How the members of the youth congregation reacted to what they thought was Eugene’s “imminent death.”
As soon as I had arranged for the sacraments that I thought would be the last I would receive in my life to be brought to me, the news was communicated to the college. Immediately all the congregants spontaneously asked to leave class and went in haste to the Church of St. Jean from where Holy Viaticum would be brought to me. They were given candles, the prefect and the vice-prefect got hold of lanterns and at the departure of the cortege they lined up two by two immediately in front of the priests. The whole town has told me that one could read on their faces what was going on in their hearts at that moment when they saw themselves as being in danger of losing the best and dearest friend they had.
I attribute to their recollection and to the touching spectacle they presented at that moment of their piety towards God and their affection for me, as much as the interest of my fellow citizens, this extraordinary affluence of people that took place when I was administered to. The state in which they saw me, the difficulty I had in saying some words before receiving the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, hurt them greatly; they were all the more sensible of my situation as in the few words I was able to offer my concern was for them, but their unease reached its height when they were informed that I had lost consciousness two or three hours after receiving the Sacraments.
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation ,
May 1814, O.W. XVI