2016-02-15 GENERAL HOUSE

The Memorare in the Snow

In February 1823, Marcellin learned that Brother Jean-Baptiste in Bourg- Argental had come down with a serious illness. Concerned about his condition, the young priest set out on the twenty-kilometre journey across rough countryside to visit him. Brother Stanislaus was at his side. On their return trip, walking through heavily timbered territory, the two men were caught in the full fury of one of the region’s snowstorms. Both were young and energetic, but hours of wandering lost on the slopes of Mount Pilat led eventually to exhaustion. Stanislaus had reached the limits of his stamina. Night set in; the possibility of death in the snow increased with each passing hour. Both men turned to Mary for help and prayed the Memorare. 

Within a short while, they spied lamplight, not too far away in the distance. A local farmer, Mr. Donnet, had left his house to enter a nearby stable. This particular evening, though, he had taken an unusual route, especially with the storm underway. By habit, he entered the stable through a convenient door in the wall of the house. For reasons that can be explained only by faith, this particular night he braved wind and snow and chose a route that took him outdoors with his lantern. For the rest of his days, Marcellin saw his deliverance and that of Brother Stanislaus – henceforth referred to as the Memorare in the Snow – as an act of Providence. 

The Memorare (prayer of St. Bernard)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided. 

Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come;
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me. 



References: Br. Seán Sammon, Saint Marcellin Champagnat – The life and Mission – A heart that knew no bounds (Rome, 1999), pages 44-45. 

Life, Part 2, Chapter 7, pages 343-344. 


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