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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Father de Smet was on his way by the Missouri River to the native peoples he was to evangelize. A young man was brought aboard his ship, dangerously ill and suffering greatly. He was a stranger; but in his deplorable state, he needed a friend and a comforter all the more. The missionary flew to him, pressed him in his arms, pitied him, questioned him: “Father,” replied the dying man, “I am a Catholic; God has given me the grace to receive a Christian education, and all my life I have had a great devotion to Mary. For six years that I have been traveling in the mountains, among different nations, I have not yet had the happiness of meeting a priest.” And Mary sent him one to administer the last sacraments, which he received with excellent dispositions. He died the next day, leaving a new proof of the love that the Blessed Virgin has for Her servants, of Her maternal vigilance, and of the help that She provides, at the moment of death, to those who have loved Her during life.
(Annals of the Propagation. Year 1838)