Pere Jacques: Resplendent in Victory
Article from: The Catholic Historical Review Article date: April 1, 2000 Author: Sciurba, Salvatore | Copyright information
Pyre Jacques: Resplendent in Victory. By Francis J. Murphy. (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies. 1998. Pp. xiii, 200. $10.95 paperback.)
Francis J Murphy wrote a second book on Fr Jacques which is on Amazon Listen to the Silence
I have taken a quote from Francis J Murray. Note the above link.
I first saw Pere Jacques in May 1944 through the bars of block 27, in the infirmary of Gusen, where devoured by fever and stretched out on a pallet, with an arm slashed by a scalpel-I longed for a comforting smile from heaven. He brought it to me.
With our friends Jean Cayrol, Louis Boussel, and Gaston Passagey, he came each day for three months, morning and evening, with a word of encouragement. His bits and pieces of daily news were enlivened by an ardent optimism and strong faith in an early Allied victory. In these furtive predawn visits, I drew deeply from this miraculous source the stamina sorely needed for my own victory over an apparently definitive decline.
These long weeks of physical pain finally ended. Another existence, fraught with danger, was beginning-that of a factory worker. I was no longer a dying man but a resurrected one, and each day I witnessed Pere Jacques fully devoted to his work. And what a work! Little by little, his prestige asserted itself in the camp. He became a most respected personality, whose role, both moral and material, would be essential to the French community....
Many French, and foreigners too, met with him daily for words of encouragement and peace. Shunning prudence, he exposed himself to denunciation. However, he continued his ministry as the only priest in a camp of 20,000 men. He risked death at every second, since the S.S. would tolerate no religion other than Hitler-worship. His whole appearance was that of a man of action. Nre Jacques always
struck me as a fighter; he had the soul of a fighter. For him, nothing was too great an effort. He gave of himself just as naturally as others spared themselves. In the same way he lived a life of charity, with ardor and concern; he defended his points of view heatedly, vivaciously, and even sharply.... My last view of Gusen and of its drill yard, where so many had perished, is for me inseparable from the memory of the man, the priest, who in this multitude once more overcame every adversity and who, in the end, brought us the victory-the triumph of the human spirit over a system born of materialism and depravity. The great victor was the one who had survived these trials, just as the salamander survives fire. April 28, 1945! In our eyes, Pere Jacques was resplendent in victory.
... Nre Jacques, you who for months each morning and evening brought me words of comfort, affection, and love; you who sustained in me each day the feeble flame of life by your presence and your smile; you who prayed for a bad Christian and for the others; you who radiated in this death camp so much light, so much life; you who taught men, all men, true nobility of soul, enthusiasm of heart, and strength of mind; allow me, tonight, to give you this message from the living, the repatriated from Compiegne, Gusen, and Mauthausen, the beneficiaries of a miracle, Nre Jacques, we are always with you.