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TO THE VENERABLE THEOPHANE VENARD,
MARTYRED.

O Theophane,22Sister Teresa died in 1897, since then the Life of Theophane, beheaded for the faith at Tonquin in 1861, has be­come almost as well known as her own. These kindred souls in Heaven, have been inciting thousands of souls upon earth to spiritual heroism. He crying out for the Foreign Missions, she opening the road for Christ’s little ones to run in the hidden ways of prayer and penance. angelic martyr blest!

All the elect to sing thy praise aspire;

And thee to hail, behold! there stand confest

The Seraphim, with love divine on fire.

I, a poor exile still on this dull earth,

Can not with them my joyful song combine;

Yet will I take my harp, and sing thy worth,

And claim thee as a kindred soul to mine.

Thy brief bright sojourn here was like a psalm

Of heavenly melody, all hearts upraising;

Thy poet nature sang sweet songs like balm,

Through all thy life thy dearest Saviour praising.

Writing thy farewell thy last earthly night,

That farewell was a song of Spring and love,

“I, little butterfly, the first take flight,

Of all our loved ones, to our home above.”

Thou, happy martyr! in the hour of death

Didst taste the deep delight of suffering:

Thou didst declare, e’en with thy dying breath,

That it is sweet to suffer for the King.

When the stern headsman made thee offer fair

Thy torture to abridge, how swift thy word:

“Oh, blest am I my Master’s cup to share!

Long let my suffering last with Christ my Lord!”

O virginal lily! life had but begun,

When Jesus heard thy loving heart’s desire.

I see in thee a flower whose race is run,

Yet his hand plucked it but to lift it higher.

And now, no longer, exile dost thou know;

Thy ecstasy the Blest exult to see.

Thou Rose of love! the Virgin white as snow

Rejoices in thy heavenly purity.

Soldier of Christ, thy armor lend to me!

For sinners’ souls I long to give my life;

For them to give my tears, my blood, like thee:

Protect me then, and arm me for the strife!

For them I fain would fight, till life is done; —

God’s kingdom take by force, their souls to save.

“Not peace to earth I bring,” (so spake God’s Son),

“But fire and sword I bring.” Oh, saving glaive!

How dear is now to me that pagan horde,

The object of thy burning love below;

If Jesus would to me such grace accord,

Ah, thither with what ardor would I go.

Before Him space and distance fade away.

This earth is but a plaything on the breeze;

My actions, my small sufferings to-day,

Can make my Jesus loved beyond the seas.

Oh, were I but a fading springtime flower,

That soon the Lord would gather to His breast!

Come down, O Theophane, at my last hour;

Come down for me, thou youthful martyr blest!

Come, with the virginal flames of purest love,

Come, burn from out my soul all earthly clay,

That I may fly to heaven’s courts above,

And join thy cohort in unending day.

February 2, 1897.


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