A YOUNG MAN’S LIFE IS CHANGED NOT ENDED

Eugene writes about the life and death of one of the members of his Youth Congregation

Death of Mr. Fortuné Sallier 18 years old. The merit of this young man was not known sufficiently. I take it on myself to pay him a very justly merited testimony. And if perhaps in praising the dead I cast some shadows on the living, it would not be difficult for me to show that his merit exceeded that of others in keeping himself constantly in a state of virtue and very great virtue, until his last breath.

We are given a glimpse of Eugene’s youth ministry:

I have often gone out of my way to attract the confidence of young people and lead them in the ways of goodness. How often has it resulted that I had nothing for my pains. Sallier owed solely to his own good will and desire to do more good the advantage of belonging to the Congregation and being directed by a priest who consecrated the first years of his ministry almost exclusively to the sanctification of youth.

Eugene describes how this young man approached him for spiritual accompaniment because he was unhappy with the guidance given by the priest at his school.

My surprise equalled my admiration at the sight of this young man’s candour and the innocence he had been able to preserve amid so many dangers, deprived of all helps. From that moment I revered him as one predestined, not thinking however that he was destined so soon to take possession of the Kingdom the Heavenly Father had prepared for him. Timid and cold in appearance, he was none the less constant in his resolutions, and his fidelity to the practices of piety his situation allowed stood up to the strongest trials. 

Sallier became seriously ill and died while Eugene was in Paris. As Eugene remembers him in his Diary of the Youth Congregation, he stresses:

Let there be no mistake about it, we have one more intercessor in heaven. The Congregation paid him its last respects in the accustomed manner. The service could not be held until November 27, but we did not wait for that too far distant day to perform the suffrages for him, for as we know as well as the indulgences and communions laid down in the regulation, the Congregation gets six Masses celebrated for each of its members at the time of his death.

Diary of the Youth Congregation, 1 November 1817, O.W. XVI

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~Mark Twain

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