Tuesday, December 6, 2011


                    Jean Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) was one of the most renowned sculptors and painters of France. His works were praised globally but one sculpture, "La Danse" was labeled as obscene, immoral and lewd and attacked by some people. This upset the great artist. His wife deserted him with his three sons. He never lost his faith but was for years, a stranger to the practices of the Catholic Church. He suffered from cancer and hopelessness. He once lamented, "I am too guilty. God cannot pardon me."
                    Prince Stirbey, one of his admirers met him at the French city of 'Nice'. He was a devout Catholic and wanted to transform the gifted sculptor. When all attempts failed, the prince sent a little girl, to win him over. Carpeaux loved children. The child could easily win his heart. She had just received her First Holy Communion at Paris and had come to visit the Prince, her godfather.
 She asked Carpeaux, "Will you give me a great joy, Monsieur Carpeaux?"
"Surely, my dear," he replied.
"I receive the Holy Communion tomorrow," she informed. "Will you receive the Holy Communion with me?" she asked him.
Carpeaux, after a brief silence, said, "But I am not worthy to receive it."
"Oh, if it is only that, that will be fixed soon. My confessor is so good," she assured him.
                   The girl brought a priest to him and Carpeaux made his confession. The next day they received the Holy Communion together, side by side, at the church in Courbevoie. Though he had agreed to receive the Sacraments to avoid disappointing the child, the incident transformed him totally. He had repeated discussions and confessions with the priest and finally, received the Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction) and Viaticum with deep piety. He kissed the crucifix repeatedly, crying, "Oh! how they treated Him?" He had a blessed and peaceful death on 12th October, 1875.
"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing {Psalms 127: 3}.
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" {Matthew 19: 14}.
"And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me" {Matthew 18: 5}.
"See that you don't despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in Heaven" {Matthew 18: 10}.
© By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally and Leo. S. John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
For more moral stories, parables and anecdotes for students, catechists, teachers and preachers, kindly visit the web-sites:
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