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The Shipwrecked Missionaries

 

Heroic charity is to love one’s neighbor more than one’s self. A hundred years ago a ship was wrecked off the Philippine Islands. When the ship struck the rocks, there was great confusion, each of the passengers thinking only of saving his own life. The only persons who remained calm and self-possessed were two Catholic missionaries, who exerted themselves to the utmost to help their fellow-passengers to get to the lifeboats. When there was no hope left of saving the ship, the sailors called to the missionaries to take to the boats also. One of them did so; the other expressed his determination not to leave the vessel until everyone on board had been saved. Almost immediately the ship sank. As she went down, the missionary was seen on deck, kneeling in prayer; then he was swallowed up by the waves. Some of the crew managed to keep afloat by swimming. One man swam up to the lifeboat, in which was the other missionary, and clinging to it, begged to be brought on board. But unfortunately the boat was already overfull and he could not be taken in. Then the missionary said, “He shall have my place,” and with these words he dove into the water and disappeared immediately, while the sailor was taken into the boat. Here we see the results of true belief. (This incident occurred in January, 1899; the vessel was the Remus, a Spanish steamer.

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