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Ms A 74v

[74v°] of indispensable things too. And so in this exterior darkness, I was interiorly illumined!

I was taken up, at this time, with a real attraction for objects that were both very ugly and the least convenient. So it was with joy that I saw myself deprived of a pretty little jug in our cell and supplied with another large one, [5] all chipped. I was exerting much effort, too, at not excusing myself, which was very difficult for me, especially with our Novice Mistress from whom I didn’t want to hide anything. Here was my first victory, not too great but it cost me a whole lot. A little vase set behind a window was broken, and our Mistress, thinking it was my fault, [10] showed it to me and told me to be more careful in future. Without a word, I kissed the floor, promising to be more careful in the future. Because of my lack of virtue these little practices cost me very much and I had to console myself with the thought that at the Last Judgment everything would be revealed. I noticed this: when one performs her duty, never excusing herself, no one [15] knows it; on the contrary, imperfections appear immediately.

I applied myself to practicing little virtues, not having the capability of practicing the great. For instance, I loved to fold up the mantles forgotten by the Sisters, and to render them all sorts of little services. Love for mortification was given me, and this love was all the [20] greater because I was allowed nothing by way of satisfying it. The only little mortification I was doing while still in the world, which consisted in not leaning my back against any support while seated, was forbidden me because of my inclination to stoop. Alas! my ardor for penances would not have lasted long had the Superiors allowed them. The penances they did allow me consisted in mortifying my self-love, which did me much more good than corporeal penances.


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Ms A 74r

[74r°] I had no right to oblige Him to do my will instead of His own. I understood, too, that a fiancée should be adorned for her wedding day, and I myself was doing absolutely nothing about this. Then I said to Jesus:

O my God! I don’t ask you to make Profession. I will wait [5] as long as you desire, but what I don’t want is to be the cause of my separation from You through my fault. I will take great care, therefore, to make a beautiful dress enriched with priceless stones, and when You find it sufficiently adorned, I am certain all the creatures in the world will not prevent You from coming down to me to unite me to Yourself forever, O my Beloved!”

[10] I had already received, since my taking of the Habit, abundant lights on religious perfection, principally with regard to the Vow of Poverty. During my postulancy, I was content to have nice things for my use and to have everything necessary for me at my disposal. “My Director” bore this patiently, for He doesn’t like pointing everything out [15] at once to souls. He generally gives His light little by little.

(At the beginning of my spiritual life when I was thirteen or fourteen, I used to ask myself what I would have to strive for later on because I believed it was quite impossible for me to understand perfection better. I learned very quickly since then that the more one advances, the more one sees the goal is still far off. And now I am simply [20] resigned to see myself always imperfect and in this I find my joy.)

But let us return to the lessons “My Director” gave me. One evening, after Compline, I was looking in vain for our lamp on the shelves reserved for this purpose. It was during the time of Great Silence and so it was impossible to complain to anyone about my loss. I understood that a Sister, believing she was taking her lamp, picked up ours which I really needed. Instead of feeling annoyed at being thus deprived of it, I was really happy, feeling that Poverty consists in being deprived not only of agreeable things but


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Ms A 73v

[73v°] heart. Spiritual aridity was my daily bread and, deprived of all consolation, I was still the happiest of creatures since all my desires had been satisfied.

O dear Mother! how sweet our great trial was since [5] from our hearts came only sighs of love and gratitude! We were no longer walking in the way of perfection, we were flying, all five of us. The two poor little exiles of Caen, while still in the world, were no longer of it. Ah! what marvels the trial worked in my dear Céline’s soul! All the letters she wrote at this epoch are filled with resignation and [10] love. And who could express the visits we had together? Ah! far from separating us, Carmel’s grilles united our souls more strongly; we had the same thoughts, the same desires, the same love for Jesus and for souls. When Céline and Thérèse were speaking together, never did a word concerning the things of the earth mingle in their conversations which were already [15] in the heavens. As formerly in the belvédère, they dreamed about things of eternity. To enjoy this endless happiness as soon as possible, they chose as their lot here on earth both suffering and contempt.

Thus flowed by the time of my espousals. It was a very long time indeed for poor little Thérèse! Our Mother Prioress told me, at the end of my year, [20] not to even think of making Profession, that the Father Superior would reject my request. I was to wait for another eight months. I found it difficult, at first, to accept this great sacrifice, but soon light shone in my soul. I was meditating on the Foundations of the Spiritual Life by Father Surin at the time. One day, during my prayer, I understood that my intense desire to make Profession was mixed with a great self-love. Since I had given myself to Jesus to please and console Him,


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Ms A 73r

[73r°] He will bestow on me in the presence of the angels and saints, and now He was giving me only a faint image of this. The consolation I experienced at this thought was very great indeed!

January 10, as I have just said, was my [5] King’s day of triumph. I compare it to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the day of the palms. Like that of our Divine Master, Papa’s glory of a day was followed by a painful passion and this passion was not his alone. Just as the sufferings of Jesus pierced His Mother’s heart with a sword of sorrow, so our hearts experienced the sufferings of the one we cherished [10] most tenderly on earth. I recall that in the month of June, 1888, at the moment of our first trials, I said: “I am suffering very much, but I feel I can still bear greater trials.” I was not thinking then of the ones reserved for me. I didn’t know that on February 12, a month after my reception of the Habit, our dear Father would drink [15] the most bitter and most humiliating of all chalices.

Ah! that day, I didn’t say I was able to suffer more! Words cannot express our anguish, and I’m not going to attempt to describe it. One day, in heaven, we shall love talking to one another about our glorious trials; don’t we already feel happy for having suffered them? [20] Yes, Papa’s three years of martyrdom appear to me as the most lovable, the most fruitful of my life; I wouldn’t exchange them for all the ecstasies and revelations of the saints. My heart overflows with gratitude when I think of this inestimable treasure that must cause a holy jealousy to the angels of the heavenly court.

My desire for suffering was answered, and yet my attraction for it did not diminish. My soul soon shared in the sufferings of my

 

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Ms A 72v

[72v°] At the termination of the ceremony the Bishop intoned the Te Deum. One of the priests remarked to him that this hymn of thanksgiving was usually sung only at Professions, but, once begun, it was continued to the end. And indeed it was fitting that the feast be thus completed [5] since in it were united all the others.After embracing my dear King for the last time, I entered the cloister once more, and the first thing that struck my eye was the statue of “the little Jesus” smiling at me from the midst of flowers and lights. Immediately afterward, my glance was drawn to the snow, the monastery garden was white like me! [10] What thoughtfulness on the part of Jesus! Anticipating the desires of His fiancée, He gave her snow. Snow! What mortal bridegroom, no matter how powerful he may be, could make snow fall from heaven to charm his beloved? Perhaps people wondered and asked themselves this question. What is certain, though, is that many considered the snow on my [15] Clothing Day as a little miracle and the whole town was astonished. Some found I had a strange taste, loving snow!Well, so much the better! This accentuated even more the incomprehensible condescension of the Spouse of virgins, of Him who loves Lilies white as SNOW!The Bishop came into the cloister after the ceremony and was [20] very kind to me. I believe he was very proud I had succeeded and told everyone I was “his little girl.” He was always kind to me on his return trips to the Carmel. I remember especially his visit on the occasion of our Father St. John of the Cross’s Centenary. He took my head in his hands and gave me a thousand caresses; never was I so honored! At the same time, God reminded me of the caresses

 

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