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Baron Augustin de Saint-Priest, who graduated from the Saint-Cyr school with distinction, became a brilliant captain in the French Army.
Honest, friendly, intelligent, he knew, while cultivating the studies which are attached to his noble profession, how to find time for the arts, particularly for music, where he excelled. He composed religious and military songs, and he left a great number of them. In them one can recognize that energetic and gentle character which made him respected and cherished at the same time. As bold a Christian as he was a military man, he knew how to profess his faith on every occasion. In Poissy, his last French garrison, he conducted the choirs of the Month of Mary every evening: in front of Sebastopol, in the ambushes, he sang to himself in a low voice the hymns he had composed.
He was a captain in the 28th line and had been married for a short time when his regiment was sent to Crimea. The harsh trials of the campaign soon began. The first enemy he had to fight was cholera. His conduct in Crimea, during that terrible winter which claimed so many victims, was of the best. During the night attack against the Russian ambushes, he suddenly was caught in the middle of several hundred enemies with thirty-eight men. The whole army admired his chivalrous bravery. In this incident, his lieutenant was killed next to him, and his second lieutenant, M. Morguet, believing that he was a prisoner, had twice, with six grenadiers, pierced the mass of Russians to free him. A month later, he was wounded, at first judged to be not very serious, but this wound was to put an end to a career that had begun so well. He was able to write an account of this last action to his mother, an incomplete account, because he barely mentions himself, while the report of his battalion commander named him first among the most valiant. The cross of the Legion of Honor was the first prize for his fine conduct. It was brought to him, alas! on his deathbed. Courageous and calm until the end, he used his last days to purify his soul; full of gentleness for those who had loved him and for those about whom he had reason to complain, he asked for the Last Sacraments, received them, and breathed his last in peace, without ever regretting life. He was thirty-three years old.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.