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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
In the year 1661, on the eve of All Saints’ Day, a religious, visiting the prisons of Hesdin, found a soldier of the garrison, a heretic and Swiss by birth. He spoke to him about religion, and after having talked about devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he urged him to greet her every day as the Angel Gabriel had greeted her when he brought her the happy news that heaven had chosen her to be the Mother of God. The religious added that one cannot fear to go against the will of God when one imitates His ambassador, saying to the glorious Virgin Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; and before leaving this unfortunate heretic, he conjured him to glorify Mary by uniting himself with the Archangel Gabriel who thus honored Her, and with the Apostles who gave Her, in the Symbol, the most beautiful title of glory, saying that the Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, chose Her for His Mother. As he expressed to the sick man his intention to pay him a second visit: “Don’t bother,” said the soldier, “there is nothing to gain from me. I was born a Protestant, I want to die a Protestant.”
Two months had passed since this interview, when the same Father, going on Christmas Eve to the hospital, met this same soldier in bed, and, although at first he did not recognize him, the soldier, nevertheless, recognized him very well and said to him, “I saw you in the prison, and, since that time, I have saluted the Blessed Virgin every day, as the Archangel Gabriel did, and as you advised me.” The Father encouraged him to continue this exercise of devotion, and he spoke to him of other points on which the Protestants are in error. This conversation, by the grace of Jesus Christ and the assistance of Mary, made such an impression on the soldier’s mind, that soon afterwards he sent for the Father to come and see him, and he urged him to instruct him in the points of the faith, assuring him that he was resolved to live and die a Catholic. Indeed, after some time of trial, he publicly abjured his heresy.