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What they said about it

 

such a strange illness...

Thérèse's narrative

Manuscript A, 27 r° - 31 v°

 

Marie's narratives

in her memories and testimony

 

Pauline's comments

in her correspondence

October 2 was the day set for my return to the Abbey, and I had to go there in spite of my sadness. In the afternoon, Aunt came to get us to go to Carmel and I saw my Pauline behind  the grille. Ah! how I suffered from this visit to Carmel! Since I am writing the story of my soul, I must tell my dear Mother everything, and I admit that the sufferings which preceded your entrance were nothing in comparison with those which followed it. Every Thursday we went as a family to Carmel and I, accustomed to talk heart to heart with Pauline, obtained with great trouble two or three minutes at the end of the visit. It is understood, of course, that I spent them in crying and left with a broken heart. I didn’t understand that it was through consideration for Aunt that you were directing your words to Jeanne and Marie instead of speaking to your little girls. I didn’t understand and I said in the depths of my heart: “Pauline is lost to me!” It is surprising to see how much my mind developed in the midst of suffering; it developed to such a degree that it wasn’t long before I became sick.  The sickness which overtook me certainly came from the demon; infuriated by your entrance into Carmel, he wanted to take revenge on me for the wrong our family was to do him in the future. But he did not know that the [27v°] sweet Queen of heaven was watching over her fragile little flower, that she was smiling on her from her throne in heaven and was preparing to stop the storm the moment her flower was to break without any hope of recovery.

Toward the end of the year, I began to have a constant headache. It didn’t cause me much suffering. I was able to pursue my studies and nobody was worried about me. This lasted until Easter, 1883. Papa had gone to Paris with Marie and Léonie, and Aunt had taken me and Céline with her into her home. One evening Uncle took me for a walk and spoke about Mama and about past memories with a kindness that touched me profoundly and made me cry. Then he told me I was too softhearted, that I needed a lot of distraction, and he was determined to give us a good time during our Easter vacation. He and Aunt would see to it. That night we were to go to the Catholic Circle meeting, but finding I was too fatigued, Aunt made me go to bed; when I was undressing, I was seized with  a strange trembling. Believing I was cold, Aunt covered me with blankets and surrounded me with hot water bottles. But nothing was able to stop my shaking, which lasted almost all night. Uncle, returning from the meeting with my cousins and Céline, was very much surprised to see me in this state, which he judged to be very serious. He didn’t want to say this in order not to frighten Aunt.

He went to get Doctor Notta the next day, and he judged, as did Uncle, that I had a very serious illness and one which had never before attacked a child as young as I. Everybody was puzzled. Aunt was obliged to keep me at her home, and she took care of me with a truly maternal solicitude. When Papa returned from Paris with my older sisters, Aimée met them at the door with such a sad face that Marie [28r°] believed I had died. This sickness was not “unto death,” but like that of Lazarus it was to give glory to God. And God was glorified by the admirable resignation of my poor little Father, who thought his “little girl was going crazy or was about to die.” God was glorified too by Marie’s resignation! Ah! how she suffered because of me, and how grateful I am to her for the care she lavished upon me with such unselfishness. Her heart dictated what was necessary for me and really a mother’s heart is more discerning than a doctor’s, for it knows how to guess at what is suitable for its child’s sickness.

Poor Marie was obliged to come and live at Uncle’s because it was impossible to bring me back at the time to Les Buissonnets. However, Pauline’s taking of the Habit was approaching. They avoided talking about it in my presence, knowing the pain I felt, but I spoke about it often and said I would be well enough to go and see my dear Pauline. In fact, God did not want to refuse me this consolation; or rather, He wished to console His dear Fiancée who suffered so much because of her little girl’s sickness. I have noticed that Jesus doesn’t want to try His children on the day of their espousals, for this day must be without any clouds, a foretaste of heaven’s joys. Has He not shown us this five times? I was, then, able to kiss my dear Mother, to sit on her knees and give her many caresses. I was able to contemplate her who was so beautiful under the white adornment of a Bride. Ah! how beautiful that day was, even in the midst of my dark trial, but it passed by quickly. Soon I had to climb into the carriage which took me to Les Buissonnets, far from Pauline and from my beloved Carmel. When we reached home, they put me to bed in spite of my assurances that [28v°] I was perfectly cured and needed no further attention. Alas! my trial was only commencing! The next day I had another attack similar to the first, and the sickness became so grave that, according to human calculations, I wasn’t to recover from it. I can’t describe this strange sickness, but I’m now convinced it was the work of the devil. For a long time after my cure, however, I believed I had become ill on purpose and this was a real martyrdom for my soul.  I told Marie this and with her usual kindness she reassured me. I told it too in confession and my confessor tried to calm me, saying it was not possible to pretend illness to the extent that I had been ill. God, willing no doubt to purify and especially to humble me, left me with this interior martyrdom until my entrance into Carmel, where the Father of our souls, as with the wave of his hand, removed all my doubts. Since then I am perfectly calm.

It isn’t surprising that I feared having appeared sick when I wasn’t sick in reality because I said and did things that were not in my mind. I appeared to be almost always delirious, saying things that had no meaning. And still I am sure that I was not deprived of the use of my reason for one single instant. I often appeared to be in a faint, not making the slightest movement, and then I would have permitted anyone to do anything he wished, even to kill me, and yet I heard everything that was said around me and can still remember everything. Once it happened that for a long time I was without the power to open my eyes and to open them an instant when I was alone.

I believe the devil had received an external power over me but [29r°] was not allowed to approach my soul nor my mind except to inspire me with very great fears of certain things, for example, very simple remedies they tried in vain to make me accept. But although God permitted the devil to come near me, He also sent me visible angels. Marie was always by my bedside, taking care of me and consoling me with a mother’s tenderness. Never did she show the slightest sign of annoyance, and still I gave her a lot of trouble, not even allowing her to be away from me. She had to go and eat her meals with Papa, but I never stopped calling her all the time she was away. Victoire, who was taking care of me, was at times obliged to go and get my dear “Mama” as I was calling her. When Marie wanted to go out, it had to be either to attend Mass or to go to see Pauline, and then I said nothing.

Uncle and Aunt were very good to me; dear little Aunt came every day to visit me and brought a thousand goodies. Other friends of the family came to visit me also, but I begged Marie to tell them I wanted no visits. It displeased me to “see people seated around my bed LIKE A ROW OF ONIONS, looking at me as though I were a strange beast.” The only visit I liked was that of Uncle and Aunt.

[26] Since this sickness, I cannot express how much my affection for them has increased. I understand better than ever before that they were not just ordinary relatives to us. Ah! this poor little Father was very right when he spoke the words I have just written, and repeated them so often. Later on he was to experience that he wasn’t wrong, and so now from heaven he ought to protect and bless those who gave him such devoted care and attention. I, still an exile on earth and not knowing how to show my gratitude, have [30] only one means of consoling myself and that is by praying for these relatives whom I love and who were and still remain so good to me!

Léonie was also very kind to me. She tried to amuse me as well as she could. I sometimes caused her some pain as she was easily able to see that Marie could be replaced by no one. And dear Céline, what did she not do for her Thérèse? On Sundays, instead of going out for a walk, she would close herself in for hours to be with a poor little girl who was like an idiot. Really, [29v°] it took love for anyone not to fly far from me. Ah! my dear little sisters, how I made all of you suffer! No one ever caused you as much trouble as I, and no one ever received as much love as you bestowed on me. Happily, I shall have heaven to avenge myself, for my Spouse is very rich and I shall draw from His treasures of love to repay you a hundredfold for all you suffered on my account. My greatest consolation when I was sick was to receive a letter from Pauline. I read and reread it until I knew it by heart. Once, dear Mother, you sent me an hourglass and one of my dolls dressed as a Carmelite; it was impossible for me to express my joy. Uncle wasn’t too happy, and said that instead of making me think of Carmel, it would be better to remove it from my mind. I am quite convinced, on the contrary, that the thought of one day becoming a Carmelite made me live.

I enjoyed working for Pauline. I made her little things out of cardboard and my greatest occupation was to make crowns for the Blessed Virgin out of daisies and forget-me-nots. We were at the time in the beautiful month of May, and nature was adorned with flowers and was bursting out with joy. The “little flower” alone was languishing and seemed forever withered. However, she had a Sun near her, and this Sun was the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin that had spoken to Mama twice, and the little flower often, very often, turned her petals toward this blessed Star. One day I saw Papa enter Marie’s room where I was in bed. He gave her several pieces of gold with an expression of great sadness and told her to write to Paris and have some Masses said at Our Lady of Victories so that she would cure his poor little girl. Ah! how touched I was to see my dear King’s faith and love! [30r°] I would have loved to be able to tell him I was cured; but I had already given him enough false joys, and it wasn’t my desires that could work a miracle, and a miracle was necessary for my cure.

A miracle was necessary and it was our Lady of Victories who worked it. One Sunday during the Novena of Masses, Marie went into the garden, leaving me with Léonie who was reading near the window. After a few moments I began calling in a low tone: “Mama, Mama.” Léonie, accustomed to hearing me always calling out like this, didn’t pay any attention. This lasted a long time, and then I called her much louder. Marie finally returned. I saw her enter, but I cannot say I recognized her and continued to call her in a louder tone: “Mama.” I was suffering very much from this forced and inexplicable struggle and Marie was suffering perhaps even more than I. After some futile attempts to show me she was by my side, Marie knelt down near my bed with Léonie and Céline. Turning to the Blessed Virgin and praying with the fervor of a mother begging for the life of her child, Marie obtained what she wanted.

Finding no help on earth, poor little Thérèse had also turned toward the Mother of heaven, and prayed with all her heart that she take pity on her. All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that never had I seen anything so attractive; her face was suffused with an ineffable benevolence and tenderness, but what penetrated to the very depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.” At that instant, all my pain disappeared, and two large tears glistened on my eyelashes, and flowed down my cheeks silently, but they were tears of unmixed joy. Ah! I thought, the Blessed Virgin smiled at me, how happy I am, [30v°] but never will I tell anyone for my happiness would then disappear. Without any effort I lowered my eyes, and I saw Marie who was looking down at me lovingly; she seemed moved and appeared to surmise the favor the Blessed Virgin had given me. Ah! it was really to her, to her touching prayers that I owed the grace of the Queen of heaven’s smile. Seeing my gaze fixed on the Blessed Virgin, she cried out: “Thérèse is cured!” Yes, the little flower was going to be born again to life, and the luminous Ray that had warmed her again was not to stop its favors; the Ray did not act all at once, but sweetly and gently it raised the little flower and strengthened her in such a way that five years later she was expanding on the fertile mountain of Carmel.

As I said, Marie had guessed that the Blessed Virgin had given me some hidden grace. When I was alone with her and she asked me what I had seen, I was unable to resist her very tender and pressing questions; astonished at seeing my secret discovered without my having revealed it, I confided it entirely to my dear Marie. Alas! just as I had felt, my happiness was going to disappear and change into bitterness. The memory of the ineffable grace I had received was a real spiritual trial for me for the next four years, and I was not to find my happiness again until I was kneeling at the feet of Our Lady of Victories. At this time, my happiness was restored to me in all its fullness. I shall talk later on about this second grace of the Blessed Virgin. At present I shall explain, my dear Mother, how my joy was changed into sadness.

Marie, after having heard the simple and sincere recital of “my grace,” asked me for permission to tell it at Carmel, and I could not say no. On my first visit to this dear Carmel, I was filled with joy when seeing my Pauline with the habit of the Blessed Virgin. [31r°] It was a sweet moment for both of us. There were so many things to say that I couldn’t say anything at all, my heart was too full. Good Mother Marie de Gonzague was there also, giving me a thousand signs of affection; I saw the other Sisters, and in their presence I was questioned about the grace I had received. They asked me if the Blessed Virgin was carrying the Child Jesus, or if there was much light, etc. All these questions troubled me and caused me much pain, and I was able to say only one thing: “The Blessed Virgin had appeared very beautiful, and I had seen her smile at me.” It was her countenance alone that had struck me, and seeing that the Carmelites had imagined something else entirely (my spiritual trials beginning already with regard to my sickness), I thought I had lied. Without any doubt, if I had kept my secret I would also have kept my happiness, but the Blessed Virgin permitted this torment for my soul’s good, as perhaps without it I would have had some thought of vanity, whereas humiliation becoming my lot, I was unable to look upon myself without a feeling of profound horror. Ah! what I suffered I shall not be able to say except in heaven!         

 

Autobiographical memories pp. 74-75

Lastly, my dear Mother, before and after you took the habit, came the great ordeal of Thérèse’s illness. You will find details about it in my deposition. Ah! my Mother, it seems to me that the story of the Holy man Job was ours and that Satan came before the Lord and said to him as before: “It’s not surprising if your servant praises you, you heap good things upon him. Strike him in your own person and you’ll see if he doesn’t curse your name…” But the Name of the Lord was not cursed, it was always blessed among the most bitter trials.”

 

Testimony from the Ordinary Process, folios 311-312

[311r]  Around the age of ten, the Servant of God was stricken by strange illness that certainly came from the devil, as she said herself in her manuscript, who had gained an exterior influence over her. She said during this illness, that she never lost use of her reason for even an instant. Indeed, I never heard her say a word that didn’t make sense and she never had an instant of delirium. But she had terrifying visions that chilled those who heard her screams of distress. Certain nails attached to the bedroom walls suddenly took on the form of big charred fingers and she cried out, “I’m afraid, I’m afraid.” Her eyes, so calm and so sweet, had an expression of dread that was impossible to describe. Another time, my father came to sit next to her bed; he was holding his hat in hand. Thérèse looked at it without saying a single word as she spoke very little during this illness. Then, as usual, in the blink of an eye, her expression changed. Her eyes stared at the hat and she let out a mournful cry: “Oh! The big black beast!” Her cries had something supernatural about them. One had to have heard them to have an idea. One day the doctor was present during one of these attacks. He said to my father: “Science is helpless when faced with these phenomenons; there is nothing to do about them.” I can say that the devil even tried to kill our little sister. Her bed was placed in a big alcove and at the head and the foot there was empty space she tried to throw herself into. This happened to her several times and I wondered how she didn’t crack her head on the stone tile but she didn’t even have a scratch. In the past she violently hit her head against the wooden bed frame. Sometimes she wanted to speak to me and no sound could be heard. The worst attack of all was the one she speaks of in her Life (autobiography). I believed she was going to die from it. Seeing her exhausted from this painful fight, I wanted to give her something to drink but she screamed in terror: “They want to poison me.” This is when I threw myself at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. Three times I prayed the same prayer. The third time I saw Thérèse stare at the statue of the Blessed Virgin. Her face was radiant and as if in ecstasy. She told me she had seen the Blessed Virgin herself. This vision lasted 4 to 5 minutes, then she looked at me tenderly. From then on, there was no more trace of her illness. Starting the next day she went back to her regular life and except for one or two falls which happened without any reason while walking in the garden during the week following her healing, we never saw any accident of this kind the rest of her life.

 

Testimony from the Apostolic Process, folios 562-565

[562] At age 10, Thérèse was affected by a strange illness which, in my opinion, could only have come from the devil because of supernatural phenomenon that happened. This illness started several months after the entrance of Mother Agnès of Jesus in Carmel toward the end of March 1883. From April 7th until May 10th, the day that the Blessed Virgin healed her, she remained in this distressing state. Several times a week she had attacks of such extraordinary terror that a learned doctor, Monsieur Motta (Notta), now deceased, said he had never seen such a case. I heard him admit to my father his helplessness. He even said these words: “Let them call this what they will, but for me it’s not hysteria.” [563]The most insignificant objects took on the form of horrible monsters in her eyes and she screamed in terror. Frequently she felt pushed by an unknown force to jump head first out of bed unto the tile. Other times she struck her head with violence against the wood of the bed. Sometimes she wanted to speak to me but no sound could be heard. She mouthed the words without being able to speak them.

One distinctive thing that struck me a lot was that on different occasions under an influence I believed to be diabolical, she would place herself suddenly on her knees and without using her hands, pressed her head on the bed and tried to bring her feet forward. Now in that position which would certainly reveal her, she always remained modestly covered, to my great surprise. Not being able to explain this, I attributed it to heavenly intervention. Between these attacks she remained in a state of exhaustion. The most terrible attack of all was the one that she speaks of in her Life. I believed she was going to die from it. Seeing her so worn out in the battle I wanted to give her something to drink but she screamed in terror: “They want to kill me, they want to poison me.” It was then I threw myself with my sisters at the feet [564] of the Blessed Virgin begging her to have pity on us but Heaven seemed deaf to our pleas. Three times I prayed the same prayer. The third time I saw Thérèse stare at the statue of the Blessed Virgin; her face was radiant, as if in ecstasy. I understood that she saw, not the statue, but the Blessed Virgin herself. This vision seemed to last four or five minutes, then two big tears fell from her eyes and her gentle and limpid gaze turned to me with tenderness. I was not mistaken, Thérèse was healed. When I was alone with her I asked her why she had cried. She hesitated to tell me her secret but noticing that I had guessed it, she said to me: “It’s because I didn’t see her anymore.”

[Did any symptoms of this illness reappear during the course of the Servant of God’s life?]

Never did any trace of this illness reappear or anything similar; she was neither impressionable nor nervous. My uncle, Monsieur Guérin, pharmacist, told me after Thérèse’s healing to take great care to not upset her; now I didn’t want to upset her at that time and nothing distressing ever happened.

[During her attacks, did the Servant of God retain her use of reason, such as, when she cried out: “They want to kill me, they want to poison me”?]
I am certain that even during the worst part of her attacks, the Servant of God retained the healthy use of her superior faculties; she suffered from restrictions of her senses but did not lose awareness of herself. I realized it by observing her and she assured me later that during these attacks she heard and understood everything that was said around her. In particular, during the last great attack which lasted about an hour, she never stopped praying interiorly for a single instant to the very Blessed Virgin.

 

 
 

soon in English

De sr Agnès à Thérèse - vers le 2 avril 1883

Ma pauvre petite malade,
Que c'est méchant de me mettre comme cela en pénitence et en souffrance depuis huit jours déjà (le soir de Pâques). Je suis un peu fâchée, presque beaucoup; et la preuve c'est que si je te tenais dans mes bras, il faudrait me surveiller pour m'empêcher de t'étouffer. Allons, Mademoiselle la baigneuse (l'hydrothérapie est prescrite par le Dr Notta), mademoiselle la trembleuse, mademoiselle la fiévreuse, mademoiselle la dormeuse, mademoiselle la buveuse, il ne faut pas vous aviser de porter vendredi (prise d'habit de sœur Agnès) tous ces titres de noblesse terreuse et véreuse... il faut vous guérir bien vite pour venir embrasser la pauvre boudeuse et la remettre en joie car savez-vous qu'elle n'est plus rieuse mais toute songeuse et pleureuse depuis le commencement de votre maladie.
Oui, petit Poupon chéri, je veux te voir toute remise le jour de mes noces, et ce vouloir je l'obtiendrai de la bonté de Dieu, de la Sainte Vierge et de ton bon vouloir à toi aussi. Mange beaucoup, beaucoup, c'est comme cela qu'on se guérit; la petite nièce de ta Mère Marie de Gonzague était malade comme toi, tout à fait comme toi, et les bonnes tranches de rôti l'ont guérie et rendue fraîche comme une rose. Adieu petite rose blanche, je prie le bon Jésus de prendre sa palette et son pinceau pour colorer d'un carmin céleste et durable la pâleur de tes joues mignonnes.
Ton Agnès qui t'embrasse de tout son cœur.

 

De sr Agnès à Céline. 3 ou 4 avril 1883. extrait.

Mon petit Célin chéri,
Je me réjouis de Vendredi pour t'embrasser, j'espère que tu seras heureuse aussi et que ce jour se passera sans larmes ni regrets puisque notre Thérèse va mieux. Que c’est donc aimable de la part du Bon Dieu de me la guérir ces jours-ci.

Sr Agnès à Marie  - avril 1883. extrait.

Ma petite Soeur chérie,
Il paraît que Thérèse ne va pas mieux, que tu as bien du mal ; j'étais toute triste ce matin en pensant à toi. Pauvre petite Soeur, si tu savais comme je ne te quitte pas, comme je t'aime, tu te sentirais mieux encore qu'autrefois appuyée et soulagée par un coeur incomparablement uni au tien. J'ai dans l'idée que bien souvent tu souffres de mon absence et puis que le découragement est tout près de cette souffrance. Oh ! ma chère Marie, pourtant tu ne peux te plaindre de l'isolement du coeur si tu regardes le mien. Quand tu pourras venir me voir je serai bien heureuse, mais il faut attendre s'il est possible que Thérèse soit beaucoup mieux. Pauvre petite, je souffre de la voir comme cela. Enfin il faut se résigner et aimer beaucoup, beaucoup le bon Dieu pour aimer un peu la Croix.
 

De sr Agnès à Thérèse - avril (?) 1883

Ma petite Thérésita bien-aimée,
Il y a bien longtemps que je n'ai eu de tes nouvelles, envoie-moi donc bien vite Papa ou Marie et fais-leur dire que tu es guérie, guérie pour tout de bon. Oh! que je serais heureuse!... Petite mignonne chérie je t'envoie un vrai moyen de me donner ce bonheur. Voici un petit scapulaire
tout miraculeux que tu porteras avec beaucoup de confiance pendant que nous ferons ici une neuvaine. Je me propose d'expliquer cela à Marie à la prochaine entrevue. Mais je veux que tu saches tout de suite, ma petite chérie, que ce scapulaire a déjà fait beaucoup de miracles, guéri des petites filles aussi malades et plus malades que toi encore... cela donne de l'espérance n'est-ce pas? Oui, moi je veux croire que mon pauvre Poupon va bientôt se tirer de son dodo, tout le paradis est en émoi, les puissances d'en haut, les Vertus des Cieux sont ébranlées, nous touchons au grand moment... Un beau jour, le bon Ange de ma Thérésita donnera le dernier coup d'aile et bien loin, bien loin fuira pour
jamais sa vilaine maladie. Adieu petite malade chérie, la plus chérie de toutes les petites malades d'ici-bas. Il y a toujours près de toi une petite Agnès, la plus aimante de toutes les Agnès, qui te couvre de baisers plus tendres encore
que silencieux... La connais-tu? Va, c'est bien toujours par le cœur. Ton petit Paulin, ta pauvre petite Maîtresse et un peu Mère et beaucoup sœur, Agnès de Jésus

 

De sr Agnès à Thérèse - début mai (?) 1883

Ma petite Thérèse chérie
Puisque tu me fais gronder par Marie de ne plus t'écrire du tout, voici une grande feuille de papier que je vais remplir jusqu'au bout pour réparer ma faute. Pauvre petit Benjamin de mon cœur; si tu savais combien je t'aime, avec quelle tendresse je pense à toi tous les jours, à chaque moment du jour! Te rappelles-tu les petits vers que tu récitais pour la fête de Papa il y a deux ou trois ans ? Eh bien je te dis aujourd'hui ce que tu lui disais alors :
Le matin quand je me réveille
Après Dieu je pense à toi
Et puis le soir quand je sommeille
Dans mes rêves je te revois!
Oh oui, ma petite chérie, ton souvenir m'est bien présent. A chaque instant j'envoie mon bon Ange te porter mes caresses, fait-il bien toutes mes commissions? Mignonne, envoie-moi le tien de temps en temps après avoir mis sous ses ailes les si doux baisers de ton petit cœur.
Mère Marie de Gonzague a été bien contente du joli bouquet de l'autre jour, elle embrasse bien fort sa petite fille chérie et la garde dans son cœur tout près du petit Paulin... Au Carmel on aime Thérèse comme aux Buissonnets, on prie pour elle, on s'occupe d'elle, on parle d'elle sans cesse. Moi, j'attends
avec grande impatience le beau jour de sa guérison, j'ai déjà pris toutes mes mesures pour en faire vraiment un jour de fête. Notre Mère (Geneviève) m'a promis que je verrais la petite guérie au si doux parloir qu'elle aime tant, le parloir de ses confidences! Nous resterons là toutes deux tant que nous voudrons. Oh! c'est moi qui en aurai à te conter, ma pauvre chérie! depuis le temps que nous ne nous sommes rien dit que par le cœur... je vais faire provision jusque-là de toutes sortes de belles histoires carmélitaines pour ne pas me trouver au dépourvu un seul instant. Nous babillerons,
nous babillerons, nous rirons à qui mieux mieux !....
Allons mon bon Saint Gourgon, laissez-vous bien vite toucher et avancez ce doux moment! Qu'est-ce que c'est que de réfléchir comme cela depuis un temps infini sans rien faire du tout... Dépêchez-vous bien vite ou nous ne resterons pas bons amis tous deux... Voilà le printemps qui se passe, l'été
qui vient avec ses beaux jours de ciel bleu, faites-en profiter ma pauvre Thérésita... Et puis les petits oiseaux viennent de bâtir leurs nids, Papa m'a même dit qu'il en avait vu plusieurs dans le jardin, je voudrais bien que pas un petit oiseau ne s'envolât de sa maisonnette sans t'avoir pour témoin, ma petite fille chérie! Il y en a beaucoup au Carmel dès le matin; tout matin, je les entends chanter et je pense à toi, pauvre
petit oiseau enfoncé jusqu'au cou dans la plume depuis si longtemps. Il y a aussi de belles fleurs ici, surtout en ce moment: de la corbeille d'argent, des primevères, des pâquerettes doubles, de la giroflée et ma fleurette chérie, le myosotis qui me montre son œil bleu et semble dire : Pense à l'enfant de ton cœur, au petit œil bleu qui te sourit de loin.
Eh bien n'est-ce pas, petit enfant, qu'elles sont aimables les fleurs du Carmel? On voit bien, on sent bien qu'elles s'épanouissent sous l'aile des Anges, à l'ombre du Tabernacle où le petit Jésus de Thérèse habite et repose toujours. Adieu ma chérie, à toi mes plus tendres baisers, sans que tu t'en doutes je suis toujours à tes côtés, je te
soigne par le cœur, je te vois, je t'embrasse, je t'aime... Quand je vais voir ta Mère Marie de Gonzague,
nous parlons de toi toutes deux comme d'une petite fille bien-aimée, gâtée... Elle te chérit bien fort aussi cette douce Maman de ton âme.... Petit Benjamin, tout le monde t'aime, mais par dessus nous encore je sais un cœur qui nous surpasse en tendresse, c'est Celui du Saint enfant Jésus!... Oh! comme il regarde toujours sa petite Thérèse avec
amour! Comme il lui sourit, comme il la bénit. Adieu Poupon, guéris-toi bien vite, je suis toujours
Ton Agnès, ton petit Paulin.

De sr Agnès de Jésus à Thérèse - 14 ou 15 mai 1883

Ma petite Thérésita,
Quel bonheur que tu sois mieux! Que la Sainte Vierge est bonne! Aussi je lui ai offert ton beau bouquet, elle paraissait toute rayonnante devant les fleurs de sa petite fille chérie... Avec le bouquet moi, je lui ai dit un gros merci, aussi tendre que gros, je l'ai priée de continuer son ouvrage et de l'achever bientôt. Pauvre chérie, qu'il me tarde de revoir ton petit visage si cher à mon cœur. D'ici je le vois, c'est vrai,
mais depuis quelque temps ma longue-vue n'est plus bonne; pendant que tu étais si malade j'ai laissé tomber une larme sur le verre et tout à coup il s'est obscurci. Enfin, la Sainte Vierge nous tient ensemble sous son manteau, elle nous garde sur son cœur, elle nous bénit, elle nous aime et nous caresse de la même main! Comment dire après cela que Thérésita est loin d'Agnès, et Agnès de Thérésita? Comme il fait beau temps aujourd'hui! Regarde: oh! que le ciel est bleu! J'y vois passer de temps en temps de petites hirondelles gaies et légères comme une petite fille bien portante et je pense à mon Benjamin, et je prie les habitants du Ciel si bleu de faire tomber d'en haut une petite paire d'ailes pour mon hirondelle à moi. Avec cela elle courrait les champs, avec cela elle jouirait du beau soleil, avec cela elle viendrait se reposer de temps en temps au nid si doux de son Agnès, là-haut sur la montagne du Carmel, où il fait si bon, si bon! où l'on respire un air du Ciel, où l'on voit toujours même en hiver, du soleil et des fleurs...
Petite enfant, demandons à notre Mère chérie qu'elle ne laisse pas passer son mois sans nous réunir. Adieu! Aimons-la bien la Sainte Vierge, aimons-la, c'est une Mère et sous son regard, sous sa main, la petite barque de son cœur est toujours en sûreté et s'achemine en paix vers le Ciel.
J'embrasse ta petite barque mon chérubin, garde bien toujours à fond de cale la tendresse que je te connais pour moi. J'en ai besoin comme une petite mère a besoin d'être payée de retour dans l'amour qu'elle porte à son enfant.
Ton Agnès

 

 

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