[a transcript of a book published in 1889]
Paris Gospel Mission,
Mons. And Mdme. de Launay.
And has been for Ten Years prolific of doing good.
Price One Penny.
There’s nought on earth to rest upon, all things are changing here,
The smiles of joy we gaze upon, the friend we count most dear;
One Friend alone is changeless – the one to oft forgot,
Whose love has stood for ages past – our Jesus changeth not.
The sweetest flower on earth that sheds its fragrance round,
Ere evening comes has withered, and lies upon the ground;
The dark and dreary desert has only one green spot,
‘Tis found in living pastures – with Him who changeth not.
And clouds o’ercast our summer sky, so beautiful so bright,
And while we still admire it, it darkens into night;
One sky alone is cloudless, there darkness enters not,
‘Tis found alone with Jesus – and Jesus changeth not.
There’s nought on earth to rest upon, all things are changing here,
The smiles of joy we gaze upon, the friends we count most dear;
One Friend alone is changeless – the one to oft forgot,
Whose love has stood for ages past – our Jesus changeth not.
Paris Gospel Mission,
Opened by Monsieur and Madame de Launay in Vaugirard.
IN 1878 Monsieur and Madame de Launay came to Paris to open this Mission. After going over the city thoroughly, to select a suitable spot, they came to Vaugirard, the most Catholic part of Paris, being chiefly composed of Catholic Churches, Convents, Nunneries, Monasteries, Jesuit Colleges, etc. They found upon close examination that there was no Protestant Mission or work of any kind open or going on there. When they arrived, they were told that there was no use trying to open a Mission in Vaugirard, – owing, no doubt, to the Popish surroundings, Vaugirard had been given up and laid aside as an unsuccessful field.
Professor de Launay made reply that he had been brought up as a priest in St. Sulpice Seminary, he knew how to take his own people, and the fact that no Mission was in this part of Paris, was sufficient invitation to remain among this Bibleless and Christless people, and teach them the truth, as it is in Jesus. They took a large and commodious Hall or Salle – rather two Salles in one – 4 and 6 Rue Beuret, which held four hundred people. From the first they had the house full.
After a while the Salle became too small, and they were seriously on the look out for a larger one, when they were informed they should be supplied with funds to build a Church, Mission House, and Day School, but for reasons which they knew were for the good of the Mission, they though it best to defer yet a little longer. They remained in the Salle, Rue Beuret, for many years, where they held Meetings every night.
They had Prayer Meetings twice a week, a Bible class, three night services, an ouvoir or sewing class for women twice a week, one night for teaching English, and practicing their beautiful Gospel hymns, composed entirely by Professor de Launay himself. The daytime they employed in visiting the widow and the orphan; sick and dying people in their homes; visiting the Hospitals, and distributing tracts, Gospels, leaflets, cards, texts, on the streets, and in the houses, hospitals, trains, omnibuses, tramways, cemeteries, boats, etc.
Their work was greatly owned and blessed of God. Many persons coming to see the Mission out of mere curiosity, on seeing the work so ably and wisely conducted, and so fruitful, were astonished and delighted, exclaiming, “Evidently the hand of God is here!” became friends to the Mission, and contributed to its support. Among others, the Prince Galitizn, whose mother Professor de Launay knew in Rome many years ago, during the Prince’s stay in Paris, took a deep interest in the Mission, and came every night to preach while he remained in the city.
We shall give a few instances of the workings and teachings of the Mission, and the impression it made upon the friends of these noble but untaught people, untaught in that which is most needful, for time and eternity. Like Paul of old, Monsieur and Madame de Launay have often been sore pressed in spirit, have had severe and heavy trials in this Mission from within and without, but He who said, “Go, preach to all Nations,” and has promised His people “to be with them always, even unto the end of the world”, He has ever been with them, encouraging and upholding His servants while walking through the fire. They have had the happiness of seeing numbers brought into the fold of Christ. Many, upon triumphant death beds, as they stood by them, gave proof enough of their real and happy conversions.
One man, a converted Sergeant de Ville, or policeman, who, with his wife, came regularly for many years, always grave and serious, took in the truths of the Gospel at once, as listening night after night to the preaching of Monsieur de launay, he and his wife were signally converted; he became ill with bronchitis, and died in about a week after being taken sick. Monsieur and Madame de Launay, his wife, and two or three converts from their Salle, stood by his dying bed, he pressed their hands, and turning his dying eyes toward Monsieur de Launay, he said, “I thank god I ever went into your Salle and heard you preach; you have been the instrument in God’s hands of saving me. I rejoice to go to that Saviour that you have told me of, who died for me; my only sorrow is for my dear wife, to leave her alone, yet not alone, Christ has been my support, he will be hers, “Dieu t benisse, ma femme’ live for Christ and come and meet me, I shall wait for thee over the river.”
Then he became very feeble, the hue of death was covering his face, he said, “Madame, sing me ‘Jesus est mort pour moi.” Madame de launay sang the hymn, and while she sange a halo seemed to spread over his face, and a look of perfect peace and trust shone upon the visage of the dying man. He was singing in a low voice with them, but he got so feeble before they had finished the sacred song, that his voice ceased altogether. He pressed their hands; a celestial smile passed over his face, and the spirit fled to God who gave it. Thus Mons. Oudernard passed from time to eternity.
As Madame de Launay wiped the cold sweat away from his forehead, placed the dear hands for the last time across the lifeless breast, saw the peaceful smile upon the calm face, she said, “Oh Lord, let our last end be like this, Thy servant.” This is one example of a man who was before they came here a perfect infidel.
I shall tell of one of their little Sunday-school girls, and then I close this recital or report with a few minor details.
A little girl named Louise Coudrey was passing the Salle one day to go to Vespers. Madame de Launay was at the Salle door, and asked the child to come in. She looked so bright and intelligent. The little girl said she was afraid to enter, for the priest said if she did she would go to Purgatory. Madame de Launay told her the Salle was no purgatory – to come in and see. After much persuasion, she came in, and was very pleased.
Madame de Launay gave the child a little Gospel. She went home, and brought her mother in the evening, with her father and two sisters. After that, this little girl came regularly to the Salle, being very attentive in the Sunday School and at the evening services. Up to the time of her death she never missed once in coming until she fell sick.
The parents sent for Monsieur and Madame de Launay, little Louise was dying of typhoid fever. When they got into her bedroom, they hardly knew the bright , pretty, intelligent, healthy child in the wan and wasted form before them. When the dear little thing saw them, she tried to rise up in her bed, but fell back exhausted with the effort. She exclaimed, “Oh, Madame, je suis si contente de vous voir encore; the doctor says I shall not get well, but I am not afraid to die, since you told me Jesus loves me, and will take me to live with Him. You told me I shall not go to Purgatory, as the priest said I would; but I shall go to heaven. You told me I am Jesus’ little lamb, He calls me, I go to Him. Sing, ‘la belle rivere.’” Her mother, sisters, father, and brother, sobbed aloud; tears rolled down the face of the Professor, and Madame de Launay wept silently, for she loves her Sunday School children, and in particular this little girl, one of their lambs for Jesus. When Louise saw them all weeping, she said, “Why do you weep? I am happy, je vais a Jesus sing, “la belle rivere.’” They began to sing, and she, in her feeble voice, to their astonishment, sang too, to the end of the Cantique, or hymn. She took one of Professor de Launay’s hands, and said: “Pray Jesus to take His little lamb now.” They all knelt in prayer, the dear child put up her hands, too. When they had finished , her thin wasted little face seemed to shine, she said, “Je vais á Jesus je sais qu’il m’aime, car tu ma dit,” with those words upon her childish lips she expired. Madame de Launay laid back the dear little blonde head upon the pillow, and felt as though she had held an angel in her arms, closed the pretty blue eyes for the last time, and reverently laid the two little hands upon the innocent breast. The dear little hands were cold and stiff now, that used to bring her violts and “forget-me-nots” every day while they lasted; the thin white arms are inert, they will no more twine themselves about her neck in this world, and say: “I love you, Madame de Launay, you tell me Jesus loves me,” then the dear child accompanied her words and caresses with a bunch of fragrant violets; and this angel child was one of the fruit of their Sunday School in 4, Rue Beuret.
Sleep on, dear child, cut down in early bloom,
Your body lies mouldering in the tomb;
A few short years to s may be given,
Then we, too, shall go, meet thee in heaven.
Our little Sunday School scholar, Louise Condrey, was ten years old when she died.
These incidents are but one or two among the many glorious testimonies they have had the privilege of eye-witnessing in their own Mission, as the blessed fruit of their work, gems cut and polished here to star the Saviour’s crown for ever. “They are wise who win souls, and shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.” Time and space will not permit at present to repeat all the marvelous power of the Gospel upon the numberless persons who have frequented the Gospel Mission in Vaugirard.
They counted one night, 25 nations represented in the Salle. In the ten years of Mission work they have accomplished here, they have had, among other remarkable conversions: lawyers, doctors, painters, masons, tailors, bakers, artistes, flower girls, policemen, one singer from the Grand Opera, one dance girl, one French Marchioness, a German Baron, governesses, three priests and several nuns, soldiers, sailors, printers, sewing girls, soldiers from Tonquin in China, soldiers from the Congo in Africa, soldiers from the Military School in Paris, merchants, shoemakers, fishmongers, with many ladies and gentlemen of private life belonging to different nations; of these persons some are dead, and some are gone away to Java, Spain, Austria, India, Russia, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Africa, etc. Thus the Gospel has been carried by these converts to the ends of the earth; the good seed sown so faithfully and so earnestly will bear fruit in other lands in God’s time; some remain and are faithful to the truths taught and received.
In looking over this array of converted people, and the bright testimonies they have received from them, adding to this a fine large Sunday School, from which many pearls of price have been called away by the Master, they thank God and take courage, feeling He will bless yet more abundantly in the future than in the past, if they have faith and work, relying upon His precious promises, “Lo, I am with thee always, even to the end of the world; will bless thee, and multiply thee, and the little one shall become a thousand.” The year before last, and last year, they made – inclusive – 7,021 domiciliary visits; 205 visits to Military and Civil Hospitals; relieved many poor and sick, visiting particularly the widow and the orphan; saving many from suicide; caring for and teaching the blind; giving lessons in English in the Salle; with that they gave 10,000 tracts in the streets, 2,000 Gospels, portions of Scripture, texts, cards, Bibles, religious journals, l’ami de la maison, le Rayon, de soleil, leaflets, etc., etc.
Visits to the poor take up a great deal of time, and are very fatiguing, but must be done by some devoted one. The Mission is bright and encouraging; they have a large and fruitful field to cultivate, though a difficult one. They wish to enlarge the work by adding a medical dispensary, a day school, a church, a Mission home, a refuge for children, and also a home for the blind, where they shall be taught spiritually and helped to learn manual work, thus being prepared and mad useful members of society, instead of outcasts and vagabonds – the neglected of humanity, as has been the case heretofore. They have a work before them; most important, useful and necessary.
May God incline the hearts of His people to help them increase and push forward, with heavenly vigour, the work He has given them to do, until He says: “’Tis enough, come up higher, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” And let us always remember, friends, that to them that much is given much will be required. Madame de Launay has always a deep and tender interest in the sick and dying, often sitting up all night watching by and caring for them, even washing the neglected sick ones covered with vermin, putting on clean clothes and bed linen, also laying out the dear abandoned dead decently, and providing a respectable funeral.
For this work of faith and labour of love, Madame de Launay has been several times decorated in Paris, at the Sorbonne, by societies for doing good. One decoration, the first, was given to Madame de Launay, at the Sorbonne, by the Comte de Buffon, grandson of the naturalist Buffon, for saving a man from shooting himself, wife, and five children, to put them out of misery. Madame de Launay clothed the family, paid three quarters of rent in arrear, by selling her watch and chain for the family, while she found them work through the aid of her friends, Monsieur le Commadant Verlinde and sister-in-law.
The next decoration given to Madame de Launay was the National decoration for doing good, for many good works too numerous to mention. The decoration was given by the President, at that time the Admiral Véron.
The third decoration was given also for a special work by the Comte de San-Say.
The fourth decoration, a Military one, by Monsieur le General Fournése, for her kindness and care of sick soldiers, visiting the Military hospitals, etc.
The fifth was given to Madame de launay at the Sorbonne, as usual, the same day as the noble Queen of Portugal, Maria Pia, received hers from the hands of her Ambassador.
The sixth decoration was sent to the Sorbonne and given to Madame de launay from the city of Nice de Alpes Maritime.
These decorations have all been given to Madame de Launay for personal effort. This Mission has not been so loudly proclaimed as the other Missions in paris, but it has been doing quiet, unostentatious, really good work, without show or display.
Madame de Launay is most admirably adapted for Mission work, being from a little Sunday School girl of six in the churches, helping in all churches, all good works, which providence put in her way, aiding in every useful and charitable effort to give the Gospel: console the afflicted, sick, and dying, literally clothing the naked, opening her heart and her doors to the wanderer and stranger, and taking them in, visiting the poor and sick in prison.
For these loving offices for the good of humanity, body and soul, Madame de Launay has received numerous tributes of affection, and numberless beautiful letters from Ministers of all churches, expressing their unqualified admiration of these lovely and womanly traits of her Christian character, her high musical talents of both singing and playing, used but for the glory of God, and for her capability, fidelity, and devotion in the Lord’s vineyards, wherever God in His Providence has been pleased to put her.
I may insert here a letter received by her when quite a little girl, from a Roman Catholic Priest, who had himself seen her charity and devotion to the sick and needy, and thus expresses his admiration of her noble qualities of character, person and mind.
Ingersoll, Canada, Oct 23rd
Much Esteemed Miss,
Yesterday evening, on my return home from a sick-call at Woodstock, I found your gentle note and gift, and I cannot express how deeply I was affected at seeing your noble and truly Christian sentiments.
I admired, of course, the excellent workmanship of the Cross with which you presented me; but I admire still more, and prize above all, the spirit and intention, which suggested to you the idea of giving to me this precious token of your esteem.
Your sympathy for the sick, so spontaneous, so sincere, so lofty, as to bring your mind against the ordinary custom, to deign with an unlooked-for attention, a poor Catholic Priest merely discharging his sacred duties, shows evidently that your young heart is inaccessible to the ignoble prejudices of the many, and to the seductions of yourth, which often stifle the very best dispositions of nature, not only preserves that purity and sublime nobility with which the Author of nature gifted it, but still more ennobled and enhanced by religion, is capable of all that devotedness and expansiveness which form the model Christian woman, and render her man’s true solace and comfort in this earthly pilgrimage.
May God preserve in you for ever, and reward, in this world and the next, these good dispositions of yours, which add to your natural gifts so much true beauty – a beauty which shall never fade, a beauty upon which the angels themselves love to gaze with rapture, a beauty of which you shall always have a sincere and warm admirer in.
Your devoted servant,
LEWIS GRIFFA, Priest.
This Priest afterwards was converted, joined the Protestant Church in Canada, and was made Rector in one of them. His converion was chiefly owing to the influence of Madame de Launay and her family.
Since I have had the honour and pleasure of knowing Madame de Launay, my admiration and esteem for woman and her work in the churches, has risen to a high standard. We might quote from many other beautiful testimonies which I have had the pleasure of seeing and perusing, that Madame de Launay has received in her old home in Canada from her girlhood friends, who have known her from a child, and have seen her devotedness to the churches from her youth up. But it would take me too long to write from them all; their name is legion.
Before I close I wish to add a few testimonies from the ministers pastors, and evangelical workers in Paris, who have known the Mission work of Monsieur and Madame de Launay from the beginning, and have kindly helped when they could get away from their own duties.
Mission Populaire Evangélique de France,
28, Villa Mollitor,
November 16th, 1888.
I believe that Professor and Madame de launay, of Vaugirard, Paris, are sincere Christians, and as such I commend them to all friends in England.
R. W. McALL,
Honorary President of the Mission Populaire
Evangélique de France.
8, Rue de Berri, Paris
February 16th, 1889
I have been asked by Madame de Launay to furnish her with a letter which might help her to raise funds in England for the good works in which she and her husband are engaged in Paris.
I regret that my personal acquaintance with Professor and Madame de Launay is very slight. They live a long distance from me, and the incessant demands of my own work precludes the possibility of my going much outside of it. But, from all I hear, they are both most earnest in, and devoted to, the Gospel Mission which they have founded in Vaugirard, a very poor quarter of the city; and Madame de Launay is also given to all sorts of works of mercy and philanthropy amongst the poor and afflicted, for which she has received a number of medals and diplomas from various French societies for good works.
The character of the district in which they labour render it essential that they should be supported from without, little or no assistance being available in the locality itself.
T. HOWARD GILL, M.A.,
British Chaplain, Paris.
Paris, 88, Boulevard des Batignolles,
November 2nd, 1888.
To The Rev. J. L. Keys
38 Chelsam Road,
Clapham, London, S.W.
Dear Friend And Brother In Christ,
Madame de Launay has just told me that she is going to England, where her husband is already, with the purpose of raising funds for their evangelical work in Paris.
I would like, with all my heart, to be of service to them in this grand mission, but I fee like “the little woman,” who “knew not what to do!”
Now it just occurred to my mind that I have in London a good Christian friend, who knows that my words and dees are sincere, and who is always willing to help for the promotion of truth. Therefore I take the liberty of handing these few lines for you to Madame de Launay. I hope you will be able to give her some useful directions for the important step she has to take.
Monsieur de Launay was educated with the aim of becoming a Catholic priest, but after thorough and prolonged examination of the Catacombs, he left Catholicism, and embraced the pure and simple faith of the Primitive Church. He began in Paris, ten years since, a mission work of his own, with the important help of madame de launay, who is wonderfully qualified for such a difficult task. People in their district (Paris-Vaugirard), call her “the angel of charity and mother to the widow and orphan.” She has gradually stripped herself of her diamonds, shawls, &c., &c., for the sake of many poor Catholics who, having turned Protestants, got rejected and despised.
Notwithstanding these great difficulties, and looking to God alone, Monsieur and Madame de Launay carry on their missionary work. They are established in the part of Paris which is the most obstinate old fashion Catholic one, the part where many big and rich convents still exist. Some experiments of Evangelical works in this part have failed; their has not.
Besides, in order to give this mission an absolute solidity, and upon long and prayerful reflection, they want now to create a home for Reforming Priests. Many Catholic priests would gladly leave the “Establishment,” if they knew where to go, at least for a time. This home established, the thorough reform of France will be in the near future.
At the same time, a Medical Dispensary must be added as soon as possible to the actual Mission Hall. All these mission enterprises must be carried on together to succeed.
Madame de Launay is most active in the Lord’s work. She is always occupied – visiting, comforting, &c. her musical talent, both for singing and playing, is also of great value at the hours of worship. She is physically and morally fit for such a work, which many other ladies could not do.
Oh, let her find help, as much as possible! Don’t we pray: “Thy Kingdom com?” Well, then, if we mean what we say, let us show it.
I am, in my little power, a helper of Monsieur and Madame de Launay in their work. Therefore, I can certify all the things I have spoken of.
Yours most affectionately in our Lord.
I have pleasure in testifying that I have known Professor de Launay and Madame de Launay for some years. I think highly of their Christian work in Paris, and have pleasure in recommending it to the sympathy and help of Christians in England and elsewhere.
Paris, Oct 31st, 1888. Wesleyan Minister.
Comité Auxiliare, Dévangélisation de Paris,
W. J. Lockie, Secretaire
71, Rue des Batignolles, Paris
November 8th, 1881
Dear Madame de Launay,
As you are going to England to plead the cause of your Mission in Vaugirard, in this city, I have much pleasure in giving my testimony in favour of your good work among the poor and neglected French people in Vaugirard, a quarter of this city, the most neglected and superstitious.
I have known your Mission from the commencement, and occasionally have come a long distance to speak in your Mission Hall of Jesus and His love.
I believe a Medical Dispensary, if opened at Vaugirard, with Doctor Thierry-Mieg as the medical adviser, would be a great blessing to Paris, as the doctor is an earnest Christian and a ready speaker, either in French, German, or English.
I therefore wish you God speed, and every success in your effort to raise money for this and your other enterprises connected with mission work in Paris, amongst a Roman Catholic and Infidel population.
I equally commend your dear husband, Professor de Launay, whose lectures on the Catacombs of Rome are most valuable.
I have seen, by your kind permission, many grateful letters from poor French, as well as a few English people, whom you have aided in the time of their deep distress. These samples shew me your self-denying and disinterested work, some of it only such as a lady could do – real home mission work, which always has my sympathies. I have also seen the Diplomes of Honour and the Medals given to you by various French Benevolent Societies for your devotion to the sick and poor, but the best of all is the approbation of the Lord Jesus, who “knows our works” and “seeth in secret.” With kind wishes and prayers for God’s blessing to ret on you and your work,
I remain, dear Madam,
W. J. LOCKIE.
Madame de Launay is a Christian lady of whom we rarely find enough. Her’s is a rare spirit, kind, loving, and active, noble of principle, and generous to the last degree, counting no sacrifice too dear or too great for Lord and Master, Jesus the Saviour, I.H.S. Madame de Launay has grandly and nobly offered her services in case of war on the battle field to follow the ambulances to care for the sick, sooth the dying, and will thus be able to give the gospel, and lay out the dead if required. ‘Tis needless to say her services have been accepted, and her name taken down. I believe she will prove another Florence Nightingale in France. Madame de Launay has the most Christ-like courage and braery of any lady whom I have the honour of knowing. She often, for the love of Christ and Christian humanity, sits up all night alone with the dead after relieving the living. Among other letters of esteem, and recommendations from Paris, French watchers and admirers of their work, is one from Monsieur de Sena, Attaché de la Ministere de la Guerre, Monsieur le Pasteur Buhon, Monsieur L’Abbie Sterlin, former curate of Pére Hyacinth, Monsieur L’ex Abbie Shauveau, once Instructor of the two nephews of the late Comte de Chambord. That the Lord may bless and give the means necessary to carry on, increase and enlarge, the sacred self-denying work of our esteemed friends, Monsieur and Madame de Launay, is the earnest desire and prayerful admirer, a lover of all good works.
January, New Year’s Day, 1889.
Friends, let us always remember that “to them that much is given, much will be required,” “the Lord loves a cheerful giver.”
A French hymn, a Cantique composed by Madame de Launay:
QUAND TON CŒUR NAVRE DE DOULEURS
Quand ton cœur navré de douleurs,
Voit un chainon briser la chine,
Aux promesses la Foi te nêne,
Dieu viendra dessécher tes pleurs,
Quond en proie à des maux roungeurs
Ton âme belle d’espérance,
Redira d’un lit de souffrance,
Dieu viendra dessécher mes pleurs.
Celui qui porta tes langueurs,
Tournera tes chants de tristesse
En transporte de sainte allégresse,
De tes yeux il séchera les pleurs.
En Christ la mort est san tereur,
Revétu de Christ par la Foi,
Lui en toi et toi en lui-même
De tes yeux essuiera les pleurs.
Monsieur and Madame de Launay will be happy to receive any gift, bequest, or subscription, small or great, in Bank Note, Cheque, or Post Office Order, at 17, Rue Dutot, Vaugirard, Paris, or through the Christian kindness of the gentlemanly Editors of that truly excellent religious journal, “The Christian,” 12 Paternoster Building, London. Monsieur and Madame de Launay were sent to Paris, the native city of Professor de Launay, from American, by a Committee, to open a gospel work there. They have left this Committee entirely, having nothing farther to do with it, and are now doing a free independent Gospel work among the poor in Paris, looking to all Christians to aid them in the good work of redeeming Christless France for Christ.
This book has been written by a gentleman who has been forty years in God’s work in France and Switzerland, lived with Monsieur and Madame de Launay in their Mission for some years, and generously helped them in their work without any remuneration but his love of doing good.
TUESDAY BIBLE CLASS
“T H E P R E C I O U S B L O O D.”
Precious, precious Blood of Jesus,
Shed on Calvary,
Sheds for rebels, shed for sinners,
Shed for me!
Precious Blood that hath redeemed us,
All the price is paid;
Perfect pardon now is offered,
Peace is made.
Precious, precious Blood of Jesus,
Let it make thee whole,
Let it flow in mighty cleansing,
O’er thy soul.
Though thy sins are red like crimson,
Deep in scarlet glow,
Jesus’ precious Blood can make them
White as snow.
Now the holiest with boldness
Who may enter in,
For the open fountain cleanseth
From all sin!
Precious Blood, by this we conquer
In the fiercest fight;
Sin and Satan overcoming
By its might.
Precious, precious Blood of Jesus,
Ever flowing free;
O believe it, O receive it,
‘Tis for thee.
Marcus Rainsford, London
- Photo From President & Mrs. Garfield Found in an Old Box. (myfamilyjules.com)