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Ms A 54v

[54v°] portraits of bishops were hanging on the walls. When I saw myself in these large rooms, I felt like a poor little ant, and I asked myself what I would dare say to the Bishop.

The Bishop was walking on the balcony with two priests. I saw Father Révérony say a few words to him and return with him to where we were waiting in his study. There, three [5] enormous armchairs were set before the fireplace in which a bright fire was crackling away. When he saw his Excellency enter, Papa knelt down by my side to receive his blessing; the Bishop had Papa take one of the armchairs, and then he sat down facing him. Father Révérony wanted me to take the one in the middle; I excused myself politely, but he insisted, telling me to show if I knew how to obey. And so I [10] took it without further reflection and was mortified to see him take a chair while I was buried in a huge armchair that could hold four like me comfortably (more comfortably, in fact, for I was far from being so!). I had hoped that Papa would speak; however, he told me to explain the object of our visit to the Bishop. I did so as eloquently as possible and his Excellency, accustomed to eloquence, [15] did not appear touched by my reasons; in their stead a single word from the Father Superior would have been much better, but I didn’t have it and this did not help me in any way.

[27] The Bishop asked me if it had been a long time since I desired to enter Carmel. “Oh! yes, Bishop, a very long time.” “Come, now,” said Father Révérony with a smile, “you can’t say it is fifteen years since you’ve had the desire.” Smiling, I said: “That’s true, but there aren’t too many years to subtract because I wanted to be a religious since the dawn of my reason, and I wanted [30] Carmel as soon as I knew about it. I find all the aspirations of my soul are fulfilled in this Order.”

[55r°] I don’t know, dear Mother, if these are my exact words. I believe they were expressed more poorly, but they contain the substance.

[54v°cont’d.] [17] The Bishop, believing he’d please Papa, tried to have me stay with him a few more years, and he was very much surprised and edified at seeing him take my part, interceding for me to obtain [20] permission to fly away at fifteen. And still everything was futile. The Bishop said an interview with the Superior of Carmel was indispensable before making his decision. I couldn’t possibly have heard anything that would cause me more pain than this because I was aware of his formal opposition. Without taking into account Father Révérony’s advice, I did more than show my diamonds to the Bishop. I gave him some!

He was very much touched by this and putting his arm around my neck, he placed my head on his shoulder and caressed me as no one, it appears, was

 

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