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Ms A 61v

[61v°] I had imagined them when reading the lives of the martyrs. After having spent part of the afternoon in them, it seemed to me we were there for only a few moments, so sacred did the atmosphere appear to me. We had to carry off some souvenir from the Catacombs; [5] having allowed the procession to pass on a little, Céline and Thérèse slipped down together to the bottom of the ancient tomb of St. Cecilia and took some earth which was sanctified by her presence. Before my trip to Rome I didn’t have any
special devotion to this saint, but when I visited her house transformed into a church, the site of her martyrdom, when learning [10] that she was proclaimed patroness of music not because of her beautiful voice or her talent for music, but in memory of the virginal song she sang to her heavenly Spouse hidden in the depths of her heart, I felt more than devotion for her; it was the real tenderness of a friend. She became my saint of predilection, my [15] intimate confidante. Everything in her thrilled me, especially her abandonment, her limitless confidence that made her capable of virginizing souls who had never desired any other joys but those of the present life. St. Cecilia is like the bride in the Canticle; in her I see “a choir in an armed camp.” Her life was nothing else but a [20] melodious song in the midst of the greatest trials, and this does not surprise me because “the Gospel rested on her heart,” and in her heart reposed the Spouse of Virgins!

The visit to the church of St. Agnes was also very sweet to me; she was a childhood friend whom I was visiting in her own home. I spoke a long time to her about the one who carries her name so well, and I exerted all my efforts to get one of the relics of my Mother’s angelic patroness and bring it back to her.



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