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The yellow notebook - August 1897

130

AUGUST

 

The daily hemoptyses ceased August 5. Her physical condition became stable, but she had great difficulty in breathing. Sunday, August 15, marked a new stage in her illness; she experienced very sharp pains in her left side. In the absence of her own doctor, Doctor La Néele was called in and stated that "the tuberculosis had reached its final stage. " On August 22, her condition worsened.

The medical report for this month is reflected in the notes taken down by Mother Agnes of Jesus. The first half of the month is the same as that of July: references to the manuscripts and the young Car­melite's future mission, biographical reminiscences, reflections of a doctrinal nature on her "little way." Then from August 15 on Thérèse 's resistance declines noticeably. Henceforth, the "Last Con­versations" describe a great patient, an heroic patient.

Her sisters must now witness Thérèse suffering, smiling, suf­focating, and crying. In every gesture and word, however, she rises to a full measure of love. The final days of the month are punctuated by admissions of physical distress which reveal extreme sufferings. At the same time, her spiritual trial against faith has not ceased.

In this context, we can appreciate the strength of will of a little Thérèse, who has left us five letters written in pencil, among which is a long letter to Father Bellière, dated August 10.

 

August 1.

1.     With reference to the great grace she had received formerly when she looked at the pierced hand of Jesus in a picture which had ac­cidentally slipped from her missal:

"Oh! I don't want this Precious Blood to be lost. I shall spend my life gathering it up for the good of souls.".

           During Matins, with a reference to her autobiographical manuscripts:After my death, you mustn't speak to anyone about my manuscript before it is published; you must speak about it

only to Mother Prioress. If you act otherwise, the devil will make use of more than one trap to hinder the work of God, a very important work!

 

3.        "I shall write no more now!"

4.   "Oh, how sick I really am! . . . For you know . . . with you!" She was unable to speak because of her poor breathing

.5.  "I'm really abandoned; I shall wait as long as He wills."

 

6.    "How well God did to say: 'In My Father's house there are many mansions.' "

(She said this because of a priest who was doing unusual mor­tifications.)

"As for me, I prefer to practice mortifications in other ways, and not in such irritating things; I can't control myself in that way."

7.    There was question of some ice which had made me cry; I asked her if I was wrong, and to console me she said:

"You're always so gracious!"

8.    I asked: "Are you thinking of your missionary brothers?"

"I was thinking of them very often; but ever since my sickness, I don't think of anything much."

9.    One of these missionaries had promised her a Mass for Christ­mas, 1896. She was telling me about her disappointment when he was unable to fulfill his promise:

"And I who was united with this Mass with such great joy at this very hour! Ah! Everything on this earth is uncertain!"

 

August 2.

 

1. I said: "I'd like to preserve your heart as we did that of Mother Geneviève. "

' ' Do whatever you wish !

I changed my mind because even the thought repelled me, and I told her this. She appeared to be sad about it. I guessed at what she was thinking: We would be depriving ourselves of a consolation which she wouldn't grant us through a miracle, for we knew she would not be preserved after death. Then she said:

"You waver too much, little Mother; I've noticed that many times in my life."

2.    We were speaking together about the little attention that was paid to the practice of hidden virtues:

"This struck me in the life of St. John of the Cross, about whom they said: 'Brother John of the Cross! He's a religious who is less than ordinary!"

3.   "I have no great desires for heaven; I'll be content to go there, and that's it!"

4.    "They won't be able to say of me: 'She died because she couldn't die.' I've already told you: as far as nature is concerned, yes, heaven! But grace has taken over control of nature in my soul, and now I can only repeat to God:

I want to live for a long time still,* Lord, if this be Your desire. I would like to follow You in heaven, If this would please You.

Love, that fire of our Fatherland, Never ceases to consume me. What matters life or death to me?

My sole happiness is to love You only

5.   To Sister Geneviève:

"Everything passes away in this world, even 'baby,' but she will come back."

Sister Geneviève was kissing the feet of her Crucifix:

"You're not following 'baby's teaching! Kiss Him quickly on both

cheeks, and make Him embrace you."

6.    "I experience a very living joy not only when I discover I'm im­perfect, but especially when I feel I am. All this surpasses all praise, which only bores me."

August 3.

1.    I asked: ' ' What did you do to reach such unchangeable peace? ' '

"I forgot self, and I was careful to seek myself in nothing."

2.    I was telling her that she must have had to struggle a lot in order to become perfect:

"Oh, it's not that!

3.    She was having trouble with a Sister, and she said to me very seriously but tenderly:

"I tell you frankly: I have to see you close to me in the last days of my life."

4.    "Little sisters, pray for the poor sick who are dying. If you only knew what happens! How little it takes to lose one's patience! You must be kind towards all of them without exception. I would not have believed this formerly."

5.    I was talking to her about mortifications under the form of penitential instruments:

"We must be very restrained on this point, for often nature is in­volved in this matter more than anything else."

6.    To the three of us:

"You must pay attention to regular observance. After a visit, don't stop to talk among yourselves, because then it's like being at home, and we deprive ourselves of nothing."

Turning to me:

"This, Mother, is the most useful of all."

 

7.   "Oh, how sore my little shoulder is! If you only knew!" When we tried to place a padding on it:

"No, you mustn't take away my little cross."

8.    "It's a long time since I've been suffering, but only little suf­ferings. Ever since July 28, these are big sufferings."

9.    We no longer understood the progress of the sickness, and one of us said: ' ' What are you dying from ?

"I'm dying from death! Didn't God tell Adam what he would die of in these words: 'You will die the death.' That's it in simple words."

August 4.

1.    "I had a lot of nightmares last night, very frightful ones, but at the worst moment, you came to me and then I wasn't afraid."

2.    "No, I don't believe I'm a great saint; I believe I'm a very little saint; but I think God has been pleased to place things in me which will do good to me and to others."

3.    Someone brought her a sheaf of corn; she detached the most beautiful one and said to me:

"Mother, this ear of corn is the image of my soul: God has en­trusted me with graces for myself and for many others." Then fearing she had entertained a proud thought, she said: "Oh, how I want to be humiliated and mistreated in order to see if I have humility of heart! However, when I was humbled on former oc­casions, I was very happy. Yes, it seems to me I am humble. God

shows me truth; I feel so much that everything comes from Him."

4.   "How easy it is to become discouraged when we are very sick! Oh, how I sense that I'd become discouraged if I didn't have any faith! Or at least if I didn't love God."

5.   "It's only in heaven that we'll see the whole truth about everything. This is impossible on earth. Thus, even regarding Holy Scripture, isn't it sad to see so many different translations! Had I been a priest, I would have learned Hebrew and Greek, and wouldn't have been satisfied with Latin. In this way, I would have known the real text dictated by the Holy Spirit."

6.   "I fell asleep for a second during prayer. I dreamed that they needed soldiers for a war. You said: 'You must send Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.' I replied that I would have preferred this to be a holy war. Finally, I left just the same.

"Oh, no, I would not have been afraid to go to war. With what hap­piness, for example, during the time of the Crusades, would I have left to fight against the heretics. I would not have been afraid to get a bullet in me!"

7.   "And I who desired martyrdom, is it possible that I should die in bed!"

 

8. I asked: ' ' What are you doing about your little life now?"

"My little life is to suffer, and that's it! Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to say: My God, this is for the Church; my God, this is for Fran­ce, etc. God knows best what to do with these sufferings; I've given them all to Him to do with as He pleases. Besides, it would tire me out to tell Him: Give this to Peter, that to Paul. When a Sister asks me for anything, I do it right away and then give it no further thought. When I pray for my brother missionaries, I don't offer my sufferings. I say simply: My God, give them everything I desire for myself."

 

August 5.

1.   It was very warm, and the sacristan was pitying us for having to wear such heavy habits:

"Ah, in heaven, God will reward us for having worn heavy habits here on earth out of love for Him."

2.   Aware that she was unable to move by herself, she said: "David says in the psalms: 'I'm like the grasshopper which con­tinually changes its place.' As for myself, I can't say the same thing! I

would like to walk, but my feet are tied with a rope!"

 

3. "When the saints have closed the gates of heaven on me, they will sing:.

At last, we have you, Little gray mouse, At last, we have you And we won't let you go!  This was a little childhood song that had come back into her mind.

 

4.   Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart told her that when she died the angels would come to her in the company of Our Lord, that she would see them resplendent with light and beauty:

"All these images do me no good; I can nourish myself on nothing but the truth. This is why I've never wanted any visions. We can't see, here on earth, heaven, the angels, etc., just as they are. I prefer to wait until after my death."

5.   "During Vespers, little Mother, I was thinking you're my sun."

6.   "I fell asleep and I dreamed you were bending over me to kiss me; I wanted to return the kiss, but all of a sudden I came awake, totally surprised that my kiss fell into the void."

7.   Her bed was no longer in the center of the infirmary, but at the end of the room in a corner. To celebrate the feast of the following day, August 6, feast of the Transfiguration, we took from the choir the picture of the Holy Face she so much loved and hung it on the wall to the right, decorating it with flowers and lights. She said, looking at the picture:

"How well Our Lord did to lower His eyes when He gave us His portrait! Since the eyes are the mirror of the soul, if we had seen His soul, we would have died from joy,

"Oh! how much good that Holy Face has done me in my life! When I was composing my canticle: 'Vivre d'armour, ' it helped me to do it with great ease. I wrote from memory, during my night silence, the fif­teen couplets that I had composed during the day without a rough draft. That same day, when going to the refectory after the examination of conscience, I had just composed the stanza: To live from love is to dry Your Face, It's to obtain pardon for sinners.*

"I repeated this to Him while passing by, doing so with great love. When looking at the picture, I cried out of love."

 

8. "I repeat like Job: 'In the morning, I hope I'll not see the night; in the evening, I hope no longer to see the morning.'

 

9.    "These words of Isaias: 'Who has believed our report? . . . There is no beauty in him, no comeliness, etc.," have made the whole foundation of my devotion to the Holy Face, or, to express it better, the foundation of all my piety. I, too, have desired to be without beauty-

alone in treading the winepress, unknown to everyone."    

10.  With reference to a certain confidence I had entrusted to her: "A Mother Prioress must always allow others to believe she

without any sufferings. This does us so much good, and it gives us ^ much strength not to speak of our troubles. For example, she should avoid expressing herself like this: 'You have your trials and dif'ficulties, but I have the same and many others, etc.'

 

August 6.

1. She had hoped she would die during the night, and she told me:  "I watched all through the night like the little girl in the song about the Christmas slipper. "

"I never ceased looking at the Holy Face. I repelled many tentations. Ah! how many acts of faith I made!                                                  

"I can also say: 'I looked to my right hand and considered, and I found none who understood me." By this I mean that nobody knows the moment of my death. The right is the side on which you are for me."

She looked at the statue of the Blessed Virgin, and she sang sweetly: When will it come, O tender Mother, When will that beautiful day come, That day on which from this earthly exile, I shall fly to my eternal repose?

2.   Her violent pain in the side had ceased during the night. Upon examination, Doctor de Cornière found her still very sick; however, she herself doubted that death was close:

"I'm like a little Robinson Crusoe on his island. As long as no one made any promises, I was exiled, true; however, I never thought of leaving my island. But behold they told me of the certain arrival of a ship that was to bring me back soon to my country. Then I stayed on the shore, looking into the distance, always looking . . . and seeing nothing appearing on the horizon, I said to myself: They've deceived me! I'm not going to be leaving!"

3.   She showed me in the little breviary of the Sacred Heart, the words of Our Lord to Blessed Margaret Mary, which she had drawn out on the feast of the Ascension:

"The cross is the bed of my spouses; it's there that I have them taste the delights of my love."

She told me, too, that one day one of the Sisters drew out from this same book a passage that was very severe; this Sister asked her to draw one, and her eyes fell upon these words: "Trust in me.”

 

4.   "I can depend on nothing, on no good works of my own in order to have confidence. For example, I'd like to be able to say that I've carried out all my obligations of reciting my prayers for the dead. This poverty, however, was a real light and a grace for me. I was thinking that never in my life would I be able to pay my debts to God; this was real riches, real strength for me, if I wanted to take it in this way.

"Then I made this prayer to God: O my God, I beg You, pay the debt that I have acquired with regard to the souls in purgatory, but do it as God, so that it be infinitely better than if I had said my Offices for the Dead. And then I remembered with great consolation these words of St. John of the Cross' canticle: 'Pay all debts.'" I had always applied this to Love. I felt this grace can't be expressed in words; it's far too sweet! We experience such great peace when we're

totally poor, when we depend upon no one except God."

5.   "Oh! How few perfect religious there are, who do nothing, or next to nothing, saying: I'm not obliged to do that, after all. There's no great harm in speaking here, in satisfying myself there. How few there are who do everything in the best way possible! And still these are the most happy religious. Take silence for example, what good it does to the soul, what failures in charity it prevents, and so many other troubles of all kinds. I speak especially about silence because it's on this point that we fail the most."

6.   "How proud I was when I was hebdomadarian during the recitation of the Divine Office, reciting the prayers out loud in the cen­tre of the Choir! I was proud because I remembered that the priest said the same prayers during Mass, and I had the right, like him, to pray aloud before the Blessed Sacrament, giving the blessings and the absolutions, reading the Gospel when I was first chantress.

"However, I must also admit that this Office was at once my hap­piness and my martyrdom. I had a great desire to recite it well, without making any mistakes. Sometimes, even after being aware only a minute before of what I was supposed to say, I would let it pass without opening my mouth because of a totally involuntary distrac­tion. I don't believe that one could have had a greater desire to recite the Office more perfectly than I and to be present in Choir.

"I excuse very much those Sisters who forget or make mistakes during the Office."

7. Sister St. Stanislaus, the main infirmarian, had left Sister Thérèse by herself all through Vespers, forgetting to close the infirmary door and window; there was a very strong draft, as a consequence, and Mother Prioress demanded an explanation when she found her in this condition; she told me later:

"I told Mother Prioress the truth, but while I was speaking, there came to my mind a more charitable way of expressing it than the one I was going to use, and still it wasn't wrong, certainly. I followed my in­spiration, and God rewarded me for it with a great interior peace."

8.  I asked her to explain what she meant by "remaining a little child before God. " She said:

"It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living. Even among the poor, they give the child what is necessary, but as soon as he grows up, his father no longer wants to feed him and says: 'Work now, you can take care of yourself.'

"It was so as not to hear this that I never wanted to grow up, feeling that I was incapable of making my living, the eternal life of heaven. I've always remained little, therefore, having no other occupation but to gather flowers, the flowers of love and sacrifice, and of offering them to God in order to please Him.

"To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one prac­tices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."

August 7.

1.   Sister X, who has left our monastery," wanted to confide in me even though I was no longer prioress:

"Don't ever listen to her, even though she be an angel; you would be unfortunate to do so because you wouldn't be doing your duty; it would be a weakness which would surely displease God."

2.    "Oh, how little God is loved on this earth, even by priests and religious! No, God isn't loved very much."

3.   She was showing me the picture of Our Lady of Victories, to which she had pasted the little flower Papa had given her on the day she had confided her vocation to himthe root was detached from it, and the Infant Jesus seemed to be holding it, while He and the Blessed Virgin smiled at her:                    

"The little flower has lost its root; this will tell you I'm on my way to heaven. It's because of this that they are so nice to me." (The Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus.)

4. "Oh! If I were unfaithful, if I committed only the slightest in­fidelity, I feel that I would pay for it with frightful troubles, and I would no longer be able to accept death. Thus I never cease to say to God: 'O my God, I beg You, preserve me from the misfortune of being unfaithful.' "

   I asked: "What infidelity are you speaking about?"

"A proud thought voluntarily entertained. For example, if I were to say to myself: I have acquired a certain virtue, and I am certain I can practice it. For then, this would be relying upon my own strength, and when we do this, we run the risk of falling into the abyss. However, I will have the right of doing stupid things up until my death, if I am humble and if I remain little. Look at little children: they never stop breaking things, tearing things, falling down, and they do this even while loving their parents very, very much. When I fall in this way, it makes me realize my nothingness more, and I say to myself: What would I do, and what would I become, if I were to rely upon my own strength?

"I understand very well why St. Peter fell. Poor Peter, he was relying upon himself instead of relying only upon God's strength. I conclude from this experience that if I said to myself: "O my God, You know very well I love You too much to dwell upon one single thought against the faith," my temptations would become more violent and I would certainly succumb to them.

"I'm very sure that if St. Peter had said humbly to Jesus: 'Give me the grace, I beg You, to follow You even to death,' he would have received it immediately.

"I'm very certain that Our Lord didn't say anymore to His Apostles through His instructions and His physical presence than He says to us through His good inspirations and His grace. He could have said to St. Peter: "Ask me for the strength to accomplish what you want." But no, He didn't because He wanted to show him his weakness, and because, before ruling the Church that is filled with sinners, he had to experience for himself what man is able to do without God's help.

"Before Peter fell, Our Lord had said to him: 'And once you are converted, strengthen your brethren." This means: Convince them of the weakness of human strength through your own experience."

5. "I would like you to be always with me; you're my sun!"

August 8.

1.    I was telling her I'd make her virtues valued later on; she an­swered:

"It is to God alone that all value must be attributed; there's nothing of value in my little nothingness."

2.    She was gazing at the sky through the window of the infirmary, and Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart said: "You look up at the heavens with so much love!" She was very tired at the moment, and she answered simply with a smile; later on she confided what she was thinking to me:

"Ah! she believed I was looking at the sky and thinking of the real heavens! No, it was simply because I admire the material heavens; the other is closed against me more and more. Then immediately I said to myself with great gentleness: Oh, certainly, it's really through love that I'm looking up at the sky; yes, it's through love for God, since everything that I do, my actions, my looks, everything, since my Of­fering, is done through love."

 

3.   "Today, I was thinking of my past life, about the courageous act I performed formerly at Christmas, and the praise directed to Judith came into my mind: 'You have acted with manly courage, and your heart has been strengthened.' Many souls say: I don't have the strength to accomplish this sacrifice. Let them do, then, what I did: exert a great effort. God never refuses that first grace that gives one the courage to act; afterwards, the heart is strengthened and one ad­vances from victory to victory."

Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin had not themselves gone to banquets, never would I have understood the custom of inviting one's friends to meals. It seemed to me that in order to nourish ourselves we would have to hide ourselves, or, at least, stay at home. Accept in­vitations, yes, but only for the purpose of conversing together, recounting one's trips, memories, and for things of a spiritual nature.

"I had great sympathy for persons who served at large banquets. If, unfortunately, they let some drops fall on the tablecloth or on one of the guests, I saw the mistress of the house looking at them severely, and then these poor people blushed with shame, and I said to myself, with great interior revulsion: Oh! how this difference that exists here on earth between masters and servants proves so well that there is a heaven where each one will be placed according to his interior merit, where all will be seated at the heavenly Father's banquet. But, then, what a Servant we shall have, since Jesus has said: 'He will come and serve them! ' This will be the moment for the poor, and especially for the little ones to be recompensed amply for their humiliations."

August 9.

1. I was saying about her: ' 'Our warrior is down."

"I'm not a warrior who fought with earthly arms but with 'the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.' And this sickness hasn't been able to put me down, and no later than yesterday evening, I made use of my sword with a novice. I told her: I'll die with my weapons in my hands."

2.     With reference to her manuscript:

"There will be something in it for all tastes, except for those in ex­traordinary ways."

3.     "You have become again for me what you were during my childhood. I cannot express what you mean to me!"

4.     They told her she was a saint:

"No, I'm not a saint; I've never performed the actions of a saint. I'm a very little soul upon whom God has bestowed graces; that's what I am. What I say is the truth; you'll see this in heaven."

August 10.

1.     She was looking at the picture of Théophane Vénard pinned to the curtain of her bed. The picture represented the missionary pointing to heaven:

"Do you believe he knows me? Look at what he's pointing to. He would not have been able to take that pose."

2.     They were saying that souls who reached perfect love like her, saw their beauty, and that she was among their number:

"What beauty? I don't see my beauty at all; I see only the graces I've received from God. You always misunderstand me; you don't know, then, that I'm only a little seedling, a little almond."

(I was distracted and was unable to write down the explanation which followed.)

3.    With a happy and a very beautiful look when gazing at the picture of Théophane Vénard:

"Ah! but! ..."

Sister Geneviève asked: "Why do you say: 'Ah! but!'? " "It's because each time I look at him, he looks at me, too, and then he seems to look at me out of the corner of his eye with a kind of mischievous look."

4.    We were showing her a picture of Joan of Arc in her prison: "The saints encourage me, too, in my prison. They tell me: As long as you are in irons, you cannot carry out your mission; but later on, after your death, this will be the time for your works and your conquests."

5.    "I'm thinking of the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch: 'I, too, must be ground down through suffering in order to become the wheat of God."'

6.    During Matins:

"If you knew what you were for me! But I'm always telling you the same thing."

 

7. I was talking to her about heaven, Our Lord, and the Blessed Virgin, who are there in body and soul; she heaved a deep sigh with this exclamation: "Ah!"

I said: "You're making me understand that you are suffering very much because of your interior trial?

"Yes! Must one love God and the Blessed Virgin so much and have these thoughts! However, I don't dwell on them."

August 11.

1.    "I've always found, Mother, that you put too much ardor into your work." (I was doing some washing.)

2.    I was telling her that after her death, we would become very good and that the community would be renewed:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."

3.    "I didn't expect to suffer like this; I'm suffering like a little child. "I would never want to ask God for greater sufferings. If He in­creases them, I will bear them with pleasure and with joy because they will be coming from Him. But I'm too little to have any strength through myself. If I were to ask for sufferings, these would be mine, and I would have to bear them alone, and I've never been able to do anything alone."

          

4.    "The Blessed Virgin doesn't have a Blessed Virgin to love, and so she's less happy than we are."

(She once said this to me during recreation.)

5.    "I often pray to the saints without receiving any answers; but the more deaf they are to my prayers, the more I love them."

I asked: "Why?"

"Because I've had a greater desire not to see God and the saints, and to remain in the night of faith, than others have desired to see and understand."

6.    She told us all sorts of things about the time of the influenza epidemic.'' I said to her: "What fatigue you underwent! And how nice and amiable you were! Certainly, all that cheerfulness was not sincere; you were suffering too much in both body and soul. " With a smile, she said:

"I never 'pretend,' I'm not like Jeroboam's wife."

August 12.

1.    She had received Holy Communion: "Adieu, sisters, I'm going on a long journey."

She was alluding to my departure for my retreat.

2.    Looking at the picture of Father Bellière, dressed as a soldier: "To this soldier, cutting such a dashing figure, I'm giving advice as to a little girl! I'm pointing out to him the way of confidence and love."

 

3.   "Ever since the ear of corn, my sentiments regarding myself are even lower. But how great the grace is that I received this morning when the priest began the Confiteor before giving me Communion, and all the Sisters continued. I saw Jesus very close to giving Himself to me, and this confession appears to me as such a necessary humiliation. 'I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly . . . .'Oh! yes, I said to myself, they do well to beg pardon from God and all the saints for me at this moment. . . . Like the publican, 1 felt I was a great sinner. 1 found God to be so merciful! I found it so touching to address oneself to the whole heavenly court to obtain God's pardon through its in­tercession. Ah! I could hardly keep from crying, and when the Sacred Host touched my lips, I was really moved.

"How extraordinary it is to have experienced this at the Confiteor! I believe it's because of my present disposition; I feel so miserable! My confidence is not lessened, on the contrary; and the word 'miserable' is not exact, because I am rich with all the divine treasures; but it's exactly because of this that I humble myself even more. When I think of all the graces God gave me, I restrain myself so as not to shed tears of gratitude continually.

"I believe the tears I shed this morning were tears of perfect con­trition. Ah! how impossible it is to give oneself such sentiments! It is the Holy Spirit, who gives them, He who 'breathes where he wills.' "

4.   We were speaking to her of her resistance when we told her to take care of her health, not to rise at the hour when the community arose, not to attend Matins. She said:

"You didn't understand when I insisted, but it was because I felt that you would try to influence Reverend Mother. I wanted to tell the whole truth to Reverend Mother in order that she would decide her­self. I assure you that if she herself had asked me to stay away from Mass, Communion, the Divine Office, I would have obeyed with a great docility."

 

5.    "It's quite unbelievable! Now that I can no longer eat, I have a desire for all sorts of things, for example, chicken, cutlets, rice, tuna fish!"

6.    "You will be able to say of me: 'It wasn't in this world that she lived but in heaven, there where her treasure was.' "

August 13.

I was telling her about a thought I had during Compline about heaven:

"As for me, I have lights only to see my little nothingness. This does me more good than all the lights on the faith."

August 14. (Communion)

"Lots of little troubles all through the day. Ah! how much trouble I cause!"

During Matins I said to her: "You had a lot of trouble today. "

"Yes, but since I love it... I love everything that God gives me."

August 15.

1. (Communion)

I was recalling for her what St. John of the Cross said on the death of those who were consumed by love. She sighed and said:

"I shall have to say that 'joy and transports' are at the bottom of my heart. But it wouldn't be so encouraging to souls if they didn't believe I suffered very much."

I said: "How I sense your agony! And yet it's a month ago that you were saying such beautiful things about the death of love. " "What I was saying then, I would say right now."

 

2. She was having much trouble with her breathing and as this con­tinued to increase each day, she said: "I don't know what I shall become!"

I asked: "Does what you will become disturb you?" With an in­describable tone and a smile: "Oh! no."

3. "I dreamed during the silence" that you were saying to me: 'You will get very tired when the community comes, and you are looked at by all the Sisters, and you are obliged to speak a little to them.' I an­swered: 'Yes, but when I am up in heaven, I shall take a rest from it all.'"

4. "I was asking the Blessed Virgin yesterday evening to stop me from coughing in order that Sister Geneviève would be able to sleep,but I added: If you don't do it, I'll love you even more."

 

5. Our new bells rang for Vespers; I opened the door so that she could hear them well, and I said: "Listen to the bells ringing. " After listening:

"Not yet very beautiful!"

 

6. "God gives me courage in proportion to my sufferings. I feel at this moment I couldn't suffer any more, but I'm not afraid, since if they increase, He will increase my courage at the same time."

 

7.    "I wonder how God can hold Himself back for such a long time from taking me. . . . And then, one would say that He wants to make me 'believe' that there is no heaven! . . . And all the saints whom I love so much, where are they 'hanging out'? . . .

"Ah! I'm not pretending, it's very true that I don't see a thing. But I must sing very strongly in my heart: 'After death life is immortal,' or without this, things would turn out badly. . . ."

8.   After Matins, she was exhausted and when we came to arrange her pillows, she said:

"Now do with me what you will."

August 16.

1.   She could scarcely speak so weak and breathless was she:

"I . . . can ... no longer . . . even . . . speak ... to you! Oh! if one only knew! ... If I didn't love God! . . . Yes, but. . . ."

2.    "In the speakroom, you must not speak on any subject you please, for example, speaking about the fashions."

3.    "You will not have any 'little Thérèse' to come looking for you." She smiled, and looking at the Statue of the Blessed Virgin and the picture of Théophane Vénard, she pointed out each of them with her finger.

4.    "The angels can't suffer; therefore, they are not as fortunate as I am. How astonished they would be if they suffered and felt what I feel! Yes, they'd be very surprised because so am I myself."

 

5. During Matins, she woke up suddenly, and looking at me with a sweet smile, she said:

"Beautiful little Mother!"

August 17.

1.    (Communion)

"I really feel that God wants me to suffer. The remedies which should be doing me some good and which comfort other patients, do me harm."

2.    We had just raised her, and someone bumped against her while arranging the bed; besides this, she had to suffer from certain remedies that were applied. She asked for a little piece of linen; we hesitated to give it to her as we didn't know what she wanted it for, and she said gently:

"You should believe me when I ask for something, because I'm a very good 'little girl.' (She meant that she asked only for what was necessary.)

After she was once again in bed, feeling she was at the end of her strength, she said:

"I'm a very sick 'little girl,' yes, very sick!"

3.    She touched a periwinkle to the picture of Théophane Vénard; I have kept this periwinkle.

4.    I told her: "I'm going to pray that the Blessed Virgin relieve your breathing difficulties. "

"No, we must leave them alone up there!"

 

5.   During Matins, looking at the picture of Théophane Vénard:

"I don't know what is the matter with me; I can't look at him without crying."

6.    She was having less trouble with her breathing after Matins, and she said to Sister Geneviève, pointing to me:

"She prayed to Mary, and I am no longer hiccupping." (She used this word only as a joke, and she said it in such a nice way when she meant actually that she was coughing, even to the point of suffocating.)

August 18.

1.    "I'm suffering very much, but am I suffering very well? That's the point!"

2.    "'Baby'is exhausted!"

During the afternoon silence, I was hiding in back of the bed in or­der to write something down:

"Turn to the side so that I can see you."

3.    "Mamma, you must read the letter you received for me. I deprived myself of asking this from you during prayer, in order to prepare myself for Communion tomorrow and because it isn't per­mitted."

(This was during the recreation period.)

Seeing me take my pencil to write this down, she said: "Perhaps my merit will be lost, since I've told you and you are writing it down."

 

I asked: "You want to acquire merits?"

"Yes, but not for myself; for poor sinners, for the needs of the whole Church; finally, to cast flowers upon everybody, the just and the sinners."

4.    I was telling her she was very patient:

"I haven't even one minute of patience. It's not my patience! You're always wrong!"

5.    "Since they say that all souls are tempted by the devil at the moment of death, I'll have to pass this way, too. But perhaps not, I'm too little. With the very little, he cannot do anything."

6.    I was saying: "It would really be something for you if you were to regain your health. "

"If this were the will of God, I would be very happy to make this sacrifice. But I assure you, this would be no small thing, for to go so far and then return! Listen!"

7.    "In the state of weakness in which I actually am, I wonder what would become of me if I were to see a huge spider on our bed. Well, I still want to accept this fear for the sake of God.

"But would you ask the Blessed Virgin not to allow this to hap­pen?"

August 19.

 

1. She must have felt bad before Holy Communion when hearing the Sisters reciting the "Miserere" in a low tone of voice. She told me af­terwards, shedding huge tears:

"I'm perhaps losing my wits. Oh! If they only knew the weakness I'm experiencing.

"Last night, I couldn't take anymore; I begged the Blessed Virgin to hold my head in her hands so that I could take my sufferings."

2.    "Remain with me, little Mother; it's like a support to have you."

3.    Sister Geneviève handed her the Crucifix; she kissed it on the face with great tenderness. She was as beautiful as an angel at that moment. This particular Crucifix had the head of Our Lord inclined, and looking at it, she said:

"He is dead! I prefer when they represent Him as dead, because then I think He is no longer suffering."

4.    She was asking for certain remedies which cost her quite a bit of pain; however, they were prescribed by the doctor and Mother Prioress. Sister Geneviève said to her as though speaking to a little child: "Who has asked this from 'bobonne'?

"'Baby', through fidelity."

5.    She stroked Théophane Vénard on the cheeks. (His picture was pinned to the curtain of her bed, at a little distance from her.)

I asked: "Why are you stroking him like that?"

"Because I can't reach him to kiss him."

6.    To Sister Marie of the Eucharist:

"You shouldn't sit sideways in the chair; it's forbidden."

 

7.    To Sister Geneviève, who was arranging her pillows without taking any care of her pictures on the curtains:

''Be careful of little Théophane! ''

8.     We were talking too much when all three of us were gathered around her; this tired her out, because we were asking her too many questions at the same time:

"What do you want us to talk about today?"

"In order to do some good, it would be necessary to say nothing at all because to tell the truth, there is nothing to say." I said: "Everything is said, right?" With a pretty little nod of her head: "Yes!"

9.    "No matter what you say, even the most unimportant things, you remind me of a gracious troubador who is always singing his songs in new melodies."

And then she pretended to be taking little sips to make me see that she was drinking in my words.

10.  "I'm suffering only for an instant. It's because we think of the past and the future that we become discouraged and fall into despair."

August 20.

  1. To Sister Geneviève, like a little child:

 

"You know that you're taking care of a 'baby' who is dying. And (pointing to her glass) you must put something good in the glass, because 'baby' has a very rotten taste in her mouth."

 

2. She had asked us to kiss her only a little because our breath of­fended her, she was so weak:

I asked: "Can we give you just a little caress?"

"Yes, because hands don't breathe."

3.     We were speaking to her about the troubles given to the in firmarians by Mother Heart of Jesus:

"Oh! How I wish I had been infirmarian, not by natural inclination but 'through the attraction of grace.' And it seems to me that I would have made Mother Heart of Jesus happy! Yes, I would have had an in­clination for all that. And I'd have put so much love into the work, thinking of God's words: 'I was sick and you visited me.' It's very rare to find this beautiful opportunity in Carmel."

4.     With a happy and mischievous air:

"I shall soon be in the horrors of the tomb! And you will one day be there also, little Mother! And when I see you arrive next to me, 'my

humbled bones will leap with gladness.” 

5.    "As soon as I go to drink, this does this to me." She coughs and says to her glass of Bottot water:

"It's not for drinking!" Aside: "It doesn't understand!" Then louder: "It's not for drinking, I tell you!"

6.    She was no longer able to see the milk which she had never taken with pleasure and which caused her much repugnance. I said to her: "Would you drink this cup to save my life?"

"Oh! yes! ... So, look, and I wouldn't take it for love of God." And she drank the cup in one gulp.

 

7.    We were making some reflections on the markings on the in­firmary mantle. + .F.

"No, it doesn't mean what you say. It means that we must carry the cross ( + ), in order to go afterwards higher than the firmament (F)."

8.   "When I suffer very much, I'm happy it's I; I am happy it isn't one of you."

9.   "It's in your company that I'm the most contented, my good Clarisse."

Words addressed to Mother Genevieve by her little brother.

10.  With reference to Communion which she felt she could no longer receive in the future, and as a consequence of many reflections she had heard on the subject, this day was one of intense agony for her and of temptations, too, which I imagine were terrible. * She begged me in the afternoon to keep silence and not even to look at her. She whispered

"I would cry too much if I were to tell you my troubles right now, and I'm having such difficulty in breathing that I would certainly suf­focate."

She spoke to me after a silence of at least an hour, but she was so much disturbed that she held before her eyes the fan she had been given to chase away the flies.

11.  She spoke to me about the letter of a priest who said the Blessed Virgin didn't know physical sufferings from actual experience:

"When I was looking at the statue of the Blessed Virgin this evening, I understood this wasn't true. I understood that she suffered not only in soul but also in body. She suffered a lot on her journeys from the cold, the heat, and from fatigue. She fasted very frequently.

"Yes, she knew what it was to suffer.

"But it's bad perhaps to wish that the Blessed Virgin suffered? I, especially, who love her so much!"

12.  She was having great difficulty with her breathing. For some time now she found some sort of relief in these painful situations by making little cries like: "Oh! là là!" or "Agne! Agne!"

"It's when the breathing difficulties come from below that I say: 'Agne! Agne! However, this isn't nice; it displeases me, and so now I'll say: Agne! Agne!' "

"We'll place this in your circular letter, " I said:

"You'll make it sound like a recipe!"

13.  "It's you who have given me the consolation of having Théophane Vénard's portrait; it's an extremely great consolation. But what he would have been able to do very well doesn't please me! . . . But he is 'very pleasant,' he is 'very lovable.' "

(These were expressions she'd heard and they amused her.)

 

14. "How charming it will be in heaven to know everything that took place in the Holy Family! When little Jesus began to grow up, perhaps when He saw the Blessed Virgin fasting, He said to her: 'I would really like to fast, too.' And the Blessed Virgin answered: 'No, little Jesus, You are still too little, You haven't the strength.' Or else perhaps she didn't dare hinder Him from doing this.

"And good St. Joseph! Oh! how I love him! He wasn't able to fast because of his work.

"I can see him planing, then drying his forehead from time to time. Oh! how I pity him! It seems to me that their life was simple.

"The country women came to speak familiarly with the Blessed Virgin. Sometimes they asked her to entrust her little Jesus to them so that He would go and play with their children. And little Jesus looked at the Blessed Virgin to see if He should go and play. At times, the good women went directly to the Child Jesus and said to Him quite simply: 'Come and play with my little boy.'

"What does me a lot of good when I think of the Holy Family is to imagine a life that was very ordinary. It wasn't everything that they have told us or imagined. For example, that the Child Jesus, after having formed some birds out of clay, breathed upon them and gave them life. Ah! no! little Jesus didn't perform useless miracles like that, even to please His Mother. Why weren't they transported into Egypt by a miracle which would have been necessary and so easy for God. In the twinkling of an eye, they could have been brought there. No, everything in their life was done just as in our own.

"How many troubles, disappointments! How many times did others make complaints to good St. Joseph! How many times did they refuse to pay him for his work! Oh! How astonished we would be if we only knew how much they had to suffer!"

She spoke to me a long time about this subject, and I was not able to write it all down.

 

15. "I would like to be sure that she loves me; I mean the Blessed Virgin."

 

16.  "When I think of how much trouble I've had all my life trying to recite the rosary!"

17.  "When I received absolution, instead of losing myself in prayers of thanksgiving to God, I thought very simply with gratitude that He had put a little white dress on me and had changed my smock. Neither had been very soiled, but that doesn't matter; my little clothes were

brighter, and I was better seen by everybody in heaven."

18.  "No one suspects that Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, when she was acting as provisor, made me do many mortifications. She loves me so much that I appeared to be spoiled; and mortification is greater in this case.

"She took care of me according to her own taste, which was ab­solutely opposed to mine."

August 21.

1.    She was suffering very much, and I was gazing at her on my knees, my heart filled with sadness:

"Little sad eyes, why?"

I answered: ' 'Because you 're suffering so much ! ' ' "Yes, but peace, too, peace!"

2.    "There's no longer anything but bed for baby! . . . Everything, everything makes her suffer!"

Almost immediately she began to cough and was unable to fall asleep:

"Now there's not even bed for baby! It's finished! I'll suffocate one night, I feel it!"

 

3. "How I would have loved to be a priest in order to preach about the Blessed Virgin! One sermon would be sufficient to say everything I think about this subject.

"I'd first make people understand how little is known by us about her life.

"We shouldn't say unlikely things or things we don't know anything about! For example, that when she was very little, at the age of three, the Blessed Virgin went up to the Temple to offer herself to God, burning with sentiments of love and extraordinary fervor. While perhaps she went there very simply out of obedience to her parents.

"Again, why say, with reference to the aged Simeon's prophetic words, that the Blessed Virgin had the Passion of Jesus constantly before her mind from that moment onward? 'And a sword will pierce through your soul also,' the old man said. It wasn't for the present, you see, little Mother; it was a general prediction for the future.

"For a sermon on the Blessed Virgin to please me and do me any good, I must see her real life, not her imagined life. I'm sure that her real life was very simple. They show her to us as unapproachable, but they should present her as imitable, bringing out her virtues, saying that she lived by faith just like ourselves, giving proofs of this from the Gospel, where we read: 'And they did not understand the words which He spoke to them.' And that other no less mysterious statement: 'His father and mother marveled at what was said about him.' This admiration presupposes a certain surprise, don't you think so, little Mother?

"We know very well that the Blessed Virgin is Queen of heaven and earth, but she is more Mother than Queen; and we should not say, on account of her prerogatives, that she surpasses all the saints in glory just as the sun at its rising makes the stars disappear from sight. My God! How strange that would be! A mother who makes her children's glory vanish! I myself think just the contrary. I believe she'll increase the splendor of the elect very much.

"It's good to speak about her prerogatives, but we should not stop at this, and if, in a sermon, we are obliged from beginning to end to exclaim and say: Ah! Ah!, we would grow tired! Who knows whether some soul would not reach the point of feeling a certain estrangement from a creature so superior and would not say: If things are such, it's better to go and shine as well as one is able in some little corner!

What the Blessed Virgin has more than we have is the privilege of not being able to sin, she was exempt from the stain of original sin; but on the other hand, she wasn't as fortunate as we are, since she didn't have a Blessed Virgin to love. And this is one more sweetness for us and one less sweetness for her!

"Finally, in my poem: Pourquoi je t'aime, ô Marie, I have said

everything I would preach about her.

August 22.                                                                      

1.   "It's grandpapa's feast today." (St. Joachim)

2.    "Oh! little Mother, what would happen to me if God didn't give me courage? I have only the use of my hands now! We don't realize what it is to suffer like this. No, we must experience it."

3.    ' 'Someone found you imperfect on a certain occasion, I said:

"Oh, well, so much the better!"

4.    With regard to her intestines and elsewhere, she was suffering violent pains, and we even feared gangrene:

"Well, it's better to have several sicknesses together as long as one has to suffer very much and in all parts. It's like a journey on which we bear with all sorts of inconveniences, knowing very well that these will end promptly, and that once the goal is attained, we will enjoy ourselves all the more."

5.   Upon a reflection someone made to her (I don't recall what it was):

"Do you believe the Blessed Virgin went through the same con­tortions as St. Mary Magdalene! Ah! no, this would not have been nice. It's all right for me to hiccup! "

6.   She had spilt some tea on her bed; and to console her, we said it didn 't matter. With a gesture which said she had to suffer in all sorts of ways:

"Ah! it doesn't matter, no!"

7.   She was looking at me during prayer, then at her picture of Théophane Vénard with a look that was so gentle and so profound.

A little later, she wanted to talk to me in order to please me; she could hardly breathe. I told her to keep silent.

"No, I mustn't talk? . . . But ... I believed. ... I love you so much! . . . I'm going to be good. . . . Oh, little Mother!"

 

8.     We wanted to stop her from taking the initiative in order to con­sole us:

"You must let me perform my little 'monkey tricks.' "

9.    "I have experienced pleasure at the thought that they are praying for me; then I told God that I wanted all these prayers applied to sin­ners."

I asked: "You don't want them for your own consolation?" "No!"

10.  She was suffering much and she groaned: "Little Mother! . . . Yes! ... I want it!

"I must no longer complain; this is useless. Pray for me, little sisters, but not on your knees, seated." (We were on our knees.)

August 23.

 

1.    "I have not yet spent a night so bad. Oh! How good God will have to be so that I can bear all I'm suffering. Never would I believe I could suffer so much. And yet I believe I'm not at the end of my pains; but He will not abandon me."

2.   I said: You have sung to the Blessed Virgin: 'All He has given to me, Jesus can take back, Tell Him not to be shy with me. "

"She has told Him this, and He's taking you at your word. " "I'm content and I do not repent."

 

3.    "No, God gives me no premonition of an approaching death, but of much greater sufferings. . . . But I don't torment myself, I don't want to think of anything but the present moment."

4.    I was telling her I'd been given a large blanket for the winter but that it was really too large:

"Oh! no, one can never be too warm in the winter. . . . You will be cold, while I shall not be cold! I pity you."

1.     "Kiss me on the forehead."

2.     To Sister Geneviève:

"Pray very much to the Blessed Virgin for me, you who are my little infirmarian, for if you were sick, I'd pray so much for you! But when it comes to praying for oneself, one doesn't dare."

6.    She had offered her sufferings for Fr. de Cornière, then a seminarian, very much tempted. He learned of this and wrote her one of the most humble and touching letters:

"Oh, what consolation this letter brought to me! I saw that my suf­ferings were bearing fruit. Did you notice the sentiments of humility the letter expresses? It's exactly what I wanted.

"And what good it did me to see how in such a short time we can have so much love and gratitude for a soul who has done us some good and whom we didn't know until then. What will it be then in heaven when souls will know those who saved them?"

7.    In the midst of very great sufferings:

"Little Mother! . . . Little Mother! ... Oh! ... Oh! .. . Yes! . . . Mamma! Mamma! Mamma!"

 

8.    "When we pray to the Blessed Virgin and she doesn't answer, that's a sign she doesn't want to. Then it's better to leave her alone and not torment ourselves."

9.    She was telling me that all she had heard preached on the Blessed Virgin hadn 't touched her:

"Let the priests, then, show us practicable virtues! It's good to speak of her privileges, but it's necessary above all that we can imitate her. She prefers imitation to admiration, and her life was so simple! However good a sermon is on the Blessed Virgin, if we are obliged all the time to say: Ah! . . . Ah! ... we grow tired. How I like singing to her:

The narrow road to heaven you have made visible (she said: easy)

When practising always the most humble virtues.'

10.   ". . . Mamma! .. . Ah! I'm always complaining! . . . See, but! . . . Nevertheless, I want to be sick . . . but it's when I cough all the time and I can't. . ."

(We stopped the milk diet today.) I was patting her forehead after Matins: "Oh! how gentle that is!"

August 24.

1.    "Are  you discouraged?'' I asked:

"No! . . . however, everything is for the worst! At each breath I suf­fer violently. But not to the point of crying."

(That morning, she was especially sweet and peaceful.)

2.    "... I would so much like to talk! . . . What a mortification! . . . Well, this really costs me something."

 

3.    "Little Mother, do you want me to talk just the same?"

I had kept her in silence for a long time. A half-hour afterwards, during recreation:

"Little Mother! . . . ah! I who love you so much!" Waking up during Matins:

". . . Alas, what a long time I've been talking with you! And I see now that you don't know the first word of the conversation!"

(She explained her trouble in a nightmare.) ". . . And now I feel a cough threatening to come on! Finally! . . ." "Everything is for the worst, isn 't it?" I asked: "No, for the best."

4.    I had expressed sympathy for her, and upon Sister Genevieve's reflection that this didn 't accomplish great things, she said:

"But yes, this is exactly what consoles the sick."

 

August 25.

 

1. I was telling her my desire to know the date of her death:

"Ah! I myself don't want to know it! In what peace I am! This har­dly disturbs me!"

The door of the infirmary was left open during the silence, and Sister St. John of the Cross used to enter every evening, place herself at the foot of the bed and laugh for a long time.

"How indiscreet this visit is and how tiring it must be for you, " I said:

"Yes, it's painful to be looked at and laughed at when one is suf­fering. But I think how Our Lord on the Cross was looked at in the same way in the midst of His sufferings. It was even worse, for they were really mocking Him; isn't it said in the Gospels that they looked at him, shaking their heads? This thought aids me in offering Him this sacrifice in the right spirit."

 

2.     "How you are suffering! Oh! it's hard! Are you sad?" I said: "Oh, no, I'm not unhappy in the least; God gives me exactly what I can bear."

3.    Aunt sent her some pretty branches of artificial forget-me-nots. These were used to decorate her pictures.

During the silence, with a very childlike and gracious air, she said: "I had a desire that someone give me something; I didn't analyse too much what or why. But I had the desire; then, they gave me this."

4.    "Alas, my poor little child, you can really say: 'My exile is long!'' "But I don't find it long; it's not because I'm suffering that it's longer."

5.    She sighed gently:

". . . Oh! how I complain! However, I wouldn't want to suffer less."

6.    She begged us to pray and have others pray for her:

"Oh! how necessary it is to pray for the dying! If you only knew! "I believe the demon has asked God permission to tempt me with an extreme suffering, to make me fail in patience and faith."

It's to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart that she spoke about the Hymn in Compline pertaining to the temptations of the spirit of darkness and the phantoms of the night.

  

7.    It was the feast of St. Louis; she had prayed fervently to Papa, without being heard:

"In spite of what I felt at the first moment, I repeated to God that I loved Him even more and all His saints, too."

8.    I shared my sorrow with her, thinking over what she was still to suffer:

"I'm ready for everything. . . . You see, however, that up to the present, I haven't had any sufferings beyond my control.

". . . We must abandon ourselves. I would like you to rejoice."

 

9.    ". . . Oh! yes, I wish it! yes, but it's good! . .." "What?" I asked:

"I shall suffocate!"

 

August 26.

 

1.     We had left her all through the night with the blessed candle lighted:

"It's because of the blessed candle that I didn't spend too bad a night."

2.     To Mother Prioress, during prayer:

"I'm very happy for not having asked anything from God; that way, He is forced to give me courage."

3.    I was telling her that she was made to suffer much, that her soul was tempered for it:

"Ah! to suffer in my soul, yes, I can suffer much. . . . But as to suffering of body, I'm like a little child, very little. I'm without any thought, I suffer from minute to minute."

4.    She had to go to confession:

"Little Mother, I would really like to talk to you, if I may. I don't know if I should tell Father Youf that I had thoughts of gluttony, because I thought of things I like, but I offer them to God."

5.    She was suffocating. "Ah! I'm choking! . . . Yes!"

(With a sweet and plaintive voice, the 'yes' was like a little cry.)

6.     During Matins, I was telling her to move at her ease in order to find a little relief:

"How difficult it is with what I have wrong with me to find relief!"

7.    Some lace had come unravelled in the linen trimming her tunic; I was trying to repair it, but it was very difficult to do so and I went about it clumsily. I tired her very much, and when she was unable to take it any more, she said:

"O little Mother, we mustn't be surprised when the poor infirmarian gets angry at times with her patients. . . . You see how dif­ficult I am! How I love you! . . . You're so gentle. I'm so grateful to you, I could even cry."

8.     ' 'How prolonged is your sickness, little one! ' ' I said:

"Oh, no, I don't find it long; when it is all over, you will see that it didn't appear long."

 

9. "Oh, little Mother, how necessary it is for God to help us when we're suffering so much!"

August 27.

 

1.   "Oh! how unfortunate it is when one is sick!" I exclaimed: "Oh, no, we are not unfortunate when we're dying from our sickness. How strange it is to fear death! . . . But when we're married, when we have a husband and children, this is understandable; but I who haven't anything!"

2.    "How I wish the Bishop wouldn't come to see me. . . . However, a bishop's blessing is a grace."

With a laugh:

"If it were only St. Nicholas, who raised three little children."

(Bishop Hogonin was at Lisieux.)

3.    "Aren't you surprised, little Mother, at the way I'm suffering? . . .

But I have great peace in my heart."

4.   I complained: "You've taken nothing since this morning!" "Taken nothing! But I took two cups of milk; I'm stuffed”

 

5.   "I make this poor little Sister Geneviève spend sleepless nights!"

6.   During the noon recreation: "You told me this morning that you had nothing, and you have little sisters, a little Mother:

"No, I have nothing, because I'm not leaving them! With a mischievous air:

"Now! if I were to think of leaving them!"

7.     "Alas, if you were going to be sick until next spring! I fear it, and then what would you say?"

"I would say so much the better!"

8.    She had a moment of great relief in the afternoon, and she showed us little signs of affection.

9.     She was suffering continually from thirst. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart said: "Do you want some ice water?"

"Oh! I'd love it!"

"Mother Prioress obliged you to ask for everything necessary. " "I do ask for everything that I need."

"You ask only for what is necessary? Never for what could give you any relief?"

"No, what's necessary only. Thus when I don't have any grapes, I don't ask for any."

A few moments after she had taken a drink, she was looking at her glass of water:

"Drink some more!"

"No, my tongue isn't dry enough."

August 28.

1.    We had turned her bed to wards the window:

"Oh! how happy I am! Place yourself in front of me, little Mother, so that I can see you well."

2.    Mother Prioress and other Sisters said she was pretty and we told her so:

"Ah! what does that matter to me! It means less than nothing, it an­noys me. When one is close to death, one can't take any joy out of that."

3.    During the noon silence:

"Look! Do you see the black hole (she was pointing to the chestnut trees near the cemetery) where we can see nothing; it's in a similar hole that I am as far as body and soul are concerned. Ah! what darkness! But I am in peace."

4.    She wasn 't able to stand the pain, and she groaned:

"I believe God would be more content if I were to say nothing."

5.    "Little Mother, catch me that pretty little white thing." "What is it?" I asked.

"It's gone! It's a pretty little thing that flies around during the sum­mer." (A seed.)

 

6.    Looking through an opening in her bedcurtain at the statue of the Blessed Virgin which was facing her:

"Look! She's lying in wait for me!"

7.    "I love very much flowers and roses, red flowers, and beautiful pink daisies."

8.     When she coughed and made the slightest movement in her bed, the branches of forget-me-nots swayed around her pictures:

"The little flowers tremble with me; that pleases me."

9.    "My good Blessed Virgin, here is what gives me the desire to leave: I tire out my little sisters, and then I give them pain when being

so sick. . . . Yes, I would like to go."

10.  After Matins:

''O my good Blessed Virgin, take pity on me . . . 'this time! ' ''

August 29.

1.    I was reading the Sunday Gospel to her: the parable of the Good Samaritan:

"I'm like this 'half-dead' traveller, half-dead, half-alive."

2.    I exclaimed: "It's very hard to suffer without any interior con­solation. "

"Yes, but it's a suffering without any disquietude. I am content to suffer since God wills it."

3.    "Little Mother." (She called me.) "What do you want?"

"I just counted nine pears on the pear tree near the window. There must be many others. I'm happy; you will eat some. Fruit is very good!"

4.    She gave us a little kiss this evening.

August 30.

1.    She spent the night very peacefully, like the night of August 7: very happy to think she was going to die perhaps:

"I joined my hands very nicely, expecting death."

2.    "Would you be happy if you were told you would die in a few days at the latest? You would prefer this to being told that you will suffer more and more for months and years?"

"Oh! no, I wouldn't be at all happier. What makes me happy is only to do the will of God."

3.     We placed her on a folding bed and rolled her out onto the cloister walk up to the choir door. We left her there alone for a good length of time. She was praying with her eyes facing the grille. Then she cast some rose petals towards it.

We photographed her before bringing her in.''

 

Doctor La Néele came and he said to her: "It will be soon, little Sister, I'm sure of it. "She looked at him with a smile of happiness.

Fr. Youf came also, and he said these words which she reported to me:

"You have suffered more than you are suffering now. ... We are

finishing our ministry together, you as a Carmelite nun, I as a priest. "

August 31.

1.    Another visit from Dr. La Néele.

2.     "If you were to die tomorrow, wouldn't you be afraid? It would be so close!"

Ah! even this evening, I wouldn't be afraid; I would only be filled with joy."

3.     "What courage 1 need in order to make the sign of the cross! . . . Ah! little sisters! Ah! my God! my God! . . . My God, have pity on me! . . . I have only this to say!"

4.     "Very soon we'll see this bed empty; what sadness for us!" I said:

"Ah! were I in your place, I'd be happy!"

5.     "I have an appetite that's making up for my whole life. I always ate like a martyr, and now I could devour everything. It seems to me I'm dying of hunger.

"How St. Veronica must have suffered!" (She had read that this Saint died from hunger.)

6.    One of us said: "How she's suffocating! She could very well die today. "

"What happiness!"

7.    In the afternoon. They told me she was sleeping, but she opened her eyes and said:

"No, advance, it gives me such pleasure to see you!"

8.    "How I need to see the marvels of heaven! Nothing touches me here on earth."

9.    During Matins:

"Ah! it is incredible how all my hopes have been fulfilled. When I used to read St. John of the Cross,1 begged God to work out in me what he wrote, that is, the same thing as though I were to live to be very old; to consume me rapidly in Love, and I have been answered!"

10.  After gazing a long time on the statue of the Blessed Virgin:

"Who could ever invent the Blessed Virgin?"

11.  To me:

"Ah! if you love me, how I love you also! "

.

12. She told me that formerly in order to mortify herself she would think of unpleasant things when she was eating:

"But afterwards, I found it very simple to offer to God whatever appealed to my taste."

 

13. "Sometimes I wanted to have a real dinner, and I took a grape, then a mouthful of wine, and these I offered to the Blessed Virgin. Then I did the same thing for the Child Jesus, and my little dinner was finished."

Normal 0 21 false false false FR X-NONE X-NONE

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

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6

... Vous pourrez dire de moi : «Ce n'est pas en ce monde qu'elle vivait, mais au Ciel, là où est son trésor.»

13 août

Je lui disais une pensée que j'avais eue pendant complies sur le Ciel.

... Pour moi, je n'ai que des lumières pour voir mon petit néant. Cela me fait plus de bien que des lumières sur la foi.

14 août

(Communion)

... Bien des petits chagrins dans la journée... Ah ! que je donne de mal !

Pendant Matines, je lui dis : Vous avez eu bien des peines aujourd'hui :

Oui mais puisque je les aime... J'aime tout ce que le bon Dieu me donne.

15 août

1

(Communion)

Je lui rappelais ce que dit St Jean de la Croix sur la mort des âmes consommées dans la Charité. Elle soupira et me dit :

Il faudra dire que c'est au fond de mon âme «la joie et les transports»... Mais cela n'encouragerait pas tant les âmes si l'on croyait que je n'ai pas beaucoup souffert.

Comme je sens que vous êtes angoissée ! Et pourtant, il y a un mois vous me disiez de si belles choses sur la mort d'amour.

Mais ce que je vous disais, je vous le dirais bien encore.

2

Elle était très oppressée et comme cela augmentait toujours, elle me dit :

Je ne sais pas ce que je deviendrai !

Est-ce que cela vous inquiète ce que vous deviendrez ? Avec un ton ineffable et un sourire :

Oh ! non...

3

J'ai rêvé pendant le silence que vous me disiez : Vous allez être bien fatiguée, quand le Communauté va venir, d'être regardée par toutes les soeurs et obligée de leur parler un peu. Je vous ai répondu : Oui mais, quand je serai là haut je me reposerai de tout.

4

Je demandais hier soir à la Sainte Vierge de ne plus tousser, pour que Soeur Geneviève puisse dormir, mais j'ai ajouté : Si vous ne le faites pas, je vous aimerai encore plus.

5

Nos nouvelles cloches sonnaient pour Vêpres ; j'ouvris la porte pour qu'elle les entende bien et je lui dis : Ecoutez bien les belles cloches qui sonnent. Après avoir écouté :

... Pas cor très belles !

6

Le bon Dieu me donne du courage en proportion de mes souffrances. Je sens que, pour le moment, je ne pourrais en supporter davantage, mais je n'ai pas peur, puisque si elles augmentent, il augmentera mon courage en même temps.

7

Je me demande comment le bon Dieu peut se retenir si longtemps de me prendre...

... Et puis, on dirait qu'il veut me faire «accroire» qu'il n'y a pas de Ciel !...

... Et tous les saints que j'aime tant, où sont-ils donc «nichés?»...

... Ah ! je ne feins pas, c'est bien vrai que je n'y vois goutte. Mais enfin, il faut que je chante bien fort dans mon coeur :

«Après la mort la vie est immortelle»

ou bien sans ça, ça tournerait mal...

8

Après matines, elle était épuisée et nous dit au moment où l'on s'apprêtait à battre ses oreillers :

Maintenant, faites de moi ce que vous voudrez.

16 août

1

Elle ne pouvait plus parler tant elle était faible et oppressée.

... Ne... plus... même... pouvoir parler... à vous !... Oh ! si l'on pouvait savoir !... Si je n'aimais pas le bon Dieu !... Oui mais...

2

Au parloir, il ne faut pas dire n'importe quoi, par exemple parler de toilette.

3

« Vous n'aurez pas, vous, de 'petite Thérèse' pour venir vous chercher. »

Elle sourit, et regardant la statue de la Sainte Vierge et l'image de Théophane Vénard, elle me les montra du doigt tour à tour.

4

Les anges ne peuvent pas souffrir, ils ne sont pas aussi heureux que moi. Mais comme ils seraient étonnés de souffrir et de sentir ce que je sens !... Oui, ils seraient bien étonnés, car je le suis moi-même.

5

Pendant Matines, en se réveillant tout à coup, et me regardant avec un doux sourire :

Ma jolie petite mère !

17 août

1

(Communion)

Je sens bien que le bon Dieu veut que je souffre. Les remèdes qui devraient me faire du bien et qui soulagent les autres malades, me font du mal à moi.

2

On venait de la lever, et comme en faisant le lit on l'avait heurtée, qu'on l'avait fait souffrir aussi en lui donnant certains soins, elle demanda un petit linge. On hésitait à le lui donner ne sachant pas ce qu'elle voulait en faire. Elle dit alors avec douceur :

On devrait me croire quand je demande quelque chose, car je suis une «petite fille» bien mignonne :

(c'est à dire qui ne demande que l'indispensable)

Une fois recouchée, se sentant à bout de force :

Je suis une «petite fille» très malade, oui, très malade !

3

Elle mit une pervenche à l'image de Théophane Vénard ; j'ai gardé cette pervenche.

4

Je vais prier pour que la Sainte Vierge diminue votre oppression.

Non, il faut les laisser faire là-haut !

5

Pendant Matines, en regardant l'image de Théophane Vénard :

Je ne sais pas ce que j'ai, ne peux plus le regarder sans pleurer.

6

Elle se trouvait moins oppressée après Matines et dit à Sr Geneviève en medésignant :

Elle a prié Marie, et puis je n'ai plus hoqueté.

(Elle employait ce mot pour rire et d'un petit ton si gentil, quand elle voulait dire qu'elle toussait jusqu'à en étouffer.)

18 août

1

Je souffre beaucoup, mais est-ce que je souffre bien ? Voilà !

2

«Bébé» est épuisé !...

Pendant le silence de midi, je m'étais cachée un peu en arrière du lit pour écrire.

Tournez-vous de côté, pour que je vous voie.

3

Maman, il faut me lire la lettre que vous avez reçue pour moi. Je me suis privée de vous la demander pendant l'oraison, pour me préparer à ma communion de demain et parce que ce n'est pas permis.

(C'était pendant la récréation .)

Voyant que je prenais le crayon pour écrire cela :

Mon mérite va être perdu peut-être, puisque je vous l'ai dit et que vous l'écrivez ?

Vous voulez donc acquérir des mérites ?

Oui, mais pas pour moi ; pour les pauvres pécheurs, pour les besoins de toute l'Eglise, enfin pour jeter des fleurs à tout le monde, justes et pécheurs.

4

Je lui disais qu'elle était bien patiente :

Je n'ai pas encore eu une minute de patience. Ce n'est pas ma patience à moi !... On se trompe toujours !

5

Puisqu'on dit que toutes les âmes sont tentées par le démon au moment de la mort, il faudra que j'y passe. Mais pourtant non, je suis trop petite. Avec les tout petits, il ne peut pas...

6

Je lui disais : Comme ça vous semblerait étrange de revenir à la santé ?

Si c'était la volonté du bon Dieu, je serais bien heureuse de lui faire ce sacrifice là. Mais je vous assure que ce ne serait pas peu de chose, car aller si loin, et en revenir ! écoutez !...

7

Dans l'état de faiblesse où je me trouve, je me demande ce que je deviendrais si je voyais une grosse araignée sur notre lit. Enfin, je veux bien encore accepter cette peur là pour le bon Dieu.

... Mais si vous demandiez à la Sainte Vierge que cela n'arrive pas ?

19 août

1

Elle faillit se trouver mal avant la communion, en entendant psalmodier, même à voix basse, le Miserere. Elle me dit ensuite en versant de grosses larmes :

Je vais peut être perdre mes idées. Oh ! Si l'on savait ce que c'est que la faiblesse que j'éprouve.

Cette nuit, je n'en pouvais plus ; j'ai demandé à la Sainte Vierge de me prendre la tête dans ses mains pour que je puisse la supporter.

2

Restez avec moi, ma petite Mère, ça me fait comme un appui de vous avoir.

3

Sr Geneviève lui donna le crucifix. Elle l'embrassa sur le visage avec tendresse. Elle était belle à ce moment comme un ange. Ce crucifix avait la tête penchée, elle dit en le contemplant :

Il est mort, Lui ! J'aime mieux qu'on le représente mort, parce que je pense qu'il ne souffre plus.

4

Elle demandait certains soins qui lui coûtaient beaucoup, mais que le docteur et Notre Mère avaient recommandés. Sr Geneviève lui dit comme à un petit enfant : »Qui est-ce qui a demandé cela à 'bobonne' »?

C'est «bébé», par fidélité.

5

Elle caressait Théophane Vénard sur les deux joues. (L'image était attachée au rideau, un peu loin d'elle.)

Pourquoi le caressez-vous ainsi ?

Parce que je peux pas l'embrasser.

6

A Sr Marie de l'Eucharistie :

Il ne faut pas s'asseoir ainsi de travers sur les chaises ; c'est écrit.

7

A Sr Geneviève qui arrangeait ses oreillers sans prendre garde aux images du rideau :

Attention au petit Théophane !

8

On parlait trop quand on se trouvait réunies toutes les trois près d'elle ; cela la fatiguait, parce qu'on lui faisait trop de questions à la fois.

« Qu'est-ce que vous voulez que nous disions aujourd'hui? »

... Faudrait pour bien faire qu'on ne dise rien du tout, parce qu'à dire vrai, y a rien à dire.

« Tout est dit, n'est-ce pas ? »

Oui !

9

N'importe ce que vous me dites, les choses les plus insignifiante ; vous me faites l'effet d'un gracieux troubadour qui chante ses légendes toujours sur de nouveaux airs.

Et elle faisait de petits suppements pour me faire voir qu'elle buvait mes paroles.

10

... Je ne souffre qu'un instant. C'est parce qu'on pense au passé et à l'avenir qu'on se décourage et qu'on désespère.

20 août

1

A Sr Geneviève, d'un ton d'enfant :

Vous savez bien que vous soignez un «bébé» à la mort...

Et puis (montrant son verre) il faudrait mettre quelque chose de bon dans le grand verre, parce que «bébé» a beaucoup goût de pourri dans la bouche.

2

Elle avait demandé qu'on l'embrasse peu, parce que l'haleine la fatiguait, étant si faible.

Peut-on vous faire seulement une petite caresse ?

Oui, parce que les mains ça ne respire pas.

3

On lui parlait des ennuis que donnait aux infirmières la pauvre Mère Coeur de Jésus.

Oh ! que j'aurais bien voulu être infirmière, pas par nature mais «par un attrait de grâce». Et qu'il me semble que j'aurais rendu la Mère C. de Jésus heureuse ! Oui, j'aurais eu du goût pour tout cela... Et j'y aurais mis tant d'amour, en pensant à la parole du bon Dieu : «J'étais malade et vous m'avez soulagé». C'est encore rare de trouver cette belle occasion là au Carmel.

4

D'unn petit air gai et malin:

Je serai bientôt dans les horreurs du tombeau ! Et vous y serez un jour aussi, ma petite Mère !... Et, en vous voyant arriver auprès de moi, «mes os humiliés tressailliront d'allégresse.»

5

... Aussitôt que j'vé du bère (à boire) ça me fait ça. (Elle tousse et dit à son verre d'eau de Bottot : C'est pas pour bère ! A part : - Il ne comprend pas - plus haut : C'est pas pour bère j'te dis !

6

Elle ne pouvait plus voir le lait que d'ailleurs elle n'avait jamais pris avec plaisir et qui, alors, lui causait une extrême répugnance. Je lui dis : « Boiriez-bous bien cette tasse pour me sauver la vie ? »

Oh ! oui !... Eh bien, regardez, et je ne la prendrais pas pour l'amour du bon Dieu ?

Et elle but la tasse d'un trait.

7

Nous faisions nos réflexions à propos de la marque du manteau d'infirmerie. +.F.

Non, ça ne signifie pas ce que vous dites. Ça veut dire qu'il faut qu'on porte la croix (+), pour aller après, plus haut que le firmament (F.)

8

Quand je souffre beaucoup, je suis contente que ce soit moi ; je suis contente que ce ne soit pas une de vous.

9

«C'est avec toi que je me plais le mieux, ma bonne Clarisse.»

(Parole adressée à Mère Geneviève par son petit frère.)

10

A propos de la Communion qu'elle sentait bien ne pouvoir plus faire désormais, et par suite de bien des réflexions qu'elle entendit à ce sujet, cette journée fut une journée d'angoisses et de tentations que je devinais terribles. Elle me demanda dans l'après midi de garder le silence pendant quelque temps et même de ne pas la regarder. Elle me dit tout bas :

Je pleurerais trop si je vous racontais tout de suite mes peines, et je suis si oppressée que j'étoufferais certainement.

Après un silence d'au moins une heure, elle me parla, mais en mettant devant ses yeux l'écran qu'on lui avait donné pour les mouches, car elle était encore trop émue.

11

Elle me parla de la lettre d'un prêtre qui disait que la Sainte Vierge ne connaissait pas par expérience les souffrances physiques.

En regardant la Sainte Vierge ce soir, j'ai compris que ce n'était pas vrai ; j'ai compris qu'elle avait souffert non seulement de l'âme, mais aussi du corps. Elle a souffert beaucoup dans les voyages, du froid, de la chaleur, de la fatigue. Elle a jeûné bien des fois.

... Oui, elle sait ce que c'est que de souffrir.

... Mais c'est peut-être mal de vouloir que la Sainte Vierge ait souffert ? Moi qui l'aime tant !

12

Elle était très oppressée.

Depuis quelque temps, elle trouvait dans ces oppressions si pénibles une sorte de soulagement en jetant comme un petit cri régulier, soit : « Oh ! là là ! » ou « Agne ! Agne ! »

C'est quand l'oppression vient d'en bas que je dis «Agne! Agne!» mais ce n'est pas gentil, cela me déplaît ; maintenant je dirai : Anne ! Anne !

On mettra cela dans votre circulaire.

Ça ferait l'effet d'une recette de cuisine !

13

C'est vous qui m'avez donné la consolation d'avoir le portrait de Théophane Vénard ; elle est extrêmement grande. Mais c'est qu'il aurait très bien pu ne pas me plaire !... Mais il est «très plaisant», il est «très aimâble1».

1Expressions qu'elle avait entendues et qui l'amusaient.

14

Que ce sera gentil de connaître au Ciel tout ce qui s'est passé dans la Sainte Famille ! Quand le petit Jésus commença à grandir, peut-être qu'en voyant jeûner la Sainte Vierge, il lui disait : «Moi je voudrais bien jeûner aussi.» Et la Sainte Vierge répondait : «Non, mon petit Jésus, tu es trop petit encore, tu n'as pas la force.» Ou bien peut-être n'osait-elle pas l'en empêcher.

Et le bon St Joseph ! Oh ! que je l'aime ! Lui ne pouvait pas jeûner à cause de ses travaux.

Je le vois raboter, puis s'essuyer le front de temps en temps. Oh ! qu'il me fait pitié ! Comme il me semble que leur vie était simple !

Les femmes du pays venaient parler à la Sainte Vierge familièrement. Quelquefois elles lui demandaient de leur confier son petit Jésus pour aller jouer avec leurs enfants. Et le petit Jésus regardait la Sainte Vierge pour savoir s'il devait y aller. Quelquefois même les bonnes femmes allaient tout droit à l'Enfant Jésus et lui disaient sans cérémonie : «Viens jouer avec mon petit garçon» etc.

... Ce qui me fait du bien quand je pense à la Sainte Famille, c'est de m'imaginer une vie toute ordinaire. Pas tout ce qu'on nous raconte, tout ce qu'on suppose. Par exemple que l'Enfant Jésus après avoir pétri des oiseaux de terre soufflait dessus et leur donnait la vie. Ah ! mais non, le petit Jésus ne faisait pas de miracles inutiles comme ça, même pour faire plaisir à sa Mère. Ou bien alors pourquoi n'ont-ils pas été transportés en Egypte par un miracle qui eût été autrement nécessaire et si facile au bon Dieu. En un clin d'oeil, ils auraient été rendus là. Mais non, tout dans leur vie s'est fait comme dans la nôtre.

Et combien de peines, de déceptions ! Combien de fois a-t-on fait des reproches au bon St Joseph ! Combien de fois a-t-on refusé de payer son travail ! Oh ! comme on serait étonné si on savait tout ce qu'ils ont souffert ! etc. etc.

Elle m'a parlé très longuement sur ce sujet et je n'ai pu tout écrire.

15

... Je voudrais être sûre qu'elle m'aime, la Sainte Vierge.

16

... Quand on pense que j'ai eu tant de mal toute ma vie à dire mon chapelet !

17

Quand j'ai reçu l'absolution, au lieu de me perdre en prières pour remercier le bon Dieu, je pense tout simplement avec reconnaissance qu'il m'a mis une petite robe bien blanche et m'a changée de sarreau. Ni l'une ni l'autre n'était bien sale, mais c'est égal, mes petits habits sont plus brillants et je suis mieux vue de tout le Ciel.

18

On ne se doute pas que Sr Marie du Sacré Coeur étant provisoire m'a fait faire bien des mortifications. Elle m'aime tant que j'avais l'air bien gâtée ; mais la mortification est plus grande dans ce cas là.

... Elle me soignait selon ses goûts absolument opposés aux miens.

21 août

1

Elle souffrait beaucoup et je la regardais à genoux le coeur bien triste.

Petits yeux tristes, pourquoi ?

- Parce que vous souffrez tant !

- Oui, mais paix aussi, paix !

2

... Il n'y a plus rien que dodo pour «bébé»... tout, tout fait souffrir !

Même plus de dodo pour bébé ! C'est fini ! J'étoufferai une nuit, je le sens bien !

3

Que j'aurais donc bien voulu être prêtre pour prêcher sur la Sainte Vierge ! Une seule fois m'aurait suffi pour dire tout ce que je pense à ce sujet.

J'aurais d'abord fait comprendre à quel point on connaît peu sa vie.

Il ne faudrait pas dire des choses invraisemblables ou qu'on ne sait pas ; par exemple que, toute petite, à trois ans, la Sainte Vierge est allée au Temple s'offrir à Dieu avec des sentiments brûlants d'amour et tout à fait extraordinaires ; tandis qu'elle y est peut-être allée tout simplement pour obéir à ses parents.

Pourquoi dire encore, à propos des paroles prophétiques du vieillard Siméon, que la Sainte Vierge, à partir de ce moment là a eu constamment devant les yeux la passion de Jésus ? «Un glaive de douleur transpercera votre âme» avait dit le vieillard. Ce n'était donc pas pour le présent, vous voyez bien, ma petite Mère ; c'était une prédiction générale pour l'avenir.

Pour qu'un sermon sur la Ste Vierge me plaise et me fasse du bien, il faut que je voie sa vie réelle, pas sa vie supposée ; et je suis sûre que sa vie réelle devait être toute simple. On la montre inabordable, il faudrait la montrer imitable, faire ressortir ses vertus, dire qu'elle vivait de foi comme nous, en donner des preuves par l'Evangile où nous lisons : «Ils ne comprirent pas ce qu'il leur disait.» Et cette autre, non moins mystérieuse : Cette admiration suppose un certain étonnement, ne trouvez-vous pas, ma petite Mère ?

On sait bien que la Sainte Vierge est la Reine du Ciel et de la terre, mais elle est plus Mère que reine, et il ne faut pas dire à cause de ses prérogatives qu'elle éclipse la gloire de tous les saints, comme le soleil à son lever fait disparaître les étoiles. Mon Dieu ! que cela est étrange ! Une Mère qui fait disparaître la gloire des ses enfants ! Moi je pense tout le contraire, je crois qu'elle augmentera de beaucoup la splendeur des élus.

C'est bien de parler de ses prérogatives, mais il ne faut pas dire que cela, et si, dans un sermon, on est obligé du Commencement à la fin de s'exclamer et de faire Ah ! Ah ! on en a assez ! Qui sait si quelque âme n'irait pas même jusqu'à sentir alors un certain éloignement pour une créature tellement supérieure et ne se dirait pas : «Si c'est cela, autant aller briller comme on pourra dans un petit coin!»

Ce que la Sainte Vierge a de plus que nous, c'est qu'elle ne pouvait pas pécher, qu'elle était exempte de la tache originelle, mais d'autre part, elle a eu bien moins de chance que nous, puisqu'elle n'a pas eu de Sainte Vierge à aimer ; et c'est une telle douceur de plus pour nous, et une telle douceur de moins pour elle !

Enfin j'ai dit dans mon Cantique : «Pourquoi je t'aime, ô Marie!» tout ce que je prêcherais sur elle.

22 août

1

C'est la fête de bon papa aujourd'hui.

(St Joachim)

2

O ma petite Mère, qu'est-ce que je deviendrais si le bon Dieu ne me donnait pas la force ? Il n'y a plus que les mains !... On ne sait pas ce que c'est que de souffrir comme cela. Non, il faut le sentir.

3

... On vous a trouvée imparfaite en telle occasion ...

Avec satisfaction :

Oh ! bien, tant mieux !

4

Du côté des intestins et... d'ailleurs, elle souffrait violemment, on craignit la gangrène.

... Eh bien, ça vaut mieux, tant qu'à faire de souffrir beaucoup et de partout, d'avoir plusieurs maladies ensembles. C'est comme en voyage, où l'on supporte toutes sortes d'incommodités, sachant bien que ça va finir promptement et qu'une fois le but atteint on n'en jouira que davantage.

5

Sur une réflexion qu'on lui faisait (je ne me rappelle plus pourquoi)

Croyez-vous que la Sainte Vierge a fait des contorsions comme Ste Madeleine ! Ah mais non, ça n'aurait pas été gentil. C'est bon pour moi d'hoqueter !

6

Elle avait renversé du tilleul sur le lit ; on lui disait pour la consoler que cela ne faisait rien.

D'un air de dire qu'il fallait qu'elle souffre de toutes manières :

Ah ! ça ne fait rien, non !

7

Elle m'a regardée pendant l'oraison, puis son image de Théophane Vénard de son regard si doux et si profond.

Quelque temps après elle voulut parler pour me faire plaisir car elle pouvait à peine respirer. Je lui dis de garder le silence.

Non, il ne faut pas que je parle ?... Mais... je croyais... Je vous aime tant !... Je vais être mignonne... Oh ma petite Mère !

8

On voulait l'empêcher de faire des frais pour nous consoler :

Faut me laisser faire mes petites «singeries».

9

J'ai éprouvé du plaisir à penser qu'on priait pour moi, alors j'ai dit au bon Dieu que je voulais que ce soit appliqué aux pécheurs.

- Vous ne voulez donc pas que ce soit pour votre soulagement?

- Non !

10

Elle souffrait beaucoup et gémissait.

Ma petite Mère !... Oui !... je veux bien !...

... Il ne faut plus que je me plaigne, ça ne sert à rien. Priez pour moi, mes petites soeurs, mais pas à genoux, assises.

(Nous étions à genoux.)

23 août

1

Je n'avais pas encore passé une aussi mauvaise nuit. Oh ! qu'il faut que le bon Dieu soit bon pour que je puisse supporter tout ce que je souffre ! Jamais je n'aurais cru pouvoir souffrir autant. Et pourtant je crois que je ne suis pas au bout de mes peines ; mais Il ne m'abandonnera pas.

2

Vous avez chanté à la Ste Vierge :

« Tout ce qu'il m'a donné, Jésus peut le reprendre,

Dis-lui de ne jamais se gêner avec moi. »

Elle l'a dit et il vous prend au mot.

J'en suis contente et je ne me repens pas.

3

... Non, le bon Dieu ne me fait pas pressentir une mort prochaine, mais des souffrances beaucoup plus grandes... Mais je ne me tourmente pas, je ne veux penser qu'au moment présent.

4

Je lui disais qu'on m'avait donné une grande couverture pour l'hiver, qu'elle était vraiment trop grande.

Oh ! mais non, on n'a jamais trop chaud l'hiver.

... Vous aurez froid, quand moi j'aurai pas froid ! Ça me fait pitié.

5

Baisez-moi sur le front.

A Sr Geneviève :

Priez bien la Sainte Vierge pour moi, vous qui êtes ma petite infirmière, car si vous étiez malade, je prierais tant pour vous ! Mais quand c'est pour soi, on n'ose pas.

6

Elle avait offert ses souffrances pour M.l'Abbé de Cornières, alors séminariste, et très tenté. Il l'avait appris et écrivit une lettre des plus humbles et des plus touchantes.

Oh ! que cette lettre m'a apporté de consolation ! J'ai vu que mes petites souffrances portaient du fruit. Avez-vous remarqué les sentiments d'humilité qu'elle exprime ? C'est justement cela que je désirais.

... Et que cela me fait de bien de voir comme en si peu de temps on peut avoir tant d'amour et de reconnaissance pour une âme qui vous a fait du bien et que vous ne connaissiez pas jusque là. Qu'est-ce que ce sera donc au Ciel quand les âmes connaîtront celles qui les auront sauvées ? !

7

Au milieu de ses souuffrances si grandes :

Ma petite Mère !... Ma petite Mère !... Oh !... Oh !... Oui !... Maman ! maman ! maman !...

8

... Quand on a prié la Sainte Vierge et qu'elle ne nous exauce pas, c'est signe qu'elle ne veut pas. Alors il faut la laisser faire à son idée et ne pas se tourmenter.

9

Elle me disait que tout ce qu'elle avait entendu prêcher sur la Sainte Vierge ne l'avait pas touchée.

Que les prêtres nous montrent donc des vertus pratiquables ! C'est bien de parler de ses prérogatives, mais il faut surtout qu'on puisse l'imiter. Elle aime mieux l'imitation que l'admiration, et sa vie a été si simple ! Quelque beau que soit un sermon sur la Sainte Vierge, si l'on est obligé tout le temps de faire : Ah !... Ah !... on en a assez.

Que j'aime à lui chanter :

L'étroit chemin du Ciel tu l'as rendu visible (Elle disait : facile)

En pratiquant toujours les plus humbles vertus.

10

... Maman !... Ah ! je me plains toujours !... Voyons, mais !... Je veux bien pourtant être malade... mais c'est quand je tousse tout le temps et que je ne peux pas...

(On a cessé aujourd'hui le régime du lait)

J'ai caressé son front après matines :

Oh ! que c'est doux !

24 août

1

Etes-vous découragée ?

Non !... pourtant tout est pour le pire ! à chaque respiration je souffre violemment. Enfin ce n'est pas encore à crier.

I(Ce matin-là, elle avait un air particulièrement doux et paisible).

2

... Je voudrais si bien vous parler !... Quelle mortification !... Allez ! ça me coûte.

3

... Ma petite Mère, voulez-vous que je vous parle tout de même ?

(Je la gardais depuis longtemps en silence.)

Une demi-heure après, pendant la récréation :

Ma petite Mère !... ah ! moi qui vous aime tant !

En se réveillant pendant Matines :

... Hélas ! depuis le temps que je vous parle ! Et je vois que vous n'en savez pas le premier mot !

(Elle m'avait expliqué son mal dans un cauchemar)

... Et maintenant, je sens la toux menaçante ! Enfin !...

- Tout est pour le pire, n'est-ce pas ?

- Non, pour le mieux.

4

Je l'avais plainte, et sur la réflexion de Sr Geneviève que ça n'avançait pas à grand'chose :

Mais si ! c'est justement ce qui soulage les malades.

25 août

1

Je lui disais mon désir de connaître la date de sa mort.

Ah ! moi je ne le désire pas ! Dans quelle paix je suis ! Ça ne m'inquiète guère.

La porte de l'infirmerie était ouverte pendant le silence et Sr St Jean de la Croix entrait tous les soirs, et se mettant au pied du lit, la regardait en riant pendant assez longtemps.

- Que cette visite est indiscrète et comme elle doit vous fatiguer !

- Mais oui, c'est très pénible d'être regardée en riant quand on souffre. Mais je pense que Notre Seigneur sur la croix a bien été regardé ainsi au milieu de ses souffrances. C'était encore bien pire, car on se moquait vraiment de lui ; n'est-il pas dit dans l'Evangile qu'on le regardait en branlant la tête ? Cette pensée m'aide à lui offrir de bon coeur ce sacrifice.

2

Comme vous souffrez ! Oh ! que c'est dur ! Etes-vous triste ?

- Oh ! non, je ne suis pas du tout malheureuse. Le bon Dieu me donne juste ce que je peux supporter.

3

On lui avait apporté de la part de ma tante de jolies branches de myosotis artificiels. On les mit à orner ses images.

Pendant le silence, d'un petit air enfantin et si gracieux :

J'avais envie qu'on me donne quéque chose, je ne m'analysais pas trop quoi ni pourquoi ; mais j'avais envie, puis, on m'a donné ça.

4

Hélas ma pauvre petite fille, vous pouvez bien dire : « Que mon exil est long ! »

- Mais, je ne le trouve pas long, moi ; c'est pas parce que je souffre qu'il est plus long.

5

Elle gémissait doucement :

... Oh ! comme je me plains ! pourtant je ne voudrais pas moins souffrir.

6

Elle nous conjurait de prier et de faire prier pour elle :

... Oh ! comme il faut prier pour les agonisants ! Si l'on savait !

Je crois que le démon a demandé au bon Dieu la permission de me tenter par une extrême souffrance, pour me faire manquer de patience et de foi.

C'est à Sr M. du Sacré Coeur qu'elle a parlé de l'hymne de Complies à propos des tentations de l'esprit de ténèbres et des fantômes de la nuit..

7

C'était la fête de St Louis, elle avait fait une prière fervente à papa, et sans être exaucée.

... Malgré ce que j'ai ressenti au premier moment, j'ai répété au bon Dieu que je l'aimais davantage et tous les saints aussi.

8

Je lui faisais part de ma tristesse en pensant à ce qu'elle aurait à souffrir encore :

Je suis prête à tout... Vous voyez pourtant que, jusqu'ici, je n'en ai pas eu au dessus de mes forces.

... Il faut s'abandonner. Je voudrais que vous vous réjouissiez.

9

... Oh ! oui, je veux bien ! oui ! mais c'est bien cela !...

Quoi donc ?

- J'étoufferai !

26 août

1

On lui avait laissé toute la nuit le cierge bénit allumé.

C'est à cause du cierge bénit que je n'ai pas passé une trop mauvaise nuit.

2

A Notre Mère, pendant l'oraison :

Je suis bien contente de n'avoir rien demandé au bon Dieu ; comme cela, il est forcé de me donner du courage.

3

Je lui disais qu'elle était faite pour beaucoup souffrir, que son âme était d'une trempe à cela :

Ah ! souffrir de l'âme, oui, je puis beaucoup... mais pour la souffrance du corps, je suis comme un petit enfant, tout petit. Je suis sans pensée, je souffre de minute en minute.

4

Elle devait se confesser :

Ma petite Mère, j'aurais bien à vous parler, si je pouvais. Je ne sais pas s'il faut dire à Mr Youf que j'ai eu des pensées de gourmandise, parce que j'ai pensé à des choses que j'aime, mais je les offre au bon Dieu.

5

Elle étouffait.

... Ah ! j'étoufferai !... Oui !...

(d'une voix douce et plaintive, le « oui » était comme un petit cri.)

6

Pendant Matines je lui disais de remuer à son aise pour trouver un petit soulagement.

... Que c'est difficile avec ce que j'ai de trouver du soulagement !

7

Un point s'était défait dans le linge qui garnissait sa tunique, j'essayais de le refaire mais c'était très difficile et je m'y prenais mal, je la faiguais beaucoup, elle n'en pouvait plus et me dit ensuite :

O ma petite mère, comme il ne faut pas s'étonner qu'une pauvre infirmière se fâche quelquefois avec ses malades. Vous voyez comme je suis difficile ! Que je vous aime !... Vous êtes bien douce. Je vous suis bien reconnaissante, j'en pleurerais bien !

8

Qu'elle est longue votre maladie, ma pauvre petite !

Oh ! non, je ne la trouve pas longue. Quand ce sera fini, vous verrez que ça ne vous paraîtra pas long.

9

O ma petite Mère, comme il faut que le bon Dieu aide quand on souffre tant !

27 août

1

Oh ! qu'on est malheureux quand on est malade !

- Mais non, on n'est pas malheureux quand c'est pour mourir. Hélas ! comme c'est drôle d'avoir peur de mourir !

... Enfin, quand on est marié, qu'on a un mari et des enfants, ça se comprend ; mais moi qui n'ai rien !...

2

... Que je voudrais bien que Monseigneur ne vienne pas me voir... Enfin, c'est une grâce que la bénédiction d'un Évêque.

En riant :

Si c'était seulement St Nicolas qui a ressuscité trois petits enfants !

(Mgr Hugonin était à Lisieux.)

3

Est-ce que vous n'êtes pas étonnée, ma petite Mère, de la manière dont je souffre ?

... Enfin, j'ai une grande paix au fond.

4

Vous n'avez rien pris depuis ce matin.

- Rien pris ! mais j'ai pris deux tasses de lait, je suis bourrée. Je suis une bourrée, y a pas besoin d'en acheter.

5

Je fais passer des nuits blanches à cette pauvre petite Sr Geneviève !

6

Pedant la récréation de midi :

Vous m'avez dit ce matin que n'aviez rien, et vous avez des petites soeurs, une petite Mère.

- Non, je n'ai rien, parce que je ne les quitte pas, elles !

D'un petit air malin :

Tiens ! si je pensais que je les quitte !

7

Hélas ! si vous alliez être malade jusqu'au printemps prochain ! J'en ai peur,et que diriez-vous?

- Eh bien je dirais tant mieux !

8

Elle eut un moment de grand soulagement dans l'après midi et nous fit toutes sortes de gentillesses.

9

Elle souffrait continuellement de la soif. Sr Marie du Sacré Coeur lui dit : Voulez-vous de l'eau glacée ?

- Oh ! j'en ai bien envie !

- Notre Mère vous a obligée de demander tout ce qui vous est nécessaire.

- Je demande en effet tout ce dont j'ai besoin.

- Vous ne demandez que le nécessaire ? jamais ce qui peut vous soulager ?

- Non, le nécessaire seulement. Ainsi quand je n'ai pas de raisin je n'en demande pas.

Quelque temps après avoir bu elle regardait son verre d'eau glacée :

- Buvez encore un peu, lui dit-on.

- Non, je n'ai pas la langue assez desséchée.

28 août

1

On a tourné le lit vers la fenêtre.

Oh ! que je suis contente !

Mettez-vous en face, ma petite Mère, pour que je vous voie bien.

2

Notre Mère et d'autres soeurs disaient qu'elle était jolie, on lui rapportait cela.

Ah ! qu'est-ce que ça me fait ! Ça me fait moins que rien, ça m'ennuie. Quand on est si près de la mort, on ne peut pas avoir de joie de cela.

3

Pendant le silence de midi :

Tenez, voyez-vous là bas le trou noir (sous les marronniers près du cimetière) où l'on ne distingue plus rien ; c'est dans un trou comme cela que je suis pour l'âme et pour le corps. Ah ! oui, quelles ténèbres ! Mais j'y suis dans la paix.

4

Elle n'en pouvait plus et gémissait.

Je crois que le bon Dieu serait plus content si je ne disais rien.

5

Ma petite Mère, prenez-moi cette folie petite affaire blanche.

- Qu'est-ce que c'est ?

- C'est parti ! C'est une jolie petite chose qui vole pendant l'été.

(une graine)

6

Regardant par une petite fente du rideau la statue de la Sainte Vierge en face d'elle.

Tiens ! elle me guette !

7

J'aime beaucoup les fleurs, les roses, les fleurs rouges et les belles marguerites roses.

8

Quand elle toussait et faisait le moindre mouvement dans son lit, les branches de myosotis remuaient autour de ses images.

Les petites fleurs tremblent avec moi, ça me plaît.

9

... Ma bonne Sainte Vierge, voilà ce qui me donne envie de m'en aller : Je fatigue trop mes petites soeurs, et puis je leur fais de la peine en étant si malade... Oui, je voudrais m'en aller !

10

Après Matines :

O ma bonne Sainte Vierge, ayez pitié de moi... «de cette fois!»

29 août

1

Je lui lisais l'Evangile du dimanche : la parabole du Samaritain.

... Je suis comme ce pauvre voyageur «semivivo», à moitié morte, à moitié vivante.

2

C'est bien dur de souffrir sans aucune consolation intérieure.

- Oui mais c'est une souffrance sans inquiétude. Je suis contente de souffrir puisque le bon Dieu le veut.

3

Ma petite Mère ?

(Elle m'appelait)

Qu'est-ce que vous voulez ?

Je viens de compter 9 poires au poirier près de la fenêtre. Il doit y en avoir bien d'autres. Je suis contente, vous en mangerez. C'est si bon, les fruits !

4

Elle nous a donné ce soir un petit baiser.

30 août

1

Elle a passé la nuit très paisiblement comme la nuit du 6 Août ; très heureuse de penser qu'elle allait peut-être mourir.

... Je joignais les mains bien gentiment attendant la mort.

2

Seriez-vous contente si l'on vous annonçait que vous mourrez sûrement dans quelques jours au plus tard ? Vous aimeriez mieux cela tout de même que d'être avertie que vous souffrirez de plus en plus pendant des mois et des années ?

Oh ! non, je ne serais pas du tout plus contente. Ce qui me contente uniquement c'est de faire la volonté du bon Dieu.

3

On l'a mise sur le lit pliant et roulée jusqu'à la porte du choeur qui donne sous le cloître. On l'a laissée là toute seule assez longtemps. Elle priait avec un regard si profond vers la grille. Ensuite elle y a jeté des pétales de rose.

On l'a photographiée avant de rentrer.

Le docteur La Néele est venu et lui a dit : »C'est pour bientôt, ma petite soeur, j'en suis sûr. » Alors elle l'a regardé avec un sourire de bonheur.

M. Youf est venu aussi et lui a dit ces paroles qu'elle m'a rapportées :

«Vous avez plus souffert que vous ne souffrirez maintenant.» ... Nous finissons ensemble notre ministère, vous comme carmélite, moi comme prêtre. »

31 août

1

Nouvelle visite du Dr La Néele.

2

Si vous mouriez demain, n'auriez-vous pas un peu peur, ce serait si près !

- Ah ! même ce soir, je n'aurais nulle peur, je n'aurais que de la joie.

3

Quel courage il me faut pour faire un signe de croix !

... Ah ! mes petites soeurs ! Ah ! mon Dieu ! mon Dieu ! ... Mon Dieu, ayez pitié de moi !... Je n'ai plus que cela à dire.

4

Bientôt ce lit où nous vous voyons sera vide, quelle douleur pour nous !

- Ah ! à votre place, que je serais content !

5

... J'ai de l'appétit pour toute ma vie. J'ai toujours mangé comme une martyre, et maintenant je dévorerais tout. Il me semble que je meurs de faim.

... Que Ste Véronique à dû souffrir !

(Elle avait lu que cette sainte était morte de faim.)

6

L'une de nous disait : »Comme elle est oppressée ! Elle pourrait très bien mourir aujourd'hui. »

Qué bonheur !

7

Dans l'après-midi - On me disait qu'elle dormait ; elle ouvrit les yeux et me dit :

Mais non, avancez-vous, ça me fait tant de plaisir de vous voir !

8

Que j'ai besoin de voir les merveilles du Ciel ! rien ne me touche sur la terre.

9

Pendant Matines.

Ah ! c'est incroyable comme toutes mes espérances se sont réalisées. Quand je lisais St Jean de la Croix, je suppliais le bon Dieu d'opérer en moi ce qu'il dit, c'est à dire la même chose que si je vivais très vieille ; enfin de me consommer rapidement dans l'amour, et je suis exaucée !

10

Après avoir regardé longuement la staue de la Sainte Vierge :

... Qui est-ce qui aurait pu inventer la Sainte Vierge ?

11

A moi :

... Ah ! si vous m'aimez, que je vous aime moi aussi !

12

Elle me raconta qu'autrefois pour se mortifier, elle pensait à des choses sales en mangeant.

... Mais après, j'ai trouvé cela plus simple d'offrir au bon Dieu ce que je trouvais à mon goût.

13

... Tantôt j'ai voulu faire un vrai dîner, alors j'ai pris un grain de raisin puis une petite gorgée de vin que j'ai offerts à la Sainte Vierge. Ensuite j'ai fait la même chose pour l'Enfant Jésus, et mon petit dîner a été fini.