General de Sonis honors the Sacred Heart

October 25, 2018

Colonel de Charette, foreseeing that when peace was declared the Zouaves would be disbanded, thought that the hour was come to consecrate the whole regiment to the Sacred Heart. This solemnity was fixed for the 28th of May, Whit-Sunday, in the chapel of the Great Seminary of Rennes. It was a grave moment, being only four days after the martyrdom of the hostages and the retaking of Paris from the assassins of the Commune; so that this consecration was to be likewise an act of reparation. Above all, every one wished for the presence of General de Sonis; but, as his mutilation rendered this impossible, he was implored to draw up the act of consecration himself, which, after some hesitation, he consented to do. Before Holy Communion t the foot of the altar, Mgr. Daniel, the chaplain of the regiment, spoke as follow:

Séminaire Saint-Yves de Rennes

“General de Sonis—he who led you on the battlefield, who chose a Zouave to carry the standard of the Sacred Heart, who exclaimed, ‘Let them see what Christian soldiers can do!’ –wished today to present you himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But, being prevented by his glorious wounds, he determined to associate himself with your consecration by  writing the following words. We will not change one of them, for they  are to us a sacred formula, in which we all heartily join.”

In the midst of a touching silence, he then read the following beautiful prayer:

“O Jesus, Son of God, our King and our Brother, gathered together this day at the foot of Thy altar, we come to give ourselves entirely to Thee, and to consecrate ourselves to Thy Divine Heart.

Général Louis-Gaston de Sonis

“Thou knowest, O Lord, how we armed ourselves first in defense of the most holy cause, even Thine, O Lord, for we are soldiers of Thy Vicar.

“Thou has permitted us to be associated with the sorrows of Pius IX, and , having shared in his humiliations we found ourselves violently separated from our Father. But, Lord, having been driven form that Roman soil, where we kept watch round the tomb of the Holy Apostles, Thou didst prepare other duties for us and didst permit that the soldiers of the Pope should become the soldiers of France. We came to the battlefield armed for the fight; Thy adorable Heart on our standard overshadowed our battalions.

Photograph of Bl. Pius IX

“Lord, the soil of France has drunk our blood, and Thou knowest how we have sacrificed our lives for our country. Many of our comrades have died; Thou hast called them to Thyself, for they were ripe for Heaven.

“But we remain, and we know not the fate which is reserved for us. Grant, O Lord, that the lives Thou hast preserved may be henceforth entirely consecrated to Thy service.

“We bear on our breasts the image of Thy Sacred Heart. Grant that our own hearts may be a still more faithful image of Thee, and make us worthy of the title of Christian soldiers.

“Grant that we may be submissive to our leaders, charitable to our neighbors, sever toward ourselves, a devoted to our duties, and ready for every sacrifice.

St. Peter promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart.“Make us pure in body and in soul; and, however eager we may be in the fight, grant that we may be tender and compassionate toward the wounded. O Jesus, in all our dangers and sufferings it is from Thy Divine Heart that we seek our most powerful help. Thou wilt be our refuge, when all human aids fail us, and our last sigh will be an act of hope in Thy Divine mercy.

“and you, O blessed Mary, whom we have chosen for our mother, to you also we must bear witness.

“Our battlefields have seen the long procession of mourning wives, mothers and sisters, seeking for their dear ones who had fallen, and recognizing our sons by their scapulars. Be our protectress, and obtain for us the grace to be entirely united to you in the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son, for life and death, in time and in eternity. Amen.”

The life of General de Sonis, from his papers and correspondence by Baunard, Mgr., 1826-1919; Herbert, Mary Elisabeth À Court Herbert, Baroness, 1822-1911, Pg. 226-7

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 649

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