Cholera had ravaged Marseilles for 111 days with a death toll of thousands.

God has been glorified in the public prayers we prescribed. The doctors were forecasting a frightful recurrence of the disease, and instead, as if to mock their predictions, God has sent it packing with a puff of wind; the epidemic came to a complete end with the novena of solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. For me and all those with faith this is a clear miracle, more marvelous than that of the resurrection of a dead person. If the Holy Father is unaware of these things, you might speak of them, believe me you will not be guilty of exaggeration.
The two processions of the Blessed Sacrament, on the first and last days of the novena, each lasted five hours. My uncle, in light of his 85 years, left me to preside over the ceremonies. There were twelve thousand people, torches in hand, in the procession; and on the square, where the final benediction was given, more than eighty thousand people. You can just imagine the effect of so many voices during the “Tantum ergo,” in that huge church with the heavens as its cupola, and stretching as far as the eye could see; tears streamed down people’s faces. From that moment I knew we were being heard.
It is a fine compensation for my sufferings to see God glorified in this way, so many souls converted, and our town healed by these all-powerful means employed by infinite mercy.

Letter to Bishop Frezza in Rome, 27 April 1835, EO XV n 177

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I idly wonder how many people who read this account today will question the numbers as I did secretly in my heart. Surely those numbers must be exaggerations. But slowly I begin to ask myself why it could not be possible. Man alone could not have stopped what was happening in France with the cholera. And I don’t believe it was just ‘running its course’ and then magically stopped.

    I think of a young woman who becomes pregnant, who carries the discomfort that comes with the new life growing inside of her. I think of her great period of pain and struggle as she gives birth and the natural radiance of her being as she holds and looks at her newborn child. A miracle – for all the scientific knowledge in our lives that new life is a miracle. And she sees “God glorified” in that way.

    Eugene in some of his darkest hours, continuing to serve and love, to dare and to give all that he had for the victims of cholera and for those who remained behind. His faith and that of some of his coworkers calling people to gather to come together and pray, to come together and give praise to God. Many of them might have come out of sheer desperation or agonizing fear. The ‘why’ did not matter – the miracle was in their coming and allowing God to touch them, transform them.

    Eugene gave all the glory to God.

    My prayer for today that we all become bearers of some small miracles, and that we all, in some way, are touched by the ‘all-powerful means employed by infinite mercy’.

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