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Letters of Marcellin - 135

 

H. Marcellin Champagnat
04/09/1837 - Vol. I, n. 12
Circular 12



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Over and above the fact that Bro. Dorothées death had been very edifying, this letter was written to remind the brothers that this was their first opportunity to recite the prayers for the dead prescribed by the Rule, which they had had in hand since the end of the preceding January (cf. L. 89). But the fact remains that since that date, two other brothers had already died in the Institute: Bro. Hilaire on 19th March and Bro. Rupert on 3rd April. Since the latter was a novice, the brothers in the communities were not bound to any specific prayers. The former, on the other hand, was in temporary vows, and therefore the brothers in the establishments were obliged, on the Thursday after news is received of the death of a professed brother, [to recite] the Office of the Dead [with nine lessons], and [receive] communion for the same intention.... Why didnt Fr. Champagnat, who celebrated Br. Hilaires funeral Mass himself on 19th March, remind the brothers of this rule at that time by means of a Circular, and why does he tell them now, on the occasion of Bro. Dorothées death, that this is the first time they will have to put this rule into practice? After all our research we can still not come up with an answer.

Our very dear Brothers,

The Lord has just called to himself our dear Brother Dorothée. For a long time, chest problems had tried his patience and increased his merits, and then a very violent pulmonary hemorrhage confined him to bed. He was not upset by his physical decline and expressed great desire to go to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin with the angels and saints in heaven. From the day of that great solemnity, his vomiting of blood stopped entirely. Our brother profited by this remission of his illness to prepare for his final hour. What gentleness! What serenity!
What joy he showed during that period, but especially on the last day of his life. It was Saturday, 2nd September. In the morning he received the Last Sacraments. He had never seemed so joyful, so totally absorbed in God; it was as if his soul was simply waiting for the final prayers of the Church, so it could take flight. Around three p.m., he was given the indulgences for the dying, and during the recommendation of his soul to God, he quietly fell asleep in the Lord. Everyone who witnessed his death is jealous of him, and everyone vied for the honor of remaining near his body.

We buried him today, 4th September, with all the ceremonies prescribed for a professed brother, and now we want to remind you to do for him what is set down in Chapter XI, article 3, nos. 2 and 3 of the Rule. It will doubtless be a joy for you to perform this duty for the first time for a brother who is so dear to us and whom we can count among the number of intercessors around our common Mother.

This, our very dear brothers, is how we ourselves will reap what we have sown. As we live, so we shall die; as we die, so shall be our eternity. God has called us to be holy. We urge you then to grow more and more in his love, to try to live in peace, to do what each of you has to do so that everything in you, mind, soul and body, may be preserved spotless for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Thess 4 and 5).

While awaiting the pleasure of your arrival, I embrace you very affectionately in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Champagnat

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