The Death of Fr. Louis Guanella
by Leonardo Mazzucchi, S.C.
Father Louis was calm, tranquil, trusting
in the Goodness and Providence of God. His limbs were tormented with inexpressive
torture. His tender fatherly heart was in very great pain... At times his
bodily torment, caused by his condition creeping in his veins, poisoning
his blood and affecting his brain, overcame his will and caused attitudes
and expressions which were painful to the spirit of his (priest) sons and
much more to his own spirit. However, he offered all his pains and humiliations
to the Lord, causing many heavenly graces to be showered upon us!
"I think that the Providence of God sent me this disease to shower extraordinary
graces on the House: extraordinary suffering brings extraordinary graces
... How the Lord and I understand each other regarding the Institute and
you. I never stop uttering loving burning words to God!
...Sometimes I think of my recovery as a purgatory for me and you... But
I think also that my disease is a terminal one which will take me to Paradise...
God will take care of you. No one is indispensable here below. Providence
will provide for you! ... Death! ... Paradise! ... I am in manu Domini
(in the hands of the Lord)."
He asked for prayers for a good holy death. And he kept repeating, "Paradise!,
Paradise!" He then was told: "Do you not love your House, your poor, your
Sisters? Do you not want to spend some more of your labor and suffering among
us?" He answered, "Surely I love you. Certainly I pray for you, how much
I pray for you! Surely I do not refuse to suffer for you! I even offer my
life in sacrifice for you. You will do good without me. I will not abandon
you. I will pray for you in Heaven. I will assist you and comfort you from
Heaven!" But we expressed our fervent desire for his recovery. He shook his
head with great sadness, that sadness of realizing that his message was not
being understood, and resumed his absorption in deep prayer and union with
God. One could sense that Father Louis was in continuous dialogue with the
Lord, that he clearly saw the Lord's designs and saw that his mission here
below was completed.
We were touched to the point of suffering when we saw him humbling himself
by begging pardon for all the bad examples he may have unconsciously given
us in the moments of mental lapses caused by his illness.
-Leonardo Mazzucchi, S.C., 1920
Fr. Louis prayed this great and final earthly prayer for an excruciating
month until his death October 24, 1915 at 2:15 in the afternoon. He now prays
a constant heavenly prayer for us all.
(Credit: Mazzucchi, Leonardo. "The Death of Fr. Louis Guanella." Now and at the Hour Oct. 2001: 33.)