Life and Spirituality of Félix de Jesús Rougier

Risking the Future
Life and Spirituality of the
Venerable Félix de Jesús Rougier, M.Sp.S
by Ricardo Zimbrón L., M.Sp.S.



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The celebration of his golden jubilee as a priest exhausted Father Félix and two days later, he had to be taken to the French Hospital because of an attack of anemia. 

The second General Chapter of the missionaries of the Holy Spirit was held from October 17th to 23rd. Every six years members of the Congregation get together to name the Superior General and his Counselors, evaluate the last six years and plan for the next six. Father Félix attended all the meetings, except on the morning of the 19th, when he did not feel well. 

The members of the Chapter voted unanimously to reelect Father Félix Superior General. In this action, they were moved more by their feelings than by their thoughts. He could hardly celebrate Mass. He was 79 and only had two months to live. 

On December 31 of that year, he suffered an intestinal hemorrhage which left him very weak. New Year’s Day, 1938, he could not even go to communion. Brother Agustin Lira, who nursed him until the day of his death, remembers that Father Félix told him that day: 

“I am in great pain. This is my New Year’s gift. Every day I ask the Lord to participate in His Cross, and well, He has listened to my request..." 

On January 4, Brother Agustín told him: 

"Father, they tell me that the intern is coming to give you another IV..." 

"For God's sake, no more, exclaimed the sick man, "Leave me alone!.., and then he added: 

"Well, all right... I promised the Blessed Virgin that I would not complain and I would refuse nothing... Let the intern come." 

On the 6th, Father Edmundo Iturbide gave him the Anointing of the Sick. On the 8th, he suffered an intestinal paralysis and on the 9th peritonitis set in, causing terrible stomach pains. Father Edmundo tells that Father Félix sat up in bed and started to perspire profusely. His whole body was wracked by pain. He looked at Father Edmundo with great anguish and asked him: 

"My son, what shall I do? Tell me. I feel that the pain is more than I can bear.... Pray for me!..." 

They were able to get him to sleep under the influence of strong sedatives. All houses of the missionaries of the Holy Spirit were advised that Father Félix was very sick. That afternoon a large group of missionaries gathered around his sick bed. At 5:30, Father Félix woke up and asked: 

-Have I stopped complaining? 

Father Angel Oñate, Vicar General, answered in the name of the group: 

-Father, many of your sons are here representing the whole Congregation. We ask your pardon for the times we caused you pain.  

-I have nothing to forgive, my dear sons. 

-Would you like to give us some words of advice? 

-Yes, that you love the Father in heaven a great deal, as Jesus did. And that you be able to say with him: I ALWAYS DO WHAT PLEASES MY FATHER. 

-What virtue do you recommend the most? 

-That you be humble. 

After some minutes of silence, he added: 

-I offer my life to the Lord so that you will always remain united.  

-Until now we are all united, said Father Angel.  

-I know, and it is a great consolation to me. 

Another missionary asked: 

"What about the Blessed Virgin Mary?  

-Everything with her, nothing without her.  

Father Oñate said: 

-Father, we thank you for everything you have done for us. -God has done everything… everything...  

After a few moments of silence, he said: 

-I am suffering a great deal, but I offer it to God... 

Father Oñate asked him to bless them. Father Félix with much effort raised his hand and blessed them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. With tears in their eyes, they approached to kiss his hand and he had a word of goodbye for each one. Then they left so he could rest. 

On January 10, he was in agony. He had difficulty breathing. He asked for some Lourdes water someone had given him and he took a sip. Then he fixed his eyes on a painting of Mary which one of the missionaries was holding. His breathing became more and more labored and finally, at 10:27 he surrendered his soul in the hands of the Eternal Father whom he had loved so much. 

In the Constitutions, Father Félix included the following rule: "When a missionary of the Holy Spirit dies, those present will sing hymns of thanksgiving because the work of the missionary has ended and it is fitting that he leave this world giving thanks to God in union with his brothers." 

The hymns were sung and then they prepared Father Félix for burial, dressing him in the habit of the missionaries of the Holy Spirit. 

At 3:30 p.m., the body of Father Félix was taken to the cemetery in Tepeyac and buried in the same tomb which 21 years before had received the body of Archbishop Ibarra, the great protector of the Works of the Cross.

Currently, the mortal remains of Father Félix are found in the Church of San Felipe de Jesús, in downtown Mexico City. On his tombstone was engraved his name which summarizes his life perfectly: FÉLIX DE JESÚS (Felix of Jesus).

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