Print

Circular of Sr Marie of the Eucharist (Marie Guérin)

 

Click here to read here an analysis of that circular

Marie Louise Hélène Guérin    1870-1905

circular-keys
 

Peace and very humble greetings in Our Lord, who came to pick a new flower in our monastery for his gardens in Heaven in the person of our beloved Sister LOUISE-HÉLÈNE-MARIE OF THE EUCHARIST, age 34 years, 8 months and in religion 9 years, 8 months.

She was born in Lisieux to an exceptionally Christian family. If you have read STORY OF A SOUL, my Reverend Mother, you could easily convince yourself of it. Besides, you will judge it more in particular throughout this circular.

Marie had for parents the uncle and aunt, so loved, so devoted, of which Thérèse speaks in her manuscript. She was the niece and goddaughter of this blessed child’s father. She had only 1 sister, Jeanne, her elder who loved her with a motherly love, as much as it was tender and a little brother, an angel who saw the first kiss of his mother follow the eternal kiss of the Lord.

As a little child, Marie was a little imp, a quicksilver, as her father called her. To distract her from her noisy games would have been a waste of time, to take her like little Thérèse “on one of his knees while singing Blue Beard in a formidable voice.” She dreamed only of ripping through the air, forgetting that she didn’t have wings. She had no sense of danger, which was the despair of her mother.

At the Benedictines of Lisieux where she was a day boarder, she had serious accidents, more than once. This little one seemed to believe that the thickest walls would grant her free passage and that the trees in the garden would move aside by themselves to let her run. A little older she became calmer however, to the point of liking to play alone but the tragic still dominated the scenes.

Cousin Marie and I were always of the same opinion and our tastes were so much the same that once our union of wills passed all bounds. Returning one evening from the Abbey, I said to Marie: “Lead me, I am going to close my eyes.” “I want to close mine too,” she replied. No sooner said than done, without arguing, each did her will. We were on a sidewalk and there was nothing to fear from vehicles; having savored the delights of walking without seeing, the two little scamps fell together on some cases placed at the door of a store, or rather they tipped them over. The merchant came out in a rage to lift up his merchandise, while the two blind ones lifted themselves up alone and walked off at great strides, eyes wide open, listening to the just reproaches of Jeanne who was as angry as the merchant!”

Marie, who had an unusual intelligence, achieved, as if she were playing, the first places of her class and won all the prizes. Despite her successes, the humble little girl believed herself to be incompetent. As well, when thoughts of the future haunted her young imagination, only the position of a servant seemed to suit her poor means. She wanted to do an apprenticeship and for several days, never leaving her maid, she tried to imitate her in everything. Thus, satisfied with her little results, she believed her future was made.

Marie prepared herself like an angel for her First Communion, faithfully writing each night her defeats and her victories. Here are several of the latter, whose sum for one day made up a total of 50 sacrifices.

Said my prayer without leaning.
Didn’t put any eau de cologne in my water.
Made myself suffer by playing octaves too long.
Said something out loud to humiliate myself.
Waited a moment before beginning my meal.
Took a dish that I liked the least.
Deprived myself of someone that I liked a lot.
Didn’t place a footstool under my feet.
Played badminton instead of playing piano, to make Jeanne happy.
Deprived myself of comforts for an hour.
Took a pewter spoon instead of a silver spoon.
Deprived myself of my little perforated shoes
Waited for Thérèse to see something before looking at it.
Didn’t drink between my meals.
Started again something I had a lot of trouble doing, until it was done well and I didn’t become impatient.

There was also more serious preparation done by her good mother. To give an idea, we are transcribing this touching prayer that we guess was devised to help the young child repent of a small imperfection. “O, my Jesus, yesterday I promised you to be really good but I answered my maid badly! O how ungrateful I am! I had forgotten that this poor girl isn’t happy as I am. She is deprived of her mother and many nice things, obliged to earn a living whereas I am near my mother and overwhelmed with all sorts of joys. O my loveable Jesus, make that I never fall back into this fault again; help me to be polite and kind to the maids. May I remember that they are my equals and that one day in Heaven perhaps, they will have a place much higher than mine. Forgive me, Jesus, forget my ingratitude and for my First Communion, adorn my soul with virtues that please you, above all, humility.”

Even so, her pious mother while inspiring in her daughter a lively fear of offending God, didn’t want her to become scrupulous; Marie fell into that excess to suffer cruelly from it until her last illness. She said pleasantly, “Thérèse spends her Heaven doing good on earth but she’s taking care of everything, she is universal…As for me, when I am with the good God I will take care of exclusively of scrupulous souls. This will be my specialty; I will spend my Heaven consoling them.”  While waiting, she took advantage of the wise and enlightened direction of a holy priest. She always considered the providential meeting with him as a singular grace.

Thérèse also came to her aid and after her entrance into Carmel at age 15, wrote her letters like this:“Before I received your letter, I had a presentiment of your anxiety; my heart was united to your heart. Because you have the humility to ask advice from your little Thérèse, she is going to tell you what she thinks. You caused me a lot of sorrow by giving up your communions because you caused sorrow to Jesus. The devil has to be very clever to mislead a soul in this way!... But don't you know, my dear, that this is the only goal of his desires? The evil one knows well that he can't make a soul that wants to belong totally to Jesus commit a sin, so he tries to make the soul believe it has. It is already much for him to put distur­bance in this soul, but to satisfy his rage something else is needed; he wants to deprive Jesus of a loved tabernacle, and, not being able to enter this sanctuary, he wants, at least, that it remain empty and without any Master!. . . Alas, what will become of this poor heart?. . . When the devil has succeeded in drawing the soul away from Holy Communion, he has won everything .... And Jesus weeps!... However, I hear you saying to me: "Thérèse is saying this because she doesn't know . . . she doesn't know I really do it on purpose ... it pleases me . . . and so I cannot receive Communion since I believe I would commit a sacrilege, etc., etc. " Yes, your poor little Thérèse does know; I tell you that she understands it all, and she assures you that you can go without any fear to receive your only true Friend .... She, too, has passed through the martyrdom of scruples, but Jesus has given her the grace to receive Communion just the same, even when she believed that she had committed great sins .... And so I assure you that she knew this was the sole means of ridding herself of the devil, for when he sees that he is losing his time, he leaves you in peace!. . .No, it is impossible that a heart “which rests only at the sight of the Tabernacle” offend Jesus to the point of being able to receive him; what offends Him and what wounds His heart is the lack of confidence!...

Pray so that the beautiful years of your life may not pass by in chimer­ical fears. We have only the short moments of our life to love Jesus, and the devil knows this well, and so he tries to consume our life in useless works. Dear little sister, receive Communion often, very often. . . . That is the only remedy if you want to be healed.”

To Marie’s interior trials are added others, no less painful. Sickness came early to add a note of exile in her life, otherwise so joyful, which made understand that the cross would be her lot here below. Here again Thérèse consoled her and cheered her with witty words. After a Pentecost retreat, she wrote her, “I’m really going to pray to the Holy Spirit for you….He made a serious mistake on the day of your Confirmation; he gave you all his gifts except that of strength.”  In spite of these difficulties, Marie became the kind of girl who is earnest and nice, perhaps a little aloof at first but whose qualities were even more significant because she was unaware of them.

Quite a musician, gifted with one of the most melodious and the nicest voices, she never boasted about it; on the contrary, it might have been said that her role was exclusively to back away to allow others to shine whereas her exquisite modesty added, without her knowing, one more charm to her natural advantages. Very simple in her piety, she took an innocent pleasure in all, except for worldly vanities. Even on the occasion of her sister’s wedding, she dressed herself with a kind of indifference, in the pretty clothing that was prepared for her and abstained from glancing even once in the mirror.

She preferred bucolic distractions to all worldly feasts. In her parents’ country house, an eagle’s nest built at the top of a wooded hill and surrounded by a vast park, Marie with her sister and Céline, who had just closed the eyes of her father, never tired of admiring the beauties of nature and Thérèse’s poem “What I loved” (The Canticle of Céline) alone can express her feelings then. This gentle and timid young girl was not indifferent then; underneath her extreme reserve she hid one of the most sensitive hearts. It was sensitive to the all the members of the family, their joys as well as their sorrows. Above all, it was affected more each day by the secret touches of grace, to that mysterious call that pushed her gently since her First Communion to give herself to Jesus. The thought of her unworthiness stopped somewhat her loving impulses and Thérèse felt she had the right to address these gracious reproaches:

“You remind me of a little village girl that a powerful king asked for in marriage and who didn’t dare to accept under the pretext that she wasn’t rich enough and that she didn’t know the court customs. But didn’t her royal fiancé better than she her poverty and her lack of knowledge? Marie, if you are nothing, are you forgetting that Jesus is all? You have only to lose your little nothingness in his infinite all until this uniquely lovable You would like to see, you tell me, the fruit of your efforts? This is exactly what Jesus would like to hide from you. He likes to look all alone at these little fruits of virtue that we offer him and which console him.

You are mistaken, my dear, if you believe that Thérèse walks with fervor on the path of sacrifice. She is weak, very weak, and each day she has a new and salutary experience of it. But Jesus is pleased to communicate the science of “exulting in one’s infirmities.” This is a great grace and I pray him to give it to you because in this point of view is found peace and heart’s ease. When we see how wretched we are, we don’t want to think of ourselves anymore; we only look upon the unique Beloved.”

You ask me for a means to reach perfection. I know only one: Love. Let us love since our heart is made only for that. Sometimes I look for another word to express love but on this world of exile but “the word that begins and ends” is really powerless to express the vibrations of the soul so then it’s necessary to stick with this unique and simple word: Love. But upon whom does our heart pour out its love? Who then would be great enough to receive its treasures? Would a human being know how to understand them? And above all, would he know how to give them back? Marie, there exists only one Being who can understand our love. That is our Jesus. He alone can give back to us infinitely more than we can ever give him.”

In order to love as much as she loved, to give her heart to this Jesus “who alone gives infinitely more than we give him”, Marie made an irrevocable decision; she would leave the world.

But what religious family would she unite her life with? This light was given to her on the day of Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus’s taking of the veil during the prostration ceremony; five years after on August 15th, 1895, the doors of our monastery opened to receive this new dove under the beautiful name of MARIE OF THE EUCHARIST. Her generous parents accompanied her themselves to the threshold of the cloister. Once again on this day, Thérèse could have said, “The sight was worthy of the angels” as truly it was.

“Ah! My dear child,” her father wrote her, “What an honor from God for you! But how much greater for us! We can now die because we have left behind us a burning lamp that will never cease burning before the divine. May God of all goodness who deigned to so clearly bless my family, be blessed and glorified forevermore!”  To these remarks of faith, her virtuous mother who would shortly have the holiest death, added her own. “What a beautiful life will be yours, Marie, “if you want to remain obedient and humble. I ask only for that grace for you from the Lord. Humility, perfect submission, these were the preferred virtues of the Virgin Mary. “Oh! How I love these words she spoke to the angel, “I am the servant of the Lord! I repeat them with happiness for you, my dear, for me, for all of our own…”

The evening of her daughter’s profession, March 25th, 1897 she wrote yet, “I fervently hope that my dear child’s last day on this poor earth be as filled with love as that of her profession.”  These wishes of a father and a mother so deeply Christian, were fully granted.

Yes, my Reverend Mother, Sr. Marie of the Eucharist appeared among us like a burning lamp always fed by the oil of suffering and her last glimmer appeared to us as pure as pure, as brilliant as her first flame. Through her holy vows she caught fire solemnly before the Lord’s altar. Thérèse of the Child Jesus for that matter all her life in these verses that she made her sing the very evening before her entrance:

O Jesus! on this day, you have fulfilled all my desires.
From now on, near the Eucharist, I shall be able
To sacrifice myself in silence, to wait for Heaven in peace
Keeping myself open to the rays of the Divine Host,
In this furnace of love, I shall be consumed,
And like a seraphim, Lord, I shall love you.

To sacrifice myself in silence to wait for Heaven in peace, in humility, obedience, simplicity;such was the religious life of our dear child. Regarding this, she followed the pious advice of her mother and her young novice mistress. She followed them so joyously that Thérèse was able to write, “It’s a great consolation for me, the old doyenne of the novitiate, to see so much gaiety surrounding my last days. That makes me feel younger and in spite of my eight years of religious life, seriousness fails me in the presence of this nice novice who delights the entire community. Her beautiful voice is our happiness and the beauty of our private feasts. What makes me much happier than the talents of our dear angel is that she possesses all the desirable qualities to become a saint.”

She added still, for the consolation of her cousin Jeanne to whom this letter was addressed: “The sacrifice that God asked of you is very great, my dear Jeanne, but remember he promised a hundredfold to he who his father, mother or his sister, for his love. Since you did not hesitate, for the love of Jesus, to separate yourself from a sister, cherished beyond anything one can say, he will find himself obliged to keep his promise. I know that normally these words apply to religious souls; however I feel in the bottom of my heart that they were spoken as well for the generous parents who offer to God the sacrifice of children, dearer than themselves. Thérèse speaks, my Reverend Mother, of the gaiety of the “nice novice who delights the entire community.” We transcribe here one of her last recreational compositions that will give you an idea of her kind of wit, at the same time clever and charming:

VIRTUE

Royal carriage of a spouse of Jesus leading to the heights of Perfection via the route of renunciation
Two horses are harnessed to this carriage: joy and generosity
They have four horse shoes to protect them from the uneven road
The horse shoes of joy are: Love of suffering, Love of humiliations, Love of being despised, Love of forgetfulness
The horse shoes of Generosity are: Zeal, Perseverance, Patience, Mortification
The horses have a harness: Good resolutions
A collar: Submission
A bit: Docility
Blinders: Spirit of faith, Purity of intention
They are harnessed to Timon: Courage
Driven by a coachman: Love
Dressed in his livery: Poverty, chastity, obedience
On the folding seat: Sacrifice
He holds in his hands the reins: Grace, the Rule
And the whip: Penitence
Near him is the mechanism for braking: Fear
On his left is the servant: Charity
Wearing his livery: Goodness
The carriage is supported by two axles: Regularity, Resignation
On the first axle turn two little wheels: Fidelity, Fervor
On the second axle turns two big wheels: Abandonment, Confidence
The Carriage has for springs: Sweetness, Condescension, good Character
For Lanterns: Spiritual directions
It is upholstered with heavenly fabric: Piety
It has two doors: Purity of heart, Recollection
Which have for window panes: Prayer, simplicity
For footboards: Detachment, Death of self
In the Carriage there is a cushion: Peace
A Carpet: Humility
For the roof: the Desire for Heaven
At the back of the carriage is the groom: Vigilance
Wearing his livery: Austerity
On the folding seat: Prayer

An angel precedes the carriage: Thérèse of the Child Jesus

NOTICE

  1. To be seated in this carriage, a ticket is needed: good Will. If it is lost during the night of Discouragement, it can only be found with the light from the Lanterns
  2. Do not put on the Brake too much or the Carriage won’t move anymore despite the efforts of the Horses
  3. Do not become frightened if at times the horses are touchy and make a mountain out of a molehill
  4. There can be troubles with the service: for example, the coachman goes to sleep, the groom forgets to perform his duties, a wheel is missing etc.

 To resolve all these accidents the divine Carriage Master comes each morning to visit the staff, repair the damage; he awakens the Coachman from his slumber, gives the Groom energy to fulfill his duty and puts oil in the cogs by the sweetness of his consolations.

 Arriving at the peak of Perfection, the carriage is carried off, like Elijah’s chariot, in a whirlwind of fire: merciful Love….and the Gates of Heaven upon before him.

 Before being carried off by “Elijah’s chariot”, my Reverend Mother, our dear little sister encountered many bumps on her road.

 Two years after her Profession she fell ill and it was impossible to completely follow our holy Rule. One of our Sisters, thinking she was consoling her, told her not to worry too much because the community considered her like a benefactor.

 These words caused her a lot of distress, which she confided to us only after Our Lord completely comforted her about it. “My Mother,” she said to us, “I do want to be the little benefactress of the community by attracting to it all the benefits of Heaven through my virtues; but I don’t want to be it to have the right to fail to keep obedience, to poverty, to mortification. If I don’t follow the Rule, I prefer to have the humiliation of having not brought anything to the monastery.”

 Our dear child proved herself to be faithful to her resolutions. She practiced obedience to the point of never missing it a single time-she confessed it to us several days before her death-of observing the orders of not only her Mother Prioresses but even their slightest recommendations. This exactness was truly admirable.  In the tasks entrusted to her, particularly that of bursar, she was constantly noticed for her mortification and her spirit of poverty. Often our white veil sisters took away the leftovers of fish or vegetables that she chose as her portion and would not have served to anyone and in spite of that she was obliged to undergo the milk diet several months each year.

 When she began to recover from these states of congestion so painful for their tenacity and the weakness they caused, her family sent her nice things to eat. Even though she shared them with the other sick persons and her lack of appetite caused her to leave them, this bothered her, even saddened her. “My Mother,” she said to us, “I’m not being cared for like a little poor person. Oh! I’m sad about this!” And we guessed that she made up for this then with certain meritorious mortifications know by God alone. Dear child! What’s more, all was by far compensated by the sufferings, heroically born of her long and last illness.

She again reveals her spirit of poverty in this letter addressed to her father: “I’m writing on the first white sheet that I’ve come upon and I’m sure this miserable piece of paper will have greater value in your eyes than the beautiful missives of great ladies, all perfumed and marked with a coat of arms.  "My own coat of arms is too beautiful and too heavenly to be seen on earth and yet I put it in the corner of each of my letters. Many don’t understand it or look at it with indifference. A cross and the name of Jesus; that is my coat of arms! That is what delights my heart and that of my dear little father!

Yes, poverty has a special appeal for me; I love to practice it in everything and the good God comes to serve me himself if I am lacking something. So I tell you that at my entrance one of our Sisters gave me a pin cushion. For a long time it hasn’t had any pins and I would only have to ask permission to replace them anew. But I preferred to beg from others and better yet to wait for my pins from the good God. When I don’t have a single one left, I begin by speaking to Him and almost immediately, I find some beneath my feet. I use these little means to make myself agreeable to Jesus. The thought of becoming a saint never leaves me. It would really be very sad to see a child of such a holy family dishonor them.”

 Our dear child, it is true, never had any other thought. Never did the slightest memory of the world cause her regret. In contact with her beautiful soul, her father himself rose to complete detachment from things of this world.

“I thought this morning,” he wrote her, “that my youngest would perhaps feel a little heartbreak seeing us leave for Eden where she was so happy in the old days and that she will never see again. I felt a pang in my heart. Ah! I used to be so happy when I saw my two little girls Céline and Marie flutter around under the large shady alleys. Your absence, my dear, makes you even more present in my memory. It’s not regret…

A long time ago God cauterized my wound; no, it’s rather a calm and mellow happiness, a sort of pride that accompanies your image always present before my eyes. I know that after having had the courage to tread upon everything comfortable and the satisfactions of the life you were surrounded with, you enjoy today many other joys unknown to the world. These joys resemble beverages that are bitter but leave then leave a delicious taste.

I was thinking again, my dear child, that your divine Spouse lovingly takes you for a walk in a park that is far more beautiful, far more fascinating than ours; that each day he reveals to you new horizons, enchanting flowers that must undoubtedly be picked among thorns but which make you a thousand times happier than the fleeting flowers here below. After these reflections I was consoled because I saw that perishable joys for endless happiness and that divine graces chased away regrets which from time to time might appear suddenly in your heart when faced with mirages from your past life.

 When I dream of all that, I understand the extreme suffering of parents who, not having faith, see their beloved children bury themselves in cloisters. It seems to me that their affection must become dulled and even burn out whereas ours has increased by becoming purer. It has also doubled in gratitude for He who has chosen our child and for that child herself, now our advocate and guardian of all her family.

 The divine Spouse of Sister Marie of the Eucharist indeed took her to an incomparable domain. She wrote at the end of a retreat: “A retreat in Carmel, my dear little father, can be compared to vacation in the world. During vacation we travel, we rest; I did all that. I traveled in the lands of heaven and I saw there such beautiful things that I had to rest from enjoying the delights. Between my prayers I cut altar breads near the infirmary where our angel Thérèse left for Heaven. Everything brought me on high and during the recreations I sang with all my strength in the company of a great many little birds who sang with me. In the distance I heard a blackbird whose whistle didn’t hurt the concert. The more I raised my voice, the more they did too. But the most curious thing is that all became quiet at the same time as me and didn’t start before me. I was astonished, then delighted.

 Listen, my dear little father, since for the good God you deprived yourself of hearing the trills of your little bird, I think in Heaven you will enjoy even more listening to your dear daughter sing the new canticle, the canticle of virgins. In the meantime, I cannot sing enough on earth the priceless grace of being the spouse of a God. No, the beautiful day of my profession is not over; it will never be over because it is an eternal day whose dawn was yesterday.”

You will pardon us these numerous citations, my Reverend Mother, but it seems to us that these private accounts of such Christian parents with their Carmelite daughter will edify you as they edified us. The perfume that emanates from this correspondence is indeed so rare that we have not hesitated to go beyond the bounds of a circular so that you might inhale it with us.

 If our dear child filled the air with her beautiful and sweet voice, she filled above all with her pious accents the archways of our humble chapel. The recitation of the Divine Office, she told us, was all my consolation. I can confess with the good God’s grace that I always carried this out with the most fervor possible, never reckoning with fatigue.

 What joy did this fervor give us! With what satisfaction did we hear her sing each year, be it a lesson from Holy Week, be it the martyrology of our great feasts. Her voice grasped the delicious resonances which revealed all the sentiments of her soul or expressed all the mystery of the day. On Christmas Eve especially we could not hold back our tears when that angel’s voice was raised to heaven, it seemed, to make the divine Messiah come down, bursting forth these simple words:

IN BETHLEEM JUDA…  NATIVITAS DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI.

 Our beloved daughter, as we’ve said previously, also had the gift of delighting our little family feasts with her compositions full of spirit and appropriateness.

 But to all that as with regular life such as the recitation of the holy office, it was necessary to say goodbye at the end of July 1903. After that she never sang except for rare intervals. But her lyre however did not remain hung up. By the Calvary next to her crucified Spouse did she live in a foreign land, no longer to sing the canticles of the Lord? No, as she called these long months of suffering the most beautiful and happiest of her life. It was at this time, my Reverend Mother, our dear Sister Marie of the Eucharist was taken with a little cough that worried us because of its persistence. This concern was not without reason; we soon discovered symptoms of consumption. Nothing could halt the illness; the most vigorous treatments only served to prolong the suffering of our poor child. Undoubtedly, God wanted it thus, to further embellish her immortal crown.

 For a moment, it is true, we had a real hope; it did not take long to vanish without return.  During this lull, at the beginning of August last year, we were preparing to have a procession around our cloisters and our gardens in honor of the Child Jesus in which we enlisted 4 years ago to obtain the grace from the divine Petit-Grand (statue) of staying in our blessed cloister.

 “My Mother,” our dear sick woman said to us, “I can’t follow our Sisters but I can still sing when the Child Jesus is passing by. I want tell him again that I am his little victim.” She sang a cantata then with a weakened voice, but always heavenly. Here is the refrain and the first verse:

It’s me, your little victim 
What sweetness, o my Jesus!
I want to be this more and more
This desire is my inner joy.
Ah! How a holy indifference
Offers me to your divine pleasure
I want to heal or to die
Give me carefreeness from the child.

 Several months later the little victim of the Child Jesus was going to be sacrificed to live again in Heaven, near the divine Lamb.

 At the beginning of this year she had several hemorrhages that were so violent and so close to each other that the doctor advised us to have the last rites administered. She received them in the holiest of dispositions on Sunday, January 15th, feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. But, the hour of eternal rest had not yet struck; several drops of oil, the purest, remained yet to burn in the lamp of Jesus. “Suffering was going to place a new fire, purifying, in the censer of her heart to consume the last grains of incense.” This thought by our pious chaplain delighted her. 

March 25th, anniversary of her Profession, she received for the last time on earth the divine fire of the holy Host in this censer of choice.  That morning, according to her wishes, we had decorated her crucifix with flowers and camellia petals covered the bed, or better said, the cross of the little spouse victim.

 That afternoon she suffered a lot and as we were getting ready to leave to spend several minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament, she said to us, “O, my beloved Mother, I beg you, ask Our Lord to remember all the moments I spent with so much happiness adoring him, contemplating him in the host; I am His own little host. Beg him to look at me in turn.”

 Yes, Jesus looked at her, his little host! But, just like in the past, fascinated by the divine Host, she had contemplated it in silent adoration. Likewise, Jesus also, fascinated by the virtues of his faithful spouse, contemplated her in loving silence.

 Rarely did he make her taste his inexpressible consolations. “Jesus has been my strength all my life,” she repeated, “but he doesn’t always spoil me…O my Mother, come often to see me, I beg you. I need to be encouraged. When you are near me I am so happy that I don’t suffer anymore.”

She also received with joy and gratitude the visits of our devoted Superiors. She had above all the best memory of a meeting with of our holy bishop, Msgr. Amette: “Oh! How Monsignor is paternal,” she told us afterwards. “He has something about him of the goodness of the God. I had confessed to him that I couldn’t rejoice in heaven because it was impossible for me to have an idea of the happiness of the elect. He assured me that no one has ever understood this happiness on earth which the heart of man has not tasted. He promised me that upon leaving this life that I would have all the more capacity to enjoy than I had for suffering here below.”

 “Ah, my Mother,” she continued, “I will then have a beautiful place in Heaven because, really, I have suffered a lot on earth! I don’t know if I suffered well, I only know that the greatest peace reigns in the depths of my soul. It seems to me that Thérèse communicates to me her feelings and that I have her same abandonment. Oh, if I could die of love like her. This would not be surprising because I joined the LEGION OF LITTLE VICTIMS that she asked for from God. My Mother, during my death throes, if you see that suffering keeps me from making acts of love, I beseech you to remind me of my desire.  I want to die telling Jesus I love him.”

 Toward the end of March, the state of our dear child led to such vomiting that death became imminent…the last nights were particularly difficult. Finally Friday morning, April 14th, feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, her death throes began.  We immediately notified her father who wrote these touching lines:

April 14th, 1905

 MY BELOVED LITTLE ANGEL,

 I bless you and I thank you for all the happiness you have given me…Don’t fear to sadden me; I received communion this morning. Our Lord has strengthened me and I gave you my last kiss on his adorable Heart. May Mary, Mother of sorrows, take you in her arms and remove you from this miserable life! May Jesus finally give you the reward he has prepared for you in heaven and that he pays for all your sufferings here below with ineffable joys. Be assured, my dearest, that when the first heartbreak has passed, my heart will exult knowing you are in glory…I felt that when your mother died. God came like a ravisher to seize his prey and to shower on us at the same time the most suave consolations. It seems that he wants to dispense them to be forgiven…My dearest, my little beloved, spouse of Jesus, living portrait of your mother, I embrace you with all the strength of my soul and I kiss the hand of the Lord with love and resignation.   Your FATHER

 As it happens often with this illness, my Reverend Mother, our dear child still was under the illusion and didn’t think the end was so near. That day the chaplain before saying Mass in a sanctuary in town came to see her when it was seven o’clock. Despite her extreme weakness and ever growing feeling of suffocation, she could still speak to him, receive his encouragements and renew the sacrifice of her life. He said to her when leaving that he was going to celebrate holy Mass at nine o’clock and offer her at the moment of Consecration like a little host with Jesus, her spouse. “And after?” she replied sharply. “After, my dear little Sister, it’s the secret of the good God. Abandon yourself entirely to Him…”

 But what the chaplain didn’t want to say to her, the doctor, her brother-in-law, who during the long illness, gave her the most intelligent and devoted care, soon informed her of it. When she saw him enter and knee down near her bed without being able to speak other than with his tears, she asked him, “I am going to die soon?...how soon?” When she knew the truth, she collected herself for a moment, replied with the most tender thanks and the most consoling promises of goodbye to the doctor, to her venerable father, to her dear sister. And after having given all the community the most gracious signs of her attachment and gratitude, her only thought then was Heaven.

 We really breathed in that little cell another atmosphere than here on earth. One of our sisters brought the Virgin of Thérèse. The face of the already so beautiful little dying woman became illuminated with a heavenly reflection. “How I love her!” she said, stretching her arms to her. Oh! How she is beautiful!” It was necessary for her to kiss it. She greeted the statue of the Child Jesus with the same warmth, caressing his face with a childlike tenderness. We offered her as well her crucifix; she tried to remove a tiny flower that she had put on it the night before, “No wilted flowers for Jesus,” she said with a charming smile.

 The final moment approached and the impulses of our gentle dying woman became ever more expressive and impassioned…”I am not afraid to die! Oh! What peace! One mustn’t be afraid of suffering…It always gives strength…Oh! How I would like to die of love!...of love for the good God…My Jesus, I LOVE YOU!” And the soul of our angelic Sister, leaving her fragile covering, rose in that act of love…

At this very moment, our pious chaplain consecrated the Bread of Angels at the altar, uniting the great Victim of Calvary with the little victim of Carmel that he had left dying. Marie of the Eucharist never again said, “And then?” She knew it now…After…for her it was the tearing of all the veils, the clear vision of the sacred Host. After…it was the end of all sacrifice, the beginning of all joy. The burning lamp shone in Heaven. The censer, still smoking with the last grain of incense that Love had burned, swung in the hand of Angels.

 For two entire days, they never stopped coming to contemplate our dear child at the choir grill. She was so beautiful! She seemed to be dreaming gently. More than twenty priests, a large audience formed a real cortege of honor at her burial.

 And now, Marie of the Eucharist lies next to Thérèse of the Child Jesus; their tombs touch like their souls. But, if the little hermits of the world and the cloister have closed their eyes forever to the pale light of this world, may they be united today in the heart of eternal daylight to throw many flowers of God’s forgiveness, roses of love on the holy Church, on France and all the inhabitants of this desolate world…

We beg you nevertheless, my Reverend Mother, to add to the prayers already requested for our beloved Sister Marie of the Eucharist, all that your charity suggests.  She will be very grateful, as are we, who have the grace to say, with the deepest respect and the most religious affection, my Reverend and very Honorable Mother

Your humble sister and servant,
Sister Agnès of Jesus
From our monastery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Conception of the Carmelites of Lisieux, June 9th, 1905.   

Back to the page of Sr Marie of the Eucharist