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Ms A 55v

[55v°] return without any answer at all. Ah! how painful it was! It seemed my future was ruined forever. The more I approached the goal, the more I saw my affairs all mixed up. My soul was plunged into bitterness but into peace too, for I was seeking God’s will.

[5] As soon as we arrived at Lisieux, I went looking for consolation at Carmel, and I found it in your presence, dear Mother. I shall never forget what you suffered on my account. Had I no fear of profaning them when making use of them, I could speak Jesus’ words addressed to His apostles, the night of His Passion: “It is you who have been with me in [10] all my trials.” My beloved sisters also offered me many sweet consolations.

Three days after the trip to Bayeux, I had to make a longer one, that to the Eternal City. Ah! what a trip that was! It taught me more than long years of studies; it showed me the vanity of everything that happens and that everything is affliction of spirit under the [15] sun. However, I saw some very beautiful things; I contemplated all the marvels of art and religion; above all, I trod the same soil as did the holy apostles, the soil bedewed with the blood of martyrs. And my soul grew through contact with holy things.

I am very happy for having been at Rome, but I understand those worldly persons [20] who thought that Papa had me make the trip in order to change my ideas about the religious life; there was something about it that could shake a vocation less firm. Having never lived among the great of this world, Céline and I found ourselves in the midst of the nobility who almost exclusively made up the pilgrimage. Ah! far from dazzling us, all these titles and these “de” appeared to us as nothing but smoke. From a distance, this had sometimes thrown a little powder in my eyes, but close up, I saw that “all that glistens is not gold,” and I understood the words



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