Father Ricard had suffered from poor health in France, and those who knew him were surprised at the choice of this man for a physically challenging mission. Eugene, however, could not think of a better person to send to found the USA mission. He reflected in his personal diary:
Letter from Fr. Chauvet. He gives me an account of the health of Fr. Ricard. The doctor assures me that that all we have to do is raise his spirits and that the trip will do him good. Here we have the reassurance about the health of this dear Father in the necessity in which I find myself of entrusting to him the great mission of Oregon.
At this tremendous distance, a man is necessary on whom I can count for regularity, the upholding of the rule and the good direction of subjects whom I am in the process of entrusting to him. Of this calibre I have only Fr. Ricard available. This will be my justification to those who might be surprised by my choice of him.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 13 January 1847, EO XXI
Pascal Ricard’s character and missionary zeal led him to overcome his poor health and to be a dedicated and courageous missionary.
“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” (Billy Graham)
Dear God, teach me to be able to focus on what is important and eternal in my life today.
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