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Remembrance of a holy friendship

by Sr Therese of Saint-Augustin

 

"Remembrance of a holy friendship” are transcriptions from a small notebook with a blue cover, 17.5 by 11.3 cm, containing 15 pages of handwritten notes. We have a dating indication in the text: “completed several months after her death”, after the signature. Nevertheless, as one comes across here and there to references to Story of a Soul, it is probable that this notebook is a corrected version of prior notes, thereby explaining the references. The section titled “Posthumous Messages”, coming after the signature, are explicitly from a later time, i.e., September 6, 1910. To facilitate reading, we have added subtitles.

 Souvenirs-ste-amitie

 

1.  Our Union.

It is very sweet, dear sister, to preserve the memory of our union here below.  More than ever we are sisters and Jesus, our divine Spouse, has strengthened the ties that unite us.  Continue having for me your sisterly affection, obtain for me the grace to arrive at the highest state of love.  Say again in my favor to Him whom you have so loved:  “Oh, my adored Eagle, that the one I have loved be where I am.”

Near the flower filled with fragrance that Jesus must soon gather, the divine Master has placed a small daisy.  His Heart is the sun for these two dear flowers.  The wildflower, the image of my poor, small soul, would only profit from this blessed union.  It is with real joy that I attribute to my well beloved Sister the graces that I have received after many years and that her powerful protection obtains for me every day.

2.  The Divine Dew.

As soon as we met, we found in the other an irresistible appeal.  The connection between our souls was an attraction to the Holy Infancy.  We loved the Infant Jesus in his humble state, in the Manger, in the arms of his Mother; we loved him most of all when at the bosom of his Mother during his first months of exile.  Our souls were immersed in this delightful, hidden mystery and the very great number that Jesus and his exquisite Mother  revealed to our hearts.  We loved receiving together the virginal dew, o breathe the perfume of the fragrant lily.

One day, I asked her to compose a hymn on our favorite subject.

 “It is impossible” she responded, “I know nothing about poetry.”

 “What does that have to do with it?  It is not a question of sending it to the Academy; it would only be to please me and satisfy a heart-felt desire.”

 “I still hesitate a bit because I do not know if it is the will of the good God.”

“Oh, for that I will give you some advice.  Before starting, you should go and say to Our Lord:  ‘My God, if it is not your will, I ask you for the grace of not being able to succeed.  But, if this will procure your glory, come to my aid.’”

3.  Painting of Our Lady.

[Can be seen in the Community photograph TH nos. 16 and 17, taken April 20, 1895]

For many years, I had a strong desire that I knew I shared with my dear sister--it was to have a picture of the Holy Virgin nursing the Infant Jesus.  I pleaded with her to ask her little, dear sister to place her talent to reproduce on canvas this ravishing mystery. One day, returning from the parlor, she told me:

 “I’ve come from seeing Celine.  I spoke to her about your wish.  It is also a great devotion of hers and this work will make her smile very much.  But she finds that it is very difficult; there isn’t a model.  Nevertheless, she will try.”

 “How happy you have made me.  On Saturday, I will receive Communion for this intention.  In order to please me, it is necessary that there be something divine.”

I kept my Communion promise by asking the Holy Virgin to inspire her child and to guide her paintbrush.  What I most of all sought from Our Mother in Heaven was that in seeing this painting the soul would experience a supernatural effect, a grace as if from a divine vision.

Some months later, my little sister approached me and with an air of triumph presented me with a photograph.  “Look,” she told me, “this is a reproduction of Celine’s little painting. Are you pleased? It is quite virginal!...”

Our souls were lifted with the same thoughts; despite this intimacy, did we need to say very much?  Oh, no!  One word, most often, one look, and all would be understood.  This silence would sometimes provide us with joyous recreations.  “Oh, well,” we would say, “has it been a long time since we have spoken deeply?  Is it possible to love and understand so well and speak so little?”

Why have long discourses when two hearts beat in unison?  Sometimes, it would come about that we would happen to say [simultaneously] the same thought.

4.  A Trick.

During an exchange of confidences, she told me:

 “There is a way to reach sanctity without taking too much trouble; in sum, it is a trick, do you know it?

“I don’t know it,” I responded to her, “if I knew such a trick, I would go and tell you what I understood it to be.  I understand that it is not necessary at all to rely on one self, but to trust in God and abandon oneself to Him.  I believe that for those souls that remain small the good God will spare them difficulties and will shorten the way.”

 “That is very good, you know the trick.  There are souls who have ideas of perfection but who lose perspective, who turn as within a labyrinth from which they cannot break free and who succeed in nothing.”

When I made the remark to her that all Carmelites are privileged souls, she added:

“That is very true, but in this privilege there are the [most] privileged ones and we are counted among that number.”

5.  Making her Crown?

At the end of this conversation, she asked me if I thought of making my own crown.

 “No,” I told her, “this is not the regular subject of my thoughts, sometimes it comes to my spirit, but it does so rarely, and you?”

 “Oh! there is no danger that I  should do that; I very much prefer to rest in the care of the good God.  If I meddle [in the making of my crown], it would not be quite as beautiful.”

6.  One Does not Love to be Humbled.

 “Would you feel hurt,” she asked me the other day, “if someone would tell you that you are proud?”

 “Yes, very much, I could not avoid thinking what the reason for that would be, because it may be true, but someone coming to tell me to my face, that would be something else.”

 “It is so unusual to speak this way; one always says: ‘you can say about me all that you want’, [but then] I would be even more miserable.  One does not want to admit that one does not like to be humiliated.”

7.  A Little Comedy.

My little, dear sister wanted sometimes to put my feeble virtue to the test.  One day after having finished my great retreat, she came and placed herself near me during recreation and began a little teasing that was unlike her.  I accepted all without saying a word, with a patience that was not ordinary.  Towards the end, she said:

 “I wanted to see if you had made a good retreat and I observed that it had been very good because after I was next to you I did all in my power to make you lose your patience but I could not succeed.”

I was far from suspecting what could be the reason for this little comedy.  I was simply a little surprised at her manner of behaving.  When I got to know her, I thought that she knew perfectly how to test perople.” 

8.  A Bit of Moss.

I spoke to her about the glory that she would have in Heaven.

 “No, she told me, “it will not be what you think, the good God has always fulfilled my desires and I have asked Him [for me] to remain a little nothing.  When a gardener makes a bouquet, he always leaves a small open space between the flowers that he arranges.  To fill in the spaces and to give it a graceful form, he places moss.  There it is, that is what I will be in Heaven, a bit of moss among the beautiful flowers of the good God.”

 “Oh! my little sister Therese of the Child Jesus, you will be very surprised by what awaits you but I assure you that you will not be a bit of moss.”

 “Ah, well! You will see in Heaven that I am telling you the truth.”

Not being able to convince her, I let her remain alone with her sentiment, because on this subject I am as incredulous as St. Thomas.

 [“The Rose mousse”, chosen by Therese as the accompanying melody for her poetry PN-44 and PN-51, developed an analogous comparison.  To enhance the beauty of the rose, an angel had no resource to frame the flower except a garland of moss:  “Only the herb of the forest can also decorate/so much beauty!]

9.  My Blood Flows.

I came across her during a licence, bearing a joyous air and, as in a transport of love, she told me:

 “I know now what will be my death.”

 “I do as well,” I told her, “you will certainly die from the chest.”

“Oh! It is not that.  With what joy my blood will flow.”

One spoke a great deal at that moment of happenings, of massacres.  And her appearance breathed a supernatural happiness.

10.  The Hearts of the Saints.

With reference to the union of our souls, I showed her a passage from “Christian Virtues” by Monsignor Gay:

 “In Heaven, in full glory, there is where all is order, harmony, immutability because there God chooses all, but God is the author of nature as well as of grace.  He will manage that those that one has loved here below based on ties of nature and of grace one will also love [in Heaven] incomparably more than here. All those we loved will be reunited and  one will not feel this same sort of love for others, even if they were saintly like the Seraphim or beautiful like the Archangels.  Holy reasons of dilection [a loving preference] will not stop existing for the souls of the blessed.”

I am unable to describe the expression of joy that spread across her features.. “Oh! It is beautiful” she told me, “and my soul is immersed with delight by this perspective that during eternity our mutual affection will not cease to exist with a special character.”

Observe well how the hearts of the Saints give God all without any reservation, but love in Him the souls that He has united with a force, tenderness, and a delicacy that only divine Love can give.

Oh! my God, I thank you Who has allowed me to encounter a privileged soul, a saint; to have benefited from her friendship and to have been able to give her mine  I thank you above all for not constraining within the limits of time this affection so pure that proceeds from your Love, but to thank you also for your promise of eternity where nothing will come to know its end.

11.  I Will Die Soon. 

In the month of April 1895, she confided this to me:  “I will die soon; I am not telling you in what month, but within two or three years.  I sense, based on what passes in my soul, that my exile is close to finishing.”

On the 30th of September 1897, the divine Eagle took away His little bird to the divine hearth of Love.

12.  The Black Door (a Dream).

On the 8th of January 1897, I found myself alone in the dormitory at around 11:30 in the morning. When I heard over my head a sound like the cracking of a beam that was collapsing, I understood immediately that the noise was a supernatural one and that death would visit us within the year.  But who would be its victim?  That was the mystery that stayed hidden for me and that I had no desire to penetrate.  For the rest of the day, I did not think more about it and that evening I fell asleep without the slightest memory of it.  During the night, in a dream, I found myself in a large and somber apartment.  I was alone.  I then heard these words distinctly:  “Monsieur Martin asks for Sister Therese of the Child Jesus.”  I did not know who spoke; I did not see anyone.  That moment, I had the impression that, in a place even more somber than the one where I was, there were those who were preparing the little Queen to join her dear Father.  What were they doing to her?  I did not know, but I heard a voice that said:  “it is necessary that she be very beautiful to go with Monsieur Martin.”  During this time, I saw before me an open door and despite the fact that it was open it was extremely black, without the least ray of light.  In this darkness was Monsieur Martin who I could not distinguish except for a red and gold gauze from the shoulders to the waist.  I then found myself on the other side of this very black door, but there everything was luminous.  It was like a dazzling sun.  I passed in front of Monsieur Martin without catching a glimpse of him.  He was sitting close to his little Queen whom I did not see.  I distinguished very well a section of her white dress.  Then, everything vanished.  What struck me very much about this dream was that there was no interval between the black door and the luminous place.

The next day, upon awakening, I understood all.  That was the explanation for the noise that I had heard on the previous day.  Sister Therese of the Child Jesus would die within the year.  It was a hard blow for my heart.  As soon as I was able to speak with her, I told her this:  “I have good news to tell you—good for you—because for the rest of us it is not happy.”

 “Oh! What is it,” she asked, “is it a question about my death.”

 “Yes, I believe that you will die this year.”

“Is it possible that I will have such a great happiness?  But how do you know, is it for sure?”

“Just as certain as these things can be.”

I told her about the noise that I had heard.

“But that does not mean it was about me.”

“Yes, it was very much about you, and the proof was that during the dream you were named.”

“What happiness!  My name was mentioned.”

I cannot describe the expression of joy that shone from her eyes; she ardently desired to know everything and to please her I wanted to tell her all.  But, in order to mortify ourselves, we resolved to wait until a day licence [where sisters could converse freely] and three weeks would pass without saying a word.  At last, the much anticipated day arrived.  She came into our cell; outdoors, snowflakes were falling.  After pausing to admire the snow for a few moments, we thought that we had more interesting things to say than to rhapsodize over the weather.  I began my story.

While she listened, I noted the extraordinary joy radiating from her features.  When I had finished, she told me:

“That is beautiful!  It was not a fantasy, it is a dream and it was for me that you had it.  It was not for you.  I love it more that you had it preferably to me.  I believe it more that way.”

 “But why,” I asked her, “do you have such a happy expression?”

“If you only knew what you have done for me.  Have I not spoken to you about the state of my soul?”

“No, I know nothing.”

“How can it be that I have not said anything?  But I see here a permission from the good God and I now prefer that you had not known.  What you have told me does me much good.  Since the good God has made it known to you, I will also speak to you about it.  I do not believe in eternal life.  It seems to me that after this mortal life, there is nothing more.  I cannot express to you the darkness in which I am plunged.  What you have come to relate to me is exactly the state of my soul.  The preparation that they make for me is above all the black door and it is the very image of what is taking place in me.  You have only seen some red in this gloomy door. It is to say that all has disappeared for me and that I have been left with nothing but love.”

When I saw the sufferings of my little sister, I thought that the red and gold that accompanied her could also well signify the sorrows that awaited her and the glory that would be her recompense.

When she came down to the infirmary, she said to me, “your dream has been well realized.”

As soon as I went to see her, I asked her: And the “black door”, we know what that means.

“Oh!” she answered me, more and more gloomily, “your dream is my only ray of light.  I have not had any other.  I know it by heart down to the smallest details.”

13.  Therese?  Not even a Good Religious.

During a visit, I found her with a radiant expression on her face.  I asked her what could possibly have filled her with so much happiness, and she responded:

“I just came from experiencing a great joy that I will confide to you.  I have received a visit from one of our sisters.  ‘If you only knew’, she told me , ‘how little loved and appreciated you are here below.  I heard several days ago one sister tell another: ‘I do not know why they speak so much about Sister Therese of the Child Jesus.  She has done nothing remarkable; one does not see her practicing virtue; one cannot even say that she is a good religious.’  To hear said on my deathbed that I am not a good religious.  What joy, nothing could have pleased me more.”

14.  Not an Easy-going Nature.

 “Tell me if you have had any trials.” 

 “Oh! sure, I have had them.  I do not have an easy-going nature.  It may not appear that way, but I feel things strongly.  I can assure you I have not had one single day without suffering, not even one.”

 “But people claim that you have not had any.”

 “Ah! the judgments of creatures.  Because they do not see, they do not believe.”

15.  Happy to See Her!

A few days after her arrival in the infirmary, I went to see her. As soon as she saw me, she stretched out hers arms and exclaimed with indescribable tenderness:  “Oh! It is my Sister Therese of Saint Augustine.”  Then addressing the young sisters that were then in attendance, she added:  “Please, if you don’t mind, leave me alone with her, I see her so little.”   When we were alone, she expressed anew the happiness she had in seeing me.  Each of my visits was for her a renewed occasion of joy.  One of these times, a sister who was near her was so struck by it that she could not help but say: “What a look, she is so happy to see you.”

16.  Most Particularly…

During a recreation, our dear, little sick one had had a visit from the Community.  When they had left, she told one of her sisters:  “I most particularly noticed my Sister Therese of St. Augustine.  How clearly one can see that she loves me.”

17.  Nothing for her Recompense.

One other day, I told her:  “You suffer much, but you will be well recompensed.”

 “It is not to be recompensed, but to give Him pleasure.  How unhappy I would be if I had not abandoned myself to the will of the good God.  Today, the Doctor says that I am lost, tomorrow that I am better.  He also gives the impression that I could be there in the month of April . How tiring that alternative would be, but all that does not touch my soul and does not disturb my peace.  I abandon myself .”

 “You have good reason not to trouble yourself.  I have known long enough that he and I maintain that you are lost, that most certainly you will not be here in the month of April.  But I worry that you are suffering very much.”

“Oh! Don’t worry about that.  The good God will not give me more than what I can support.  It’s important to let things be.”

18.  Bleach.

 “There are sisters who believe that you will become frightened of death.”

 “ These fears have not yet arrived.  If they come, I will bear them, but if I have them they will not suffice to purify me.  They will be nothing but bleach.  It is the fire of love that I require.”

19.  You will know yourself just as you are.

 “My dear, little sister,” I ask you for a grace, “to come and assist me at the moment of my death.”

 “Oh! Yes, I will come.”

 “And don’t let me go to Purgatory.  But obtain for me an act of perfect love.”

 “You will not go to Purgatory.  Souls as regular as yours don’t go there.  You are extremely faithful, it shows on you.  If you only knew how meritorious I find you to be.  You will be very surprised as soon as you see the good that you have done and the souls that you have saved. Your eyes speak of the good God.  What happiness that I will soon see all the beauties of your soul.  I will know yourself just as you really are and I will rejoice because on earth I do not know you.

20.  The Dream.

Two days before her death, she said to one of sisters:  “You have no way of knowing how many times I think of the dream of my Sister Therese of St. Augustine.  If you knew the good that it has done me and the many consolations that it has given me during my illness.  It has helped me withstand it.”

21. Last Moments.

The hour of compensation had sounded, the agony begun and what agony!...What cruel suffering! The first day, I went to see her, she welcomed me with her angelic smile.  My heart broke at the thought that it would soon be finished.  I left the infirmary to be able to hide the tears that I could no longer withhold.  On September 30, around four-thirty in the afternoon, the shadow of death spread more and more over the angelic face of our saint.  It was the approach of the Well Beloved.  Towards 5:00 PM, she rested her look upon me with her eyes half closed but one could still discern there the most tender affection.  It was her look of goodbye.  For the last time on this earthly exile the corollas of two little flowers so closely united turned once more towards each other…This last look reminded me of her promise to think of me and of all the tender memories that the pen is incapable of describing.  Soon, she seemed to be telling me, you will come with me, life is but a day, what will be sweet for us both is to receive eternity!...

At 7:30, Jesus came to cut his well-loved flower.  The last moments were those of solemnity.  Her brilliant expression contemplated the Invisible…Under this gaze, I lowered my eyes, when I raised them this exiled Angel had already regained the Home Land, leaving us embalmed with the fragrance of her virtues and ardent love.  I approached to give her a final kiss.  All was finished.

22.  A Perpetual Smile.

But can we say that she has left us?  Every moment, we feel her presence, she lives with us.  Her memento is a perpetual smile.

Sr. Therese of St. Augustine  r.c.i.

Done several months after her death.

23.  Posthumous Messages.

On October 1897, the day of the burial of Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, I entered the choir before the first refrain of Laudes that one would chant in that epoch before Mass.   Often I had heard her without  her making any impression on me, but in this moment it was otherwise.   I understood through a most vivid light the nothingness of creatures before the divine majesty and that it is above all the destruction of the self that glorifies the good God.  This impression lasted for most of the Mass.  During the elevation, I felt beside me my dear sister and I interiorly heard these words:  “Oh! my little Sister Therese of Saint Augustine, if you only knew how true your thoughts are…I will not forget you.”

Several days later, I asked myself if Sister Therese had gone straight to Heaven.  While I recited the Office this verse: “Benedictus Dominus”, I had the renewed impression of her presence next to me and the words, “Oh! Yes, let us bless the Lord”, which I heard interiorly gave me the firm assurance that indeed it had been so.

I asked my dear little sister to obtain for me the strength to master my imagination, so that continual inopportune thoughts would not divert my attention away from the presence of God and hence force me to spend the time consecrated to prayer in perpetual combat.  Seeing that I did not obtain amelioration in this, I made a [mild] reproach.  Immediately, I heard within the bottom of my heart:  “I cannot remove [from you] a meritorious subject.”

On September 6, 1910, the day of the exhumation, I made to my dear sister the completely fraternal little reproach to keep with me ceaselessly the deepest silence:  at the same time, I recalled to her the promise to come and warn me if the good God was not content with me.  At that very instant, I understood:  “Because I have not come, you should think that the good God is very content.”


Back to the page of Saint-Augustin

Recollections of a Holy Friendship

 

By Sister Therese of Saint Augustine

 

[The “Recollections of a Holy Friendship” are transcriptions from a small notebook with a blue cover, 17.5 by 11.3 cm, containing 15 pages of handwritten notes.  Dating  indication from text: “completed several months after her death” after the signature.  Nevertheless, as one comes across here and there to references to the Story of a Soul, it is probable that this notebook is a corrected version of prior notes, thereby explaining the references.  The section titled “Posthumous Messages”, coming after the signature, are explicitly from a later time, i.e., September 6, 1910.  To facilitate reading, we have added subtitles.]

 

1.  Our Union.

 

It is very sweet, dear sister, to preserve the memory of our union here below.  More than ever we are sisters and Jesus, our divine Spouse, has strengthened the ties that unite us.  Continue having for me your sisterly affection, obtain for me the grace to arrive at the highest state of love.  Say again in my favor to Him whom you have so loved:  “Oh, my adored Eagle, that the one I have loved be where I am.”

 

Near the flower filled with fragrance that Jesus must soon gather, the divine Master has placed a small daisy.  His Heart is the sun for these two dear flowers.  The wildflower, the image of my poor, small soul, would only profit from this blessed union.  It is with real joy that I attribute to my well beloved Sister the graces that I have received after many years and that her powerful protection obtains for me every day.

 

2.  The Divine Dew.

 

As soon as we met, we found in the other an irresistible appeal.  The connection between our souls was an attraction to the Holy Infancy.  We loved the Infant Jesus in his humble state, in the Manger, in the arms of his Mother; we loved him most of all when at the bosom of his Mother during his first months of exile.  Our souls were immersed in this delightful, hidden mystery and the very great number that Jesus and his exquisite Mother  revealed to our hearts.  We loved receiving together the virginal dew, o breathe the perfume of the fragrant lily.

 

One day, I asked her to compose a hymn on our favorite subject.

 

“It is impossible” she responded, “I know nothing about poetry.”

 

“What does that have to do with it?  It is not a question of sending it to the Academy; it would only be to please me and satisfy a heart-felt desire.”

 

“I still hesitate a bit because I do not know if it is the will of the good God.”

 

“Oh, for that I will give you some advice.  Before starting, you should go and say to Our Lord:  ‘My God, if it is not your will, I ask you for the grace of not being able to succeed.  But, if this will procure your glory, come to my aid.’”

 

3.  Painting of Our Lady.

 

[can be seen in the Community photograph TH nos. 16 and 17, taken April 20, 1895]

 

For many years, I had a strong desire that I knew I shared with my dear sister--it was to have a picture of the Holy Virgin nursing the Infant Jesus.  I pleaded with her to ask her little, dear sister to place her talent to reproduce on canvas this ravishing mystery. One day, returning from the parlor, she told me:

 

“I’ve come from seeing Celine.  I spoke to her about your wish.  It is also a great devotion of hers and this work will make her smile very much.  But she finds that it is very difficult; there isn’t a model.  Nevertheless, she will try.”

 

“How happy you have made me.  On Saturday, I will receive Communion for this intention.  In order to please me, it is necessary that there be something divine.”

 

I kept my Communion promise by asking the Holy Virgin to inspire her child and to guide her paintbrush.  What I most of all sought from Our Mother in Heaven was that in seeing this painting the soul would experience a supernatural effect, a grace as if from a divine vision.

 

Some months later, my little sister approached me and with an air of triumph presented me with a photograph.  “Look,” she told me, “this is a reproduction of Celine’s little painting. Are you pleased? It is quite virginal!...”

 

Our souls were lifted with the same thoughts; despite this intimacy, did we need to say very much?  Oh, no!  One word, most often, one look, and all would be understood.  This silence would sometimes provide us with joyous recreations.  “Oh, well,” we would say, “has it been a long time since we have spoken deeply?  Is it possible to love and understand so well and speak so little?”

 

Why have long discourses when two hearts beat in unison?  Sometimes, it would come about that we would happen to say [simultaneously] the same thought.

 

4.  A Trick.

 

During an exchange of confidences, she told me:

 

“There is a way to reach sanctity without taking too much trouble; in sum, it is a trick, do you know it?

“I don’t know it,” I responded to her, “if I knew such a trick, I would go and tell you what I understood it to be.  I understand that it is not necessary at all to rely on one self, but to trust in God and abandon oneself to Him.  I believe that for those souls that remain small the good God will spare them difficulties and will shorten the way.”

 

“That is very good, you know the trick.  There are souls who have ideas of perfection but who lose perspective, who turn as within a labyrinth from which they cannot break free and who succeed in nothing.”

 

When I made the remark to her that all Carmelites are privileged souls, she added:

 

“That is very true, but in this privilege there are the [most] privileged ones and we are counted among that number.”

 

5.  Making her Crown?

 

At the end of this conversation, she asked me if I thought of making my own crown.

 

“No,” I told her, “this is not the regular subject of my thoughts, sometimes it comes to my spirit, but it does so rarely, and you?”

 

“Oh! there is no danger that I  should do that; I very much prefer to rest in the care of the good God.  If I meddle [in the making of my crown], it would not be quite as beautiful.”

 

6.  One Does not Love to be Humbled.

 

“Would you feel hurt,” she asked me the other day, “if someone would tell you that you are proud?”

 

“Yes, very much, I could not avoid thinking what the reason for that would be, because it may be true, but someone coming to tell me to my face, that would be something else.”

 

“It is so unusual to speak this way; one always says: ‘you can say about me all that you want’, [but then] I would be even more miserable.  One does not want to admit that one does not like to be humiliated.”

 

7.  A Little Comedy.

 

My little, dear sister wanted sometimes to put my feeble virtue to the test.  One day after having finished my great retreat, she came and placed herself near me during recreation and began a little teasing that was unlike her.  I accepted all without saying a word, with a patience that was not ordinary.  Towards the end, she said:

 

“I wanted to see if you had made a good retreat and I observed that it had been very good because after I was next to you I did all in my power to make you lose your patience but I could not succeed.”

I was far from suspecting what could be the reason for this little comedy.  I was simply a little surprised at her manner of behaving.  When I got to know her, I thought that she [sometimes] intended to test her world.”  [S. Camille, my difficulty is with the last sentence.  Did Sr. TH dSA say here that TH liked to use a type of Socratic method to invite reflection on the part her of listeners?]

 

8.  A Bit of Moss.

 

I spoke to her about the glory that she would have in Heaven.

 

“No, she told me, “it will not be what you think, the good God has always fulfilled my desires and I have asked Him [for me] to remain a little nothing.  When a gardener makes a bouquet, he always leaves a small open space between the flowers that he arranges.  To fill in the spaces and to give it a graceful form, he places moss.  There it is, that is what I will be in Heaven, a bit of moss among the beautiful flowers of the good God.”

 

“Oh! my little sister Therese of the Child Jesus, you will be very surprised by what awaits you but I assure you that you will not be a bit of moss.”

 

“Ah, well! You will see in Heaven that I am telling you the truth.”

 

Not being able to convince her, I let her remain with her sentiment, appearing to go along, because on this subject I am as incredulous as St. Thomas.

 

[“The Rose mousse”, music and lyrics by Scudo, chosen by Therese as the accompanying melody for her poetry PN-44 and PN-51, developed an analogous comparison.  To enhance the beauty of the rose, an angel had no resource to frame the flower except a garland of moss:  “Only the herb of the forest can also decorate/so much beauty!]

 

9.  My Blood Flows.

 

I came across her during a break, bearing a joyous air and, as in a transport of love, she told me:

 

“I know now what will be my death.”

 

“I do as well,” I told her, “you will certainly die from the chest.”

 

“Oh! It is not that.  With what joy my blood will flow.”

 

One spoke a great deal at that moment of happenings, of massacres.  And her appearance breathed a supernatural happiness.

 

10.  The Hearts of the Saints.

 

With reference to the union of our souls, I showed her a passage from “Christian Virtues” by Monsignor Gay:

 

“In Heaven, in full glory, there is where all is order, harmony, immutability because there God chooses all, but God is the author of nature as well as of grace.  He will manage that those that one has loved here below based on ties of nature and of grace one will also love [in Heaven] incomparably more than here. All those we loved will be reunited and  one will not feel this same sort of love for others, even if they were saintly like the Seraphim or beautiful like the Archangels.  Holy reasons of dilection [a loving preference, a choice thereof] will not stop existing for the souls of the blessed.”

 

I am unable to describe the expression of joy that spread across her features.. “Oh! It is beautiful” she told me, “and my soul is immersed with delight by this perspective that during eternity our mutual affection will not cease to exist with a special character.”

 

Observe well how the hearts of the Saints give God all without any reservation, but love in Him the souls that He has united with a force, tenderness, and a delicacy that only divine Love can give.

 

Oh! my God, I thank you Who has allowed me to encounter a privileged soul, a saint; to have benefited from her friendship and to have been able to give her mine  I thank you above all for not constraining within the limits of time this affection so pure that proceeds from your Love, but to thank you also for your promise of eternity where nothing will come to know its end.

 

11.  I Will Die Soon. 

 

In the month of April 1895, she confided this to me:  “I will die soon; I am not telling you in what month, but within two or three years.  I sense, based on what passes in my soul, that my exile is close to finishing.”

 

On the 30th of September 1897, the divine Eagle took away His little bird to the divine hearth of Love.

 

12.  The Black Door (a Dream).

 

On the 8th of January 1897, I found myself alone in the dormitory at around 11:30 in the morning. When I heard over my head a sound like the cracking of a beam that was collapsing, I understood immediately that the noise was a supernatural one and that death would visit us within the year.  But who would be its victim?  That was the mystery that stayed hidden for me and that I had no desire to penetrate.  For the rest of the day, I did not think more about it and that evening I fell asleep without the slightest memory of it.  During the night, in a dream, I found myself in a large and somber apartment.  I was alone.  I then heard these words distinctly:  “Monsieur Martin asks for Sister Therese of the Child Jesus.”  I did not know who spoke; I did not see anyone.  That moment, I had the impression that, in a place even more somber than the one where I was, there were those who were preparing the little Queen to join her dear Father.  What were they doing with her?  I did not know, but I heard a voice that said:  “it is necessary that she be very beautiful to go with Monsieur Martin.”  During this time, I saw before me an open door and despite the fact that it was open it was extremely black, without the least ray of light.  In this darkness was Monsieur Martin who I could not distinguish except for a red and gold gauze from the shoulders to the waist.  I then found myself on the other side of this very black door, but there everything was luminous.  It was like a dazzling sun.  I passed in front of Monsieur Martin without catching a glimpse of him.  He was sitting close to his little Queen whom I did not see.  I distinguished very well a section of her white dress.  Then, everything vanished.  What struck me very much about this dream was that there was no interval between the black door and the luminous place.

 

The next day, upon awakening, I understood all.  That was the explanation for the noise that I had heard on the previous day.  Sister Therese of the Child Jesus would die within the year.  It was a hard blow for my heart.  As soon as I was able to speak with her, I told her this:

 

“I have good news to tell you—good for you—because for the rest of us it is not happy.”

 

“Oh! What is it,” she asked, “is it a question about my death.”

 

“Yes, I believe that you will die this year.”

 

“Is it possible that I will have such a great happiness?  But how do you know, is it for sure?”

 

“Just as certain as these things can be.”

 

I told her about the noise that I had heard.

 

“But that does not mean it was about me.”

 

“Yes, it was very much about you, and the proof was that during the dream you were named.”

 

“What happiness!  My name was mentioned.”

 

I cannot describe the expression of joy that shone from her eyes; she ardently desired to know everything and to please her I wanted to tell her all.  But, in order to mortify ourselves, we resolved to wait until a day of leave [“jour de license” is used here; did the sisters have a day where the normal strictures were relaxed so that they could converse freely?  If so, I can see if there was an analogous term in English from the time if “day of leave” (conge) doesn’t serve well.] and three weeks would pass without saying a word.  At last, the much anticipated day arrived.  She came into our cell; outdoors, snowflakes were falling.  After pausing to admire the snow for a few moments, we thought that we had more interesting things to say than to rhapsodize over the weather.  I began my story.

 

While she listened, I noted the extraordinary joy radiating from her features.  When I had finished, she told me:

 

“That is beautiful!  It was not a fantasy, it is a dream and it was for me that you had it.  It was not for you.  I love it more that you had it preferably to me.  I believe it more that way.”

 

“But why,” I asked her, “do you have such a happy expression?”

 

“If you only knew what you have done for me.  Have I not spoken to you about the state of my soul?”

 

“No, I know nothing.”

 

“How can it be that I have not said anything?  But I see here a permission from the good God and I now prefer that you had not known.  What you have told me does me much good.  Since the good God has made it known to you, I will also speak to you about it.  I do not believe in eternal life.  It seems to me that after this mortal life, there is nothing more.  I cannot express to you the darkness in which I am plunged.  What you have come to relate to me is exactly the state of my soul.  The preparation that they make for me is above all the black door and it is the very image of what is taking place in me.  You have only seen some red in this gloomy door. It is to say that all has disappeared for me and that I have been left with nothing but love.”

 

When I saw the sufferings of my little sister, I thought that the red and gold that accompanied her could also well signify the sorrows that awaited her and the glory that would be her recompense.

 

When she came down to the infirmary, she said to me, “your dream has been well realized.”

 

As soon as I went to see her, I asked her:

 

And the “black door”, we know what that means.

 

“Oh!” she answered me, more and more gloomily, “your dream is my only ray of light.  I have not had any other.  I know it by heart down to the smallest details.”

 

13.  Therese?  Not even a Good Religious.

 

During a visit, I found her with a radiant expression on her face.  I asked her what could possibly have filled her with so much happiness, and she responded:

 

“I just came from experiencing a great joy that I will confide to you.  I have received a visit from one of our sisters.  ‘If you only knew’, she told me , ‘how little loved and appreciated you are here below.  I heard several days ago one sister tell another: ‘I do not know why they speak so much about Sister Therese of the Child Jesus.  She has done nothing remarkable; one does not see her practicing virtue; one cannot even say that she is a good religious.’  To hear said on my deathbed that I am not a good religious.  What joy, nothing could have pleased me more.”

 

14.  Not an Easy-going Nature.

 

“Tell me if you have had any trials.”  [I used trials instead of fight or struggle.]

 

“Oh! sure, I have had them.  I do not have an easy-going nature.  It may not appear that way, but I feel things strongly.  I can assure you I have not had one single day without suffering, not even one.”

 

“But people claim that you have not had any.”

 

“Ah! the judgments of creatures.  Because they do not see, they do not believe.”

 

15.  Happy to See Her!

 

A few days after her arrival in the infirmary, I went to see her. As soon as she saw me, she stretched out hers arms and exclaimed with indescribable tenderness:  “Oh! It is my Sister Therese of Saint Augustine.”  Then addressing the young sisters that were then in attendance, she added:  “Please, if you don’t mind, leave me alone with her, I see her so little.”   When we were alone, she expressed anew the happiness she had in seeing me.  Each of my visits was for her a renewed occasion of joy.  One of these times, a sister who was near her was so struck by it that she could not help but say: “What a look, she is so happy to see you.”

 

16.  Most Particularly…

 

During a recreation, our dear, little sick one had had a visit from the Community.  When they had left, she told one of her sisters:  “I most particularly noticed my Sister Therese of St. Augustine.  How clearly one can see that she loves me.”

 

17.  Nothing for her Recompense.

 

One other day, I told her:

 

“You suffer much, but you will be well recompensed.”

 

“It is not to be recompensed, but to give Him pleasure.  How unhappy I would be if I had not abandoned myself to the will of the good God.  Today, the Doctor says that I am lost, tomorrow that I am better.  He also gives off the impression that I could be there in the month of April  [Sister C., is TH saying that the doctor is speculating that TH will be alive the following April?]  How tiring that alternative would be, but all that does not touch my soul and does not disturb my peace.  I abandon myself [to Him].”

 

“You have good reason not to trouble yourself.  I have known long enough that he and I maintain that you are lost, that most certainly you will not be here in the month of April.  But I worry that you are suffering very much.”

 

“Oh! Don’t worry about that.  The good God will not give me more than what I can support.  It’s important to let things be.”

 

18.  Bleach.

 

“There are sisters who believe that you will become frightened of death.”

 

“ They [the agonal pains] have not yet arrived.  If they come, I will bear them, but if I have them they will not suffice to purify me.  They will be nothing but bleach.  It is the fire of love that I require.”

 

19.  You will recognize yourself just as you are.

 

“My dear, little sister,” I ask you for a grace, “to come and assist me at the moment of my death.”

 

“Oh! Yes, I will come.”

 

“And don’t let me go to Purgatory.  But obtain for me an act of perfect love.”

 

“You will not go to Purgatory.  Souls as regular as yours don’t go there.  You are extremely faithful.  You focus on being faithful.  If you only knew how meritorious I find you to be.  You will be very surprised as soon as you see the good that you have done and the souls that you have saved. Your eyes speak of the good God.  What happiness that I will soon see all the nobility of your soul.  You [will] recognize yourself just as you really are and I will rejoice because on earth I do not know you.

 

20.  The Dream.

 

Two days before her death, she said to one of sisters:  “You have no way of knowing how many times I think of the dream of my Sister Therese of St. Augustine.  If you knew the good that it has done me and the many consolations that it has given me during my illness.  It has helped me withstand it.”

 

21. Last Moments.

 

The hour of compensation had sounded, the agony begun and what agony!...What cruel suffering! The first day, I went to see her, she welcomed me with her angelic smile.  My heart broke at the thought that it would soon be finished.  I left the infirmary to be able to hide the tears that I could no longer withhold.  On September 30, around four-thirty in the afternoon, the shadow of death spread more and more over the angelic face of our saint.  It was the approach of the Well Beloved.  Towards 5:00 PM, she rested her look upon me with her eyes half closed but one could still discern there the most tender affection.  It was her look of goodbye.  For the last time on this earthly exile the corollas of two little flowers so closely united turned once more towards each other…This last look reminded me of her promise to think of me and of all the tender memories that the pen is incapable of describing.  Soon, she seemed to be telling me, you will come with me, life is but a day, what will be sweet for us both is to receive eternity!...

 

At 7:30, Jesus came to cut his well-loved flower.  The last moments were those of solemnity.  Her brilliant expression contemplated the Invisible…Under this gaze, I lowered my eyes, when I raised them this exiled Angel had already regained the Home Land, leaving us embalmed with the fragrance of her virtues and ardent love.  I approached to give her a final kiss.  All was finished.

 

22.  A Perpetual Smile.

 

But can we say that she has left us?  Every moment, we feel her presence, she lives with us.  Her memento is a perpetual smile.

 

Sr. Therese of St. Augustine

 

r.c.i.

 

Done several months after her death.

 

23.  Posthumous Messages.

 

On October 1897, the day of the burial of Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, I entered the choir before the first refrain of Laudes that one would chant in that epoch before Mass.   Often I had heard her without  her making any impression on me, but in this moment it was otherwise.   I understood through a most vivid light the nothingness of creatures before the divine majesty and that it is above all the destruction of the self that glorifies the good God.  This impression lasted for most of the Mass.  During the elevation, I felt beside me my dear sister and I interiorly heard these words:  “Oh! my little Sister Therese of Saint Augustine, if you only knew how true your thoughts are…I will not forget you.”

 

Several days later, I asked myself if Sister Therese had gone straight to Heaven.  While I recited the Office this verse: “Benedictus Dominus”, I had the renewed impression of her presence next to me and the words, “Oh! Yes, let us bless the Lord”, which I heard interiorly gave me the firm assurance that indeed it had been so.

 

I asked my dear, little sister to obtain for me the strength to master my imagination, so that continual inopportune thoughts would not divert my attention away from the presence of God and hence force me to spend the time consecrated to prayer in perpetual combat.  Seeing that I did not obtain amelioration in this, I made a [mild] reproach.  Immediately, I heard within the bottom of my heart:  “I cannot remove [from you] a meritorious subject.”

 

On September 6, 1910, the day of the [first] exhumation, I made to my dear sister the completely fraternal little reproach to keep with me ceaselessly the most profound silence:  at the same time, I recalled to her the promise to come and warn me if the good God was not content with me.  At that very instant, I understood:  “Because I have not come, you should think that the good God is very content.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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