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Last conversations with Celine - August 1897

 

August 3.

"You are very little; remember that and when one is very little, one doesn't have beautiful thoughts."

August 4.

1. The first years of my religious life made me witness a real destruc­tion of my natural tendencies; I saw nothing but ruins around me, and I frequently complained about it. During one of these sessions, I heard her sing:

Bobonne, imperfect on earth You will be perfect in heaven!

This was sung according to the tune of a hymn to St. Joseph:

Joseph, unknown on earth

How great you are in heaven!

2.     To relieve a pain my sister was suffering in her right shoulder and arm, I devised a large sling from folded linen cloths, attaching it to the ceiling directly above her bed. Her arm was suspended in the air; she wasn't able to make much use of it, but she expressed her gratitude tenderly:

"God will also make slings for Bobonne!"

 

Interrupting a conversation, I said sadly, thinking of her death: "I'll not be able to live without her !"

She answered quickly :

"That's right; so I'll bring you two wings!"

[Translator's note: There is a play on the two French words: "elle" and "ailes" which have exactly the same sound. Céline said: "Moi, je ne saurai pas vivre sans elle!" Thérèse answers: "Vous avez bien raison, aussi je vous en apporterai deux!" (ailes)]

 

4.        When I was alone with Thérèse one day, I said to her: "You ex­pect a delightful little bird like you to develop from a sparrow's egg; it's impossible!"

"Yes, but I'll perform a trick to amuse the saints. I'll take the little egg and I'll say to the saints: 'Look, I'm going to do a magic trick.'

'Here is a little sparrow's egg; well, I'm going to make a pretty little bird like me come out of it!'

"Then I'll say in a whisper to God, presenting Him my little egg: 'Change the nature of the little bird by breathing over it.' Then, when He has returned it to me, I'll ask the Blessed Virgin to kiss it. Finally, I'll give it to St. Joseph and beg him to touch it. Then I'll say aloud to all the saints:

'All of you say that you love as much as I do the little bird that is about to come out of the egg!'

"Immediately all the saints will cry out: 'We love as much as you do the little bird that is about to come out of the egg! '

"Then, triumphantly, I will break the egg and a pretty little bird will come out and place itself at my side on God's knees, and all the saints will be filled with joy when they hear the two little birds singing."

August 5.

1. On the passage of the Gospel: "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left”

"We carry out our little business together; I will see that you cannot grind the wheat all alone, and so I will come and get you. Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.'

She often reminded me that we were two partners. What does it matter if one is incapable? From the moment they decide not to separate from each other they will both one day share in the profits.

In her comparison of the little bird in the cloister awaiting the Divine Eagle, never ceasing to look upon Him as a magnet, my dear little Thérèse always told me that she never imagined herself alone, but that there were two little birds.

 

2.     She tried to teach me poverty of spirit and heart by words like this:

"Bobonne must keep herself in her position; she must not try to be a great lady, never!"

And because I still had to recite a Little Hour of my Office, she said:

"Go and recite None. And remember that you are a very little

none [nun], the last of the nones!"

3.     "You're going to leave me!" I said: "Oh! not for the space of an inch!"

Resuming my usual theme, I said: "Do you believe I can still hope to be with you in heaven? This seems impossible to me. It's like ex­pecting a cripple with one arm to climb to the top of a greased pole to fetch an object. "

"Yes, but if there's a giant there who picks up the little cripple in his arms, raises him high, and gives him the object desired!

"This is exactly what God will do for you, but you must not be preoccupied about the matter; you must say to God: 'I know very well that I'll never be worthy of what I hope for, but I hold out my hand to You like a beggar and I'm sure You will answer me fully, for You are so good!' "

August 8.

I said: "If when you are gone, they write your little life, I myself would rather be gone before they do so. Do you believe it?" "Yes, I believe it, but you must not lose patience; look at how

patient I am. You will have to act like that."

August.

1. My little sister tried in our meetings with one another to detach me from myself, and she compared our life to that of two little children represented in a picture. She went along, detached from everything, wearing only a tunic and holding nothing in her hands except her little sister whom she was leading by the hand. The latter resisted; she wan­ted to gather flowers although she was already burdened with a huge bouquet.

2.   One day she told me this little story:

"Once there was a 'demoiselle' who possessed the riches of this world and was greatly attached to them.

"She had a little brother who possessed nothing and yet had everything in abundance. This little child fell sick, and he said to his sister: 'Demoiselle, if you wish to cast into the fire all your riches which serve only to disturb you, you will become my 'bobonne,' casting aside your title of 'demoiselle'. And when I shall be in the delightful country to which I must soon go, I will return to get you because you will have lived poor like me, without worrying about tomorrow.

"The 'demoiselle' understood that her little brother was right. She became poor like him, made herself his servant and was no longer tor­mented by the desire for the perishable riches which she had cast into the fire.

"Her little brother kept his word: he came to get her when he was in the delightful country where God is King and the Blessed Virgin is Queen, and both of them will live eternally on God's knees; it's the place they chose because, being too poor, they had not been able to merit thrones."

3.   On another occasion, making allusion again to the picture of the two children, along with the mistress of a home who was lacking in nothing, she said:

'A very rich 'demoiselle': many rosebuds, many songbirds at her ear, a skirt, a set of kitchen utensils, little parcels."

This was taken from a passage she had read where the author praised her hero, Théophane Vénard: "He had a rosebud on his lips and a songbird at his ear”.

 

4.    One night when she saw me taking off my habit she was filled with pity at the shabbiness of our clothes and, using a comical expression she had heard, she exclaimed:

"Pauvre-Pauvre! how poor you are! But you will not always be like this, let me assure you ! "

Pauvre-Pauvre (poor thing) was a nickname Thérèse had given her sister Céline.

5.    "When I am in heaven, I'll draw from God's treasures and I'll say:

'This is for Marie, this for Pauline, this for Léonie, and this for the very little Céline.' And making a sign to Papa: 'She's the littlest now, so we must hasten to get her!' "

6.    She told me this dream she had before her sickness :

"You were at the seashore with two persons whom I didn't know. One of them suggested a ride, but they were very stingy, and they said they should rent a lamb instead of a donkey in order that all three get on it together. But when you saw it burdened with these two persons, you said you would walk.

"The poor lamb went all along the hedges until it could take no more, and soon it fell down exhausted by its burden.

"Then, at the turn in the road, a delightful little white lamb came to you and offered its services. You understood then that it would sustain you during life's journey; then the little lamb added: 'You know that I want to breathe within you.'

"Afterwards, I understood that this was a reward for the love you had for these two persons, supporting them without any complaint. It's because of this that Jesus Himself came and gave Himself to you."

August 16.

When I rose early this morning, I found my dear little sister pale and disfigured by suffering and anguish. She said:

"The devil is around me; I don't see him but I feel him. He is tor­menting me; he is holding me with an iron hand to prevent me from taking the slightest relief; he is increasing my pains in order to make me despair. And I can no longer pray! I can only look at the Blessed Virgin and say: 'Jesus!' How necessary is that prayer at Compline: 'Procul recedant omnia et noctium phantasmata!' Deliver us from the phantoms of the night.

"I experience something mysterious. Until now, I've suffered especially in my right side, but God asked me if I wanted to suffer for you, and I immediately answered that I did. At the same instant, my left side was seized with an incredible pain. I'm suffering for you, and the devil doesn't want it!"

Deeply moved, I lighted a blessed candle and calm was restored shortly afterward, without, however, her new physical suffering being taken away from her.

Since then she has called her right side: "Thérèse's side," and her left, "Céline's side."

                                                                     

August 20.

"Oh! yes, I'll come to get you, because you look so heavenly when you're good."

* * *

August 21.

"When I say: 'I'm suffering,' you answer: 'All the better!' I don't have the strength, so you complete what I want to say."

Her breathing at this moment was very bad, and to help her breathe, she was saying over and over again: "I'm suffering, I'm suf­fering. ..." But soon she reproached herself as though it were a

complaint, and she told me to say what I've written.

August 22.

"Little Demoiselle? I love you very much and it's very sweet for me to be taken care of by you. ' ' She had called me over to tell me this.

 

August 24.

We were talking a sort of childish prattle which the others were unable to grasp. Sister St. Stanislaus, the first infirmarian, said ad­miringly: "How charming these two little girls are with their unin­telligible jargon!"

Later I said to Thérèse: "Yes, how charming we both are, but you're the only one that is charming; I am only charming when I'm in your company!"

She answered immediately :

"That's exactly why I'll come and get you!'"

August 31.

"Bobonne, I love you very much!"

 

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