Faith was secured at Athabaska. It it now one of
the chief centres of Christianity in north-western America."
These happy beginnings inspired Father Tach^'s I V
zeal to pursue with continued ardour his apostolic
career. The life of a Missionary in those distant
regions is chequered by successes and disappointments. The latter would seem often to come in
undue proportion. Sometimes, after accomplishing
in face of frightful difficulties a journey of hundreds
of miles, on arriving at the place of expected rendezvous, the Missionary Father finds that, owing to
delays which unavoidably occurred upon his way,
he has arrived too late, and that the tribes in
search of whom he had set out, have already taken
their departure. Meantime his little stock of
provisions is becoming exhausted, and the few
Indians who have been accompanying him abandon
him alone in the wilderness. The dogs of his team
are famishing. He divides with them the last
remnants of food that remain. He starves himself
to save the lives of these poor brutes. If they perish
he will have to abandon all his possessions in the
desert—sacred vestments, chalices, temporary altar,
books, everything. Under such circumstances he
begins his return journey. The post from which he
started lies perhaps three or four hundred miles away.
He may have to pass two or three days without food
(one Oblate father, Father Lacomb, was on one
occasion six days without tasting food). He breaks
the ice which covers some lake over which he is
travelling in search of fish, which he may or may OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
not succeed in catching. He aims his rifle at the
passing bird or beast. He may be a good marksman
or he may fail—failure means hunger perhaps for
days to come. Sometimes bird, beast, and fish seem
mysteriously to disappear from air, earth, and water,
and nothing gives sign of life; all around—everything seems dead or petrified in the black polar frost.
Sometimes the missionary and his team lose themselves, and keep straying for a whole day and night
over the frozen surface of some ocean lake, a wilderness of ice spreads out from horizon to horizon. No
land-mark is there to guide N him out of the frozen
labyrinth, no friendly voice to direct him. No shelter
can be found there by night; no fire can there be
kindled; cold, hunger, thirst, the darkness and the
storm all assail him at the one time, and hope there
seems to be none, save in God. But in God the
hope of His faithful servant in that supreme hour
burns brightly. A feeling rises up within him that
he is then more in the Divine presence than he ever
was before. He knows that if he is in such straits
it is because he has gone forth at God's bidding to
do God's work and to save souls; therefore does he
count with fullest assurance upon God's help. He
does not count thus in vuin, as is abundantly proved
by the providential succours that have come repeatedly in marvellous ways to the rescue of Oblate
missionaries at most critical moments. llli
In July, 1848, Father Tach£ was joined at L'He
a la Crosse by Father Faraud, who was afterwards
to become a true apostle in the lone north of America.
Lieutenant Hooper, E.N., who took a part in the
Plover expedition in search of Sir John Franklin,
thus speaks of Father Faraud, whom he met on the
shores of the Athabaska Lake, at Fort Chipewyan:—
I We were politely received by Mr. Todd, and at supper
were introduced to Pere Faraud, a French Missionary of the
Eoman Catholic Eeligion, with whom I enjoyed the privilege
of much interesting conversation. Monsieur Faraud had.
apparently devoted considerable time to the study of the
Indians in this locality."—Hooper's Tents of the Taski,
page 403.
For two years Father Tach^ had not met an
Oblate father. His time was spent either with the
Indians in the places of their encampments, or in
journeying from point to point over the vast district
confided to his personal charge. He had to endure
often long periods of isolation and solitude. With
unspeakable delight did he hail the advent of a
brother missionary. For a while they enjoyed
together the sweets of community life in the solitary
prairie. Then each betook himself anew to his own
special missionary occupations. In the commencement of January, 1849, they were both at Athabaska,
where disquieting news reached them from St.
Boniface.    They were informed by their Superior, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.
Father Aubert, that owing to the decrease in the
receipts of the u Work of Propagation of the Faith "
in France, caused by the revolution of the preceding
year, it was probable that their missions would have
to be abandoned in consequence of there being no
means of supporting them. The thought of having
to forsake the work they had undertaken in behalf
of the poor red men of the wilderness was insupportable, especially at a time when the harvest fields of
souls which they had been cultivating amidst so
many personal sacrifices, now seemed to be ripening
for the sickle. With common accord they wrote a
joint-letter to their Superior, couched in the following noble and heroic words:—
"The news which your letter brings us afflicts us profoundly, we cannot reconcile ourselves to tbe thought of
abandoning our dear Neophytes and our numerous Catechumens. We will confine our demands upon your assistance
to the narrowest limits.. We hope that you will always be
able to provide us at least with altar breads and wine for the
Holy Sacrifice. We ask only one further favour, which is
that we be allowed to continue our present labours. The
fishes of the lakes will supply as with the food we shall require,
and the wild beasts of the forests will furnish us with clothing.
Again we beg of you, Eeverend Father, not to call us away
from a work to which our hearts are so much attached."
At that hour, in their distant homes, fond hearts
would beat quickly with joy at the news of their
return. Mothers with delighted welcome would hail
the coming back of their sons from their distant
M 1   II'
R ;| ■■
li lit
missions after an absence of years. All this the two
young Oblate missionaries knew and felt. And
were they to yield to their human feelings, they
themselves would also rejoice at the prospect of being
restored to civilized life, to the embraces of fond
parents, and to the society of early friends. But
they had made their sacrifice. They had at God's
interior bidding given up father and mother, and
houses and lands, and all things for the Gospel's
sake. They are not now going to retract holy promises made to God. Nay, they renew their choice
of the savage wilderness, with all its perils and
privations as the place of their habitual abode; and
they declare their continued preference for the society
of those poor wild children of nature, whom they are
seeking to reclaim from ignorance and vice, to all the
endearments of home and to every prospect of earthly
pleasure and emolument. Happily the dreaded evil
was averted, and Fathers Tache and Faraud were
allowed to continue their work of zeal in favour of
the  Indian  tribes  of the Eed Eiver forests and
.       e
Sir John Eichardson, when he was on his expedition in search of Sir John Franklin, met Father
^ch^ at L'lle k la Crosse, and thus speaks of him
and his colleague :—
"They were botJr intelligent and well-informed men, and,
JO '
devoted to the task of instructing the Indians.    They have OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MARY.        163
already  taught  many  of their  pupils  here  to read and
Elsewhere he says of the Oblate Missionaries
whom he met: —
"By sympathising with the people in all their distresses,
taking a strong interest in everything that concerns them,
acting as their physicians when sick, and advisers on all
occasions, the Priests of the Mission have gained their entire
confidence."—Arctic Searching Expedition.
The position of Father Tach^  is about  to un-
dergo an important change, his virtues and merits
mark him out as the fitting coadjutor to Monseigneur
^vencher, Vicar Apostolic of the North Western
District. A letter of obedience from Monseigneur
de Mazenod invites him to Marseilles. Thither he
proceeds. His first meeting with the holy Founder
was marked by signs of their mutual and deepest
appreciation of one another.    He beholds for the
x J.
first time that father whom he had been loving and
venerating in the far distance, with a filial devoted-
ness not surpassed by that of any of his sons, who
Like u olive br
around his table" in their native France. And
Monseigneur de Mazenod rejoiced in clasping for
the first time to his breast the young apostle who
had borne the standard of the cross into far regions
had been privileged to*growup like tfc oiive brandies
whither it had not till then penetrated, and into the
aidst of peoples to whom he was the first to proclaim I
the glad tidings of redemption. Their minds and
their hearts had already been in close and loving
intercourse, and the spirit of De Mazenod had found
its way beyond the seas and reappeared in the life
and deeds of Alexander TachA When Monseigneur
de Mazenod unfolded to Father Tach£ the intentions
of the Holy See to create him coadjutor Bishop to
Monseigneur Provencher, with right of succession,
the humble missionary was startled at the proposal.
He pleaded many reasons for not accepting the proffered dignity, and said moreover he wished to
remain always an Oblate. I It is that precisely," said
Monseigneur de Mazenod, "I wish you to do."
I But is not," rejoined Father Tach^, I the episcopal
dignity incompatible with the religious life?"
" What," replied Monseigneur de Mazenod, I is it to
be supposed that the plenitude of the priesthood excludes the perfection to which the religious man is
called ?" Then assuming that lofty bearing and
sacred dignity which distinguished him on fitting
occasions, he said, u Nobody is more a Bishop than I
am, yet, nobody is more an Oblate." He further
intimated to him that his acceptance of the proposed dignity would help powerfully to consolidate
and to develope the newly founded missions of the
Eed Eiver; in fact, that the very existence of those
missions depended in a great measure upon such com-
pliance on his part.    Moved by these words of his
am venerated Superior, Father Tach£ yielded his consent to what was proposed in his regard. He received
the Episcopal Consecration at the hands of Monseigneur de Mazenod, who was assisted in that
function by another Oblate Bishop, Monseigneur
Guibert, who was then Bishop of Viviers. Monseigneur Tach^ was named Superior of the mission
of the Eed Eiver by the venerable Founder, who at
the same time gave an obedience to several Fathers
to prepare to take their departure for that distant
region. Monseigneur Tach^ would willingly have
prolonged his stay in Europe, had it not been for an
engagement which he had entered into with some
Indian tribes, to meet them at L'He k la Crosse
early in the following September. He shortened his
visits to Eome and to Marseilles, and spent only
a few days with his mother and family in Canada, in
order not to fail in his appointment with his
Indian neophytes. He travelled from Europe in
company with Father Grollier, of whom we shall
speak later on. In Canada he was joined by Father
Lacomb, a young and learned priest, who was soon
to become an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, and one
of the chief mainstays of the North American missions. Monseigneur Provencher's first intention
on the arrival of his coadjutor, Monseigneur Tach£
Bishop of Arath, was to retain him at St. Boniface;
but he readily yielded to the strong reasons adduced 11
by the young missionary bishop for his fixing his
residence at L'He k la Crosse. Monseigneur Tachd,
on taking his departure for his distant home in
the midst of the Indian tribes of L'He a la Crosse,
knelt to receive the blessing of Monseigneur Provencher. The latter aged and saintly prelate gave
expression on that occasion to the following pro-
.phetic words :—
"It is not customary for a bishop to ask for another
bishop's blessing, but as I am soon to die, and as we shall
never again meet in this world, I will bless you once more
on this earth, whilst awaiting the happiness of embracing
you in heaven."
Monseigneur Provencher breathed his last at St.
Boniface, on the 7th of July, 1853, when he was
succeeded by his coadjutor, Monseigneur Tach£. At
the request of the latter when in Eome, the Holy
Father gave to the whole of the north-western
diocese the title of St. Boniface. Monseigneur
Tach£ continued to reside for some years after his
consecration at L'lle a la Crosse. From this point
he made frequent and distant missionary excursions
to visit different tribes at certain places of rendezvous. The privations which he habitually had to
endure, not only when journeying through his vast
diocese, but also when at home in his episcopal residence at L'He k la Crosse, are in some measur
revealed to us in the following playful but truthful
description of his dwelling place and of his method
of travelling:
" My episcopal palace is thirty feet in length, twenty in
width, and seven in height.   It is built of mud which, however, is not impermeable, for the wind and the rain and other
atmospheric annoyances find easy access through its walls.
A few panes of glass and some pieces of parchment constitute
its luminary system.    In this palace, though at first glance
everything looks mean and diminutive, a character of real
grandeur, nevertheless, pervades the whole establishment.
For instance, my secretary is no less a personage than a
bishop—my valet is also a bishop—my cook himself is a
bishop. These illustrious employes have countless defects, but
as they are all so much devoted to me personally, I quietly
endure their shortcomings.    When they grow tired of their
domestic employments I give them some work to do out of
doors, and I give orders for the whole establishment of Monseigneur- to get ready for a journey of some months in the
wilderness.    The travelling party consists of his lordship,
two Indians, and a half-breed, who conducts a team of four
dogs.    The team is laden with cooking utensils, bedding, I
wardrobe, a portable altar and its fittings, a food basket, and
other odds and ends.   Instead of ordinary episcopal shoes, his
lordship puts on a pair of rackets, or snow shoes, which are
from three to four feet in length ; laced in these his feet glide
without sinking into the snow surfaces over which he advances
at first very painfully, at the side of his baggage team.    At
the approach of evening the strength of the whole party,
dogs, Indians, and bishop, being exhausted, they halt for the
night.    An hour's labour suffices to prepare a mansion
wherein his lordship will repose till the next morning.   The
snow is carefully removed, branches of trees are spread over
the cleared ground; these form the ornamental flooring of the
new palace, the sky is its lofty roof, the moon and stars are
its brilliant lamps, the dark pine forests or the boundless I
It ■..
horizon its sumptuous wainscoting. The four dogs of the
team are its sentinels, the wolves and the owls preside over
the musical orchestra, hunger and cold give zest to the joy
experienced at the sight of the preparations which.are being
made for the evening banquet and the night's repose. Tbe
chilled and stiffened limbs bless the merciful warmth of the
kindled pile to which the Igiants of the forest' have supplied
abundant fuel. Having taken possession of their mansion,
the proprietors partake of a common repast; the dogs are the
first served, then comes his lordship's turn, his table is his
knees, the table service consists of a pocket knife, a bowl, a
tin plate, and a five-pronged fork, which is an old family
heirloom. The 'Denedicite omnia opera Domini Domino' is
pronounced before the repast begins. Nature is too grand
and beautiful in the midst even of all its trying rigours for
us to forget its Author; therefore, during these encampments
our hearts become filled with thoughts that are solemn and
touching and overpowering. We feel it then to be our duty
to communicate such thoughts to the companions of our
journey, and to invite them to love Him by whom all those
wonderful things we behold around us were made, and to
give thanks to Him from whom all blessings flow. Having
rendered our homage to God, Monseigneur's valet removes
from his lordship's shoulders the capote which he had worn
during the day, and extending it on the ground calls it a
mattress; his mittens and his travelling bag pass in the
darkness of the night for a pillow; two woollen blankets
undertake the task of protecting the bishop from the cold of
the night, and of producing the warmth necessary for his
repose; lest they should fail in such offices, Providence
comes to their aid, by sending a kindly little layer of snow,
which spreads a protecting mantle without distinction over
all alike. Beneath its white folds sleep tranquilly the prelate
and his suite, repairing in their calm slumbers the fatigues
of the previous day, and gathering strength for the journey
of the morrow.   What would be the surprise of some spoiled
child of civilization if lifting this snow mantle he found lying
beneath it bishop, Indians, and the four dogs of the team ?"
This is not the description of an occasional journey
made by Monseigneur Tach^ in the wilderness; but
of journeys habitually performed by himself and his
brother missionaries, according as the requirements
of their ministry demanded. It is no uncommon
thing for an Oblate missionary in the Artie regions
to sleep every night successively for two or three
months in the open air, lying upon a rug spread
upon the frozen ground on a spot from which the
snow has been just removed. On such occasions the
whole party, priests, Indians, and even the poor
dogs, will group together in one spot instinctively to
maintain vital heat under the appalling cold of those
worse than Siberian, nights. Monseigneur Tache
had not yet taken possession of his Cathedral; he
preferred to remain for some further period at L'He
k la Crosse, from which place he could visit with
greater facility the missionary posts in the north of
his immense diocese. He thus describes his visit to
Lac la Biche, where Fathers Tissot and Maisonneuve
had pitched their tent:—
"A canvas tent in the midst of snow, even though it be
planted on British soil, does not present a proper idea of
English comfort. On the day of the arrival of their bishop
they took possession of their poor cabin, which cost them
much trouble to erect.    They did not possess even a single
JU~.~UljCull^.,l^U.l~LiJtiLfc^ift CT rS
chair; a log of wood had to serve as an episcopal scat. He
to whom it was presented would have accepted it with still
greater pleasure, if he thought that by doing so he could
lessen the discomforts of those by whom it was offered to
him. Hard work and anxieties were not the only trials of
these two young fathers; hunger also contributed its own
share to their sufferings. I was profoundly afflicted in
finding those beloved confreres pale emaciated and grief-
The fisheries of Lac la Biche were a failure that
year. A famine among the tribes on its borders was
the consequence. The fathers had to suffer with the
others.    Monseigneur Tache continues :—
"The visitors brought some provisions and other help.
We then remembered the words of the Divine Master,' When
two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the
midst of them.' We were five, we should then be heard if
we joined in prayer. A High Mass was sung, and a novena
of prayer in honour of the fisherman Apostle, St. Peter, was
inaugurated, to implore of God, through his intercession, a
cessation of the fish famine. The prayers had scarcely been
offered when an abundant take of fish, which appeared miraculous, followed. Since then the supply of fish has not
failed. At their different missionary posts the Fathers have
not only to catechise and administer sacraments, but they
have also sometimes to perform the rudest manual works.
They have to dig and plough, and sow potatoes and corn,
where such luxuries can be made to grow in that inhospitable
clime. By example and persuasion they finally succeed,
though not always, in inducing the Indians to undertake the
tilling of the earth and the raising of crops,"
The missionary has further to act as mason, and
carpenter, and blacksmith, &c , according to circum- mm
stances. From Lac la Biche Monseigneur Tachd set
out for the mission of Our Lady of Victories, at Athabaska. He launched his canoe on the waters of the
giant river, the Athabaska, at a point which was
considered unnavigable and full of dangers. It was
important for the object proposed in the establishment of the mission of our Lady of Victories, namely,
that it should serve as a central depot for the various
other missions, to ascertain whether that river was
navigable or not. To his great satisfaction he was
able to assure himself, by personal experience, of its
being navigable at those points where it was supposed
to offer insuperable obstacles to progress on its
waters. On the morning of the 2nd of July, at 2 a.m.,
after a journey of ten days, he arrived at our Lady
of Victories. At the sound of their Bishop's voice
asking for admission in the early morning, Fathers
Grolier and Grandin and Brother Alexis rose without
delay to receive him. Tears of joy at the happy
meeting were abundantly shed on both sides. When
the news of the arrival of the I great man of prayer 1
reached the neighbouring tribes, they flocked in
crowds to the mission to do honour to him who had
been the first to preach to them, seven years previously, the message of salvation. The arrival at
the same time of Father Faraud, and the good news
he brought of the success of his mission at the great
Slave Lake, completed the joy of the missionaries of
Athabaska. They spent there one of those delicious
weeks which one is rarely privileged to enjoy on
earth. At last the morning of their separation came,
and each had to return to his life of isolation in the
vast solitude of the wilderness, where no other companions awaited him but the poor children of the
forest and prairie. With heavy hearts they bade
one another good-bye, feeling the keenness of the
separation the more, because of the fulness of the
joy they had experienced in one another's society,
during the period of their temporary re-union. 10
you my brothers," exclaims Monseigneur Tach£ in
referring to this incident, "who have the happiness
of living always in community, have pity upon those
who cannot enjoy that consolation; pray for your
isolated brethren." During the year 1856, the
Fathers at Lac la Biche succeeded in opening a
way through the thick forest which separated their
beautiful lake from the prairies that fringed the
borders of the river Athabaska. This herculean
labour was accomplished by months of incessant toil
on their part. The opening of this roadway through
the forest facilitated very much the expedition
which the missionary of Lac la Biche undertook,
every year, to visit the Indians of Saskatchawan.
Monseigneur Tachi having visited several of the
most distant parts of his diocese, at last directed his
steps to St. Boniface.   Here, through the zeal of his mm
predecessor, he found erected a cathedral, an episcopal palace, which, though plain, was large and
commodious, and a convent, which was tenanted by
a community of Canadian Sisters of Charity- The
cathedral was a fine church, and was the only building which deserved to be called a church in that
diocese. His palace, besides being an episcopal
residence, became an asylum for blind and aged
Indians, and an orphanage, into which were gathered
many poor little waifs and strays of humanity, whom
he picked up on his missionary circuits. There also
he fed and lodged, from time to time, several Indian
Chieftains, whilst they were being trained in the
practice and knowledge of the Christian religion,
which it was intended they should afterwards become instrumental in propagating among their
respective tribes. From St. Boniface Monseigneur
Tach£ continued to visit point after point of his vast
diocese. In December, 1860, he undertook a journey which was to last for six or seven weeks. It
lay through one of the most desolate portions of his
diocese, and he had to suffer more than ordinary
discomforts, chiefly from the absence of fuel. The
intense cold had destroyed all vegetation, and it was
with difficulty that even the roots and stumps of
trees could be found wherewith to kindle a fire at
the close of the day's journey. On the morning of
the 14th of December he writes :— i^[fl<:: '^■Br
" We left our snow bed at the early hour of one a.m. to 174   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD. AND
continue our journey; we travelled all night; at ten a.m.
we halted to rest and to partake of a little food. We found
it almost impossib