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From Mother Agnes of Jesus to Mr. and Mme Guérin - December 6, 1896.

From Sr. Agnes of Jesus to Mr and Mme Guérin 6th December 1896

Read this letter all the way through before deciphering the little note in pencil.

Private

J.M.J.T.

Jesus

Dear Aunt and Uncle,

Our Mother has allowed me to write to you without showing her the letter. She’ssure that at Christmas you will fill her alpagates (sandals with cord soles) beside the fireplace again this year … Incidentally, I will ask dear Providence, in other words Uncle, to fill just one of mine with money. I’m in great need of it… I thank him advance by sending him lots of kisses and wishing him better health.

Aunt will, I hope, choose the toy I’ve requested (for one of Mother Marie de Gonzague’s little nephews) and also a bag of chocolate [I v°] sweets for our nurse to help our Mother regain her appetite a bit. For the Benjamin I would very much like a little bag like last year which I can put in her alpargates on behalf of her dear Aunt and Uncle. One has to spoil children a bit sometimes. I am however very severe usually. I have caused the poor little one much suffering, but for her own good… she realises this, now that her flight towards God is well underway!

I will take advantage of our Mother's permission to tell you a little secret. Ever since the elections, with theSuperior's permission, I have been busy directing the little Lay Sister (Sister Marie-Madeleine). It seemed to me for several very compelling reasons that she was in need of it. However, having become aware that she was not profiting from it enough to merit me exposing myself to such great perils, I recently gave up. Sr Marie of the Eucharist, while washing dishes yester­day and the day before with the poor child, constantly spoke to her about perfection, about her own experience of infidelities that make the soul so downcast, about her aversion to going to confide in Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, about her final victory, and her present happiness. The matter was settled. Sister Marie-Madeleine appeared to be won over, and, taking her companion angel by the hand, she said with sincerity, “Well, it’s true, I don’t want to remain like this, sulking in my little corner. I will do as you did, and in spite of my invincible aversion I will go to seek the one whom our Mother has given us as Mistress, so to speak. You will take me to her on Tues­day, the day of the Immaculate Conception.” “It’s agreed.”

Here, then, were two happy children. Sr M. of the Eucharist came to tell me all about it, and I hid my feelings from her. I found she had worked a marvel, for I have not told you and could not make you understand the degree to which Sr Marie-Madeleine is estranged from Sr Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and feels that she reads to the very depths of her soul. Consequently, she is obliged to wage a real war against her nature. For a whole year, when I was Prioress, I obliged her to go to Thérèse for a half-hour on Sundays, and I know what it cost her.

However, our little heroine had not taken into account the Devil. Night brings dark counsel, and the following morning, alas! The resolution of the poor tempted soul was unshakeable; she would not go and see Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. "Not being obliged to do so by authority," she said, "no, I will not go, don’t bring it up again. When our Mother assigns her to us as Mistress openly, then I will go, but not before.”

My preacher, then, was inconsolable, and I admit that I was too... during silence before Matins, tears came to my eyes seeing and discovering how difficult it is to do any good!

In response to Sr M. of the Eucharist’s note, which gave me the latest information on the matter, I in turn took pen in hand and replied that God would bless her, but that she mustn’t forget to pray for me, because my heart was very heavy seeing that all my effort had come to nothing on so many occasions. “But,” I added, “I hope to have done you, my poor little one, some real good, because [3 v°] you have a righteous heart and we can justly apply the following psalm to you: ‘Light has arisen in the darkness unto the righteous of heart.’”

Here is her second reply which, I’ll admit, made me shed tears of joy; I’m sending it to you both for your consolation, dearest Aunt and Uncle. Oh, yes! Rejoice because your dear child will become a Saint. She came with me yesterday evening, 5th December, the anniversary of Mother Geneviève’s death, to knock twice on the door at the altar where Mother Geneviève’s heart is (kept), naively saying: “Dear Mother, don’t forget me, make it so I’m accepted for profession”… Yes, the dear little one will stay in [4r°] this blessed sanctuary and I wouldn’t be surprised if, later on, God entrusted her with great things.

That, dear Aunt and Uncle, is what I wanted to tell you. Don’t mention it in the visiting room, I would like her not to know; it is so easy to lose religious simplicity, and there is something so appealing about a soul that is unaware of its own candour! Whereas when one feels admired, all these charms vanish. I don’t know whether I am making myself understood, I’m writing so fast and am in such a hurry.

I send you lots of love… I love you. Oh! I have no doubt [4 v°] these intimate details will interest you!...I hope God will forgive me for having used a ruse to tell you this, as Our Mother is convinced I am writing to you about the toy.

Ah! Our Mother will forgive me herself one day! What discoveries shall be made on the last day! I rejoice at the thought because although I am very imperfect, deep down I seek nothing but Jesus’ Glory.

I’ll be in touch again soon!

Your poor child

Sr Agnes of Jesus

I send a big kiss to my little Léonie. Let her bring her little baby clothes to me herself.

[4 v°tv] Our Mother has allowed me to send you the life of Fr Chicard. Don’t skip any of it, it’s very interesting. It will entertain Uncle. Do you still have that of H. Suzo?

[1 r°tv.] Do you have any new documents on D. Vaughan?

 © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc (for the published sections)

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