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Ms A 33v

[33v°] any but those of heaven.

At this time in my life nobody had ever taught me how to make mental prayer, and yet I had a great desire to make it. Marie, finding me pious enough, allowed me to make only my vocal prayers. One day, one of my teachers at the Abbey asked me what I did on my [5] free afternoons when I was alone. I told her I went behind my bed in an empty space which was there, and that it was easy to close myself in with my bedcurtain and that “I thought.” “But what do you think about?” she asked. “I think about God, about life, about ETERNITY ... I think!” The good religious laughed heartily at me, and later on she loved reminding me of the [10] time when I thought, asking me if I was still thinking. I understand now that I was making mental prayer without knowing it and that God was already instructing me in secret.

The three months of preparation passed by quickly, and very soon I had to go on retreat and for this had to become a real boarder, sleeping at the Abbey. I cannot [15] express the sweet memory this retreat left with me. And truly, if I suffered very much at the boarding school, I was largely repaid by the ineffable happiness of those few days spent in waiting for Jesus. I don’t believe one can taste this joy anywhere else but in religious communities. The number of children was small, and it was easy to give [20] each child particular attention, and certainly our teachers gave each of us their motherly care and attention. They spent more time with me than with the others, and each night the first mistress came, with her little lantern, and kissed me in my bed, showing me much affection. One night, touched by her kindness, I told her I was going to confide a secret to her; and drawing out my precious little book that was under my pillow, I showed it to her, my eyes bright with joy.

In the morning, I found it very nice to see all the students getting up so early



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