It is a wonderful and perfect autumn day, seventeen hundred years ago. Three merry boys scampering over the Etrusean plains, on their beautiful Arabian 'horses, their grooms wildly flying after them, on less nobly born steeds, in case their young masters should come to harm.
They had been riding perhaps for half an hour when they saw coming down a cross road beyond them a large flock of sheep, which were in charge of three shepherds.
These poor men, seeing six horsemen galloping towards them, at once fancied them robbers, and fearing for the safety of their sheep, tried to turn the huddling flock back home to safety.
The boys saw their fear and rejoiced at it.
"Ah, so they take us for low robbers, do they? We, the sons of the nobles of Rome. Well, let us act up to their fancies.''
Thus spoke one of the madcaps.
No sooner said than done, all galloped boldly into the midst of the flock of sheep, scattering them everywhere.
This made the poor shepherds terribly angry, and fearing they would lose all their worldly possessions, as these flocks were all they had to provide for wife and little ones, they desperately charged on the laughing, shouting horsemen and thrashed them well with the thick sticks they all carried in their hands.
This was more than the boys had bargained for, so, leaving the angry men and frightened flocks, they galloped once more on their way to Rome.
Just as they were reaching the city, a Numidian slave came running towards them and handed a small scroll to the boy Marcus; there was no paper in those days, remember, children.
The boy unrolled it, read it, and at once his face became pale.
"Why, I am too young for such an honor."
"What is it, Marcus?" said the other two, as they brought their horses close to his side.
"This scroll is from mine uncle Antonius, and he tells me I am named by the Emperor 'prefect' of the day while the consuls and magistrates are at the Latin games !”
"Hail to thee, prefect!" cried his two young friends, while their attendants gave the boy a respectful salute.
But Marcus did not seem too pleased.
"How can I be a judge! How can they, the people, respect a boy of sixteen!"
Tejus, one of the boys and a great student, at once dipped into past history.
"Well, Marcus," he said, "why should thy youth frighten thee? Was not Tiberius Caesar a public speaker at nine years of age! and Caesar Augustus a master of the Horse at seventeen years of age! Was not Titus an officer of the treasury before he was eighteen, and the great Julius Caesar a priest of Jupiter at fourteen! Why should not you, of royal blood be rightly a magistrate of the city at sixteen!"
"Well, friends, I will do my best, young as I am, and I take as my motto through life — If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it."
Oh my children, what a noble motto that Roman boy of seventeen hundred years ago chose; what a splendid one for all the boys of Our Lady's Magazine to make for theirs!
As the youths reached Rome, they were met by the uncle of Marcus and a band of honor for the young magistrate; thus he was escorted to his uncle's palace, that good, kind relation who was soon to be Emperor Antonius.
Soon our boy was called upon to exercise his powers as a magistrate as judge of Rome. And what do you think was his first case, children? You shall hear:
"Most noble prefect," said one of the court messengers, "there is a herdsman without that demandeth justice."
"Bid him enter," said the prefect, and there came into the court one of the shepherds the three boys had been chasing a few days before! And a long, wonderful story he had to tell about a band of terrible highwaymen, who had most cruelly robbed himself and his companions.
"Robbed them, sayest thou!" asked our youthful magistrate.
"Yes, great prefect; they took from us about forty sheep, leaving many of us half dead on the road."
"Couldst thou identify these robbers, thinkest thou?" asked the magistrate.
"Most certainly, great lord," was the answer of the shepherd; "there were three principal ones at the head of a crowd of riotous followers."
"Ha! is that so?" said Marcus; then, calling his young comrades, who most fortunately happened to be in the hall at that time, to him, he stepped from his official chair and placed himself between them.
"Were your terrible robbers anything like us?" he demanded.
The man, seeing how his lies would now be discovered, tried to run away, but the magistrate sent men to bring him back. As he stood trembling before Marcus, the young magistrate said: "You come here for justice, and that you shall have for the fright we three gave thee and your companions in our boyish play. We must pay you, each of us, one hundred sestertii, and for the lies you yourself told I will fine you three hundred sestertii, which you will put into the public box for the poor of the city."
How the shepherd's eyes shone when he heard the first part of the prefect's speech, for it seemed a great deal of money to him; but his expression changed considerably when he found his lies and unjust accusations were to be punished also, and after the three boys had paid their fine to him he had to put the whole of the money into the poor box at his side. He left the court a sadder and a wiser man.
The days of Marcus' magistracy were ended when the great festival came to a close and the older magistrates had returned to the city and to their duties, and our young hero gave up all the orders he had worn as a magistrate, together with the ruler's fine dress, and retired quietly to his mother's home, bearing with him the thanks of the judges, the approval of the Emperor and the applause of the people for the manner in which he had performed his duty.
He was an extraordinary boy, this young hero, and spoke like a philosopher before he was out of his teens.
You boys of the present day, think of this boy of sixteen, sitting in the midst of a mighty Roman circus, on a Roman holiday, the fourteenth of March in the year 138, in the post of honor, as judge of the races and to award the prizes to the victors, and amid all the shouting and excitement around him remaining calm and unemotional, for in his writing he has left us this thought — "Never get over-excited, it darkens the judgment" — and if the people like those expensive and cruel plays and amusements (for there were fights with wild beasts, as one of the shows), they must have them, till we can educate them up to something better.
Our hero saw one of the tight-rope dancers fall from a tremendous height to the floor, and vowed in his boyish mind that if ever he had the power he would always order nets to be placed a little way from the ground to catch the players, should they fall in any of their difficult and dangerous performances; and remember, whenever you go to the circus and see the nets spread under the performers of tight-rope dancing, that its use dates back to the order of Marcus, the boy magistrate, seventeen hundred years ago.
As the young magistrate was leaving the circus a great shouting arose — "Ave Imperator! Ave Caesar!" — and as he reached a beautiful temple, dedicated to Castor and Pollux, twin deities at that time worshipped by the Romans, flowers were flung under and before his horse's feet.
"What means this noise?" he asked of one of his friends who rode near him. But the only reply his friend would make was to repeat the cry: "Ave Imperator! Hail, oh Emperor!"
Then Marcus knew he had been named for this great honor — he, a boy of sixteen! Of course he was of the royal family, but so remote, he never fancied he would ascend the throne.
A slight flush tinged this wonderful boy's cheek, but that was all the emotion he would show; and, bowing to the people as they hailed him Emperor of Rome, he hurried to his own home and buried his head on his weeping, happy mother's shoulder.
'"I lose a son, but gain an honest emperor," said she.
"No, my mother," said Marcus; "that thou never canst, for though I have to leave this dear home for the palace of the Caesars, my heart is still here with that noble mother who has taught me all that I ever knew!"
History tells what a noble emperor this boy made, for Marcus Aurelius Antonius was one of the grandest pagan emperors that ever lived, and has left behind him writings that might have been written by some of our greatest saints, such holy, pure and noble rules of life they are.
This glorious character never was a Christian, and yet almost every rule of his life was Christlike. Here are two of his rules:
"Never revenge thyself upon thine enemy; if thou doest any mean or wicked deed to him, thou makest thyself even as he!"
"Let me do my duty in every state of life in which I may fined myself, so I shall live an humble and good life, and be ready to die without undue fear."
What a noble boy, what a noble man, preserving, as has been said of him, in a time of awful wickedness, a nature sweet, pure and self-denying, he teaches all alike, boys, and men.
And what a wonderful career his was, unsought honors and titles showered upon him: At six years of age made a knight of the Equestrian Order; at eight years one of the priests of Mars; at twelve a rigid Stoic; at sixteen a magistrate of the city; at seventeen a revenue officer; and finally an emperor.
He was beloved and honored by all, this boy hero of ours, and all I have been telling you about took place seventeen hundred years ago, a little more than a century after the Christian era began.
I have told you this story, boys, to let you know what a boy can do when he trains his mind properly; when he is full of high and noble thoughts and conscientious in the fulfilment of every duty. It is not likely any of you will be called to fill such high places, but every one of us influences a certain number of people for good or bad, and I hope none of my dear children of The Rosary Magazine will ever forget this awful truth. We can not live for ourselves alone, and our example may be the means of making or marring lives.
HISTORY OF THE BOY MARCUS, OF ROME.
THIS is the way it began. When Sarah Wilkins was about twenty years old her father lost his money—all he had. They lived in Canada, near Quebec, and he still owned his farm, but he had endorsed for a friend and the friend had made a mistake in speculating, so all the money two farmers and their wives had saved in thirty years was lost. They were in a terrible way and could do nothing but sigh and groan.
Sarah was a good, hard working girl, and nobody expected any special help from her, but one morning she woke early and finding she had an hour more to sleep, or think, she concluded to think. "Why," she said to herself, "should we all be so unhappy. Father and mother and neighbor Jones have lost all their money, but they are, really, not worse off than they were thirty years ago, when, mother says, they were very gay and happy. It is surely not worth while to add to our trouble by being sad about it." She thought a while, and then said, aloud, "I have it."
Then she jumped out of her little bed and began to dress and talk to herself. "I have it! We must all make the best of it, and, as John says, 'if we can't be happy, be happy as we can.' It sounds silly but it seems to me it is sense after all."
In a little while her bright thought, and her cold bath made her face fairly shine, and down stairs she went with a laugh in her eyes and a smile on her lips. Farmer Wilkins was just going out to look after his cattle when his daughter came into the kitchen.
"Good morning. Father," she said, with the laugh showing itself in her voice, "if you will come back in fifteen minutes I'll give you a cup of coffee that will make you feel twenty years younger. Breakfast will be a little late as mother has a headache."
"Thank you, Sarah," said the poor man, looking at his daughter with some surprise, "that is just what I was wishing for, but it seemed impossible. Seems to me you look kinder chipper this mornin'. Anything special up?"
"Yes, and no," she answered with a smile. "I'll tell you when you come back for the coffee. I fixed the fire before I went to bed, and see how it's going."
As Mr. Wilkins departed for the barn he found himself actually giving the milk pails little shakes, apparently for the mere pleasure of a cheerful noise. He wondered what had come over Sally. Then he remembered all his misfortunes and by the time he came back for his coffee he was as solemn as a hearse again. Sarah met him at the door—the delicious fragrance of well-made coffee seemed to make a halo about her.
"Say, Dad," she exclaimed, "suppose we have all our breakfast now. You've been half an hour, and I've fixed griddle cakes that will cheer your heart."
"Cheer my heart!" he began. "It'll take mor'n that, unless filling my stomach will help my empty pocket."
"Come on, come on," cried the girl, "I've an all round new medicine! I've begun to take it, and between mouthfuls I'll tell you."
"Well," he answered, "I must say you're looking better than any of the folks have looked lately. Is it pennyrial, or is it sulpher and molasses, or what? I hope it ain't going to cost money."
Sarah poured his coffee on the good yellow cream and piled his plate with the real buckwheat cakes.
"It's just this, father; I woke early and some little bird must have told me how to cure our troubles. But to begin, tell me if this isn't a lovely breakfast, and yet we haven't paid cash for it? We raised the buckwheat, the sugar is from our trees, the cream from our cows."
"How about the coffee?"
"Yes, we did have to buy that; but we sold other things that made more than enough to pay for that."
"All right," he answered, "but what is your great medicine?"
"It isn't great at all," she replied; "it is so simple you will laugh, but it came to me that if we all agreed to look on the bright side we should all be happy, and things would soon begin to mend themselves."
This was the way it all began.
Two years after this "change of base" in the Wilkins family Sarah had married John Locke, a nephew of their neighbor farmer Jones. He was a blacksmith by trade, but one of those young men of whom it is said "he can turn his hand to anything." He and Sarah were lovers from the time when chewing gum was in order, also peppermints. This was at the district school, and while Sarah still had short hair and short skirts. When the hair went up and the skirts went down, and John was no more seen in jackets, it was understood by all the folks in the neighborhood how it would be.
They were to have been married just at the time when Farmer Jones went back on farmer Wilkins, but Sarah saw how necessary her little savings would be for the family, and so put off her marriage. In the meantime the rule of having " a contented heart as a continual feast" worked so well, the family all prospered, and Sarah was soon able to save for herself, and make up for giving her savings to help the others over a hard place.
During the waiting time—"waiting upon her," and waiting for her, (it might well be called "waiting" time), John had had occasion to go to different parts of New Hampshire, and he had noticed how many farms were more or less deserted. He was a good judge of all farming matters and saw that some of the farms had been well kept up, so there was often a great bargain to be found. He had his eye on several, but, finally settled on one in a town called Winthrop.
The town, or village perhaps I should say, is situated on a hill in the midst of higher hills. In the east we see the Temple Mountains, a little toward the west Mt. Monadune rises in its serene beauty, changeless but always changing. Other less important mountains and hills so high they might be included, are on all sides.
The village is chiefly on one street and just back of it is a pond nearly surrounded by groves of trees that repeat themselves on its surface. Here lovers walk, and children play, and older people dream of "the days that are no more." The summers here are almost perfect; the winters long for those who are not busy, but for our cheerful ones the weather mattered little. If it had its objections it always had advantages to offset them. And here John found a good saw-mill; and across the road a house that looked as if it were made for as many children as he hoped God would send them. The farm included the saw mill, house, about forty acres of land, and the beautiful "water power" that meant they would own falls that gave cheer and music all the year round. Here "cheerful Jack" was born. Even as a baby he was more ready to laugh and crow than anything else. He seemed to read a joke in his mother's eyes, and to see the funny side before he could talk. If he tumbled down he would look at the ground with great surprise, wondering why it hit him.
In the course of a dozen years six more little people appeared. Each one was welcome, especially to Jack. The days were all too short they were so full of work and happiness. But there came a time when Sarah and her oldest found it hard to see the bright side. Her husband was found, by Jack, one afternoon, lying apparently asleep near his mill. With the help of a neighbor Jack managed to get him home, and the same "friend in need,"—Mrs. Pickins by name —went to Foxboro, seven miles away, for the nearest doctor. It is a curious fact Winthrop is such a healthy place no doctor has ever been able to make his living there; but when one is needed, well, people must make the best of it and be thankful they are so rarely ill; or if things are very bad they can send to Foxboro. This was the view Sarah and Jack, "the cheerful one," took of it. No sighing over probable bills to pay. "Father must be looked out for first."
Jack could use his eyes as well as his hands and feet, and he just staid at home from his school and managed the mill and helped his mother till the fever took a turn for the better, and John Locke was able to be about again.
There were no dismal words allowed in that household and the fond husband used to lie and thank God for their happy voices and faces when he was almost too sick to speak. The rosy faced young doctor used to say: "these merry people will not need me much."
Soon after this several guests at the hotel in tho village were taken down with the same fever and this led to a sanitary investigation. The result was the finding of a bad drain. The comment at the Locke's house was, "rather hard on father, but wasn't it a good thing they found out the cause of the trouble?"
A gentleman was one day driving over from Dublin, and as he passed the mill and curious old house, he stopped to admire it all and concluded to make a sketch. So, fastening his horse, he climbed down to a place where he had a view of the tumbling falls that fed the mill. As he sat there for an hour or two working, he noticed the voices of children quite near, but evidently busy, and unconscious of his presence. Their joyousness impressed him, and he concluded he was thirsty and would like a drink, so he climbed up the bank and found himself in the midst of a merry crowd. As he spoke to the larger of the boys he was struck by the fact that he instantly took off his hat as he answered. It was a small act but it affected the whole of the boy's after life.
"I wonder if somebody would kindly bring me something to drink out of and give me some of this cool water?"
"Shall it be a tumbler or dipper?" said Jack, for we know who composed this crowd. "My mother thinks the water is perfect only when she drinks it out of doors from our cocoanut dipper."
The artist agreed with her, and thanking the children he drove back to Dublin without going on to Winthrop village.
That evening, after dinner, the landlord mentioned that he was much in need of an extra waiter.
"Why not try some of your country boys?" said a lady guest, "it is vacation and one would suppose they would be glad to earn the money."
"I'll tell you," answered the landlord, "there are plenty of boys but they have no manners; might as well bring in squirrels to wait on my guests."
The artist was listening and an idea came to him. "Col. Bagshaw, said he, "do you ever go over to Winthrop?"
"Why yes, often. Why do you ask?"
"Well," returned the artist, "I was over there to-day for a sketch, and stopped at the mill, just this side of the village, and while I was at work I listened to the chat of the miller's children.”
"The Col.,'' for so everybody called him, interrupted, giving his knee a vigorous slap.
"The mill! Well, I bet you've just struck it! You saw the boy they call 'cheerful Jack.' He's my man; just the one, and I'll offer such pay he can't refuse. Why, that lad is a buster. His father had typhoid fever, and if the boy didn't run the mill, and not a customer did they lose, and he isn't sixteen yet. It's the mother, although the father isn't bad; in fact he's another."
Here he jumped up and gave a whistle that brought a smiling darkey boy from the stable.
"Jeff, put the gray horse in the buggy and bring him round soon as you can."
Away went the landlord and two hours after he was back with our friend Jack, who with his laughing eyes and rosy cheeks and merry ways was soon a great favorite. As a waiter he was perfect after two days' "breaking in." He worked till October, when most of the guests left.
Among them was a Mr. Marston, a banker from Boston. All summer he had noticed Jack, whenever he was in Dublin, and that was at least once a week. He had a plan in his mind but he did not mention it even to his wife, although she often called his attention to the boy.
One day he went over to see Mrs. Locke. He told her his plan and made a good offer for Jack. She thanked him and said they would talk it over and send him his answer the next day when Jack would be over.
The next morning bright and early Jack was in Dublin. Mr. Marston came down to breakfast rather late, and Jack waited upon him in the pleasant way he had of making those for whom he did anything feel it was a pleasure to him to serve them. After breakfast, when Mr. Marston and Jack happened to be the only ones left in the dining room, Mr. Marston turned to Jack and said:
"Well, Jack, how is it? Are you going home with me?" "You will be surprised, Mr. Marston, at my answer, for I know quite well what a generous offer you have made me; and my father and mother heartily agree with me. But I have always felt that the oldest son ought to stay at home and follow his father's business, and that he is the one of the crowd, if there is a crowd, who must be the first to care for them when they are old."
"Yes," answered Mr. Marston, "I quite agree with you on general principles. I only wish I had a son who could take my place when I give it up, but in this case I think you would stand a fair chance of gaining, in time, the place a son would have had."
"Mr. Marston," cried Jack impulsively, "have vou seen my brother Harry?"
"Only for a moment one day. He looks like you. Why do you ask?"
"I'll tell you," he answered. "Harry and I are as like as two peas in a pod; everyone says so. Do you think you could give him the chance?"
Mr. Marston laughed. He was impressed by Jack's unselfishness and also amused by the idea of taking "the next pea."
"This is a view of things I really didn't expect," he said, "but if you will send Harry to see me I will give you my answer to-morrow."
Harry came, and as Jack said, he was truly like another Jack. Mrs. Marston liked him better in one respect.
"He has an air, a style about him," she told her husband, "that will be a great help to him, and especially if he should, as you suggest, become, after a time, like the son we have dreamed of, but never had, he would fall more easily into our city ways."
So it was settled; and Harry, not Jack, went to Boston. It was a curious decision for a boy to make, but Jack was a true and natural philosopher.
"What a person ought to live for," he said to his mother, "is, you have told me fifty times, to be as useful and as happy as possible. I should like to stay just where I am and graduate at the high school next year. You see I love books and I am sure to read, and we have a good town library. Then I like living in the country. Harry is always longing for the city. I'm not. I hate to think, even, of the noise and smells, and rush and confusion. Here I shall live with you and father and the children, till I get ahead and we add to the mill and the farm. I do not care for anything happier than to stay here, and bye-and-bye I hope to find a dear little wife and have my own home. How lovely it all sounds."
There was another reason why Jack wished to live in Winthrop. It was a "growing place," on the whole, and those who were coming in were mostly of two classes: "Summer people" and French Canadians. Sarah's mother was French, and a good Catholic, and so were her children. John Locke had no special religion when he married Sarah, but after their marriage he felt quite sure he had found the secret of her goodness and he concluded that what made her so happy would do for him. So in this as in all else they were of one mind and heart. But the Catholics in Winthrop were having a hard time, and this was Jack's second reason for staying.
They already formed about one-third of the population, but they were generally poor, many of them not well educated, and he knew he could be of more use by staying and giving the best of himself for them, than in going to join the great city crowd, pulling and pushing for money. At least this was the way it looked to him.
His father was a man whose influence was good in every way. Jack was having a better chance than he had ever had in the way of schooling. This would help them both. There was a fine library belonging to the town. The building, and most of the books, were the gift of a man who lived in Winthrop when he was a boy, and never lost his interest in the town. He made a fortune in California, and afterwards met and married a very lovely French lady. She was a Catholic and so were their children; yet in this library there were no Catholic books, and there were many Protestant books no good Catholic would care to read. This was a sore subject with the Lockes, and to change this was one of the plans working in Jack's busy brain.
"No," he said to his mother one day, "I have no wish to leave Winthrop. I am happy here, and I can be of use here. How do I know what I should be or do if I went to Boston?"
"You are a good boy and the joy~of my life." she returned, "but I do not like to think you may be sorry when it is too late to change your mind."
However, things seemed to settle themselves. As Jack would not accept his offer Mr. Marston transferred it to happy Harry. And, later, Jack became a prosperous farmer. He married a woman he had loved from the time they were children, like his father before him. John and Sarah are the grandparents of many little people.
And all those streams of happiness began with the resolve of a good girl to make the best of things and look on the bright side.
In the city of New York there are today hundreds of criminals who are all directly descended from one notoriously bad woman. There was, probably, a time when she chose to go wrong instead of right in what may have seemed a small question. God only knows when the consequences of her wickedness will end. But we have this consolation: if the effect of one bad act may seem endless, the same rule applies to a good one.
How many among our young readers, I wonder, have ever pictured to themselves how our Blessed Mother looked as a little child?
Reading in a quaint old book, the other day, I came across a beautiful description of the dear Virgin as she appeared, at the age of three, on the occasion of her Presentation in the Temple. I shall try to give it to you in ordinary, nineteenth century English.
The little Mary was possessed of a very delicate beauty: Her hair was of a light golden color, slightly curled; her eyes were " as the eyes of doves," soft and mild, and full of holy light. Her lips, as had been prophesied of her in Solomon's Canticle of Canticles, "were as a scarlet lace, her cheeks like the pomegranate." Truly, she was "all fair," and there was " not a spot in her." She was tall for her age, and at this time knew how to read.
This Presentation in the Temple was a very important and solemn ceremonial. Before the entrance, a procession formed, in which first walked the holy Saint Anne, mother of the child; next followed the lovely child herself, clothed in a robe and mantle of heavenly blue, her arms and neck encircled with garlands. In her hand she carried a taper ornamented with flowers.
On each side of her walked three little girls carrying the same kind of tapers, and dressed in white robes embroidered in gold. They, too, wore garlands of flowers. About the manner of Mary there was something very holy and touching.
Upon the arrival of this beautiful procession, some of the attendants of theTemple threw open the great" Golden Gate," upon which bunches of grapes and wheat were sculptured. Fifty long, steep steps led up to it. The Blessed Anne turned to assist the baby feet up the steep ascent. But the little maiden, sweetly smiling her thanks, rejected the proffered aid, and full of joy and delight, rapidly tripped up the steps, all by herself, to the amazement of everyone.
At the "Golen Gate" she was received by the priests, who unbent from their usual gravity to smile kindly upon the artless child. Off in the distance was to be seen the altar, before which knelt a group of white-robed children playing the flute, the harp, and the kinnor.(harp)
The little Mary was led to a temporary altar, just erected without the partition, upon the steps of which she humbly knelt. Her father and mother extended their hands over her head, after which the priest cut off some of her curls and burned them in a brazier. (stand for lighted charcoals) Thus Joachim and Anne offered their child to God.
Then the priests placed a brown veil upon the Virgin's head, and she, turning, descended the steps, and was conducted into another room where six young maidens of the Temple came to meet her, casting flowers before her, while their companions played upon their musical instruments, and sang so sweetly that their voices sounded like the angelic choirs.
After this came the moment of parting between parents and child. It was a sad moment for the human hearts on both sides; for Mary loved her parents deeply, tenderly, while they, and they only, knew how desolate would be their home, now that the light of their eyes, the loved child of their old age, had gone from them. So Anne, and even Joachim, wept bitter tears; for although they had offered their gift to God willingly, and with all their hearts, yet when the parting came it was hard, very hard. But the tiny, childish hands caressed them softly, wiped away the tears from their dear eyes, gently kissed their bowed and silvered heads, and tenderly whispered words of consolation,—words, such words as she, and only she, can ever whisper to sorrowing hearts.
At length the resigned but still sorrowing parents took their departure, and Mary, now fully received as a Virgin of the Temple, joined her future companions and the company of holy women who were set over them to guide and instruct them. In honor of the coming of their new companion this was made a fete day for all the young maidens. A little feast was served up to them, and they were permitted to amuse themselves as they might wish, with music and laughter and song.
In the evening, Noemi, the holy woman into whose especial care Mary had been given, conducted her charge to the room, or cell, which was to be hereafter her own. It was very retired, and just opposite the Holy of Holies.
This small cell was plainly and poorly furnished. The bed was merely a stuffed rug, usually rolled up in the day-time, and at night extended upon the floor. In the middle of the room stood a table, on which had been placed a plate of berries and a pitcher of milk. A niche in the wall held a lamp, and just beneath it was a stool, upon which we are told the little Mary was accustomed to stand while reading some prayers from a great roll of parchment.
The Virgins of the Temple were accustomed to rise, once during the night, to pray. Mary begged Noemi to allow her to rise three times, but in vain. No doubt the careful mistress thought that a child of such tender years needed all the sleep possible. Then the baby lips petitioned that she might be allowed to make her bed on the bare floor, instead of on the thin rug. Already that loving heart which, in a few short years the "Sword of Sorrow" was so cruelly to pierce, burned with the desire to suffer for her dear Lord and Master.
But this request was also refused. The child protested no more, but meekly and sweetly obeyed.
Her life was one of prayer, study, and work. Every day she read and studied the Holy Scriptures; she spun, she wove, she knit, she washed the linen and cleaned the vases, and glorified her humble tasks by the beautiful spirit in which she performed them.
Everything she did was done peacefully, quietly, and in the most simple, humble manner. But her wonderful holiness could not long remain unobserved.
First it excited the admiration, and then—shall we say it?—the envy and jealousy of her companions. They treated her coldly and unkindly, and made her suffer keenly and bitterly. In the end, their hearts were conquered, however, by the sight of her unexampled sweetness and patience under their unkind and" most unjust treatment.
The account of this trial of our most Blessed Lady's girlhood would alone make a story in itself. Perhaps we shall tell it to our young readers some day.
THE LITTLE CHILD MARY.
TWICE our Blessed Lady appeared upon earth, sweet with the loveliness of heaven and radiant with its glory, twice she appeared holding in her pure hands a string of beads, the Rosary we ought to love so well.
Once, the first time, she came to a holy man named Dominic, St. Dominic he was. He was trying to do a great work; but day after day he was failing instead of succeeding.
What was he trying to do? To keep Catholics in the true faith when powerful ones around them were trying to lead them to believe things about God and their religion that were not true. And he was trying also to bring back to the right way those who had been led astray into believing these untrue things.
He was preaching day after day, and teaching in between the sermons, and arguing with those who would not be convinced without argument; and in the nights when others were sleeping he was praying, praying, praying, now on his knees, now prostrate face on the ground, now standing with hands uplifted to heaven, or outstretched like a cross, and yet all that he was doing seemed about to end in failure, souls would not come back to the only true way of serving Him.
Sometimes, boys and girls, when we are all discouraged, and almost ready to give up the good work we had begun, we force ourselves to go to God just once more in prayer—and we get just what we want, for that is the prayer of real perseverance and fat in God's powers. Perhaps in that prayer we see that we did not succeed because we were not doing God's work just the way He wanted it done. It was so with St. Dominic.
That day when the holy man was praying, all discouraged wit his own efforts, our Lady parted the clouds of heaven and came: him and showed him a new way to pray and a new way to preach. And one of the strangest things about the lesson he learned that day was this: that with simple, humble means easily in our reach God will help us to do great things for His glory and the salvation of souls. And another beautiful thing the lesson taught him was that though simple and humble and near us God's way may be. we may not ever find it out excepting in prayer.
Ever so many people in those days were using strings of beads to count their prayers on, and all holy people were thinking when they prayed about how our Lord came to save us, and how he lived and suffered on earth, and how He is glorified in heaven. But now even St. Dominic saw how beautiful a prayer it would be to put these holy thoughts about Jesus' joy and sorrow and glory together with the string of beads while counting their "Our Fathers" and "Hail Marys."
Just as God long before sent the angel Gabriel from heaven to tell our Blessed Mother how the Redeemer was to come to earth, so now He sent her very self to St. Dominic to tell him how to put the holy thoughts of Him and the string of beads together and to make of them a prayer that would last as long as the world, and would do wonderful things that no other prayer had ever done. And she told him that he must teach the people that prayer. Just as soon as St. Dominic began to pray himself upon the beads in the new way, and to teach the people to do the same. explaining the life of our Lord in the tender, touching mysteries, instead of preaching eloquent sermons, he began to conquer. People in thousands came back to God. to love Him and serve Him is the only true way. the way the Catholic Church teaches.
This was all long ago. Nearly seven hundred years ago it was that our Blessed Lady came to St. Dominic. But it is not yet fifty years since she came again with her Rosary beads, this time to a little girt, a poor little girl, named Bernadette. I was going to tell you about her. and of the sweet visions when our Blessed Mother appeared, always with the Rosary in her hands or upon her arm. But some one told the story to the grown folks in the March number, and perhaps you have all read it. If not, do read it, boys and girls. The name of the beautiful true story is "Bernadette," and it begins on page 285 of the March "Rosary Magazine." Although written for grown people you will find that the words are easy and the sentences simple. Sometimes you may find a big word that may bother you; when you do just go to the dictionary and, as big people say, "look it up."
When our Lady came to this little girl named Bernadette, she told her to pray for sinners; and as she said the words she pointed to the beads that hung on her arm. Was she not telling her how to pray? How to help God in the great work of saving souls? Next month we shall begin to tell you just how we can help God by using the blessed little string of beads that we call a Rosary.
OUR LADY’S COMING
History of Our Lady of Lourdes Confraternity of the Rosary,1876.
SISTER RAYMUNDA'S STORY.
Aquinas.LUCY! LucyColton!"SISTER RAYMONDA’S STORY
The girl turned at the low call in the familiar voice she knew and loved so well. "O Sister, you are here with us again! Oh, I am so glad!"
The bright young face was lifted, and either cheek felt the pressure of Sister Raymunda's.as she greeted with a warm embrace, and "the nun's kiss," the young girl whom she so tenderly loved.
"I came early, Sister, to see if you were here,—you had not come yesterday. Oh, Sister! it seems as though I could ' offer up' anything but the trial of never seeing you again. The suspense has been terrible. Mamma says she has had no good of me during vacation any more than during school time, I am so wrapped up in you."
"Lucy!" In the voice, in the eyes that looked into the girl's, pleasure and reproach were mingled. Lucy was quick to catch both.
"You are pleased that I am so fond of you, but you fear I love you too much, Sister Raymunda?"
"No, child, I do not wish you to feel that—" a far-away look was upon the nun's face. "No, child," she repeated, " it is not how much we love, it is the way we love, that counts for or against our happiness here and hereafter."
"You mean, Sister,-"
"I mean, Lucy, that perfection consists in doing the will of God, and that 'duty ' is that Divine will expressed in one word. Do not let even the love of a nun pain a loving mother's heart. Do not let a companionship that brings you the sweetness of God. tempt you even in thought from a post that gives you God Himself. He awaits us, Lucy, where duty lies."
"Why do you say that, Sister? Sometimes it seems as though you could read deep down into my very life. Mamma told me only yesterday that it would be a good thing for me if you did not come; that I was so wrapped up last year in my love for you that to please you was the highest motive I had in doing anything."
There was a tremor in the girl's voice; the uplifted eyes were moist with gathering tears. "Sister," she continued, " I did not contradict mamma, but I feel that, instead of its being so, it is, rather, only since I have known you that I have had a higher motive than love for my teachers and desire to please them in doing the best that I could. You lifted me above that. You taught me to do my best for God— no matter how little the work might be. Don't you remember your first religious instruction in class, two years ago, now, Sister? I do, oh, so well! It was on purity of intention—"
"Yes; and a serious faced young lady came to me shyly, afterwards, and asked for 'some more instruction on doing things all for God' “ broke in Sister Raymunda, a half playful expression banishing for a moment the far-away look.
"And you did, Sister; and life has been so much—greater ever since. It is no wonder I love you, Sister, and grieve for you when you are gone, and watch so anxiously for your return that I am good for nothing, and no help to anyone—not even my mother." The concluding words came with a jerk and a look upward at Sister Raymunda.
The uplifted eyes, so full of love, met not the expected loving glance in response. A pain caught the ardent young heart. The nun, loved with a love unmeasured, seemed, if the girl might judge by the expression of her face, to have totally forgotten her. Had she been listening at all to her outpouring of affection?
The girl might well question, for the nun's heart was in prayer and in pain. "Now, at last, dear Lord, do I thank Thee, not blindly as for long years, reading not Thy purpose in Thy painful permission—" ; but she withdrew herself forcibly from her retrospection. "Come, Lucy," she said. She caught the girl's hand in one of hers, and with the other parted the drapery of the little oratory of St. Thomas Aquinas, for they were standing at the end of the school corridor near it. Lucy felt the hand clasping hers tremble.
"Sit down, child, I have a little story to tell you."
Lucy obeyed, caressing the large Rosary at the nun's side, and wondering at her strange manner.
"Lucy, I once knew a young girl—none knew her better than I, save God alone—whose home life was, in comparison with yours, with many another, a worldly one. It was a home full of tenderness, but God's name was seldom mentioned there. In this young girl's heart there were yearnings she did not understand, that she never understood until the Sisters came to the city and opened an academy there. It was a school that from the first drew pupils from the highest classes, and this young girl was sent there—because it was 'fashionable.' It was her first meeting with Religious, the first realization of the existence of a life lived apart for God, with God. The yearnings of her heart had a meaning at last. "There was in that school a young nun, her teacher in music, who became more to her than all others—more than I have ever been, more than I could ever be to you, Lucy,—though in the same way many times have I striven to help you. This nun read at once the aspirations of that ardent young nature in its unsatisfied longings for God and unworldly things, and by many a tender, helpful counsel did she strengthen them. Not many words of human affection did the girl speak, but every tendril of her heart, reaching out to God, circled itself around the human friend that was teaching her the things of God, till mother-love lay buried beneath this love, home duty beneath the joy of this presence, in which the young girl basked by day, of which she dreamed by night, in which she wrapped herself up in longing during times of separation. The agony of suspense during vacation, not knowing whether or not the loved one would return, was terrible to her.
"She was not blameless in this, for, oh, how often her angel guardian would whisper to her of a mission at home! how often he would suggest, in the angels' way of beautiful thoughts, to repeat to the dear, worldly mother some of the good nun's helpful words! Had she opened her heart to the nun on this point, surely she would have warned her of danger, and have counselled her aright. But the nun was young, and over zealous, perhaps, and her own life had been all spent in the convent,—she was an orphan, and at the age of sixteen had at once passed from the boarding school into the cloister. God, you see, had never led her by the way where await countless duties, little and great, to home and parents, brothers, sisters, friends. She measured the urgency of her pupil's call to God's special service by her own.
"There came a day, like the past days to you, Lucy, when suspense became unendurable—no, not that, God never gives a cross that is unendurable; there came a day, I should have said, when she would bear the cross of suspense no longer, though but a week remained before the beginning of the school term. Her family was at its country home, and she had arranged a trip to the city ‘ to see if Sister was back for the coming term.'
"The morning dawned brightly ; the girl was in nervously high spirits, but her mother said suddenly, pleadingly:
"' My daughter, will you stay with me to-day? I don't know why I ask this, but I feel—' "' Mamma, dear, let me go,' she interrupted, half pleadingly, half pettishly. 'Ask me to give up anything but this! I must go! I feel as though I couldn't live without knowing if Sister is back!'
"Till to-day she can see her mother's sad, yearning look, as she met her child's refusal.
"'Mamma,'the girl continued, 'SisterColette has been more to me than any other human being. Much as you love me, mamma, and have done for me. it was Sister Colette who taught me to know God, and to love Him. I owe it to her to be there, the very first of her pupils to greet her, and this is the day set for her return, if she is coming at all. And there is something in my heart I must say to her.'
"' Well, child, I shall never stand in the way of what you feel is your duty. God forgive me if I have failed in mine your reproach is all too well merited. God grant there may be time for amends! But’ - the mother pressed her hand to her heart as though in sudden pain 'if I am spared,'she added, 'you will teach me, and together we will know, love, and serve God. Give my greetings to the Sisters, and God bless you, my daughter!'
"At once came to the girl her guardian angel's warning whisper —duty, which is duty? to go or stay? and again,—Sister Colette would bid you ' stay.’
"The first great battle of her life was waging; a victory awaited her,—did she gain it? Lest the counselling voice might speak too loudly for resistance, she hurriedly kissed the pleading mother, and hastened to the train.
"A half-hour more, and, weak from emotion and suspense, and with a violently beating heart, she heard the portress' gentle reply:
"' Yes, Sister is here.'
"A few moments more of anxious suspense, and her cup of joy was full. "A heart to heart conversation with the cherished young nun, a presentation to the Mother Provincial then on her visitation ‘a few moments' earnest conversation with the calm, quiet, elder nun, whose matured judgment could decide so well for young hearts, and elated, the girl heard these words:
"' Child, I think you have a true call. But you are very young yet—life holds for you many duties, perhaps. You tell me your mother is, happily, still living. The religious life is one of His counsels; but the love and service of a parent is one of God's commands.' "The girl started—she had been trying to deaden the guardian angel's whisper—duty—stay, -and the nun's words woke them unto new life. Had she been wrong? "' But when spiritual direction has fully sanctioned your call,' the Mother Provincial continued, 'when you are free to leave the command for the counsel, child—our Sisters know you long and well, and I say freely, come to us,—our hearts and our convent doors are open then to receive you. But remember always that God has His times, and means, and ways, and that His are the best.' "There was a knock at the door, and the prioress of the house, calling the Mother Provincial out, held a swift, brief conversation with her. Returning, the Mother laid her hand tenderly on the young girl's shoulder, saying, softly: 'A messenger calls you home at once; a carriage awaits you at the door—'
"A frightened look, a pain at the heart, an intuition, a swift recalling of her mother's words,—' My mother!' the girl cried.
"' Has been taken ill—not seriously, God grant! child; but she calls for her daughter. Go in God's name, and may He ever guide you. Courage and hope and prayerful trust in Him will bring all things aright. And remember, child, that there is no better preparation for a future good religious life than a faithful doing of present duty, a loving acceptance of present pain and sacrifice.'
"They had reached the end of the garden walk. The young girl was borne swiftly homeward; nor in her sudden grief and fear did it ever enter her mind that for the first time she had crossed the convent portals without a good-bye to her cherished nun.
"Lucy, the dear home-mother's first ' God bless you ' was the last: Heart disease had done its deadly work; a loving glance of recognition was all that awaited her. Priest and doctor had been hastily summoned; a servant's hands had prepared all for the coming of the Divine Guest, and held the crucifix to the dying lips, while the child for whose presence the mother had pleaded as with a foreknowledge of what might be, was seeking God in ways and hours of her own choosing. And, Lucy, this sorrowful remembrance tempers every joy of her religious life to-day.
"Lucy, do you know why I have told you this story?"
Both arose; their eyes met. There was no need for words. Teacher and pupil knelt a moment at St. Thomas Aquinas' shrine, the gong sounded the hour for assembling in the classrooms—a new year of school life had begun. But no lesson of the year would bear for Lucy more precious fruit than this. And as her love for her dearest human friend grew more perfect, it grew, if that could be, more tender, more loyal, for she felt that a page of that dear friend's own life history had been given into her keeping. And on her heart seemed written these words: It is not how much we love, it is the way we love that counts for or against our happiness here —and hereafter.
Mrs. D.A. MunroI WANT to direct your attention for a few moments to the particular season in which are now—the holy Season of Lent. We are recalling the most awful sufferings that ever were endured, and 1 the most beautiful character that ever was unjustly or cruelly treated.LENTEN MEDITATION
True, this was nearly two thousand years ago, and He who was so ill-used has been all that time reigning in Heaven, as man as well as God, and in glory with His Father. All suffering and sorrow for Him is over forever! But, my children, those past sufferings endured for us should never be forgotten. Oh, how the blood flowed down from the fearful wounds He received! How the thorns were forced into His tender head, and how the dirt, and slime, and filth, flung at Him by those vile wretches, covered His cheeks! His clothes were torn off, and He stood almost naked before them, and was laughed at and insulted; His eves were bandaged and after each blow, they asked Him, jeeringly, "Now tell us who struck Thee!'' And He endured all this for you, and me, and countless millions besides us, that our sins might be forgiven by God, and that His fearful sufferings would open the gates of Heaven to us. And He who could have had legions of angels to strike down those wicked men, just lifted His heart to Heaven, and while they were insulting and hurting Him, prayed for His murderers!
What must have been His Blessed Mother's feelings at that time?
How she must have remembered His birth, and the awful words the holy man told her when in the Temple she held her beautiful boy in her arms, and holy St. Joseph held the two little cooing, snow-white doves, for an offering.
These were the words the holy man said as he took the baby from His Mother's arms: "A sword shall pierce Thy heart also." This he said with his eyes fixed on the fair, young Mother!
The sword had indeed come, and Mary, His Blessed Mother, gazed at His awful sufferings with her eyes blinded with tears!
I wonder what other man ever endured such unmerited agony, without a word of complaint!
And all this had been told of Him hundreds of years before, by one of the great prophets of God.
And this was what was said: "As a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth! He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."
Now, in this holy season of Lent, I want my children to think of all these terrible suffering's of Our Lord, and it is only part of what He endured I am telling you about now.
I want you to realize, as perhaps you never did before, what Jesus suffered for you, you individually, remember, and I want each child to think what a fearful thing sin must be, to have the Son of God to leave the glories and bliss of Heaven, and tread this earth for thirty-three wearisome years as a poor working man, not a gentleman, remember,children, but a poor working man! And the greater part of that time He was but a carpenter making a living for His Mother and Himself, for His foster father, St. Joseph, is said to have died when Jesus was about sixteen years old.
Now think of what a life for the King of Heaven; think of what a life for the only Son of God! and remember that whole life of sorrow, poverty, and suffering was led because He so loved us that He took this awful penance on His shoulders that we might find mercy with His Father in Heaven. Some one had to suffer for our sins so that God could forgive, and that somebody had to be spotless and pure, never having sinned; and und (sic) He was the only fit one (sic) to take upon His own shoulders the weight of our terrible sins and receive instead of us the awful punishment.
Now, children, I ask of you, can we do enough for Him after that?
Do we ever lift up our hearts to Him and thank Him for all He did for us? Do any of my dear children realize how He deigns to value human love? To a great saint He once complained in a vision, and this is what He said: "I love the love of my children on earth, and wish more would love and think of and pray to me."
Think of this, my dear children, and during this holy season let your hearts be often raised to Him. The youngest and meekest of us He will listen to, and our prayer can be a very short one: "Help me love you more, Blessed Jesus, for all yon suffered for me"—that is enough.
And in the midst of His glory, in the midst of the adoring worship addressed to Him by His angels and saints, He will hear through their hallelujahs and songs of praise, which fill the courts of Heaven, the little voice of the child He loves, saying, "I thank Thee, Lord, and I love Thee."
Then just a word more to my dear ones: I fancy each boy or girl might do something for Him in Lent. If mamma gives money for candy, put a few cents by for St. Anthony's Bread, or any of the missionary works in our churches.
Suppose that we have a sick friend that is lonely, let us go and sit with that boy or girl and give up an hour's play or pleasure for their sake, and if we could take something-pretty to them to please them, and make them forget their pains or loneliness, oh, that would be commendable; or, if some companion has said a naughty thing about us; let us go and try to make friends whether he will or not.
And all these christian acts, and a hundred others springing from kind hearts, can be done in honor of the suffering and death of our Blessed Lord. Surely our guardian Angels will carry up these our prayers, kind words and acts to Him in Heaven, and He will send these Angels back to us laden with blessings, for He will say, "Inasmuch ye did these things to the least of these, my brethren, ye did them unto Me.”
THE LEAVES—A FABLE.
Livingston B. Morse.ALL through the long winter the tree stood with bared branches that clashed and beat against one another in the wind; but with the first warm breath of spring upon every twig tiny buds began to swell; soon these opened and the whole tree was enveloped in a mist of tender green that hung about it like a veil. After that it was not long before each leaf had grown to its full size and was ready to take its place in the world.
Very inquisitive were the little leaves when they took their first peep at the great world: and many were the idle questions they asked of the tree: —
"Where are we to go? What are we to do? What is it like?" and hundreds more that sounded silly enough to those who knew the answers; — but you must remember that they were only little leaves, and the blue sky, the pleasant showers and the sweet spring air were all new and wonderful to them; — not at all an old story as they are to you and me.
"Yes. yes; don't trouble about that", said the Tree; "you will find it out soon enough."
"But what is it all?" they asked. "What is what?" said the Tree. "This, that we see all about us; and the gaiety."
"Ah, yes; that," said the Tree, "that is the world, where you are to live out your life and work to the end for which you were created."
"And for what were we created, dear Tree? Oh, do tell us!" cried all the Leaves in a flutter of excitement.
"That each one finds out for himself without hunting about for it," said the Tree. "But one thing I can tell you; it is not all pleasure and brightness by any means. In this big world that looks so fair to you there is plenty of work, aye — and sorrow as well. All that need concern you, however, is to do your duty as well as you can wherever you may be, and not to worry for what you cannot have."
The Leaves were amazed to hear this: — the beautiful, bright world not always gay! Oh, no! surely that could not be true;
"What are we to do here?" the light and the brightness and they whispered to one another that probably the Tree was mistaken about that part. Their chief anxiety was to find out what part they were to play in the life about them, and all through the long summer days they rustled and laughed together and were as merry as merry could be. Birds came and built their nests in the branches, and reared their young and flew away; flowers sprang up and bloomed and withered and died in the grateful shade at the Tree's base; and all the while the little Leaves were wondering and speculating upon the destiny that was to be theirs.
"This is all very nice," thought they; "but of course, it is only by way of preparation for the great deeds we are to do later on."
By and by it grew towards the autumn: the days became shorter and the nights chilly; and in the mornings the grass was covered with sparkling frost rime.
"Dear, dear, this is really most uncomfortable," said the Leaves; and they curled themselves together as well as they could and began to grow' brown and shrivelled at the edges. "Surely, now it must be almost time for our work to begin."
At last, after a very cold night, when the true frost had come, one little Leaf slipped from its stem and floated down to the base of the Tree. Another followed, and another, till the air was full of them, sinking down to the ground or whirling off on the wind which had shaken them free.
"Ah, now; this is something like!" they cried. "Now we shall travel; now we shall really begin to live! Is it not so, you old Tree who always look on the dark side of everything?"
"Soon enough, soon enough; time goes quickly without the urging. You will learn it all some day," said the Tree. And this was all they could persuade it to say.
Oh, what a merry time they had scampering after one another and whirling round and round in the wind till they grew dizzy. Now and then they would sink down to rest a little and go almost to sleep, when another gust would come and send them spinning round and round again, up to the sky, till they were quite worn out.
"Certainly this is pleasanter than staying on the Tree," they said to one another; "but one grows tired even of spinning about after a while. Surely it must be almost time for our work to begin."
One day a man came with a rake and began raking them into heaps. Two little children with red mittens and ruddy cheeks came with him and played at helping. They pelted him and each other with the leaves, shouting and laughing all the time. "What can this mean?" cried the Leaves. "Something glorious, or they would not take so much trouble. This must be the great deed for which we were created. Doubtless life will now begin in earnest for us."
After all had been gathered up, the man took from his pocket some matches, and bidding the children stand a little way off, he set fire to the heaps of leaves. How they crackled and burned, and how the children clapped their hands and danced for joy at the sight of the smoke and the flames, and kept piling on great armfuls to see them burn. And as each little Leaf crinkled up and died away in a little spark, there came from it a faint sight; — but it was so faint that the children did not hear it.
Finally all of them were burned; the children went away, and there was nothing left but a heap of gray ash.
The Tree looked down at it sadly: "Goodbye, goodbye, little Leaves," he said; "that is the end, — for all things must have an end, — and now you too, have learned it.”
SEASONS Time lapsed
LEAVES - A FABLE
THE VULTURE OF BLESSED HUGUES OF VAUCELLES, AND OTHER LEGENDS,
Translated from the French*
By Francis D. New. A. M.
IF the majority of the great saints have all loved, more or less, animals, each of them has had his preferences, his favorites: this one was particularly the protector of domestic animals, that one the friend of wild animals, or ferocious beasts of the forest; but it must be observed that birds seem to have been the objects of a very special predilection. To the pious lovers of birds must be added the Blessed Hugues of Vaucelles.
One of the most fervent and exemplary monks in the monastery of Vaucelles at the beginning of the thirteenth century, was Hugues de Villa, at one time dean of the church of Cambrai. He was distinguished by the nobilty of his birth and his talents, as well as by his eminent virtues. The fear of being raised to some bishopric made him take the resolution to bury himself in the monastery of Vaucelles, where the regularity of the first followers of St. Bernard was faithfully preserved. When the project of the pious dean became known, many persons of quality came to beg him to give them a magnificent vulture which he possessed. He refused, concealing his intention until the moment of his entry into religion.
He arrived at the gates of the abbey with his pet, which had been for him whilst in the world an innocent amusement, and of which he wished to make a generous sacrifice. Breaking the cord which held the bird captive, he gave it its liberty, addressing to it these words with the most touching naïveté: "Bird, here I give thee freedom; release thyself, and go forth to enjoy the peace of liberty!"
It is also related of this holy monk, and says Thomas of Cantimpre, "I have heard it myself from the mouth of several who were the witnesses of it," that during his novitiate birds used sometimes to come and fly familiarly to his hands, and eat the bread crumbs he held therein. 'Hie master of novices, doubtless to try the virtue of his innocent disciple.bythwarting him in this innocent pleasure lightly reproached the blessed Hugues. 'Hie good religious immediately sent away the birds which were flying around him, saying with that simplicity which marked his whole conduct: "Go away, birds, and be not surprised that I force you to depart: my age and condition demand that you obey me, and not that I obey you."
In contradistinction to the birds of Blessed Hugnes, it is a weazel that we find in the legend of another blessed of the same century, the Blessed Jordan of Saxony, of the Order of St. Dominic.
The Blessed Jordan of Saxony, so called because he was born in Saxony, where his family occupied a high social position, was one of the most celebrated preachers of the 13th century, which counts so many eloquent ones. His oratorical successes placed him at the head of his Order, and the notable conversions which he made in France as elsewhere, acquired for him during his lifetime a most extraordinary reputation.
Men, the Bollandists tell us, were not the only ones to be led captive by the charms which God gave to his servant's word. One day as the Brothers were in advance of him on a journey, after quitting Lausanne, a weazel paused before them. The Brothers having stopped near the hole into which it had disappeared, the saintly man, who was following, said to them: "What are you stopping for?" "A pretty little animal," they replied, "has run into the hole." Then bending down to the earth, he called: "Come out, beautiful little animal, so that we can see you." Immediately coming up to the mouth of the opening, it raised its little eyes to see the holy man, who placing it on one hand stroked with the other its head and back, which it allowed him to do. Then he said to it: "Now return into your little house, and may God your Creator be blest." It obeyed directly, and disappeared.
The Blessed Jordan had but a glimpse, so to speak, of the weazel in this legend,—just time enough to fondle it and give it his blessing. St. Humility, his contemporary, had also her weazel, but here were veritable friendly relations between the saint and the little animal.
Humility was a saintly widow who became a recluse at Faenza, in Italy, after her husband's death. For twelve years she remained enclosed in her cell, adjoining the Church of St. Apollinaire. This cell had only two little grilled openings, one looking to the church, and which permitted her to assist at the offices and to approach the sacraments, the other looking on the street, through which she received the alms whereby she lived. As the biographer of the saint relates, "God sent her a little weazel which had a little bell at its neck. It entered Humility's cell and there it remained. When the saint prayed it rested at her feet, not moving; if any one gave it meat it would not eat it, but contented itself with nourishment similar to its mistress's, whom it kept faithful company for several years. But other recluses having installed themselves near the church, the little animal climbed up to the outer window, turned towards its mistress, as if bidding her adieu, let fall its bell, and disappeared never to return."
After the vulture, and the little birds of the Blessed Hugues, after the weazel of Blessed Jordan, and that of St. Humility, comes the wolf of Blessed Torello, likewise of the 13th century.
It is related how Torello, a hermit of the Order of Vallombrosa, one day, by invoking the name of God, made a wolf that was carrying off a child, imprudently left by its mother on Ihe banks of the Arno whilst she was washing in the stream, drop his prize. The child was suddenly cured of the wounds which the beast had made, and legend adds that from this date no wolf has ever dared to attack anyone in the district where the Blessed Torello is still held in great veneration.
Since we are treating of blessed ones, let us join the story of Torello's wolf and that of the wolf of Blessed Sanctes of Urbino, a Franciscan of the 14th century.
This holy monk, who was at first destined for a military career, had one day the misfortune, though in lawful defense, to kill one of his relatives, who had attacked 'him unjustly. Inconsolable, although not guilty, he entered the order of St. Francis, where in his humility he wished only to occupy the place of a simple lay brother. The Bollandists thus recount the story of the wolf:
"Ordinarily the humble monk made use of an ass when searching for wood in the forest. One day he put the animal out to pasture, but forgot to bring him in that evening. When he went in the morning to fetch him, he found the poor beast dead, and a wolf, his slayer, about to devour him. The saint bitterly reproached the animal, and commanded him to repair by his labor the injury he had caused the convent. The wolf obeyed, and during several years this new kind of servant, submissive to the rules of Sanctes, carried to the convent the necessarv wood.”
*The work from which these legends have been taken was crowned by the French Society for the protection of animals, and its author awarded a medal by the Minister of Public Instruction.
THE VULTURE OF BLESSED HUGUES OF VAUCELLES
A CHAT WITH THE LITTLE ONES.This is the time of the year when the command to love our neighbor seems easier to keep-than at any other time. We are not content with possessing good will to every one, but we tell each other of it, many, many times, in wishing, with hearty words and merry smiles, " Happy New Year."
Why is it, children? Have you thought about it?
It is because we have been thinking more of God's great love for us all.
You have made many visits to the churches, and have been told the beautiful and true story of how our Lord came into the world, a little, loving Child. I know your hearts are full of love for the Divine Infant, and you have made up your minds to be very good. Now, dear little girls and boys, you must be practical in everything, if you wish to keep " in earnest," and in nothing more so than in striving to keep resolutions. Children have so many trials that grown people call trifling. They do not seem trifles to you, I know; but did you ever think what good use you can make of these little troubles? They are lessons to teach you to be brave and unselfish, and if you bear them with patience, they will many times turn out to be joys in disguise. Then there is this to think of always: our Lord became a little Child, and sympathizes and understands, all children, in everything.
I read a pretty legend, in an old magazine, that I think you will like. It is about the time when St Joseph had returned to Nazareth, with Jesus and Mary, and was working quietly at his trade, that of a carpenter.
One day he received an order to make a cabinet, for which he would need a particular wood. He did not have it, but Canis, a soldier who lived near by, had a tree that would just make the piece needed. St. Joseph went to him, bargained for, and bought the tree. When he went to cut it down, Joseph took with him the Child Jesus. The soldier's wife had not been pleased when Canis told her the tree was sold, and when she saw St Joseph coming to cut it down, she went to prevent him from doing so. He reasoned with her, and after seeing how just his claims were, she stood by to watch the cutting down.
Just before it fell, her little daughter, who was only five or six years, came from the house, carrying in her arms a little Iamb, which she could hardly hold. As she saw Jesus, she stretched out her arms to Him, saying: "See the Lamb!" Her little playmate, being released so suddenly, ran towards the falling tree, and was crushed lifeless under it.
The little girl cried bitterly, whilst her mother heaped reproaches on St. Joseph as she lifted the lifeless little creature in her arms, saying not for a thousand such as he would she have had her child's lamb killed.
Jesus went to her and asked her to give the lamb to Him. At first she was about to refuse, but the pleading power of His wonderful eyes was resistless, and she laid.the lamb in His small arms.
He bent over it tenderly, and there He stood, a figure of the Good Shepherd. After breathing into its nostrils, He spoke to it, and lo! He gave it back to its youthful owner, living.
So you see, children, you can always go confidently to our Lord with all your plans, hopes, sorrows, and resolutions. Do not make too many plans or promises. I know one that you will not find hard to keep, and will make, not only yourselves, but all around you happier. It is, to be always cheerful. If you are disappointed, or cannot do as you would like, find the next best to it, and even on a rainy day be cheerful. Your Happy New Year will last then, a very long time, and God and your neighbor will love you.
A Chat With the Little Ones
IT was the day before Christmas, and very, very cold. As the knowing ones had predicted, this was to be an ideal Christmas, with its snow covered ground, to which Nature had not been impartial, having clothed every possible object with a garb of fairest white in honor of her Master and King, whose birthday she would so soon celebrate. Then with her magic wand she turned her gentle zephyrs into a prancing breeze that polished her pond and river mirrors, and kissing the cheeks of her loving children, sent the blush of health to every face.
As a direct gift from the Most High, each heart was thrilled with a strange unusual joy, which yearned to find expression in little gifts of love, thus fitly commemorating the great festival that would dawn with the morrow's sun.
It was about four o'clock, and a crowd of shoppers were surging through the stores on one of the principal streets of a large city.
On the street everyone seemed laden with bundles; the women and children smiling and happy as they thought of the pleasant surprise in store for the dear ones at home, and men who declared "they would rather go to Jericho than carry a bundle," were transformed, as it were, into a veritable Santa Claus, and instead of dodging down any of the back streets, were proud, it seemed, to be carried along by the happy throng, and when an acquaintance happened along they were really pleased to meet him, and with heads held high,—" I wish you a merry Christmas!" was the salutation on every side.
On the corner of the street, near the store of one of the largest dealers in Christmas novelties, stood a little boy looking at the toys displayed in one of the windows.
One glance at the torn coat, old cap several sizes too large, bare hands and almost bare feet, would convince you that he was an unconscious victim of poverty.
People had seemed too busy to buy papers to-day, and the poor child, discouraged at trying to catch the glance of even his regular customers, gave up the task, and with a saddened heart stood looking at what he didn't even dare to wish for.
Another newsboy soon came along, and seeing him gazing so intently at the pretty things, blurted out: "Say, Patsy, what's yer doin'—wishin' yer was a slight-o'-hand performer? Say! guess business was bad all 'round to-day; but you ain't onto ther game; never take out so many papers Christmas Eve, 'cause people don't care "bout what's goin' on, ther only thinkin' 'bout theirselves." His attention now being riveted on the contents of the window, "Some dandy things in there, ain't they? I wish I could have that gun, what'id you like?"
"Well, I don't know," he replied; the thought had not entered his mind,—" but I do think I'd like that picture book; see the little baby and its mother, and all the cows; somehow it looks like a barn, and I guess they're poor, and maybe they'd like me."
The other looked at him with wide-open eyes, while the expression on his face was one of mingled surprise and disappointment.
"Well, you beat all the kids I ever saw."
Just then the crowd was told to move on, and being separated by the jostle that followed, each started for home.
On the way to his dreary home, poor little Patsy could hardly keep from crying. He seemed to feel very strange to-night.
Until recently he had lived with his grandmother in a room of one of the poorest houses in the dirtiest part of the city.
The poor woman .had taken cold in the early part of the winter, and for want of proper care had died just three weeks before. As she was the only one the child had ever loved, he felt very lonely, now that she was gone.
He brushed aside a tear as he ascended the rickety stairs that led to his home, a single room that somehow never seemed so dreary as it did to-night. A bed of old clothes in the corner. two broken chairs, a table, and an old stove comprised the furniture.
Taking off his cap, "he proceeded to make the fire, and then went to the closet only to find that the bread was all gone, and as he had not sold his papers, his very heart-strings seemed to snap in twain. Throwing himself on his bed, he wept as he had never wept before.
"Granny, O Granny!" he cried, "I'm all alone down here; what will I do?"
After he had satisfied his aching heart with this burst of grief, the parting words of his grandmother seemed floating through his mind.
"Remember, my child, that you will never be any poorer than the little Infant Jesus. He was born in a manger, and loves to be with those that are poor. He died, my dear, for you and me," —and raising the crucifix attached to her rosary beads, reverently kissed the simple reminder of our loving Saviour, as with an effort she suppressed the sob that would arise.
As the child bent to imitate her, she laid her hand tenderly on his head, and raising her eyes to Heaven, said: "May God bless you, my child, and share with you the love of His holy Mother. Take these beads; they are all I have, but they have been the comfort of my life; keep them until your dying day, and remember that while you are faithful to the Rosary, the world may go against you, but God will be always near. I will soon be leaving you, dear, but in Him you have the best of fathers, and I'm sure our Blessed Lady will always be a mother to you."
As she was well prepared for her final journey, our dear Lord having come to her a few hours before by one of the Fathers, she closed her eyes on this world with all its misery, only to open them on the shore of eternal life.
This scene and many others passed through his mind, and sitting up, he wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his coat, and going to the table drawer, took out the old beads and began to look them over. "Granny used to say that anything I'd ask my Father in Heaven for, He'd give it to me," he mused. The old candle had now burned low, and as the room began to darken, he knew that soon he would be unable to see, so kissing the crucifix, decided to say his prayers and go to bed.
"Perhaps God wouldn't let it get so lonesome," he thought. "I guess I'll say the Rosary to-night. I can't say it like her, but I'll do the best I can."
Kneeling down and blessing himself, he said: " It's awful lonesome down here, Father; I wish you'd take me up there with Granny. People don't like me now, cause I don't belong to nobody. Its Christmas Eve down here to-night, and everyone's havin' a lovely time. I heard some of the little fellers as live in nice houses sayin' how they was goin' to hang up their stockins, and that Mr. Santa Claus was comin' round and bring nice things. I wish I knew him, p'raps he'd bring me that book I saw in ther window, and a pair of mittens, and,—lessee, what else: one of those boxes what has a little feller in it, pops out his head every little while; there's lots of things I'd like to have, but—" Just then a gust of wind swept through the old room, which was now quite dark; the fire had gone out, and as he looked around, he said: "I guess I'll go to bed now, God, but I'll hang up my stockin', and if it wouldn't be too much trouble, won't you please put somethin' in it; course I don't know what you have for little fellers up there, but p'raps the little Jesus will pick out somethin' nice for me."
As he had dropped a bead after every few words, he concluded that as he had gone through them all, his Rosary was said. And who knows but what his simple prayer was a chaplet of the most perfect roses, as it is not so much the words we say, as the faith with which they are uttered!
After saying devoutly his regular night-prayers, he blessed himself, and arose from his knees. Taking off one of the old stockings, he hung it on the corner of the shelf, and placing the rosary beads around his neck, laid him down, and as the wind howled through the cracks, the sad day went through his mind: the happy throng, the unsold papers, the bitter thought of being hungry and alone, and with a sigh he buried his face in his little arm, and cried himself to sleep.
# * * * It was Christmas Eve, and the home of Doctor Greene was ablaze with lights. Inside all was warm and bright, and as the family gathered around the tea-table, it was a pretty sight. Dr. and Mrs. Greene were a young couple, and with their only child, a boy of twelve, lived very happily.
The doctor's sister, a young lady noted for her many fine qualities, was spending the holidays with her brother, and with Leo and his mother had been shopping the early part of the afternoon. Each one had a secret, and not until the morrow were they to let it be known. For months each had been busy trying to think of something that would surprise the others, and to-night every mind was at ease.
As was customary with the family, they were to approach the Holy Table on Christmas morning, to receive the Author of all this natural and supernatural happiness. As the ladies and Leo had been to confession the latter part of the afternoon, about an hour after supper the doctor started for the church.
Doctor Greene had some fine gifts for each one of his family, among which was a double runner for his son, a pair of skates, a set of his favorite author's books, and other large articles, so as his wife helped him on with his coat, she whispered something in his ear, and on his way home from church he stepped in to buy some of the small articles, "just to fill up the stocking," as she had said.
He was coming out of the store when he heard a scream, saw the crowd gather, and then a pale-faced girl caught his arm and cried: "O Doctor Greene, help him!" He recognized her at once as the daughter of one of his poor patients, an old man who was subject to sudden sick spells.
The poor girl, after working hard all day, thought it would cheer his heart to go with her to buy their Christmas dinner, and also the coat which, through her noble self-sacrifice, was to be his Christmas present.
Immediately hailing a cab, the doctor, who understood the situation at a glance, assisted both of them in, and before entering himself, ordered the man to drive to their home, one of the worst houses in the slums.
By the aid of simple restoratives he had almost completely recovered by the time they reached home, and after lying on the bed a short while, he was as well as ever.
It had been brought on, the doctor thought, by the unusual excitement; and now that it had passed away, he was quite happy.
After admiring the nice warm ulster, into the pocket of which he had quietly dropped a coin, he wished them a very happy Christmas, and started for home.
As he descended the stairs, he decided, as he had a long walk before him, to light a cigar. Stopping to do so in one of the long entry ways, he thought he heard a moan. Holding the lighted match above his head, he peered into an old room, the door of which was open. Stepping in, he looked around, and the sight made his brave heart ache with pity.
Lying on a bed of rags was a poor child with a rosary bead around his neck, the crucifix held tightly between his fingers, and a tear apparently frozen on the little cheek.
He thought he had seen sad sights, but now he was obliged to wipe away a tear.
Turning to go, he saw the torn stocking hanging on the shelf, and a bright idea struck him.
Taking the toys from his pocket, he soon had the stocking bulging out, and placing it again where it was, with a heart somewhat lighter, started homeward.
Christmas morning dawned bright and clear. The bells were ringing merrily, and while the heavenly hosts with their divinely musical voices made the walls of Paradise ring with their song of praise, the earthly choirs were adding their tribute of love and adoration.
The early Mass was over, and while the majority of the congregation still knelt in silent prayer, others were gazing into the little crib where the Christ-Child takes us on the anniversary of His birth, that high and low may find food for the day's meditation.
But few remain now, and among them is little Patsy.
On awaking at the first dawn of day, his eyes turned immediately to the shelf, and there hung his stocking, not empty now, but filled to the brim. Was he awake?
He rubbed his eyes, and looked around the room to see if anything had happened. No, everything else was unchanged. His stocking had been filled, his prayer was answered!
Jumping on his feet, he quickly took it down, and from it took first, a jack-in-the-box—just what he wanted, but could not stop to examine it; a bag of candy, an iron engine, two oranges, a jackknife, and sure enough, there was the very book he had been looking for.
The poor child was completely overcome, and after looking again and again at each article, and counting them, he dropped on his knees, and if ever a thanksgiving was offered, it came from his lips at that moment.
What matter if he had not a crumb for his breakfast? God had given him a happy Christmas, and what more did he want?
Sitting down on the floor, he began to look at the gaily-colored pictures in the book, but the one that pleased him most was that which represented the Infant Jesus in the manger.
That picture seemed to recall something; what was it?
Granny used to tell him about it, and she took him to see it once.
Laying down his book, he tried to think.
It was Christmas morning, last year, Granny took him to church, and sure enough there he saw the little Infant in the manger.
A sudden thought came to him.
Jumping up, and hastily putting away the precious gifts in his pockets, he found his old cap, and started for the church.
Quietly slipping into one of the large pews, he sat apparently unobserved, while the joy that filled his little heart seemed to be reflected in everything he saw, and to him the whole world was attuned to music.
After everyone had gone, as he supposed, he somewhat timidly approached the rail, and said: " Good morning, Infant Jesus! I wish you a merry Christmas! I suppose you'd like to see my presents that came all the way from Heaven last night."
While speaking he had been eagerly taking from his pockets the treasured gifts, and now held them up, one by one, for inspection. "I thought I'd better come and thank you, and you can tell your Father they came all right. That little feller gave me a terrible fright the first time he popped out his* head, but I ain't a bit afraid now."
At this moment, hearing footsteps in the aisle, he said: " I guess I'll go now, but I'll come over some other day."
Among the few who had prolonged their thanksgiving that morning was Dr. Greene and his family. They were about to depart when they observed this little child approach the rail with softened tread, and partly out of curiosity, they remained to see what he would do.
Kneeling, as they were, within hearing distance, they were deeply affected by the child's words, and fully realized the fact that the truest hearts can be humbled to the very dust by the examples of undoubting faith which are found in little children.
The doctor was particularly interested, recognizing as he did, not only the child, but the articles he displayed.
As he turned to go, they met him in the aisle, and in the kindest manner began to question him.
When they found that he had no one to care for him, had not even the means to procure a breakfast, it was with difficulty that they suppressed their feelings.
"So you belong to nobody?" the doctor said, after a smothered ahem!
"Well, how do you think you'd like to live with me? You seem to be just the kind of a little fellow I like."
"Yes, dear," added his wife, whose mother's heart yearned to bestow on him that affection of which he was deprived, "we will try to make you truly happy."
The poor child looked from one to the other, while his little face was a perfect study as he tried to solve what seemed a great mystery.
The doctor's sister, who was very wealthy, declared she would give all she possessed to win the love of that dear little child.
Leo actually threw his arms around him, and hugged him for Very joy, and Patsy, who was somewhat bewildered by the sudden demonstration, returned the embrace with an affectionate squeeze, and as though to prove his thankfulness, he went around, and raising his little wan face, lovingly kissed each one, while his eyes spoke what his tongue could not tell.
To their home he went with them, and an hour later you would hardly recognize him. After having a warm bath and a suit of Leo's clothes placed on him, he was really a fine looking child, in every feature of whose face there seemed to shine the seed of a noble character.
Each one of the family seemed eager to wait on him, and left nothing undone to fill his cup of happiness, which already seemed overflowing.
As Leo and he went on a tour of inspection through the house, every inch of which he tried to convince him was a part of his belongings, the doctor's sister had occasion to remark: "There is no use in talking, John, you must let me have him. The dear child has completely won me. No change need be made, as I intend to make my home with you for the future.” The doctor had to give way, as usual, to the little lady, and it was decided that he would remain the brother of Leo, between whom a mutual affection had sprung, the only difference being, that the doctor allowed her this means of diminishing her bank account.
While the Christmas gifts were being displayed, gay was the chaff, and merry the laughter that went round the cozy room; but you may rest assured that none were more surprised, happier, or more thankful for what they received, than Patsy with his gifts that came from Heaven.
As the happy family filed into the dining room to do honor to the splendid repast laid before them, the place of the honored guest was given to little Patrick, who was delighted to see all the nice things, viewing for the first time a turkey with all its "fixins."
Patsy saw and heard many fine Christian examples in his new home, a religious atmosphere completely surrounding this truly Catholic family.
In the evening, when the family knelt as usual to recite the Rosary, from no heart did the beautiful prayer ascend with greater devotion than from his, the answer to his first Rosary having left on his heart an indelible mark which death alone could efface; but he never knew that his foster-father had been made the messenger of that still all-merciful God who had really answered his simple prayer.
It was the first snow-storm of the season, and all the school children were anxious to get out in it.
When Mr. Day's school was dismissed, there seemed to be not a boy nor girl who was not throwing snow-balls. But there was a boy who did not wait to throw snow-balls, as he had to run home to see if his mother wanted him, and then he had to run errands for the store-keeper around the corner.
"Frank," said his mother, for Frank Hoyer was his name, " I want you to chop some wood and bring some water, and after you get the chores around the house done, you can go out to play, but remember to go down to the store first and see if Mr. Grant wants you."
Frank gave a little sigh, and then went about his work; when he got it done he took his sled and went down to the store. The grocer did not want him, and so he started for the hill to have a slide, when he met a little girl, one of the neighbors, who said in a pleading voice, " Frank, won't you please give me a ride on your sled? Tommy broke mine." Frank in his cheery voice said, "Get on; I will give you a ride around the block; will that be enough?"
When they were passing the hill, one of the boys cried out, " Oh, look at Hoyer running around the block with a little ragamuffin of a girl on his sled!" Maggie, for that was her name, thought he would tell her to get off, as boys do not like to be laughed at. But he did not, nor did he mind the boy's insulting words, but he began to run the faster. When he reached home he told his story to his mother, who sympathized with him, and told him not to ever be afraid to do a kind act, even if he was laughed at by foolish boys.
Frank was a kind-hearted boy, and glad to help anybody when he had the chance.
One day when Frank was coming home from school with a group of boys, he saw an old man standing on the corner waiting to go across.
Frank left the group, and stepping up to him, asked him if he wished to go across. And he answered with a grateful smile. When they reached the other side he laid his hand on Frank's arm and said, " God bless you, my boy." Frank then ran on, and soon caught up with the boys, who were far advanced. When he got to them, one of them said, "What did he give you, a dime? Before I would be seen helping an old fellow like him!"
"He did not give me a dime, but he gave me what money could not buy," said Frank. The boys thought a while and wondered what money could not buy. At last one of them said, "It could not be much if money could not buy it."
"It was God's blessing," said Frank with pride; " could money buy that?"
The angel of little sacrifices has received from heaven the mission of those angels of whom the prophet speaks, who remove the stones from the road lest they should bruise the feet of travellers.
There is a place less commodious than another ; she chooses it, saying with a sweet smile: "How comfortable I am here!"
There is some work to be done, and she presents herself for it simply, with the joyous manner of one who finds her happiness in so doing. How many oversights are repaired by this unknown hand!
How many little joys procured for another without his ever having mentioned to anyone the happiness which they would give him!
Does a dispute arise, she knows how to settle it by a pleasant word that wounds no one, and falls upon the slight disturbance like a ray of sunlight upon a cloud.
Should she hear of two hearts estranged, she has always some new means of re-uniting them without their being able to show her any gratitude, so sweet and simple and natural is what she does.
But who will tell the thorns which have torn her hands, and the pain her heart has endured? And yet she is always smiling.
Have you ever seen her at work, " the angel of little sacrifices?"
On earth she is called a mother, a friend, a sister, a wife.
In heaven she is called a saint.—Anon
Cannot St. Joseph raise towards Jesus his hands hardened by toil for His support? Can he not show Him his heart, on which His divine childhood rested? Thus his prayers are all-powerful. The other saints cast before the throne of Jesus their crowns and palms when pleading, but Saint Joseph makes his requests as a father, says Origen, and Jesus grants them as a Son.
What Money Cannot Buy
LEAVES FROM CATHOLIC CLASSICS.
Charles Forbes Rene de Montalembert was the son of a noble French exile, and was born in London, on the 15th of May, 1810. His maternal grandfather was James Forbes, an Englishman of some note, and it was under the fostering care of this distinguished man the first years of the young Montalembert were passed. Later he studied at the college of Barle in Paris, and here he laid the foundation of diligent study and untiring labor, for the renowned career he afterwards followed. His wise studies, pursued under most prudent direction, and the urgent needs of the period in which he lived, matured him early in the cause he professed to espouse, and at twenty-one we find the young Count de Montalembert a prisoner before the tribunal of the Chamber of Peers, asserting and defending the right of the Catholic youth of France to a Christian education.
This episode of a grand career may be taken as the key-note of the life of the man. As a writer, his pen was ever fearlessly used in the cause of truth; as an orator, he was ever the ardent advocate of liberty. A just cause always secured his enthusiastic support, no matter how desperately hopeless the cause might seem. Ireland, Poland, Greece, these oppressed lands had the sympathy of his heart. The emancipation of the negroes and the cause of the poor white slaves of factories and collieries were alike the clients of his manly advocacy.
In 1836 Montalembert published his first literary work, this was the noble History of St. Elizabeth, to the writing of which he had given years of study and research. The Introduction was characterized by an eminent French critic as " majestic," and the work received the fervent praise of a multitude of admiring readers.
Nearly twenty years afterwards the life of the dear Saint Elizabeth found an English translator in Miss May Hackett, who, however, omitted the Introduction, a very valuable part of the work. This omission was supplied in the second American edition by Mrs. J. Sadlier, then in the prime of her literary career. The work was published by D. J. Sadlier & Co., of New York, from whose publication we shall present to our young Rosarians some leaves, which will give a faint glimpse of the poetic charm of this very beautiful narrative of a dear saint's life.
Among other literary works of the distinguished Count de Montalembert, The Monks of the West may be considered his masterpiece; the foundations of this great work were laid in the author's studies for the History of St. Elizabeth.
To glorious years of constant work, not always properly appreciated, succeeded weary years of acute physical suffering, during which the great and good man learned the true secret of the saints, and earned the great blessing of a happy death, which came as a gentle release on the 13th of March, 1870.
Leaves from Catholic Classics Rosary Magazine
History of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary by Charles Forbes Rene de Montalembert
Query for Monks of the West
Blessed Eugenie de Smet.
A LITTLE HELPER OF THE HOLY SOULS.
AQUINASA GROUP of happy little children at play in a sunny field. Suddenly, at the voice of one of the group, the others circle around her, for she is the leader of her young playmates, this merry, romping Eugenie, whose life is sheltered in a happy Christian home, from every breath of sorrow or of evil. There is a serious look in the bright young face, and old for her years —she is but seven—is the question and the reasoning that come from her lips.
"If one of our dear playmates were locked up in a fiery prison, and if by saying a few words we could let her out, would we not gladly do it?"
"Yes, yes! " they all replied, not seeing, however, the meaning of her question.
"Well, the suffering souls are in the prison of Purgatory, and if we pray for them we can help them to get to Heaven. Shall we not pray?"
The little apostle pleaded well for the suffering souls, and then sped off gaily once more after a butterfly.
When anything painful occurred to her, she was seen to close her lips bravely, but one very near her could hear the soft whisper, "it is for the Holy Souls."
Thus in her very childhood did Eugenie de Smet begin her life-work, to pray and suffer that the poor souls in Purgatory might be released from pain, and enjoy God forever.
When God intends that a soul shall do some great work for Him in this world, He gives that soul a trust in His promises that many other very good people do not seem to have at all. Such souls possess the great grace of taking God at His word. Eugenie, even in her girlhood, had this great grace. Sometimes God tries such souls very, very hard, and if they are faithful, this grace which we call faith stays with them ever after. Now Eugenie knew that God had said He would give anything that was asked in prayer to people who did not let their faith fail.
A day came when she wanted a white dress. She was at a convent school of the Sacred Heart, a boarding-school. A beautiful feast was coming, and if she didn't have a white dress she must go behind with the children in dark dresses. Go behind and give up her own dear place so near the Altar that she could see the Blessed Lord when the priest lifted up the Sacred Host in his hands? If her parents only knew that she needed the dress! but there was no time for a letter. She could only ask God for it, and wait and believe. So she knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and said a pleading little prayer for the white dress, and she closed her prayer with a promise—"Dear Lord, if you give me this dress so I can see you on the Altar, I'll never doubt you all my life, and I'll go to you all my life for everything I need from a pin to Heaven."
"How pleased the Sacred Heart must have been at this loving promise. How the Blessed Master longs to have us go to Him in every need when He promises everything to the faith that asks without staggering!"
Eugenie never mentioned her desire, her prayer. On her bed the morning of the feast she found the white dress. There was no one to thank for it but God; she had told no one else that she wanted it. If her parents or her teachers had thought of the need, it was God who had whispered the good thought to them; how earnestly she thanked Him. Years afterward, when she was dying, she smilingly spoke of that prayer and that promise, and said sweetly: "Thank God, I've never broken it." True enough! she had gone to Him in every need, "from a pin to Heaven," and the story of her beautiful life is one golden chain of answered prayers.
She kept always on the door of her room a picture that represented Christ feeding the sparrows and clothing the lilies. Our Blessed Lady she always called " Dear Lady of Providence" and *' Queen of Purgatory." One day her father forbade her doing some good work she wanted to do. She wouldn't disobey her father, yet how could she let the work go undone when God had inspired it? She didn't fret nor grow disagreeable, but went quietly, good-naturedly, to her room, knelt down and prayed: "Dear Blessed Mother! please make my father change his mind!" Then she waited, hoped and trusted. Wasn't God's Mother stronger than she was to remove her father's command? In a few moments he called her; " Eugenie," said he, " on second thought I do not see why I should refuse you—you have my permission for what you wish to do."
Eugenie always wanted to be a nun, but she could never see a convent that she felt called to. Every good work that she undertook, succeeded. Her parish priest, whose " right hand" she was, thought she ought to remain in the world. But God knew best. From her very early years she had every day said a little prayer to the Holy Ghost that she might know what the life was which God had chosen for her. It was a little prayer that her own loving, trusting, childish devotion had put into words. God had a work for her to do. Some day He would whisper it so softly that no one but Eugenie would hear it. That day came; it was one eve of All Souls at Benediction. God made known to her in that strange, sweet, silent way that only God possesses, that there was no religious Order that kept the thought of the Holy Souls before the people, and He had chosen her to found one! The Holy Souls in Purgatory! Had she not thought of them always? Had she not all her life of twenty-eight years prayed herself and pleaded with others to pray for these dear suffering souls so helpless to help themselves?
How many pledges she asked of God that she might really know that it was His voice she had heard! And every one He granted. "The spoiled child of Providence," her friends called her. She could see no reason why people should be surprised that God did what He had promised to do; but it did surprise her that everyone didn't take God at His word. Eugenie founded a religious Order in which the nuns work— always without pay,—for the poor on earth, and they offer all that they do for the suffering souls of the dead. They have houses in France and England, and far-off China; and in the Spring of the present year they came here to New York. In their humble little convent, 25 Seventh Avenue, they will speak to others of their dear Mother, whom God called to Himself twenty-one years ago. And they will plead with you to unite with them in working, praying, and suffering for the dead. They are indeed HELPERS OF THE HOLY SOULS
LITTLE HELPER OF THE HOLY SOULS
A TERRIBLE MISTAKE
One day, in the year 1771, a young man approached the gate of a Capuchin monastery. He rang the bell, and when a " brother " appeared, he asked to see one of the priests. When a Father came out to see him, he said: "O Father, I have called to have a talk with you about a subject that is very dear to my soul.
"What is it, my son? " said the kind old priest, looking at the young man, whose very nervous manner and evident anxiety showed how much he was in earnest.
"I want to enter into a religious life," said the visitor; " I do want to be a priest."
"My son, have you long thought of this step?" asked the good old priest, his heart going out to the delicate-looking youth who seemed so full of good and holy thoughts.
"Yes, Father," said he, " I feel I have a religious vocation, and I came to you to help me to follow this voice of God in my soul.”
"Come in, then, my son; stay a few days with us. I shall examine you on some important points, and then give you a letter to a friend of mine who is a master of the novices, for I feel sure you are indeed called by God to a religious life."
The youth left the monastery, fully determined to tread the path marked out for him by the loving predilection of his Divine Lord. But before he took the final step, he thought he would go home, and bid adieu to his parents and friends. But alas for him! no sooner had he gone home and made known his wish, than a storm of protestations arose.
"We cannot give you up, my beloved son," said his father; " the idea of your going to bury yourself as a priest, and such a future before you!"
"Pause, we beseech you," said one friend after another.
"Think of the times. There will soon be no monastic institutions; what will you do then?"
"Remember," said one of his dearest friends, who grudged him to the service of God, " this is a transition period in the history of France; with your talents, what may you not become? Why relinquish prospects so brilliant? Why bury gifts so rare in the obscurity of a Capuchin monastery?"
Gradually, in this storm of opposition, the young man's resolutions began to waver. The voice of the tempter told of coming successes and much glory and influence, and unknown to himself, he was very ambitious. The still, small voice of his higher nature continued to plead. But the world's insidious voice was the most powerful. He at once and forever abandoned the religious career, and took to studying jurisprudence. Now, this was a most fearful time in France. The "Revolution" was approaching, which was going to drench Paris in the blood of the highest of the land; when God's altars were to be desecrated, and God's priests and nuns were to win the crown of martyrdom by a most cruel death; when the king and queen of France were to be guillotined, and the little heir of the throne, the poor young dauphin, was to be beaten and starved to death; when women were to become furies, and laugh as they knitted at the foot of the scaffold when noble men and women were killed, and shriek with joy to see the heads taken off the shoulders and put upon pikes, and carried all bloody through the principal streets of the city of Paris; when Hell seemed let loose, and very few believed in God!
And oh, my children, who was one of the great monsters of cruelty at this terrible time? Who ordered nuns and priests to be put to death? Who ordered the desecration of God's holy altars? Who amongst all the wicked people round was the wickedest of them all? Who, but the same young man who that lovely summer morning, with God's love in his heart and God's work in his mind, called at the gate of the Capuchin monastery, and asked to see a priest, to talk to him about his wish to embrace a religious life!
He did not now seem to know what mercy was, he whose ingenuous, kindly face had so won upon the old priest who had answered his summons. And the name of this whilom candidate for the priesthood was Maximilian Robespierre. Who could have believed that the gentle, loving, God-fearing young man would become one of the fiends of the "Revolution"!
And little did his poor parents dream what they were driving him into when they dissuaded him from entering the Church, and persuaded him to embrace a worldly career.
Now his death. Ah! I have not told you that. It will, indeed, seem to you that God was warning all never to choose the world in preference to His service when He in His great mercy calls them to a religious life, for this was how Robespierre left this earth: On the 28th of July, 1794, he, in company with other men as bad as himself, found that the right had triumphed, and that the power was to be taken from them; and sooner than betaken alive they all tried to kill themselves, and Robespierre shot himself, but only hurt his jaw very severely. A cry rose among the angry people, almost all of whom were in mourning for some dear one he had killed: " Kill the monster! kill Robespierre!" And so it was done; he and some of his accomplices were driven to the place of execution. He had to have his jaw bandaged up. He was taken to the very place where poor Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette suffered by his orders, as well as those of the other monsters with him, and there he and they met the reward of their fearful lives. One woman breaking from the crowd, approached the cart in which he lay bound, waiting for his time to come; and she bent down her face to his wounded one, and said: " Your agony fills me with joy; descend to Hell with the curses of every mother in France!" And when he was executed, and the lifeless body was in full view of the crowd, an old man whose whole family had been executed at his command, approached the corpse, and said:
"Yes, Robespierre, there is a God to judge you now.”
Such a death, and for such a man! He who might have led a noble life, and in the service of God, scattering blessings everywhere! True, he would most likely have met a painful death, for at that time priests were killed without mercy, but it would have been one of martyrdom, and eternal glory would have followed it; but instead, he was followed by the curses of those whose friends he had caused to be murdered. Ah! what would that poor old priest have said could he have lived till now?
So you see, my dear children, it is an awful thing to fight against the wishes of our dear Lord, and the fate of Maximilian Robespierre is a fearful lesson in God's judgments, even on this earth.
A Terrible Mistake
ON the 7th of October, three hundred and twenty-six years ago, dear Children of the Rosary, was fought the great battle of Lepanto—a battle upon which depended the freedom of the whole Christian world, for had it been won by the Turks, they would, for a time at least, have overrun the whole of Europe.
These Turks, who were followers of the false prophet Mahomet, hated Christians with a deadly hatred, and their great desire was to keep possession of the Holy Land, which is that part of Asia where our Saviour lived, suffered, and died, and is therefore very dear to Christian hearts.
From time to time the Christians of different countries had fought bravely to recover this dear land, and had sometimes held it, and then again the Turks would get it back into their possession ; and thus it went on for centuries. Many of you have studied about these holy wars which were called Crusades, and were carried on by men, who, though of different countries and different interests, had but one object in view when they started out as Crusaders.
Do you remember Godfrey de Bouillon and Tancred ?—their names were great among the early Crusaders.
Well, brave as they were, and nobly as they fought, centuries went on and still the Turks were not conquered, and to the alarm of the people of Europe, their power was increasing; they were ever taking countries governed by Christian kings. Things were in this dreadful condition just before the great battle of which we have spoken was fought, and it was, as you have already guessed, a battle between the Turks and Christians. The Pope at this time was Pius V., a holy Dominican, who is now a canonized saint.
Though this great Pope had many cares and troubles, he saw the great danger in allowing the Turks to increase their possessions. He determined, therefore, to make one more stand against them. He knew that the difficulties would be great, and to add to them, those who should have assisted would not enter the league which the good Pope was forming in order to save Christendom. Germany and England would not help; France could not; and so all the fighting was left to the men of that part of Italy under the Pope, called the Papal States, and to Venice and Spain. Don John, who was an Austrian, was made General, and a commander named Colonna was placed at the head of the navy.
Even during these preparations, the people of Europe did not seem to understand the danger which threatened them. They quarrelled with one another, instead of banding together against the Turks, who had taken the Island of Cyprus, and butchered priests and people. In spite of these sad events, and the little encouragement given to him, the Holy Father never despaired, but placed all his hope in prayer, and in the assistance of our dear Lady, the Queen of Heaven. While everything was done by this holy pontiff to gain our Lord's favor, the men started forth to battle, with the blessing of St. Pius. They set sail for Corfu, which is a Grecian island in the Ionian Sea, but failing to meet the Turks here, they went back, and sailed up the Gulf of Corinth, and when nearly to Lepanto, a town in Greece, situated on the Bay of Lepanto, the Christians met the Turkish fleet, and the great battle of Lepanto began.
The emblem on the Christian's flag was the cross; that on the Turk's flag was the crescent, and for many dreadful hours it was doubtful which would be waving when the battle was done. The blood of Christian and Turk flowed like water. The decks of the vessels were wet with it, and strewn with the bodies of the dead and dying. The shout of battle mingled with groans and prayers, and the scene was one of horrible bloodshed ; but when the shades of evening began to fall upon the sea, high in air, clear and bright against the blue of the sky, hung a banner, and upon it was a gold embroidered cross. The battle of Lepanto was over; the Christians had won it!
This memorable day. Rosary Sunday, had been spent by St. Pius and his people in most earnest prayer for the success of God's cause. The children of the Rosary marched in procession, singing hymns in our Lady's honor, and before the day was over, while the Rosary devotions still continued, the good Pope knew by inspiration that the prayers of the faithful had been answered by the Blessed Queen of Heaven.
As an act of gratitude and thanksgiving, St. Pius instituted the feast of our Lady of Victory, and later, Pope Gregory XIII., in commemoration of the great triumph, dedicated the first Sunday of October to our Lady of the Rosary. This beautiful feast is now kept throughout the Catholic world.
So, dear children, when you see the Rosary procession on the first Sunday of October, or should you have the happiness of joining in it, remember that it was instituted in gratitude to our Lady for the victory won, through her intercession, by the Christians over the Turks at the great battle of Lepanto, more than three hundred years ago.
Battle of Lepanto
'N the past autumn of 1896, when our political contest was nearing its height, and the financial portion of our great Republic apprehending a disastrous crisis, many of the old Firms were shaken to the foundation and not a few fell, never to rise; others withstood the dreaded storm and are still holding on, hoping and trusting to a favorable issue.
One afternoon in the latter part of October, Mr. S., one of the leading commercial men in the city of B., returned to his home much depressed. His only child, a little girl of about eight years, went according to custom to meet her father and soon detected a change of countenance; giving him the usual kiss, she looked at him and said:
"Why, papa, what's the matter? Are you sick?" "No, my darling, papa is not sick; only a little worried," replied the father.
"O, my papa shall not be worried; tell me, papa, what it is," said the child.
"After a while, or when we get into the house," said the father.
Taking his cane and hat, little Mary ran in with her papa, then brought his slippers. Seeing him comfortably seated in his big arm-chair, she drew her own little chair close up to her father and leaning on him said:
"Now, papa, be a good little papa and tell your Maisy what worries you."
Just then the door opened and Mrs. S. entered the room. Mary called to her saying:
"O, mamma, papa is worried and is going to tell us all about it; sit down quick, mamma, quick, quick."
Mrs. S. advanced to her husband and caressingly throwing her arm around his neck, said most affectionately: "O, Henry, I hope it is nothing serious that worries you; do say at once what it is." "You know," said Mr. S., "that some time ago Mr. Grayson placed twenty thousand dollars in my hands for investment in Ground Rents; I complied with his wish and had very satisfactory papers drawn up in his favor. Now he comes to say he has an unexpected and urgent demand for his money, which I cannot get back, and he refuses all the offers I can make him in the line of notes, etc., insisting upon the money and nothing less.
"And is it possible that you cannot raise twenty thousand with all you possess and all that has been placed in your hands?" said Mrs. S.
"It seems so," replied Mr. S., "for I have been to many that are in my debt and every one assures me the money cannot be raised just at this critical moment, unless, indeed, at a most exorbitant interest; so I consider that the easiest and best thing for me to do is to borrow from the bank and give a mortgage on this house and furniture, for the time being; then if anything happens to me, you and this little duck will be homeless." Here he heaved a deep sigh.
"And will you allow that to worry you, my dear Henry?" said the noble hearted Mrs. S. "That is but little, indeed, isn't it Maisy ?."
"And, papa, where is St. Anthony?" said the child.
"Sure enough, where is he, daughter?" replied the father.
"And didn't you say, papa, that St. Anthony always helped you through in your troubles, and has he less money now than he had then?" queried the child.
The parents could but laugh at the child's innocent simplicity and faith. The father patted his darling on the cheek and said:
"You go and ask him to help papa."
"I intend to do that this very night, and you'll see what he'll do," said Mary.
In the hall of the second story there was a very devotional picture of St. Anthony and beneath it a handsome bracket upon which little Mary or her mother always kept a vase of flowers, especially on every Tuesday, and when there was any pressing need, as at present, a lamp was burned from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon. Before retiring to bed Mary went to her little oratory, gave her dear saint a history of her papa's troubles and told him that if her papa mortgaged the house and furniture and they should ever be obliged to leave it, he would have to remain with strangers, and most earnestly added: "Now, St. Anthony, you would not like that, would you?" She imagined she heard him unite with her in saying: "No."
Many times did she and her anxious mother visit the dear saint during those few days, and could we have heard little Mary's talks with him we would have had no doubt of his assistance.
On the morning of the fifth day, when no answer had yet come to their petitions, Mary went to her oratory and standing before it, said:
"Here's the last day, St. Anthony, and you have not yet helped my papa; now, I am going to talk to you standing up, and I don't intend to kneel any more until you do help him. Now, say, St. Anthony, you will get some of papa*s money by to-morrow; some that is due him and will be his own; now won't you say yes? I know I cannot hear you say it, but I will say it for you and you will repeat the words after me, won't you, St. Anthony? Now, here it is: please say, yes, yes, yes! There, you have said it, and you cannot go back on your word; I knew you would bring it out all right, dear, dear St. Anthony.
The child ran down and told her mother St. Anthony had promised to get the money for her papa. Mrs. S., fearing her dear child would become imaginary, asked her if she really heard the saint speak. "No," said the child, "I did not hear him mamma, but / said it and told him to say it after me, and I am sure he did it, for I felt it within me." On the afternoon of the same day, Mr. S. announced to his wife that all arrangements had been made with the bank for the loan of twenty thousand, and that he had agreed about the mortgage, but no signatures would be given before he had the cash in hand to pay off Grayson and wash his hands of him. He also told her the Ground Rents would be transferred to him and would stand in favor of herself and Mary, in case of any accident to himself before the mortgage on the house was raised. His mind seemed to be at rest and he was cheerful; they said nothing that evening to Mary of the business matters.
"Now, said Mrs. S., as to-morrow will be Tuesday, I must go to Mass in honor of our dear St. Anthony and 1 will set the alarm to five; both of us had better go." Promptly at five the following morning Mr. and Mrs. S. were up and preparing for church when a loud and sharp ring of the front door-bell startled them. Mr. S. answered the call and on opening the door there was Mr. Lyons, the leading partner of the firm to which Mr. S. had loaned forty thousand dollars a short time previous, and which had assured him but two days since that they could not advance one cent of their dues to him.
"Good news for you, Mr. S.," said Mr. Lyons; "here's a telegram received from the bank in St. Louis about ten o'clock last night, and which tells me that by some unexpected and unaccountable occurrence they were enabled to resume payment at noon yesterday, and that twenty thousand dollars will be remitted to me without delay through our Union Bank. Now what do you think of that, when they could not last week pay one cent on' the dollar"'" "What do I think of it?" replied Mr. S. "I think it the result of prayer and the great power the saints have in Heaven. St. Anthony has obtained the favor." ".Meet me at the bank about ten this morning," continued Mr. Lyons, "and we will have all things righted. 1 hope we will be able to pay you our entire indebtedness before the month expires, and we'll be square once more. I'll go round and tell Grayson to meet us at the Bank, and I will see to those Ground Rents being righted, depend on me, S."
Mr. S. with a joyful heart hastened to impart the glad tidings to his beloved wife and said he must also wake up Maisey and gladden her poor little heart before leaving the house. When he went into her room he found her in such a sweet sleep that he hated to disturb her; stooping to kiss her, he beheld traces of tears on her little cheeks, which made him believe she had cried herself to sleep during the night. His kiss, however, woke the child, and looking up she said: "What's the matter, papa?" "Nothing, my darling, except to tell you St. Anthony has sent papa his 'own money,' that you asked for, and we are going to Mass in thanksgiving.
"Can't I go, too, papa?" said the child. With her mother's help she was soon ready, and turning to her parents said: "I must run in and tell St. Anthony the good news." Without taking time to kneel down, she said: "St. Anthony, papa has the money, his own too, but I do not know any of the particulars; just as soon as 1 do I will come and tell you. Good-bye, St. Anthony, and be sure to take care of yourself while I'm gone."
After their return from church, Mr. S. related the circumstances of the morning to his beloved little one and promised she should give to St. Anthony anything she wished. We may imagine the joy that prevailed in that little household and the impetus that the above circumstance gave to the filial and fervent devotion to the great Saint Anthony, not only among the members of the S. family, but to many others.
At ten. according to arrangement, the parties in question met at the bank, where receipts were exchanged, etc., much to the happiness of all concerned, and many has been the exclamation of thanks to the saint in the words:
"Glory be to God in His Saints."
I feel sure it will interest you to hear of the first one of God's holy children who shed his blood in this country for the Catholic Church.
You all know that Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America, was one of the fold of God's holy Church.
But do you know that the first martyr in this beautiful land was also a member of this One and only true Church? He was a native of Andalusia in Spain. He was a soldier in the Spanish army, and came to America to fight under Spain's banner.
It was while he was located in Mexico he exchanged his military uniform for the Franciscan habit, and so much was he liked and so great were his abilities, that he held high offices in the various houses of his Order. But he was not content to have a comparatively easy life. He longed to do arduous work for the dear Lord he loved so much. He asked permission, therefore, to accompany Father Marco de Niga on his frequent journeys into New Mexico.
After that he went again with an explorer called Coronado. That general left Mexico for New Mexico on February 12th, 1540. Coronado was very much disappointed and disgusted with the result of his expedition, for he found there was no treasure to be had among the Cibala Indians, whose cities he had valiantly set forth to pillage. But he thought he might have better luck in another place, so he sent out an expedition into the country of another tribe of Indians called the "Moquis." This tribe dwelt near the big canyon of the Colorado river.
Father Padilla, as he was now called, was made the chaplain of this expedition. He was the first priest to go into that portion of our dear land of America, and so much did he like the people, and so anxious was he to help them, that he begged the commander to help him to erect a few mission houses there. But the general did not like the "Moquis," and was not filled with zeal for their souls as the good priest was, and declared his intention of getting out of such a country as soon as he could; so very unwillingly, and because as chaplain of the forces his duty lay there, Father Padilla returned with the troops. Once more we find him in the field as chaplain to an army.
This time it was with a man called Alvacado, who, like all the commanders of that time, was only bent upon searching for gold.
Alvacado's adventure ended most disastrously, and in April, 1542, Coronado, who had sent him out, determined to explore no longer in a northerly direction, and returned with his disgusted and discomfited general and all his wearied soldiers, to Mexico. This time, however, Father Padilla refused to go back with the troops. He did not care for the gold or treasure of these people, but he did care for their immortal souls.
"My place is here," he said. "I shall remain among these poor savages, and devote my life to them." Five other Franciscan monks said the same thing.
In vain Coronado pointed out to these intrepid priests the danger of staying alone and unprotected in a hostile country. They were not to be moved. Father Padilla would stay, they were going to stay with him.
The members of this heroic little band saw the army of their friends and defenders dying away in the distance, leaving them alone. How they must have trusted in God to take such a fearful risk! But they are not alone in this. Thousands have taken the same path with the same heroic determination, trusting in God. Many will do it till the end of time, to take the blessed tidings to the heathen.
But we must return to Father Padilla and his devoted companions. They were now the only Europeans in this strange land. When they had journeyed more than a thousand miles from the place where Coronado and his army left them, they came to a tribe called the "Quiviras," who received them gladly. Bye-and-bye Father Padilla said he must be moving again! The "Quiviras " had all been won for Christ; he must leave them and go in search of other precious souls.
His new converts told him, with many tears, that they needed him yet,—they could not do without him.
"But I must go to the ' Gobis,'" said Father Padilla.
At this their weeping broke out afresh.
"They will kill you," they cried; "they are cruel, and will not hear you." "So be it, but I must try. You need me no more," said the intrepid priest; " I will leave one of my companions with you, but as for me, I must go."
He shut his ears, and would not listen to the prayers and tears of his beloved new converts. "I must go," he said. "My dear children, others need me more than you; if I do not return, be sure to meet me in Heaven!" Thus he left them, and with him went three devoted companions Alas! the forebodings of his "Quivira " converts proved only too true!
One day's journey from their place he was set upon by the bloodthirsty "Gobis." When he saw the savages coming, he ordered his companions to leave him and seek safety in flight. They would not go. He commanded them, in the name of the Lord. "Ye are needed for the work; I am now to be the only sacrifice," he said. "So go as ye would have the Lord's blessing."
And they had to go; they dare not disobey him any longer, and the enemy was close at hand.
The " Gobis " were not long in dispatching him with their arrows, which he received upon his knees, praying to his Lord to receive his soul, and like that Divine Master, in His dying moments forgiving His murderers. The " Gobi's " threw his body into a ditch, and covered it over with stones. But his companions returned and found the spot where the martyr lay buried, and carefully marked it, so that in that wild land they might know it again. Then they returned to the " Quiviras " with the sad news. And afterwards they went back to Mexico. But they had not forgotten the resting-place of the martyr.
Long years afterwards, when Conati had succeeded in colonizing New Mexico, some Franciscan monks, who had treasured the marks of Father Padilla's resting-place, went in search of the grave. They found the place, and brought the body of the martyr back to the church of San Augustin, in the pueblo of Islets. There the remains were solemnly interred, and the martyr's relics are to be found there to this day, treasured by the people among whom he lies, in what is now part of the State of Kansas. He suffered martyrdom November 30th, 1542.
"Will you take my place, Sister, for an hour? I really feel as if I must have a little rest." "Certainly I will, Sister Ignatia, and I insist that you shall not return to your ward until the Angelus rings. I can easily spare two hours, and I fear you are taxing yourself beyond your strength. Just give me your medicine list, and put everything, but sleep, out of your mind."
Five minutes more was taken up going over the list together, then pointing to a bed in a corner, Sister Ignatia said: "That poor girl was brought in last night, suffering with burns from a coal oil explosion; spend as much time by her bed as possible, and talk to her of the beauty of heaven; she seems never to have thought much on that subject, and the delight it gives her now makes her forget her sufferings."
"Very well, dear Sister, I will do aU you wish; but do hurry off, or you will get no sleep." And Sister Clare good-naturedly pushed Sister Ignatia aside, and stood in the doorway, for well she knew if Sister Ignatia got in the room again she would find something to do.
Like good mothers, these hospital Sisters regard their patients as children, and attend to their comforts with a devotion that makes many a worldling ponder over religious life. Sister Clare passed around among the sick and suffering; she often took Sister Ignatia's place in the ward, so her face was a familiar one there, and. she was loved second only to Sister Ignatia herself, by these creatures on whom it would seem that the hand of the Lord was heavily laid.
Saying a kind word to each one, smoothing the tumbled hair, straightening the bed covers, beating up the pillows, she passed from bed to bed, and in a half hour had reached the bed of Nora Nolan, the poor girl who was suffering from such terrible burns. Here Sister Clare took a seat, and laying her soft, white hand on Nora's left hand (the right one was bandaged), she began to talk in a low voice. The sufferer ceased her moaning, and her blue Irish eyes lit up as Sister Clare, according to direction, pictured the glory of the celestial court.******
After turning her back on the ward, Sister Ignatia walked slowly towards her cell; entering it she sank into a chair by the window, resting her head on her hand ; she was soon in the land of dreams.
And this was her dream. An angel stood near her, clothed in white, surrounded by rays of the brightest light, and still her eyes were not dazzled as she looked at him. "Sister Ignatia!" he said in a voice as sweet and soft as the low music of an organ played by a master hand when the priest sings the preface of the Mass. "Sister Ignatia!" and the voice sank into her very heart and made her tremble, but not with fear.
A third time her name was called: "Sister Ignatia, one whom you held in your arms at the baptismal font is in danger!"
Then a tap at the door awakened her, and amazed and mortified she found it was seven o'clock. Sister Clare had been obliged to send for her; an accident patient had been brought to her ward, and the surgeon was asking for her to assist in setting a broken limb. With the light of the angel's brilliancy still in her eyes, Sister Ignatia hurried to the ward, and took her place by the bedside of the last arrival, not even having time to whisper an excuse to Sister Clare for staying over her time.
An hour later the broken limb was set, and the patient still dozing from the effect of morphia, Sister Ignatia stole a few minutes to speak to Sister Clare.
"Dear Sister," she said, "I must have been very much fatigued this afternoon, for I slept in a chair from four until seven o'clock, and it seemed only a few minutes, for I had such a beautiful dream. What must the sight of Our Lord be, if in a dream one of His angels could appear so magnificent! But I am troubled at the words he addressed to me; three times he called my name, and this is what he said: "Sister Ignatia, one whom you held at the baptismal font is in danger!" I stood sponsor for several infants before I entered the convent, but I cannot imagine to whom this warning can apply.
"Dear Sister," replied Sister Clare, " you are not going to let this dream, beautiful as it was, trouble you. Remember, we must not attach too much importance to dreams. Nothing is more natural than that you should have dreamed of angels after you had charged me to talk of heaven to Nora Nolan."
"Well, Sister, I suppose you are right," answered Sister Ignatia with a submissive smile, so accustomed is the religious to yield to the judgment of another. "Good night," she whispered softly, and again returned to her ward.
A few short aspirations to turn the thoughts of the sick to God, and the Sister took her seat at the end of the room, where behind a curtain a small lamp shed a ray of light on her office book, and for an hour her lips moved as she recited the psalms: then lowering the lamp, she drew her rosary from her pocket, and as the beads slipped through her fingers, keeping pace with the " Aves," one vision alone presented itself before her— the lovely angel; try as she would, Sister Ignatia could not get his words out of her mind. Her prayers finished, the good Sister resolved to think out her distraction. So she began to count her god-children. The first babe she stood for was a sweet little girl named Cecilia ; she had not heard of her for years, but surely all was well with her. She had been reared by a pious mother, whose children were said to be a credit to her; nothing could be wrong with little Cecilia.
Her second god-child was a delicate boy; he died soon after baptism. One other, a boy, too, she had held at the font. A year ago she had heard of his death. All was well with him.
Again her thoughts returned to the little Cecilia, and again the angel's voice sounded in her ear.
At two o'clock a nun came to relieve her, and as Sister Ignatia passed the bed of the burnt girl, she found Nora's eyes wide open; so leaning over her. she whispered to her of the guardian angel, and as she did so realized that never before had she been able to so describe the beauty of the angels. Smoothing her brow, she said: "Nora, will you say a prayer that my mind may be relieved of something that troubles me so much that I will not be able to sleep to-night?"
"Indeed I will, Sister, and may God give you a soft bed and a sleepy head to enjoy it now and always. God bless you!" and poor Nora was getting so excited that the patient in the next bed to her began to stir.
"Hush, Nora dear ; keep still, and may the holy angels guard you," and with a gentle touch on her hand, Sister Ignatia passed on.
The good Sister, as she expected, heard every hour strike until the rising bell sounded; but the hours had not been wasted ; she had prayed for her sick and for her god-child, little Cecilia, who now, she thought it over, must be nineteen years old. She would write to her at once. She would send her a rule of life, because she was her god-mother and had a right to do so. It might do good, it could do no harm. One need not believe in dreams to take warning from them. Anything beautiful can put good thoughts in one's mind—good actions may follow. *******
In a handsome house in a fashionable quarter of B sat a grey-haired couple with sorrow strongly marked on their faces. After having listened awhile to their conversation we find that the last daughter of the house ' is about to engage herself to a man unworthy of her. Every argument has been used to convince her that it is her father's money he wants and that marrying one of another faith, and without the blessing of her parents, can hardly give a hope for happiness. All this her Father confessor had said to her that very day. And after demurring for awhile she promised him to delay one week her answer to the proposal so distasteful to both her father and mother, and also to say her rosary daily that the will of God might be fulfilled in all her actions. Not one word of this had she told her parents for fear of encouraging a hope she had little thought would ever be realized.
Long ago had she ceased to say her rosary. After coming home from a party or the theatre she was too tired for more than a few short prayers; and now after looking all over her room she cannot find the little pearl beads.
"If our Blessed Lady wants me to say my rosary she might help me to find it," exclaimed poor Cecilia in despair, as she started to make the seventh search around her room, with no success; the beads could not be found, so she went down on. her knees and counted off the decades on her fingers.
A sorrowful trio sat around the breakfast table next morning when the morning's mail was handed to the master of the house, "Here is one for you, daughter, and beautiful writing it is, and heavy as gold," her father said, as he handed a letter to Cecilia.
"From Sister Ignatia, Mamma!" she exclaimed a moment after opening her letter, " and see here what a long rosary she has sent me ; the whole fifteen mysteries strung together!" then she blushed as she remembered for what intention she was saying her rosary, and many times that day she read over her god-mother's letter.
One clause in the letter touched her deeply, and struck her as being a coincidence. The good nun wrote: "I feel as if I have neglected you, my dear child, and to make reparation to you, I will say, during my night-watch with the sick, my rosary for one week at the hour that I suppose you are saying your night prayers—to beg God's blessing on your future life. "How did she know?" murmured Cecilia, completely mystified. *******
Prayer is all powerful. Cecilia's holy old confessor prayed for her, the good nun called nightly on the " Queen of Angels" to protect and guide her spiritual child, and Cecilia prayed herself that God's will might be hers. Prayer is powerful—for she did not cast her life away, nor bring sorrow to the hearts of her parents.
"God has given His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.”
1 The little Cecilia of our story.
A STRAY SWALLOW.
By E. V. N.
Mr. Jack Screamer and his mate, Mrs. Martin, had built a very comfortable nest under the eaves of a rustic residence, that was sheltered by spreading elms. The owners of this house did not disturb their winged neighbors, who carefully gathered the insects from the fruit trees in their vast orchard, and carried them in little pouches under their tongues to feed four little fledglings that had recently come to " feather their nest."
Mrs. Martin was a devoted parent. Now, about a quarter of a mile off, there was a white ox-heart cherry-tree, standing quite close to a gentleman's country-seat, and she had observed that a myriad of glow-worms had lately taken possession of that tree, and intended to revel on the red-cheeked fruit. One lovely evening in June, Mrs. Martin, on arriving at the farm-house, imparted the news of her find to Mr. Jack, who immediately rose up in the air almost to the empyrean, and uttered a scream loud enough to waken all the fowls that had gone to roost. Just as he came down to share with Mrs. Martin the labor of covering the nest with their wings, so as to shield the birdlings from the chill night air, a big, fat glow-worm flew past them, and spread her light so wide, and so defiantly, that Mrs. Martin resolved to humble that saucy insect. Moreover, she and Jack declared that on the morrow that whole family of glow-worms should be no more! Just then a larger light was displayed by that bold intruder, and Mrs. Martin flew after it, determined to bring it home in triumph! Away she plunged in the darkness, following the phosphorescent light of the flying bug, which constantly eluded her usual skill in catching the members of the insect-tribe. At length Mrs. Martin found herself close to the cherry-tree, but by a sad mistake she flew into Mrs. O'Brien's parlor window. Alas! in vain she tried to find an egress by the opening which she "had entered; she only bumped the ceiling, and hurt her pretty wings. At last, wearied with her continued efforts, she grasped the cornice with her tiny claws, and remained awhile mute and quiet, from fear and anxiety.
Meanwhile Jack Screamer was also in great trouble. The birdlings wondered where their mother had gone, and they murmured in their little queer way. Ever and anon Mr. Screamer flew up over the housetop, then through the elms, and called his mate; but no answer came, and as his little ones grew cold when he was absent, he thought it best to hide his anxiety, and pretend that their mother was on the way home. So they went to sleep, while Jack watched every leaf that trembled, hoping dear Mrs. Martin was on the way back to their nest.
While poor Mrs. Martin was trembling with agitation, a servant entered the parlor and raised the gas-lights, and then Mrs. O'Brien entered the room, followed by her two sons, Hugh and Patsy, and her little daughter Kittie. They had just been to tea.
Hugh set an easy chair for his mamma, and the other children were going to open a portfolio of pictures, when poor Mrs. Martin flew from the gilded cornice over to a handsome lambrequin, for she imagined that the open air was somewhere near it. The rustling of her wings attracted the attention of the children, and Hugh cried out, " O mamma! there is a swallow! let us catch him!" "Yes," said Patsy, "and put him in my old bird-cage !—won't we have fun!"
"Kittie, call James, to bring a step-ladder," said Mrs. O'Brien; "and keep quiet, boys; you frighten the bird to death!'
"It is a very plump, nice bird," observed Hugh; "do you know what swallows live on, mamma? " said the boy, hoping to keep it for a pet.
Then the footman entered, and brought down poor Mrs. Martin, who struggled very hard to escape, while Mrs. O'Brien held it, and each child stroked its wings, calling it by endearing titles. Patsy wanted James to bring his cage that had formerly held a thrush, but Mrs. O'Brien said, " I think it is very cruel to put birds like this in cages."
"So do I," said Kittie, who had watched all the movements in silence, and felt sorry for the captive. "Patsy, don't you re member Goldsmith's poem on the Goldfinch, how his owner forgot to feed him, and
"In dying sighs his little breath
Soon passed the wiry grate?"
"Yes, of course, but we will not forget him." "Saints and good people have always been noted for kindness to birds, and to other animals," remarked Mrs. O'Brien.
"Like St. Francis of Assisium," said Hugh. "But we are not going to be canonized!" cried Patsy, who wished to keep the swallow.
"When your papa and I were in Venice, some years ago, we went to the Square of San Marco, to see " The Feeding of the Pigeons”as it is called. Hundreds of people had collected there to enjoy the interesting sight. The pigeons were coming in various directions and lighting on the window-sills and cornices of a magnificent marble palace. From an immemorial period- the pigeons had come and settled daily under a particular window, from which seed is thrown to them. A quarter before two o'clock the birds began to come, and were evidently very intent .upon enjoying the expected meal. Other bells sounded a few seconds before two, and another clock struck one full minute before; but not one pigeon stirred until the hammer was heard on the clock of San Marco. Then instantly every wing spread, and the whole flock settled on the pavement directly under the above-mentioned window. While picking up their food a dog gambolled around many of them, and children walked into the ring without their being at all disturbed. Now, my dears, it is said that a benevolent person, long years before, had bequeathed a sum to purchase food for the pigeons of San Marco. Do you not think that we can learn a lesson from this?"
"Of course we can," said Hugh. "Patsy, it is better to let the swallow fly away."
"Very good, my Hugh," said Mrs. O'Brien, and the boys held Mrs. Martin to the window, which they raised, and away flew the fortunate bird.
"Mamma, perhaps you know of some good person who was kind to birds?" inquired Kittie. And as her mother nodded affirmatively she drew a hassock. close to her, and beckoned her brothers to come too.
"When I was at boarding-school in Paris, at the rue de Varenne, I remember that the Ven. Mere Barat was very kind to all animals; she would ask the domestics to feed the house cat, a fine Angora, and gathered lettuce herself to feed the cow. One day as she was seated at her secretary writing, a fine gray parrot flew in at the open window, and squatting down before her, screeched: 'Bon jour!’
"The kind mother was much amused and surprised, but when she went to offer the stranger a perch, she discovered that his leg was broken. She was full of compassion for it, and was also sorry for its owner, as it was a fine bird."
"I was just going to say, that I do not think a gray parrot would be as pretty as one of gay plumage," observed Patsy.
"The gray parrots, my love, imitate the human voice better than any bird. A Roman Cardinal owned one that could repeat the Apostles' Creed without fault. The gray ones are said to be very long-lived. Le Vaillaint tells of one that reached the age of ninety-three. Well, just as Mme. Barat was trying to contrive a nest for Poll in her work-basket, Dr. Recamier was announced. At once he was asked to set the broken leg of the parrot. That gentleman esteemed Mme. Barat very highly, and condescendingly arranged the splints and cords, and in a few minutes the bird was comfortable, and began to chatter away in the most voluble manner.
"Daily the portress expected some of the neighbors would call to claim the truant, but no one ever came; however, when the leg was healed Poll ranged the balcony at will, and one fine day he flew away, and never returned."
"I wonder whether parrots know the meaning of the phrases that they utter?" said Hugh.
"I fancy not," said Mrs. O'Brien, "for they will say Polly wants a biscuit," when they are thirsty. I saw one in Ontario, owned by Rev. F. Bruyere; it was a South American bird of gorgeous plumage. When the Rev. Father took his coffee, Polly would leave her cage, and beg to be served a cup, also. 'O Poll, you are a Protestant; you can't have coffee!' would F. Bruyere say; then Poll would ruffle her feathers and scream: 'Polly Cattolica! Polly Cattolica!' When she had amused the audience, she would get her favorite beverage." "I think the swallow's birdlings must have been glad to see their mother," said Kittie. We can assure her they were, When she came home to the nest, the birdies thought it was morning, and opened wide their yellow bills to get a worm, but Mrs. Martin quieted them by promising them a dinner on fresh glow-worms, which she and Jack flew to secure.
A LESSON FROM A SAINT'S WORDS AND
A SAINTS LIFE.
NE day, Saint Teresa saw a young girl sitting in a corner of the room, in the convent of which she was Mother Superior. The child was weeping, and looking rather sad.
"What is the matter, my child?" said the nun to her; " are you angry at any of your companions that you are not playing outside with them?"
"Angry," was the answer. "Oh, no; but I am trying to think of some special thing to do to please our dear Lord, and it is so difficult to find out what to do." "My child," said the saint, " I can give you a very good rule, which is this: Take up the first duty that lies at your feet, no matter how small it may seem in your eyes. I see one right before me now, which you are neglecting."
The young girl looked up. "Why, Mother, what is the duty I am not doing?"
"You know little Marie Cornari who has just come; you see she has left home and father and mother only this morning, and as I came through the hall, I saw her wandering rather disconsolately alone. Now, suppose you go and comfort her; speak a few words of kindness to this new pupil."
Elise's lip curled. "But, Mother, she is Clotilde d' Orlean's room-mate; she ought to attend to her, not I."
"My child, Clotilde is romping about in the grounds with your other little companions, and the Lord Jesus has left it to you, given you the privilege of comforting Marie; any opportunity He gives us to do a kindness for His sake is a great favor from Him, and woe to us if we neglect it! While you are dreaming of some grand work to do, little Marie is lonely and weeping." The child at once got up at the saint's words, and was leaving the room, when she was called back.
"I do not think the canaries have been fed, either; and Madame Raines, whose eyes are very weak, has no one to read for her; and I know she received a letter from her son to-day."
"But, Mother," said the child, " what small things these are to do!"
"Ah, but these duties are what our Lord has sent now; bye-and-bye, if you are faithful in little, He will give you greater work to do; but remember, nothing can be considered small that is done for love of Him, and for the welfare of human beings and of dumb animals."
Now, these were a saint's words, children, and we can apply them to our daily life.
For instance, little daughters can help mother with the care of a little baby brother or sister; can keep the rest of the children quiet when poor, dear, tired mother is sleeping; can read to grandmother, and do a little mending for mother. The boys can cheerfully run errands, and not loiter by the way; carry heavy parcels, chop up wood, and take all the heavy work from dear mother's shoulders, and never make a disagreeable face, or pout when they have to leave their play and run messages for either dear father or mother. Then, even in play, neither boys or girls should be so thoughtless as to ruin the furniture of their home, for papa and mamma may have had a good struggle to get all the pretty, useful things together.
Then the little dumb pets of the home should always be the children's care, and father and mother should not have to be anxious about them, only be able to enjoy the sweetness of their gambols and affection. Little things, truly, my children, that Aunt Polly is asking you to do, but great things in the sight of our Lord Jesus; for nothing is small in His sight if done for love of Him. A certain great writer once wrote to a little girl who had informed him that she intended to do a great deal, and be very famous some day:
"Be good, dear child, and let who will be clever. Do noble things, not dream them all day long, and so make life, death, and the vast forever, one grand, sweet song."
"THE woods are just lovely—I wish I could go out into them, so I do."
"Don't, don't, mamma said you musn't."
"Well, I guess I'll open the door and look out into the woods."
"Don't, don't; if you do it will be harder to stay away from them."
"Oh I guess not; I won't do anything mamma doesn't want me to do." But Aggie opened the door, and the sweet scent of the woods was more tempting than the sight of them had been.
"How lovely that little bird is singing! I'll just step outside the door so that I can hear him better."
"Don't, don't, you are going into temptation."
It was a big word- temptation, but it came in the " Our Father" of Aggie’s morning and evening prayers and her mother had often explained its meaning to her.
Aggie crossed the threshold. "Oh, see that lovely wild rose just on the edge of the woods. I won't go any further but just there to smell that lovely rose."
"Don't, don't, if you do you'll go a little further." But Aggie went to the wild rose bush.
"Oh, see those lovely great berries! I wish I could go into the woods --I'd pick them all for papa's supper. I'll just go now and pick a few—mamma doesn't know the berries are ripe— she'll be so glad!”
"Don't, don't, if you do you'll be disobeying mamma's orders — but Aggie was on her knees robbing the blue-berry bush.
"Don't, don't!" how funny it is that a voice always says, "don't, don't," when little boys and girls are tempted to do wrong, but the voice grows fainter and fainter every time it is disobeyed and by and by it no longer says " don't, don't."
Poor Aggie. The great luscious berries were temptingly thick on the low bushes and there seemed to be no end to the bushes at all. Aggie forgot her mother's command and ate and ate the sweet fruit and went deeper and deeper into the wood.
The owner of the voice did something awful strange; it stopped saying " don't, don't," but it seemed to put a great weight like lead into Aggie's heart, and it took all the good taste out of the berries, and it made the mosquitoes bite her bare shoulders, ( grandma was washing out a great grass stain from the sleeve of her pretty white guimpe) and it made the thorns on the juniper bushes prick her hands, and oh dear! it made the little girl think of home and mamma and made her wish she hadn't come to the horrid woods at all.
By and by, when the great weight grew too heavy for the child's heart to carry, she said with her lip's a-tremble:
"I guess I'll go home, so I will."
In an instant the voice was back again, but this time it didn't say " don't, don't," but " do, do." "Go home again, do, do."
And Aggie didn't wait one moment, but thoughtfully walked through the beautiful cool woods towards home. And she said; "I must tell mamma how naughty I've been." "Do, do," said the voice. "And I must tell her how sorry I am that I've been so naughty." "Do, do!" repeated the voice.
"And I'll ask God to help me never to be so wicked again." continued Aggie.
"Do, do," again said the voice.
Aggie was nearly home when she met her mother looking for her. She had not worried on finding her gone. She knew her love for the woods—but never allowed her to go there alone on account of a pool of water there which though shallow might be a place of danger. The open doorway told her that the child had gone there.
Aggie threw herself into her mother's arms and telling her sad story was forgiven, for all good mothers forgive repentant children.
That evening Aggie told her mother about the queer little voice that first said "don't, don't," and then said "do, do;" and about the heavy weight the owner of the voice put into her heart, and she said:
"The voice doesn't say either'do or don't,'now, mamma, why? And the weight is all gone."
And by and by, throwing her arms coaxingly around her mamma and pressing her cheek to hers, she pleaded:
"Will you come with me to-morrow to the woods and pick the lovely berries?"
And her mother replied:
"Yes, daughter, to-morrow and every day till the berries are gone. They are God's gifts and we must not let them go to waste. But mamma cannot trust her little girl to go to the woods alone, remember that." And Aggie remembered.
How many of our little readers know what the voice was that said "don't, don't," and " do, do," to Aggie?
|| Home || Contents || Litany of Saint Michael || Sacred Heart || Sacrament of Penance || Children of the Rosary || Links