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[68r°] grille, and there I saw a radiant little Jesus holding a ball in His hand and on it was written my name. The Carmelites, taking the place of Jesus who was too little to speak, sang a hymn to me which was composed by my dear Mother; each word poured consolation into my soul. Never shall I forget [5] this delicate attention of a maternal heart that always covered me with exquisite tenderness. After thanking all by shedding copious tears, I told them about the surprise Céline gave me when I returned from Midnight Mass. I found in my room, in the center of a charming basin, a little boat carrying the Little Jesus asleep with a little ball at [10] His side, and Céline had written these words on the white sail: “I sleep but my heart watches,” and on the boat itself this one word: “Abandonment!” Ah! though Jesus was not yet speaking to His little fiancée, and though His divine eyes remained closed, He at least revealed Himself to her through souls who understood all the delicacies and the love of His Heart.

[15] On New Year’s day, 1888, Jesus again gave me a present of His cross, but this time I was alone in carrying it. It was all the more painful as I did not understand it. A letter from Mother Marie de Gonzague informed me that the Bishop’s answer had arrived December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents, but that she had not told me as it was decided that my entrance [20] would be delayed until after Lent. I was unable to hold back my tears at the thought of such a long wait. This trial had a particular characteristic about it: I saw all my bonds broken as far as the world was concerned, but this time it was the holy ark itself which refused entrance to the poor little dove. I really want to believe I must have appeared unreasonable in not accepting my three months’ exile joyfully, but I also believe that, without its appearing so, this trial was very great and made me grow very much in abandonment and in the other virtues.


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