Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/173

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149
A SAINTLY HEART.

I have just received letters from some, and messages from all on board, expressing cordial pleasure at my decision, especially from M. de Gironde, whose cabin I occupy; so I really feel that I shall be a welcome guest.

The great difficulty will lie beyond Tahiti, but I must e'en trust to my luck.

It is also decided that the bishop is to proceed at once to France, both on Church business and for medical advice. It is a good thing that he is so soon to leave this place, where he is terribly worried by the attempt to reconcile so many conflicting interests. He looks much worse than when we arrived.[1]

This morning he officiated at High Mass; and all the men and officers of the Seignelay attended in full uniform. The service was choral, and of course the church was crowded. I passed it on my way to a very small Congregational chapel, where Dr Turner conducted an English service. We met numbers of people on their way to the Protestant native churches; and I was amused to observe how many carried their Bibles neatly folded up in a piece of white

  1. It is hard to have to think of that tender and loving heart as of a mere material relic. Yet, as the heart of the Bruce, enshrined in its golden casket, was carried by his true knight to that Holy Land which his feet might never tread, so has the heart of this saintly prelate—the first Bishop of Samoa—been borne by his faithful followers, to find its resting-place in the church where for so many years he pleaded for, and with, his people.

    It was brought from France by Père Lamaze, now consecrated Bishop of the Isles. The heart is enclosed in a glass urn, with an outer case of gold, ornamented with precious stones, and supported by four angels. On the lid of this reliquary is a representation of a bishop appearing before the judgment-seat of our Lord.

    On reaching Samoa, the casket was deposited at Vaea, while preparations for its reception were made at Apia. On the 24th May 1881, about six hundred Catholics assembled at sunrise at the church at Vaea, to pay a last tribute of respect and devotion to their loved bishop; then forming in solemn procession, they moved towards Apia. The children from the convent school at Savalalo walked first, followed by their teachers; next the Catholics of Apia and the surrounding districts. These were followed by the clergy, four of whom acted as pall-bearers, while four others carried the heart. Last of all came the Catholic chiefs, the catechists of Vaea College, and the natives residing at the mission-house at Apia.

    On reaching the church, a sermon was preached by Bishop Lamaze, and the heart was then deposited in a niche in the wall, there to remain enshrined, as a perpetual memorial to the people of Samoa of the earnest and noble life that was spent in striving to exemplify the holiness he preached.