The Great Last Words Of These 4 Powerful Saints
The stories of the deaths of 4 powerful Saints
Francis of Assisi
Then, as the hour of his departure was fast approaching, Francis called all the brethren to him. He consoled them with words of comfort about his death, exhorting them with fatherly tenderness to love God. He spoke for a long time about observing patience, and poverty, and fidelity to the Holy Roman Church . . . Then as all the brethren sat around him, he stretched his hands over them, crossing his arms in the likeness of the Cross, for he did always love that sign, and he blessed all the brethren, . . . Then as best he could, he broke forth into the words of [Psalm 141]: “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication,” and went through even unto the end, saying: “The righteous shall gather round me, for you shall deal generously with me.”
– excerpt from The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi by St. Bonaventure
On Easter Tuesday, [Bernadette was very ill so] the chaplain suggested to her that she prepare to make the sacrifice of her life. “What sacrifice?” Bernadette answered, “it is no sacrifice to leave this life, where it is so difficult to belong to God.” On Easter Wednesday, she requested that her crucifix to be tied to her, in case her weakening fingers became unable to hold it. She gazed at a statue of Our Blessed Lady and said, “I have seen her. How beautiful she is, and how I long to go to her.” Sister Nathalie Portat came in at about three o’clock, and Bernadette requested, “Help me to thank to the end.” Taking the crucifix, she prayed, “My God I love you, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength.” Sister Nathalie began the Hail Mary. Bernadette answered clearly, “Mother of God, pray for me, poor sinner, poor sinner.” Now was the hour of her death, and like Jesus on the cross, she said, “I am thirsty.” The sisters brought some water. Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross for the last time as her Lady had taught her in the grotto. Silently she sipped a little water. Peacefully she bowed her head. Gently she surrendered her soul.
Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius called [his secretary Father Polanco], and, being left alone with him, told him to inform the pope that he was beyond recovery, and to ask for the papal blessing . . . Fr. Polanco asked in surprise if he were really so ill, assuring him that the doctors held another opinion, and that he trusted God would yet keep him for his service. Ignatius insisted. But so obstinate was Fr. Polanco in his optimistic trust of medical opinion that he asked if he could wait until the next day, as he had international letters to write that night. “No,” responded Ignatius, “I’d rather you did it today than tomorrow. And the sooner the better.” Nevertheless, Ignatius let Fr. Polanco do as he should think fit—he left himself entirely in his hands. It was a final effort of resignation and renouncement, since Ignatius surely must have known that the next day would be too late. Fr. Polanco consulted Doctor Petronio, who said that he might give an opinion the next day whether there was danger; today he would say nothing. Polanco decided to await the next day’s verdict, and he retired to write his letters. . . . That night Ignatius acted as he had before, except that he no longer called on the attendant brother as often, and, after midnight, he became quiet. From time to time, as the slow hours of his unguessed dying wore away, he was heard to cry, “Ay Dios!” (O God!).
– Saint Ignatius of Loyola by Francis Thompson
Joan of Arc
Joan had, at the end, such great contrition . . . that it was a thing to be admired, saying such pitiful, devout, and Catholic words, that those who saw her in great numbers wept. Even the Cardinal of England and many other English were forced to weep and to feel compassion. As I was near her at the end, the poor woman sought and humbly begged me to go into a nearby church and bring her the cross. She asked me to hold it upright on high before her eyes until the moment of death, so that the cross on which God was hanging might be continually before her eyes as long as she lived. Amidst the flames, she unceasingly called out in a loud voice the Holy Name of Jesus, imploring and invoking unceasingly the aid of the saints in paradise. As she died, she bent her head and uttered the Name of Jesus as a sign that she was fervent in the faith of God . . . Immediately after the execution, the executioner came to me and to my companion, Br. Martin Ladvenu—who was stricken and moved with a marvelous repentance and terrible contrition, quite desperate and fearing never to obtain pardon and indulgence from God for what he had done to this holy woman. The executioner said and affirmed that, despite the oil, the sulphur, and the charcoal which he had applied to Joan’s entrails and heart, he had in no way been able to burn them up, or reduce them to cinders. He was astonished at this most evident miracle.