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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Exclusive Representation of the Nativity Scene.
Raymond had been raised by a very Christian mother in the sentiments of true piety and in the exercises of religion. When he entered a prestigious military school, the young man’s religious principles had finally sunk in. But while losing his faith, his innocence, all his religious practices, he had preserved a filial affection for the Blessed Virgin. During twenty-five years of the most free and stormy life, he had not missed a single day to recite his Memorare, piissima Virgo Maria, and to recommend himself to the protection of the Queen of heaven and earth. All is not happiness in the way of passions. Our officer found there only the complete ruin of his soul, his health, his fortune and his honor.
Desperate therefore, as it often happens, to remedy the misfortunes of all kinds that fell upon him at the same time, he resolved to end a life that had become a burden to him. One day, he tried to asphyxiate himself; but either he had not taken all his fatal precautions, or rather, his heavenly Mother protected him from such a sad end. The next day he found himself alive on the bed where he had thrown himself to die. He then resolved to blow his brains out; but before accomplishing this horrible plan, he wanted to see, for the last time, the only friend his disgraces had left him, and to entrust him with a letter containing his last wishes. In this race, he passed in front of the basilica of Our Lady of Victories: a force which he could not control obliged him to enter the august sanctuary. He fell on his knees before the image of the Blessed Virgin and pronounced his daily invocation to Mary; he had not finished his prayer when he found himself completely changed in an instant. Hope, having returned to his heart, had driven out all thoughts of suicide, and the desire to put an end to his days had been replaced by a firm and sincere resolution to put an end to his disorders. In short, an hour later, he was at the feet of a holy priest of the Madeleine Church (Father de Rayneval) and was purifying his soul by the confession of his faults and by the tears of repentance. We have this fact from the mouth of this venerable clergyman, whom the penitent authorized to publish these details of his conversion, while waiting for him to do so himself as a testimony of his gratitude to Mary and for the edification of the Church.
Numerous volumes would be made of all the prodigies of this kind that the memory or the invocation of Mary works every day, reviving hope in the most desperate souls.
(Treatise on the cult of the Blessed Virgin, by Father Ventura, 1859, p. 92).