In grief, who do I allow to stand by me as a support?

Eugene describes the last hours of Marius Suzanne:

I believe, dear friend, it has been a long time since last I wrote you. My hours, my days and my nights are spent beside our blessed patient who accomplishes his sacrifice with heroic dispositions. Everyone is intent on gathering his every word while I am occupied with meditating on the holy Virgin’s sufferings at the foot of the cross whereof until this day, I have had a very imperfect idea.
To the malady which is taking away this beloved son and which would have led him, it seems, into eternity without too great suffering, is added an inflammation of the bowels and of the stomach, a continual hiccup which nothing can relieve, and frequent convulsions, etc., which rank him amongst the martyrs. He can, this dear child, feel all these pains, for he remains fully conscious and communicates to me all his agony with a rending of soul which is inconceivable while repeating to me a thousand times, with the most tender accent, these words: “My good father” which sooth him and pierce me, for indeed that is what I am, good father, and that is what kills me, being on the point of losing so good a son, a being whom I have always cherished more than myself.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtés. 29 January 1829, EO VII n 323

Later, Eugene wrote:

We have just lost this very day at two o’clock in the afternoon our very dear and very precious Fr. Suzanne. All his qualities are known to you; but what you have not been able to admire, as we have, are the sublime and heroic virtues that he constantly showed forth in the course of the long and cruel illness which took him away from us. In the state of desolation in which we are, I have only time to commend him to your community prayers of intercession.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 31 January 1829, EO VII n 324

“Go and keep company with Jesus in His Passion, and with His Sorrowful Mother.”

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Wow many times over. This morning I am filled with wonder and gratitude. There are small arrows that pierce me – not with pain but into a sense of sudden awareness of my own being, my own being and that of others beside and with me.

    Marius Suzanne who allows Eugene to stand with him in support as he suffers so greatly – aware of Eugene beside him and finding comfort in that. Eugene’s awareness and truth of himself as he states his love with a ‘heart as big as the world’.
    Eugene who loved so greatly, his many sons. And his adopted sons and daughters. A very small jab to the heart but then the thought of adopted – chosen. Eugene himself mentions Mary at the foot of the cross. Again adopted, for Jesus on the cross gave Mary to all of us. Mary standing there, absorbing somehow the pain in a way, sharing it. She has become and is such a powerful and comforting model and friend to me. I share my struggles and sorrows with my family, my community – who support me. It is to these that I go to be with.

    My community, close by and extended. It is not just I, but more of we – Marius Suzanne, Eugene de Mazenod, friends and community, Mary and Jesus on the Cross. It all goes back to Jesus on the Cross – crucified – risen.

    There is a song by Ian Callanan called Comfort My People, haunting, short, beautiful. It runs through me this morning.

  2. Peg Hanafin says:

    What a beautiful reading about suffering and the presence of Eugene. Reminding us also of the power of Mary at the foot of the cross. Lovely thoughts for teflection on our own sickness.

  3. Fr. Gasper James OMI says:

    It is wonderful experience to be under the Cross of Jesus along with our tiny cross(s). It is the realization of GLORY through the CROSS and then cross (s).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *