Little words drawn by lot on Feast Days


Inspirational phrases drawn by lot on Feast Days


Here is the collection “inspirational phrases” preserved in the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.  Translation: Juan Marrero.

Some of which were originally from our Founding Carmel of Poitiers.

cadre mots

The custom of drawing lots for inspirational phrases (on carefully designated feast days) was a way for each Carmelite to seek personal counsel from the Holy Spirit. The Spiritual Direction Manual marked carefully the interior state with which one should participate, for example, seeking the assistance of a saint: “Holy Spirit, who penetrates the secrets of hearts and who sees clearly the needs of my soul, lead me to the Saint whom you wish me to honor, and to the virtue for which I have the greatest need. Holy Virgin, take my hand that it may find the token that will lead to what is most suitable for me.” It was confidence that the Holy Spirit would directly guide the hand to the right end, hence providing the needed spiritual nourishment, which informed the practice. Moreover, at a time when the Divine Office was recited exclusively in Latin, this type of para-liturgy nourished the sisters' devotions.

choix mots fond2


The drawing of lots was carried out in two ways. If the phrases had been written on separate cards or paper leaves, they were then gathered in a basket and each participant in turn would draw one out. If the Carmelite wished, the phrase could be recopied, as Therese did on occasion. In cases involving a printed collection of phrases, such as the “Gifts of the Infant Jesus”, each person would draw a number linked to a specific message on the list.   On Feast Days, the phrases would be randomly selected at recreation time and each Carmelite would read hers to the others. 


The saint of the month SOON
  Testaments of St John of the Cross
    (variant of the following "Services")
Services to the Court of Jesus the King
  The Epiphany