Death Bed Promises
Last night, my "cloistered brothers" celebrated the life of Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. Sept. 5th is Pere's Feast Day. He was just beatified June 3, 2012, as the Apostle of Prisons. So this was our first celebration for him. We had a Communion Service, we sang, we did Evening Prayer, we read some of his sermons. The conclusion, choked me up. Steve read from the Dominican Sisters of Bethany Chronicle of March 10, 1869. It tells of Pere Lataste's last moments.
Our poor Mother spoke to him of heaven, of those whom he had loved and who were waiting for him. "They are coming to meet you," she said. He replied, "I believe it." "And I shall come to meet you when you die...I shall take you into God's presence...I shall come to meet all my daughters..."
At 3 o'clock, the community gathered around his bed, but he could no longer see clearly. Our poor Mother said to him, "Father, your children are here. We are going to sing the Salve Regina." He seemed to understand...I don't know how we were able to sing at that moment...God gave us the strength...our dear father seemed to be trying to pronounce the words with us. At Mater Misericordia, his lips ceased to move...his gaze was lost in eternity.
We contemplate our Father's face, so calm and smiling, and our hearts are comforted. We were permitted to kiss his hands which have so often been raised to bless us...
What a blessing to be with his community. What a blessing for the community to be with their founder. And he promised to meet them in heaven. And another thing...that promise goes for me, too.