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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 1882

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Array       SKETCHES OF THE LIFE
OP
MGR. DE MAZENOD,
BISHOP  OF   MARSEILLES,
POUNDER OF THE OBLATES OP MART IMMACULATE,
AND  OF THE
MISSIONARY LABOURS AND TRAVELS
%$ttttbttS Jtrf t\zt ^XTjCiffjJ
TEXAS AND MEXICO, IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, IN
CEYLON, NATAL, BASTJTOLAND, &c.
By the Eey. EOBEET COOKE,  O.M.I.
VOL. II.
LONDON:   BURNS   &  OATES.
DUBLIN: H. M. GILL & SON, 50, UPPER SACKVILLE STREET
BROWN & NOLAN, NASSAU STREET.
1882.
[All Rights Reserved.']
ENTERED    AT    STATIO.NEKS'    HALL.  NOTICE.
We place before our readers in the opening pages of this
volume, the following important testimony of General Sir
J. H. Lefroy, President of the Royal Geographical Society,
to the services rendered to the sciences of Geography and
Geology, by the discoveries of an Oblate Missionary—Father
Petitot—sketches of whose trayels and labours appeared in
our first volume. The extract is taken from the inaugural
discourse of General Lefroy, which was delivered to the
Geographical Section of the British Association at its
Annual Meeting, 1880 :—
"I must now call your attention to the remarkable explorations, httle known in this country, of Abbe Petitot, an Oblate
Missionary of the Roman Catholic Church, in the Mackenzie
Eiver district, between Great Slave Lake and the Arctic Sea, a
region which that Church has almost made its own. Starting
sometimes from St. Joseph's mission station, near Port Resolution,
on Great Slave Lake, sometimes from S. Theresa, on Great Bear
Lake, sometimes from Notre Dame de Bonne Esperanee on the
Mackenzie, points many hundreels of miles asunder, he has on
foot or in canoe, often accompanied only by Indians or Esquimaux,
again and again traversed that desolate country in every direction.
He has passed four winters and a summer on Great Bear Lake,
and explored every part of it. He has navigated the Mackenzie
ten times between Great Slave Lake and Fort Good Hope, and
eight times between the latter post and its mouth. We owe to
his visits in 1870 the disentanglement of a confusion which
4?1
16 NOTICE.
existed between the mouth of the Peel River (R. Plumee) and
those of the Mackenzie, owing to their uniting in one delta,
the explanation of the so-called Esquimaux Lake, which, as
Richardson conjectured, has no existence, and the delineation of
the course of three large rivers which fall into the Polar Sea in
that neighbourhood, the 'Anderson,' discovered by Mr. Macfar-
lane in 1859, a river named by himself the Macfarlane, and
another he has called the Ronciere. Sir John Bichardson was
aware of the existence of the second of these, and erroneously
supposed it to be the ' Toothless Piah' River of the Hare Indians
(Beg-hui-la on his map). M. Petitot has also traced and sketched
in several lakes and chains of lakes, which support his opinion
that this region is partaking of that operation of elevation which
extends to Hudson's Bay. He found the wild granite basin of
one of these lakes dried up, and discovered in it, yawning and
terrible, the huge funnelled opening by which the waters had
been drawn into one of the many subterranean channels which
the Indians believe to exist here.
" These geographical discoveries are but a small part of Abbe?
Petitot's services. His intimate knowledge of the languages of
the Northern Indians has enabled him to rectify the names given
by previous travellers, and to interpret those descriptive appellations of the natives, which are often so full of significance. He
has profoundly studied their ethnology and tribal relations,
and has added greatly to our knowledge of the geology of this
region.
"It is, however, much to be regretted that this excellent
traveller was provided with no instruments except a pocket
watch and a compass, which latter is a somewhat fallacious guide
in a region where the declination varies between 85° and 58°.
His method has been to work in the details brought within his
personal knowledge, or well attested by native information, on
the basis of Praiujlin's charts." EXTRACTS FROM OPDTCOffS OE THE PRESS
ON VOL. TEE FIRST
OF
^krtzlgzs of tyt %iit ai
MONSEICTEUR DE MAZENOD,
AND   OF  THE
MISSIONARY LABOURS OF THE OBLATE FATHERS OF
MART IMMACULATE,
BY THE
REV.   FATHER  COOKE,  O.M.I.
From tlie | Globe," July 9th, 1879.
<l Every one, irrespective of creed, interested in missionary work, and
curious to learn something of the lives, manners, and customs of those savage
races amongst whom it is sought to spread the influences of religion and
civilization, will read the Rev. Father  Cooke's work with pleasure and
instruction Father Cooke relates in a pleasant style, and with
historical authenticity, the struggles, dangers, and successes of his brethren
in the wild regions of the great Transatlantic. continent. As a work of
historical interest and literary merit, and exciting in narrative, we can commend these ' sketches [ to every one desirous of some hours' pleasant and
advantageous reading.*'
From the "Morning Post," September 5th, 1879.
" These sketches must remain as an exceptionally interesting record of
missionary enterprise, and of the life of a good and pious man	
It is impossible to read without deep interest the simple story of the labours
of these heroic men; the Oblate Fathers, while taking their lives in their
hands in the most literal sense, went forth into almost unknown wilds, with
the sublime idea of taking the Gospel to the ignorant tribes of the North
American Indians."
From the "Tablet," July I2th} 1879.
" This volume has a twofold interest. As a singularly edifying narrative of a saintly life, it can hardly he read without benefit. But it is also a
valuable addition to our knowledge of the physical geography of the regions
bordering on the Arctic circle in the North American continent. How ably
and judiciously Father Cooke has fulfilled his double task, our readers will be
able to discern for themselves in the extracts from this attractive work." j-^?^;.., i
VI OPINIONS   OF   THE   PRESS.
From the "Weekly Register ast> Catholic Standard,"
July 26th, 1879.
" What was done so effectively by the late gifted and lamented Mr.
T. W. M. Marshall, is now being done not only effectively, but exquisitely,
through the newly-published biography of Mgr. de Mazenod, in exposition
of the many fruitful labours of some at least among our countless Catholic
missionaries. The Eeverend Superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at
Tower HiH, the Eev. Eobert Cooke, commands at once our gratitude and
our congratulations upon the completion of one moiety, at least, of his most
touching memorial of the venerated founder of that Order, and of the missionary labours and travels of the many remarkable members of that Society,
among other quarters of the globe, in Canada, Labrador, the Red Eiver
Settlement, Saskatchewan, the great North American Lakes, the Mackenzie
regions, the confines of the Arctic Ocean, and British Columbia	
"What those labours have been for years past in the remotest parts of the vast
-North American continent—thanks to the grace of God inspiring thus the
holy missionaries sent forth by the late saintly Bishop of Marseilles, the
founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculates—Father Cooke relates, with
touching eloquence, in one of the most enthralling and edifying books for a
long time published. Apostolic virtues shine resplendently through the
narrative, evangelical unction glows in every page, miracles of conversion
are again and again recounted, the tale here told being from first to last one
having about it a nameless fascination."
From " The Freeman's Journal," September 23, 1879.
" Father Cooke's volume is filled with narratives of incidents and adventures, before which some of the most thrilling tales of books of travel pale
away into insignificance, and their truth is assured by most reliable testimony."
From " The Nation,"  October 4, 1879.
" Monseigneur de Mazenod was a man fashioned in the true apostolic
mould. Belonging to one of the noblest families of France, he gave himself
up at an early age to the work of ministering as a priest amongst the poor
of his native province Father Cooke goes on to relate how he
succeeded in finding congenial companions, and how gradually was formed
under his auspices that society which did not a little to save the South of
France from the infidelity of the Revolution, and then devoted itself with
unsurpassed heroism to the preaching of the Gospel in the untrodden wilds
of _North-"Western America and other out-of-the-way regions of the world.
"With a thrilling account of the adventures of the pioneer missionaries Father
Cooke concludes his first volume. The appearance of the sequel will be
eagerly awaited."
From "The Irish Monthly," December, 1879.
". . . . It is very much more than a Life of Bishop de Mazenod, a
filial tribute paid by Father Cooke to his holy Founder in obedience to the
commandment Honora Patrem tuum. That part of his task is done admirably,
but a still greater interest attaches to the account of tie missionary labours
of the Oblate Fathers in those wild regions which Major Butler (who has
devoted to the missionaries many eloquent pages) has made so well known OPINIONS  OF  THE   PRESS.
under the name of " The Great Lone Land." Please God this present narrative will kindle the languid zeal of many hearts. Father Cooke's Life, when
completed—for this fine portly volume is to be followed by another—will be
one of the most considerable works undertaken by any Catholic writer of late.
"We trust that the concluding volume will follow very soon."
From the " Catholic Times and Catholic Opinion,"
August 29th, 1879.
" The first Mass said at Ottowa—now capital of Upper Canada—was in
the cabin of a poor Irishman, in 1827. The Oblates went there in 1844.
. . . . Their journeys through trackless swamps and tangled forests not
only to give spiritual aid to the white trapper and wood-cutter, but to evangelize the native Indians, are simply astounding. This portion of the
narrative is of absorbing interest, and furnishes a modern testimony to the
sublime courage and devotion of those Catholic priests who endured countless hardships, and penetrated to. the desolate haunts of the moose and Indian
hunter, risking death every day, to propagate the Gospel of Christ, and to
plant churches that were yet to become the nuclei of sees. . . . Through
' the smoke and din of battle, through wolf-haunted woods, through terrible
plagues—through every danger that can be conceived—did the fearless
Oblates travel and toil, slowly building up structures of truth and civilization out of the most unpromising materials."
From "Tbe Church Times," January 23, 1880.
■" Missions to the heathen have always been a strong point in the Roman
Church.     Her organization for these enterprises is on so vast and complete
a scale the training of her
ministers for distant spheres of labour is so directly pointed to the end to be
attained; their zeal and self-sacrifice causing them to exhibit the Church
before the heathen as a body called to suffer for Christ's sake; their entire
freedom from earthly ties; the implicit and unquestioning obedience which
is required of them to the powers above them ; and last, and not least, the
peculiar nack which Rome has with few exceptions exercised, of putting the
right man in the right place, have all conduced to attract and win the sympathies of heathen hearts. And while we acknowledge and admire the earnest
zeal, and self devotion, and perseverance which have characterized the missionaries themselves, we may recognize also a spirit of discretion in much of
the instrumentality that is provided; the numerous bodies sent out together,
the establishment of sanctuaries and religious houses for the reception of
catechumens and the education of orphans and native children, the preparation of elementary forms of instruction such as those of Francis Xavier for
the use of the catechists in India, the community of living and austerity of
habits invariably adopted, have doubtless contributed to the success, which
has, on the whole, attended the missionary efforts of the Roman communion
in all parts of the globe "We might make many interesting
extracts from Mr. Cooke's book which would justify to our readers our
appreciation of the work and of the workers." Hi
opinions of the press.
The Athen^um," June 3, 1882, on Vol. II.
"The Very Eev. Father Cooke, O.M.I., has ready for immediate
publication the second volume of his ' Life of Monseigneur de Mazenod.'
This instalment will especially treat of the inner life and death of the
founder of the Society of Mary Immaculate. An account will be given not
only of the home missions of that order, but also of its missions in Texas
and Mexico, in Ceylon, Natal and Basutoland. The learned author, it
should be added, has worked up the religious antiquities of his own
immediate neighbourhood in connexion with his Church of the English
Martyrs on Tower Hill, and has discovered a good deal of matter which
was new to himself, and which will, therefore, probably be new to the
general public."
Translation of a Letter of Sis Eminence the Cardinal Prefect of
Propaganda.
Propaganda, Eome,
September Wth, 1879.
Erveeend Father,
I thank you for the gift which you have made to me of the first
volume of your work on the Life of Monseigneur Mazenod, the Founder of
your well-deserving congregation of Mary Immaculate. The subject which
you have chosen is certainly a very worthy one; for while it serves to
nourish the piety of all the faithful, by recording the virtues of the father of
your religious family, it helps likewise to arouse the apostolic spirit in the
missionaries who have consecrated themselves to the propagation of the faith
in pagan countries.
I have presented to the Holy Father the copy of your hook, which you
sent to me for that purpose; and I am happy to tell you that His Holiness
has been pleased graciously to accept your act of filial homage, and to
impart to you and to all the members of your religious family his Apostolic
Benediction.
"Wishing you every happiness from God,
I am, Eev. Father,
Tours affectionately,
JOHN CAEDINAL SIMEONI,
Prefect.
J. B. Asnozzi,
Secretary. CONTENTS.
CHAPTER I	
Texas—Brownsville—Arrival of Missionary Oblates of Mary
Immaculate—Test of true zeal—Strange meeting of Inhabitants
of Brownsville to welcome the Fathers—Half-ruined shed their
first residence—Difficulties and discouragements—Temporary
withdrawal of the Oblates from Brownsville — They return
reinforced—New church—Awakening of faith—Ranchos, in the
interior of Texas, visited—Narrow escape from drowning of a
missionary Father.
CHAPTER II	
The Rio Grande—Matamoras—Mexican Missions of the
Oblates—Great spiritual desolation—Outbreak of insurrection—
The expulsion of the Fathers decreed by the Revolutionists—
Great grief of the population at their departure—Sorrowful journey
—Bivouacing on the open plain—Sufferings of travellers—Civil
war at Matamoras—A great part of the town burnt down—A shell
struck the Fathers* house—Temporary cessation of troubles—
Renewal of disturbances—Revolution follows upon Revolution—
The party of disorder triumph at Matamoras. They seize upon
the church—The missionary Fathers are cast into prison—Their
death decided upon—Their escape.
CHAPTER III	
Missionary efforts under trials, hardships and disappointments
—Outbreak of plague at Brownsville—Fathers De Lustrac, Sivy,
and Shumacher die as martyrs of charity, victims of their zeal-
War breaks out between Northern and Southern States of America
—Brownsville threatened by Federals—Set on fire hy Confederates before their flight—Casks of gunpowder concealed near
principal buildings—One hidden in a vault near church and house
of Fathers—Great part of the town burnt down—A torrent of
flame rolls towards the church—A special Providence checks it at
a critical moment—Bands of plunderers come from Mexican borders—End of fratricidal war between the States—Brownsville
Mission rapidly revives and developes—New disasters—Terrific
cyclone—City in ruins—Church and Fathers' house all but demolished—Convent and schools, with exception of chapel, swept
away—Miraculous escape of nuns and pupils—Father Kerulam—
For three days lost iu a wood without food or drink—His great
PAGE
1
27 mmm
virtues—He went forth on a missionary expedition never to return
—Clue to the cause of his death—He died a martyr to his holy
zeal at the hands of an assassin.
CHAPTEE IV	
De Mazenod—His inner spirit—Our friendships are faithful
mirrors of our inner spirit—De Mazenod's inner spirit as a young
layman in the world—His correspondence with E. Gautier and
and the young Duke de Rohan—His inner spirit as a young
Seminarist—His affectionate and devout spirit reveals itself in a
letter to his aged grandmother—His spirit of piety on the eve and
on the day of his ordination as a Priest.
CHAPTEE V	
De Mazenod's unworldliness of spirit as a Priest—The Eule
of Life which he drew up for his guidance in the first year of his .
Priesthood—His interior trials and incertitudes—His spirit at last
visited by light and consolation.
CHAPTEE VI	
De Mazenod's inner spirit as Founder of a Religious Society
—His yearning for the perfection of holiness—His keen sense of
his responsibilities—His confidence in God—His testimony to
the virtues of his early confreres—Divers manifestations of his
inner spirit as Founder and Superior—His grief at the loss hy
death of members of his society—Beautiful sentiments of resignation on his part—His spirit of trust in difficult undertakings.
CHAPTEE VII	
Monseigneur de Mazenod's inner spirit as Bishop of Marseilles—Secret terror inspired by the dread of responsibilities—
A series of holy resolutions made in view of his episcopal obligations.
CHAPTEE VIII	
Toulon—Extraordinary religious demonstration—Translation
of the relics of St. Augustine to Hippo—Monseigneur de Mazenod
and other prelates accompany the relics—They embark on board
the " Montebello " — Departure from Toulon — The shores of
France recede from view, the high peaked mountains of Sardinia
are breaking ou the prospect—Cagliari — The "Montebello"
anchored in the Gulf of Bona—The ruins of Hippo Regius rise
to the view of the pilgrims—They approach the shore in boats
—Christians and Arabs are upon the waters in countless crafts—
Arrival at Hippo—Deposing of the relics—Monseigneur de Mazenod consecrates a Mosque as a .Catholic Church—Voyage back to
to Europe—Driven by hurricane on Balearic Isles—Majorca	
Palma—Visit to a plague-stricken ship—Sacraments administered
to the dying—Marseilles reached.
64
102
113 PAGE
CHAPTER IX 12S
Extension to Corsica of the Society of the Oblates—Father
Albini—Father Semeria—The Armenian Prince, Amin Cheal, and
Monseigneur de Mazenod—Montalembert—Definition  of the
dogma of the Immaculate Conception—Monseigneur de Mazenod
.   visits Rome.
CHAPTER X 138
Establishment of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in England,
Ireland, and Scotland—Father Aubert—Grace Dieu, Leicestershire—Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle—Conversions—Everingham,
Yorkshire—"William Constable Maxwell (Lord Herries)—Howden,
Liverpool.
CHAPTER XI 169
Leeds — St. Saviour's Anglican church — Conversions of
Anglican clergymen, &c.
CHAPTER XII 181
Foundation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Leeds—
Opening of temporary chapel—Conversions—Laying of the first
stone of a new church.
CHAPTER XIII 211
Introduction of the Oblates into Ireland—Inchicore-
Richard, &c.
CHAPTER XIV. 	
•Father
221
First visit of Monseigneur de Mazenod to England—Father
Dalgaims — The Earl of Arundel and Surrey — Monseigneur
de Mazenod visits the East of London, "Whitechapel—He visits
Everingham, Yorkshire, Holy Cross, Liverpool, and other
places, which were temporarily occupied by members of his
society—Seven years later he revisits the British province of the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate—Opening of St. Mary's Church,
Leeds—Monseigneur de Mazenod visits Ireland—His enthusiastic
reception at Inchicore—TTfa impressions of Catholic Dublin.
CHAPTER XV	
Missions and missionary incidents.
CHAPTER XVI. 	
Tower Hill Mission—Rosemary-lane and its courts—The
Docks—The Tower—A site secured in Great Prescot-street—
Charles Walker—Visit of the Archbishop to temporary church—
Nine hundred children ask for a school—Cholera in the East end of
London—Frost famine—Erection of Schools—Opening of Church
of English Martyrs—Catholic memories of the vicinity of Great
Prescot-street and Tower Hill—St. Peter ad Vincula—St. John
the Evangelist in the Tower—Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Barking
237
271 contents.
—ii Um
by the Tower—Our Lady of Graces on Little Tower Hill—St.
Katharine's Church and Hospital—The Abbey of the Nuns of St.
Clare—The Minoresses in the Minories—Church of the Holy
Cross and St. Mary Magdalen, &c.
CHAPTEE XVII 307
Kilburn—Leith—Eock Ferry—The Eeformatories of Glen-
cree and Philipstown—Novitiate house, Stillorgan.
CHAPTER XVIII 319
Ceylon—Its conversion to Christianity—Dutch persecution
—Sir Emerson Tennent—Oblates of Mary Immaculate invited to
Jaffna by Monseigneur Bettachini—Father Semeria—Missionary
life in Ceylon—Testimony of Sir Samuel Baker to the zeal of
Catholic missionaries—The plague — Sudden cessation of the
scourge at the close of Triduum—Father Semeria appointed Vicar-
Apostolic of Jaffna—Trincomali—Father Bonjean.
CHAPTEE XIX.  346
Fathers Pulicani and Duffo—Prisons of Kandy—A Parawas
youth dies a holy death in prison—Conversion of the triple-murderer of Morotto—Twelve Buddhist prisoners under sentence of
death converted—Sardiel, the notorious Buddhist outlaw, is converted to Christianity, and dies a true penitent—Visit to a
" Panchala," or residence of Buddhist Priests; by Father Duffo—
Sisters of the Sainte Famtile established at Jaffna—Extraordinary
conversion of an aged Mahometan—Death of Monseigneur Semeria
—Succession of Monseigneur Bonjean.
CHAPTER XX 368
Natal—Orange Free States—Transvaal, &c.—Spiritual charge
of Vicariate of Natal confided to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate
—Monseigneur Allard—Durban—-Father Sabon—Pietermaritz-
burg—Missionary operations in the interior of Natal—Travelling
in South Africa—The fording of rivers—Father Gerard and young
Kafir guide carried away by the torrent—Providential escape—
Visit to King Moshesh in Basutoland—Site for mission granted—
Motsi-wa-ma-Jesus—Journey of the Nuns of the Sainte Famille to
Basutoland—Hardships and dangers—Sixty-four days en route
through the wilderness—Visited on arrival by the king—Conversions, &c.—Bishop Jolivet—Zulu war—The Prince Imperial—
Transvaal—Pretoria—Outbreak of war with Boers—Bishop taken
prisoner—Visit of the Empress Eugenie.
CHAPTER XXI 404
Closing years of the life of Monseigneur de Mazenod—His
spiritual testament—His holy death—Very Rev. Father Joseph
Fabre, chosen successor of Monseigneur de Mazenod, as Superior-
General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate—Conclusion. SKETCHES OP
THE LIFE OF Mgr. de MAZENOD
AND   OF
THE LABOURS OP THE OBLATES OP MARY.
CHAPTEE I.
T"S the first volume of our Sketches of the Life of
Monseigneur de Mazenod, and of the labours of
his missionary sons, Ave closed our summary of the
works of zeal performed by the latter amidst the
rolling prairies, and frozen lakes of the far North
Western regions of America, • We now invite our
readers to accompany us to the distant Southwestern
limits of that territory, where the Eio Grande flows
under skies of cloudless blue, and between sloping
banks carpeted with an endless variety of fairest
tinted flowers, to empty itself into the Gulf of
Mexico. Texas has received the title of I the Italy
of the West," by reason of its resemblance in sky
and landscape to the most beautiful and favoured of
European lands. Surely one would think that,
amidst such cheering accessories of climate and
scenery, and of earth's joyous and abundant fertility,
that there, missionary labour would become a light 2    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZEXOE, AND
and pleasant duty, and that little scope would be
left for a display of self-devotedness, and of patient
long-suffering endurance, such as we have witnessed
on the part of the Oblate Missionaries of the North.
But the progress of our narrative of the Texan missions of the Oblates of Mary will make manifest the
fact, that notwithstanding all the rigours and privations "which have to be encountered by the missionaries who traverse the cheerless regions of the frozen
Mackenzie, -that- trials and sufferings as pain-causing
as theirs, and more so in certain cases, have to be
endured by their brethren "who evangelise the sunny
shores of the Eio Grande. The trials of these latter
missionary Fathers will be shown to come more from
men than things, from frozen hearty and minds of
gloom, than from lakes of frost and skies of cloud
and storm. The chief promoters of their griefs will
not be the unbaptized and uncivilized hordes that
wander through forest and prairie, but men who
have sinned against the Holy Spirit by rejecting an
ancestral faith, and who have lapsed into the worst'
forms of savagery by trampling under foot the blessings of Christian civilisation.
We shall now proceed with our sketches of the
labours of the Oblates of Mary in Texas, having
first prefixed a brief outline of the history of "that
country, for the better elucidation of the narrative
which is to follow. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
In a.d. 1687, La Salle, a French explorer, erected
a fort on Matagorda Bay. In 1715 the country was
settled by the Spaniards under the name of the New
Philippines, and several Catholic missions were
established there; but owing to the fierce assaults
of the Comanche and the Apache Indians (among
the most Avarlike in America), the progress of the
country Avas retarded. Both Spain and France laid
claim to Texas, Avhich became a disputed territory,
when, in 1803, Louisiana was ceded by France to
the United States. For several years attempts were
made, in frequent succession, by the Americans to
wrest Texas from Spain, and many battles, resulting
in great slaughter on both sides, were fought. When
in 1821 Spain relinquished its hold upon Mexico,
Texas became a dependency of the latter country,
under the goA'ernment of Moses Austin, an American.
Settlers then began to pour in in great numbers from
the States, but many of them were such lawless characters that in 1830 the goA'ernment made a law to
prevent any more Americans from coming into Texas.
In 1835 a provisional government was formed, Sam
Houston Avas chosen Commander-in-Chief, and the
Mexicans Avere driven out of Texas. Houston's
army was attacked by Santa Anna, President of the
Mexican Eepublic, who led a force of 7,500 men,
but who was defeated at San Jacinto. In 1837
Texas  became an  independent Eepublic, and re- 4    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
mained so until it was annexed to America in 1845.
Shortly after the annexation, it was invaded by the
Mexicans, and thus commenced the great war between the United States and Mexico, which was
concluded only in 1848.
The unhappy frontier regions of Texas were the
battle ground over which rolled the full tide of war,
with all its concomitant evils. Brownsville rose
from a soil still reeking Avith the horrors of the battle
plain. It received the name of a victorious captain
in the American army. Its population at the time
our story begins was of a strange and motley character. Divers nations of Europe, the American
States, and the cities, towns and hamlets of Mexico
were represented at BroAvnsAalle, not as a rule by
the Avisest and best of their respective populations.
Hither many came, it is true, with motives that
were praiseworthy, and Avith a laudable purpose of
promoting the proper interests of life, but multitudes
also flocked hither as refugees from the pursuit of
justice, or as adventurers who were as willing to
promote earthly fortunes by foul means, as by those
that were fair and honourable. Public authority
could be scarcely said to exist at that time in Texas.
Within a decade of years almost as many different
forms of government had sprung up in succession,
no time being given for any system of public law to
become established, or to acquire the prestige ne- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
cessary to gain authority. The law of might prevailed widely o\-er that of right. Great crimes
committed in the open day remained unpunished,
and men depended for protection more upon their
own Avitty brains and stout arms, than upon the
shelter of the laws of the country. This chaotic
state of society was an obstacle, not only to moral,
but also to material progress.
The situation of BroAvnsville, standing on a noble
river that placed it in easy communication with the
ocean, "with the towns and cities of Northern Mexico
ready to become purchasers in its marts, with tracts
of some of the most fertile lands in the world stretching out in its rear to the north and to the east in a
wilderness of beauty and productiveness, until hundreds of miles of landscape, rich in every variety of
fruit and flower, met the rolling prairie or luxuriant
forest—the situation, we say, of BroAvnsville, should
already have secured for it, brief though the days of
its existence at that time were, a place amongst the
foremost in rank of the rising young cities of the west.
But a moral blight was on the place, which marred
its progress—the blight of irreligion. To remove this
blight, the public mind, though deeply tinged with
infidelity, bethought itself instinctively of an efficacious remedy—the restoration of the Catholic religion and worship, which had been suspended in
BroAvnsville since the expulsion of the Mexicans. G    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
In view of securing this object, the heads of the
tOAvn put themselves into communication with the
Bishop of Galveston. His lordship was overjoyed
at their proposal, giving them credit for sentiments
of which, unfortunately, they were not possessed.
He thought it Avas a religious motive that had induced them to apply to him for priests, and for the
restoration of Catholic worship, in Brownsville'
whereas their object in making such application Avas
of a purely secular character. They wished, by the
introduction of Catholic missionaries to BroAvnsA*ille,
to induce Mexican and American Catholics of position and respectability to establish themselves in
that city, and thus to contribute to its mercantile
and social importance.
Early in December, 1849, the first Oblate Missionaries, Fathers Telmon, Gaudet and Soulerin,
arrived at BrownsAolle at the invitation of the Bishop
of Galveston, to take charge of a district which extended in length from the Gulf of Mexico, over 200
miles running west by the northern bank of the
Eio Grande. In width it stretched out in a northeasterly direction about 100 miles towards the interior of the country. "We would here anticipate
what will become visible as our narrative of the
Oblate Missions in Texas advances, bv acknowledge-
ing at once that we have no wide-spread and extraordinary results of missionary effort to speak of, no fruits of zeal commensurate Avith the devotedness,
the self-sacrifice, the piety, and learning of the
Fathers engaged in that difficult field of apostolic
labour, to describe. The most crucial test of true
apostolic zeal is that of devoted labour for souls, not
followed by any visible fruit.
To this test have the labours of apostolic men
in divers ages of the church been subjected. Many
devoted missionary spirits from the days of the
Apostles doAvn to our oavu times, have had no other
post assigned them by the Divine Master in the
vineyard of zeal, during their life's day, than that of
being sowers only of the seed. Their appointed
occupation was to plough, to harrow, and to plant,
but seldom or never to reap. The seed planted by
them may take a score, or fifty, or a hundred years
to ripen, but it ripens in the end. They were often
perhaps, in their day, twitted because no visible
success seemed to follow their labours, whilst in their
oAvn hearts they had to do battle against a growing
despondency * but being of the true apostolic type,
they still worked on undaunted for God and souls,
though seemingly unsuccessful. Going they went
and wept, casting the seed, watering the ground on
which they laboured with their tears, and often with
the last drop of their heart's blood.
It was in labouring thus Avithout much visible
fruit that, during the early ages of the church, band 8    SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
after band of martyr-apostles followed one another
in the blessed winter drudgery of Christ's vineyard,
under blast and chill and drenching skies, and reproach and taunt and violent opposition of wicked
men Avho hated the Word, whose seed these holy
workers were engaged in planting. The sowers had
done their appointed work, and they were called
home at evening-tide to receive their hire. The
winter passes away, the harvest ripens everywhere;
Jerusalem begins to bud forth and blossom, the
voice of the turtle is heard in the land; the desert
rejoices and flourishes like the lily; the fig tree
puts forth its green figs, the vine in flower yields its
sweet smell. Arise, arise, put on thy strength, 0
Sion, put on the garments of thy glory, 0 City of
the Holy One, loose the bonds from off thy neck.
0 Church of Jesus Christ, come forth from the catacombs, the harvest is ripe upon the plains, send
forth thy reapers in great numbers. The nations
are coming to thee vrith their gifts, the kings of the
earth are to be thy foster-fathers. Oh, blessed the
hands that sowed the seed that has grown up into
such glorious harvest-fruits—the conversion of nations ; and blessed are they who at this hour are
willingly, because God wills it, engaged in some
solitary missionary work, uncheered by comfort from
without; who work zealously, although without
much result that is apparent, in the field of some OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 9
uninviting missionary duty. Such work is highly
supernatural, is productive of loftiest merit, resembles very much the work of some of the greatest
saints ; yea, it resembles that of Jesus in Nazareth.
Unfruitful it may seem for the while, but by and
by, in God's time, the blossoming and the ripening
"will take place, and other hands, if not one's own,
Avill garner the fruits of the goodly tree, planted
with such difficulty, and cared with such loving patient industry during the long winter-tide.
Such reflections are forced upon us as we consider
the disappointments and mishaps, the trials and
persecutions, and limited success of the first years
of the missionary labours of the Oblates of Mary in
Texas.
The news of the arrival of the Missionary Fathers
in Brownsville circulated with rapidity through the
town. A meeting took place of some of the principal inhabitants, to which the Fathers were invited,
on the evening of the day of their arrival. The
meeting, which was held in an empty wooden structure, was composed almost exclusively of non-
Catholics,—Jews, Mormons, professed Infidels, and
Protestants of different sects. An aged speaker,
one of the leading inhabitants, rose up to bid welcome to the Fathers in the name of his toAvn's-men.
In doing so, he made it clearly to be understood that
the object those present had in view, in making such 10   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
a demonstration to welcome the Fathers to Brownsville, had nothing of a religious character about it.
Before the meeting separated, a discussion ensued as
to the measures to be adopted for providing a residence and means of support for the Fathers. The
first resolution adopted by the meeting on this subject, was not one that gave augury of much generosity on the part of the inhabitants of Brownsville
in their regard. The lodging assigned to them by
the meeting was the half-ruined shed in which they
were then assembled. This consisted of one apartment, unfurnished, Avithout a fire-place, the dimensions of which were twenty-five feet by twelve. It
had been a small cotton store * the floor was saturated with filth, the place infested with rats, and
with huge spiders whose webs covered the walls and
ceiling. Such was the first community residence of
the Oblates of Mary in Texas. It was further
agreed at the meeting, that a monthly collection
should be made in the town for their support.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception was approaching, and some place had to be provided Avhere
mass could be said publicly on that great solemnity.
With some difficulty an empty shop was secured,
the counter of which became the first altar on which
the holy sacrifice of the mass was publicly celebrated
by the Oblates of Mary in Brownsville. This humble temporary altar was fitted  ap Avith as much OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
11
beauty of decoration as their ability, and the small
means at their disposal enabled them to impart to
it. The attendance at the services was A'ery sparse
at the outset; some slight improvement began to
make itself manifest, when the rising hopes of the
missionaries received a rude check by the " notice
to quit" which reached them from the owner of
their temporary chapel. For some weeks they and
their little flock were left without a place of public
worship in Brownsville.
At last a German Lutheran, whose wife was a.
Catholic, allowed them to have the use, for a time,
of a small empty shop which was at his disposal.
In the meantime a piece of ground was purchased
and a temporary wooden chapel was erected upon it.
The numbers attending the services began sensibly
to increase, and several signs of brighter promise
became visible. On the other hand, the public subscriptions which had been promised for their support
ceased, and a series of other difficulties presented
themselves in succession; worry and anxiety began
painfully to tell on the health of the Fathers.
Under these circumstances, after much hesitation,
Monseigneur de Mazenod came to the decision of
withdrawing his missionaries from Texas, to the
great regret of Monseigneur Odin, the Bishop of
Galveston.
One year after the departure of the Fathers from 12   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
BroAvnsville, the Bishop of Galveston visited Europe.
A principal object of his journey was to place before
Monseigneur de Mazenod the great spiritual privations to a large portion of his flock which followed
the withdrawal of the Oblate Missionaries from his
diocese. He pleaded his cause so well that the
great missionary heart of Monseigneur de Mazenod
was moved to reconsider the decision relative to the
mission of Texas, and forthwith to send to that
country a body of six Fathers and a lay Brother.
After an interval of one .year and six months'
absence the Oblate Missionaries, including Father
Gaudet, their devoted superior, resumed their work
at Brownsville, where they arrived in the beginning
of October, 1852. Three years later they laid the
foundation of a large permanent church, to replace
the temporary wooden structure which they were
then using. This building was completed in 1859,
and was solemnly opened by Monseigneur Odin, on
the feast of Pentecost of that year. It was then
acknowledged to be- the finest public building in
Texas. Attached to the church was erected a
suitable community-house for the Fathers. Educational works of considerable importance were set on
foot by the Fathers at Brownsville. A teaching
community, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, from
Lyons, was established there. Boys' schools were
also opened. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.        13
The missionaries had now the consolation of
seeing crowds flocking to the services of their new
and beautiful church. The attendance at the public Mass on Sunday used sometimes, in the early
days of their temporary church, Asink down to five
or six persons, and on an occasion there was only
one person present; now the church was crowded
at several masses. This awakening up of faith
greatly gladdened the hearts of the missionaries.
Their labours, however, were not confined to the
population of BroAvasville. Their vast district extending along the banks of the Eio Grande in one
direction, and in the other stretching far away into
the interior of Texas, was interspersed with ranchos
which had to be visited at appointed intervals;
a hundred missionary posts were dotted over their
district. Besides these, there were a large number
of detached habitations scattered over the Avide
plains and prairies, or buried in the great forests,
which they had also to visit. The labour imposed
on the Fathers in visiting the inhabitants of the
plains and forests of their district, was enormous.
It is true they performed their journeys for the most
part on horseback, nevertheless they had great
fatigue to endure and sometimes great dangers to
encounter, especially in fording swollen and rapid
rivers.
One of the Texan Fathers—Father Clos—men- tioned lately to the "writer an instance of a narrow
escape from drowning which he had a short time
ago. He was crossing on horseback a rapid torrent
Avhich was greatly swollen by recent rains. For a
while his horse breasted the angry current, but at
last it was borne away with its rider by the force of
the rushing flood. Death now seemed to stare the
intrepid missionary in the face, as he gazed down
into the dark foaming abyss, into which he was
being hurried. At the moment, when another instant would have precipitated him to certain destruction, he espied the bough of a great tree spanning
the waters. By a sudden and almost superhuman
effort he sprang from the back of his drowning
horse, and grasped the nearest limb of the extended
bough. Upon this he hung for a considerable time
in great peril, struggling in vain further to extricate
himself. The deep mad torrent was rolling under
his feet, flinging its wild spray upon him. His
strength was being rapidly exhausted, and it had
become evident to himself that he could not hold
on to the bough much longer, but would have to
drop back into the flooded waters unless some
friendly hand came to his rescue. Such was his
dangerous condition when providentially he was
seen by some persons who were passing at the time,
and came at once to his assistance. Aided by their
help he escaped a death which seemed for some mo- ments to be inevitable. His horse being freed from
its burden, managed to find its way safely to the
banks of the river.
When a missionary arrives, after a long day's ride
under a broiling sun, at the rancho tc Avhich he
had been journeying, great discomforts as a rule
await him. The huts composing the rancho are very
miserable structures. A few poles are fixed in the
ground, these are interlaced with branches of trees,
and the whole exterior is then coated Avith mud.
Such is the habitation which is offered the missionary on his arrival, by some poor family who are
glad to give him a corner in their hut, and share
their unsavoury tortilla cake with him. He spreads
his rug upon the floor of this humble abode, and
using his saddle for a pillow he tries to sleep, but
often fails in the attempt, notwithstanding his fatigue.
The stench and filth of the place, the biting of mosquitos, and the attacks of other insects of a more
hateful type, prevent him frequently from enjoying
the rest he so much needs. The inhabitants of these
ranehos are of Mexican origin and three-fourths
Indians in blood. They are full of reverence for
the priest, but owing to their isolation and the
difficulty of giving them religious instruction are
often found, especially in remote places that can be
seldom visited by the Fathers, to be very ignorant.
During his stav in their midst the Father gives in-  OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
17
CHAPTEE II.
Though the Eio Grande was the boundary line of
the Oblate Missions in Texas, the expansion of the
zeal of the Fathers at Brownsville was not to be
confined to its northern banks. Mexico, that beautiful but harassed land, extended its fertile slopes
to the edge of the yellow waters of the Eio Grande.
Matamoras, the first frontier town on its northeastern boundary, lay within two short miles of
Brownsville. Matamoras is a river-port containing
twenty thousand inhabitants, and is the commercial
rival of Brownsville. The venerable parish priest
of Matamoras was not slow in appreciating the zeal
and devotedness of the missionaries of Brownsville.
He invited them to give missions at different times
to his people. At the earnest request of the Bishop
of Montrey, the Oblates established themselves at
Victoria, the capital of the province of Tamaulipas.
They also undertook the pastoral care of Matamoras
and of the sanctuary of Notre Dame d'Agualas.
Mexico was at that time in the throes of the revolutionary fever, nevertheless the bulk of the popula-
o 18   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGX. DE MAZENOD, AND
tion remained firmly attached to the ancient faith;
but helps to its practice were sadly wanting to them.
Church property was plundered by successive upstart governments; the good and zealous priests of
the country were either in prison or in exile, or if
allowed to remain at their posts were harassed in the
discharge of their niinistry by petty interference,
cruel exactions, and a continued system of threats
and annoyances. Vast districts were without priests
at all, and other places were, if possible, in a worse
condition; alas, their shepherds were wolves; Judases
imposed, at the point of the bayonet, upon unwilling
populations by impious dictators, whose slaves and
creatures they were. •' Tlie ways of Sion were in
mourning, and none came up to the solemn feasts. Her
virgins were in affliction; she is oppressed with bitterness. The stones of the sanctuary were scattered at
the tops of tlie streets. Her little ones asked for- bread
and tliere was none to break it to them."
Sad was the condition of the persecuted church at
Mexico at the epoch about which we Avrite! What
a field for devotedness opened up for the labours of
the Oblate Missionaries on their first arrival in that
country. Victoria and its surrounding neighbourhood awakened up, as it were, from a long trance of
faith and hope and love, in which it had lain dormant for years, under the grace of the mission given
in that important town by the Oblates in a.d. 1860. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
19
After the mission, a small community of Fathers
Avas established at Victoria. During one year they
laboured in peace at their new missionary post with
great fruit for souls; but troubles were in store for
them. An insurrection had broken out in their
neighbourhood, and their expulsion was decreed by
the newly-installed provisional government. The
inhabitants of Victoria were divided into different
factions. The most numerous and best disposed
part of the population manifested their deep regret
at the loss they were about to sustain by the departure of the Fathers, but they were powerless to do
anything more than to protest against the wrong
that was being inflicted on themselves and their
children, by the compulsory measures used against
the missionaries. On the day fixed for the departure
of the Fathers, an extraordinary assemblage filled
the church to overflowing. All were clad in mourning garb to testify their deep sorrow at being deprived of the presence and services of the good
priests whom they so much loved and venerated.
Before the congregation separated, after Mass had
been said, a venerable matron rose up and addressed
all present in the folloAving terms :—" We are about
to be deprived of our priests who, because they are
imwUlihg to prove false to their duties and betray
their consciences, are to be persecuted. It may be.
expected that when we are deprived of the helps of 20   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
religion, it will be easier to uproot from our breasts
the Catholic Faith—the faith of our fathers, the
faith in which we were born, and in which we wish
to die. To-morrow the doors of this church will
be closed, and it avlU then be impossible for us to
come to offer our prayers at the foot of our altars.
The house of God will be as a wilderness, empty of
worshippers. From to-morrow our sick will be left
to die Avithout the sacraments; our dead "will be
buried without the prayers of the church. But are
we not Christians ? should we not insist upon our
rights to practise our religion, and should Ave not
boldly demand for our priests the liberty to exercise
freely their holy ministry in our behalf? " At the
close of these noble words the whole audience burst
into tears. A deputation was then formed to wait
upon the new Prefect, to present an energetic protest against the expulsion of the Fathers. The
Prefect was alarmed by these proceedings on the
part of the Catholic population of Victoria. He
gave an evasive answer to the demands of the people,
but all the while he was only temporising in order
to gain time to gather troops into the city, and be
able thus to carry out, "with a strong hand, the anti-
religious programme of his party. Several leading
Catholics were cast into prison, and the Fathers
were ordered to quit Victoria Avithout further delay.
A great concourss assembled to bid them adieu, deep OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
21
emotion was manifested by all present, and the
Fathers were unable to suppress their own tears.
On the 21st of December they set out on their
sorrowful journey. On Christmas Eve they arrived
at La Gavia, a large rancho, where they were received with welcome by the inhabitants. Here they
halted for some days to celebrate the holy festivals
of that season, but news reaching the government
at Victoria of the Fathers' presence at Gavia, pre-
remptory orders were despatched for their immediate
departure. Their journey back to BroAvnsville was
a very painful one, morally and physically. It
occupied ten days. **We suffered much during
that journey," mites Father Sivy, " the hot days
were followed by very cold nights, and the rain fell
in torrents at frequent intervals. Bivouacing on
the open plain, we frequently had not a particle of
wood, or any other means to make a fire during the
night. With the damp ground for our bed, and a
saddle for our pillow, it was not very easy to close
our eyes in calm sleep."
Whilst the Fathers at Victoria were undergoing
their trials, a civil war was raging at Matamoras.
The inhabitants of that place refused to acknowledge
the newly-appointed Governor of Tamaulipas. The
latter sent an army to besiege Matamoras. For
three weeks the siege was carried on with great
fury.    A great part of the town was burnt down, 22   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGB. DE MAZENOD, AND
and over a thousand of the population were killed.
A shell struck the Fathers' house; much damage was
done by it, but fortunately no life was lost. During
these three terrible weeks the Fathers were continually on foot, administering the sacraments to
the dying and attending to the sick and wounded.
During the five years following these troubles
comparative tranquility reigned on the Mexican
borders. Eeligion began to flourish at Matamoras,
and the Fathers stationed there felt themselves
justified, by what they witnessed, in anticipating
a large and permanent success for their labours in
the future. Alas, these bright hopes were not to
be realised, as the following letters from Father
Clos to the Superior-General will show:—
" Vert Rev. and Dear Father,
" In my last letter I wrote to you in hopeful
■words, expressive of the brighter prospects which then
seemed to disclose themselves to my view. I thought I was
then announcing to you the end of our troubles, and the
commencement of an era of quiet and of established peace.
But since then, alas, revolution has followed upon revolution, and we have been living in the midst of continual
tumults and anxieties; on two several occasions our lives
were exposed to gravest dangers. During the last siege of
the city we were on tlie point, of losing our beloved Father-
Superior, Father Olivier. A sheU, which caused great
destruction, burst quite close to him, fortunately without injuring him. At present there is a momentary lull, and we
are turning it to the best account while it lasts, knowing by OF TEE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 23
a sad experience how little we are to depend on such assurances of peace. But we are in the hands of God's holy
providence, and this is our only consolation. Imagine not,
Reverend Father, that during these periods of trouble we
fold our arms and remain idle spectators of the hunying
scenes that pass before us. No, for while the enemy assails
the city from without, we carry on another sort of warfare
within its walls. We battle by aid of the sword of the
Word of God, and happily, through God's blessing, with
most consoling success. The conversion of some poof sinner
is the victory, which grace, from time to time, enables us to
secure. We have baptised eleven adults within a short
space of time, and one of these yielded up his purified soul
two days after his baptism. Shortly before his death, seeing a Protestant friend of his at his bedside, his eyes filled
with tears, and gazing upon him fixedly, he said, with
visible feelings of deep emotion, I Oh, how happy I feel;
would that you would imitate my example and become a
Catholic' A few moments after he expired with the names
of Jesus and Mary upon his lips, whilst invoking a blessing on the Father who had been the instrument, in God's
hand, in securing for him the happiness of dying in the
Catholic faith.
"A young American who held a commission in the
Mexican army and became commander of a regiment, was
the next to receive the grace of baptism at the hands of
Father Olivier. His conversion took place under extraordinary circumstances. He had allowed himself to- he
bribed hy the offer of a large sum of money on the part of
certain American agents, and had arranged to assassinate the
Mexican General in command at Matamoras, and to hand
over that city to the Americans. A young Irish Catholic,
who had refused to become a party to this wicked plot, he-
came the means of its being frustrated, and of the culprit
who had designed it being discovered. The misguided young
officer was condemned to be shot, and was led forth to the 24   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND <
place of execution. At that moment he flung himself at the
feet of the Colonel in command to beg, as a great favour,
that a Catholic priest might he sent for to prepare him for
death. The request was granted him. On the arrival of
Father Olivier, the young officer asked earnestly to he baptised and to be received into tbe Catholic Church. ' The
devotedness,' he exclaimed, ' of the Sisters of Charity which
I witnessed in the hospitals of Louisiana convinced me that
the religion which inspired it must be true; therefore I wish
to die a Catholic' Father Olivier obtained a delay of half-
an-hour for the execution, in order to have time to instruct
and prepare him for his end, which he met with calm, fortitude and in a truly penitential spirit.
" It feU to my share to be caUed upon to exercise my
ministry on behalf of another unfortunate youth, a young
Spaniard, who was condemned to death. He had resisted
all the efforts of the military chaplain, who sought to induce
him to prepare for death. The chaplain asked our Superior
to appoint one of our Fathers to attend to him, and I was
named for that sad duty. The condemned youth, in whose
ceU I undertook to spend the night before his execution, re- .
ceived my advances very coldly, and resisted aU my efforts
to work a change in him. At last he consented to place
himself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, and to
wear in her honour the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. In a short time a marked change came over him, and
he flung himself at my feet to make his confession. He
confessed three times that night in preparation for holy
communion, which he received with fervour. He was led
forth for execution early the next morning. His end was
holy and resigned."
Father Clos, in a letter addressed to the Superior-
General, dated June 28th, 1866, Avrote in the
following sad terms to inform him that the work OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
25
of several years was destroyed in a few days, and
that the labours of the Oblate Fathers in Mexico
were brought abruptly to an end.
"Very Rev. and dear Father,
" I write to you to-day from the fulness of a heart
overflowing with grief. I have sad news to give you. The
Mission of Matamoras is lost to us. Complete anarchy
reigns in that unhappy city. The party of disorder have at
last triumphed. The better portion of the population had
already left the town, but we held our own ground, still
imagining that our work here being of a purely religious
character, and colourless as far as politics were concerned,
we should not be interfered with; but we were grievously
mistaken. On the day following the seizure of the town by
the liberals, a body of men styling themselves a commission
presented themselves at our doors, to ask of us to abandon
our post, and to hand over to them the keys of our church,
in the name of the newly-appointed Prefect. Our Superior,
Father Olivier, replied that we had been established at our
post hy the Bishop of the diocese, and that we should not
willingly quit it except at his bidding, and that it was only
to him or to somebody appointed by him, that he would
surrender possession of the church. On receiving this reply
from Father Olivier, they immediately seized him and led
him away to prison. At two o'clock p.m. the same day
some police agents came to our house to ask us to accompany them, under the pretext that Father Olivier wished to
speak to us; when we entered the prison where he was confined, we were then informed that we also were prisoners.
My first thought was to ask Father Olivier whether he had
had anything to eat since he was arrested, i I have not
broken my fast to-day,' he replied. Hearing this I at once
asked the chief of the band who had arrested us, to order
some food for the Father, which he refused to do. 26   SKETCEES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
| Alas! how little did I think when I was passing the
night in the cell with the poor culprit who was to suffer
death on the foUowing day, that I, with my confreres, were
in so short a time to be shut, up in the same glopmy dungeon. He had a chair to sit on, and water to quench his
thirst, but we were left to take our rest on the cold damp
floor of our fetid cell, without food or drink. Fortunately
Father Parisot came from Brownsville to visit us; in his
character as an American citizen he had influence enough
to obtain an order that we should he allowed to receive food
in our prison. It seems that the cruel order to the contrary
was given, with the intention of starving the Fathers into
submission to the impious wishes of their persecutors."
Father Parisot, nothing daunted by repeated failures in his attempts to secure the release of his confreres from' prison, finally succeeded in obtaining
their freedom. One hour's further delay in effecting their escape would have been fatal to them, for
secret orders had been given for their being put to
death. Their immense popularity with the people
of Matamoras was the cause which moved the heads
of the invading expedition to desire their being got
rid of by the speediest means. Orders were hurriedly given to have the river closely watched to
prevent their effecting their escape to the Texan
side of the Eio Grande, but fortunately they were
able to elude their pursuers, and to reach Browns-
A'ille in safety. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
27
CHAPTEE III.
In resuming-the thread of om* narrative of the
Oblate Missions in Texas, we do not hesitate to
employ the following sad words of Father Gaudet,
taken from one of his letters to the Superior-
General, as the text foreshadowing the sketch of
missionary efforts under trials, hardships and disappointments of the most afflicting kind, which we
are about to set before our readers. Father Gaudet
writes :
I Send to us the reports of our missions in other regions
of the world, for we have great need to be comforted by the
thought that elsewhere our brother Missionaries are cheered
by present success, and by bright prospects of the further
triumphs of their zeal. We have nothing here at the
present hour but a succession of griefs and sufferings, whilst
the fature offers to our view a clouded horizon."
It is true these words were written in a moment
of special anguish, whilst the heart of him who
wrote them was bleeding under successive strokes
of sharpest sorrows, nor should they be taken
according to the full rigour of their meaning, for
the Texan Missions had their brighter sides, and 28   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGS. DE MAZENOD, AND
considerable successes had been achieved by the
labours of the Oblate Missionaries. Nevertheless,
as in the record of these missions, gloom so far
predominates over brightness, and failure appears
in such startling over-proportion to success, when
we consider the devotedness, the piety, the energy,
and the talents of the Fathers employed in missionary labours for so many years in Texas, we
feel we are justified in putting forth, as the text of
what is to follow, the words we have quoted
above.
After the opening of the large and handsome
church in Brownsville, happier prospects seemed to
dawn upon the labours of the Oblate Missionaries in
that place. But a severe trial was at hand. The
subtle poison of a terrible plague was hovering treacherously in an atmosphere that seemed to breathe
only life and health. One fatal morning Brownsville awoke to the fact that the plague was upon it.
A mute terror seized upon the inhabitants, for they
knew they had to cope Avith an enemy against whose
assaults human prowess and ingenuity were of little
avail. An awakening of faith in the breasts of
many in whose souls that virtue had for long years
lain dormant, was one of the spiritual good things
that came out of the abyss of temporal misery created
by the scourge of the plague. The services of the
Fathers were sought for on every side by the plague- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
29
smitten and the dying. Day and night they were
on foot going from one fever-struck victim to
another, bearing with them the supreme comforts of
religion to the bedside of the dying. They had no
time for food or rest. Are they to enjoy immunity
from the common scourge ? No, it is to fall heavily
on them. A holy young novice Brother, who gave
great hopes of future missionary success, was the
first of the community who fell a victim to the
plague. He died in the fragrance of his early fervour. He was to be soon followed to the grave by
a young Priest, Father de Lustrae, a member of the
Oblate community of Matamoras, who had volunteered to come to the aid of his brother missionaries
at Brownsville. On the day of his arrival at the
latter place, a messenger came from a rancho which
lay at a distance of thirty miles from Brownsville,
to ask for a Father to visit a poor man who was then
dying of the plague. Father de Lustrae at once
offered himself for this work of charity. He set
forth, alas, never to return. He had scarcely administered the last sacraments to the dying man,
when he was seized himself by the mortal disease.
A messenger arrived at Brownsville to inform the
community that he lay dying in the rancho whither
he had gone in the exercise of his holy zeal. Father
Parisot hastened to his bedside to prepare him for
his happy end.   He died the death of God's saints. The zealous and devoted Superior, Father Gaudet,
Avas the next to be laid prostrate on the fever pallet,
and great fears were entertained for his life, but
happily God heard the prayers that were said in his
behalf. Fathers Clos, Parisot, Kerulam, and other
members of the Brownsville community had each to
pay the tribute of a dangerous illness to the terrible
plague-scourge. By degrees the number of cases of
yellow fever lessened in daily average, and at last it
seemed to have disappeared altogether. The town
began to resume its former appearance, and the
Fathers returned to their ordinary missionary work.
But the early recurrence of the dread malady
plunged the unhappy residents of Brownsville back
into theii* former state of consternation, and renewed
the sad scenes of death and bereavement from which
they had but lately come forth. The first member
of the Oblate community who fell a victim to the
plague on its reappearance, was the lay brother
Copeland. He was a man of rare and simple piety,
and his loss was very keenly felt.
Father Sivy, Avith whose missionary labours, es-
. pecially in Mexico, our readers are not unacquainted,
Avas the next to pay the forfeiture of his life to his
zeal in ministering to the plague-stricken in the
homes and hospitals of Brownsville, and in the ran-
chos of the surrounding country. At the same hour
that this zealous young missionary was dying, in an OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 31
adjoining apartment lay at the point of death another
young and devoted priest, Father Shumacher. They
both died on the same day, and of the same terrible
disease. Father Gaudet, in communicating the
news of these deaths to the Superior-General, finishes
his letter with the foUoAviug words:—
" I shaU not attempt to describe to you, Very Rev. Father,
the weight of sorrow that oppresses me. My pen refuses to
put on paper the feelings of profound sadness that fill my
soul. May God's holy will he done; He is the supreme
Master of our hves. I make no complaint, but I do not
know what to think or say in presence of so many and of
such terrible trials. I await some words of consolation from
you."
His affection for his departed brother missionaries
spoke in these words of the good Superior of the
Oblates of Brownsville. But he grieved at the loss
of his fellow-workers, chiefly because of the spiritual
detriment to the souls of many which the death of
such devoted labourers in the holy vineyard would
produce.
The period of comparative tranquility and of
successful missionary labour which followed the '
disappearance of the plague, was not to continue
for many months. Brownsville is soon to be the
theatre on which another, but more terrible scourge
is to display itself in huge proportions. War is at
hand, Texas has flung its lot in with the Confederate
States, and Brownsville is threatened by Federal 32   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
troops. The Confederate soldiery, who occupied it
in large numbers, do not feel themselves equal however to the task of defending it against the advancing Federal hosts, but they are unwilling that it
should fall into the hands of the enemy, and they
resolve to set it on fire. Inflammable substances
are secretly distributed in divers parts of the toAvn,
and casks of gunpowder are concealed near the most
important buildings, one of which was lodged in a
vault near the church and residence of the Fathers.
The last Confederate soldier has scarcely left the
precints of the town, when fires break out in all
directions, accompanied by terrific explosions. Huge
rolling flames advance towards the quarter where
lie the church and house of the Fathers. Prayer is
the only resource of the good priests at that supreme
moment. The wind is carrying the flames steadily
and swiftly in the direction of their buildings. A
few moments more of unchecked play will bring the
advancing torrent of fire upon the buildings of the
mission, and upon the vault in which the cask of
powder lies concealed. Suddenly the "wind changes;
it was God's special providence, no doubt, that
changed that wind, and the church and house of the
Fathers, yes, and their lives also, were thereby
saved. What scenes of desolation met their view
as they went forth into the streets of that half-
burned and abandoned city.    The population had OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
33
all fled in terror, carrying Avith them such of their
chattels as were portable. They took refuge on the
Mexican side of the Eio Grande. The Fathers
were left without a congregation for their church,
and the fruits of years of missionary labours all
perished in an hour. Bands Of plunderers came
from the Mexican borders and prowled through the
city, pillaging all they could lay hands upon, and
then fighting unto death among themselves over the
spoil. The arrival of the Federal troops put an end
to these disorders, but at the same time introduced
new discomforts and annoyances for the community
of missionaries. At one time they were threatened
with the seizure of their house for military purposes,
and again a demand'was made upon them to surrender the bedding of the community for the use of
the soldiers. Happily these projects were not carried out. Owing to the fact that a considerable
portion of the Federal troops were Catholics, the
Fathers were not much molested during their occupation of Brownsville. After a few months the Federals, for strategic reasons, withdrew from Brownsville. At their departure the former scenes of pillage and slaughter recommenced; hordes from the
Mexican frontier, consisting largely of criminals
fleeing from justice, invaded BroAvnsville and the
surrounding territory. The ranchos became deserted, and Brownsville remained almost tenantless.
D 34   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
It is true the Confederates re-occupied the place,
but this did not improve much the condition of
affairs, as the soldiers were chiefly volunteers draAvn
from the interior of the country, who were iincivil-
ized in their manners, and fierce in their fanatical
hatred of Catholicity.
The position of the Fathers during these sad
years was trying in the extreme. The Catholic
population had departed from the toAvn, and the
surrounding country was left without inhabitants.
The Fathers were thus reduced to a forced inactivity,
and their missionary labours were almost completely
suspended. This to men of zeal and devotedness
was the most painful of situations. They were left
in ignorance and doubt as to what was taking place
elsewhere. "For four years," says Father Gaudet,
" we have not seen a newspaper, and we seldom
receive letters." As a large Federal force was encamped Avithin a few days' march of BroAvnsville,
and Federal ships of war were cruising at the mouth
of the Eio Grande, they were in constant apprehension of an assault on their position. At the end of
the fratricidal war between North and South, the
BroAvnsville mission began once more to give signs
of life and development; various works of importance, some of which had been inaugurated years
previously, and pursued amidst all the trials and
hardships we have spoken of, were now approaching OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
their completion. A large convent was erected to
which a boarding school of considerable dimensions
for young ladies was attached. A set of schools
and a collegiate residence, which were placed under
the care of the Christian Brothers, were opened.
Their church commenced to be well attended at
the Sunday services, when another sudden and
terrible visitation befell them.
On the evening of the 7th of October, 1867, a
terrific cyclone burst upon BroAvnsville; streets of
houses disappeared under its successive shocks, and
multitudes were buried in their ruins; not a single
house escaped serious damage. The bell tower of
the church was SAvept away, and the fine building
itself shook to its foundations, and threatened at
each moment to fall to the ground and bury in its
ruins the Fathers and their house. All the population was in the streets, and their cries of terror in
the momentary lulls of the storm were heard, mingling wildly "with the groans of the injured and of
the dying. From time to time the moon would
come out with weird brightness, revealing to view
the increasing horrors of the terrible disaster.
Several of the Fathers exposed their lives to gravest
dangers in seeking to save the church. Father
Maurel and Brother Eobert were buried in a heap
of the debris of the fallen tower, and given up as
lost bv their brethren.    After an hour they Avere 36   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
discovered still alive, and able to join their confreres
who were assembled in prayer in the domestic oratory. A pause of considerable duration was made
by the storm, and hopes were entertained that it
had passed away, when it broke out afresh with redoubled fury. Its first direction was from north to
south; it now rushes from south to north, upsetting
and destroying Avhat it had spared in its first onrush. Further delay beneath the roof of their
tottering dwelling would be courting death. They
went forth into the open space where their lives
were scarcely less exposed to peril, owing to the
large fragments of falling buildings, boughs of trees
and other objects which the hurricane was sweeping
before it. Within the walls of the neighbouring
convent and young ladies' boarding school, during
that terrific night, was enacted a scene of touching
faith and piety, and loving trust and confidence in
God's protection, to which the inmates all owed the
preservation of their lives. As the storm grew in
A'iolence, shaking the walls of convent and boarding
school, by a common impulse, all the nuns and
pupils sought shelter at the feet of Jesus Christ,
present in the Holy Eucharist, in their community
chapel. There they remained in prayer, encouraged
by the exhortations of their heroic Superioress,
during the whole of that fearful night, until the
fury of the hurricane had passed away the following OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
What motives for thankfulness to God
Avere presented to them when, on coming forth from
the chapel where they had spent the previous night
in security, they beheld the whole group of buildings, the boarding school with its spacious classroom and dormitories, and tlie whole of the convent,
with the exception of that portion in which was
situated the chapel where they had taken refuge,
levelled to the dust. Their faith and loving trust
in our Lord's real presence had saved them from
perishing amidst those ruins.
What desolation stared the good and sorely tried
■ Fathers of Brownsville in the face, when the morning's sun brought to light the full extent of the
disasters of the previous night. The fruits of years
of patient toil and industry lay before them—a
heap of debris. The fine school-house which had
just been erected was now but a mass of rubbish.
Their church and, dwelling-house were all but demolished, a great portion of their congregation were
suddenly reduced to abject misery, and the poor
nuns .and their boarders were driven to seek shelter
in the ruins of their once noble establishment. All
had to be commenced over again for the fifth or
sixth time. Happily a spirit of indomitable perseverance, in continuing the work which they felt
.God had called them to perform for His glory and
the good of souls, beat within their breasts, nor was their confidence in Him shaken by all these disasters-
by which their works had been visited. In a comparatively short space of time the damage clone by
the storm was remedied, and through the self-sacrificing efforts of the Fathers of the Brownsville community, new buildings on a larger scale than those
destroyed, were erected.
During all their troubles at Matamoras and
BroAvnsville, and elsewhere, there was one work of
devotedness which never remained long at a time
suspended, it was that of visiting the widely scattered members of their flock in the dispersed ran-
chos of their vast district.
We close our notice of the Texan Missions, by
presenting our readers "with a brief memoir of one of
the Fathers of Brownsville who, by reason of his
special zeal for these poor people, might well be
called the Apostle of the Eanchos. He closed an
apostle's life by a martyr's death. Father Kerulam,
of holy memory, is the missionary to whom we
refer.
Father Kerulam. was greatly venerated wherever
he was knoAvn. The Mexicans called him el Santo
Padre Pedrito. This popular title he acquired by
twenty years of humble devoted missionary labours.
He was a model Eeligious, obedient to the letter
and to the spirit of his rules, and to every order of
his Superiors.    It often happened that the inhabi- OF TBE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 39
tants of some of the ranchos in his districts would,
at the close of one of his missionary visits, invite
him to prolong his stay amongst them, but on his
replying to them that his Superior had fixed a certain day for his return to his community^ which
would preclude his compliance with their wishes,
they would not press him any further to remain,
knoAving how inflexible he was in obeying the orders
of his Superiors. He was a true observer of holy
poverty. He was bursar, and had charge of the
monies of the house, yet whilst he provided for the
wants of others he often forgot his own. His Superior had frequently to order him to provide himself
with a new cassock, or "with some article of apparel.
He was never heard to complain of the long missionary journeys he had to undertake, which were
often accompanied "with the severest fatigues and
privations. He often had to endure hunger and
thirst for days in visiting the scattered and impoverished population of his vast district. How often
was he overtaken by nightfall in the midst of the
lonely forest ot wild plain ? On one occasion he remained for three days lost in a wood, without food
or drink. On the morning of the fourth day he
found his way to the rancho of Lomita. He was so
wasted away by hunger and fatigue, and his whole
body being covered with thorns, and his cassock
hanging in shreds about him, he was scarcely re- 40   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
cognisable. When he returned to community life
after those long and fatiguing journeys and harassing
missionary labours, he sought no relaxation from
the observances of the rule, and was at his place in
the choir the next morning at the usual hour of
meditation. He was most gentle and charitable in
his intercourse with his brother missionaries, and :
would put himself to great inconvenience in order
to avoid interfering with the convenience of others.
On one occasion he arrived at Brownsville in the
middle of the night, after a long missionary expedition ; unwilling to disturb the sleep of his brethren
by knocking at their door at such an hour, he spread
his rug on the ground under the wall of the public
cemetery, and he lay there till morning. Strangers
were much struck by the candour and sweetness of
his countenance. Monseigneur Odin said once to
Father Gaudet, "The first time I met your good
Father Kerulam I was greatly struck by his appearance and manners. I could . not help conceiving a
special affection for him; he seemed so good, so
humble, so respectful in his deportment."
One morning Father Kerulam knelt to receive his
Superior's blessing before setting forth upon one of
his missionary rounds of visitation. An appointed
time was fixed upon by his Superior for his return
to BroAvnsville. Contrary to his custom on such
occasions, he did not appear in his community on OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
41
the day fixed upon for his return from his missionary
expedition. Day followed day, and he did not
appear, nor did any message arrive from him.
Enquiries were set on foot, and his course from
rancho to rancho was traced for the three days that
followed his departure from Brownsville, but after
that date no further tidings of him could be obtained.
Weeks and months of fruitless expectation passed
by, and the conclusion finally come to was that he
was dead. This indeed was the sad truth. Nothing
hoAvever for years came to light to give a clue to the
cause, or the manner, or the place of his death.
This clue has lately been found. We are at present
in possession of the circumstances connected with
his blessed death, which we place now before our
readers.
In one of the ranchos which Father Kerulam proposed, when leaving BroAvnsville, to visit, dwelt a
rancheros, a man of evil repute, who.had accumulated a considerable amount of property which was
known to be acquired mainly by the plunder of
cattle. He had a numerous following of desperate
men. His name was a terror to tie poor inhabitants
of the ranchos of the wide district in which he and
his followers carried on their daring robberies.
About the time of the visit of Father Kerulam to
his rancho, he had been out on one of his usual
predatory excursions, and had brought back four hundred head of stolen cattle. On his arrival he
gave orders to a domestic to take measures for the
concealment of the cattle. This man happened to
be a good christian, and was unwilling in any way
to take part in the deed of plunder in which his
master was engaged. He ventured further to administer an advice to his employer concerning the
manner of life he was pursuing. From that moment
his doom was fixed in the mind of his wicked master.
The next day the latter gave him orders to repair,
on some pretended errand, to a retired spot in a
neighbouring forest. On his arrival at the appointed place he found his master and a small band
of his usual followers assembled. To his horror he
perceived a cord "with a nooze at the end, suspended
from the branch of a tree. Immediately he understood that they were going to put him to death.
Quickly he was seized and the noose was adjusted to
his neck. At that moment somebody was seen to
emerge from a pathway in the forest. It was Father
Kerulam, who was on one of his missionary journeys.
The unexpected presence of the good priest disconcerted, for a moment, the murderers in the execution
of their wicked deed, and awakened a passing hope
in the breast of their intended victim. The latter,
cried aloud to Father Kerulam to come to rescue
him, or at least to come to him to hear his confession
and prepare him for death.     For a moment the OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
43
venerable and devoted priest stood appalled at the
sight that met his gaze, as lifting his eyes from the
pages of his office book, he beheld what was taking
place. Instantly he prepared to advance to the
rescue of the poor man who was struggling with his
murderers. At that moment one of the latter, a
fierce-looking man stepped forward holding a loaded
revolver in his hand, which he presented to Father
Kerulam, threatening him. with death if he continued
to advance. Mingled with the sounds of these
threats were the cries of the poor man that was about
being murdered, who Avas calling his spiritual
Father to his aid. Heedless of danger, defying
death, the good shepherd rushed forward to embrace
and to save, if possible, a poor sheep of his fold from
the fangs of those wolves in human form who were
compassing his death. A ball from the pistol of the
assassin struck Father Kerulam on the breast, and
he fell forward wounded mortally at the feet of him
whom he sought to save from death. Had the good
priest time to pronounce the form of absolution in
behalf of his companion in death ? or were they able
to interchange hopes of meeting that day in paradise ? That they did meet that very day in heaven
as two martyr spirits, is the belief of the writer—
the one a martyr of charity and zeal, and the other
a martyr of justice and truth.
In one of the cities of the Southern States of 44   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
America, some years later, a great criminal who had
been convioted of several robberies and murders, was
being led forth from his prison cell to suffer the
supreme penalty of the law. He made a sign to
notify that he "wished to address those around him.
Permission to do so being granted him, he declared
that he Avished to reveal a hidden crime "with which
he had never been charged in public, but which had
for years been torturing his soul with the darkest
remorse. He then accused himself of being the murderer of Father Kerulam, and circumstantially told
the story of his own terrible crime, and of the heroic
fortitude and devoted charity of his victim. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
45
CHAPTEE IV.
We have been following the missionary sons of
De Mazenod amidst the snows of the Northern, and
the fierce sun-glows of the Southern frontiers of
America. We now come back to the centre figure
of our narrative, to him whose light of spirit, whose
fire of heart, whose energy of missionary devotedness
was the guide, the kindler, and the prompter of
his disciples amidst the difficulties and discouraging
labours, and in face of the dangers and sacrifices, of
their missionary career. It is with the history of
his Inner Spirit that we purpose commencing this
portion of our narrative of the life of Monseigneur
de' Mazenod. In performing this pleasing task, we
shall have to retrace our steps, and we invite our
readers to go back with us to that period of his life
Avhen he was a young man in the world, and living
in his native town of Aix, in Provence.
Access to the workings of the inner spirit of men
of fame would, in many a case, prove fatal to unmerited renown. We should often find that the
noble deed was prompted by the ignoble motive, and that where praise was lavishly given, that there
censure was richly deserved. The contrary happens
with regard to men of true worth, whose real merit
always exceeds their fame. The inner beauty of their
spirit always surpasses the exterior lustre of their
actions. We know not even a tithe of their merit
until their inner spirit reveals itself to our gaze.
This revelation of their inner spirit is like the opening to our view of the gates of the glowing furnace
whose sparks only, till then, we had beheld. The
superficial of the saints and the servants of God is
like earth's rugged crust hiding a mine of gold.
The enriching of multitudes depends upon that mine
being discovered. The providence of God leads to
blessed discoveries of the hidden treasures of spirit,
of His saints and servants for the enriching of multitudes of souls.
Since the publication of our previous volume we
have become possessed of a considerable portion of
the manuscripts of Monseigneur de Mazenod, including fragments of his correspondence, and very
copious notes written in his own hand, of his spiritual retreats. In these writings the workings of
his inner spiritual life become transparent to our
view. We are now enabled to present to our readers
glimpses of the inner spirit of Monseigneur de Mazenod as Layman, as Church Student, as Priest, as
Founder and Superior of a Eeligious Society of OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
47
Missionaries, and as Bishop of a great diocese. We
do not forget that we are not writing the full life of
Monseigneur de Mazenod. We have neither the
time, nor the capacity, nor the materials at hand
which would be necessary for such an undertaking.
We confine ourselves to the task of placing before
the public such sketches of his life, so beautiful in
its holiness, and so fruitful in its apostolic labours
as come within the range of our humble competence
to depict.
Our friendships are .faithful mirrors of our inner
spirit. If they are pure and loving and exalted in
their inspiring motives, such also is our inner spirit.
The spirit which inspired and swayed the early
friendships of Eugene de Mazenod at that period of
his life when, by the death of his father, he had just
become the head of his noble house, and the inheritor
of a large fortune, reveals itself in the following extracts from his correspondence. Writing to a young
friend, Emanuel Gautier, who had then recently
entered a military school at Paris, where he was exposed to much petty persecution for the faith, he
says:—
" You will gratify me very much by letting me know aU
the circumstances of that personal combat in which you are
engaged, single handed, with the enemies of your soul.
TeU me what you do for God, and, more especially still,
what God does for you. I will acknowledge to you, my
dear Emanuel, that I enjoy your letters exceedingly.    I 43   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
read them over again and again with great spiritual joy and
profit. I relish particularly those letters in which you
speak of the wonderful aids God gave you, when you first
joined the army to enable you to resist the violent assaults
that were made upon your faith and morals by a corrupt
world, and to embolden you to lift courageously on high the
standard of the Cross, trampling human respect under foot,
and treating with noble disdain the sarcasms and insults
heaped upon you because of your fidelity to His service.
" One of the most marvellous effects of christian charity,
dear Emanuel, is the sublime intercommunion which it
creates between all who love one another in God. Members
of the same mystical body they participate in one another's
joys and sorrows, combats and triumphs. Though at a
distance from you I was present with you in your heroic
struggles hy virtue of the communion of our mutual charity.
I give thanks now to God for the victory you have won. I
pray that He may preserve you in those sentiments which
are your glory and mine also, and which tend to the
glory of our holy mother, the Catholic Church. You will
allow me now to speak to you of myself. I have to ask
you most earnestly to pray that God may carry out in my
regard all His adorable designs, notwithstanding the
obstacles I place in then* way by my sins and my unfaithfulness to His grace. Beg of Him not to spare me, hut to
strike me with His correcting rod; to uproot from my heart
all opposition to His will; to crush my proud spirit until it
yields at last entire submission to all He wishes me to do.
Ask Him to remove those obstacles that oppose my advancing to that higher calling to which I feel that His Holy
Spirit forcibly impels me. Pray that He may open my eyes
more fully to the nothingness of the vanities of the world,
that henceforward I may aspire only to the joys of heaven,
and to become worthy of being admitted to companionship
with His saints in their everlasting dwellings. I would
fain be helped, not only by your prayers hut also by your OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
49
example. It seems to me that I should feel braver in
combat and more certain of victory if I were nigh to you,
and had an opportunity of witnessing your daily virtues.
As this cannot be at present, I would suggest that we enter
into an agreement to give one another a spiritual rendezvous
in the Heart of Jesus every Sunday at half-past ten o'clock,
at the hour when the solemn celebration of the holy sacrifice
will be taking place in every church of the kingdom. At
this spiritual rendezvous we -will seek by our united prayers
to do a holy violence to the Sacred Heart of our Lord and
Saviour, and obtain from Him the full application to our
souls of the merits of His passion and death.-
"EUGENE DE MAZENOD."
The above letter was written by Eugene in his
twenty-third year, and three years before he left
the world to enter the Seminary of St. Sulpice to
pursue his studies for the priesthood.
We give the following letter of the young Duke
de Eohan to Monseigneur de Mazenod, whose intimate companion and bosom friend he was, who
also aspired to the priesthood, and who at the
time of his writing it, was recovering from a severe
illness:—
"Feast of St. Charles of Borromeo.
11 have approached, my dear friend, the gates of eternity,
but God was not willing that I should pass through them as
yet, for He knows that I am still an idle and unprofitable
servant, and not fit to appear before Him. He has given
me back to Hfe again that I might make reparation for aU
my past negligence, and labour for the salvation of souls.
Pray earnestly that God may grant me the grace of accom-
E 50   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
plishing the end of that sublime vocation to which, in the
day of His mercy, He caUed me. My desire is to make a
perfect and entire offering of myself into His divine hands,
to spend every moment of my life in the act of loving Him
intensely, and to make Him known and loved by many
others. How vast the field for works of zeal which our
vocation opens out before us. How many evils to be rooted
up. How much good seed to be planted. What consolations
to be procured for Holy Church in her present desolation.
We require other Borromeos, other Vincents of Paul, other
Francises of Sales. - Let us ask God to grant us the spirit
of true zeal and- a burning love of Himself. Let us become
saints and we shaU work wonders.
"LE DUC DE ROHAN."
The young Duke de Eohan must have felt, in
v/riting the above letter to Eugene de Mazenod,
that he was addressing a kindred spirit. We
publish it as a specimen of the holy relations which
existed between these two young noblemen at a
time when French society was honeycombed with
atheism and revolution.
Before taking the final step of withdraAving from
the world and entering the ecclesiastical state,
Eugene placed himself in the hands of a holy and
venerable Jesuit Father, who was then in his 82nd
year, Father Magy. He made to this Avise and
learned Priest a general confession of his life, and
disclosed to him all the secrets of his heart, that he
might be able to judge fully and impartially concerning his call to the priesthood.    Father Magy, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
51
after mature deliberation, thus "writes to Eugene
de Mazenod:—
"Having considered aU the circumstances of the case,
further examination or discussion seems to me unnecessary.
Your vocation to the priesthood appears to me as clearly
manifest as the unclouded mid-day sun. At the end of my
career, which now draws to its close, I should rejoice at the
thought of being replaced in my ministry by so worthy a
successor as yourself. I should feel confident of being
treated at God's hands with a special mercy for the faults
of my life, for having a share in promoting such a vocation
as yours. It is true that if He who claimed for His own
portion, as Supreme Master, the first-born of the homes of
Israel, had not Himself inspired you with the thought of
going forth as Abraham did from out his own people, I
would not have dared to counsel you to quit the circle of
your respected family, whose chief hope and consolation
you are, to enter the ranks of the priesthood. You have a
special devotion, you say, to Saint Ignatius. That great
Saint has formed many apostles. By his intercession with
God he Avill obtain for you also the grace to become an
apostle. I feel a strong presentiment that it wiU be so.
You long to die a martyr's death. True apostles have ever
felt this desire ; your martyrdom wiH be that of self-immolation. Advance then with courage, the harvest field is
thrown open to your labours, it is ripe for the sickle, hut the
labourers are few. Have confidence in God; what He has
done for you already is a guarantee of what He is prepared
to do further for you. For the rest, trust yourself absolutely to His guidance; but do not expect always to be
sustained by those sensible spiritual joys with which He has
hitherto so abundantly favoured you. lt is when He seems
to withdraw from us and leave us to ourselves in darkness
and without spiritual comfort in the midst of our trials,
that our fidelity to Him shines out most brightly; our own 52   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
feeHngs are subject to many changes, but God is always the
same; He is entitled to he served ever with the same devoted zeal. In days of trial and darkness remember the
bright days of spiritual consolation, and be comforted."
At last the decisive step is taken, and Eugene de
Mazenod is a student at St. Sulpice. The secular
dress is put aside, and in its stead he has put on the
ecclesiastical costume. Few. ever passed from the
lay to the ecclesiastical state with a livlier sense of
the immense change involved in such a step. When
assuming the dress of his new state he endeavoured
to clothe himself interiorly with the spirit of the
perfect levite, and of the future Priest. He judged
that spirit to be, in the first place, one of profound
humility and self-denying penance. Blameless
though his life had been, in the opinion of all who
knew him, nevertheless he himself felt penetrated
with a sense of his sinfulness, and of his unworthi-
ness to dwell under the holy roof of the house of
prayer and sacred study, of which he had become
an inmate. He looked with an eye of reverence
upon ail the inmates of that sacred place, not only
upon his superiors, but even upon his fellow-students. Among these latter he discovered many
models of virtue worthy of his imitation. At'that
time candidates for the priesthood in France had
little of human promise to look forward to, in
the career upon which they entered.    Martyrdom OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
53
or exile had been the fate of the great multitude of
their faithful and immediate predecessors, and there
were signs then abroad which gave warning that
their own fate might not, at some approaching day,
be dissimilar. These gusts of threatening storms
which then menaced the rising priesthood of France,
had a powerful effect in winnowing the chaff from
the wheat, and in securing the seed grains of true
vocations for the corn fields of the sanctuary.
Eugene de Mazenod in his private notes, put on
paper the dispositions with which he was animated
on entering the Seminary of St. Sulpice, in the first
days of October, 1808 :—
" I must not conceal from myself, 0 my God, my utter
unworthiness to dweU in this holy abode, and among so
many Hving saints. It is my duty to humble myself to the
dust in crossing the threshold of this sacred place, the doors
of which should ever have been closed against me, hy reason
of the multitude of my sins.
" I must make it a constant practice to keep always before my mind the remembrance of my many transgressions,
in order that I may fully understand that I am the last in
the house, in the eyes of that just God who pays no attention to birth, or rank, or education, but puts every one in
the place he merits hy his virtues. But it suffices not that
I should have my sins always before me, from morning tiU
night, and from night till morning. This view of my sins
would be barren of any good results, unless it were accompanied by a sincere, constant and vehement sorrow for my
frightful ingratitude to a God—a Father and a Saviour—
who has not ceased to load me from my tenderest years with
His favours.   Yes, my God, I promise Thee to think over 54   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
the sins of my life, but it wiU he in the bitterness of my
soul. Reeogitabo omnes annos meos in amaritudine animae
meae.
" But these sentiments alone should not occupy my heart.
The dread of the terrible judgments of God should not so
possess me as to exceed, in any way, the fuUest confidence
in His mercy. Ah! Lord, what would become of me if anything held me back from approaching Thy Sacred Heart,
there to consume, in the fire of its love, those sins of mine
that otherwise would become matter for the eternal fire of
Thy anger. No, Lord, my grief for sin wiH not be like that
of the traitor Judas; 1 will not flee from Thy presence as he
did, but I wiU run to Thee and cast myself at Thy feet, and
crave Thy pardon, which Thou wilt not refuse me. Confi-
tebor adversum me infustitiam meam Domino, et Tu remisisti
impietatem meam.
" My soul overflows with sentiments of profoundest gratitude for aU that God has done for me in calling me from
the world to His sanctuary. I will seek to prove my gratitude not merely by words, but by deeds also. The foUowing
are the resolutions which I now take, and which, with God's
help, I am determined to keep faithfully. There is no
question now. of making resolutions against committing
mortal sin. The very fact of crossing the threshold of the
Seminary should be, in itself, a proof that he who does so is
resolved never to do anything that would be an outrage to
• the Sovereign Majesty of God. Never to offend God should
be the motto of every christian, but infinitely more than
this is required of one who aspires to the priesthood.
" Humility—the most profound humiHty—should be the
groundwork of the edifice of my salvation. I wiH look upon
myself as the last of all in the Seminary. I will often declare Avithin my own breast that this is no idle supposition,
but an absolute truth; for none among them, I am sure,
have offended God more grievously than I have done,"
or stand so much in the need of doing penance as I do; OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
yet I feel certain that all lead Hves more penitential than
mine.
" I cannot hide from myself my strict obligation to do extraordinary penance. It is true I feel a firm hope within
me that my Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has
received me back into His friendship, in ratifying mercifully
the sentence of absolution which was pronounced over me
when contrite and humble. I made an entire confession
of aU the sins of my life. But though the guflt has been
removed, I am still bound to expiate, by penitential works,
the debt which remains to be paid to the justice of God.
My whole Hfe should be one ceaseless penitential act. How
am I then to do penance ? By contemplating the example
of those holy and iUustrious penitents of former times who
punished then* bodies in proportion as these had been, before
their conversion, instruments of sin. Haring imitated and
surpassed them in their trangressions, should I not seek to
foUow their example in their works of penitential expiation ? "
With the consent of his Spiritual Director he
undertook to fast on several vigils, and other occasions, in all amounting to nearly one hundred days
in the year, in addition to the fasting days appointed
by the Church. On these latter fasting days he
.frequently took no collation, confining himself absolutely to a single meal in the day. His spirit of
mortification was prolific in devising a variety of
means of chastising his body, and of bringing it
into subjection. Some of these means of crucifying
his flesh which he adopted were so startling that we
hesitate to put them in detail before our readers.
But he wisely concluded   that, however salutary 56   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
bodily mortification might be as a penitential work,
interior mortification of the spirit was still more
necessary and important. Among the holy resolutions adopted by him in commencing his seminary
life, we have under our eyes at this moment the following, written by his oavu hand :—
" The body is not the only culprit that should be punished, the spirit is stiH a greater culprit. It is my duty to
mortify my sinful spirit; I will seek to do so by battling
constantly against my self-will, and hy holding under continued restraint aU the disorderly affections of my heart. I
wiU struggle ceaselessly to overcome the defects of my natural
character. Being naturaHy of a proud, over-bearing and
haughty temperament, my constant effort will be to correct
myself on all theso points. "I will ask God to come to my
help, and will rejoice and thank Him whenever His holy
providence suppHes me with occasions mortifying to my
pride and self-love. In the world I was thought too much
of; too many attentions and kindnesses were there shown
to me; hut here aU that, happily, is to cease. Surrounded
as I shaU he by a crowd of feUow-students who are my
superiors in virtue and acquirements, I shaU sink into obscurity and pass unnoticed, and this is what I covet. For
some years I have Hved as my own master, but now I pass
under the holy yoke of the discipline of this house; I embrace beforehand aU the trials and humiliations which may
present themselves in my new position, and wiH thus seek to
render them meritorious in the eyes of God. I wiH conform
myseH, with the utmost care, to every rule and regulation
of the house. I AviH yield the most devoted obedience and
submission to aU the orders of my superiors. I wiH endeavour to practise the most perfect and the most cordial
charity to aU my feUow-students. I wiU study to observe
great simplicity, and even poverty, in the furniture of my OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
57
room, and. I wHl seek thereby to punish myseK for having
sought too much my own ease and comfort in the world. I
win dispense with a fire in my apartment as far as I can do
so without notable injury to my health."
A year of his seminary life passed by, during
which he was the edification of fellow-students and
superiors.    The highest virtues shone out to their-
eyes in his holy behaviour, yet in his own eyes his
life seemed to him to be full of grave imperfections.
In the notes of the retreat he performed at this
time, we find the folloAving reflections "written by
him; they manifest his displeasure with himself at
not halving made greater progress in virtue during
the year which had then elapsed.    He writes in
self-accusing words:—
" It is not hard to discover that I have made no progress
in piety during the past year; this deplorable fact can
easUy be accounted for. It is evident that it arises from
my want of the spirit of interior recoUection. That is my
radical defect which, cancer-like, eats away whatever Httle
good there may possibly he in any of my actions. I am now
empty of aU merit, and deserving of no reward for anything
I have done, owing to the great imperfections that accompany my best deeds. How sad to be compeUed to make
this avowal to myself. Seven and twenty years have I been
aheady in this world, and I have not as yet made a store
of good works to serve me as a treasure in heaven. But
now, Avith God's grace, I AviU at last begin to do so, and
Avith that object in view I adopt the foUoAving resolutions:—
1st. As far as it is possible I resolve not to misspend a single
moment of my time. Time is precious for aU men, but it is
especiaHy precious for those who are called to the holy min- 58   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
isfcry. 2nd. I resolve to dweU always, so far as I can do so,
in the conscious presence of God, to whom I will raise my
heart frequently in the day by loving aspirations, and to
please whom I wUl seek to perform all my spiritual exercises with the profoundest attention, and with sentiments
of compunction, love, faith, and gratitude. 3rd. I resolve to have always before my eyes the sublimity of my
vocation, and the motives which led me into the Seminary,
and which keep me there. I wiH put away from my breast
at once every rising thought that might disturb or delay me
in going forward to do God's wiU in aU things. 4th. I wHl
be more sober in my words, and restrain my over-abundant
facUity in conversation, in. order to preserve a greater calm
of spirit, and a greater freedom from distractions. 5th. I
will endeavour to correspond, to the fullest of my power,
with the abundance of God's precious graces in my
regard."
His affectionate and devout spirit reveals itself in
the folloAving letter written by him to his aged
Grandmother, from the Seminary, when he was in
Deacon's orders:—
" My dearest Grandmother,
" I delayed writing to you, lest you should feel
yourself obliged to answer me, and thereby he forced to
make an effort which would fatigue you. I write to you
now as if I were holding a pleasant conversation with you.
Let us then talk together wherever you choose, in the
drawing-room, park or garden. But before we go further
let us enter the Oratory; however rustic it is, it inspires
devotion. On an approaching day I shaU have the unspeakable happiness of offering upon its humble altar the
most Holy Sacrifice, in your presence and in your behaH.
0 my God, how this thought overpowers me. I will then
present to you under Eucharistic form, our common Lord OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
59
and Saviour, and you wHl receive from my hand, with acts
of thankgiving, Him whom in my tender chfldhood you
were the first, perhaps, to teach me to bless and praise. We
shaU seek on that occasion to make up for the narrow dimensions of that Httle temple by the width, and the height, and
the depth of the love of God in our hearts. -We shaU invite some of those good simple vUlagers of your neighbourhood, whom God favours as His chosen ones, to take part in
our devotions. By our united prayers we shaU seek to obtain
from Him all those graces that we need to secure our safe
arrival in our heavenly country. To that eternal kingdom,
purchased for us by Jesus Christ, aU our desires should
stretch forward. I shaU have the happiness, when we meet,
of becoming your Chaplain, and your spiritual wants will be
supplied by one who derives his earthly existence from God
through j'ou. I shaU not spend my vacation this year at
home. This is a sacrifice for myseH, and I know it wiH be
one for you. Let us offer to God our joint sacrifice, with a
pure intention, and we shaU obtain some additional degrees
of glory in heaven.    Has N- placed the little girls under
the care of the Sisters of Charity ? TeU him from me that
he wiU have to answer to God for his negUgence in this
matter, which is of such great importance, and for which he
is so specially responsible. When God marks out our duty
for us, it is His wiU that we should do it, and He pays no
heed to our excuses for delay—to our * if's' and ' but's' and
' wherefore's.'
' "Adieu, dearest and best of Grandmothers, from your
own,
"EUGENE."
The great event to which, from his early youth,
he had been looking forward with loving impatience,
yet with reverential fear—his ordination to the
priesthood—was now approaching.   He prepares for ■M
60   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
it by several days spent in a preparatory retreat.
In his notes of that retreat we find the folloAving
expression of the holy sentiments he experienced as
the day of his ordination drew nigh:—
" How have I longed to be made partaker of the sublime
priesthood of Jesus Christ. As this decisive event of my
life approaches, how I desire that I may be found, through
God's infinite mercy, ready to co-operate fully with this
wonderful grace of His preeHlection in my regard, that my
soul may become purified from every stain, and my heart
emptied of creatures, so that the Holy Ghost may find no
obstacle in me to His divine operations, that He may rest
upon me in aU plenitude, filling mo with the love of Jesus
Christ, my Sariour, to that degree that I shaU live henceforward only for Him, that my whole Hfe may be spent in
loving Him, and in teaching others to know and to love
Him."
On the day following that of his ordination to the
priesthood, he wrote in these terms to his Spiritual
Director, the venerable Father Duclaux:—
"My very dear and good Father,
" I write to you on bended knees, overwhelmed
and weighed doAvn to earth under the load of the immense
and incomprehensible mercies which the Lord has worked
in me. I am a Priest of Jesus Christ, and I have already
offered the dread and adorable sacrifice. I, a sinner, have
immolated, by my ministry, the Lamb without stain. Oh
my dear Father, it seems to me Hke a dream when I think
of who I am. Sentiments of joy, fear, confidence, compunction, and love follow in turn one another in my soul. Is it
thus, I say to myself, that God takes vengeance on me for OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
61
aU my sinful ingratitude ? Is it by loading me with favours
as great as He, God as He is, can grant me, that He avenges
Himself of aU the wrongs I have done against Him ? My
very dear Father, at this moment my heart super-abounds
with the love of Him whom I once so grievously offended.
0 my Beloved One, is it possible that I ever could have
offended Thee, who now riseth to the gaze of my soul with
irresistable charms ? Can it be that a heart that loves Thee,
as mine now does, could ever have grieved Thee even by
the slightest fault ? Those tears that flow like water from a
fountain out from my two eyes, sweetly and tranquiUy, are
testimonies of the working of Thy love within me. Ineffable
is that enrapturing sweetness Avith which my inner soul is
now flooded. I comprehend it not; but this I comprehend,
that were I, after having received such favours from God,
ever to offend Him again, even were it by a dehberate venial
sin, I should deserve to he cast into the lowest hell. I am
a Priest, and to understand what this means one must be a
Priest himself. It seems to me that from the moment of
my ordination, I have commenced to know Jesus Christ as
1 had never known Him before. What shall it be when I
shall know Him as He is in heaven ?
| Pray for me, my very dear Father, that I may not
prove an unworthy and ungrateful recipient of such wonderful graces."
Father de Mazenod remained at the Seminary of
St. Sulpice for one year after his being raised to the
priesthood. As the time approached for his going
forth from that venerable institution, he felt grieved
at the thought of leaving a spot which was endeared
to him by so many hallowed associations, and by so
many holy personal friendships contracted there. It
had been for him what the desert was for St. John mm
62   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
the Baptist, and the supper-room for the Apostles,
the place of his sanctification and enlightenment,
where the Holy Spirit gifted him and fitted him
to go forth as a witness, a teacher, and a priest,
before the face of the Lord, to preach the gospel
to the poor, and to convert many to the Lord their
God. As he was preparing to take his departure from the Seminary, his grateful and appreciative spirit remembered and valued the graces and
blessings and helps to holiness which had been conferred upon him during his four years residence
within its walls. For every one of these spiritual
advantages he knew that he was accountable to God,
and he was fear-stricken at the thought of his
abusing any of such signal graces. To guard
against such a danger he made the following resolution which he committed to writing:—"I must
employ all my force of "will in laying firm hold of
those treasures of grace that have been granted to
me in this house. The instructions that I have here
received, and the examples of holiness which I have
witnessed in this place, must never be forgotten by
me. The memory of the sacerdotal virtues which I
had under my eyes during my four years of happy
residence here, in such lives as those of M. Emery,
M. Duelaux, and of their companion .priests, and
also in the lives of the great majority of my fellow-
students, shall remain  always  in my mind  as  a OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
63
stimulus and a support to my oavu virtue. I Avill
seek to represent to myself in after-life those holy
friends of my seminary days, as being always nigh
to me, my invisible exhorters to every good work." 64   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
CHAPTEE V.
Unwoeldliness was the most prominent feature in
the sacerdotal character of Father de Mazenod,
when he returned to the world as a Priest. Happily
for him at that hour he hved not the world nor the
things that were in the world. With such gifts as
his, in person, mind, manner, and appearance;
with such facilities as he possessed of Avinning a
rapid and wide-spread popularity, one taint of world-
liness in his soul might have proved a fatal blight
upon his whole subsequent career as a Priest. He
knew full well that worldly popularity, as such, on
the part of any of His Priests is not the instrument by which God works salvation in Israel. The
Divine Hand employs no such instrument in saving
souls. If Jesus had employed it, the world's friends
would not have crucified him; if Stephen had employed it they would not have stoned him; if Peter
and Paul, and the others of the apostolic band, had
employed it, the rulers of the world would not have
led them forth to the arena of their martyrdom. To
be in the world without belonging to the world has OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
G5
been the essential characteristic of ihe Apostolic
man in every age. It was the characteristic virtue
of young Father de Mazenod. The fluttering crowd
of the nominally devout who sometimes succeed in
robbing God's .priests of a precious treasure—time,
found no easy access beyond the door-steps of Father
de Mazenod. But an open door was kept for the
poor, and the sorrow-tried, and the sin-burdened,
who Avished to be released from the load of their
guilt. His time was entirely absorbed between
works of piety and works of charity. The attractions of his fervent heart led him to the former as
the works of his special preference; the tenderness
of his compassion for sinners, and his zeal for souls,
led him forth from his cherished religious solitude,
which he always left Avith repugnance, to engage in
such works as came in his way for the good of
others. It was his desire and effort to combine,' in
his daily conduct, the sanctifying exercises of the
interior life with works of the most ardent zeal for
the salvation of souls. This combination sometimes
had its difficulties, and his exterior labours would
occasionally absorb too much of the time which he
had wisely allotted for contemplation and prayer.
But OAving to that habit of self-observation in all
that appertained to his spiritual interests, which he
practised to the end of his days, he speedily discovered where the error lay, and was not slow in
applying the remedy. —
66   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
We shall now proceed to place before our readers
the Eule of Life which, in the first year of his
priesthood (December 1812), he drew up for his
then future guidance, the manuscript of which now
lies upon our table. He heads it with these words,
"Exactitude, Fervour, Perseverance," and from the
knowledge which we have of his holy life, we have
reason to believe that this rule was observed by him
strictly, fervently, and to the end, in all its principal
details.
"RULE OF LIFE.
" Ne igitur hodie asperam vitam ducas et eras mollem et delica-
tam, sed canonem unum retine sicut etiain sancti fecerunt Fatres,
qui ad quinquaginta et ultra annos, suum non mutarunt canonem
ac regulam."—S. Ephrem.
" Do not lead to-day a life of self-denial and to-morrow a life of
self-indulgence, but imitate the Saints, our Fathers in God, in following with exactitude a fixed rule of life. Many of these holy
men persevered for fifty years and more in observing, without any
change, the same rule of religious discipline."
" In order that we may arrive at the state of spiritual perfection, and persevere therein, it is necessary, according to
the counsels of holy and learned men, that^we should adopt
some wise rule of life suited to our condition, and that
we should follow it with fidelity. By so doing we take
measures against the fickleness and love of change inherent
to our nature. The rule will act like the strict and vigilant
master who wUl not accept of the vain and frivolous excuses
and pretexts of his pupil, for the omission of appointed
tasks. It will serve as the compass does to the mariner at
sea, and will show us in what direction our soul is shaping
its course. We can readily judge, by our greater or lesser
fidelity in conforming to it, whether fervour or torpidity is in OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 67
the ascendant in our Hves, and one cannot go very far
astray who, being desirous of saving his soul, keeps this rule
of life before his view, even though sometimes he may faU
in a fuU observance of it. A rule of life made during a
retreat, when the soul, separated from the world, is under
the action of special enlightening graces—is smitten with a
sense of her dangers, a consciousness of her sins) and an
ardent desire of her salvation,—such a rule must, ever after,
command her esteem and reverence. It will remain as a
testimony and guarantee of the holy promises made by her
to our Lord, at a time when she was alone with Him, and
He alone was her Hght. Unless we give permanent shape
to our pious dispositions and holy promises during a retreat,
by-embodying them in the form of a rule for our future
guidance, we are exposed to lose aU recoUection of them;
whUe on the contrary, by our embodying them as a rule of
life, they become a lasting monument of the compact made
between our souls and God, on the solemn and holy occasion of our retreat.
"In committing to writing my resolutions on this occasion, my object is to preserve for the guidance of my future
life, a record of what passed in my soul during this retreat,
which wiH serve to remind me, each time I read it, and I
shall do so frequently, of what God has done for me during
these days of grace, and of what I have promised to do for
Him. I have resolved, therefore, to observe faithfuHy, with
God's assistance, the foUoAving rule during my whole Hfe,
with those modifications only as may become necessary,
owing to any altered circumstances in my position which
may arise in the future.
" In the first place, convinced as I am that the life of a
Priest should be a life made up entirely of days frill of good
works in the eyes of God, I am determined that my Hfe,
through the Divine aid, shaU be such. Consequently I wiH
hold myself aloof from the world, and I wiH take care that
my resolution on this point becomes well known.   I wiU 68   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
not aUow myseH to he bound by the exigences of society,
especiaUy with regard to the receiving and paying of visits
in which much precious - time is often wasted. I wiU pay
such visits only as the glory of God and the salvation of souls
demand of me, and my door will he kept firmly closed
against all, excepting those to whom.I maybe able to render
some spiritual service.
" Secondly, the obhgations of a Priest, taken as a whole,
consist of his duties towards God, of whose holiness he should
be a faithful mirror in the eyes of men; of his duties towards
his neighbour, for whose salvation he is bound to labour;
and of his duties towards the Church, whose minister he is.
He should practise an extreme rigUance, in order not to
fail in any point of these grave responsibilities. On this
account I should become sensitive alone to a feeHng of the
sublime character of my sacred ministry, and to a perception
of the personal holiness which the exercise of that ministry
demands of me. I should be conrinced of the necessity of
an extraordinary gift of piety, in order to accomplish my end
as a Priest. Without piety, my life as a Priest wUl be
barren in results. Piety, on the contrary, wiU give Hfe and
fertility to all my actions.
"My duties towards God consist principaUy in love,
adoration, prayer, submission to His holy wiU, and in the
keeping of Bis commandments. I wiU take as my model in
the worship which I am bound to render to God, Jesus
Christ, His Son and my Beloved Sariour, towards whom I
will seek to hear the most tender sentiments of piety, and a
love the most ardent and sincere. The thought of my
Blessed Saviour Jesus will Hve always in my memory, and
His image will be ever enshrined in the depths of my heart.
I wiU ask every day, especiaUy during the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass, for the grace of advancing in His love, and a
hundred times daily I wiU offer this ejaculatory prayer:
' 0 my Jesus, give me Thy love.' If I gain His love, I
shall gain all 1 shaU need. The love of Jesus Christ should
be the special devotion of every Priest. OF TEE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
69
" I wiH often contemplate Jesus, my love, in His Incarnation, in His hidden life, in His passion and death, but
especially in the sacrament and sacrifice of the Holy
Eucharist. My principal occupation for Hfe avQI be to love
Him, and the chief end of aU my labours wUl be to lead
others to love Him. I AviH employ for this end aU the
talents that He has given me, aU my time, and aU the energies of mind and body which I possess. And if, after having
spent myself in labours to promote His love, I succeeded in
ehciting from a single breast only one act of the love of
Jesus, I should look upon myself as being richly recompensed.
"I will place my soul every day in the hands of this
Blessed Saviour, that He may preserve it from aU sin, and
that He may deal Avith it favourably when He becomes its
judge. To render this prayer more acceptable in His sight,
I wiH join to it the practice of constant mortification, remembering that the whole Hfe of Christ was a cross and
martyrdom for my sake. Moreover, I should acknowledge,
according to the devout author of the ' Imitation of Christ,'
and the joint testimony of spiritual writers, that the more
we bring our bqdies under the subjection of the spirit of
penance, the more our souls shaU abound in grace. ' The
more the flesh is brought down by affliction, the more the soul
is strengthened by inward grace.'—Imitation Book 2, ch. 12.
I will therefore endeavour to establish some proportion between my sins and my penitential works. I will seek to
practise interior and exterior mortification. I wiU practise
interior seH-denial by renouncing self-wiU, conquering my
repugnances,,and Hving in the constant exercise of obedience, humility and patience. I will practise exterior mor- .
tification hy fasting and other privations. I wiH therefore
be sparing in food and sleep, and wiH labour in the hardest
works of the holy ministry without complaint; and whilst
observing carefully cleanliness and order, I wiU confine
myseH to   simple necessaries in whatever appertains   to ("0   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
my personal requirements. As 1 have seldom, during life,
used wine, and much less Hquors of any sort, water being
my usual beverage, I wiH foUow the same habit for the
future, as far as circumstances will permit.
" The Holy Mass, it must be confessed, is the most exceUent of aU means of glorifying God on earth, and in heaven
itself, there is no worship more perfect. I avUI seek always
to foster the most Hvely and tender devotion towards this
great sacrifice. I AviH say Mass every day, and would do so
even twice every day, if such were aHowable. Happy was
that devout Pontiff, St. Leo the Great, who used to celebrate
the Holy Mass no less than seven times daily. The present
discipline of the church not permitting me to offer the holy
sacrifice as frequently as I would fain do if I were free to
foUow my inclinations, I avUI take care to say Mass every
day with aU the fervour and devotion that I shaU be capable
of stirring up in my soul, uniting myself at the same time in
spirit with aU the Masses that are being then said throughout the world. I will watch for opportunities of saying two
Masses on Sundays and festivals, in places where, through
dearth of Priests, a necessity for doing so may exist. I wHl
make the Holy Mass the centre towards which I avUI direct
aU my actions of the day, either as acts for thanksgiving
for the Mass said on the morning of each particular day,
or as acts of preparation for the morrow. During the Holy
Mass, while our Lord wiU be upon the altar, I wHl not faH
to ask, with all earnestness, that I may become a Priest
according to His own heart, that He may fiU aU the capacities of my soul with His love, and keep me from ever offending Him even by the least sin. I wiH continue to ask from
God every day, at the Holy Mass, as I have done daily
since I became a Priest, the great grace which I know I do
not deserve, of dying a martyr's death, either as a martyr
for the faith or as a martyr of charity, in giving my Hfe
in some way for the good of others. I will seek to avoid,
if possible, saying a single word to anybody after Mass, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
until I have made my thanksgiving, which 1 wiU perform
in profound recoHection, kneeling before the altar. I will
spend a half-hour in acts of thanksgiving.
" The divine office comes after the Holy Mass as one of
the most important of our priestly functions. Holy Church,
in imposing the obligation of the divine office on her priests,
intends that they should present themselves each day before
the mercy throne of God, to invoke by their prayers his
blessings upon her children, and to turn away the scourges
of his wrath provoked by the dafly sins of the world. She
wishes that her priests should present themselves, in her
name, before the throne of God, to offer to His Divine
Majesty their homage in union with the choirs of angels
and the company of the Blessed in heaven. I resolve,
therefore, to apply all my attention to the devout recital
of the divine office, which is one of the holiest and most
consoling functions of the ministry. I will repel with
great care aU distractions as soon as I perceive them. I
wiU make a short pause at the end of each psalm while
reciting the Gloria Patri, to recoUect myself and renew my
intentions. I wHl fix my attention as much as possible
on the sense of the words of the psalm, and wiU seek to
reproduce in my soul the devout sentiments of the Psalmist,
—to pray when he prays, to mourn when he mourns, to
rejoice when he rejoices.v
" However excellent the divine office is as a prayer, yet
it suffices, not by itself, for the sanctification of a Priest.
The Priest would commit a grave mistake who would rest
content in the matter of daily prayer with reciting his office
and the saying of Mass. The Priest's life should be a
carrying out of the counsel of our Lord: ' You should always
pray and not fail.' An easy method of carrying out this
counsel is that of the exercise of the Divine presence, accompanied by ejaculatory prayers. During the whole day,
whether I study, or eat, or drink, or labour, whether I go
forth into the crowd or remain in the quiet of my home, I <"2   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
wiH take great care to retain a Hvely sense of the presence
of God, watching carefuUy over myself in order not to do
the least thing to displease my Heavenly Father. I'wiU
seek to manifest my love towards Him in divers ways as the
day goes by. I wul breathe in His hearing short hut
fervent aspirations of love towards Him. I avUI cast loving
glances upon holy pictures that may remind me of Him. I
would wish to have some faithful monitor ever at my side to
remind me ceaselessly of my Beloved; hut as this cannot
he, I AviU use other means to help me to think of Him.
When the clock strikes, when I hear a vehicle going by,
when somebody enters my room, I wiU Hft my heart to Him
as I have been accustomed for years to do.
" Meditation should be the daUy bread of the Priest;
without the aid of daUy meditation it is hard to become
or to continue a good Priest. In mental ' prayer he will
find light, guidance, strength, and consolation. There he
wHl learn the science of the saints, and a knowledge of the
means of becoming a saint himself, as also of sanctifying
the souls of others. There he avUI be favoured by manifestations from the Holy Spirit, and admitted to an intimate
union with God. Having these truths concerning the
importance of the practice of meditation for every priest
before my mind, I am resolved to guard against the temptation to negligence with reference to this holy exercise. 'He
who knows how to pray well, hnoivs how to love well. Se who
abandons prayer, abandons the road to heaven.'—St. Augustin.
" Spiritual reading suppHes fuel to the furnace of meditation. Convinced of the importance of this holy exercise, I
resolve to be faithful in making a spiritual lecture every
day. I am convinced that, except in cases where God
guides souls by extraordinary' paths, no one can make
much progress in the exercise of mental prayer, Avithout
being largely helped by spiritual reading. The examples of
exalted virtues which present themselves to our knowledge
in the lives of the saints, have a wonderful power in stirring OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
up within our breasts desires of imitating what we read of,
and of becoming saints ourselves. The diligent study of
ascetic books is most necessary for us Priests, as a means of
enabling us to guide the souls committed to our charge in
the ways of holiness, according to Avise principles and safe
models.
" The beautiful truth Avhich discloses to us the marveUous
fact that Jesus Christ, not content Avith offering Himself in
sacrifice upon the altar, abides in person in the tabernacle,
lovingly in the midst of His children, should draw us by
its own attractive power, irresistibly and frequently to His
feet. If news came to us that He had appeared in form
visible to outward eye, in some distant part of the earth, we
should hasten to get ready to go forth upon the long journey
we should have to traverse, in order to reach Him. He
spares us all that trouble by coming to dwell in bur midst.
Alas for those who, whilst believing that He is reaUy present
in the holy tabernacle, seldom or never visit Him there,
depriving themselves thus, by their negligence, of countless
graces, and exposing themselves to have to render a severe
account on the Judgment Day, for their cold indifference towards His august presence. HappHy for me, through God's
great goodness in my regard, I do not feel that this cold for-
getfulness of Jesus, who is present upon our altars, is one
of my dangers. Frpm my tender chHdhood His grace has
penetrated me with a Hvely and loving sense of that adorable
presence. How often in my sorrows have I come to the
feet of my Saviour, present upon His altar, and I always
received comfort and consolation there. No, I wiU not
imitate the mode of acting of certain priests towards Jesus,
my Beloved, in the sacrament of His love, who, having said
their Mass (when they do say Mass), disappear for the rest
of the day from His presence in His holy temple. If some
duty compels them to come to the church, they content
themselves, whilst passing through it, Avith one minute's
adoration on bended knees, and they hasten away again, 74   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
and they tarry not with our Lord, for their hearts are icy
towards Him. I AviH imitate rather the example of that
holy Priest, Nepotian, of whom St. Jerome speaks these
words:—' You may seek him in other places, but there is one
place where you are sure to find him—his church.' I therefore resolve to allow no day to pass without paying a prolonged and loving visit to the feet of our Lord in the Blessed
Sacrament, there to pour out tho fulness of my heart into
the heart of Him who loves me. Would that it were given
to me to visit Him as often and as quietly as I used to do
in my seminary days, before my missionary labours began,
when I dwelt with Him under the same roof, and had it in
my power, without its interfering with any duty, to go into
His presence several times in the day. At that time it so
happened, to my great consolation, that from my chamber,
at my desk during the day, and on my bed at night, I could
see the lamp burning before His Tabernacle. How I envied
the position and the function of that lamp; like it, I would
then fain have my heart always in Jesus' presence, and
always on fire Avith love before Him.
"In order to advance with security in promoting the great
work of my sanctification, I must examine carefully, day by
day, my Hne of conduct, calling myself to a strict account
concerning its conformity with the commandments of God,
the precepts of the" church, the duties of my state of life,
and Avith the rule of life which I have proposed to myself
to follow.
" Should I discover that through negligence or human
weakness I have committed faults—even slight ones—on
any of the points indicated, I avUI humble myself before
God, and resolve, with his assistance, to avoid committing
the like faults on the day that is to foUow. If, on the
contrary, T discover that by the great mercy of God I have
been preserved during the day that is coming to its close
from any fault that I can find out, I AviH give thanks to our
Lord, to whom alone belongs the glory of my preservation OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
75
from sin. The consoling fact of having spent one day
without being guilty of any act or omission which I could
lay to my. charge as a fault, AviU encourage me greatly to
persevere in fervour of life, and make new strides on the
road of perfection. I wiH then resolve to have God, and
God alone, before my view in aU my actions, renouncing aU
human glory that may come to myself in any way from
them, bearing in mind this maxim of the saints, that men
are often praised on earth for actions which God, who is the
searcher of hearts, will one day rigorously condemn.
" In the examination of my daUy actions I wUl have the
foUowing points before my mind for my guidance. Firstly,
I wiH consider what perfection each action should possess
in order that it may be pleasing in the sight of God, and in
conformity Avith the actions of Jesus Christ. Secondly, I
will consider the various defects that are to be found in my
actions; and thirdly, 1 avUI seek for the proper remedies for
the removing of such defects.
" It is evident to me that if a person proves faithful in
making his examination of conscience at the close of every
day, he cannot faU to succeed in extirpating one after
another -of the leading faults of his daily life. This habit of
daUy self-examination helps us very much in the examination of conscience, which we have to make before we go to
confession. Moreover, by this salutary exercise, we put into
practice this important counsel of our Lord, to which so
few, alas! pay attention: ' Watch ye therefore, because you
know not at wliat hour your Lord will come.'—Matt. xxiv. 42.
By this daily examination of our conscience we keep the
accounts of our souls in order, and we abide always in readiness for any moment that we may be summoned to appear
before the dread tribunal of the Judgment of God. In this
examination we judge ourselves according to the counsel of
the Apostle, and we thereby escape the rigours of the judgment that is to come. ' If we would judge ourselves we
should not be judged.'—1 Cor. xi. 31. 76   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
" Confession is beneficial, not only as a means of obtaining
pardon by those who have had the misfortune to offend
God by grievous sin, but it is also an admirable means of
preserving and increasing God's sanctifying grace in our
souls. The Priest who wishes to persevere and advance in
virtue, should go frequently to confession. This practice is
essential for him, in order to keep his conscience in that state
of spotless purity in which he should appear daily at the
Altar of God. I will keep before my mind the examples
of the saints on this matter. St. Phihp Neri, St. Charles
Borromeo, and many other great servants of God approached
daily the sacrament of penance. I wiH make my confession
at least once every eight days."
Father de Mazenod did not intend this rule of
life to become a dead letter. We find him during
a retreat, made the year that followed the adoption by him of this rule, alluding to it in these
terms:—
" I must exercise severity towards myself, in order that
nothing may Avithdraw me from the strict observance of my
rule of life. Everything that is therein marked down is
necessary for me, as a means of leading a fervent and holy
life. In order that I may not forget a single point of this
rule, I avHI' read it carefully on the days of my monthly
retreats, which generaUy take place on the first Friday of
each month. I \riH impose a penanco on myseH for every
culpable violation of any of the articles of this rule. This
penance wiH bear some proportion to the importance of the
point left unfulfiUed."
In the nptes of the retreat from which we have
taken the extracts just quoted, we find the follow- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
77
ing resolutions and pious sentiments written by
him:—
"I wiU never speak directly or indirectly of any good
work I may do, unless God's glory or the edification of my
neighbour may seem to require that I should do so. In
that case, before! speaking, I wiU interiorly purify and direct
my intention.
" Jealousy is hateful to me; I look upon it as a sentiment
unworthy of generous souls. It gives me great delight to
discover singular merit in others. Should I find that I faU
in points in which they succeed, I AviU do my best to imitate
them, and to reach their exceUence. If I should not succeed
in doing so, I wUl humble nryseH at the thought of my-
incapacity, and will speak weU of them, and rejoice with
my whole heart at the praise which I hear others give
them.
" I wiH bear with patience and resignation, and if possible
Avith joy, the contradictions that I shaU meet with in the
carrying out of the works which God wiH inspire me to perform for His glory. I wiH pray under such trials with more
ardour and at greater length, both for the success of such
works, and for the good of those who, through mistake,
oppose my undertakings. I wiU endeavour at such times,
by special effort, to suppress aU murmurings that may rise
within me.
" Before commencing any action of importance I will offer
it entirely to God, renouncing at the same time any self-
complacency which I may find in performing it.
| Before going forth from my apartment to fulfil any exterior duty, I will, if I happen to be alone, prostrate myself
at the feet of my crucifix, to offer to God the work which I
am going to perform, and to beg of my blessed Saviour to
extend His holy hand over me to preserve me from offending
Him. I avUI then kiss the feet of the crucifix. Should
there happen to be other people present at the time, I avUI 78   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
confine myseH to this latter external act, performing-the rest
by an interior offering of my heart."
At this time Father de Mazenod was leading a
life of apostolic labours in his native town, Aix, in
Provence. He resided under his mother's roof.
His immediate attendant was a holy Trappist lay-
brother, who had been compelled to quit his monastery during the revolutionary period. In the
society of this good brother, Father de Mazenod
began already to taste of the sweets of the monastic
life, and at the same time Brother Maur could
almost imagine himself to be back again in some
cloister of his monastery, whilst breathing the atmosphere of holiness with Avhich the dwelling of
Father de Mazenod was redolent, and whilst living
in daily intercourse "with one whose habits of prayer
and self-denial recalled to his mind much of what
he had Avitnessed amongst the holiest of his brethren
at La Trappe.
About this period, doubts began to rise in the
mind of Father de Mazenod as to whether he ought
to "withdraw from missionary labours, and devote
himself exclusively to a life of solitude and prayer.
He was at that time occupied with several very important works of zeal and charity. He was then
performing daily prodigies of devotedness in behalf
of the plague-stricken Austrian prisoners of war, at
the risk of his own life.    He was employed also in OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART. 79
several other Avorks of a missionary and charitable
character He found that all these occupations had
a tendency to disturb bis interior calm and tmioh
"with God, and to cause a crowd of distractions in
his daily exercises of piety, even at the Holy Mass.
He grew alarmed for the safety of his OAvn soul, and
became apprehensive that he was losing favour with
God, by exposing himself to be deprived of interior
recollection of spirit, through engaging in the exterior works of the sacred ministry. During a
retreat made about this epoch, he proposed to himself the following questions, to be solved in the light
of his retreat grace:—
I By experience I find when I live in retirement, foUowing a regular order of religious exercises, and occupied in
prayer and study, having nothing else to attend to but the
work of my own salvation, that I am then contented and
happy, and that my conscience is at peace. At such times
I feel that I take a great delight in the service of God, and
avoid offending Him in any serious way. On the contrary,
when I am engaged in works for the good of my neighbour,
I become so absorbed in what I am doing as to have scarcely
any time for eating or sleeping. My prayers and meditations are performed then amidst countless distractions, which
pursue me to the very altar during the Holy Mass. On the
contrary, when I lead a retired Hfe, God favours me with
an abundance of consolations during the holy sacrifice, and
sweet tears oftentimes flow copiously from mine eyes. The
question which I now propose to myseH is, should I withdraw myself from the exterior works of the ministry, to
occupy myself solely with the affairs of my own salvation ?" mmmm
80   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Had he followed the bent of his own personal
inclinations, the answer to this question would have
been in' the affirmative, for his special attraction
drew him almost violently thither, where quiet converse Avith Jesus, the Beloved of his soul, could be
held unbroken by any disturbing cause for long
intervals at a time. In different passages of his
-writings he tells us that it was always Avith repugnance he left the sweets of holy solitude, with its
alternating periods of study and prayer, for the
arena of missionary labour. Yet who that saw him
labouring in the "vineyard of souls, his brow lit up
-with a gleam of that joy which angels feel when
sinners repent—who that saw him at his work as a
great missionary, preaching, hearing confessions,
passing hither and thither in search of the lost sheep
of the house of Israel, could imagine that the choice
preference of his heart was for a life of solitude,
silence and prayer ? Yet so it Avas in truth. Happily
for those souls that were to be sanctified and saved
through the instrumentality of this holy young
Priest, it was God's "will that he should follow his
repugnances instead of his preferences, and that his
life should become one of many labours and battles
for the rescuing of imperilled souls, and was not to
be spent merely in the quiet exclusive work of
saving his own soul. How pure that zeal that works
through our repugnances, briskly and brightly to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
the eyes of lookers on, as if we were making no
sacrifice at all, whilst in our hearts God was beholding some great sacrifice progressing, and self
immolating self upon the altar of His divine will.
It was not all at once that the answer came from
God.to the doubt and question of Father de Mazenod,
as above proposed. At last the light he asked for
was given him, and the answer he sought for was
received by him, as he himself informs us in these
words: —
" I Avas more than once on the point of giving way to discouragement, and of renouncing aU thought of labouring for
the souls of others, to retire into some sohtude, there to
apply myself exclusively to the work of saving my own soul.
But then again I asked myseH, is this the wiH of God ? Has
He not manifested His good pleasure that I should labour
for the souls of others as well as for my own soul ? Has
not His holy wHl been made manifest to me on this point
by the voice of my Superiors, and by the risible blessing
Avhich, notwithstanding the obstacles created by my unfaithfulness, He has condescended to grant to my labours
for souls ? Should 1 then escape the severity of His judgments, which I dread so much, by fleeing from the field of
battle in the hour of combat, in search of my personal
repose ? On the contrary, I feel that it is God's wiH that I
should renounce my strong inclination for a Hfe of complete
|splitude and retirement from the world, to apply myself to
labour with new ardour for the souls of others, whilst endeavouring with aU care to sanctify my own soul."
But we arc not to suppose that, in God's designs,
as understood by Father de Mazenod, that active
G 82   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
missionary labour was to supersede in any way the
necessity and the obligation of his leading a life
largely consecrated to prayer, to quiet reflection,
and to sacred studies. The life of every true missionary should be modelled on the life of the Divine
Missionary, our Lord Himself, who, when most fully
engaged in evangelizing the multitude, spent large
portions of His time in solitude and prayer. It was
to the Apostles chiefly that He delivered the counsel
of continual prayer. He gave this counsel to them
at a time when missionary labours of the most
onerous and absorbing kind were about to devolve
upon them. They understood well that it was their
Divine Master's wish and precept that prayer in
large proportion should accompany preaching and
the other duties of their active ministry. This is
evident from the open declaration they made in a
public assembly of Christians in Jerusalem in the
following words: "We will give ourselves continually
to prayer and to the ministry of the word; and the
discourse pleased all the multitude."—Acts vi. 4.
In the truly apostolic man there is a blending of
the action of Moses who prayed on the mountain,
with that of Joshua who fought valiantly on the
plain. Woe to the preacher of the gospel who dissevers a life of prayer from a life of active missionary
labour. His Avords in the pulpit, no matter how
perfect they be as displays of human eloquence, will OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.        83
become nothing better than tlie tinkling cymbal and
tlie sounding brass, and the enemies of his soul will
triumph over him and his works, as surely as the
enemies of Israel began to triumph over Joshua
whenever Moses ceased to pray. At no time is
prayer more powerful than when it is blended with
the zealous labours of the missionary life, and at no
time is it more needed than when wonders have to
Avrought, surpassing all those miracles, in the natural order, which are recorded in the lives of saints.
How wonder-working is the life of the apostolic
man who prays and preaches, and converts great
sinners, raising the spiritually dead from graves of
sinfulness to the new life, with all its joys and
privileges. God is "with that man, because he,
being a man of prayer, delights to be with God,
and to converse with Him. Preachers of the
Word are men whom Satan seeks to sift as the
wheat is sifted. He would rob them of the good
grain of the spirit of prayer and piety and humility,
and he would leave them the chaff—the tinsel and
the glitter of human oratory—the applause of a
flattering crowd—the empty bubble of self-conceit
—the inner consciousness, alas, of having failed in
one's high mission.
Father de Mazenod's enlightened missionary spirit
understood well how the planting and the watering
of the seed of the Divine word had need of that 84   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
blessing from on high which gives the increase. To
secure that blessing he was determined to become a
man of prayer, as well as a man of action, depending
more upon the first than upon the last of these
qualities for success in his missionary undertakings.
He writes thus on this matter :—
" I must for the future trust more to the efficacy of prayer
as a means of success in my different missionary works, than
to any amount of active energy which I can bring to bear
upon them. It is true we must labour, and labour very
hard and devotedly, for the saving of souls; aU missionary
saints have done so. But we should not aHow such an abuse
as that of labour superseding prayer, or think that our external works dispense us from making our meditation, from
spending proper time in preparing to celebrate the holy Mass,
or from our prayers of thanksgiving after it. We should look
upon prayer as the arsenal from which we are to draw the
best appointed weapons for our missionary warfare, and
trust more to the aid we are to get from heaven, through the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints of God,
and through the protection of the holy Angels, than to our
own unaided human endeavours." OF TRE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
85
CHAPTEE VI.
We now approach that period in the inner life of
Father de Mazenod, when the Holy Spirit was about
to communicate to his mind its first perceptions of
his special mission—the founding of a new society
of Missionary Eeligious in the Church of God.
Founders of Eeligious orders bear a privileged resemblance to Jesus Christ. The mantle of His
regal magistracy in the government of souls falls in
royal folds from their shoulders. They have the
privilege of calling disciples around them, and of
saying to them at one time, " Come ye apart into a
desert place and rest a little ;" and again of saying
to them, ** Lift up your eyes and see the countries, for
they are all white already to harvest, go ye and preach
the gospel." What influence is it that draws disciples around these founders of Eeligious societies, to
abide lovingly and permanently under their rule,
and to be ready to pass hither and thither at their
bidding ? What but that participation of the
aureola of Christ, that circlet of holiness that surrounds their brows, giving them a strange mysterious power of drawing disciples to themselves, even 86   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
as Jesus drew Matthew from his money table, and
Peter, James and John from their boats and nets by
the sea shore. The sway of personal holiness has
always been the chief loadstone of attraction on the
part of the founders of Eeligious orders, in bringing
disciples to their side. This holiness works by sight,
and works by its fame. Some witness it and are
fascinated by it,; some hear of it and are brought
from afar to render homage to it, to bow their heads
before its sceptre, and to declare themselves its
"willing subjects unto death. Thus were disciples
to be drawn around Father de Mazenod by the sight
of his virtues and the fame of his holiness.
God, who anticipates frequently our coming great
trials by granting us great spiritual consolations,
which prepare us for the combat, conferred, at the
period of which We "write, extraordinary gifts of
sensible fervour on Father de Mazenod. We learn
this circumstance from the notes of a retreat made
by him about that epoch. He thus speaks of the
lights and consolations which he received during
that retreat:—
" I am gladdened by the thought that it is so easy to
become a saint, and I feel that I must, of necessity, become
one. A glance at the lives of the saints of our own times,
such as the blessed Leonard, and the blessed Alphonsus
Liguori, fills me with strength and courage. Instead of
being terrified when I read of the austerities of their Hves,
I feel thereby more forcibly drawn to imitate them. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
87
" The perfection of the rehgious state, and the observance of
the evangelical counsels which hitherto had been surrounded
to the gaze of my soul, by a certain mist of difficulties, now
stand out in their.own true Hght, free from every shadow of
impediment. I have already, as a Priest, made a vow of
•chastity; why should I not add to it the vows of poverty
and obedience ? I have passed in review before my mind
the obligations which these two latter vows impose, and it
seems to me that there are none which I would shrink from
taking upon myself, counting always upon the aid of divine
grace. These sentiments are not to be mere passing feelings ; I hereby adopt them with all the energy of my soul,
as I commit them at this moment to writing. Ah! Lord, if
hitherto I have grieved Thy Holy Spirit by refusing .to correspond with any of Thy divine caUs, I wiH hold back no
longer. Speak Lord, Thy servant heareth. Show to me, I
implore Thee, the path by which Thou wishest me to
travel; enlighten me with Thy own hght; give to me an
understanding of Thy holy will, and guide my footsteps by
the way of Thy commandments. No, I wiU not cease to
labour for the good of my neighbour, for I know it is God's
holy wUl that I should do so.' On the contrary, I feel disposed to do more than I have hitherto done for the salvation
of souls ; and if it were necessary, I feel that I could lay
down my life for that object. It is true, as it is knoAvn to
God, that it is not by inclination, but by a sense of duty,
that I engage in exterior works, for I experience always an
extreme repugnance when quitting my retirement. If I
followed my inclination, I would confine myself, as far as the
souls of others were concerned, to prayers offered in sohtude
in their behalf. But the will of the Heavenly Master of the
vineyard manifests itseH otherwise, and it is for Him to
make knoAvn to His workmen what they are to do."
Such were the lofty sentiments with which the
spirit of God filled the soul of Father de Mazenod, 88   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
at one of the most momentous periods of his life.
His new Society of Missionaries was then starting
into existence; some early recruits had already
mustered around him, and others were preparing to
follow their example. Amongst those that were
soon to join his ranks, were several whose after-
career was to be distinguished by the display of the
most exalted virtues. One of the number, Father
Guibert, was, in the designs of Divine Providence,
to be clad one day in the Eoman purple, and preside
over the see of Paris as its Cardinal Archbishop.
The proficiency of the pupils in any science naturally
redounds to the credit of their master; and we may
fairly judge by the progress made in holiness by the
early disciples of Father de Mazenod, of' his o*wn
eminent sanctity. Such names as Tempier, Albini,
Mye, Susanne, Guibert, encircle that of De Mazenod
as laurel wreaths that bespeak the triumphs of his
zeal in the work of sanctifying his first disciples,
and the early co-operators in his great missionary
undertakings.
A faith-inspired sense of their high responsibilities, on the part of those whom God appoints to rule
in His name over the souls of others, is the most
powerful incentive to the exercise of their watchfulness and devotedness in fulfilling the duties of their
trust. It grows, as it becomes perfect, into a special
form of divine worship—the worship of the Justice OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.        89
of God. The living God upon His Judgment Throne
is the chief and immediate object of their adoration.
That Judgment Throne is ever rising before their
faith-kindled vision in the calm of prayer, in the
silence of the night when other men are asleep;
yea, amidst the bustle and throng of daily occupations. Sometimes it startles them into a soul-panic
by its amazing lights, and by the vivid distinctness
"with which it brings out each one of their many
obligations. At such times they would betake
themselves, terror-stricken, to the feet of their God,
and pray to Him out of pity for their weakness, to
relieve them of the burden of their responsibilities.
Then learning it to be His holy will that they should
continue to bear their burden, and to rule and
govern in His name, they use the vision of the Judgment Throne as their guiding light, the solver of their
doubts, and the kindler of their burning zeal.
The soul of Father de Mazenod was sometimes so
smitten with a keen sense of his responsibilities as
Superior of his new society, that he required all his
virtue to sustain him under the weighty burden of his
charge. It was by stirring up in his soul, at such
times, sentiments of the tenderest confidence, and of
the liveliest hope in the aid of God's helping hand,
that he was able to hold his ground.    He writes:—
" The thought which pre-occupies me now most forcibly,
is that of the terrible account I shaU have to render to God 90   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
at the hour of my death, concerning the fulfilment of the
awe-inspiring obligations of my ministry, so far-stretching in
their extent, and so aU-important in their consequences.
Upon my fidelity to the graces attached to my responsible
charge, depends, perhaps, the salvation of many souls. If I
lead a life of fervent piety, the community at the head of
which I am placed will be moved by my example to become
fervent also, and its members, in the fervour of their zeal
and charity, wiH go forth to convert many souls, and God
wiU bless their labours with an abundant harvest. But if I
act a cowardly and lukewarm part, my example avUI have a
bad effect upon others, and their zeal will cool down, and
souls AviU be victimized, all owing to my fauing to correspond with the graces of my state. In such a case how
rigorous would my judgment be, how severe at the hour of
death would be my condemnation, and how bitter would be'
the accusations and reproaches which the souls lost on my
account would direct against me ? I acknowledge that
these thoughts became at times so oppressive, and weighed
me doAvn with such a load of anxiety, that I Avas more than
once on the point of giving way to profound discouragement,
and should have done so if God had not conferred upon me
the gift of tenderest hope.
10 sweetest of virtues—holy hope—thou hast ever been
the source of my best joys on earth. Through thy ministering aid have the feeble eyes of my spirit been enabled to
behold in God the enrapturing beauty of His divine perfections. Through thy help have I been emboldened to love
Him Avith the joyous freedom of childlike unreserve. Thee,
0 holy hope, have I preached to my brethren, to encourage
them to serve God, and to induce them to love Him more
than to fear Him. AH blessed hope, hast thou forsaken me ?
What am I to become if thou supportest not my confidence,
if thou dost not temper by the sweetness of thy assurances
those appalling fears of the rigours of divine justice which
fill my soul ?   Return to my breast, 0 holy hope, return, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.        91
and become my faithful companion, whilst I go doAvn into
my conscience and take accurate note of aU my infidelities
in the service of my God, and whilst I carefully set before
my eyes, in fulness and in detail, the obHgations of my
sacred calling, and the awe-inspiring responsibuities of my
state, and whilst I meditate on the terrible account which
the Supreme Judge avUI one day demand of me concerning
my administration."
But God draws shore lines around the sea of our
interior, as well as of our exterior trials, beyond
which its angry waves are not allowed to fling their
foam. Eegions of repose lie between sea and sea in
the spiritual life as well as in the outer world; upon
some one of these favoured spots the soul, in her
pilgrimage, is allowed to pitch her tent for a while,
to drink of its fountains, to eat of its manna, to bask
.in its sunshine, and to rest in its passing peace;
though on the morrow, it may be, it will have to
embark on the angry sea again. Such is life's
spiritual journey heavenwards!
Father de Mazenod was troubled lest he might
not discharge with faithfulness his office of spiritual
guide of his brethren. But these fears were to be
allayed by the proofs that were soon to be given of
heaven's approbation of his work, in the visible
progress in holiness of the community of brethren
confided by God to his care. We find him bearing
the following testimony to the virtues of the members of his new society, at a time when he was tern- 92   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
porarily separated from them, owing to functions of
importance which he had to discharge in the interests of religion, at a distance from Aix. He thus
writes:—
"Notwithstanding my temporary separation from my
brethren, I must acknowledge that they have the first claims
on my care and devotedness. AU the members of that
community are models of every virtue. I cannot help being
struck "frith admiration as I behold the holiness of their
Hves. With the Mother of the Machabees I have to avow
that I know not how these beloved sons of mine were born
of me. But they have already left me far behind on the
path of virtue, and I can say with truth, that / am not
ivorthy to untie the latchet of their shoes. What a happiness
for me to be a member of such a community. What thanks
do I owe to God for having brought so holy a brotherhood
around me."
Whilst he was gladdened by their virtues, he re-'
joiced exceedingly at hearing of the success of their
missionary labours.    He writes:—
" This morning I received a letter from Father Guibert,
frdl of religious feeHng, and breathing sentiments of a refined
and lofty piety. He writes to inform me of the great success of the mission which he is conducting. News of this
kind, coining from my missionary sons, is a feast to my
soul."
In his community life he studied to be an example to his brethren of the strictest punctuality in
fulfilling every point of religious discipline, according to the rules of his society.   We find him adopt- OF THE LABOUES OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
93
ing at his retreats very precise resolutions on this
matter.    He writes:—
11 belong, in the first instance, to my brethren who Hve
with me in community; the claims of others upon my time
can be admitted only in the second place. I must take
every possible precaution in order to avoid being absent from
a community exercise; with that end in view I wiH cut
visits short, and bring conversations that might otherwise be
unnecessarily prolonged, to a close."
He understood well how much mutual respect
and reverence for one another—on the part of priests
and religious men, especially when they live in
community—harmonise Avith God's designs, and
tend to promote peace and happiness among themselves, to the great edification of their neighbour.
We find the following passage in the notes of one
of his retreats :—
11 avUI treat the members of my community with deepest
respect. I wiU speak to them Avith gentleness and much
consideration for their feelings. I wiU guard against my
quickness of temper, lest I should say a word that would give
them needless pain."
But he did not forget that the correcting of the
faults of those under their care, was one of the
essential duties of Superiors. As his society increased in numbers, and their works became multiplied, the hay and stubble were sure to get mixed
up with the gold, and less fervent brethren were
likely to be found from time to time among the crowd 94   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
of the holy and fervent. Father de Mazenod could
be firm as iron when a divine interest or when a
duty of charitable reproof was concerned. After
setting clearly before his mind, during one of his
retreats, his obligation of administering correction
on certain given occasions, and having also consi1
dered his own natural repugnance to say a word
that might give pain to anybody, he came to the
resolution which we find expressed in the brief sentence : " I must act for God, and according to the
spirit of God, in administering the needed correction,
come what may."
Want of generosity in God's service on the part
of any members of his society was sure, when it
became known to him, to touch him to the quick, so
full was his own great soul of a sense of the claims
of God to our entire devotedness in His service.
Writing in reference to a Father of his society, in
whom he perceived an absence of devotedness, he
thus deplores the cowardly selfishness which characterises many christians of the present day:—
" On whatever side one turns, one meets with cowards,
pusiUanimous, weak-spirited souls, hearts of flesh, uninspired
by one spark of divine love, lowly types of poor humanity.
The love of gain wiU cause men to traverse oceans, and
to face the perils of the deep. When a worldly-personal
interest has to be promoted, or the ends of personal ambition
have to be reached, men pay hut Httle attention to what
even their nearest friends think or say, if they be opposed OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
95
to their projects. They act independently and go straight
to their end. But when anything of a supernatural order
has to be accomplished for the divine-'glory, and their soul's
good, then are they ready to pay a guUty deference to the
opposing Avishes and opinions of others, and they seek to
justify themselves in not doing what God and conscience
demands, by putting forward their imaginary obligation of
yielding to what others think and say."
Entering a church one day when a celebrated
preacher was delivering a discourse to a congregation composed chiefly of humble uneducated people,
Father de Mazenod was grieved to find that the
thoughts and language of the preacher were above
the level of the comprehension of his hearers. He
"writes thus in reference to this incident:—
"His discourse was more philosophical than christian.
May God preserve us from such preachers. He is not
deficient in talent or logical precision, but he is wanting in
that unction which accompanies the words of those only who
preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Our chief aim
should be to nourish the souls of those whom we evangelise
with the bread of sound doctrine, avoiding the method of
those preachers who aim at winning admiration by the loftiness of their style, and the eloquence of their diction. We
should study the wants of the multitude; we should not
only break tbe bread of the word for them, but masticate in
a manner also, that thus our hearers might not return to
their homes as the empty admirers of what they did not
understand, but as men whose souls were bettered by our
teachings, and whose minds were so weU indoctrinated with
holy knowledge, as to be able to communicate to others
what they themselves had learnt from our Hps. We shaU
reach this required perfection as preachers of the Divine 96   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
word, by renouncing aU self-seeking, and despising the
miserable applause of men, whilst endeavouring to confirm,
by the holy examples of our lives, what we preach unto
others."
Whilst the holy Founder lost no occasion to stimulate and sustain the zeal of his missionaries in the
warfare against sin, he was ever ready to check any
tendency on their part to fail in tender compassion-
ateness towards sinners themselves. In illustration
of this particular trait in his character, we cite the
following instance. During the early stages of a
mission which the Oblate Fathers were engaged in
conducting in a populous district in Dauphiny, a
body of youths, yielding to perverse influences, combined together to thwart the labours of the missionaries, and to prevent the inhabitants of the place from
going to the mission. Public games were organized
by them for this purpose. A very great scandal
was thus given. Fortunately their attempt was a
failure, and the mission became a great success.
The misguided young men were led to see the
wickedness of their condnet, and began themselves
to frequent the exercises of the mission. A general
communion day was approaching, and the Superior
of the mission thought he ought not to allow these
young men to take part in that ceremony, notwithstanding their return to better sentiments, as the
scandal given by them was so recent.   On this point OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
97
he Avrote to consult the holy Founder. The answer
of the latter was characteristic of the lenient and
tender charity with which his great missionary heart
was ever full to overflowing in his dealings "with
penitent sinners, no matter what their sins had been.
He wrote in reply:—
"I wish that the courier who bears this letter to you
could travel by forced journeys, lest he might arrive too late
to prevent the eril that is in danger of arising from your
undue severity in deahng with these young men. Such a
mode of acting on your part comes from your inexperience.
Surely the fact of their haring had courage to disavow
their first unseemly behaviour by their renouncing it, and by
their taking public part in the exercises of the mission,
should have been looked upon by you as .a sufficient reparation on their part. Instead of acting towards them with
coolness and reserve, you should have received them Avith
open arms, and treated them with the greatest kindness.
They have need of being helped and comforted by you in
pursuing the narrow path upon which they have entered,
and in treading which they must have many natural repugnances to overcome."
One of the sharpest of the trials which Father
de Mazenod had to endure at the hands of God, was
the removal from him by death of any of his missionary sons. Under such losses his soul would remain
for days buried in the deepest grief, but not a word
of murmuring would escape from his lips, and no
feeling of the kind would have a place in his heart;
on the contrary, on such occasions his great christian
soul would enter into a sphere of loftier and more
H 98   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
purified worship of God under the pressure of his
immense sorrow—the worship of perfect resignation.
We quote the following extract from his diary,
which exhibits the perfection of his spirit of conformity to the divine avUI under great sorrows. It
was Avritten on the occasion of his receiving the
news of the death of a zealous young Father, who
was engaged, when his fatal illness overtook him, in
giving a very successful mission in Corsica:—
" My worst fears are realised, the news cf Father
Richard's death has reached me. How keen this pang, my
God. In what words can I pour out the grief of my soul
before Thee. Better than any words, at such a moment, is
the adence of that perfect resignation which Thou abpne
canst bestow. Left to myseH, unaided by Thy grace, under
these severe trials which Thou hast been pleased to send me,
my poor human spirit would grow perplexed and beAvUdered.
I hasten to repeat, again and again,—may Thy holy wiU be
entirely accomplished in our regard. Guide our footsteps
as we journey forward through the mazes of the great
mystery of Thy Providence, in order that no discouragement
may faU upon us as we traverse these mysterious ways,
which are so incomprehensible to our feeble lights. Thou
callest us to labour in divers parts of Thy vineyard, and we
obey Thy voice, and everybody would fain multiply himseU
in order to meet, if possible, all the demands upon his
labours. Thy blessings are* graciously vouchsafed to our
ministry, and marveUous fruits of converting grace spring
up upon our pathway. When, behold, at the moment when
we seem to need most that fresh auxiliaries should come
to our aid to tiU the Avidening harvest field, thou removest
from us the means of continuing Thy work. One hy one
our feUow labourers are being taken away from our ranks OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
99
by the hand of death. The dealings of Thy holy Providence
in our regard are wrapt in mystery; but beneath the veU of
this mystery I recognize Thy presence, 0 my God, and I
adore Thy Trinity in Unity, as I adore and love Thee
hidden from our view under the sacramental veil of the
Holy Eucharist. But Lord, may it not be that my personal
unworthiness is the obstacle to the accomplishment of Thy
designs. If so, Lord, do not spare me, hut remove me hence
out of Thy way. Thou knowest that it is not for the first
time that I pray to Thee in this sense. How often have I
not said to Thee, in earnest prayer, that which I now repeat
from the depths of my heart: ' Lord, do Avith me what
Thou wiUest, my lot is in Thy hands.' In manibus tuis
sortes meae."
Various are the forms by which God tries the
faith and confidence of His chosen servants. He
seems sometimes to forsake them in the midst of
some great work in which they are occupied, in
labouring for His glory. Their works languish for
the time, but do His servants cease to merit, or do
their lives fail in giving Him glory because of their
successless labours? Oh no, God permits their
failures in order to diversify the beauty of their
merit, and to draw His glory more from the depths
of their humbled and unmurmuring hearts, than
from the success-crowned labours of their toiling
hands. Few of the missionary triumphs of the
spiritual sons of the pious De Mazenod brought more
glory to the feet of God than did those soul-utterances of loving resignation which fell from the lips
of His servant, on the occasion to which we have 100   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
just referred. The sorrows of God's servants pierce
and wound them to the quick, but they do not
prostrate them or bewilder them, but leave them
standing calm and conscious, Mary-like, at the foot
of the cross, ready to go, at first sign of the divine
will, to do some further work for God, which may
be a failure or may be a success, but which will
certainly be a merit for themselves, and a new glory
for the divine name.
Again, God tries the faith and confidence of His
servants by calling them to do Avorks that lie beyond
their visible competency; works which human wisdom would bid them not to attempt, but which His
Spirit, speaking in their hearts, urges them to undertake. He would have them take counsel, it is true,
and secure all needed sanctions, and put forth all their
own capabilities, to make the undertaking a success;
all this being done, He would have them leave
results, with child-like confidence, in Wis hands.
Such was the sort of confidence which Father
de Mazenod ever displayed when some great but
difficult work had to be undertaken for the divine
glory and the good of souls. Shortly after several
deaths had taken place among the ranks of his little
missionary band, a foundation was proposed to him
by the Archbishop of Avignon, in his Grace's diocese. The foundation was one that offered a large
scope for the zeal of his Fathers, but insuperable OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
101
obstacles seemed to exist to his accepting of it,
which arose from the fewness of their numbers.
Nevertheless, counting upon God's help, he did
accept of it. Writing with reference to this circumstance, he says:—
11 know that in looking forward to success in this undertaking I am asking almost a miracle from God. Be it so.
If a miracle be needed, I avDI not hesitate to ask for one
from the Father of the Family, who HimseH invites us to
pray to the Lord of the harvest field, to send labourers into
His vineyard."
Subsequent events justified, to the fullest, the
confidence of the holy Superior. The foundation in
question—Notre Dame des Lumieres—under the
direction of the Oblate Missionaries, developed as a
sanctuary of our Lady, and as a place of pilgrimage,
in an extraordinary degree. It was a well-spring of
grace, the abundance of whose ever-flowing waters
was strikingly typified in an image furnished on
the spot by nature's hand—the wonderful fountain
of Vaucluse—whose margin was reached by a few
hours' walk from Lumieres. During a period of
forty-four years, the Oblate Missionaries of rTotre
Dame des Lumieres continued to pursue, in divers
parts of the diocese of Avignon, and of neighbouring
dioceses, their sacred calling of winning souls to
God, until at last the sledge and hammer of the persecutor wrecked their peaceful cloister, and a decree
of expulsion drove them from their sanctuary and
home. 102   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
CHAPTEE VII.
The spiritual guidance and government of his
society of missionaries was not the only responsible.
charge which Divine Providence was to lay on the
shoulders of Father de Mazenod. The great diocese
of Marseilles had, by the act of the Supreme Pontiff,
been called back into a new existence from that grave
of extinction into which it had fallen during one of
the worst periods of the great French Eevolution.
The majority of its great religious institutions had
perished during those disastrous days. The hand
of death was upon those institutions that still struggled on. Such was the condition of things when
Monseigneur Fortunatus de Mazenod, uncle of
Father de Mazenod, was raised, as we have mentioned in our first volume, to the restored see of
St. Lazarus. Years had elapsed, owing to revolutionary intrigue, between his nomination and his
actual appointment to the see of. Marseilles. A
short acquaintance with the wants of his diocese
made him feel that, alone, at his great age, he could
not cope with the magnitude of the evils that had to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
103
be remedied, nor could he expect to initiate, by
himself, those many diocesan works necessitated by
the havoc which the revolution had caused. He
had witnessed the great things which God had
already done through his holy nephew's agency, and
he felt he could not join to himself a more fitting
co-operator in the difficult work of administering a
diocese so circumstanced as Marseilles then was.
The office of Vicar-General of Marseilles was in this
way conferred upon Father de Mazenod. The resources of his great administrative qualities developed with the requirements of his new position.
The wants of that restored diocese demanded the
intervention of the spirit that creates, as well as
that of the spirit that renews.
That high creative genius which God confers
upon those whom He calls to initiate great works of
a spiritual order in His name, was bestowed by Him
largely on Father de Mazenod. Under the action of
his administration, a variety of noble diocesan institutions came forth into rapid and healthy existence, among which were seminaries for the clergy,
colleges for the laity, churches, parochial schools,
monasteries, convents, and institutions of divers
kinds for the poor, for the sick, for the orphan, for
the fallen, for the sheltering of the innocence of
youth, and for the soothing of the sorrows of old
age.    Whilst he was engaged in the active promo- 104   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
tion of all these works, and was at the same time
governing his society of missionaries, he "withdrew
to his community house at Aix, to spend some days
in solitude and prayer, occupied exclusively with
the work of his own sanctification.    Thither let us
follow him, to become the confidants of what passed
in his inner soul on that occasion.    He writes:—
" May God be ever praised for having given me this
chance of freeing myself, for a while, from the yoke that
presses so heavily upon me. It is true I cannot rid myself
altogether of those chains of office by which I am laden, and
which I am- bound, in duty, submissively and lovingly to
carry. But I am aUowed to Avithdraw myself, for the coming
eight days, from all external affairs, to give myself thought
only regarding that which concerns the salvation of my soul.
I come hither to examine myseH with reference to aU my
various duties, and to ask myseH what is, at this moment,
the condition of my soul in the sight of God. 0 my God,
dart upon me a ray of Thy Hght, that I may see myself as I
appear unto Thee. Give to me the spirit of holy compunction wherewith to mourn over my many transgressions, and
to become renewed in the spirit of my holy calling. Grant
mc, through the merits of Thy precious blood, and through
the intercession of Mary, my tender Mother, that I may
come forth from this retreat full of new rigour, and bent
upon doing aU the good that it wiU he in my power to accomplish In two days hence I must
quit my cherished sohtude, and return to my post, to discharge my appointed duties, and to struggle with aU the
efforts of my zeal, to give Hfe to a diocese which had lain so
long smitten Avith the chill of death."
It was during the time of his being Vicar-General
of Marseilles that he undertook the work of evan- e
OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      105
gelising, personally, the poor Italians who were
resident there. He preached to them every Sunday
for several years, in their own language, of which
he was a perfect master, and in other ways sought
to advance their spiritual interests.
The virtues and the works of Father de Mazenod
were well known in Eome, Gregory XVI. saw in
this devoted Priest the qualities that bespoke his
fitness for promotion to the episcopacy, and his
Holiness resolved to raise him to that dignity. As
we have already alluded to the circumstance connected with Father de Mazenod's being raised to the
episcopal state, we shall confine ourselves to what
concerns the dispositions of his inner soul at the
time of his consecration as Coadjutor Bishop, and
afterwards, when he succeeded to his uncle in the
full charge of the diocese of Marseilles. We have
before us the notes of the retreat made by him before
his consecration in 1832, and also in the retreat
which he performed in 1837, when he became his
uncle's successor, on the resignation of the latter.
He was in the twenty-first year of his priesthood,
and in the fiftieth year of his age, when it was intimated to him that it was the desire and the intention of the Holy Father to raise him to the episcopal
rank. The humble Eeligious was taken by surprise
at this proposal. But the manifestations of the
divine will were too clearly indicated in the matter 106   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
for him to persevere in the opposition which he first
made to the accepting of the proposed dignity. A
profound sense of his unworthiness for so high an
office worked, however, in his soul a secret terror of
advancing towards it, as the day of his consecration
drew nigh. In all the great emergencies of his life,
child-like confidence in God was the blessed plank
that floated towards him, ever at the critical moment,
to lift him from the floods and bear him safely to
the shore. So was it to be on this occasion. In the
pious reflections made by him during the retreat,
preparatory to his consecration, we find him accusing
himself, as he, in his great humility, was wont to do,
of many imperfections.    He thus continues:—
| It is at such a time, when I find in myself so many deficiencies, that I am caUed, aU of a sudden, to receive the
plenitude of the priesthood by being raised to the sublime
dignity of the episcopal state. 0 God, my Father, if Thou
hadst not accustomed me to repeated proofs of Thy infinite
mercy in my regard, and if Thou hadst not already awakened
in my soul a tender confidence in Thy guiding aid, 1 should
have just cause for shrinking back in terror from that high
office to which I am invited to advance. But as Thou art
that loving Father who, from my earliest childhood, hast
never ceased to lead me by the hand, I cannot help in this
affair casting myseH, with entire abandonment, into the arms
of Thy providence, my heart being full of grateful memories
of aU that Thou hast done for me from the beginning of my
days tiU now. Behold Lord, I am Thy servant, dispose
of me as Thou wiliest; I am ready to do whatever Thou
desirest, even though it were to cost me my life.    I know OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      107
not what new forms of trials and contradictions await me in
the ministry upon which I am about to enter; whatever
they be, J accept of them beforehand, Avith the full resolution of finding my joy and happiness only in the accomplishment of Thy divine will."
The chief portion of the retreat which he performed
before his consecration was spent in meditating devoutly upon the words and ceremonies of that sublime rite by which he was to be raised to the
episcopal state. When he came to those words of
that beautiful ceremonial in which the newly-created
Bishop is admonished of his obligation of ministering
to the needs of the poor, as well as to those of other
classes of society, his great missionary spirit gave
vent to its feelings in the following holy utterances :—
" 0 ye poor of Jesus Christ, ye whom the world shrinks
from because it regards you as ignorant and uncultivated,
you were the chosen objects of my first priestly care and
labours. To-day the Church recommends you to my pastoral sohcitude. You shall not be forgotten by me; oh no,
for you shall always be looked upon by me as the most precious portion of my pastoral inheritance."
For five years after his consecration as Coadjutor
Bishop, with the right of succession, he continued to
discharge the functions of Vicar-General of Marseilles. The time was approaching when he was
to be charged with the full episcopal responsibility
of that important diocese.   His venerable and saintly 108   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
uncle had long wished to surrender his pastoral staff
into his holy nephew's hands, but the latter had
succeeded, till now, in preventing him from doing
so. At last, in a letter dated the 29th November,
1837, the aged Prelate announced his resignation to
his Chapter, and availed himself of that Occasion to
speak of his nephew and successor in terms such as
we find saints using, when they write of saints.
Overflowing as that letter was of praise, those to
whom it was addressed knew that there was not in
it a syllable of exaggeration.
Our sketch history of the inner life of Monseigneur de Mazenod now approaches its completion,
for here the materials from which we have been
draAving our supply of data concerning what passed
within the veiled sanctuary of his love-kindled
breast, at divers epochs of his holy life, are now
about to fail us. Eeverently have we been turning
over pages written by his oAvn hand, and for his
own perusal. Here and there we have been gathering from them, as we went along, of the ripened
fruits of his enlightened thoughts for our own edification, and for that of our readers. Happily, before
we close this portion of our narrative, we are to be
afforded an opportunity of contemplating the workings of the inner spirit of De Mazenod, in presence
of the croAvning event of his life, his accession to
the see of Marseilles. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       109
Accession to posts of high responsibility in Holy
Church, awakens, as a rule, one class of thoughts in
the breasts of those upon whose shoulders the burden is going to be laid, and another class of thoughts
in the breasts of sympathising and admiring friends.
The latter view the honours and dignities that are
to be conferred on friends of theirs, and rejoice
accordingly. The former, if they be men of God,
taking no heed of the external advantages of the
position to which they are approaching, fix the eyes
of their souls upon the accountability attached thereunto, and upon the sacrifices it will demand of them.
They approach high office in Holy Church as victims, and whilst others are rejoicing around them,
their own hearts are being filled with apprehensions.
They seek to imbibe the spirit of Jesus when entering upon His high office of our Eedeemer. Whilst
angels were singing joyously in the clouds, He was
weeping mournfully in the crib; and again, whilst
His chosen disciples, Peter, James, and John, were
rejoicing exceedingly at the dignity and glory
wherewith their beloved Master was clothed on the
Mount of the Transfiguration, Jesus was looking,
even then, from Thabor to Calvary, and was secretly
drinking in by anticipation, in all its bitterness, of
the gall of His passiontide. They who approach high
office in Holy Church in other spirit than His, will
surely be crushed beneath the overpowering burden 110   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
of a load their shoulders were not fitted to carry;
and others, most likely, will be involved in their
downfall. Whilst the ■ admiring friends of Monseigneur de Mazenod, and they were many and
belonged to all classes, were offering their joyous
felicitations upon his accession to the ancient see of
St. Lazarus, his own breast was occupied with sentiments of mingled fear and sadness, over which,
however, ruled the high resolve of fulfilling, without fail, even should it cost him his life, all the
duties attached to the office of Bishop of Marseilles.
We select the following extracts :—
" I am now Bishop of Marseilles. I have" not sought
this position, it has been forced upon me. I belong now to
the people of my diocese. Henceforward my existence, my
whole life, should be devoted to their service. Their good
should be my one thought. My only fear should he that of
not doing enough for the promoting of their sanctification
and their happiness. I must be prepared, in their behalf, to
sacrifice my repose, my natural likings, my Hfe itseH. Oh !
now indeed I must set about the work in aU sincerity of
becoming a saint. This new phase of my life should be the
occasion of an entire spiritual renovation. Ordinary graces
or common-place rirtues will not bear me up under the
weight of my present responsible charge ; I must therefore
become a saint, in order to be a good Bishop. I wish to be
such from the very first day of my episcopal charge, and to
acquit myself worthHy, from this hour, of aU the sacred
functions of my office. I wish, in a word, that whilst labouring with aU my energy for the sanctification of my people,
I may succeed in sanctifying my OAvn soul to an eminent
degree of perfection, such as befits the dignity of the episco- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      Ill
pal state. I must now search the depths of my soul, and
examine myseH, and see what stains and other obstacles may
there exist to stay the action of the Divine Spirit that I
have received by the imposition of hands. It is this Holy
Spirit abiding in me that must henceforward rule, as complete master, aU my thoughts, desires, and affections, and
my entire Avill. I must be attentive to aU its inspirations,
listening to them in the sUence of prayer, and folioAving
them and obeying them in such outward action as they indicate. I must avoid, with greatest care, whatever may
tend to grieve that Divine Spirit, or to weaken its power or
action in my soul. I must purify myseH by a dauy repentance of my faults, which I AviH renounce Avith sighs of
deepest compunction. I will seek to give a reneAved energy
to these dispositions by means of the sacrament of penance,
which I AviH approach twice in the week.
" I wiU feed the flame of the love of God in my soul, and
stir up a desire of aU the rirtueS which that love indicates,
by the daily offering of the holy sacrifice, by meditation,
and by the reading of the holy scriptures, the Hves of the
saints, and other spiritual works.
" My obligations do not confine themselves to the acqmr-
ing of the sublimest virtues. I have duties to fulfil towards
the flock which the Sovereign Pastor is now about to confide-
to my care. It is through them I am to be saved. I have
to save my own soul in doing my best to save theirs. On
the last day I must be able to testify to myself that I did aU
in my power to instruct them, to exhort them, to turn them
aside from evil, to excite them to the practice of virtue, that
I was a model to them in every good work ; in a word, that
I sought by aU means in my power to save their souls, and
thus to conduct them, under my pastoral staff, from the
earthly sheep-fold, where God had placed them under my
care, to the heavenly pasture lands, there to dwell in Him
for ever.
" Necessary reforms avUI have to be introduced, and cer- 112   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
tain abuses wiH have to be corrected by me. I must not,
through any human consideration, shrink from performing
my duty in these matters. I should be paying too high a
price for my personal quiet, were I to seek to secure it by
means of culpable concessions made to the Avishes of others.
At the same time, I must unite gentleness with firmness,
and not act Avith undue haste in carrying out even the most
necessary changes. It should be understood that it is a
Bishop's office to govern. It is for him to give impulse to
the good which languishes, and to check the growth of evU.
The important point for me is always to act in view of God,
and of the interests of His glory, and of the good of souls." OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
113
CHAPTEE VIII.
On the 24th of October, 1842, the city of Toulon,
the Plymouth of France, the chief naval arsenal of
that kingdom, is astir with some extraordinary
commotion. Its population.are all on the alert, and
a mighty concourse is assembling, for some one
great object, from all quarters of the town, whilst
down the slopes of the beautifully wooded elevations
that intersect its lofty ramparts, streams of the
rural population are pouring into the old city. No
enemy's fleet is in its harbour, nor does hostile camp
crown any of the heights that look down upon its
walled enclosure. It is neither fear nor pleasure,
nor business affairs that bring that great crowd
together in the Champ de Mars. They assemble at
the call of Eeligion, to perform a great religious act.
Soldier and civilian, senator and plebeian, sailors of
the fleet and sailors of the merchant navy are there.
The cassock of the priest and the cowl of the monk
intermingle with the gay uniforms of officers of the
line, and "with the gilt-buttoned jackets of those of
the naval service.    The plume of the General and
t sass-SM
114   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
the mitre of the Bishop form not an unpleasant contrast in the evening sunshine. It is evident that
Eeligion and the State are at one in this great
popular manifestation. Poor France! how truly
great thou canst be when thou followest thy oavu
deep Catholic instincts, when ceasing for a while to
listen to false prophets, whose teachings blindfold
and madden thee; thou rememberest that thou art
the eldest daughter of Holy Church, and actest a
dutiful part towards thy Queenly Mother. Oh!
then her beauty shines in thy face, her majesty
croAvns thy brow, her wisdom speaks from thy lips,
her blessings fall upon thy children. Then thou
appearest great to the nations, and the good men of
other lands hail thee as among the first of Europe's
people. Poor France ! even in the lull of thy revolutionary storms thou canst appear grand, bright and
beautiful. But alas, this vision of thy real self, like
the blue between thunder clouds, abides not. Too
quickly it vanishes and leaves thy friends in tears
at its early departure. Oh! when is it to come
back and stay ? When art thou, 0 France, to be
permanently thyself again ?
The morning of the 25th opens brightly on the
waters of the Mediterranean. In the old port of
Toulon, the "Montebello," a noble three-decked
frigate, is getting up steam for her departure somewhere that morning.     A companion ship is also OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      115
preparing to go to sea. The Admiral who commands the port is there giving orders in person.
Who is the honoured one for whose journey over the
blue waters of the Mediterranean all these preparations are being made ? To find an answer to this
question, let us "visit the old cathedral that bright
October morning. Seven Bishops, and a vast gathering of clergy and laity are there assembled. A
silver-gilt shrine, raised on beauteous pedestal,
stands in the centre of the chancel. Within that
shrine are the treasures that are to be transported
from Europe to Africa, with all those circumstances
of religious and civil display. That shrine contains
a considerable portion of the relics of the great St.
Augustine. We would here pause to say one kindly
word of explanation to the non-catholic reader, into
whose hands these pages may find their way. We
would remind him that in the bodies of the departed;
servants of God, life is not permanently extinct, it
is only suspended. These bones will be quickened
again with a new life, which "will never leave them.
The germs of that eternal life are hidden already in
these bones, as seeds are hidden in the spring-tide
earth. These germs of immortality were being
planted in their bodies, day by day, during their
holy existence here below. Every grace received
and well used, and especially every worthy reception of the Body of our Lord, casts a germ, a seed- 116   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
grain of future bodily glory, bodily beauty, bodily
majesty, and bodily resemblance to the glorified
Body of Jesus, risen from the dead, into the bodies
of the servants of Christ, whilst living here on
earth. These germs of eternal life are inseparable from the bodies of departed saints. Ages may
roll over them, and their bones may crumble into
dust, but the germs of immortality are in that dust,
living and active, and ready to bud forth and blossom and ripen, when the harvest day of the Lord
will come.
Upon such belief, then -we- based the honours
which Catholics pay to the relics of the saints. We
honour the germs of blessed immortality which actually reside in those holy relics. And now we will
explain how the relics of St. Augustine came to
receive such signal honour that day in Toulon.
This great Saint and illustrious Doctor of the Church
died the 14th of August, a.d. 430, in his episcopal,
city of Hippo, in Africa, the former residence of the
Numidian kings, which lay 230 miles to the west
of Carthage.
On the day that St. Augustine died, Hippo was
taken by the Goths. His disciples fled, bearing
with them the body of the Saint, as also his
■writings. They took refuge in the Island of Sardinia, and the body of St. Augustine was deposited
by St. Fulgentius in a marble sepulchre at Cagliari. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       117
Here it remained for many long years, until the
Saracens took possession of Sardinia. Luitprand,
King of the Lombards, by means of a large price
given to the Saracens, succeeded in rescuing the
Saint's body and his writings. He had the precious
relics conveyed to Pavia, the capital of his kingdom. Here they remained. On the appointment of
Monseigneur Dupuch to the see of Algiers, Hippo
being in his diocese, he resolved to apply for
some portion of the body of St. Augustine to be
deposited in a sanctuary, which he had erected in
that place. Monseigneur de Mazenod was one of
the prelates to whom he communicated his holy
project, and who most warmly seconded him by
counsel and encouragement. It was from Toulon
that the devout cortege, consisting of seven Bishops,
a large body of Priests, and several distinguished
laymen, were to set sail for Africa. When the news
spread through that city of the approach of Monseigneur Dupuch, bearing with him a large relic of
St. Augustine, the public religious manifestation to
which we have referred, took place.
St. Augustine was one of those saints towards
whom Monseigneur de Mazenod felt himself drawn
by strongest and tenderest sympathies. There are
family likenesses between Saints of God. Monseigneur de Mazenod bore a close resemblance to
St, Augustine in his ardent love of God, and in the divers forms of the manifestations of that love in
his life, as Layman, as Priest, as Bishop, and as a
Founder of a Eeligious order. The heart of the
great Saint of Hippo seemed to beat again within
the breast of the holy Bishop of Marseilles, especially in those soul-utterances in which the latter
was wont to unbosom himself at the feet of God,
in the silence of his spiritual retreats. Again,
their spirits were alike in the warmth of their holy
friendships for their disciples and co-operators in
their works of zeal. And again—in the austere
purity with which each held his own warm loving
heart aloof from all earthly softness of mere human
affection, or any of its empty displays—each was
exceedingly like to the other. On this point they
were both like the Angels of God, who work their
mission for souls, and go back into their heaven,
seeking no recognition, contracting no attachments,
asking no thanks. And finally, they resembled
one another in the reverent affection that each bore
to a saintly mother, which in their breasts, as sons,
rose to the sanctity of a lofty virtue, whilst it
retained to the end its child-like play and fondness.
Oh! who so truly natural as those who are most
supernatural,—God's saints and servants.
The "Montebello" sped her way across the waters
of the Mediterranean. The shores of Southern
France have receded from view, and the high-peaked OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       119
mountains of the Island of Sardinia, are breaking
upon the prospect. Steaming along the rugged
shores of that fair Island, they reach the mouth of
the bay that opens upon the harbour of Cagliari, the
capital of Sardinia. The spires of the many beautiful churches of that city stand out in the distance
to the gaze of the travellers. Cagliari had, as we
have already stated, been the resting place, for a
long period, of the body of St, Augustine. This
fact became present to the thoughts of Monseigneur
de Mazenod as the " Montebello " hove in sight of
that city lying in the distance, and it became
suggestive to his mind at once, of the fitness of
rendering some special homage to the memory
of St. Augustine, before quitting such a vicinity.
He communicated his thoughts to his brother
Bishops, who at once expressed their willing consent. The concurrence of the naval authorities on
board the ship was also readily secured. A chapel
was improvised on the quarter-deck, and decorated
with no little taste or show of splendour. The gold
enamelled reliquary containing a large portion of the
arm of the Saint was placed on a raised pedestal in
the centre, around which grouped the Bishops, in
-their episcopal robes, the clergy in their cassocks
and surplices, and the officers and crew of the ship
in their gala uniforms, and in reverent attitude.
Several distinguished laymen were also present as 120   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
pilgrims. The solemn vespers of the feast of St.
Augustine was then intoned—there in the broad
calm sea, under a cloudless sky, the noble ship still
pursuing her way towards the African shores. The
sounds of holy psalmody never fell upon the ears of
those present with effect more thrilling than they
did upon that occasion. Never under vaulted roof
of Cathedral or Basilica rose that song of God with
effect more sublime and unearthly to their hearing,
than it did then, when its tones were blended in
marvellous harmony with whispers of gentle winds
and beatings of soft sounding waves, whils.t strange
sweet echoes seemed to come down from the blue
vault overhead, as if a choir in the skies was singing
in response. The Catholic Church is mistress of the
beautiful—yea, of the sublime and of the grand—in
matters of thought and feeling, and lofty doing.
Her ceremonial sometimes rises, as a mystic ladder,
into the skies, and by it winged angels come doAvn
to earth, and holy hearts of earth go up to heaven
on temporary visit, to be gladdened and consoled
ere the final flight to heaven is taken. Sometimes
the ceremonial of Holy Church becomes the bridge
that spans the stream of time, to unite the present
with the far-distant past, so closely, that present and
past would seem to become one and the same. Such
were the effects of that improvised ceremonial out
upon the waters of the Mediterranean on the occa- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       121
sion of which we Avrite. Fifteen centuries before
the date of that occurrence these same waters were
traversed by a ship bearing the same holy relics,
accompanied by clergy and laymen professing the
same old Catholic faith—the disciples of St. Augustine, who were fleeing with their sacred treasures, the
body of the Saint and his venerated writings. Then
their journey was performed in sadness, and amidst
fears of ruthless pursuers. The same wonderful old
Belief that supported them, as they fled, sorrowful
and fearful, from Hippo, in some humble craft, now
thrills and gladdens, with a holy sense of triumph,
the bearers of the shrine containing the relics of
St. Augustine, on their way back to Hippo, on the
deck of a noble ship of Avar, that floats the flag of a .
mighty people.
On the morning of the 28th of October, the
I Montebello " anchored in the Gulf of Bona, at the
mouth of the river Seibouse. After a few moments
of general survey of the beauties of the coast and
background scenery of that first portion of the African continent, which is reached by travellers from
Southern Europe, the eyes of the pilgrims sought an
object of more absorbing interest. There stood
before them, croAvning a wooded height that overhung the Seibouse, what remained of the ruins of
Hippo Eegius. From the walls of that once famous
city issued forth the conquering legions of the vie- 122   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
torious Masinissa, King of Eastern Numidia, to do
battle as an ally of Eepublican Eome, in her war
against Hannibal. But the glory wherewith that
pagan warrior invested the ancient city of Hippo
was soon to fade, in presence of that imperishable
fame that was to be conferred upon it by a hero and
a conquerer of a far different type, the weight of
whose mighty powers was also to be east victoriously
on the side of Eome of his day—the Eome of Christ,
and of Catholicity. It was the glory given to Hippo
by the genius and virtues of St. Augustine, that lay
upon it, in unclouded splendour, as the eyes of the
pilgrim travellers looked mournfully and reverently
from the deck of their ship, upon its former site,
now dotted with ruins.
We are but interpreting the thoughts of the holy
Prelate of Marseilles, the devout De Mazenod, as he
gazed, for the first time, on the ruins of Hippo.
The shallowness of the water in the harbour not permitting them to land directly from the ship, they approached the shore in boats. The scene on this
occasion offered to the beholders a blending of solemnity and beauty. The movements of the boats to
the shor,e took the form of a procession. First in the
line, the boats occupied by Priests only, took their
place; then came those of the Bishops, who were
clad in their full episcopal robes; and last of all fell
into line a beautifully fitted barque, in which was OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       123
the Bishop of Algiers, who carried the Belies of
St. Augustine, in the midst of a large party of
attendants. Christians and Arabs were upon the
waters in countless crafts of every description. At
a given signal the little fleet moved forward towards
the shore. Psalms were then intoned and taken up
by many voices. The troops of the garrison were
drawn up on the quays of Bona, and the civil
authorities were also assembled to give reception.
On Sunday, the 30th October, the Eelics of St.
Augustine were solemnly deposited at Hippo, on a
marble altar, raised at the expense of the Bishops of
France, in presence of an immense concourse of persons. "What a glory for the great Bishop of
Hippo, the illustrious Doctor of the Church," exclaims Monseigneur de Mazenod, " to be restored
thus, in a certain form, to his diocese, after an absence of fifteen centuries."
Monseigneur de Mazenod had the happiness, before quitting the African shores, of solemnly consecrating a large Mosque as a Catholic church, as also
of blessing the first stone of a new church.
His voyage back to Europe was performed under
considerable difficulties, owing to the tempestuous
state of the weather. His ship, after encountering
the full force of the hurricane, was driven towards
the Balearic Isles. They attempted to make for
Port Mahon, in Minorca, but were unable to reach 124   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
it. They finally succeeded in reaching the Isle
of Majorca, where they found shelter in the Bay
of Palma. Among the ships which were then
taking refuge in that harbour, was one that floated
the yellow flag. Upon enquiry, Monseigneur
de Mazenod discovered that that flag was the signal
of the plague being on shipboard. This piece of
information was enough to awaken his fears, lest
there should be on board that plague-stricken ship
some poor sick, or perhaps dying, persons who were
at that moment deprived of religious help. He said
to himself, it would be a strange thing that we
should be here, six Bishops and a large body of
Priests, and that "within a few hundred yards some
poor soul was now struggling in its last agony,
without the aid of any religious consolation. True
enough were the fears of the holy Bishop; a poor
man was dying at that hour on board the ill-fated
ship, and there was no one at his side to whisper
one word of hope into his ear, or to excite him to
repentance. He was already looked upon as a dead
man by the heedless crew. The necessary authorisation being obtained, Father Tempier, who accompanied Monseigneur de Mazenod on that voyage,
was deputed by the latter to visit the ship in question. The good Father arrived in time to administer
the last sacraments to the dying man. He found
that four others were lying prostrate, who seemed OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MABT.        125
also to be in danger of death; the last sacraments
were administered to them in like manner. Three
of them died the next day. Monseigneur de Mazenod rejoiced ever after in the thought of the providential character of that storm, which drove him
before it to that spot when succour was to be rendered, through his agency, to those poor dying men.
At that time, a holy Bishop of Calahara, and a
large body of Spanish Priests, were exiled by their
government, and were banished to Majorca. The
persecution inflicted by Espartero on the Church,
was raging then in Spain. Nothing excited more
the admiration and sympathy of Monseigneur
de Mazenod, than the courage and constancy of
those heroic souls, who voluntarily and generously
suffered for the faith. He felt it was a duty incumbent upon him and his fellow Bishops, to pay their
sympathising respects to that holy confessor of the
faith, the exiled Bishop. Some of the prelates
manifested a certain timidity, which caused them to
dread to show too much open sympathy with the
exiled Bishop and Priests, lest they might displease
their government in some way, by so doing. Monseigneur de Mazenod was deeply pained by their
excessive caution. He declared that he felt so
strongly that it was his duty to render his personal
homage and sympathy to that holy exile and venerable confessor of the faith, that had he to go alone dm
126   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
to "visit him, he would do so.   These words had their
immediate effect;  all the Bishop's went in a body
to pay the visit to the holy prelate.   The Archbishop-
of Bordeaux was so moved by the sight of the visible
holiness of the devoted Bishop, and by the knowledge
of the sufferings he had undergone for the faith, that
he knelt down to ask, his blessing.    All the others
did the same.    The holy and humble prelate was
taken by surprise, and filled "with confusion, at such
a proceeding.    Being compelled to yield to their
entreaties, he blessed them, and then knelt himself
to receive their blessing.    Monseigneur de Mazenod'
thus writes:—
" Every eye was moist on that occasion, and this bespoke
that fusion of hearts which existed between us, in the unity
of our common faith and charity. It is on occasions of this
kind that one feels the full blessing of being a member of
of that Catholic family, of which the Holy Ghost is the
Life, and Jesus Christ the Founder and the Head."
Before leaving Palma, Monseigneur de Mazenod
visited a church which formerly belonged to the
Jesuits, who had been expelled by a persecuting
government.    In that church was exposed the body
of the Blessed Eodrigues—a. Jesuit lay brother—
who sanctified himself whilst performing the humble
office of door  porter  for his   community.      He
"writes:'—
" I venerated his holy rehcs, and I afterwards knelt at
the altar, which is raised on the site of the doorway where OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       127
he used to act as porter. It is sad to think that the guardianship of these holy relics should be confided to the hands
of strangers, and that that venerable religious famfly to
which he belonged, was no longer there to take loving
charge of them."
On the night of the 13th of December he reached
Marseilles, on his return from Africa. 128   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
CHAPTEE IX.
Whilst Monseigneur de Mazenod was zealously
administering the affairs of his diocese, he was not
neglecting his duties as Superior-General of his
congregation of missionaries. The Society of the
Oblates of Mary continued to grow in numbers, and
to extend the sphere of its missionary labours. To
God alone was known the good Avrought by its quiet
unchronicled works of missionary zeal, especially in
the rural districts of the South of France. Corsica,
at the period which we have now reached (1842)
was the scene of some of its most successful missionary efforts. The work of giving missions in that
Island was inaugurated by Fathers Albini and
Guibert. On the holy death of the former, and on
the appointment of the latter to the see of Viviers,
the direction of the missionary works of the congregation in Corsica was confided to Father Semeria.
In the following extract from a number of the
Ami de la Religion, published in 1842, the works of
the Oblate Fathers are thus spoken of:—
" The Bishop of Corsica, .Monseigneur CasaniUi, confided
to the Oblates the direction of his Theological Seminary, as OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       129
also of the Junior Seminary. He further had recourse to
the missionary zeal of those Fathers for stirring up the faith
and piety of -the inhabitants of the- island, from that state
of torpor in which many were immersed. Father Albini
was the chief instrument which God had raised up for the
effecting of this spiritual renovation. This devoted Father
sacrificed his life in foUowing the promptings of his missionary zeal in Corsica. He died upon the battle field of his
devotedness, in the odour of the most exalted virtues, leaving behind him the reputation of being a Saint, and a true
Apostle of Corsica. Father Semeria succeeded Father
Albini. A mission was lately conducted by Father Semeria
at Sari, a place which had been for some time unhappUy
distinguished by the deadly feuds which existed between
several sections of its inhabitants. Through the zeal of
Father Semeria and his brother missionaries, wonderful
conversions were brought about, and a most touching ceremony took place in the church at the close of the mission,
that of the pubHc reconciliation before the altar of a large
number of persons who, tiU then, had been known to have
borne the most deadly hatred towards one another."
It was about this epoch that the horizon of the
missionary labours of the Society of the Oblates of
Mary was being extended far towards the limits of
the old and new world, as we have notified already,
and as we shall allude to again more at large in its
proper place.
The ardent zeal of the episcopal heart of Monseigneur de Mazenod was not confined to his own
diocese, or to those particular localities which were
being evangelised by his missionary sons. Eeadily
did he embrace such opportunities as were afforded 130   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
to him of advancing the interests of religion or of
charity, directly or indirectly, at home or in other
lands. The report of his virtues and devotedness
reached the far East. The following letter was
addressed to him by an Eastern Christian Prince.
It was written in Arabic:—
"In our Capital of Ebtidin,
"September25th, 1836.
" Illustrious Loud,
" The fame of your many virtues has spread to
this our country. We have heard much of your great zeal
and charity, and we have been exceedingly gratified by aU
the good tidings in your regard that have been communicated to us. It would have been our great happiness if we
could have looked forward to the privilege of making your
personal acquaintance, but as we cannot hope for that pleasure, we have to employ our pen as the only means at our
disposal of entering into communication with you. We
have a favour to ask of you, which we trust you wUl not, in
your great charity, refuse to grant us. We know that your
Lordship possesses, deservedly, great influence with the Holy
See, and we Avish you to employ it our behalf, by aiding us
with your assistance in an affair which concerns us very
much, and which is now being transacted at Rome. We
are confident of success if your Lordship espouse our
cause.
(Signed)    "THE PRINCE AMIN CHEAL."
Monseigneur de, Mazenod had a rare faculty of
clothing, in suitable and telling language, the inspirations of his episcopal soul, in view of those
passing events of the day in which religion and the OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      131
good of society were concerned. His pastoral letters
were masterpieces of their kind. Having forwarded
to Count Montalambert the pastoral which he had
published on the accession of Pius IX. to the see of
Peter, he received the following acknowledgment
from that distinguished advocate of the Catholic
cause:—
" My Lord,
" I have received with gratitude, and read with
rare pleasure, the pastoral which your Lordship has done
me the great kindness of forwarding to me. It appears to me
that it would be impossible to express, in nobler language,
the sentiments which should animate clergy and laity at this
critical hour, in the presence of such an event as the succession of our great Pope to the see of Peter. Language of
this kind, which comes fully up to the level of the requirements of the hour, delights and encourages me extremely.
The struggle is going to commence anew on the battleground of Hberty of education. Tour Lordship had already
nobly planted your standard on its ramparts, by the pastoral
letter issued by you in a.d. 1844. We have great reason to
dread the coming projects of the government, but we trust
that the prudenceand the viguance of our Bishops wUl save
us from the abyss.
"C. MONTALAMBERT."
The year 1854 -will always be remembered by
devout children of Holy Church, as the year of
the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. That such an event would be looked forward to "with glowing anticipation by the Founder Mi
132   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is what we
might expect. His reply was one of the first which
reached Eome, in answer to the letter which the
Holy Father addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic
world, on the question of the definition of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Whilst adhering fully to the project of the proposed definition,
Monseigneur de Mazenod informs us incidentally,
but very clearly, what his belief was on the question
of the infallibility of the see of Peter. " Your
Holiness," he Avrites, " could decide this question by
yourself, without consulting the episcopal body."
The arrival of Monseigneur de Mazenod in Eome
was not left long unnoticed by the Holy Father.
On the day following it, and before he had time to
apply for an audience, a message came from his
Holiness to say that he would be prepared to receive
the Bishop of Marseilles the next morning. The
audience lasted more than an hour. In Monseigneur
de Mazenod the Holy. Father saw, not only the
Bishop of Marseilles, but also the Founder of a
religious congregation, whose very name, that of the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which was given to it
by Leo XII., was a clear indication in the mind of
the church on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Various were the special proofs of high
esteem, and even of kindly affectionateness, given
by Pius IX.   towards Monseigneur de Mazenod, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      133
during the latter's stay in Eome, on the occasion of
which we are speaking.
In a former portion of our work, we spoke of the
vividness of Monseigneur de Mazenod's faith in the
mysteries of the christian religion. So bright was
his faith in these sublime mysteries, that the act of
believing, in his case, might be described almost as
the act of seeing the revealed truth face to face.
Face to face he seemed ever to gaze with glance of
spirit upon Mary, in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception. He reasoned himself not merely
into a beHef in this mystery, but he opened the eyes
of his soul and saw it, and felt it, in inner spirit and
in outward sense. His mind was bright with it,
and his heart was on fire *with it, as all could well
perceive, who came into relationship with him on
the subject of this mystery, during the days that
preceded its solemn definition as an article of faith.
He stood prominently forth then as the great Oblate
of Mary Immaculate, urging on,. "with all the ardour
of his zeal, and according to the full measure of his
influence, the work of that definition. He was
alarmed at one time that the progress of that work
might be impeded, by a certain temporising spirit,
which existed among a very limited number—some
half dozen, if so many—of his episcopal brethren
who were then in Eome, and who were disposed to
regard the definition in question as inopportune. 134   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Opportunism, taken in the sense in which we define
it, namely, an exaggerated dread of the world's censure, when some important work for God's glory
has to be accomplished, is the sleeper which Satan
has often placed on the rails to prevent the onward
progress of the true and the good in the supernatural order. When our Lord made mention of
His coming Passion and Death to His Apostles, the
spirit of opportunism spoke out from their midst,
saying,." Lord, be it far from Thee."
He called that spirit Satan, and pursued His way
to Calvary, despite its protests. The spirit of opportunism has been assailing His Church from that
hour—a crafty' power of evil, an angel of darkness
clad in light—speaking to her children one by one
to frighten them away from works high and holy,
to the doing of which God's Spirit invites them to
go forward—whispering non oportet, it is not opportune—to martyrs on the way to the stake, to confessors on the way to their chosen solitude, to
virgins on the way to the divine espousals, to him
of the world whom God invites interiorly to do some
noble deed of christian munificence. The spirit of
opportunism has been heard again and again in the
great councils of the church, giving utterance to its
" non oportet." It was heard at Nice and Ephesus,
yea, and in every council of the church held from
then till now, has it dared to utter its misguiding OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
135
sounds. But there was another spirit in these
council halls, the same that came doAvn in fiery
tongues in the supper-room, the spirit of truth, of
counsel, and of knowledge, whose breath of flame
has ever scotched the snake of opportunism. The
consciousness that such a spirit was at work, even
though upon a narrow scale, to prevent or retard the
proposed definition, was enough to call up into fullest play all the opposing energy and resources of
Monseigneur de Mazenod's enlightened and heroic
spirit. He fasted more rigorously, and prayed more
earnestly, in order the more fully to help in defeating the serpent in his war against the Woman. Nor
was he sparing in tongue or pen in advocating the
claims of his Queen and of his Mother to the glorious
title of the Ever Immaculate One. Happily all controversy was soon to cease concerning Mary's beautiful and unique prerogative. Eome was about to utter
one of those sentences which silence discussion by
manifesting the truth, and setting forth what all
men should believe on some given doctrine. We
will allow Monseigneur de Mazenod to describe, in
his own words, what he saw and felt on the day of
the memorable 8th of December, 1854:—
" The morning of the 8th of December broke in a cloudless sky. At an early hour the streets of Rome were
crowded with people of aU ranks and classes, hastening
towards St. Peter's.    The great BasiHca was crowded to 136   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
overflowing. At seven o'clock the ceremony began. The
Gospel having been chanted, the moment had now come for
delivering the solemn decree. The senior Cardinal, the
senior Archbishop, and the senior Bishop of those then present, approached the foot of the pontifical throne, and kneeling, petitioned the Holy Father, in the name of the whole
Church, to pronounce the decree declaring the Immaculate
Conception to be an article of CathoHc Faith. The Holy
Father then intoned, in full sweet voice, the* Veni Creator
Spiritus. A response came from every part of the vast
BasiHca, as the mighty multitude of voices blended together
in the solemn harmonius rendering of the hymn of the Holy
Spirit. In the sUence which foUowed the chanting of the
Veni Creator, the Holy Father stood forth as Sovereign
Pontiff, and pronounced the infaUible decree which declares
and defines that it is a dogma of the CathoHc Faith, that
the most Holy Virgin Mary was, by a special pririlege, and
the grace of God, and by virtue of the merits of Jesus
Christ, Saviour of all men, in the instant of her Conception,
preserved and exempted from every stain of original sin.
The words of this solemn decree were pronounced by the
Holy Father under deep emotion, whilst tears roUed abundantly down his cheeks. I need not say that I partook of
that emotion. I could beHeve at that moment that heaven
was open over our heads, and that the church triumphant
was sharing in the transports of joy of the church mUitant,
whilst celebrating the new glories of their common Queen.
It seemed to me that I could then witness, ,in spirit, how on
that occasion aU the saints in heaven were raised to a higher
degree of glory, through a special act of God's boundless
munificence, and that I could behold Jesus Christ offering
His divine feUcitations to His Mother, and St. Joseph, my
special patron, sharing largely in the glory of her who was
espoused to him on earth, and to whom he dweUeth so
nigh in heaven. I thought also that at that moment the
church suffering in Purgatory must have been shone upon OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       137
by a ray of divine light, which suspended the sufferings of -
those therein, detained. Furthermore, I could beHeve that
Purgatory itself was emptied on that day by an act of
sovereign clemency on the part of the Supreme Judge who,
on the occasion of this signal glory given to His Mother,
would aUow that cherished portion of the great family of
of the Heavenly Father to become sharers in the universal
joy of Holy Church, and to be admitted to the foot of the
throne of their Mother, to thank her for their deliverance,
and to blend their joyousness with that of aU heaven's •
j citizens, angels and saints. It was Avith these and kindred
sentiments in my breast, that I took part in chanting the
grand Credo of Nice, that foUowed in the Mass of that
memorable day." 138   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
CHAPTEE X.
It now becomes our task to speak of the labours
of the missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in
the British Isles—in England, Ireland and Scotland.
One year after the departure from the shores of
France of the first Oblate missionaries, who set forth
for Canada, the project of extending the works of
his society to England dawned upon the mind of
Monseigneur de Mazenod. God had been silently,
for years, preparing the instrument through whose
agency a British province of the Oblates of Mary
wasto be founded. In a valley of the Lower Alps,
where the old town of Digne is traversed by the
waters of the rapid Bleone, a youth, born of truly
christian parents, was pursuing his early studies for
the ecclesiastical state, in the year 1826. On his
countenance were marked the blended traits of high
intellect, great sweetness of disposition, and spot-
lessness of soul. God's choice has fallen upon him
for a special call to the religious and missionary
state. He is to become an Oblate of Mary Immaculate.    Father—now Cardinal—Guibert had been OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
139
sent by Father de Mazenod to preach a mission in
Digne, the native tov/n of young Casimir Aubert,
the youth of whom we speak. During the mission,
the voice of God spoke to the heart of Casimir, inspiring him with the thought of becoming an Oblate
of Mary Immaculate. He opened his mind on this
subject to Father Guibert, whose rare discernment
discovered all the marks of a true vocation in young
Aubert. At the close of the mission, the latter went
to the novitiate house of the Oblates; here, under
the guidance of this Father, who was Master of
Novices, he made rapid progress in all the virtues
that should adorn the religious man, and the future
missionary. Father Aubert occupied for some years
the position of Secretary to the venerable Founder
and Superior-General of the Oblates of Mary, whose
entire and affectionate confidence he continued to
enjoy to the end of his too short career. The close
relationship which existed between Monseigneur
de Mazenod and Father Aubert, afforded to the latter
a rare occasion of imbibing, to the fullest, of the
spirit of the holy Founder. We look upon this circumstance as a providential one, as Father Aubert
was to be the appointed instrument, through whose
agency the society of the Oblates of Mary, and its
venerable Founder, were to become knoAvn in these
countries.
At that time the long wintertide of England's 140   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
abandonment of the Catholic faith was visibly breaking up, and signs were abroad of the early advent
of the I second spring." Additional workers were
needed then in the vineyard. Divers missionary
congregations of Catholic lands were to be called
upon to take part in the great revival of faith and
piety which was then at hand. The sons of St.
Liguori and of St. Paul of the Cross had barely
gained a footing, when the disciples of De Mazenod
entered upon the field of missionary labour in
England, under the standard of Mary Immaculate.
It was not all at once that any of these congregations found its way to permanent centres of exterior
labour, and of its own proper development. All
had to wander for a period of years, bike Israel,
under tents, until God's hand guided them to permanent positions of abode and labour. The congregation of the Oblates of Mary had for periods, more
or less prolonged, occupied temporary posts of missionary work in various parts of England, before
reaching its present centres of labour in this country; but of these the writer undertakes to speak
only of such as came within the range of his oavu
personal knowledge in his missionary capacity.
A feAv days after his ordination by Monseigneur
de Mazenod, the writer received his obedience from
the holy Founder to proceed to Grace Dieu, in
Leicestershire.    A small community of Oblates had OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
141
already been established there, through the instrumentality of Father Aubert, of which Father Perron
was the first Superior. Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle
was the founder and generous patron of this infant
establishment. The conversion of Mr. Phillipps to
the Catholic faith, which had taken place some years
before the arrival of the Oblates at Grace Dieu, was
an event which had a marked influence on the great
Catholic revival in England, which was setting in
about that time. It largely contributed to the conversion of the Hon. George Spencer, as we read in a
published letter of the latter, from which we give
the folloAving extract:—
11 passed several hours daily in conversation with
fhiUipps, and was satisfied beyond aU my expectations with
the answers he gave to the several questions I proposed
to him, about the tenets and practices of the CathoHc
Church."
Mr. Phillipps de Lisle was an instrument, in
God's hands, for the founding of the Cistercian
Abbey of Mount St. Bernard, in Charnwood Forest,
two miles from Grace Dieu. He also built the
churches of Grace Dieu, Whitwick, and Shepshed.
The latter church was served by the Fathers of the
Institute of Charity. Grace Dieu and Whitwick
were confided to the care of the Oblates of Mary.
The learned Dr. Gentili, of holy memory, was the
immediate predecessor of the Oblates at Grace Dieu. 142   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
This devoted missionary, in his zeal for the spreading of the true faith in the wide district under his
care, inaugurated a system of open-air preaching,
which was continued by his successors, the Oblate
Fathers at Grace Dieu. It was the privilege of the
writer to have. this branch of missionary work assigned to him by his Superiors. Sermons in the
open-air were preached by him in the villages of
ThringstOne, Osgathorpe, and other villages; also
at Coalville, Castle Donnington, and Ashby-de-la-
Zouch. The arrival of Father Noble at Grace
Dieu gave a further impetus to the missionary
labours of the Fathers of that community, and
especially to the system of open-air preaching. The
following is the order which was observed at these
discourses. On the arrival of a Father, in a
village in which there was not perhaps a single
Catholic, he commenced a course of visits from
cottage to cottage, to announce the sermon which he
was to preach that same afternoon on the village
green, and to invite the inmates to come to hear it.
The general answer he received was, " Thank you,
Sir, we will come." In the meantime, a small platform of some sort was erected on some convenient
spot. As the hour of the sermon drew nigh, numbers of villagers might be seen approaching the
place of rendezvous in a serious, thoughtful manner,
and in many instances each bore a chair on his or OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       143
her shoulders, for use during the sermon. When
all who were expected- had arrived and had taken
their places, the sermon began. The subject was
always on some great christian truth, such as salvation, conversion, the passion of Jesus Christ, &c.;
controversy was avoided. At the close of the sermon, expressions of satisfaction and good-Avill fell
from the lips of several in the crowd, accompanied
by invitations to the Father to renew his visit' at
some early date. Many also, on those occasions,
used to express their astonishment that such scriptural doctrines could be preached by a Catholic
Priest, as they had always been led to believe that
Catholic Priests did not hold with scripture truths.
This first glimpse of the beauty of Catholic teaching
having dawned upon their unsophisticated minds, a
thirst for further knowledge was produced on the
part of several among them, which caused them to
pursue their search after the truth, until they finally
entered the one fold of the True Shepherd. On one
occasion, whilst a sermon was being preached by
Father Noble, in the village of Osgathorpe, a respectable man in the crowd, a protestant dissenter,
raised some question about the intercession of saints,
upon which a discussion ensued. The force of the
argument was going against the dissenter, when the
Anglican rector of the parish, the Eev. Mr. B ,
who happened to be present, came forward to the ■mmmi
144   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
rescue. He first addressed some words of reproach
to the dissenter, saying, "You are ignorant upon
the question under discussion, and your advocacy is
doing more harm than good to our cause." He then
politely addressed himself to Father Noble, and proposed that the question in point should be discussed
publicly, in a friendly way, between himself, the
rector, and the reverend Father. The proposal was
accepted by Father Noble, and a day was fixed upon
by mutual consent, for the discussion. An announcement to this effect was made to the assembled
crowd. On the evening of the 28th of June, Father
Noble, accompanied by the writer, proceeded to the
village of Osgathorpe. On their arrival they found'
Mr. B., and a half-dozen of Church of England
clergymen, at the appointed place of rendezvous.
A very large crowd was assembled there, eager to
follow both sides of the discussion. The Fathers
were very well received by the assembly, though
the vast majority was composed of protestants, the
parishioners of Mr. B. It was agreed upon by the
Fathers, before entering on the discussion, to give
first a definition of the Catholic doctrine relative to
the intercession of saints, and to call upon Mr. B.
to give a definition of the Church of England doctrine on the same subject. To this proposal, as a
necessary preliminary, they resolved to adhere. An
intimation to this effect having been given to Mr. B., OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       145
he refused to agree to it. The Fathers declined to
open the discussion on any other terms, knowing
the necessity of each side putting forth a clear definition of its doctrine on the disputed point, in order
that a satisfactory issue might be reached. Father
Noble then explained to the multitude the nature of
his proposal to Mr. B. He said, " We are prepared
to state the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the
subject of the intercession of saints, before entering
further upon the discussion, and we ask yoiu" rector
to state the doctrine of the Church of England on
the same matter." The people at once saw the
reasonableness of this proposal, and were surprised
at the hesitation of their rector in acceding to it.
A conversation, which had no result, then ensued
between Mr. B. and his clerical confreres, some of
whom were of the high church and some of the low
church schools, whilst Mr. B. himself did not seem
quite to agree in opinion Avith either party. The
crowd became impatient at Mr. B.'s refusing to answer Father Noble's question as to the doctrine of
the Church of England, relative to the intercession
of saints, and cries rose on every side, calling on
Mr. B. to answer the question. Thereupon Father
Noble urged Mr. B., in the name of his own congregation, who wished to learn from their pastor
what they should believe concerning the intercession
of saints, not to refuse to instruct them on the
L matter, but to give them at once the doctrine of his
church on the subject. But Mr. B. would commit
himself to no definite statement on the point. The
crowd then became loud in their cries, "Answer,
Mr. B." "Answer the question proposed by the
Priest." The dissenters, of whom there were a great
many present, seemed to enjoy the embarrassment
of Mr. B., who had on a former occasion so unceremoniously put aside one of their confreres. Two
hours were spent in the vain attempt to arrange the'
preliminaries of the discussion, and at last the meeting broke up. During the whole proceedings not one
unkind or disrespectful word was spoken on either
side, and a perfectly good temper reigned all through
in the large assemblage. This was the only occasion when anything of a controversial character
occurred at any of the open-air discourses of the
Fathers of Grace Dieu.
Several conversions followed the' Osgathorpe proceedings. Persons who had been present on the
occasion came on the following Sundays to the
church, to seek for further information, and becoming at last convinced of the truth of Catholic doctrine, they resolved to embrace it. Similar results
followed on other occasions, in almost every case
when an open-air sermon was preached in any of
the villages in the vicinity of Grace Dieu or
Whitwick. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       147
We will now proceed to narrate some instances
which came under our OAvn notice, whilst at Grace
Dieu, illustrative of the marvellous action of Divine
grace in bringing into the fold of the Good Shepherd poor wandering sheep from the surrounding
wilderness of unbelief. On a Sunday morning in
August, 1846, a local Methodist preacher, a resident
of Whitwick, was on his way to preach in a neighbouring chapel of his sect. As he was going along,
reflecting on the points of his sermon, he heard in
the distance the pealing of the bell of the Catholic
church of Grace Dieu. At that moment he felt
himself impelled, by some mysterious influence, to
give up the project of going .to the chapel where he
had intended to preach, and where a congregation
was assembled to hear him, and to obey the summons of that bell, by going to the Catholic church
that morning. He yielded to this inspiration.
Plunging into the woods which encircle Grace Dieu,
he pursued for a mile the path which led to the
church, wondering at himself for adopting such a
course, conscious as he was of his previous anti-
catholic disposition, yet being unable to resist the
invitation of that holy bell. He assisted at Mass,
heard the sermon which was preached by one of the
Oblate Fathers, and before he left the church he
made the resolution, on his knees before God, to
become a Catholic.   Before many weeks had elapsed,. 148   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
he and his wife and five children were received into
the Catholic Church.
One day the Avriter was passing a cottage near
the village of Thringstone, the door of which was
open. He saw a quiet modest looking woman sitting at her spinning wheel near the door. Accosting
her, he asked her if she went sometimes to the
Catholic church. " Six years ago, sir," she replied,
" I was under instruction to be received into the
Catholic church. The Priest who was instructing
me was sent to some other place, and I had not the
courage, since his departure, to present myself for
further instruction to any of the Priests who came
here after he had left, and I am very happy that
you have called to-day to see me." The writer,
finding that she was fairly instructed, received her
into the church the following day. The next day
she was taken seriously ill, and in two days died a
most edifying death. When "she found herself on
the point of death, she called her husband to her
bedside, and in the hearing of the writer said to him,
" The Catholic religion is the true religion; promise
me that you will become a Catholic." " Yes," replied the husband, who was a kind-hearted good
man, and who was deeply affected, " I make that
promise." She continued, "And my children;"
here her voice became silent for ever, but her sweet
imploring looks continued to speak in her children's OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      149
behalf, to her husband's heart. "Yes," he answered
A?ith broken voice, " our children shall be brought
up as Catholics." A bright smile passed then over
the dying features of the poor woman, on receiving
this consoling assurance, and she calmly expired.
The good man kept his word; he and his children
were received into the church shortly after the death
of his Avife.
We shall now proceed to put on record an instance of another kind from that just related. We
hesitated for some time before determining upon
giving it publicity, as the ending of the story is
not one of a gladdening or consoling character.
But as we have undertaken to write, in all simplicity, such facts as have come to our own certain
knowledge concerning such missionary works of the
Oblates of Mary as we should consider of a specially
instructive tendency, we insert the following:—
A. B., a stocking weaver residing in the district
of Whitwick, was led to the knowledge of the
Catholic religion through a signal favour which an
epileptic daughter received from God, through the
agency of a holy Trappist Monk, of the Mount St.
Bernard community. This poor girl was subject to
daily attacks of epilepsy. One day she was seized
Avith an attack upon the public high road, as the
good Monk was passing by. He, in simple faith,
and moved by charitable compassion, placed on the MHrra
150   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
afflicted girl's neck a medal of the Immaculate Con-
ception, invoking, at the same time, the intercession
of the Blessed Virgin in her behalf. In the instant
a cure was effected, and the poor girl never afterwards had another attack. She became a devout
Catholic. Her father was deeply moved by the
miraculous character of his daughter's cure, and was
led thereby to make enquiries concerning the truth
of Catholic doctrines. He was a, highly intelligent
man, and was well able to appreciate the force of the
arguments put forth in the Catholic books which he
read. At last he declared to the writer his full
belief in the truth of the Catholic religion. Several
months went by after this declaration, yet he made
no advance to become a Catholic. The writer
warned him of the danger of abusing grace by
deferring tofollow his convictions. The real cause of
A. B.'s delay in becoming a Catholic, was the dread
of losing a small pension which he was in the habit
of receiving, as the writer afterwards discovered, from
a very anti-catholic source. One day a messenger
came to the Avriter from A. B. to say that he was
dying, and that he begged him to go at once to see
him. The writer went, without delay, to visit the
poor invalid, whom ho found in visible danger of
death. A. B. then expressed his desire to become a
Catholic at once, and to be prepared for death. The
writer heard his confession, and gave him conditional OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      151
baptism. He then returned to Grace Dieu to bring
the Blessed Sacrament to him, and the holy oil to
annoint him. He left the dying man in seemingly
good dispositions. He had scarcely left the house of
the invalid when, as he afterwards learnt, a visitor'
entered with the object of undoing the work which
the writer had been performing for the dying man.
He was the individual from whom A. B. had been
in the habit of receiving a small weekly pension.
The visitor threatened to withdraw the pension from
- A. B. if he persevered in his purpose of dying a
Catholic. The writer not knowing what had happened in his absence, returned to the sick man's
chamber, bearing the Blessed Sacrament, to give him
the Holy Viatucum. To his surprise he found that a
complete change had taken place in the dispositions
of the dying man. Inquiring as to its cause, the
following sad answer was given by A. B.: "I have
been thinking that if I have a soul, I have a body
also, and that I should not neglect, my body for the
sake of my soul." The writer was startled by this
bald and impious language of that worldly-minded
and dying man, who thought, when he spoke those
words, that he was going to recover. He continued obstinate in his refusal to prepare for the
reception of the last Sacraments. The Avriter had to
withdraw with a sad heart, full of anxiety about the
dying man's approaching end.   The day of his death 152   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
arrived at last. On that day he received the visit
of a charitable catholic lady, Mrs. Phillipps de Lisle,
who, seeing his -immediate danger of death, sent a
messenger to ask the writer to go at once to see him.
The writer lost no time in proceeding to the dying
man's house. He entered his room, and found him
in his agony, but impenitent. There was no wandering of mind, for he had all his intellects about
him, but he seemed utterly bereft of grace, and full
of anger, and looked like one possessed of an evil
spirit. On the "writer's approaching him, and exhorting him to repent of his sins, and to have confidence in the divine mercy, he raised his dying
hand to deal him a blow; upon which the writer
said, "I will cease to speak to you, but I will speak
to God in your behalf; I will pray for you." Seeing the writer on his knees praying for him, he
exclaimed, " I want no prayers said for me," and
grasping Avith his hand the bed-clothes, and whilst
endeavouring to tear them, he said, looking fiercely
at the *writer, " If I had you near me I would tear
you thus, limb from limb:" falling back upon his
bed, he said, " Oh! it is a horrible thing to die."
His last words were, "lam going into hell." Mrs.
Phillipps de Lisle was present, and a witness of the
whole of this terrible scene.*   The writer makes no
* The writer, before inserting the name of Mrs. de Lisle as a witness of
the sad scene described above, wrote to her to ask her permission for doing OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
153
comment on the circumstances of this sad case, but
will proceed at once to relate, the account of a conversion and of a death-bed scene of a far different sort
from that he has just been describing, and which
followed closely upon the date of the latter.
On lea"ring the house where the death-bed scene
just spoken of had occurred, the writer could not
help reflecting on the signal graces that A. B. had
received from God, without his seeming to profit by
them, at the same time he felt a hope that God would
not withdraw those graces from that neighbourhood,
but that He would bestow them upon some other
soul in the district under the "writer's care, whom
they might benefit.
The next day a messenger came to the residence
of the writer at Grace Dieu, asking him to go at
once to visit a dying man who wished to see him.
Upon his making inquiry about the sick man whom
he was asked to visit, he learned that he was an
aged Baptist. " How comes it that he wishes for
my ministry?" said the writer to the messenger.
The latter replied, " Last night in his sleep he
heard a voice saying to him, ' The religion of the
parson of Grace Dieu is the true religion,' and as
so. In ber kind reply tbe following words occur:—" I shall never forget
the death of that poor man, it has often made me shudder when I thought of
it. Of course I have not the slightest objection to your mentioning me as a
witness. I think you and I are the only two left of those who were con-
. cerned." 154   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
you are the clergyman of Grace Dieu, and as there
is no clergyman of any other denomination but
yourself here, we have come to ask you to visit this
sick man, at his own request." The writer, without
further delay, proceeded to the house of the aged
invalid, and found the circumstances of his case to
be as it had been stated to him. On questioning
the aged Baptist as to the cause of his wishing to
see him, the latter said, " The voice which I heard
in my sleep told me that the religion of the ' Parson'
of Grace Dieu was the true religion, and I "wished
you to be sent for, as I desire to embrace your religion before I die." " But my religion," the writer
made answer, "is the Catholic religion; do you
wish to become a Catholic?" "Yes, most certainly," answered the dying man, " for the voice
told me that your religion is the true one." The
Avriter lost no time in preparing the poor aged
neophyte for reception into the church. Immediately after receiving Baptism, which was given
without condition, as he had not been baptised
before, his soul seemed to be flooded with spiritual
consolation. "What have you done tome?" he
exclaimed, " I feel as if I had become a young man'
again, and that I could dance through joy. I never
felt such a feeling of happiness before." It was in
such sentiments he breathed his purified and devout
spirit into the hands of God. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      155
We will here narrate an event in the domestic
circle, connected with the inner Hfe of the Httle
community of Oblates at Grace Dieu. We relate it
because it will tend to illustrate the kindly action of
God's fatherly providence in providing for the wants
■of those who labour for His glory and for the good
of soul's. One morning the lay brother rang the
community bell, calling the Fathers to breakfast.
On the assembling of the community in the Eefec-
tory, the lay brother, with blank disappointed look,
informed the Fathers that, through mistake, he had
given to the poor who had caUed at the door the
bread which was to have served for the community
breakfast, and that he had only a few mouldy crusts
to put before them. The Fathers had that day to
go to visit places that lay at a considerable distance
from their residence, and it would be a great inconvenience to wait until bread could be procured from
some neighbouring village; an hour's time would be
thus consumed. They resolved to make a merit of
necessity, and to be content with the few crusts the
poor lay brother was able to scrape together. They
had scarcely seated themselves to their meagre fare,
when a gentle knock was heard at the entrance
door. A Httle girl stood outside, bearing a basket
containing four smaU loaves of delicious bread,
which a good woman, a recent convert from Methodism, felt inspired that morning to prepare as a ■aNar-M
156   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
gift for the Fathers. This gift, which came so
opportunely, was received with thankful emotion by
the three Fathers and the lay brother who then composed the little community of Grace Dieu. They
could not help regarding it as a proof of the tender
care with which He, who feeds the birds of the air
and clothes the lilies of the field, takes of His own
when they confide in him. Fortified by this
providential food, they were able to set forth that
morning on their missionary journeys invigorated
and fitted for their labours that day.
Early in the year of 1847, WilHam Constable
MaxweU, of Everingham Park, Yorkshire, visited
Grace Dieu. There he became acquainted with the
Oblates of Mary, and their works. The Eev. Mr.
Newsham, his Chaplain, had then lately retired
from his post through failing health. It was Mr.
MaxweU's desire that the Oblates of Mary should
undertake the service of the Everingham mission
and the chaplaincy of his household. A proposal to
this effect having been made by him, and accepted
by the Superior-General of the Oblates, two Fathers
and a lay brother went from Grace Dieu to Everingham, in Yorkshire; one of these was Father
Perron, the Superior of Grace Dieu, whose place the
writer was then called to occupy. It was in this
way the Yorkshire missionary works of the Society
of Oblates commenced.   Father Perron's missionary OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
157
career in Yorkshire was closed, by his early but
saintly death, in less than a year after his arrival
upon the new scene of his labours. He died of
fever caught in the discharge of his duties. At the
death of Father Perron the writer was appointed to.
succeed him at Everingham, and it became necessary
to withdraw the Httle community of Oblates from
Grace Dieu. Then* departure from this latter place
was accompanied by mutual sentiments of kindly
feeHng and esteem on their part, and on that of
Mr. Phillipps de Lisle, their most worthy patron
and friend.
WilHam Constable Maxwell, who in his latter
years was better known by the title of the ancient
family peerage of Herries, being the instrument
whom God employed in introducing the Oblates of
Mary into Yorkshire, deserves more than a passing
notice in these pages. The Avriter regards it as one
of the privileges of the years of his early priesthood
to have been brought into intimate relationship with
one in whose life there was such a happy blending
of the high-minded gentleman of the world, and of
the pure-souled devout and humble christian. No
one had a greater power than he of winning and
retaining friendships. Whilst the poor honoured
and loved him for his large-hearted sympathy and
munificent generosity towards them, those of his
own class, Catholics and Protestants alike, formed mtmmmt
158   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
around him a wide circle of admiring and affectionate
friends. He was the soul of the hunting field as
the keen sportsman, and his manly form, as he
exercised a noble hospitality under his own roof,
was a figure not unworthy of the painter's pencil.
But these distinguishing natural qualities were
eeHpsed in him by the splendid array of christian
virtues which shone in his Hfe. On succeeding to
his large inheritance, one of his first thoughts was
to erect a spacious and beautiful church adjoining
his mansion at Everingham, the ownership of which
he vested in the authorities of the diocese. Some
twenty thousand pounds were employed by him in
erecting and endowing this sacred edifice. The
solemn dedication of this noble temple was almost
the first event of the kind which had occurred in
England since the Eeformation. In the private and
domestic Hfe of WilHam Constable MaxweU there
was a harmonious intermingling of aU his duties,
without any clashing between those which were
spiritual and those which were of a social and civil
character. Whilst omitting nothing that society had
a right to demand of him as the high-born gentleman, and the head of an honoured house, he left
nothing unperformed which he owed to his religion
and to his God. Human respect or false shame,
when works of faith or piety had to be performed,
or the rights of the Holy See defended, or when any OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       159
Catholic interest had to be promoted, was never
visible in faintest trace in his public or private conduct. At an early hour every morning he might be
seen in the private family tribune of the Everingham
church, performing his daily exercise of mental
prayer, after which he assisted at the Holy Mass.
He received Holy Communion at least once a week;
he communicated several times a week during seasons of special devotion; he recited the Eosary every
day, and made dafly visits to the Blessed Sacrament
and to the altar of our Blessed Lady. He presided
at the family night prayers of all the members of his
household, after which he read aloud some pages of
a spiritual book. Every year he retired to some
religious house to make an eight day's retreat. He
kept strictly aU the fasts and abstinences of the
church. We put these details on record in our
pages, as they will serve to show how habits of high
spirituality and holiness may co-exist with the discharge of aU the duties of the pubHc and social life
of the man of the world, of exalted .position.
Shortly after the writer's arrival at Everingham,
he was favoured by a letter from the Eight Eev.
Dr. Briggs, Bishop of the Yorkshire district, asking
if it were possible for the Fathers of the Everingham
community to extend their missionary labours to the
. town of Howden, a place which was twelve miles
distant from their residence.    In compHance with mmi
160   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
the wishes of the holy and zealous Bishop, this
missionary work was undertaken. Howden was
possessed of an ancient and very beautiful collegiate
church, one portion of which was then in ruins; and
the rest, including the towers, was in a state of good
preservation, and was used for the AngHcan service.
Mass had not been saidin that town since the Beform-
ation, until the Everingham community undertook
the service there. Not more than a dozen Catholics
resided there at that time (1848). It was arranged
that the first sermon was to be given by the Avriter
in a large public room, the Howden Town Hall,
which was hired for the purpose. On the arrival
of the Avriter from Everingham, on the Sunday
evening appointed for the sermon, he learnt that the
parties who had agreed to allow the Town HaU to
be used for the sermon had Avithdrawn from their
engagement. The news that a Catholic Priest was
to preach that evening, had drawn into the town
from the villages and hamlets of the surrounding
districts, a large concourse of persons, whose chief
motive, no doubt, was curiosity to see a Priest, and
to hear the strange things which they supposed he
must have to say. A general discontent was manifested at the refusal of the lessees of the Town Hall
to keep to their agreement.
A meeting was held, composed exclusively of
various sections of Protestants, and a deputation was OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
161
formed to wait on the writer, with the request that
he would address the crowd from the market cross,
which stood in a public square in the centre of the
town. The ancient CathoHc cross had disappeared,
but the steps remained. The Avriter was taken by
surprise at this demonstration of good-will on the
part of so many to whom he was an entire stranger,
and none of whom were CathoHcs. He felt that he
ought not to refuse compliance with their request,
and he agreed to preach, as they wished him to do,
from the steps of the market cross. The large open
space in front of the spot from which he spoke on
that occasion, was crowded by an attentive and respectful auditory, which was composed of AngHcans,
Methodists, Independents, and others. The attendance in the different churches and chapels of Howden
must have been very sparse that evening, as a large
portion of their usual congregations were attracted
by the novelty of hearing a CathoHc Priest deHver
his first sermon in Howden. God was pleased, on
that occasion, to sow the seeds of converting grace
in the souls of several whom the Avriter had the
happiness afterwards of receiving into the true
church. A temporary chapel was opened soon
afterwards, which was regularly served from Everingham. A small builder, Bichard V., who was
a methodist class leader, had been employed by
the writer in fitting up the temporary chapel.    He
M SUM
162   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Avas present at the service one Sunday evening
when the writer announced a sermon on the Eeal
Presence, for the foUowing Sunday. When he
heard the subject of the sermon announced, he said,
to himself, as he afterwards acknowledged, "Ah,
that is my stumbling block; I shaU never beHeve
in that doctrine." On the arrival of the writer from
Everingham on the evening of the following Sunday, he was surprised to find Bichard V. praying
devoutly in the temporary chapel, though the hour
for the assembling of the congregation had not yet
arrived. He learnt afterwards, from the good man
himself, why he had come at such a timely hour
to pray thus before the service had begun that
evening. " I desired earnestly," he said, "to know
the truth concerning the Eeal Presence, which was
to be the subject of that evening's sermon; I therefore resolved to come to the chapel some time before
the service commenced, to pray to God for light to
know whether the doctrine you were to preach on
that subject was the truth or not." When the writer
heard these words, he understood at once how it
was that, of the many non-cathoHcs who were
present, *thart Bichard V. should be the only one
who received from God the gift of faith on that sublime and beautiful mystery of the Eeal Presence.
If others had desired to know the truth, and prayed
earnestly for Hght as he had done, we may feel OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       163
assured that they also would have been admitted to
a share in his loving Eucharistic faith. Having
heard the sermon, and noted in his mind the different
scriptural proofs of the Eeal Presence brought forward, he retired full of thoughtful emotion. On
reaching his home, he took his bible from its shelf.
Calling to his side his wife, a very intelHgent
woman, who was one of his own pious cast of mind,
they, both knelt in prayer, and besought God to
guide them in their important enquiry. They then
examined together the passages of scripture which
had been referred to in the sermon on the Eeal
Presence. They were thus occupied for the greater
part of that night; conviction of the truth of the
Eeal Presence suddenly flashed on the mind of
husband and wife at the same moment, and they
knelt down together and prayed to God to pardon.
them for their sin of unbeHef. " Are we not," they
said to one another, " as bad as the Jews, who refused to beHeve Christ's words declaring that Eeal
Presence ? " The foUoAving morning Bichard V. came
to the writer to declare his wish to become a CathoHc. He then related the circumstances just
mentioned. " It is true," he said, " I have as yet
made enquiry only upon one point of Catholic doctrine—the Eeal Presence—but I am ready to beHeve
in all the others, for if that doctrine which is so
difficult can be so weU proved—proof, I am sure, can 164   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
be supplied for aU the others." The writer had the
happiness of admitting him, his wife and chUdren,
into the church. The faith of this good man was
tried by sore domestic afflictions and many persecutions. His wife died a very happy death six months
after her conversion. His former supporters, out of
anger for his change of faith, ceased to employ him,
and he was reduced very much in worldly circumstances as a consequence. To give him a further
opportunity of meriting and of manifesting the
solidity and brightness of his faith, God sent him
another severe trial. He was struck with paralysis.
For a whole year he lay motionless on his sick bed.
Meanwhile, articles of furniture, implements of trade,
and every article that could be disposed of, were sold
to get bread for his chUdren. Occasionally some of
his former co-religionists, Hke Job's comfortersj
would come to his bedside, bitterly to taunt him Avith
his change of faith, and to say that his afflictions
were a judgment of God upon him for embracing at
false religion. At other times they held out promises of help and reward if he returned to their
ranks again by forsaking the Catholic reHgion, but
he heeded neither taunt nor promise, but remained
true to his holy faith tUl death.
The question of erecting a suitable church at
Howden began soon to occupy the minds of the
Oblate Fathers at Everingham, and they commenced OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
165
raising subscriptions for that object. A well-situated
piece of ground was secured by them as a site for
the new church, and in the summer of 1850 the first
stone of the new building was laid by Bishop Briggs.
A beautiful Gothic church of limited size, but well-
proportioned, was erected, under the title of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus. The opening ceremony took
place on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 1851. The
Eight Eev. Dr. UUathorne preached the opening
sermon. Besides the work of establishing the
Howden mission, the Oblate community at Everingham were engaged in restoring the mission of
Poeklington, a toAvn five miles from the latter place,
where several conversions were also accompHshed.
The main work of the community, however, as a
matter of course, lay at Everingham itself, where
a numerous congregation of exceUent CathoHcs
existed.
But larger fields of labour were about to be opened
to the zeal and devotedness of the Oblates of Mary
Immaculate in England. Father Aubert had returned to France, after taking the first steps for the
introduction of his society into this country. At
the close of the year 1849 we find him again in
England, and engaged in important negociations
with the Eight Eev. Dr. Brown, Bishop of Liverpool, relative to the founding of an estabHshment of
Oblates in that town.     These negociations were 166   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
happUy concluded on the 15th of January, 1850,
and on the 18th of the same month formal possession
was taken by the Oblates of Mary of their new
mission of Holy Cross, Liverpool. No spot could
be better selected as a field for the special vocation
of the Oblates of Mary, the evangelizing of the poor,
than that occupied by the mission of Holy Cross,
Liverpool. There, ten thousand of the poorest
Catholics in that great city awaited their missionary
zeal. Holy Cross mission is situated in the very
heart of Liverpool, and at a short distance from the
docks and landing stage. How describe the church
in Avhich the Oblates of Liverpool had first to exercise their ministry ? The area of this extraordinary
buUding consisted of a cow-house and coal store,
the first floor was occupied as a rag and bone store,
the second floor was used as a poor school, and the
third floor served a temporary church.
Father Noble was Father Aubert's first companion
in founding the mission of Holy Cross. The work
of providing suitable schools for their poor children
who were wandering, untaught, in hundreds through
the courts and alleys of their district, was undertaken by Father Noble. He pursued the good work
with ceaseless perseverance, until he succeeded in
raising one of the largest blocks of CathoHc school
buUdings in England. Years had to elapse after
the erection of the schools, before the work of build- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       167
ing a church for their very large, but very poor,
congregation was undertaken. It was during the
Superiorship of Father Jolivet, the present Vicar
ApostoHc of Natal, that the good work of buUding
the fine church of Holy Cross was undertaken and
completed as far as the chancel arch. Simultaneously
with the building of the church, a community house
for the Fathers adjoining it was also constructed.
Both buUdings were erected from the designs of the
late Edward Welby Pugin. They form a noble
ecclesiastical group of structures, and occupy one of
the most central sites in Liverpool. Few of those
unacquainted with the circumstances of the case
could imagine what an amount of mental anxiety
and bodily fatigue it cost the devoted and energetic
Father JoHvet, and his zealous brother missionaries,
to raise one of the largest and handsomest churches
in Liverpool, in the midst of such a poverty-stricken
multitude as that which composed the congregation
of Holy Cross. The buUding of the chancel, which
took place whUst Father Mathew Gaughran was
Superior, and which was due largely to his active
initiation, gave completeness to the church of Holy
Cross. Among the most cheering results of the
labours of the Oblate missionaries in the district
over which they exercise pastoral charge in Liverpool, is the successful working of the various associations they have estabHshed in connection with aH-r-
168   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
their church for the good of their people. The
young men's society of Holy Cross numbers about
five hundred men, who approach the sacraments in
a body once a month. The female branch of the
Holy FamUy reaches about the same number. These
organizations effect incalculable good in promoting,
to a high degree, the practice of the christian virtues,
and the frequent and devout reception of the sacraments among the congregation of Holy Cross. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       169
CHAPTEE XI.
One year after the foundation of the Oblate mission
in Liverpool, the hand of Divine Providence prepared the way for an establishment of the sons of
De Mazenod, in the large manufacturing town of
Leeds, in Yorkshire. As the foundation of the
Oblate mission in Leeds had, for exterior causes,
circumstances in connection with a great movement
which was then in progress in the Anglican Church,
Under the title of Puseyism, we shaU briefly sketch
some of the leading events of that movement in
Leeds, just prior to the introduction of the Oblates
to the scene of their labours in that to*wn. In
1845 the AngHcan Church of St. Saviour's, of
which Dr. Pusey was the patron, having the right
of presenting the Vicar, was opened in Leeds. It was
buUt at the expense either of himself or of some
member of his famUy. Its site lay in the centre of
a poor and thickly populated part of Leeds. The
eyes of the advanced high church party throughout
England were then directed towards St. Saviour's,
in great expectation of forthcoming results, which ■flH
170   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
it was fondly hoped would tend powerfully to show
forth the Hving Catholicity of the Anglican Church.
It was their dream that all that their Church required was a free scope of action, especially among
the working classes in manufacturing centres, in I
order to prove the divinity of her mission. Dr.
Pusey was fuU of this idea, and was prepared to
devote a large sum of money to its development.
At the request of the celebrated Dr. Hook, Leeds
was chosen as the scene of the experiment. Dr.
Pusey for a time was master of the situation. A
noble church was raised through his instrumentality,
in the midst of a dense mass of working people.
The clergymen who were to minister in it were
chosen by himself. They were to live in community,
observing celibacy, and folio-wing a rule which imposed regular hours of prayer and practices of
mortification. The opening of St. Sa-viour's was
celebrated "with an octave of sermons, which were
preached by Dr. Pusey, Mr. Keble, and other trac-
tarian notabiHties. A gloom, however, was cast
upon the proceedings by the absence of one who, it
was hoped, would have been present on that day—
Mr. Newman—but who was being received into
the CathoHc Church that very day. Dissensions
were not slow in springing up; Dr. Hook, Vicar of
Leeds, withdrew his patronage. Bishop Longfleld,
of Eipon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, was OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
171
ready, as the champion of the Protestantism of the
Church of England, to check the outgroAvth of the
so-caUed " Catholic developments." He objected to
the inscription over the west door, "Ye who enter
this holy place pray for the sinner who built it," on
the grounds that the founder must die, and so
prayers might be said for him by some one after his
death. He consented to allow the inscription to
stand, on the condition that should the founder die
while he was Bishop of Eipon, he should be informed of it. He had inscriptions of a similar
character removed from two chaHces before permitting them to be used.
These circumstances wUl show the antagonism of
religious views which existed between their Bishop
and the clergy of St. Saviour's. The Eev. Eichard
Ward was the first Vicar of St. Saviour's. Shortly
after his appointment he was joined by Mr. Mac-
muUen, and other-AngHcan clergymen. Two lay
gentlemen, Mr. Haigh and Mr. Wilkinson, lived
also at the clergy house at St. Saviour's. These
gentlemen had the courage of their groAving convictions. In proportion as CathoHc truths dawned
upon their own minds, they courageously communicated them to the members of their congregation.
The catechetical instructions of Mr. MacmuUen were
very effective and practical, and full of sound Catholic doctrine.    AU Saints' day,  1846, feU upon a 172   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Sunday. Mr. Macmullen was appointed to preach.
The subject of his sermon was " Intercessory prayer
by the saints below and the saints above." Towards
the close of his discourse, the foUoAving words, in
substance,* were spoken: " What comfort to us who
are struggling, to know that the prayers of those
who have reached the eternal shore are offered on
our behalf; for those who covet purity of heart to
remember that the Blessed Virgin is interceding for
them; for the penitent to think of St. Peter asking
pardon for those who have erst denied their Lord
for the christian Priest toiling for souls to know that
the Apostle of the GentUes, once in labours abundant on earth, now pleads in heaven the cause of
those who strive to follow in His steps."
At length, after much prayer and earnest inquiry,
Mr. Macmullen resolved to leave the Anglican and
to enter the Catholic Church. He was joined in
this resolution by Mr. Haigh and Mr. Wilkinson.
The three were received into the Church on the
Feast of the Circumcision, a.d. 1847. Mr. Ward
ceased to be Vicar of St. Saviour's. He was succeeded by Mr. Forbes, who in a few months became
AngHcan Bishop of Brechin. Mr. Minster was
appointed Vicar of St. Saviour's in 1848. He entered upon his office, determined to labour "with aU
his might for the good of souls, to promote the unity
of his church, to teach aU Catholic doctrines, to OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       173
popularise the great mystery of the Incarnation, and
to bring home to the hearts of the people the humiliations of the Eternal Son. He resolved also to reestablish the coUegiate or community rule of Hfe in
the clergy house. He fixed his eyes on the Eev.
George Crawley as one who would be likely to prove
a fitting auxiUary in aiding him to carry out the
plans which he hoped to realise in the interests of
religion, and for the good of his flock. Mr. Crawley
agreed to become Mr. Minster's curate. He was to
receive food and raiment, and a room at the house,
but no money. Mr. Seton Eooke was also appointed
curate of St. Saviour's. In 1849 the cholera visited
Leeds. The clergy of St. Saviour's were indefati-
gible in their labours among the sick and dying.
God blessed their good intentions. Their gift of
faith was soon to ripen to maturity. They thought
the AngHcan Church to be their mother, and they
laboured in her service with unfaUing devotedness.
They sought to quicken into Hving action, shadows
and imitations of CathoHc rites, but disappointment
foUowed upon their efforts. Their intentions were
sincere, and as such.God took them into merciful
account.
The evening of AprU the 2nd, 1851, closed upon
an extraordinary scene in the Catholic church of
St. Anne's, Leeds. A large congregation was
assembled within its waUs.    Before its altar seven 174   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
AngHcan clergymen knelt to make their public
profession of the Catholic faith. Their names
were: The Eev. Thomas Minster, M.A., Catherine
CoUege, Cambridge, Vicar of St. Saviour's from
1849 ; The Eev. George Lloyd Crawley, of Christ's
CoUege, Oxford, Curate of St. Saviour's; The Eev.
Seton Eooke, M.A., of Oriel CoUege, Oxford,
Curate of St. Saviour's; The EeA*. Henry Combs,
M.A., FeUow of St. John's College, Oxford, Curate
of St. Saviour's; The Eev. Bichard Ward, M.A.,
Oxford, first Vicar of St. Saviour's; The Eev.
W. H. Lewthwaite, of Clifford, M.A., Cambridge;
The Eev. Mr. NeviUe, a Graduate of Oxford, assisting at St. Saviour's;. Mr. Lewington, lay-assistant
at St. Saviour's; Mr. Long, and other members of
St. Saviour's Congregation, together with the matron
and assistant matron of the orphanage, presented
themselves at the same time for reception into the
Catholic Church. The presence of Dr. Newman,
who had come from- Birmingham to receive these
converts into the church, gave a special interest to the
touching ceremonial of that evening. Our readers
wUl, we are sure, approve of our placing before
them some extracts from Dr. Newman's discourse on
that occasion, which we disinter from the dust of a
newspaper file. To our mind this discourse appears,
even in its newspaper form, as a unique production,
which shows forth, in words of matchless beauty, OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       175
the nature and consequences of the mighty change
which is involved in the passage of a soul from
shadows to realities, from the human system of
Anglicanism to the City of the Living God—His
one Holy Catholic Church.
[From the " Leeds Times."~\
" Address by the Rev. J. H. Newman, principaHy, but
not exclusively, to those who had been received into the
CathoHc Church that day. Addressing the assembly as
j Dear Friends and CathoHc Brethren,' he said ' he had no
time, as they knew, for putting into order any thoughts
which might be in his mind ; nor indeed was it necessary,
nor would they wish it. What they wished rather, who
Anth him had been principals in the ministry in so great a
work as that in which they had been employed was, that he
should speak out of the fulness of his heart, and there leave
the matter. Beoause, what was it that they who had been
brought into the CathoHc Church that day had received ?
They had received Hght for darkness, hght for twihght,
peace for warfare. There was not a change so great as that
which took place from the state of doubt, and confusion, and
misery in which the soul was external to the CathoHc
Church, to the peace which it found when it came into it.
• They knew it was said that there is a sUence which can be
heard, and which can be felt. Any one who had been at
sea, and who had for days and nights heard the billows beating at the side of the vessel, and then came into the port,
knew what a strange stillness it was when the continual
noise of the billows had ceased. When a beU stopped there
was a kind of fulness of silence which was most grateful
from the contrast. So it was in comparing the tumult and
irritation of mind which they who had been long seeking for
peace, vrith the joy experienced when they found it. It was
the rich reward of their long anxieties.   They (the.CathoHcs) •«
176   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
would suppose, indeed they knew it was so, that those who
were out of the Catholic Church unfortunately very frequently were not out by their own fault, that was to say,
they felt they had not peace, and they had the grace of God
given them, though they were out of the church, to bring
them into it, and it was that state which occasioned the distress and misery in their minds.    Those who knew nothing,
those who had felt nothing—they had no anxiety.^   Those
who did not care whether they 'were right or wrong, those
who thought they were right, those who had a dead conscience^—they had no anxiety; but it was when a ray of
light came; it was when a wounded conscience stung them,
it was when they had a misgiving that they were not where
they should be—it was then that the triumph began.   They
had a feeling of duty, and Avished to do that duty, but did
not know where it lay.   Sometimes they thought it lay this
way, sometimes that way;  and then the voice of friends
came and over-persuaded them, and they were driven back,
so that one way or another they were in a most miserable
condition.    It was partly, certainly, their own fault.    It
was the fault of aU of them, doubtless, who had been external to the Catholic Church, that they did not enter it
sooner, because if they had had a fuller determination to
foUow God's avUI, doubtless they would have found it sooner.
But Almighty God knew what they were made of, and He
mercifuUy led them on by first one grace and then another,
till they were brought nearer and nearer to that haven
where they should be.    But though they might be getting
nearer, they did not know where they stood.    Others might
see they were getting nearer, but to themselves they seemed
to be drifted about, tossed up and down by the waves, and
there seemed no hope.    It often happened that when persons were near to the shore they were amongst billows more
alarming  and more  dangerous,  because Satan blew the
bUlows more fiercely, in order to drown those who were near
the shore; and they knew that frequently, in cases of ship- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       177
wreck, when those who feU into the water were endeavouring
to reach the land, something happened to carry them off.
So it was in like manner that poor souls who were making
towards that land where they wished to be, might be seen
to be going on gradually and graduaUy towards the shore,
and it might be prophesied—humbly, but stiH prophesied—
that they would be landed safe; and alas ! when they were
about to land, suddenly they drifted off, they perished, and
it was not known what became of them. It was only knoAvn
that they were not landed on the beach of the Catholic
Church. But they (the Catholics present) had all cause for
rejoicing that to those to whom God's mercy had been shown
that day, it had not so happened. They had put themselves
into God's hands, and God had brought them into that
haven which they sought. And now, on this day, they
thanked God, as weU they might, that He had in His grace
received them safe. He had brought them within the folds
of His Church, He had encompassed them with His everlasting armour, had shielded them from the enemy-, and he
trusted they had now got a gift which they would never
lose; that they were now in a state from which they would
never faU, and through God's mercy, haring long sought,
having at last found, they would go on from strength to
strength, grace to grace, doing more and more in His service, and whatever might be their trials, that stiU they
would persevere to the end, and die in the faith, and so be
brought, through the blood and merits of Jesus Christ, to
the land of glory in eternity I look
upon you,' said Dr. Newman, addressing himself to the
converts, ' to be specimens of this great miracle which is
going on continuaUy, this miracle of the conversion of souls
in spite of the opposition of the world. Every soul that is
converted to God is converted by a miracle ; it is a supernatural work which no power of man can do. It is a work
of grace.' He then observed, ' that it could not be worldly
inducements which brought men into the CathoHc Church,
N 178   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
since they gained no riches, no honours, no praise from the
mouths of men; but, on the contrary, they were reviled and
called names. They gained nothing of this world. It was
nothing then but a supernatural might which brought them
on ; it was nothing but the grace of God, seeing those things
which the world could not see, and having a desire after
those things which the world could not desire, that brought
them on. That was the great distinction between the CathoHc Church and every other body. Every other body depended upon the world: take away its worldly supports,;
and it goes It was to him an affecting
thing that he happened to be there on that occasion speaking
to them, because who was it they had received into the
CathoHc Church that day? Why it was the first of a
portion of a special congregation of the Church of England,
of a district or parish of the Church of England, which was
created in remarkable circumstances—to him especiaUy so.
They knew he was not always a CathoHc. It was some
years ago the grace of God made him a Catholic, and on the
very day of his conversion, what was taking place in this
town ? Why, the very day when he was being led, as he
trusted and beHeved, by the grace of God, to embrace the
Faith of the Church of Christ, that was the very time the '
church of St. Saviour was opened. It was opened, if he
recoUected rightly, in a long devotional service which lasted
many days, and when that was taking place here, he was
being received into the CathoHc Church 150 males off.
Therefore, it was to him a circumstance of special interest j
just at this moment, now he was thrown back to the period
of his own conversion, to see in the event of this day a sort
of reward of what God led him to do then, that he had been
the instrument, in part, of doing what had been done now.
How or when it was that those favoured souls who had
that day been made members of the CathoHc Church were
led by the grace of God towards the Catholic Church, he
knew not; but, as regards himself, he felt as a.kind of wit- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       179
ness that they should Avish him to come to receive them,
because there was this remarkable connection between St.
Saviour's church being opened and his own conversion.
Then it was that that was begun which now had its end,
and they saw in this another illustration of the want of
stabUity of everything in the Church of England. There
had been a church, he meant St. Saviour's, opened .with how
much pious feeling—Avith how many sincere aspirations—
with how many ready offerings to Almighty God! What
sums of money had been expended upon that church, and
that reaUy for promoting and buUding up the CathoHc
Church ! It had been the work of persons who in their
hearts believed in doing what they did; they were making
an offering, not to the work of man, but to the Catholic
Church. They were mistaken in thinking so, but they
brought their offerings. They did not act Avith a half liberality, but, bringing treasure by handfuls, gave it for the
erection of a church which they hoped would be a Catholic
Church, but they mistook the Church of England for it.
They adorned it, enriched it, and what had become of aU
those hopes which had begun six years ago ? Why, had
they not vanished into empty air? They saw that the
church which they had buUt had turned out to be nothing
at aU ; and, after a trial of six years, there was that remarkable truth which came to him six years ago, that the Church
of England was a mere shadow, that it had no substance.
Here was this trial which they saw had come to naught.
There were piety, devotion, sincerity, earnestness—persons
who would devote themselves earnestly to God; but alas!
they buut up the mere creation of this world which would
not last. It was coming to naught, and what had been the
case here,] would be the case aU oyer in the Church of
England but for the power of the State. It was the power
of the State which alone kept anything in its place in the
Church of England. Not so with the Catholic Church.
Merely sitting stiH, going about its own work sUently, it had mmm
180   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
attracted educated members of the Church of England to it.
It was a burning and a shining Hght, and it preached to the
people directly by its example.' After some further observations, Dr. Newman 'begged the prayers of the Catholics
present for those who had been received into the Church on
that and some days previously. He begged their prayers
that the work now begun might go on spreading and increasing daily, tiU all those were brought into the fold of I
Christ that ought to belong to it—that all those to whom
God had given grace might have the veU taken from their
eyes. He asked their prayers also—for prayer was omnipotent—that all those who had anything to do with the erection
" St. Saviour's church might be brought to the Hght of
truth. They could not undo what they had done. St.
Saviour's church, so called, was given up to Protestants,
and there was an end of it. They had given it over to the
State. They could not undo their work, but it would be a
great thing for all of them, while they felt that they could
not undo much that they had done, that at least they could
save their own souls, and show their earnestness by retracing
their steps as far as they could. He begged them to pray
that every one of the earnest persons who preached sermons
at the opening of St. Saviour's church, might be brought
into the fold of Christ; that all those who had hung upon
their words might be brought fully to the truth; that those
who, to some extent had been nursing fathers to the CathoHc Church, though they knew it not, might be brought in;
and that every one who had been instrumental in the spread
of CathoHc doctrines in England, though they knew it not,
might be brought into the CathoHc Church.' Finally, Dr.
Newman asked his CathoHc hearers to pray for himself, that
he might be enabled to do his share of the work which had
begun." OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       181
CHAPTEE XII.
When these events were occurring in Leeds, and
stirring up the rehgious world in divers opposing
senses, the Httle community of Oblates of Mary at
Everingham was pursuing its daUy routine of quiet
missionary duty. There was a longing among its
members that an opportunity might be afforded to
them to engage in work more in harmony with the
spirit and special end of their vocation, the evangelizing of the poor, than that which offered itself in
the weU-ordered and beautiful viUage at Everingham.
They set their hearts upon a field being opened to
their labours somewhere amidst the crowds of
perishing souls, with which they had reason to fear
many of the great manufacturing districts of Yorkshire abounded. God was about to hear their prayers, and to accomplish their desires in this matter.
An accidental meeting, which took place in a raU-
way carriage, between one of the converts of St.
Saviour's (the Eev. George Crawley) and the writer,
was the simple but effective instrumentaHty which
God employed to open a field of congenial labour atmmmmn
182   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGB. DE MAZENOD, AND
for the Oblates of Mary in Leeds. An invitation
was then given by Mr. Crawley to the writer, to visit
Leeds. Mr. Crawley said, " We are staying at the
cottage-orphanage, which we have estabUshed, and
to which we came when we left St. Saviour's vicarage, after our reception into the Church. Several of
our late parishioners wish to become CathoHcs. As
we are only laymen, the presence of a Priest
amongst us for a few days wiH be very serviceable."
The writer arrived that night at the cottage-orphanage at HiU House-place, in Leeds, which is a short
distance from St. Saviour's, and was very kindly
received by Mr. Crawley and his feUow converts.
A mattrass laid on the kitchen floor was the best
sleeping accommodation they could offer him, for
they had no better for themselves. The orphans
occupied the bed rooms, and an apartment was set
aside for an oratory. Within this humble oratory,
on the foUowing morning, which was the opening of
a bright May-day in 1851, the writer said his first
Mass in Leeds. That day, on examining the neighbourhood of St. Saviour's, he ascertained that there
was no CathoHc church in that large and thickly-
peopled district of Leeds. It seemed to him that it
Avas a spot well suited as a labour field for the
Oblates of Mary. He thereupon wrote to the Bishop
of Beverley, the Eight Eev. Dr. Briggs, to inquire
if his lordship would be wiUing to allow the Oblates OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MAST.      183
of Mary to estabHsh a church and house in that part
of Leeds, and to give them charge of a district in
that locaUty. By return of post He got the Bishop's
cheerful consent to his appHcation. It was thought
advisable to lose no time in inaugurating the new
mission. An unoccupied beer-shop, and its quondam
dancing-room, were rented. The latter was to serve
as a temporary church, and the former as a community residence for the Fathers. On the 22nd of
October, 1851, the temporary church was opened
for public Catholic worship. The sermon was
preached by Father Oakley. For six years this
Httle temporary church remained the scene of active
missionary labour, and of many signal graces, and
visible favours, conferred by God on several persons,
CathoHcs, Protestants, and Freethinkers.
We shall here, in aU simpHcity, speak of what
the Avriter cannot help regarding as an extraordinary
occurrence which happened in connection with the
temporary church at St. Mary's. A respectable
poor CathoHc woman was on the point of entering
the church one evening, to join in a service which
was about commencing, when at the door she was
accosted by an aged woman—a Methodist. After a
short conversation, the former said to the latter,
I Would you Hke to enter our church ? " The good
woman repHed, "I should Hke to do so, very much,
and should wish to know what it is Hke, as I have areta
184   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
never been in one of your places." Benediction of
the Blessed Sacrament was about to be given when
they both entered the church together. At the close I
of the Benediction service, as they, were leaving the
church, the aged Methodist, who had been for the
first time in a CathoHc church, and who had no
knowledge whatever of a single Catholic doctrine,
said to her companion, in Yorkshire dialect, "What
a bonnie bairn was on that table to-night."
"Bairn," repHed the CathoHc woman in surprise,
" why there was no bairn on the altar, which you
call table." " Oh yes, there was," exclaimed the
Methodist, " did you not see, when that gentleman
who wore something shining on his shoulders went
up and opened the door of a cupboard that was on
the table, a beautiful bairn came out, and He smUed
at me, and I smUed at Him, and I said to Him,
* Oh sweet lovely bairn, Thy mother has reason to
be proud of Thee.' A boy tinkled a beU, and aU
the people popped down their heads, but I did not
pop down mine, but I kept looking at the beautiful
bairn. The gentleman who stood at the table went
to put the bairn back into the Httle cupboard, and I
said, * What a shame to put the bairn into that
cupboard, He wiU surely get smothered there.' I
was angry, and felt I ought to run up and save the
poor Httle bairn from being smothered, by snatching Him from the gentleman's arms."    The Catho- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
185
lie woman was much surprised by these words, and
said in reply to her friend, " Would you wish to
speak to a Priest? " " Oh yes," answered the aged
Methodist woman, " for the smile of that bairn has
quite won my heart to your reHgion." Both agreed
to seek at once an interview with one of the Priests
of the church. They met the -writer. He heard
from the Hps of the poor Methodist the statement of
what she had just seen in the church. The good
woman did not seem to think that there was anything extraordinary in what she stated she had
witnessed, for it seemed to her that everybody in
the church must have seen the beautiful chUd that
she saAv coming out from the tabernacle and smiling
upon her. The Catholic doctrine of the Eeal Presence was one of which she had not the faintest
knowledge, consequently her imagination could not
have been impressed on that occasion by any perceptions concerning that mystery. The best proof
of her sincerity in the statement she then made was
the fact of her sudden and real conversion to the
Catholic faith, which she embraced in opposition to
her relatives and friends, who were amazed at the
event, knoAving that she had never, tUl then, shown
any leaning towards CathoHcism. " The smUe of
the bairn has won my heart to it," was the answer
she gave when questioned as to the cause of her
embracing the Catholic faith.    The writer had the 186   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGE. DE MAZENOD, AND
happiness of instructing her, and of receiving her
into the Church. For six months she led the life
of a fervent CathoHc; at the close of that time she
was seized with her death Ulness, and died an edifying death. She sees now in heaven, face to face,
Him who the -writer beHeves condescended to become visible to her view on earth, under the form
of a sweet smiling little " bairn."
The writer cannot help introducing a circumstance
which was related to him by a brother Priest, and
which had occurred a short time previously in
Bradford, Yorkshire. This good Priest had to
answer a sick caU one day, and by mistake he entered the room of a dying aged Protestant woman ;
discovering his mistake he was about to withdraw,
when the poor woman caUed after him, saying,
" Minister! minister! where Shall I be able to
find the Body and Blood of my Saviour; I have
been reading my bible, and found these words in
it: ' Except you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man,
and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.'
I want to gain eternal life, and unless I receive His
body and blood, I cannot gain it." The good Priest
told her who he was, that he was a Catholic Priest,
and that CathoHcs believed in the Eeal Presence of
the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist,
and that if she wished he would instruct her in
the doctrines of the Catholic Church, and receive OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       187
her into its fold, and that then he could administer
to her the real Flesh and Blood of Jesus. The poor
aged woman, who was overjoyed at the proposal,
was received into the Church, and made her first
and last communion upon her happy death-bed.
Ah, it was a hungering after the real Flesh and
Blood of Jesus Christ, and not after a myth, or
shadow, or empty figure, that the Holy Spirit had
awakened in her soul.
Mary N—, whose full name circumstances prevent us from giving, was a member of one of the many
bodies of dissenters in Leeds. God fiUed her soul
with a yearning after the truth, which she felt she
had not yet found. She prayed earnestly for it, and
she resolved to continue her search untU she found
it. She went from one dissenting chapel to another.
Baptist, Methodist, and Church of England places
of worship were visited by her in vain. The truth
which she sought for had not yet revealed itself to
her mind and heart. Eumour spoke to her of the
Puseyite church of St. Saviour, and she said to herself, " Perhaps there I might find the true reHgion."
She reached the summit of Eichmond Hill. On its
eastern slope stood St. Saviour's, on its western
crest was located the then temporary Catholic
church of St. Mary's. Her object was to go to the
Puseyite church in search of the true faith. It
never once occurred to her that the truth might be found in a Catholic church. Being a stranger in
that locaHty, she had to ask her way to St. Saviour's.
She met a Httle boy, of whom she inquired the way
to that church. In a grave earnest tone the child
made answer to her inquiry, " St. Saviour's is not
the true church, go there;" and the chUd pointed, as
he spoke, to the temporary church of St. Mary's.
The good woman looked on the indication given her
by this chUd as a message from God, which we beHeve it was. FoUowing the directions given her,
she entered the Httle temporary church. There was
no one present at the time, but the Blessed Sacrament was in the Tabernacle, and a lamp was
sUently burning before it. She had scarcely crossed
the threshold of the humble oratory, when a feeling
of deep interior peace came upon her, and a voice
speaking in the depths of her soul said to her,
" Here you wiU find what you have been seeking
for—the true reHgion." She feU upon her knees
and wept much; her tears were those of tranquU
joy at having found at last the treasure which she
had been so long searching for, tiU then in vain—
the truth. She resolved not to return to her home
until she had seen a Priest. The -writer was the
first Priest wfereh she met that day. She introduced
herself to him, and told her own simple touching
story. After a few weeks of preparatory instruction, he had the happiness of receiving her into the OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
189
Church. God had caUed that humble but earnest-
minded woman to a living martyrdom for the faith,
which was to extend over a period of several years.
Her husband was a man of violent temper, and of
bitter hatred of Catholicity. Again and again her
blood flowed copiously under the blows which he
inflicted on her, because of her refusing, at his request, to renounce the Catholic religion. She was
deposed by him, for the same cause, from the management of the household, at the head of which her
daughter, a child of fourteen years, was placed.
She was finally driven from her house, no more to
return to it, and she had to support herself for the
rest of her days as a worker in a flax miU; all the
whUe she led a Hfe of prayer, and every Sunday
morning found her among the devout communicants
at the altar rails of St. Mary's. But God reserved
for her, in her sorrows, great consolations, which
were trials, it must be confessed, at the same time.
Shortly after she was driven from her home, her
daughter, whom she loved very much, fell dangerously ill. The father had left orders that his wife
should not be permitted to visit her poor sick chUd,
but she eluded his cruel vigUance, and found her
way to her chUd's bedside. The devoted woman,
perceiving, when she entered the apartment, that
her chUd was in danger of death, felt that no time
was to be lost in carrying out the chief object of her -dttft
190   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
visit, which was to seek to communicate to her, in
some way, the blessings of the CathoHc faith.
Approaching her dying child, she bent over her
and whispered into her ear, "with the earnestness of
inspiration, "My chUd, the Catholic religion is the '
true reHgion; may God grant you the grace to beHeve in it." The words of the pious mother would
seem to have been possessed of a sacramental power,
for the dying girl, who had no knowledge of the
CathoHc faith tUl then, repHed, in accents that bespoke conviction, " Mother, I do beHeve in the
CathoHc reHgion, and I "wish to die a CathoHc."
On the instant, Mrs. N— dispatched a messenger
to St. Mary's, for a Priest to come and baptise her
daughter, and receive her into the Catholic Church
before her death. One of the Fathers was soon on
the spot. He convinced himself at once by questioning the dying girl that her desire to become a
CathoHc was sincere. She received Holy Baptism'
with sentiments of Hvely faith and tender compunction for her sins. A few moments after, before the
Priest left the place, a sweet smile passed over her
countenance, and she calmly expired in her devoted
mother's arms. The latter, kissing the lifeless form
of her beloved child, and brushing the tears from
her eyes, hastily withdrew, having - fulfilled her
mission on behalf of her chUd's soul. Her husband
entered a few moments after her departure, fortu- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       191
nately too late to disturb the dying moments of
their happy chUd.
We shall now proceed to narrate a further instance
in which God's Holy Providence employed the simple earnest faith of this heroic woman, in conducting
into the true fold another soul, when on the point of
quitting this life. Her only sister was one of those
who gave marks of greatest irritation at her conversion to the Catholic faith. She was a clever, intel-
Hgent women, but very anti-cathoHc in her tone of
mind. She was laid prostrate by an iUness, which
was to prove fatal. Mary N— was night and day
at the bedside of the invalid. The Ulness was rapid
in its fatal progress. The thought which was uppermost in the breast of Mary N— was her concern
about her sister's soul, and her desire that she might
obtain from God the grace of becoming a CathoHc
before her death. At last Mary N— resolved to
speak to her dying sister on the subject of becoming
.a CathoHc, but before doing so she sought, in earnest
prayer, God's blessing on her words of sisterly
advice. We pause here for a few moments in our
humble narrative, to give prominence to a circumstance seemingly trivial in itself, but which was to
serve, in God's designs, as a link in the chain of
His Holy Providence, by which a soul was to be
drawn from error to the truth. The Avriter, having
to absent himself for a few weeks from home, invited Mr-flr-a
192   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
Father Jolivet, O.M.I., of Liverpool, now the venerable Bishop of Natal, to come to Leeds to aid the
Fathers at St. Mary's. In his letter to Father
JoUvet he informed him that, owing to his being
caUed away somewhat unexpectedly from Leeds, he
could not obtain before the lapse of one or two days
missionary faculties for him from the Eight Eev.
Dr. Briggs, who resided in York. Father JoHvet
left Liverpool for Leeds on the day on which he
received the writer's letter. His train reached
Mirfield Junction, in Yorkshire, and whUst standing
on the platform another train coming from an opposite direction stopped at the same station. On the
arrival of the second train, Father JoHvet, raising
his eyes, met the glance of the good Bishop of
Beverley, who was in a carriage immediately opposite. A friendly greeting and a few playful words
were interchanged, when Father JoHvet said, " I am
going to St. Mary's, Leeds, and I want missionary
faculties from your lordship." The Bishop immediately repHed, " I grant you aU the faculties you
require." In the instant both trains separated.
Father JoHvet reached Leeds, duly authorized to
discharge there his priestly functions. We shaU
now show how this circumstance was to have a providential bearing in God's deaHngs with a soul,
which was then in death's agony.
Mrs.  N— having prayed  fervently for  God's OF THE LABOUES OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       193
blessing on her words, stood by the bedside of her
dying sister and said, " I pray to God to grant you
the grace to become a CathoHc, for the CathoHc reHgion is the true one." The effect of these simple
words, blessed by God, was instantaneous. The dying woman, who tUl then had no thought of becoming a CathoHc, made answer, "Yes, I believe the
CathoHc reHgion to be the true one, and I wish to die
a CathoHc." Overjoyed at receiving this answer,
Mrs. N— hastened to St. Mary's for a Priest. AU
the Fathers were absent, but at the moment Father
JoHvet arrived from Liverpool. If he at that time
had not been afready authorized by the Bishop to
exercise priestly faculties in Leeds, he would have
asked Mrs. N— to apply either at St. Patrick's or
St. Anne's presbytery for a Priest, especially as he
did not look on the sick caU as an urgent one. This
would have involved a fatal delay. As it was, he
went at once to attend the sick call, and thinking
the sick person was a CathoHc of long standing,
weU instructed in her reHgion, and fit to receive
Holy Communion, he took the sacred vessel containing the Blessed Sacrament with him. Having
reached the dwelling of the sick woman, he discovered that it was only a few minutes previously
that she had declared her wish to die a Catholic. He
found her quite fixed in this determination, and that
her faith in the truth of the CathoHc religion was as
o •isa-raw-ai
194   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
fervent as if she had been brought up from childhood
in that belief. At first he renounced the prospect
of being able, in the. short time which her visibly
approaching death left at his disposal, to instruct
her sufficiently, and prepare her for Holy Commu-.
nion. Having administered to her conditional
Baptism, and the Sacraments of Penance and Extreme Uuction, he was struck by the intelligent
piety she exhibited in the reception of these Sacraments. This circumstance encouraged, on his part,
the hope that he might, with God's blessing, be
able fittingly to prepare her for the worthy reception
of the Holy Eucharist, during the brief moments of
life that were still hers. He proposed to her beHef
in a few clear words, the doctrine of the Beal Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. His
words feU upon her soul like living fire upon dry
wood. An immediate kindling of Eucharistic faith
in her breast was the instantaneous result of his
teaching on the Eeal Presence in that death chamber. No where is the gift of the " tongue of fire "
more readUy accorded to God's Priests than at
death beds. On such spots they have been made
again and again to feel that there had taken place
in their regard a fulfilment of the promise of our
Lord, " It shall be given to you in that hour what to
speak."—Matt. x. 19. Scarcely had the good Priest
spoken of our Lord's Eeal Presence in the Holy OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      195
Eucharist, when a cry of belief burst from the Hps
of the dying woman. "Yes, I beHeve," she exclaimed, " that my Saviour Jesus Christ is truly
present in the Holy Sacrament. Oh ! give Him to
me; give me my Saviour Jesus Christ before I die."
With great devotion she communicated. Immediately after her communion, as Father JoHvet
stated to the writer, she became like one inspired.
From her lips broke forth a canticle of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and love, which in sublimity
and tenderness of thought and language, might be
compared to some of the scripture canticles. " No
where," said Father JoHvet, "in the writings of the
saints have I read anything surpassing in loftiness
and beauty of holy sentiment, the words that fell
from the lips of that dying woman, after her first
and last communion. They equal anything I have
met with in the works of St. Teresa. I only regret
that I was not able to commit them to writing as they
were spoken—for my oavu edification and for that of
others." In the midst of these fervent outpourings
of her penitent and loving heart, her soul passed
away from this Hfe into the hands of a merciful God.
She died before Father JoHvet had left the room.
The news has lately reached the writer of the
death of Mrs. N—, after a Hfe of more than a
quarter of a century of many sufferings for the faith,
and of its devout and fervent practice. ■an
196   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD,. AND
In Leeds, as in all the great manufacturing to-wns
of the North, as well as of other parts of England,
unhappily there are many who neither practise nor
profess any religion at all. This class of persons in
Yorkshire, when casually asked to what religion
they belong, readily make answer, "We are
' Nouts,' " which signifies that they profess no particular religion whatever. One day one of the
Fathers of St. Mary's, when visiting his district,
chanced to stray into a house inhabited by a family
who styled themselves " Nouts." Seated at the
fireside he saw a poor youth of sixteen who had the
appearance of being far gone in consumption. Addressing himself to the invalid boy, he found that
he had not been baptised, and that he had scarcely.
the faintest knowledge of a single christian truth.
He was willing, however, to be instructed, and to
be baptised, and his parents readily gave their consent. An approaching day was appointed for the
Baptism, as it was evident that the sick youth had
not many days longer to live. When the Priest-
arrived on the appointed morning to baptise the
dying boy, he found the door of his residence closed
and the place unoccupied, for the family had removed elsewhere, and nobody could give information as to where they had gone to. The Priest was
greatly troubled at this occurrence, for he felt that
the unbaptised youth had only a few days at most OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       197
to live. Inquiries after him were fruitless, and no
other resource remained but earnest prayer to God
that He would bless with success the efforts that
were being made to find out where he resided. A
poor factory girl was the instrument which God was
to employ to make the desired discovery. She was
one of the devout frequenters of St. Mary's. She
used to contribute week by week her OAvn generous
mite towards the building of the new church which
was then in progress. She further devoted her
Sundays between the service times in collecting
from house to house subscriptions for the new buUding. One Sunday afternoon it occurred to her that
she might succeed better with her coUection, were
she to go to some part in or about Leeds to which
she had not gone before in search of contributions.
She fixed upon Holbeck, an outskirt of Leeds,
about two mUes from St. Mary's. She had spent
some hours pursuing the good work upon which she
was engaged, when she suddenly remembered that
the hour of the vesper service was approaching, and
that it would consequently be necessary for her to
return to St. Mary's without further delay. Being
a stranger at Holbeck, she easUy lost herself in the
maze of new and narrow streets that had sprung
up recently in that busy suburb of Leeds. Failing to extricate herself from her perplexity, meeting no one to direct her, and night having already mm
198   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
faUen, she knocked at the door of a house in
a long terrace of new cottages, to make inquiry
about her way back to St. Mary's. When the door
was opened, the first object she beheld was the form
of a dying youth stretched in the agony of death.
She forgot then aU about her return to St. Mary's.
A few rapid questions brought out the fact that he
was the poor boy above referred to. His mother
said, "We had to 'flit' from Eichmond HiU, because
our work lay here; we i flitted' on the morning on
which the Priest was to have baptised him." "Does
he "wish to be baptised, and are you wUHng?"
" Yes," was the answer given to the devout girl's
question. She took a cab and drove in haste to St.
Mary's. She met Father Kirby, who accompanied
her at once to the home of the dying boy. Bending
over him, the Priest received from his Hps the expressed desire of Baptism, and also an act of faith and
of sorrow for his sins. Baptism was administered;
a bright gleam passed over his dying features, and
the waters of Baptism were scarely dry upon his
forehead, when his purified soul winged its happy
flight into the presence of its God.
We proceed to record another instance of conversion to the CathoHc faith from the ranks of the
"Nouts," which occurred about the same time as
the one just reported. A young man, a carpenter
employed in roofing the new church of St. Mary's OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
199
met, unhappUy, "with an accident which was to prove
fatal. This poor man had learned from an Irish
fellow-workman how to recite the Lord's Prayer
and Hail Mary in Irish. After his sad accident he
was taken to the Leeds Infirmary. Finding himself
in danger of death, he bethought himself of his soul.
He wished to pray, but the only form of prayer that
had ever been taught to him was the Irish Our
Father and HaU Mary. These prayers he then began to recite aloud in Irish, no longer in play as he
used to do, but in aU the earnestness of a dying man
craving for mercy from his God. The attendants in
the hospital were amazed at hearing him, whom
they knew to be a Yorkshire man, praying aloud in
a language that sounded so strange to their ears.
The devout recital of the Lord's Prayer and Hail
Mary in Irish, was to act sacramentaUy. It obtained the gift of CathoHc faith for that poor Yorkshire " Nout," as he lay upon his bed of death. No
one had approached him yet to speak to him on the
subject of religion, nevertheless in his heart he believes the CathoHc reHgion to be true, and he wishes
to die a CathoHc. A Church of England clergyman
from St. Saviour's went to see him. The poor sufferer
looked steadUy into the face of the visitor, and discovering that he was/not a CathoHc Priest, refused
to accept of the preferred aid of his ministry.
Shortly after, one of the Fathers of St. Mary's called dHMi
200   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
to see him. The poor man expressed his desire to
become a Catholic. He was received into the CathoHc Church, and Hved on still for some days longer,
during which time he was visited by his mother,
and other members of his family, who were all:
"Nouts." His relatives were so struck by the
change which conversion to the CathoHc faith had
wrought in him, that they also expressed a desire
to become CathoHcs. Shortly after his holy death
they were received into the CathoHc Church.
We "will pause here to offer a few reflections on
the subject of those instances of conversion to the
Catholic faith, which we introduce into our narrative of the missionary works of the Oblates of Mary.
In the first place we lay claim to no exceptional
success attendant on the labours of the Oblate missionaries, by the fact of having such instances of
conversion to put on record in connection with their
works. We are sure that similar, if not more striking cases of conversion to the CathoHc faith, bless
the labours of aU zealous Priests, both secular and
regular, at the present time. We feel however that
these facts, so capable of edifying, have been kept too
much in the background hitherto, and that events
in the order of grace have been allowed to drop into
obHvion which, if put on record, would tend to prove
that God is still working His wonders among men
now, as in former days, and that amidst the web, OF TRE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.       201
and tangle, and tumult, and throng of nineteenth-
century crowds, souls may be found that vie -with
the old saints of the Desert, of the Catacombs,
and of the Forum, in every form of sanctity that
gives the beauty of variety to holiness. Speaking
of the conversions themselves, the accounts of which
we introduce into our pages, we will at once acknowledge that the visible means by which they
have been Avrought do not bear proportion to the
end accompHshed. The non-catholic reader of
hard cold intellect, should the eye of such glance
over our pages, wiU, perhaps, as he reads there of
conversions to the CathoHc faith, especiaUy of the
poor and unlettered, be disposed to think that persons, unintelHgent as they, were not capable of exercising the intellectual acumen needed for deciding
upon the truth or falsehood of CathoHc doctrine.
High inteUect is in no -wise necessary for deep and
ardent and enUghtened faith. Who more inteUectual
than Satan, yet he is the father of Hes. It is true
that men of loftiest genius, of deepest research, of
most extensive and varied acquirements, giants in
intellectual stature, have in all ages of the CathoHc
Church stood out among the most lovingly attached
and the most perfectly submissive of her disciples.
But they were blessed Avith the gift of Catholic
beHef, not because of the splendid array of their
inteUectual gifts,  but because of  their docUity, diaiaMMii
202   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
humUity, and purity of heart, and if they had not
these qualities, they would have remained in the
ranks of unbelievers, outside the Fold of the One
Shepherd. The want of such dispositions was the
cause of the unbeHef of the intellectual and learned
in our Lord's own days, in the days of the apostles,
in every age of Christianity, and is the cause of the
unbeHef of many learned and highly intellectual
men in these our o-wn times. Mental Hght and
soul darkness is the condition of the educated un-
beHever. Mind has an indefinite power of penetrating matter, but it is stopped at the very threshold
of the supernatural Hfe and destinies of the spirit.
Thus far, 0 human mind, art thou aUowed to go by
aid of thy own light, but no further. Thou needest
a Hght which proceeds from no human focus, from
no brain of phUosopher, from no councU of the
world's wise men, to disclose to thee the origin
and the end of thy own one soul. Uncreated
light alone can give knowledge on these deep
questions. That uncreated Hght is in God. From
God's Spirit it has to pass into man's spirit through
the channels, and in the measure and by the ways
that God Himself appoints. How varied are aU
these mediums and ways by which the light which
gives faith, travels from God's Spirit to man's spirit.
It may grow upon a man slowly, ray by ray, through
the channel of his reasoning faculties, or it may OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      203
enter the chamber of the soul as the sunshine of the
summer morning enters through the unshuttered
-window of the chamber of our rest, fully—-gloriously
—all at once. It is thus the light of faith is given
aU at once, through the teaching of Holy Church,
to God's Httle ones, to the poor, the unlettered, to
the humble, to the clean of heart, to some chosen
ones whom God selects, for reasons knoAvn to
Himself, in the East or in the West, to guide
them to their appointed place in His kingdom—the
Church.
God is Master of the agencies which He deigns to
employ in drawing souls to Himself, from error or
from sin, or from both combined. The voice in the
heart, or the voice in heart and ear at the same time,
has been often the divinely-appointed agency of
some signal conversion. A conversion to the Catholic religion, of an extraordinary kind, which was
attended by unusual circumstances, took place, to
the -writer's own knowledge, in Leeds, the account
of which he now proposes to relate. A poor man, a
Protestant named Scruton, who resided in St. Mary's
district in one of the courts at the foot of Eichmond
HUI, had been dangerously iU for some weeks,
during which time he was attended by the Eev.
Mr. N— of St. Saviour's, and Miss L—, one of the
lady visitors of that church. Though sharp-minded,
poor Scruton was very UHterate, and animated with i-aMfciuWI
204   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
a great hostility to the Catholic faith. He had
been accustomed to speak in terms far from respectful of his Holiness the Pope, whom he strangely
fancied to be a Leeds man, Hving in Leeds. One
night he heard a voice in his sleep which said to
him distinctly, that unless he became a Eoman
Catholic he would lose his soul. Awakening from
his sleep quite alarmed, he said to his wife, " Go at
once for the Pope, tell him I want to see him before
I die." His wife, at his bidding, went forth in
search of the Pope. Meeting a CathoHc woman of
her acquaintance, she asked her where the Pope
Hved, for she wanted to fetch him to her husband,
who could not die easy Avithout seeing him. The
CathoHc woman informed Mrs. Scruton that the
Pope lived far away beyond the seas, in a place
caUed Eome, and it was for a Priest that people sent
in time of sickness, and she asked her to go with
her to St. Mary's to get a Priest to visit her husband.
They met the writer on their reaching St. Mary's,
and his became the privUege of taking the Holy
Father's place at the sick bed of Scruton. He found
him fully impressed, owing to the warning he had
received in his sleep, with the conviction that he
could not save his soul unless he entered the Catholic Church. Yet he had no CathoHc sympathies or
leanings; on the contrary, he had a dislike for the
CathoHc religion;  besides, he was very ignorant. OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.
205
The Avriter felt puzzled how to act in his regard;
taking however into account the poor man's danger
of death, and his expressed conviction that he could
not be saved unless he became a Eoman Catholic,
he received him into the Church, and gave him Extreme Unction. He had however his fears that
should poor Scruton rally during the night and find
himself better the next day, his faith would not be
proof against the tempting influences which were sure
to be brought to bear upon it. These fears turned
out but too true. When the writer caUed to see
the man the next day, the latter refused to speak' to
him. Other visitors had preceded him, under whose
persuasions poor Scruton feU back into his former
anti-cathoHc ways. The Avriter, whUe deploring his
falling away so readUy from his newly-acquired
faith, felt that the poor man was not so guUty in
the eyes of God of the abuse of grace, as another
more enUghtened would be, under simUar circumstances. Prayers in his behalf were offered up by
several pious souls. These prayers were not to remain unheard. One night the writer was prevented
by some duty he had to discharge from retiring
to rest at the usual hour. The midnight hour
struck. A fierce storm, which was accompanied by
torrents of rain, had been sweeping for some hours
over the summit of Eichmond HUI, and was then at
the height of its fury.    A loud knocking was heard mm
206   SKETCHES OF THE LIFE OF MGR. DE MAZENOD, AND
at the entrance door, which was opened by the
writer. A figure of unusual proportions stood out
in dim outline in the faint glare of a solitary street
lamp. To the writer's question, " Who is there ? "
a sepulchral voice made answer, " I am Scruton, and
I am come to do penance." Yes, it was Scruton
himself, in the agony of death, borne on the shoulders of a poor Irishman. Upon the writer's inquiring as to the circumstances which led to so
strange and unexpected a visit, he received the following explanation: That same night Scruton had
been again startled by a voice heard in his sleep,
which said to him anew that his soul would surely be
lost unless he died a Eoman Catholic. Awakening in
terror, he said to his wife, " Go for Father Cooke."
"Nay," said she in reply, "the gentleman would
not come to you after your having acted towards
him as you have done. If I had gone over to the
Eomans I would have remained a Eoman." "Then,"
he repHed, " if Father Cooke does not come to me,
I must go to him, for I will not lose my soul to
please Mr. N— or Miss L—, or any one; you must
lift me up and take me to him." The poor woman,
in obedience to the wishes of her husband, raised
him from his death-bed, and wrapping a blanket
around him, carried him in her arms in face of the
midnight storm. She struggled on under her load,
with difficulty, untU she reached the foot of Eich- OF THE LABOURS OF THE OBLATES OF MART.      207
mond HiU. There her strength failed her, and the
dying man slipped from her arms into a shaUow pool
of water at the hill's base, which the great rains of
the previous days had formed. It was not more
than a foot in depth, but it sufficed to drench him
thoroughly. Things were in this state when an
Irish working man, who had been engaged on night
duty, and was returning to his home, was attracted
by poor Scruton's groans as he lay in the water.
Learning how the case stood, and that it was a dying
Protestant who wished to see the Priest and become
a Catho