Newsletter of the District
“I am walking
for a missionary who is about to give up”; “More, Lord, for souls!”
Such words were uttered by souls who understood profoundly the mystery
of the Communion of Saints. These souls were truly great missionaries
at heart because, although eager to go out after souls “to the uttermost
parts of the earth”, the two souls to which I refer here, were never
able to fulfill physically their desires.
The first word
quoted is from St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a young Carmelite
who died at the age of 24 and never left her convent. She was nevertheless
proclaimed, along with St. Francis Xavier, the great Patroness of
all Foreign Missions by Pope Pius XI, 70 years ago, on December
14, 1927. One of the bishops who most ardently urged the Pope to
add such a jewel on St. Therese’s crown was saved one tragic day
by that very word we have quoted.
Falaise, born is Lisieux, France, joined the o.m.i. and enthusiastically
reached his assigned missions with the yet unconverted Eskimos in
the early 1910’s. One day, exhausted by the daily marathons of
30, 40 miles of walk in the snow, he fell flat in the snow, discouraged.
As he laid there, asking the good Lord to take him to heaven, his
faithful guardian Angel reminded him of that episode when, having
forced herself out of bed, a few weeks before her death, St. Therese
had made that heroic sacrifice: “I am walking for a missionary who
is about to give up.” Father Falaise, twenty years later, at the
thought of such act of virtue done exactly for him, gratefully mixed
a few tears to the snow, got on his knees and caught up with his
Eskimos. He became their very first Bishop, years later.
The other quote
given at the outset of this editorial was said by our young Father
Henry La Praz (+ May 21, 1993), priest of the Society of St. Pius
X who died at the age of 34 after undergoing more than 130 operations.
(For a brief account of his life, read “Todo-Nada” available at
any good book store near a traditional Mass Centre, or from our
own Aquinas Book Centre).
end of his life, Fr. La Praz went from hospital to hospital. Once,
he was in a home for terminal cancer patients. He was recovering
from his chemotherapy and suddenly he began to have absolutely terrible
headaches: it was a bacterial meningitis. The doctors decided to
transfer him to the Lausanne University Training Hospital. The
nurse in charge of the transfer told the following occurrence :
she had started to pack all his things and once they were ready,
she had wanted to place Fr. La Praz on a stretcher to put him in
the ambulance. The movements that he had to make tore from him
a cry, the pain was so acute. It was really a cry from his nature,
followed immediately by a cry from his priestly soul: “Lord,
more, for souls!” Moved by this reaction the nurse replied:
“Do you not think that you are suffering enough?” For an
answer she heard: “More, Lord, for souls!”
for souls!” St. Therese, Fr. La Praz were real missionaries.
The heart, the soul of a missionary is his burning fire for the
conquest of souls “Da mihi animas - give me souls, my God
Da mihi liberos, alioquin moriar - give me spiritual children,
otherwise I shall die.” (Gen. xxx, 1). Our modern world is
self-centered. The real missionaries were soul-centered, because
they were Christ-centered. “Mihi vivere Christus est - To
me, to live is Christ.”
Let us be missionary:
at home, at school, in the bus or the airplane, at church even,
by seeking to draw souls closer to Our Beloved Saviour. And if
we are bed ridden, or house ridden, then let us think of St. Therese,
Fr. La Praz and others like them who proved to us that charity is
not lazy. “The Charity of Christ presseth us.” (II Cor. V, 14).
God grant you all a truly abundance of graces at Christmas.