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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Mr. Arthur Panet was a wealthy man in my community. For fifteen years, at least, he had been living in the most shameful habits, totally removed from any outward practice of religion. Not only did he do evil himself, but, by his position of wealth, he made others do it; very often he sullied the faith by his blasphemies, and poured out on pious people the most insulting jokes; in a word, Mr. Arthur was known throughout the town as the most impious man.
Such outrageous and moronic conduct soon ruined the most robust health. Mr. Panet was only 36 years old, but already for several years he had been experiencing, at certain times, disturbing ailments that eventually led to a serious illness.
I had known about his desperate situation for a month, but I had heard so much about this prodigal that I didn’t dare go to the door of his room, for fear of being humiliated by the refusal.
However, one day, hearing that the condition of the sick man was becoming more and more alarming, I threw myself at the feet of a statue of the Blessed Virgin, which I had in my room, and there, giving free rein to my tears, I begged the Star of the shipwrecked, the refuge of poor sinners, to come to my aid, to give me the necessary strength, and to send to the dying man the grace which makes the most infamous of sinners the greatest saint.
I get up, and I arrive soon at the door of Mr. Panet; I ring and they open me. My first word is this: “May I see the gentleman? – Yes, Father, he has just spoken of you at this very moment.” I enter, and I hardly have time to greet him, that he says to me: “Father, that you make me good! How long I have been waiting for you! No, no, don’t believe it, Father, I am not a godless person; I have always trusted in the Blessed Virgin.” And, drawing an image and a prayer from the pocket of one of his garments, he added: “You see, Father, this engraving of the Blessed Virgin and this prayer, which I hold from the hand of my poor mother, they have never left me; I did not take a step without them; in my travels I did not get into a carriage without my image and without reciting my prayer, and never did anyone notice this little devotion.”
Mr. Arthur was sincerely converted, and died a saint.