Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
In a letter dated February 12, 1900, and written from Nazareth where he lived as a hermit, St. Charles de Foucauld consoles his little sister, Marie de Blic — whom he calls Mimi — who had just lost her seventh child, Régis, after only a few hours of life.
He tells her, “What honor and what happiness to be the mother of an inhabitant of Heaven!”
We reproduce below the letter in its entirety in the hope that the saint’s words will help those who are going through this pain.
My dear Mimi:
I have just received the message sent yesterday. You must have felt sorrow for the death of this child, and I have also felt sorrow thinking of yours, but I confess to you that I also have deep admiration and I enter into a rapture full of gratitude when I think that you, my little sister, poor traveler and pilgrim on earth, are already the mother of a saint. That your son, to whom you gave life, is in that beautiful heaven to which we aspire, for which we long ….
Behold, he has become in an instant the firstborn of his brothers and sisters, the firstborn of his parents, the firstborn of all mortals. Oh, how wise he is above all wise men! All that we know as an enigma, he sees clearly. What we desire, he enjoys. The goal that we so painfully pursue at the price of a long life of combat and suffering, he has achieved from the first step.
Your other children are marching painfully towards that heavenly homeland, hoping to reach it, but without certainty, and could be forever excluded from it; they will arrive, no doubt, but at the price of many struggles and pains in this life, and perhaps only after a long purgatory.
He, this little angel protector of your family, has flown to his homeland with one beat of his wings, and for all eternity enjoys the sight of God, Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and the infinite happiness of the elect.
How much he must love you! Your other children, like you, can count on a very tender protector. What strength, to have a saint in the family! What an honor and what happiness to be the mother of an inhabitant of Heaven!
I repeat, I enter into rapturous admiration at the thought of this: The mother of St. Francis of Assisi was considered blessed because she attended the canonization of her son in her lifetime; you are a thousand times more blessed! You know with the same certainty as she did that your son is a saint in heaven. How grateful he his to you! You have to your other children, along with life, the hope of heavenly beatitude, and at the same time a condition subject to much suffering; to this one you have given, from the first instant, the reality of the happiness of heaven, without uncertainty, without waiting, without any mixture of sorrow.
My dear, therefore, do not be sad, but rather repeat with the Blessed Virgin: “The Lord has done great things in me. All generations will call me blessed. Yes, blessed, because you are the mother of a saint, because the one you have borne in your womb is at this hour shining with eternal glory.”
Fr. Charles of Jesus