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The yellow notebook - September 1897

SEPTEMBER

 

The beginning of this month saw the continuation of the relative calm which had succeeded the terrible sufferings of August 22 to 27. Thérèse was eating a little now, and the Guérins were trying to tempt her appetite with certain types of food. However, all the other symp­toms did not leave any hope of a recovery. She had grown terribly thin and her weakness was extreme. She was no longer able to move her hands, and no one could touch her without causing her much pain. Her feet began to swell on September 12, and two days later, the doc­tor gave her no more than two weeks to live. From September 21, Thérèse said she felt she was always in her agony. She actually entered into this only on September 29, the eve of her death.

The content of the Yellow Notebook for this month is equally valuable for the actions it describes as for the words it reports. Thérèse is more than ever in control. The brief words that she pronounces have about them the stamp of authenticity and literalness. The dominant themes are her sickness, her suffering, and her death. The trial of faith is always present. The patient's prayer is supported by the holy pic­tures pinned to the curtains of her bed, and by the statue of the Blessed Virgin. Thérèse still looks with delight upon nature, and she continues to make joking remarks. She is also able to celebrate two anniversaries: September 8, that of her Profession (on that day she writes for the last time), and September 24, her reception of the Veil.

Since the Guérin family was still at Lisieux, we have only seven let­ters written to them, instructing us about the last days that mark out Thérèse 's ascent of Calvary. To make up for this, we have the great number of testimonies on September 30 that permit us to reconstruct hour by hour Thérèse 's last agony.

 

September 2.

1.    "Surely, you will die on a feast day, " I said:

"It will be a beautiful enough feast day in itself! I have never had any desire to die on a feast day."

2.    "It was perhaps two years after I was here that God brought an end to my trial with regard to Sister Marie of the Angels, and I was able to open my soul to her; in the end, she consoled me very much."

3.    "It cost me very much to ask permission to perform acts of mor­tification in the refectory because I was timid and I blushed; but I was faithful to my two weekly mortifications. When this trial of timidity passed away, I paid less attention to them, and I must have forgotten my two mortifications more than once."

4.     We were telling her that she was the head of the group, (i.e., her own blood sisters), and that she had conquered all enemies; all we had to do now was to follow her example. She made a gesture, very familiar to us, by placing her two hands, one on top the other, at a lit­tle distance apart, saying:

"This big, in the family!"

Then pretending to be strewing pebbles:

"Little Tom Thumb!"

5.    Sister Geneviève said to her: "When I think they are still awaiting you at the Carmel of Saigon!"

I shall go; I shall go very soon; if you only knew how quickly I will make my journey!"

6.    "When we accept our disappointment at our failures, God im­mediately returns to us."

7.    "I've offered up my trial against faith especially for a member united to our family, who has lost the faith."

(This was a M. Tostain.)

8.    "Oh! yes, I desire heaven! 'Tear the veil of this sweet encounter,'Oh, my God!"

September 3.

1.    I was reporting what had been told me about the honors given to the Czar of Russia in France:

"Ah! this doesn't dazzle me at all! Speak to me about God, the example of the saints, about everything that is the truth."

2.    I said: "When I think we are taking care of a little saint!"

"Well, so much the better! However, I would want God to say it."

3.    Poor Mother C. of J. was becoming more and more demanding, (' Mother Hermance of the Heart of Jesus).and the infirmarians were complaining because they had to give in to her whims:

"Ah! what an attraction I would have for all that!"

September 4.

1.    Some said that Sister St. Stanislaus called her an angel because of the smiles and signs of affection Thérèse showed her for the least ser­vice:

"It's in this way that I've taken God in, and it's because of this that I'll be so well received by Him at the hour of my death."

2.    "I'm very happy that meat disgusts me because then I find no pleasure in it."

(They were serving her a little meat.)

3.        At the moment when I was leaving the infirmary to go the refec­tory:

"I love you!"                                                                                                    

4.     When the Angelus was ringing: "Must I extend my little hands?"

I answered: "No, you're even too weak to recite the A ngelus. Call upon the Blessed Virgin by simply saying: ' Virgin Mary! '"She said: "Virgin Mary, I love you with all my heart."

Sister Geneviève said: "Tell her that you love her for me, too." Then she added in a whisper:

.

"For 'Mlle. Lili,' for Mamma, for godmother, for Léonie, for little Marie, Uncle, Aunt, Jeanne, Francis, 'Maurice,' 'little Roulland,' and all whom I love."

5.    She had a desire for a certain type of food, a very simple one, and one of us told our Uncle about it:

"It's very strange that we make this known in the world! Well, I offered it up to God."

I told her that it wasn 't my fault, for in fact I had forbidden it. She replied by taking the little plate:

"Ah! it's offered up to God. It no longer matters. Let them think what they want!"

6.    During Matins:

"Little Mother, oh! how I love you!" With a pretty smile, trying to speak:

"Let's say something, just the same; let's say ... If you only knew how the thought of going soon to heaven leaves me calm. However, I'm very happy, but I can't say that I experiencing a living joy and transports of happiness, no!"

7.    I asked: "You prefer to die rather than to live?"

"O little Mother, I don't love one thing more than another; I could not say like our holy Mother St. Teresa: 'I die because I cannot die." What God prefers and chooses for me, that is what pleases me more."

 

September 5.

1.    "You're not sorry, then, to leave 'Mamma?'" I asked:

"No! ... If there was no eternal life, oh, yes! . . . but there is one perhaps . . . and it's even certain!"

2.        If someone told you that you would die suddenly, at this instant, would you be afraid?"

". . . Ah! what happiness! I would love to go!" "Then you prefer dying to living?"

"No, not at all. If I were cured, the doctors would look at me in amazement, and I would say to them: 'Sirs, I am very happy to be cured to serve God still on earth, since it is His will. I suffered as if I had to die; well, I will begin this another time.'

3.    Pointing to her glass of reddened water, with a nice little gesture, she said cheerfully:

"Something to drink, little Mother, if you please. There is ice in it, that's good!" After drinking:

"I drank without thirst! I'm a little 'drinker without thirst’.

I was telling her she suffered less during the silence:

"Oh! just the opposite! I suffered very much, very much! But it's to the Blessed Virgin that I complained."

4.    A visit from Dr. La Néele, who after having told her after his last consultation that she was close to death, that she could die suddenly turning in her bed, now said: "You're like a ship that neither advances nor goes back. "Surprised, she said:

"You heard, you see how it changes! But I don't want to change, I want to continue abandoning myself entirely to God."

 

September 6.

1.    ''Say a few sweet words to me, after what happened yesterday.

I said: "Ah! What could I say to console you, poor little one? I'm quite powerless. "

"I don't need any consolation."

2.    In the afternoon, she cried with joy when someone brought her a relic of Blessed Théophane Vénard.

With great tenderness, she offered me a little daisy for my an­niversary.

She was very demonstrative, all through the afternoon, in her af­fection for us, and was attractive in all sorts of ways. I said: "I've noticed that whenever you are able, you return to the way you were formerly. "

"Ah! That's very true! Yes, whenever I can, I do my very best to be cheerful in order to please you."

3.    She was waiting for Father Youf to hear her confession; he was unable to come and this was a real disappointment. But immediately,

she took on her beautiful peaceful expression.

4.    Someone brought her some nourishment because her stomach was very much improved:

"Alas! Where am I in this sickness? Now I am eating!"

September 7.

She had not said a word about her day, and I was thinking in the af­ternoon: Today, I'll have nothing to write..

But almost immediately she said: "Ah! there isn't a soul like . . ."

After this, she began to shed huge tears for fear that she had caused

me trouble in a circumstance about which I wasn 't even aware.

September 8.                              

A little robin came and landed on her bed.

Léonie sent her the little music box we have preserved, and the tunes were so sweet, even though profane, that she listened to them with pleasure.

Finally, someone brought her a sheaf of wild flowers for the an­niversary of her Profession. Seeing herself so loaded with gifts, she cried with gratitude and said:

"It's all God's tenderness towards me: exteriorly, I'm loaded with gifts; interiorly, I'm always in my trial (of faith) . . . but also in peace."

September 9

1.The little music box had been wound up too tightly and appeared to be broken. Auguste repaired it, but since then it missed (for one tune) the most beautiful note. I was rather disappointed, and I asked her if she was, too:

"Oh! not at all! But I am simply because you are."

2.    "Ah! I know what suffering really is!"

September 10.

1. At Dr. de Cornière's consultation, the doctor seemed puzzled by her state.

"Well, now, are you content?" I asked after the doctor left: "Yes, but I'm a little accustomed to it; they say and then they retract!"

2. In the evening, when we were arranging her pillows, she leaned her head on me, looking at me tenderly. This reminded me of the In­fant Jesus' look at the Blessed Virgin when He was listening to the angel's music in the picture where Thérèse said of the Blessed Virgin: "This is Pauline. "

September 11.

1.    "Little Mother will be the last to die; we'll come looking for her with Théophane Vénard, when she will have finished working for me. . . . Unless little souls need her."

2.    "I love you very much, but very much!

"When I hear the door open, I always believe it's you; and when you don't come, I'm very sad.

''Give me a kiss, a kiss that makes noise; so that the lips go 'smack! ' "Only in heaven will you know what you mean to me. . . . For me you're a lyre, a song . . . much more than a music box; even when you say nothing."

3.    She had made two crowns for the statue of the Blessed Virgin; these were made out of cornflowers, one to be placed at her feet, the other in her hands. I said: "You no doubt think she will give you the one in her hands. "

"Oh! no, it's as she herself wishes; what I give to her is only for her pleasure."

 

4.   "I'm afraid I've feared death, but I won't fear it after it takes place; I'm sure of this! And I'm not sorry for having lived; oh! no. It's only when I ask myself: What is this mysterious separation of the soul from the body? It's my first experience of this, but I abandon myself to God."

5.   "Will you hand me my Crucifix so that I can kiss it after the Act of Contrition, in order to gain the plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory; I can give them no more than that!

"Give me the holy water now; and bring close to me the relics of Blessed Anne of Jesus and Théophane Venard; I want to kiss them."

Afterwards she made a little sign of affection to her picture of the Virgin Mother, first to the Child Jesus, then to the Blessed Virgin. She wasn 't able to fall asleep and she told me:

"I know this, it's the devil's malice; he is furious because I didn't forget my little devotions. When, for one reason or another, I don't perform them, I fall asleep and awaken a few minutes after midnight. It's as though he were making fun of me because I missed out on my plenary indulgence."

 

6.  "Should I fear the devil? It seems I should not, for I am doing everything out of obedience."

 

7.   "Oh! no, I don't have any desire to see God here on earth. And yet I love Him! I also love the Blessed Virgin very much, and the saints, and I don't desire to see them."

September 12.

It was the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. She asked me to read her the Sunday Gospel. I didn't have the missal and told her simply:

"It's the Gospel where Our Lord warns us against serving two masters. ' then, imitating the voice of a little child reciting her lesson, she said it from memory from beginning to end.

September 13.

1.    She was much sicker and her feet were swollen since the evening before. We could not make the least movement around her, such as moving the bed slightly or touching her because it caused her much suffering, so great was her weakness. We were not aware of this at first, and both Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and I took her pulse for a long period of time. She didn't show any sign of fatigue at first in or­der not to cause us any anguish, but finally, not being able to stand any more pain, she began to cry. And when we arranged her pillows and her bed cushion, she groaned, saying in a gentle tone of voice:

"I would like ... I would like ..." "What would you like?" I asked:

"To cause my sisters no more pain; and in order to do this, that I go very quickly."

At this moment, she was looking at Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, and gave her a ravishing smile; it was Marie especially to whom she feared causing any sorrow.

Since we had not succeeded in arranging her bed cushion properly, for we dared not move her too much, she said gently, while supporting herself on her hands and attempting to do it herself:

"Wait, I'll push myself to the end of the bed, making movements like a little grasshopper."

2.     A Sister had picked a violet for her in the garden; she offered it to her and then left. Our little Thérèse said to me, looking at the flower:

"Ah! the scent of violets!"

Then she made a sign to me to know if she could smell it without failing in mortification.

 

September 14.

1.    Someone brought her a rose; she unpetailed it over her Crucifix with much piety and love, taking each petal and touching it to the wounds of Our Lord.

"In the month of September, little Thérèse is still unpetalling 'the springtime rose.'

"When unpetalling for You the springtime rose, I would love to dry Your tears!"

When the petals were slipping off her bed onto the floor, she said quite seriously:

"Gather up these petals, little sisters, they will help you to perform favors later on. . . . Don't lose one of them."

2.        "Ah! now...

' ' I have the hope that my exile will be short ! "

3.    Doctor La Néele had told her that she wouldn’t have any agony, and when she still suffered more and more:

"And yet they told me that I wouldn't have any agony! . . . But, af­ter all, I do want to have one."

I asked: "If you were made to choose one or the other, which would you choose?”

"I would choose nothing!"

September 15.

1. I said: "Today's great sufferings will appear to you as very small when you are in heaven. "

"Oh! even on earth, I find them already very small!"

 

2.    In the evening, during recreation:

"Just now when Sister Geneviève said to Sister Martha, who asked how I was: 'She is very tired!' I was thinking: That's really true, I am! Yes, I'm like a tired and harassed traveller, who reaches the end of his journey and falls over. Yes, but I'll be falling into God's arms!"

3.    "Mother Prioress told me that I have nothing to do in order to prepare for death because I was prepared in advance."

September 16.

To me alone in answer to some questions I'd asked: "What draws down God's lights and helps upon us when we are guiding and consoling souls is not the telling of our own troubles in or­der to receive consolation; besides, this is not a real consolation, it ex­cites us rather than calms us down."

September 17.

1.    "When we are around the sick, we must be cheerful." She said this because we were telling her our troubles. "After all, we mustn't lament like those who have no hope.'

Then with a mischievous look:

"You'll end up by making me regret life." We said: "It would be hard for us to do that!"

"That's true! I said it only to scare you a little."

2.     When speaking to me about her childhood, she said we had given her a little basket and it made her cry with joy:

"And now I desire nothing upon this earth!"

She quickly changed her mind, saying: "Yes, I still desire something, and it's heaven!"

 

September 18.

1.    I was telling her I feared tiring her out by speaking:

"Little Mother, your conversation is so pleasing to me! Oh! no, it doesn't tire me out. It's just like music to me. There aren't two like you on earth. Oh! how I love you!"

2.    Gazing out the window at the very red Virginia vine that was creeping over the hermitage of the Holy Face:

"The Holy Face is in all its splendor. See, there are some branches of the vine reaching above the chestnut trees."

3.    "I'm feeling better this afternoon."

As a matter of fact, she was interested in everything. She was looking with pleasure at an altar cloth Sister Geneviève was making for the altar in the Oratory and at the vestments she was making for Father Denis. In the morning, however, when Sister Aimée of Jesus had lifted her in her arms while we arranged her bed, I believed that she was going to die.

September 19.

We had brought her a bouquet of dahlias from outside; she gazed at them with pleasure, running her fingers ever so gently through the petals!

After Father Denis' First Mass, she asked to see his chalice, and because she was looking for a long time at the bottom of the cup, someone asked: "Why are you looking so intently at the bottom of the chalice?"

"Because my reflection is there; when I was Sacristan, I used to love doing this. I was happy to say to myself: My features are reflected in the place where the Blood of Jesus rested and where it will descend again.

"How many times, too, have I thought that at Rome, my face was reproduced in the eyes of the Holy Father.”

 

September 20.

1.    Doctor de Cornière paid her a visit, and he told us that she still had to suffer a real martyrdom. When leaving, he remarked on her heroic patience, and I told her this:

"How can he say that I'm patient! It's not true! I never stop moaning and groaning; I'm crying all the time: Oh! là là! And: My God, I can't stand it anymore! Have pity, have pity on me!"

2.    We changed her tunic in the afternoon and were struck by her ex­treme thinness because her face hadn't changed. I went to ask Mother Prioress to come and see her back. Mother was long in coming, and I had to admire the gentle and patient way in which Thérèse awaited her arrival. Mother was painfully surprised and said kindly: "What is this little girl who is so thin?"

"A skeleton!"

September 21.

1.    I'd just emptied her spittoon without saying a word, and I set it near her, thinking within myself: I'd be happy if she told me that she'd reward me in heaven for this. And instantly, turning to me, she said:

"In heaven, I'll reward you for that."

2.    Sister Geneviève said: ' 'And when I think she's about to die! ' '

"Ah! lady, yes; at last, I believe it!"

3.    I said: "To say that she'll not have any little Thérèse to love!" "He calls me his little Thérèse!"

"Who?"

"Father Bellière!"

He had just written her and I wanted to read his letter to her, believing she would be pleased when finding this passage again, but she was too tired and she said:

"Oh! no, enough! I'm tired" of little Thérèse!" Then turning to me with a smile:

"Not tired of little Pauline too! Oh! no!"

4.     I was going to do the washing, having two turns to make up."Very hard for me, oh, yes!"

5.     Sister Geneviève was asking for a pencil; I needed mine also, but I lent it to her just the same. Thérèse said in a low distinct tone:

"That's nice."

6. Ah! what is the agony? It seems to me I'm in it all the time!"

7.     When drying her eyes, a few eyelashes were detached from her eyelids:

"Take these lashes, Sister Geneviève, for we must give as little as possible to the earth. " [à la terre]

(She was making a pun here upon the name Père Alaterre, a work­man, and brother of Sister St. Vincent de Paul.) "Poor man, if this gives him any pleasure!"

It was in this way that she was always cheerful in spite of her great sufferings of both body and soul.

 

September 22.

1.   After having recalled several circumstances of her religious life in which she had been terribly humiliated, I added: "Oh! how many times I felt sorry for you!"

"It wasn't necessary, I assure you, to be so sorry for me. If you only knew how I floated above all those things! I was going along strengthened by humiliations; there was no one as brave as I in the line of fire."

2.    She wanted to talk to me but was unable to do so:

"Ah! how hard it is to be in such a state of weakness! With you! It was so nice when I could talk to you! This is what is the most difficult to take."

3.    I was saying when looking at the picture of Théophane Vénard: "There he is hat in hand, and to top it all, he doesn't come to get you!"

With a smile she said:

"I myself don't make fun of the saints. ... I love them so much! . . . They want to see ..."

"What?" I asked, "If you're going to lose patience?" With a mischievous but grave look, she said:

"Yes. ... . But especially if I'm going to lose confidence. . . . and how far I'm going to push my confidence. . . ."

4.    She called Sister Geneviève her "bobonne, " Sister Marie of the Trinity, her "doll, " and she did this simply to distract us, and not because of any dissipation or childishness on her part. We began going too far in this matter, and she said:

"We should not call ourselves by all sorts of names. After all, it isn't being religious!"

 

5.    "Time must seem long to you. "

"No, time doesn't seem long; it seems like yesterday that I was following community acts, writing my copybook." (her Life)

6.    "What a terrible sickness and how much you're suffering!" "Yes! What a grace it is to have faith! If I had not had any faith, I would have committed suicide without an instant's hesitaton…”

September 23.

1.    "Oh! how much I owe you! . . . Also, how I love you! . . . but I don't want to talk about it anymore because I would cry. ..."

(It caused her great pain when she cried.)

2.    "Tomorrow is the anniversary of your reception of the Veil, and it will undoubtedly be the day of your death, " I said:

"I don't know when; I expect it always, but I do know it won't be very long from now."

3.    She often smiled at us, but sometimes we didn 't notice it, and she said:

"Very often I give beautiful smiles that are lost on 'Bobonne' and the others."

4.    In the evening we heard the cooing of a bird at the closed window, and we asked what this could mean. One said: "It's a turtledove, " another: "It's probably a bird of prey. "

"Well, if it's a bird of prey, so much the better! Birds of prey come to eat the flesh of the martyrs."

 

5.     With reference to an unimportant confidence a Sister had made to her, when she was asked about it:

"If the Sisters forbid it, it's a sacred trust. . . . Even when this is for the least thing, we must not tell it."

6.    After a very long silence, when gazing upon Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and myself, who were alone with her:

"Little sisters, it's you who raised me! . . ." And her eyes filled with tears.

September 24.

1.     For the anniversary of her reception of the Veil, I had a Mass of­fered for her:

"Thanks for the Mass!"

When I saw her suffering so much, I answered sadly: "Ah! you see, you haven 7 received any relief!"

"It was to obtain relief for me that you received permission for the Mass?"

I answered: "It was for your good. "

"My good, then, is to suffer, no doubt. . . ."

2.    She was telling me about some suffering she experienced, when, much too late in the year, the chestnut trees were pruned:

"At first, it was a bitter sadness and great interior struggles that I experienced at one and the same time. I so loved the shadows cast by the branches, and there were none that year. The branches, already green, were lying in bundles on the ground, and all that remained were the trunks of the trees! Then, all of a sudden, I got control over myself by saying: If I were in another Carmel, what difference would it make to me if they cut down entirely all the chestnut trees in the Carmel of Lisieux! And then I experienced a great peace and a heavenly joy."

 

3.    She had a visit from Doctor de Cornière, who was more edified than ever. He said to Mother Prioress: "She's an angel! She has the face of an angel; her face hasn 't changed, in spite of her great suf­ferings. I've never seen that in others before. With her general state of

getting thinner, it's supernatural. "

4.    "I would like to run through the fields of heaven. ... I would like to run in its fields where the grass doesn't crumble, where there are beautiful flowers which don't fade, and beautiful children who would be little angels."

I said: "You never seem to be tired of suffering. Are you tired of it?"

"No! when I can't take it anymore, I can't take it, and that's it!"

5.    "I had the desire to say to Doctor de Cornière: I'm laughing because you were not able to prevent me from going to heaven; but, for all your trouble, when I am there, I will prevent you from coming there so soon.'"

6.    "Soon I shall speak only the language of the angels."

7.    "You will go to heaven among the Seraphim. "

"Ah! but if I go among the Seraphim, I shall not do as they do! All of them cover themselves with their wings before God; I will be very careful not to cover myself with my wings.'"

8.    ". . . My God! . . . have pity on Your little . . . girl! (Turning over with very much pain.)

9.    As she was caressing her "Théophane, " I said: "He is very much honored. "

"These are not honors. . . ." "What are they?" "Caresses, that's all!"

(She hugged the picture of Théophane Vénard.)

10.  "You don't have any intuition about the day of your death?" "Ah! Mother, intuitions! If you only knew the poverty I'm in! I know nothing except what you know; I understand nothing except through what I see and feel. But my soul, in spite of this darkness, is in an astonishing peace."

11.  "Whom do you love the most on this earth? ..."

 

September 25.

1.    I had told her what was said in recreation regarding Father Youf (the Chaplain), who had a great fear of death. The Sisters were speaking about the responsibility of those who were in charge of souls and those who lived a long life.

"As far as little ones are concerned, they will be judged with great gentleness." And one can remain little, even in the most formidable offices, even when living for a long time. If I were to die at the age of eighty, if I were in China, anywhere, I would still die, I feel, as little as I am today. And it is written: 'At the end, the Lord will rise up to save the gentle and the humble of the earth.' It doesn't say 'to judge,' but 'to save.'"

* * *

2.    She had said to me on one of those last days of suffering:

"O Mother, it's very easy to write beautiful things about suffering,

" Wisdom 6:7. Psalm 75:10.

but writing is nothing, nothing! One must suffer in order to know!"

I had retained a painful impression from this statement of hers, when, that same day, appearing to remember what she had told me, she looked at me in a very special and solemn way, and pronounced these words:

"I really feel now that what I've said and written is true about everything. . . . It's true that I wanted to suffer much for God's sake,

and it's true that I still desire this."

3. Someone said: "Ah! it's frightful what you're suffering. "

"No, it isn't frightful. A little victim of love cannot find frightful what her Spouse sends her through love."

 

September 26.

She no longer had any strength: "Oh! how crushed I am!"

Looking out the window at a dead leaf, detached from the tree and suspended in the air by a light thread:

"See, it's a picture of myself; my life hangs only on a light thread." After her death, in the evening of September 30, the leaf, which un­til then was still swinging in the wind, fell to the ground. I picked it up along with the spider's web which was still attached to it.

September 27.

Between two and three o'clock, we asked her if she wanted something to drink; she asked for some Lourdes water, saying:

"Until three o'clock, I prefer Lourdes water; it's more devotional."

September 28.

1. "Mamma! . . . earth's air is denied to me, when will God grant me the air of heaven? . . .

"Ah! never was it this short! ..." (her breathing)

2. I said: "My poor little child, you're like the martyrs in the am­phitheatre; we can no longer do anything for you!"

"Oh! you can; nothing but seeing you does me a lot of good."

All through the afternoon, she smiled at us; she listened attentively when I read her these passages of the Office of St. Michael, the Arch­angel: "The Archangel Michael came with a multitude of angels. It is to him that God has entrusted the care of the souls of His saints, in order to bring them to the joys of heaven. He said: 'Archangel Michael, I have placed you as prince over all the souls that are to be received. ' "

She made a sign to me with her hand extended towards me, then she placed it on her heart; this meant that I was in her heart.

September 29.

1.    From early morning, she appeared to be in her agony; she had a very heavy rattle in her throat and was unable to breathe. The com­munity was summoned and gathered round her bed to recite the prayers of the dying from the manual. At the end of an hour, Mother Prioress dismissed the Sisters.

2.   At noon, she said to Mother Prioress:

Mother, is this the agony? . . . What must I do to die? Never will I know how to die!"

3.    I read again several passages from the Office of St. Michael and the prayers for the dying. When I came to the part concerning the demons, she made a childlike gesture as though threatening them, and she exclaimed with a smile:

"Oh! Oh!" (This was said in a tone which meant: I don't fear them.)

4.    After the doctor's visit, she said to Mother Prioress: "Is it today, Mother?"

She answered: "Yes, my little child. " One of us said: "God is very joyful today. " 'I, too!

"If I were to die right now, what happiness!"

5.    "When shall I be totally suffocated! ... I can't stand any more!

Ah! pray for me! Jesus! Mary! . . . Yes, I will it, I really will it. . . ."

6.    Sister Marie of the Trinity came to see her; after a few minutes, Thérèse told her very gently to leave. When she had gone, I said: "Poor little thing! She loves you so much. "

"Was I wrong in sending her away?" Her face took on an expression of sorrow, but I quickly reassured her.

7.    Six o 'clock. Some kind of insect got into her sleeve, and we tried to get it out:

"Leave it alone; it doesn't matter." I said: "But you might be stung by it. "

"No, leave it alone, leave it alone; I assure you, I know these little beasts!"

 

8. I had a violent headache and I was closing my eyes in spite of myself when looking at her:

"Go to bed. . . . I, too!"

But she couldn 't sleep, and she said to me:

"O Mother, what harm this does to the nerves!"

9.     During the evening recreation: "Ah! if you only knew!"

(If you only knew what I was suffering.)

10.   "I'd like to smile at you all the time, and I turn my back on you! Does this cause you any pain?"

(This was during the silence.)

11.  After Matins, when Mother Prioress came to see her, her hands were joined, and she said in a gentle and resigned tone of voice:

"Yes, my God, yes, my God, I want it all!" Mother said: "It's terrible, then, what you are suffering?" "No, Mother, not terrible, but much, much . . . just what I can bear."

She asked to remain alone throughout the night, but Mother Prioress didn 't want this. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and Sister Geneviève shared this great consolation. * I remained in the cell, close to the infirmary.

                                                          

September 30.

Thursday, the day of her holy death.

In the morning, I was with her during the Mass. She didn 't speak a word to me. She was exhausted, gasping for breath; her sufferings, I thought, were indescribable. One moment she joined her hands and looked at the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

"Oh! I prayed fervently to her! But it's the agony, really, without any mixture of consolation."

I spoke a few words of sympathy and affection and I added that she had edified me very much all through her illness:

"And you, the consolations you've given me! Ah! they are very great!"

All through the day, without a moment's respite, she remained, we can say without any exaggeration, in veritable torments.

She appeared to be at the end of her strength and nevertheless, to our great surprise, she was able to move, to sit up in her bed.

"You see the strength that I have today! No, I'm not going to die! I still have strength for months, perhaps years!"

"And if God willed it, " asked Mother Prioress, "would you accept it?" She began to answer in her agony: "It would really have to be . . ."

But checking herself immediately, she said with a tone of sublime resignation, falling back on her pillows: "I really will it!"

I was able to gather these exclamations, but it is impossible to ex­press the tone in which they were said:

"I no longer believe in death for me. ... I believe only in suf­fering. . . . Well, so much the better! . . ." "O my God! . . ." "I loveGod!"

"O good Blessed Virgin, come to my aid! " "If this is the agony, what is death?! . . ."

"Ah! my God! . . . Yes, He is very good, I find Him very good. . . ." Looking at the statue of the Blessed Virgin: "Oh! you know I'm suffocating!"

"God is going to aid you, poor little one, and it will soon be all over. "

"Yes, but when?"

". . . My God, have pity on Your poor little child! Have pity on her!"

To Mother Prioress:

"O Mother, I assure you, the chalice is filled to the brim! ..."

"But God is not going to abandon me, I'm sure. . . ."

"He has never abandoned me."

"Yes, my God, everything that You will, but have pity on me!"

"Little sisters! little sisters! pray for me!"

"My God! my God! You who are so good!"

"Oh, yes, You are good! I know it. . . ."

After Vespers, Mother Prioress placed a picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on her knees. She looked at it for a moment and said, when Mother Prioress assured her she'd be soon caressing the Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus:

"O Mother, present me quickly to the Blessed Virgin; I'm a baby who can't stand anymore! . . . Prepare me for death."

Mother Prioress told her that since she had always understood humility, her preparation was already made. She reflected a moment and spoke these words humbly:

"Yes, it seems to me I never sought anything but the truth; yes, I have understood humility of heart. . . . It seems to me I'm humble."

She repeated once more:

"All I wrote about my desires for suffering. Oh! it's true just the same!"

"And I am not sorry for delivering myself up to Love."

With insistence:

"Oh! no, I'm not sorry; on the contrary!"

A little later:

"Never would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much! never! never! I cannot explain this except by the ardent desires I have had to save souls."

Towards five o 'clock, I was alone by her side. Her face changed all of a sudden; I understood it was her last agony.

When the community entered the infirmary, she welcomed all the Sisters with a sweet smile. She was holding her Crucifix and looking at it constantly.

For more than two hours, a terrible rattle tore her chest. Her face was blue, her hands purplish, her feet were cold, and she shook in all her members. Perspiration stood out in enormous drops on her forehead and rolled down her cheeks. Her difficulties in breathing were always increasing, and in order to breathe she made little in­voluntary cries.

All during this time, so full of agony for us, we heard through the windowit made me suffer very muchthe twittering of robins, and other little birds, but this twittering was so strong, so close, and so prolonged! I prayed to God to make them keep silent; this concert pierced my heart, and I feared it would tire out our poor little Thérèse.

At one moment, her mouth seemed to be so dry that Sister Geneviève, thinking to relieve her, placed on her lips a little piece of ice. She accepted it, giving her a smile which I'll never forget. It was like a last farewell.

At six o'clock, when the Angelus was ringing, she looked at the statue of the Blessed Virgin for a long time.

Finally, at a few minutes past seven, Mother Prioress dismissed the community, and she sighed:

"Mother! Isn't this the agony! . . . Am I not going to die? . . ."

"Oh! I would not want to suffer for a shorter time!"

And looking at her Crucifix: "Yes, my poor little one, it's the agony, but God perhaps wills to prolong it for several hours. "

She answered with courage:

"Well . . . All right! . . .All right!"

 

"Oh! I love Him! .. .

"My God ... I love you! . . ."

Suddenly, after having pronounced these words, she fell back, her head leaning to the right. Mother Prioress had the infirmary bell rung very quickly to call back the community.

"Open all the doors, " she said at the same time. These words had something solemn about them, and made me think that in heaven God was saying them also to His angels.

The Sisters had time to kneel down around her bed, and they were witnesses to the ecstasy of the little, dying saint. Her face had regained the lily-white complexion it always had in full health; her eyes were fixed above, brilliant with peace and joy. She made certain beautiful movements with her head as though someone had divinely wounded

her with an arrow of love, then had withdrawn the arrow to wound her again. . . .

Sister Marie of the Eucharist approached with a candle to get a closer view of that sublime look. In the light of the candle, there didn't appear any movement in her eyelids. This ecstasy lasted almost the space of a Credo, and then she gave her last breath.

After her death, she had a heavenly smile. She was ravishingly beautiful. She was holding her Crucifix so tightly that we had to force it from her hands to prepare her for burial. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and I performed this office, along with Sister Aimée of Jesus, and we noticed she didn't seem any more than twelve or thirteen years old.

Her limbs were supple right up to her burial, on Monday, October 4, 1897.

Sister Agnes of Jesus Carmelite.

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc 

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