Hamon, Father Pierre Marie
1890, April 2
Date of Birth: 1844, October 2
April 11, 1890
Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:
No Memorial Card is Available
I recommend to your prayers one of our well-loved confreres who died a holy death at Amèlie-les-Bains, Father Hamon, curate of the parish of Notre Dame in Montreal.
Father Pierre Marie Hamon, born October 2, 1844, at Estrée in the Diocese of Rennes, had been drawn to Montreal by a Jesuit Father who was a relative of his. He spent some years at the Jesuit college where he was put in charge of a class. The relationship which he always had with the Sulpicians roused in him the desire of joining them and of entering the family of Father Olier. Putting this notion to the test, he spent some months as an assistant at the parish of Notre Dame; while being considered for the work, it was thought that he showed some evidence of God’s will, and he was directed to the Seminary of St. Sulpice, where he arrived on September 22, 1878. The Superior General placed him as an auxiliary at the Seminary of Rodez to make his Theology course with a view to calling him the following year to the Solitude. When the year of Theology was over, he came to the Solitude on October 5, 1879; during the vacation period of 1880, he was given an assignment to Baltimore.
From Baltimore Father Hamon was called to Montreal, where he taught Theology for two years. We have learned that in a brief time he won the respect and love of his students and of his penitents. He was content in this ministry, when the needs of Notre Dame brought him back to that parish where he had left behind happy memories.
The main work which was put into his hands and to which he devoted himself was that of the young. His was a disposition to attract them – happy, prudently outgoing, very easy to get along with, and always ready to give a helping hand. Although particularly talented for youth work, he never neglected anything suggested to him for the good of the parish. One of his confreres, who was pretty close to him, wrote us: “What I noticed in Father Hamon and what was for me always a very edifying thing was his special devotion to the sick; he never demurred – any hour of the day or night – in responding immediately to any sick-call; and afterwards he was very regular in returning. In his zeal and in his desire to be of help, he never shrank from work even when his health was in jeopardy. I was always in admiration for the love he had for – and the interest he had in – the young, giving up for them his time, his recreations, even frequently his sleep. I noticed also his unfailing regularity in being available at the designated hours in his confessional. In his relations with his confreres, in his conversations, he always showed himself very affable and in very good humor, not saying anything that could hurt and especially ready to overlook anything that might be pleasing to him. I can vouch, too, that his merry disposition had won for him the affection of a great number of the Montreal clergy.”
He is a veritable portrait of the nature of a son of Father Olier, whether assigned to seminary work or to parish duties. We do not know if unbridled zeal for the many, many works of Notre Dame may have affected the health of this good confrere, or if we must attribute to other causes inherent in his make-up the decline noticed in our confrere in 1889; a decline which made it necessary for him to suspend his work and, under advice, go to seek in France some cure for the disease bothering him for some time, i.e., diabetes.
We made him welcome and lavished the kindest care on him; for this acceptance, he showed himself to be very deeply touched. But the treatment prescribed by the best doctors was only able to slow the progress of the disease, not cure it. Now some decisions had to be made. Because he was feeling better, he sought permission to go back to Montreal. He was happy with us, but his heart was still in Canada. It was not, however, in God’s plan that he goes back.
The weather in Paris during the winter being unhealthful for him, we sent him to Amèlie-les-Bains, where there was a home run by an excellent priest, whose kindness and most delicate care we have an obligation to publicize and acknowledge. Father Hamon then went to that little village in the East Pyrenees. His attitude among the priests who lived in that same home – priests who, under the direction of the worthy superior form a community – his attitude, we say, was constantly calm, edifying, pious. Almost a month ago, some very severe episodes caused concern that he would not last out his stay; he received at that time with a very lively faith the last sacraments. The next day or the day after, he felt better; and with his own hand he replied to a letter I had written him about his illness. He told me in all simplicity that his Heavenly Father had been calling him and that he knew himself happy to go with Him, but that he still must wait.
The last moment was not very long in coming; the disease made new advances in March. It was then that he showed more than ever the Christian vigor which had been a cause of admiration during all his sickness; he often repeated these words: “As the Good God wills, when He wills.” On the last night he said to a Sister looking after him: “I am very sick. I think I am going to die. What do you think?” And as the Sister encouraged him to put himself again at God’s disposal, he cried out with amazing vigor: “Oh, yes! As the Good God wills, as He wills.” He himself asked that the prayers for the dying be recited. There lasted for him only a breath. The superior again gave him absolution and applied to him the plenary indulgence in articulo mortis; two or three minutes later, without agony, the patient died, and fully conscious. It was a grace he had often asked of God.
Without sadness we cannot behold these good priests dying at an age when they could render a wealth of service to the Church and to our Society; but, beyond that, we cannot deny ourselves sweet consolation (nor fail to bless the Good God) when we see them carry to Heaven a thoroughly priestly life. This is our hope, this is a vivid and powerful example.
Accept, dear Confreres, the expression of my devoted regards in Our Lord.