112 boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris, France [ Map ]
The six-storey Hotel Raspail, built in 1900, is located on the site of a former boarding house and single storey-building which in 1867 became the third residence of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation in Paris.
On 1 April 1867, Eymard signed the lease for a rented property at 112 boulevard du Montparnasse, not far away from the Faubourg Saint-Jacques site which had to be vacated to make way for redevelopment of the streetscape. There was already a small chapel on the site at 112 boulevard du Montparnasse, so there was no interruption to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament when the Blessed Sacrament Congregation’s Paris community moved to the new location on 12 April 1867.
The Blessed Sacrament Congregation’s Paris community remained in the rented premises at Boulevard du Montparnasse until 1869, when the community moved to another rented property on rue Leclerc.
Boulevard du Montparnasse was not the happiest of places for Eymard during the last sixteen months of his life. References in his correspondence suggest that he suffered a great deal during this period, both in terms of his physical health and as a result of the strain and troubles associated with the daily administration of his growing congregations.
At the end of 1867, Eymard reminded the community at Boulevard de Montparnasse that he was mortal. He urged them to be less complacent and to take advantage of what he, as their founder, could share of the knowledge and spirit of their vocation. He knew that his time was coming.
‘We die by degrees’, Eymard later observed.
With great faith and courage, he endured a series of illnesses between 1866 and 1868. He accepted recurring migraines as his ‘crown of thorns’.
In June 1868, Eymard wrote to console and encourage his sister Nanette, who was also unwell at that time. He said that he hoped to be able to come and see her and that they would go together to pray and give thanks at the ‘Holy Mountain’ of La Salette.
‘The good Lord likes to visit his own with a few little crosses’, Eymard said. ‘They are the flowers of Calvary’.
Eymard returned to La Mure in July 1868, but by that time he was dying. He did not live long enough to make the pilgrimage to La Salette that he had hoped to undertake with his sister.