Saved From Absurdity
When I first went to Europe to study as a young priest, I lived in a boardinghouse which belonged to a certain woman, whom we will call Madame Citroff. I was there about a week when she came to me and told me the tragic story of her family. After her marriage, her husband left her. A daughter that was born to them became immoral on the streets of Paris. Then Madame Citroff pulled out of her pocket a small vial of poison. She said, 'I do not believe in God. Sometimes the thought comes to me that there is a God, and in case there be one, I curse him. So I've decided simply, because life has no meaning and is absurd, to do away with it. I intend to take this tonight. Can you do anything for me?' 'Well,' I said, 'I can't if you're going to take that stuff.' So I asked her to postpone her suicide for nine days. I think it's the only case on record of a woman postponing her suicide for nine days. Well I never prayed before in my life like I prayed for that woman. On the ninth day, the good Lord gave her great grace. Some years later, on the way to Lourdes, I stopped off at a city where I enjoyed the hospitality of the Monsieur and Madame and Madamoiselle Citroff. And I said to the village cure, 'Are the Citroffs good Catholics?' He replied, 'Oh, it's wonderful when people keep the faith all during their lives.' He did not know the story.