Little Guy de Fontgalland brings God to the godless

February 2, 2017

One Thursday afternoon at the New Circus, his governess observed him gazing absentmindedly round the crowded audience, his attention evidently far removed from the thrills of the performing acrobats.

“What were you dreaming about just now, dear?” she asked.

Circus, 1920s.

“Oh,” he replied, “I was just trying to count the number of children and grown-up people down there, and wondering how many of them love the Good Jesus. I know what! Tomorrow at Holy Communion, I’ll say a prayer for everybody at the Circus!” He was just eight or nine years old.

A circus performer trains a zebra to stand on its hind legs, circa 1920.

There is a sequel to this delightful incident which we cannot resist anticipating. Three years after Guy’s death, Hugo, a twelve-year-old Italian circus child, came on pilgrimage to Guy’s home, to acknowledge the grace of conversion which he felt he had received through Guy, and which he attributed to this Communion offered for the circus folk. “Yes,” he said, “and I have already got several others to read the ‘Life’ …and that way I’ve got the ‘knotted-rope man,’ who is twenty-five and not yet baptized, to go to M. Taïppa (who was preparing Hugo for his First Communion), and I am getting the ‘trapeze-girl,’ and the ‘second horse-woman,’ by lending them Guy’s ‘Life:’ they’re not baptized either. I offer Guy the lashes I get; I’m going to take his name at Confirmation, and I’m going to make my First Communion on Sunday: isn’t that great? You know, when Guy said that he would pray for all the circus people, I fancy he was praying for me.” ¹

¹Statement made by little Hugo, May 1928. Cf. Perroy, o.c., p. 162.


Guy de Fontgalland  by Fr. Lawrence L McReavy, M.A.  Pg. 79-80

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 562



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