Twenty year-old Philippe Dumolard had joined the Oblates and was making a positive impression on the Oblates who knew him. Within a few months of his becoming a novice he fell seriously ill.
Our Dumolard gives us anxiety. I doubt that he can recover from this frightful malady although yesterday and today he is a little better. It is truly a pity. Pray for this child who never stops edifying us and who, without doubt, would have greatly helped our family.
Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 15 April 1828, EO VII n. 298
As his condition worsened, he was allowed to profess his vows and make his oblation on 28 June. A few days later, Eugene wrote:
The Lord has just call to himself our very dear brother Philippe Dumolard, who retained consciousness until the very last and, profiting from this, added to his merit. One of his last prayers was to St. Joseph for the preservation of all his brothers: “St. Joseph,” he said, “obtain for all a long life,”
As for me, I ask only for a death similar to his. He had evidently been called to join us only to die in the perfection of religious life. He renewed his vows several times in the course of the morning, the last of his mortal life. He died in the sweetest peace of soul, without experiencing a single instant the slightest terror, suffering with heroic patience from the horrible torments of the searing wounds with which he was covered; so I have no fear that purgatory is for him; however you will discharge the duties that are imposed upon you by the charity of our holy Rules.
As the affectionate father of the family, Eugene suffered at the death of each of his Oblate sons.
Pray at the same time for me, who feel ever too keenly such blows. Humanly speaking, we suffer a great loss; his spirit was as good as his heart; but how advanced in heaven!
Dumolard had joined the Oblate community in heaven – becoming another point of contact for the missionaries with the communion of saints in the fullness of the Kingdom.
He is another intercessor, another link in our mystical chain. Adieu.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 9 July 1828, EO VII n. 306
As we read these sentiments, we are invited to think of all our loved ones who have gone before us nd consider each of them as someone who prays for us as a “link in our mystical chain.”
“Baptism is not only a sacrament of our union with Christ; it is also a sacrament of our communion as the body of Christ.” Michael Horton