A Mother's Spiritual Diary

The Death of my Husband

"On the seventeenth, at 6:55 p.m., the Lord took away from me the husband He had given me on earth for sixteen years, ten months and nine days.  The Lord gave him to me, the Lord took him away from me.  Blessed be His Holy Name!  An interior presentiment on the night of the eleventh, had made me know, without understanding why, the Lord was about to ask me to sacrifice my husband's life, something to which my soul was disposed, but which my fleshly heart refused and which I rejected.  In the course of this cruel interior sorrow, I was prostrate, offering myself to God's will, feeling grow in me, more and more, and clearly measuring it, the whole extent of the sacrifice.

"What struggles… what pains… what sufferings! 'This sword pierced my soul, without any assuagement, without any consolation. 'This very night, the Lord presented to me the chalice and made me drink of it drop by drop to the dregs. During these days, I visited the Tabernacle for sustenance and strength. Oh! If I had not been sustained by Him, then through my great weakness, I would have succumbed! I saw, I affirmed, moment by moment, that my husband was losing his life.  What a model husband!  What a model father! What an upright man! What finesse, what delicacy in his relations with me, so respectful in all his actions, so Christian in all his thoughts, so honest, so perfect in everything he did! My God!  My heart is torn with pain and also with remorse that I did not reveal to him the secrets of my soul.  To the measure that I saw our separation approaching, the tenderness of my heart toward him took on more and more considerable proportions. I felt I had no longer head, nor faith, nor reason, but only a heart. I experienced, as it were, horror for the spiritual life.  What days I spent! What hours! What nights!

"Oh God's grace, of what are you capable!  It is certain that during these days I could but pray thus: 'May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!' But from that moment on, I felt the force of the Holy Spirit for accepting the terrible blow which directly struck my heart and took away their father from my children (Diary, Sept. 27, 1901).

"I was already concerned with having him go to confession and receive Viaticum.  I frequently recited the prayers of the dying and for the recommendation of his soul.  I encouraged him in so far as I could, by ejaculatory prayers, acts of contrition, acts of love, hope and faith, in order to give him strength and courage.  I said them over and over again with all my soul.  In this way I spent hours until he expired, my soul suffering with him during his terrible agony... But no, l was not alone in my suffering. God was with me and sustained me.

"Four of my older children stood around his bed and saw him die.  At this so solemn moment, I told them to be silent and two priests gave him absolution.  Then, I recited the prayer of the deceased.  My God! What my heart felt... You alone, You alone know. I fell right down to my knees and made to the Lord, with all my heart, the offering of perpetual chastity.

"After this I begged his pardon for all that might have offended him.  Now that he saw all things, he must understand, it seemed to me, the reason why I did not reveal my spiritual secrets to him.  After extreme unction, I had asked him to give his last counsels and blessing to each of his eight children, then, I asked him for his blessing, and we mutually pardoned each other.  After he died, his children came up to him, one by one, and I asked there, before their father's corpse, to promise me they would be good and imitate his virtues to obtain a good death.  Then with my eldest son, we laid him who was my companion in the coffin...

"Oh! A night of solitude, of sorrow and of suffering" (Diary, Sept. 27, 1901).