February 24, 2018


King Louis XIV was disappointed. He had hoped that a man he respected and loved would return to the Catholic faith. That man was a general named Turenne. He was a steadfast Calvinist, however.

Jacques-Benigne Bousset, perhaps the most renowned orator from the pulpit of his day, took to engage Turenne in private conversations, seeking to convert the man. The one stumbling block which he could not overcome was the doctrine of the Real Presence. Turenne simply could not bring himself to believe in it.

It was during one of these private sessions, in 1667, that a fire broke out in one of the galleries that connected the Louvre with the Palace of the Tuileries. A fierce wind fanned the flames and all efforts to save the multitude of precious artworks collected there seemed to have no hope of success.

It was then that Bousset ran to the palace chapel. Taking a ciborium holding God Made Man, he appeared at one end of burning gallery. As the sound of the bell that announced the coming of the King of Kings, all present fell to sides, making a path in the middle of the gallery through which Bousset was allowed to walk. Pronouncing a benediction, Bousset made his way through the men and the smoke. As he did so, the wind ceased and the fire subsided.

Turenne joined in the procession that carried the Sacred Host back to the tabernacle in the chapel, singing along with the others there, the Te Deum, the ancient hymn dating back to the 4th century that begins, “Thee, O God, we praise.”

From that day, Turenne was a believer.

Shapcote, Emily Mary, Legends of the Blessed Sacrament (London, Burns & Oates) p. 115-116.


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