without receiving Holy Baptism.
In the eyes of the unwise
'she died as an unconverted Jewess'
in spite of the many prayers offered for her by her priestly son.
I have translated the following from his life
which will be of interest for all of us
who pray for souls that seem to live and die
without the grace of conversion.
Note that Fr. Hermann
had consecrated his mother to Our Lady
hundreds of times and offered many prayers for her salvation;
he never lost hope in his mother's cause.
Rev. Fr. Hermann Cohen, O.C.D.
"God has struck a terrible blow to my heart. My poor mother is dead ... and I remain in incertitude! However we have so much prayed that we must hope that something has passed between her soul and God during these last moments that we cannot know about. ..."
We can easily imagine the pain of Father Hermann in learning of the death of his mother. He had so much prayed and so much had prayers said for her conversion, and she came to appear before the tribunal of God without having received holy Baptism! ...
God seemed to have despised all his prayers and rejected his loving and legitimate desires. His faith and his love were put through a harsh trial. Nevertheless, if his sorrow was deep, his hope in the infinite goodness of God would not allow itself to be struck down. ...
the Curé of Ars his disquiet about the death of his poor mother who died without the grace of Baptism. "Hope!" replied the man of God, "hope; you will receive one day, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception a letter that will bring you great consolation."
(The person who wrote this letter died in the odour of sanctity; she was well known in the religious and ascetical world by her written works on the Eucharist.)
On the 18th October, after Holy Communion, I found myself in one of those moments of intimate union with Our Lord, where he made me so feel his presence in the sacrament of His love that Faith seemed no longer necessary to believe him there.
After a short time, He had me hear His voice and He wanted to give me some explanations relative to a conversation that I had had the night before.
I remember that, in that conversation, one of my friends had manifested her surprise that Our Lord, who has promised to accord everything to prayer, had however remained deaf to those of Reverend Father Hermann who had so many times addressed Him to obtain the conversion of his mother; her surprise went almost as far as discontentment, and I had had difficulty in having her understand that we must adore the justice of God and not to seek to penetrate its secrets.
I dared to ask of my Jesus how it was that He, who was goodness itself, had been able to resist the prayers of Father Hermann, and not grant the conversion of his mother.
This was His (Our Lord's) response:
Why does Anna always want to sound the secrets of my justice and why does she seek to penetrate mysteries that she cannot comprehend?
Tell her that I do not owe my grace to anyone, that I give it to whom I please and that in acting in this way I do not cease to be just, and justice itself.
But that she may know that, rather than not keep the promises that I have made to prayer, I will upset heaven and earth, and that every prayer that has my glory and the salvation of souls for object is always heard when it is clothed in the necessary qualities.
He added: "And to prove to you this truth, I willingly make known that which passed at the moment of the death of the mother of Father Hermann".
My Jesus then enlightened me with a ray of His divine light and had me understand or rather to see in Him that which I want to try to relate.
At the moment where the mother of Father Hermann was on the point of rendering her last breath; at the moment that she seemed deprived of awareness, almost without life; Mary, our good Mother, presented Herself before Her Divine Son, and prostrate at His feet, She said to Him: "Pardon and mercy, o my Son! for this soul who is going to perish. Yet another instant and she will be lost, lost for eternity. I beseech you, do for the mother of my servant Hermann, that which you would like to be done for your own, if She was in her place and if you were in his. The soul of his mother is his most precious good; he has consecrated her to me a thousand times; he has consecrated her to the tenderness and solicitude of my heart. Could I suffer her to perish? No, no, this soul is mine; I will it, I claim it as an inheritance, as the price of your blood and of my sufferings at the foot of your Cross."
Hardly had the sacred suppliant ceased speaking, when a strong, powerful grace, came forth from the source of all graces, from the adorable Heart of our Jesus, and came to enlighten the soul of the poor dying Jewess; instantly triumphing over her stubbornness and resistances.
This soul immediately turned herself with loving confidence towards Him whose mercy had persued her as far as the arms of death and said to Him: "O Jesus, God of the Christians, God whom my son adores, I believe, I hope in Thee, have pity on me."
In this cry, heard by God alone and which came from the intimate depths of the heart of the dying woman, were enclosed the sincere sorrow for her obstination and for her sins, the desire of baptism, the express will to receive it and to live according to the rules and precepts of our holy religion, if she had been able to return to life.
This leap of faith and hope in Jesus was the last sentiment of that soul; it was made at the moment when she brought towards the throne of the divine mercy. Breaking away the weak bonds which held her to her mortal casing, she fell at the feet of Him who had been her Saviour (a moment) before being her Judge."
After having showed me all these things, Our Lord added:
"Make this known to Father Hermann; it is a consolation that I wish to accord to his long sorrows, so that he will bless, and have blessed everywhere, the goodness of the heart of my Mother and Her power over mine."
Totally unknown to Reverend Father Hermann, the poor invalid who has just now penned these lines is happy to think that she has perhaps spread a little consolation and balm on the still bleeding wound of the heart of this son and priest. She dares to ask the alms of his fervent prayers, and she likes to believe that he will not refuse to one, who, even though unknown to him, is united to him by the sacred bonds of the same faith and of the same hopes. ..."
What appears to add great authority to this letter, is that it had been announced six years in advance by the venerable Cure of Ars.
End of translation.
(pp. 126 - 129, Vie du R.P. Hermann, en religion Augustine-Marie du T.S. Sacrament, Carme Dechausse, par M. l'Abbe Charles Sylvain, Paris, 1883.
From the French life of Rev. Father Hermann, in religion Augustin-Marie of the Most Holy Sacrament, Discalced Carmelite, by Fr. Canon Charles Sylvain, Paris 1883.)
Publised with the approbation of and recommendation of His Grandeur Mgr. Gay, Bishop of D'Anthedon, Auxiliary of His Eminence Cardinal Pie, Bishop of Poitier, 4 Dec. 1880
and of His Grace Mgr. de la Bouillerie, the Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux, 23 July 1881
of His Lordship Mgr. Adolphe-Louis Perraud, Bishop of Autun and Member of the French Academy, 8 March, 1882
and of the Most Reverend Father Luc of St. John of the Cross, Father General of the Discalced Carmelites, 4 May, 1880)