Eugene’s willingness to give the sacraments to a prisoner condemned to death went against the attitudes of many of the local priests and authorities who were still entrenched in the principles of Jansenism.
That good Father Lagier, all entrenched in narrow minded thinking, was already stunned when he heard me speaking the other day and assured me that he would never have dared to do it, that the very thought of giving Communion to that poor condemned man would never have entered his mind.
To enforce the idea and put him on guard against some insinuations of certain priests, directors like himself at the Major Seminary, who heard me and said nothing, I recounted to him what I did for the famous Germaine who was guillotined at Aix in 1812 or 13. Tears came to the eyes of those priests when they heard the account of the admirable dispositions of that woman to whom I gladly gave Communion on the very morning of her death and who received it with better dispositions than perhaps any of us has had when we went up to the altar. God’s grace made her a hero of virtue.
It is not possible for me to refrain from recording somewhere the details of that beautiful death and the holy preparation that preceded it. I told those priests that the present chaplain of the Conciergerie at Paris fully professes the same teaching on this matter and does the same as I did for poor Germaine. To put Father Lagier at ease, I ended by telling him in the presence of Father Arnaud, the Vicar General, to do as I have done.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 14 July 1837, EO XVIII