The Blessings of Mary
Taken from
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR


Our Lady Obtains Grace for Those Who Wear Her Scapulars

Some years ago a Missionary Bishop, Dr. Polding, was travelling in an unfrequented part of the interior of Australia. He fell ill on his way, and was nursed with admirable devotedness by a good widow. The venerable prelate, restored to health, promised her that at whatever time of the year, or in whatever place he might be, he would return at her request to administer to her the Last Sacraments.

Many years passed when, one day in autumn, a letter came begging the prelate to fulfill his promise. Without hesitation the Bishop set out on his journey. After having travelled many days he arrived at the house he had gone so far to seek. To his great astonishment he found it quite empty. While he was reflecting what he should do, his attention was arrested by the sound of a woodcutter's hatchet. He went immediately to the place whence the sound proceeded, and there he found an Irishman felling trees. Dr. Polding learned from him that the old lady, fearing some delay, had, though very ill, gone to seek spiritual help; but he could not indicate the direction she had taken. Understanding that it would be quite useless to go in search of her, the worthy Bishop sat down on the trunk of a tree, and, addressing himself to the woodcutter, said: "Well, my good man, after all, I have no intention of going back without doing something; kneel down, and I will hear your confession."

The Irishman began to excuse himself, alleging his want of preparation and his being a long time away from confession; but his scruples were overruled by the Bishop; and the woodcutter kneeling down, made a good and sincere confession, and, contrite and repentant, received the holy absolution for his sins. He promised the Bishop that he would go to the nearest chapel on the following Sunday and receive Holy Communion. The good prelate then set out on his return, but had not gone far when he heard a dull, heavy noise, followed by some feeble groans. He returned in all haste and found his penitent crushed by the fall of a tree. The poor man was unable to speak; but the confession had been made in time, and the holy anointing was immediately proceeded with, and a soul was saved.

Now, what obtained this wonderful mercy of God that a Bishop should be called to a place hundreds of miles from his residence to open the gates of Heaven for this poor man who was about to be surprised by death? It was this: The Irish woodcutter, like most of his countrymen, always wore the scapulars of the Blessed Virgin, and, wherever he was, never forgot her, and this good Mother watched over him, though far away from priest and church, and did not permit that he should die without being reconciled to her Divine Son according to her promise: "Whoever dies whilst devoutly wearing this habit shall be preserved from eternal flames."


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