Eucharistic Encounter 14: “That’s why we had to start in the chapel.”

It’s dangerous to work in a tuberculosis ward in a hospital. Really dangerous.  

Hi, everyone. This is Father Rocky in the Chapel of the Nativity and Relevant Radio in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with another story about the Holy Eucharist for our Eucharistic Encounters series. 

This story took place in Paris after the French Revolution – about 200 years ago, now. The French Revolution brought about a lot of suffering in the Church; priests and nuns and bishops were executed, churches were burned down and closed. But the governmental authorities let the Catholic hospital stay in operation because they recognized that the Catholic hospitals were doing good things for the citizens. Still, the government inspectors would come to the hospitals every year for an inspection.

One year, the inspectors show up at the Sacred Heart Hospital, which was run by the nuns in Paris. The mother superior greeted the public officials: “Our inspection today begins in our chapel.”  

The government inspectors protested. “Sister, we don’t have to start the Chapel, we can go right to the hospital.”

“No, our inspection starts in the chapel.”

The government inspectors were wise enough to know they weren’t going to win that argument. The Mother Superior opened the door to the chapel, and they were respectful. What did they see? They saw two nuns in full habit, kneeling on kneelers in front of Jesus and the Blessed Sacrament, in silence.

The government inspectors, they felt a little bit uncomfortable, but they were respectful. After a few minutes, Sister brought them out the door and said, “Let’s go and walk down the halls and do our annual inspection.” 

So they started in the maternity ward; then they went to the ward of the newborn babies; then they went to the pediatric ward and a number of different wards until they got down to the end of the hall to the tuberculosis ward. Back in that day, tuberculosis was frightening. It was incurable. It was contagious and it was fatal. They walked in and saw the horror, smelled the stench, heard the pain of the people who were suffering and they couldn’t take it. 

And the government inspector said to the nun, “I can’t believe anyone can take care of those people.”  

And she said, “That’s why we had to start in the Chapel, because if it weren’t for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, nobody could do that.” 

The Holy Eucharist is known as the Sacrament of Charity. When we revere the Blessed Sacrament, there’s more charity in our life, willingness to help others and to be kind and to be helpful. It’s the furnace of charity in the Church. 

So I want to encourage you, if you can today go to your local church and make a short visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Let’s all show up for Jesus next July, 2024, for the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.


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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.