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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
A Polish nobleman, Count S., who had been caught fighting against Russia, had been sentenced to death. Upon hearing this terrible news, the countess took her ten-year-old son Stanislaus to an oratory and prayed for a while before a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary. Then, escorted by a servant and accompanied by her son, she went to the prison where the Count was being held. With the help of a few gold coins slipped to the jailer, she managed to get into the dark dungeon. Three quarters of an hour later, she passed by again, or at least she was seen to pass by the guards again, hiding her face and leading her son in tears. The prisoner’s cell was not opened until evening. At the moment of this inspection, the jailer shouted loudly: instead of the condemned to death, he had found the countess, his wife. Count S. had escaped, taking with him to Paris his son Stanislas.
A year and a half passed; the count was still unaware of the fate of his brave wife. The child had been placed in a boarding school run by clergymen, and there he grew in learning and piety. The time of his first Communion was approaching, and the idea of his mother was constantly pursuing him. “I want, he said, her to come back for my First Communion, and she will come back.”
Preoccupied with this desire, one evening he wrote the following letter to Peter, the servant who had remained in Warsaw: “Peter, will you please tell my mother that I am making my First Communion in a month, and that it is absolutely necessary for her to arrive in Paris to attend it? I will say a rosary every day for this intention. Tell her that I am staying at my boarding house, rue D., etc. Stanislas.”
This letter written, the child slipped in a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary, to bring good luck to her missive. In the meantime, the Count was written: “No more hope, departure for Siberia. Resignation. Pierre must make one last attempt, but at the first attempt to escape, the Countess will be massacred, etc.”
However, the first Communion was approaching; Stanislaus had said nothing about his letter, either to his father or to his masters; he had spoken of it every day to Mary, reciting the rosary, and harboring the firm hope of being fully granted. He had said to himself: “Before my first Communion, I will make a novena to the Blessed Virgin, so as to finish it just at the moment when I receive absolution, and I will recite my rosary so devoutly that the Blessed Virgin will be obliged to give me back my mother.”
It was the eve of the great day; towards five o’clock in the evening, Stanislaus went towards the porter’s lodge: “Where are you going, my child? – To see if no one has asked for me. – But your father came this morning. – Ah, sir, I’m still waiting for a visit, from mother. – But your mother is not in Paris. – She will return, I am sure. – Come, my child, I conceive your desires and your prayers, but no distraction this evening; the hour of the visits is past; return with your fellow students.”
Stanislaus obeyed, but he was surprised that his prayer was not answered as soon as his novena was over. Six o’clock rang, then seven, then eight,… and no one. They were getting ready to go to the dormitory. Stanislaus was a little discouraged. Meanwhile, a woman of a neglected dress entered at the concierge and asked to see Stanislas S. The doorman refused, but let the stranger approach the window at the time when the pupils paraded. Stanislas, who was counting on his mother’s return, stepped out of line to take a look at the janitor’s office. The mother (for it was she) had only time to exclaim: “There! There!…” and she fell unconscious.
How did the countess arrive at the hour marked by the child? Here it is: thanks to the Queen of the Rosary, whom her son had prayed to with such confidence, she had escaped from the hands of those who were taking her to Siberia, had fled to France, and in disguise, without resources, without money, she had reached Paris. Fortunately, Stanislaus’ letter to Pierre had given the address of the boarding house where the child was staying. The next day, the Count and Countess S., happy and overwhelmed, attended their son’s First Communion, giving thanks to Our Lady of the Rosary for such an extraordinary favor. Such is the power of trust! Such is the effectiveness of the rosary recited with constancy and faith!