Saint Charles -
A Man with a Smile and a Blessing.
Though we looked upon Father Charles almost as a being belonging to another world who had but little concern with the affairs of men; and in our imaginations saw the nimbus of God's holy ones surround and accompany him whithersoever he went; though these were the reverential feelings with which his familiar associates ever regarded him, it must not be thought that there was no human side to his character: that he could not be interested in anything having the least tinge of the mundane in it. The direct contrary was the case; so much so indeed, that he seemed to have a strong sense of humour, could be as natural as anyone on occasions, enjoy an evening's recreation, and when called upon to sing, acquit himself very creditably.
But neither did he for ever sit "like a grand-sire cut in alabaster" for the merriest of twinkles would sparkle in his eyes, and the happiest of smiles wreathe his face. Aye, and there was the mirthful laugh too at times that did one good to see and hear him indulge in. Never did I see a frown profane or faintest shadow of anger darken his benign and placid countenance but the oft repeated reference to himself as "poor old Charlie" had an unmistakable touch of humour in it.
To meet him on corridor or staircase was to feel as if a ray of sunshine had suddenly shone across one's path. Silently and softly the bending figure would glide by as usual wrapt in Divine Contemplation; always close to the wall, apparently to avoid being in the way of others more active than himself.
Never did he meet even the youngest student or brother without uncovering. And when anyone barred his passage by kneeling before him for a blessing, as frequently happened, to feel his holy hands pressing gently on one's head was to experience an accession of strength and to be assured somehow that everything would be all right for that day at least.
of Fr. Eugene Nevin C.P.