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Mother Genevieve on Therese

 

Mother Genevieve died in 1891. Here are some elements to establish what she could think of Therese.

Mother Geneviève of Saint Theresa is 82 years old at the entrance of the young Therese.

She supported her entrance and opposed on this issue to the Superior of Carmel.

She had enough confidence to tell Therese some intimate memories, that the young Carmelite has transcribed.

Therese mentions the founder three times in writing her manuscript A.

The first time is right after her death, folio 12 verso:

The day of Mama’s departure or the day after, Papa took me in his arms and said: “Come, kiss your poor little Mother for the last time.” Without a word I placed my lips on her forehead. I don’t recall having cried very much, neither did I speak to anyone about the feelings I experienced. I looked and listened in silence. No one had any time to pay any attention to me, and I saw many things they would have hidden from me. For instance, once I was standing before the lid of the coffin which had been placed upright in the hall. I stopped for a long time gazing at it. Though I’d never seen one before, I understood what it was. I was so little that in spite of Mama’s small stature, I had to raise my head to take in its full height. It appeared large and dismal.

Fifteen years later, I was to stand before another coffin, Mother Geneviève’s. It was similar in size. I imagined myself back once again in the days of my childhood and all those memories flooded into my mind. True, it was the same Thérèse who looked, but she’d grown up and the coffin appeared smaller. I had no need to raise my head to see and, in fact, no longer raised it but to contemplate heaven which to me was filled with joy. All my trials had come to an end and the winter of my soul had passed on forever.

Later, Theresa tells her entrance into Carmel and speaks of the presence of Mother Geneviève in choir when entering (folio 69 verso):

I was led, as are all postulants, to the choir immediately after my entrance into the cloister. The choir was in darkness because the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and what struck me first were the eyes of our holy Mother Genevièvewhich were fixed on me. I remained kneeling for a moment at her feet, thanking God for the grace He gave me of knowing a saint.

Finally, Therese share with us her "legacy" in folio 78 and 79:

And now, dear Mother, what more is there to say? Ah! I thought I was finished, but I haven’t said anything to you as yet concerning my good fortune at knowing our holy Mother Geneviève. This certainly was a priceless gift; God, who had given me so many graces, willed that I should live with a saint. Not one that was inimitable, but one who was made holy by the practice of the hidden virtues, the ordinary virtues. On more than one occasion I received great consolations from her, but especially on one Sunday in particular.

Coming to pay her a visit as was my custom, I found two other Sisters with Mother Geneviève; I looked at her with a smile and was preparing to leave since three Sisters are not permitted with a patient, but she said with an inspired look on her countenance: “Wait, my little child, I’m going to say just a little word to you; every time you come you ask for a spiritual bouquet. Well, today, I will give you this one: Serve God with peace and joy; remember, my child, Our God is a God of peace.” After thanking her very simply, I left but was moved to the point of tears and was convinced that God had revealed the state of my soul to her. That day I had been severely tried even to the verge of sadness; I was in such a night that I no longer knew whether God loved me. You can readily understand, dear Mother, the joy and consolation I then experienced!

The following Sunday, I wanted to know what revelation Mother Geneviève had received; she assured me she had received none at all, and then my admiration was greater still when I saw the degree to which Jesus was living within her and making her act and speak. Ah! that type of sanctity seems the truest and the most holy to me, and it is the type that I desire because in it one meets with no deceptions.

On the day of my Profession I was also very much consoled to learn from Mother Geneviève’s own mouth that she had passed through the same trial as I did before pronouncing her Vows. You recall, dear Mother, the consolation we received from her at the time of our great sorrows. Finally, the memory which Mother Geneviève left in my heart is a sacred memory. The day of her departure for heaven, I was particularly touched; it was the first time I had assisted at a death and really the spectacle was ravishing. I was placed at the foot of the dying saint’s bed, and witnessed her slightest movements. During the two hours I spent there, it seemed to me that my soul should have been filled with fervor; however, a sort of insensibility took control of me. But at the moment itself of our saintly Mother Geneviève’s birth in heaven, my interior disposition changed and in the twinkling of an eye I experienced an inexpressible joy and fervor; it was as though Mother Geneviève had imparted to me a little of the happiness she was enjoying, for I was convinced she went straight to heaven. While she was still living, I said to her one day: “Mother, you will not go to purgatory!” She answered gently: “I hope not.” Ah! surely, God does not disappoint a trust so filled with humility; the many favors we have received since are a proof of this.After Mother’s death, each of the Sisters hastened to claim some relic, and you know the one I have the happiness of possessing. During her last agony, I had noticed a single tear glistening like a diamond on her eyelash, and this tear, the last she was to shed on earth, never fell; I saw it still glistening there when she was laid out in the choir. So when evening came, unseen by anyone, I made bold to approach her and with a little piece of linen I took the saint’s tear as a relic. Since then I have carried it in the little container which holds my vows.

I attach no importance to dreams; besides, I have rarely had any meaningful dreams, even wondering why it is that I think of God all day long and yet am so little occupied with Him in my sleeping hours. I dream usually about such things as woods, flowers, streams, and the sea; I see beautiful children almost all the time; I catch butterflies and birds the like of which I’ve never seen before. You can see, dear Mother, that though my dreams are rather fanciful, they are never mystical. One night after Mother Geneviève’s death, I had a very consoling dream: I dreamed she was making her last will and testament, giving each of the Sisters something which she possessed. When my turn finally came, I thought I would get nothing as there was really nothing left to give; however, she said: “To you I leave my heart.” She repeated this three times with great emphasis.

 

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