Final Words to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Towards the end of his life, Eugene had become very free. Faced with the prospect of the cardinalate which had been promised and which slipped away from him because of political considerations, he had this to say: “After all, it is all the same whether one is buried in a red cassock or a purple one; the main thing is that the bishop gets to heaven”.
Shortly before his death on May 21, 1861, in keeping with his temperament, the elderly and seriously ill bishop said to those around him: “Should I happen to doze off, or if I appear to be getting worse, please wake me up! I want to die knowing that I am dying”.
His last words to the Oblates were a testament that summed up his life: “Practice well among yourselves charity, charity, charity, and outside, zeal for the salvation of souls”. Saint Eugene died on Pentecost Sunday to the prayer of the Salve Regina, It was his final salute on earth to the one he considered as the “Mother of the Mission”.
Pope John Paul II reflects on Saint Eugene de Mazenod
Canonization Celebration – December 3, 1995 – Rome, Italy
“We are living in the second Advent of the world’s history. Eugene de Mazenod was a man of Advent, a man of the Coming. He not only looked forward to that Coming, he dedicated his whole life to preparing for it, one of those apostles who prepared the modern age, our age.
Eugene de Mazenod knew that Christ wanted to unite the whole human race to himself. This is why throughout his life he devoted particular attention to the evangelization of the poor, wherever they were found.
By patiently working on himself, he learned to discipline a difficult character and to govern with enlightened wisdom and steadfast goodness.. His every action was inspired by a conviction he expressed in these words: “To love Church is to love Jesus Christ, and vice versa”. His influence is not limited to the age in which he lived, but continues its effect on our time.
His apostolate consisted in the transformation of the world by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What Saint Eugene wanted to achieve was that, in Christ, each individual could become a fully complete person, an authentic Christian, a credible saint.
The Church gives us this great Bishop and Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate as an example of heroic faith, hope and charity.”