March 25th was the 26th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Lefebvre (1991).
We publish here a testimony from Fr. Denis Puga who was a professor at the Seminary St. Pius X at Ecône in 1991.
A man of God
Two or three days before his operation, on Saturday, March 16, while the ordinations to the subdiaconate were being held at the Seminary, I took my car and went to the hospital of Martigny to keep Archbishop Lefebvre company. I can still see him, sitting in his sick chair. In our conversation, we mentioned that it was the first time since the consecration of the bishops in 1988 that the new bishops were conferring orders that he, the Archbishop, was physically incapable of giving. He made this remark that reminded me of the old man Simeon’s Nunc Dimitis: “Yes, now I can go in peace, I have left the Society armed, structured, with everything it needs to survive and develop.”
A few days before that, the Archbishop, feeling his condition greatly worsening, had asked Fr. Simoulin, then director of Econe, to administer Extreme Unction and to send a priest from the seminary to hear his confession. There was no anguish or worry in the Archbishop’s request, simply the disposition of a Christian who, feeling his death draw nigh, wished to prepare for his meeting with his Master. Up until his operation, he received Communion every evening. I remember that one day, by my fault, the priest was only able to come after the distribution of the meal that is rather early in hospitals. The Archbishop had not touched his meal, which greatly worried the nurses. He was waiting patiently… I also remember crossing in the hospital hall the radiologist who had just spent a long time X-raying the “iron bishop” to try to see the extent of the abdominal tumor that was causing so much suffering. He stopped me and spoke to me, and I will try to give his exact words:
Father, I just spent a long time with Archbishop Lefebvre whom I did not know; he deserves to be known, he radiates goodness, he is truly a man of God.”
I later learned that this doctor was not a Catholic.
It is impossible not to think that God gave us a sign by coming to take His servant at the beginning of Holy Week, after letting him live his last day on Palm Sunday, the day when the Church particularly proclaims the Royalty of Christ that is worked through His Passion. On the dawn of March 25, anniversary of the Incarnation, Archbishop Lefebvre left this world. All these providential elements recalled the fundamental themes of the founder of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X’s preaching. I remember that a few months later, Cardinal Oddi visited the seminary of Econe. He had been the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy during the crisis of Econe, and he was the one who, the day before the consecration of the bishops, had desperately tried to dissuade the Archbishop from accomplishing what he considered to be an irreparable act. During his visit, he asked to see Archbishop Lefebvre’s tomb. After praying in silence for a few moments, he ended out loud: “Thank you, Your Excellency.” Thus in the heart of the true Romans, the action of the Holy Ghost was little by little preparing the transformation of the excommunication into thanksgiving…
Sources: Le Chardonnet, #316, March 2016 — La Porte Latine, March 17, 2016