Writing to Marius Suzanne, Eugene described his personal suffering as he accompanied his 12 year-old niece towards her death.
Oh! I would wish you to be beside me in the sadness in which I find myself! It grows every day since my arrival; although I never had any illusion about the state of this poor child, I nevertheless could not prevent myself hoping in the saints who were being invoked with so much fervor on her behalf God, to whom alone it belongs to know what is useful to his creatures, has judged otherwise than our wishes would have desired.
The fate of the child is only too obvious; but it is distressing and beyond my strength to see her slowly dying. Her patience and sweetness are admirable and would render her endearing even to wild beasts; but she suffers much…
That is where we are now. As for me, I cannot stand it. I go, I come, I want to be beside her; when I am with her, I cannot remain. The child and her mother, who has prodigious strength and courage, pierce my heart each in turn through and through. Yet I do not heed myself. I had baptized this loveable child, it is I who have administered her; I have given her holy viaticum and extreme unction. Who could have told me that on the day of her baptism? It is against nature, this poor nature that is laid low.
Letter to Marius Suzanne, 25 June 1825, EO VI n 188
“God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.” Oswald Chambers