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Ms A 43v

[43v°] These words of the Imitation touched me deeply, but I had to buy, so to speak, this inestimable grace through my desires; I was still only a child who appeared to have no will but that of others, and this caused certain people in Alençon to say I had a [5] weak character. It was during this trip that Léonie made her attempt to enter the Poor Clares. I was saddened by her extraordinary entrance, for I loved her very much and I hadn’t even the chance to kiss her before her departure. Never will I forget the kindness and embarrassment of this poor little Father of ours when he came to announce that Léonie had already received the habit of the Poor Clares. [10] He found this very strange, just as we did, but he didn’t want to say anything when he saw how unhappy Marie was about the matter. He took us to the convent and there I experienced a sort of contraction of my heart such as I never felt at the sight of a monastery. This monastery produced the opposite effect which Carmel produced in me, for there everything made my heart expand. The sight of the religious didn’t attract me [15] in the least, and I was not tempted to remain among them. However, poor Léonie was very attractive in her new costume, and she told us to get a good look at her eyes because we would no longer see them (the Poor Clares have a custom of going around with eyes downcast), but God was content with only two months of sacrifice, and Léonie returned to show us her blue eyes which were frequently [20] moist with tears.

When leaving Alençon I believed she would remain with the Poor Clares, and so it was with a heavy heart I left the sad street of Demi-lune (half moon). We were only three now and soon our Marie was also to leave. The 15th of October was the day of separation! From the happy and numerous family of Les Buissonnets there remained only the two youngest children. The doves had flown from the paternal nest, and those who remained would have loved to fly in their turn, but their wings



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