Thought for the Day – 5 January – the Memorial of St Charles of Mount Argus C.P. (1821-1893)
Excerpt from a letter to his brother, Father Peter Joseph Houben
Written at Blessed Paul’s Retreat, Harold’s Cross, Dublin.
20 November 1862.
“My dear Reverend Brother,
I was delighted to hear that you and our brothers and sisters are keeping well, also our uncle, the mayor, (2) and our niece (3). I too am very well, thank God. It seems to me that our niece is a very devout and humble girl and I hope that she remembers to pray for me from time to time (child of Mary, would you be willing to say a little prayer for me?) I want to pray for you that you may come to a complete understanding of your state in life.
I have now been away from you for 17 years; this time has passed so quickly that to me it seems but a moment. I am very far away from you all but what does it matter how far we are from each other in this life, so long as we are united for all eternity with Jesus and Mary.
I think of you, my brother, everyday during Mass – I think and think again of you, my good Peter Joseph; also dear Mary Sibyl, Mary Christine, John Matthew, Godfrey, Anne Mary and Mary Helen, my dearest uncle, the mayor and my good niece Mary Philomena. Remember me sometimes in your prayers. I wish my brother John Matthew and my sister Anne Mary (4) much happiness in married life – my best wishes to their families. I pray for them, that if God grants them children, they will bring them up to know His peace, have them pray every morning and every night and teach them to recite the rosary in the evening and that the welfare of their souls will be the most important thing in life for them. We should be thankful to God for having given us such good parents and for our aunts, uncles, etc.
I now find it quite difficult to write and speak in my own native tongue. Here in Dublin we have built a huge monastery which cost about eight thousand pounds. The Irish gave us this money; they are very generous when it comes to their Catholic faith. However, here in the city of Dublin and in the surrounding districts there are also thousands of people who neither go to confession nor make their Easter communion.
With all my heart I implore you to pray for them, to offer your evening rosary for the conversion of so many great sinners; go to Mass and offer your communions for this intention. I shudder when I think of how often our Lord is offended in this large city, crucified by serious sins. Ah, pray that these sinners may turn back to God. In Dublin and the surrounding districts there are about 300 thousand Catholics and 50 thousand Protestants.
In our monastery there is a religious, John Joseph Renon from Hoensbrock, who was in London for twelve years; we have a monastery there, too.
…I must finish now. I give my priestly blessing to everyone, let us try to please God in all that we do and suffer and let us think often of the Passion of Christ and the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
My best wishes to my dear uncle J. N. Luyten, the mayor and to all my family and friends.
Your affectionate brother,
Fr Charles Houben, Passionist
St Charles of Mount Argus, Pray for Us!
1. Summ. p. 333, L.13.
2. Mayor Luyten of Munstergeleen was Charles’ mother’s brother.
3. Mary Philomena Houben, John Peter’s daughter, who was fifteen years of age.
4. Anne Mary had married John Peter Lenssen on 14th January, 1862.
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