Additions or Reminiscences (1880)
Long before we left France for this New World, I remember very distinctly that there was in my mind a predominant thought and in my heart a special, and abiding desire, which I might call a hidden passion, viz: to devote my time somewhere, to consecrate my life to preach what I knew of the Blessed Virgin. My first sermon, written at home in 1837 when I was only subdeacon, was on Our Blessed Mother, from the sacred text: Qui elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt. I read it all to my dear parents before I preached it, and they seemed to feel more than pleased with my first oratorical essay. From this first debut until I left all, I preached often, my first love increasing year after year.
But on the day of our departure, when I opened my new Breviary for vespers, [until then the Roman liturgy was totally unknown to me, having never used but that of our diocese], I was struck to see that we were starting on a beautiful festival day of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of the Snow. The impression I received from the happy coincidence was not to be soon obliterated. I had absolutely nothing to do with the choice of the day. How often have I not thanked her since for choosing it herself, as a proof that she wished us to leave for our new mission under her maternal protection, to look up to Her . . .