The Final Words of 7 Catholic Saints Before They Died: “My God, I Love You!”

The experience of death is often a complex topic and sometimes generates fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.

Those of us who believe in Christ know that death is a transit–a place of passage– and that Jesus with his death and resurrection opened the doors to eternal life for us.

Saints face death with this certainty. His heart, set in eternity, does not fear the eternal love that they will soon encounter. His last words often bear witness to his imminent meeting with the Father in heaven.

Below are the words seven great saints spoke before they died, which can give us encouragement and joy.

1) Saint Joan of Arc: Jesus! Jesus!” 

Joan was 19 years old when she was sentenced to die at the stake. It is said that, until the end, already engulfed in flames, she continued to utter words of praise to God. She asked that a cross be brought to her so that in her last moments it would be in her sight.

She shouted the words last words, “Jesus! Jesus!” 

“Being already enveloped in the flame, she never ceased until the end to confess out loud the holy name of Jesus, imploring and invoking without ceasing the help of the saints of Paradise, and what is even more, when rendering her spirit, bowing her head, uttered the name of Jesus.” (Testimony of Brother Isambart de la Pierre, eyewitness of his trial in 1449)

After the execution, the executioner stated that, despite the oil, sulfur, and charcoal he poured on Joan’s body, the fire did not consume her entrails or heart, which seemed an obvious miracle.

2) Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity: I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!”

Elizabeth was a French Discalced Carmelite nun. During Lent in 1905, she became ill, and after a long illness, she died on Nov. 9, 1906, at the age of 26.

It is said that when she was already very ill, she did not try to hide from the doctor the joy she felt because she would soon meet God. The doctor was so surprised by her happiness that she tried to explain to him what she was experiencing, telling him that we are all beloved children of God. When she finished speaking, tears flowed among those who heard her. 

Exhausted by her effort, she entered for the last time in silence and these words were heard softly: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!”

3) Saint John Paul II: Let me go to the House of the Father.” 

History records that the last words of the holy Pope were “Let me go to the House of the Father.” 

Saint John Paul II spoke these words in Polish when he was very weak and a few hours before he died.

Days later, during the funeral Mass, thousands of people asked the Church to declare him a saint as soon as possible. This request did not take long to be fulfilled.

Benedict XVI celebrated the beatification just six years later, and Pope Francis declared him a saint on April 27, 2014. His tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica is now one of the most visited places by Christian pilgrims. Saint John Paul died at age 84.

4) Saint Bernadette: “I thirst.”

The visionary girl from Lourdes, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in the French Pyrenees, died at age 35 after embracing religious life and being part of the community of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.

“On Easter Tuesday, Bernadette was very ill, so the chaplain suggested that she prepare to make the sacrifice of her life. ‘What sacrifice?’ asked Bernadette, ‘it is no sacrifice to abandon this poor life, in which there are so many difficulties in belonging to God.’ On Easter Wednesday, she requested that her crucifix be tied to her, in case her weak fingers could not hold it. She looked at the statue of Our Blessed Lady and said: ‘I have seen her. How beautiful she is and I’m in a hurry to go see her.’ Sister Nathalie Portat entered at approximately three in the afternoon and Bernadette asked: ‘help me give thanks until the end.’ Taking the crucifix, she prayed: ‘My God, I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength.’ Sister Nathalie started the Hail Mary. Bernadette answered clearly: ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, poor sinner, poor sinner.’ Now it was her hour of death and she, like Jesus on the cross, said, ‘I thirst.’ The sisters brought water. Bernadette made the sign of the cross for the last time as her Lady had taught her in the grotto. She took a small sip of water in silence. She quietly bowed her head and gently surrendered her soul.” (Excerpt from “ My Name Is Bernadette” )

Her body remains incorrupt in Nevers, France.

5) Saint Therese of the Child Jesus: “My God, I love you!”

Her sisters recounted Therese’s great physical suffering in her agony. She never stopped repeating that she did not regret anything for having given herself over to love.

The last words they heard her say were: 

“I have reached the point where I can no longer suffer because all suffering is sweet to me… My God, I love you.” 

After saying these words, she gently fell back with her head tilted to the right. Then an ecstasy took place, and her face recovered the color it had when she enjoyed full health, her eyes were fixed on high, shining with peace and joy.

Saint Therese of Lisieux died at age 24.

6) Saint Francis of Assisi: “With my voice, I cried out to the Lord.”

The poor little man from Assisi, known to everyone, treated death like a sister and was not afraid to join it. Shortly before his death, he dictated a will in which he recommended that his brothers observe the rule and work manually to avoid idleness and set a good example.

While he was very ill, it is said that, despite his pain, he said: “Welcome, sister death!” and he asked to be taken to Porziuncula, until he died on Oct. 3, 1226, at age 44.

The biographer Tomás de Celano has coined this phrase: “Francis received death singing.”

Shortly before his birth to heaven, he called Brother León and Brother Ángel Tancredi so that, “spiritually joyful, they would sing aloud the praises of the Lord for the sister’s death that was approaching.”

Then, he intoned with the force he could that Psalm of David: Voce mea, with my voice I cried to the Lord, with my voice I implored mercy from the Lord. “

7) Saint John of the Cross: Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

It is said that Saint John of the Cross frequently asked the time before he died. As if sensing that his time was coming.

“What time is it? –ask the nurse. -Eleven o clock. –The time for the matins that we will say in heaven is approaching. -What time is it? –He asks after a while. -Half past eleven. –My time has come, tell the religious. At twelve, they ring the bell for matins. –What do they mean? –asks the saint. –To matins. –Glory to God, I will tell you to heaven!”

He handed over the crucifix he had in his hands, put it under his clothes, straightened his entire body, and, taking it out of his arms, took the crucifix again.

He closed his eyes, and spoke the last words of Jesus on the cross: “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit,” and expired. It was raining heavily in Úbeda. It was the early morning of December 14, 1591. Saint John of the Cross was 49 years old.

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