Father Fabre’s description of the last moments of Eugene’s life:
From four o’clock in the evening until half past nine, Monseigneur prayed and made us pray; he asked that we pray the rosary, which he followed while holding his with a deep faith.
–Do I still have long to live? he asked the doctor repeatedly during his last visit. Oh! how I would like to see myself dying, so as to well accept the will of the good God!
Several fathers came successively to visit him: he smiled at all, but he only wanted to pray. Around nine thirty he asked that we pray the prayers for the dying. We hurried to do what he wished; Fr. Tempier himself, moved and broken-hearted, fulfilled this painful duty. We proposed to Monseigneur to chant Compline with him; he willingly agreed. The final hour had arrived. Oh! you should have seen him raising his arms whenever there was a verse in keeping with his situation : in pace in idipsum dormiam and requiescam – in manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. If only you had seen him lifting his eyes to heaven when we said Nunc dimittis; his beautiful face radiated happiness. We paused a little to give him a few moments of rest. But the final moments approached; and we had to move more quickly.
We were all there, his family in the person of his venerable sister and of his nephew the Marquis of Boisgelin, an admirable person in intelligence, heart an devotion, the Bishop of Cerame, the Vicars-general, the secretaries, three Assistants-general, two Fathers of the Seminary, two Sisters of Hope, all his servants – we were all there to witness the death of the just man.
We recited the entire Salve Regina, which our well-loved Father understood and followed fully. At the words: Nobis post hoc exilium ostende, he opened his eyes slightly; at each invocations: O clémens, o Pia, he made a slight movement; at the third: O Dulcis Virgo Maria, he breathed his last. His beautiful soul was in the presence of God.
Standing close to his bed, Fr. Tempier recited with deep emotion, the Profisciscere; at the supreme moment we all said: Subvenite Sancti. We sprinkled holy water on our beloved father for the last time, and we all knelt close to the bed that he had just departed from, praying, weeping and, above all, we were happy. The good Lord had given us the grace of seeing a just man die, and to express all that we owed him in affection, in devotion and in recognition. Our brothers in heaven had to now take their place around his soul and accompany him in triumph to the throne of Him whom he had so loved and so well served.
Circular Letter to the Congregation 26 May 1861