From the time that Eugene was 9 he had been in exile outside of revolutionary France. Most of the ensuing eleven years had been spent with his father – seven of them without his mother who had left them to go back to France. When Eugene returned to France at the age of 20, one of his main preoccupations was to try to bring his father back and to reunite his family. Fifteen years later he succeeded in bringing his father back to France – but never to re-unite the broken family.

It is thus easy to understand Eugene’s suffering at the passing of this important figure in his life.

What a fine end to his life! But what martyrdom for the poor son whom God called to be with him to exhort him to face death! Such suffering is unspeakable and it took nothing less than the sight of so many virtues, and confidence in the reward and the glory which would follow immediately after this painful and agonizing separation to be able to bear it.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 20 October 1820, O.W. VI n. 54

Rey fills in the picture:

Especially at the moment when his father died in his arms, he could not separate himself from the lifeless body and for several hours he held and kissed it while sobbing…

Fr. de Mazenod, who had administered to his father, presided at his funeral and completed this moving function with a noble and dignified firmness.

Rey I p 256 – 257


“Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”  Anonymous

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am reminded of the phrase “A Heart As Big As The World”. This was yet another example of how much Eugene “loved”, this man who became in a very real sense a father to so many. Eugene who gave his all, who gave his love so completely. For Eugene, having to let go of his father even though he knew and believed what was in store for him was incredibly hard and painful.

    “Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” Anonymous What an incredibly consoling, inviting and hope filled image! There is so much there. Putting out the lamp which has kept the darkness at bay, letting go and allowing yourself to just be in the “darkness of faith” (RR). Trusting that the dawn is truly coming.

    I ask myself if I have truly put out the lamp – what can I let go of today? How shall I allow the dawn to fully come? What attitudes can I let go of so that so that new light comes into each of the interactions I will have today? How shall I be a witness to the light of God’s love and life in me?

  2. John Mouck says:

    just a few thoughts of no particular relevance…

    I remember when my dad died. I was married and had my own family by then. He and my mom lived in a tiny apartment on Queen Street in Toronto. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I got the call from the hospital that I should go there. I watched them unsuccessfully try to revive him. I sat alone (my mom had stayed home because she was not well herself) in a rather nice little room they gave me in the hospital – with a phone. After reflecting on the moment, his life, our relationship for the longest time, it was for me to call (on that phone that had been staring at me) my mom, my wife, my brother, and my three sisters to tell them Dad was gone.
    I am closer to my dad in death than I ever was while he was alive. He was a bit of a rogue and so never around much when I was growing up. But when he was around, I admired him in spite of his errant ways. He was loving, the consummate gentleman, and loved to entertain. I was/am certain he is so much happier now. I know he felt like a failure – never a success financially, never accomplished his goal in life.
    How much like my father I am – except I have found that elusive peace.

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