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Ms A 72r

[72r°] You are aware, dear Mother, of our bitter sufferings during the month of June, and especially June 24, 1888. These memories are too deeply engraved in the bottom of our hearts to require any mention in writing. O Mother! how we suffered! And this was still only the beginning of [5] the trial.The time for my reception of the Habit had arrived. I was accepted by the conventual chapter, but how could we dream of any kind of ceremony? Already they were talking of giving me the Habit without my going outside the cloister, and then they decided to wait. Against all expectation, our dear Father recovered from his second attack, and the Bishop set the ceremony for January 10. [10] The wait had been long, but what a beautiful celebration it was!Nothing was missing, not even the snow! I don’t know if I’ve already told you how much I love snow? When I was small, its whiteness filled me with delight, and one of the greatest pleasures I had was taking a walk under the light snowflakes. Where did this love of snow come from? Perhaps it was because I was [15] a little winter flower, and the first adornment with which my eyes beheld nature clothed was its white mantle. I had always wished that on the day I received the Habit, nature would be adorned in white just like me. The evening before, I was gazing at the gray skies from which a fine rain was falling every now and again, and the temperature was so mild [20] I could no longer hope for any snow. The following morning the skies hadn’t changed. The celebration, however, was wonderful. The most beautiful, the most attractive flower of all was my dear King; never had he looked so handsome, so dignified. Everybody admired him. This was really his day of triumph and it was to be his last celebration on this earth. He had now given all his children to God, for Céline, too, had confided her vocation to him. He had wept tears of joy, and had gone with her to thank Him who “bestowed such honor on him by taking all his children.”

 

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Ms A 71v

[71v°] of our dear Marie, the oldest in the family being crowned on her wedding day by the youngest, we had to be visited by trial. The preceding year, in May, Papa was seized with a paralytic stroke in the limbs and we were greatly disturbed. But [5] the strong character of my dear King soon took control and our fears disappeared. However, more than once during the trip to Rome we noticed that he easily grew tired and wasn’t as cheerful as usual. What I noticed especially was the progress he was making in perfection. He had succeeded, like St. Francis de Sales, [10] in overcoming his natural impetuosity to such an extent that he appeared to have the most gentle nature in the world. The things of earth seemed hardly to touch him, he easily surmounted contradictions, and God was flooding him with consolations. During his daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament his eyes were often filled with tears and his [15] face breathed forth a heavenly beatitude. When Léonie left the Visitation, he was not disturbed and made no reproaches to God for not having answered the prayers he offered up to obtain his daughter’s vocation. It was even with joy that he left to go and bring her home.

Here is the faith with which Papa accepted the separation of his little Queen, announcing [20] it to his friends in these words: “My dear Friends, Thérèse, my little Queen, entered Carmel yesterday! Only God could demand such a sacrifice. Don’t sympathize with me, for my heart is overflowing with joy.”

It was time that such a faithful servant receive the reward of his works, and it was right that his wages resemble those which God gave to the King of heaven, His only Son. Papa had just made a donation to God of an altar, and it was he who was chosen as victim to be offered with the Lamb without spot.

 

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Ms A 71r

[71r°] with great ease without ceasing to be simple.

I have said that Jesus was “my Director.” Upon entering Carmel, I met one who was to serve me in this capacity, but hardly had I been numbered among his children when he left for exile. Thus [5] I came to know him only to be deprived of him. Reduced to receiving one letter a year from him to my twelve, my heart quickly turned to the Director of directors, and it was He who taught me that science hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to little ones.

[10] The little flower transplanted to Mount Carmel was to expand under the shadow of the cross. The tears and blood of Jesus were to be her dew, and her Sun was His adorable Face veiled with tears. Until my coming to Carmel, I had never fathomed the depths of the treasures hidden in the Holy Face. It was through you, dear Mother, that I learned to know these treasures. Just as formerly [15] you had preceded us into Carmel, so also you were first to enter deeply into the mysteries of love hidden in the Face of our Spouse. You called me and I understood. I understood what real glory was. He whose Kingdom is not of this world showed me that true wisdom consists in “desiring to be unknown and counted as nothing,” in “placing one’s [20] joy in the contempt of self.” Ah! I desired that, like the Face of Jesus, “my face be truly hidden, that no one on earth would know me.” I thirsted after suffering and I longed to be forgotten.

How merciful is the way God has guided me. Never has He given me the desire for anything which He has not given me, and even His bitter chalice seemed delightful to me.

After those beautiful festivities of the month of May, namely, the Profession and taking of the Veil


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Ms A 70v

[70v°] open book to them. However, our Mother Prioress, frequently ill, had little time to spend with me. I know that she loved me very much and said everything good about me that was possible, nevertheless, God permitted that she was VERY SEVERE without her even being aware of it. I was unable to meet her without having to kiss the floor, and it was the same thing on [5] those rare occasions when she gave me spiritual direction. What an inestimable grace! How visibly God was acting within her who took His place! What would have become of me if I had been the “pet” of the community as some of the Sisters believed? Perhaps, instead of seeing Our Lord in my Superiors, I would have looked upon them as [10] ordinary persons only and my heart, so well guarded while I was in the world, would have become humanly attached in the cloister. Happily I was preserved from this misfortune. I loved Mother Prioress very much, but it was a pure affection which raised me to the Bridegroom of my soul.

Our Novice Mistress was really a saint, the finished product of the first [15] Carmelites. I was with her all day long since she taught me how to work. Her kindness toward me was limitless and still my soul did not expand under her direction. It was only with great effort that I was able to take direction, for I had never become accustomed to speaking about my soul and I didn’t know how to express what was going on within it. One good old Mother understood one day what I was experiencing, and [20] she said laughingly during recreation: “My child, it seems to me you don’t have very much to tell your Superiors.” “Why do you say that, Mother?” “Because your soul is extremely simple, but when you will be perfect, you will be even more simple; the closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.” The good Mother was right; however, the difficulty I had in revealing my soul, while coming from my simplicity, was a veritable trial; I recognize it now, for I express my thoughts


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Ms A 70r

[70r°] nothing revealed my suffering, which was all the more painful since I alone was aware of it. Ah! what a surprise we shall have at the end of the world when we shall read the story of souls! There will be those who will be surprised when they see the way through which my soul was guided!

[5] This is so true that, a few months after I entered, Father Pichon, having come for the Profession of Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, was surprised to see what God was doing in my soul. He told me that he was watching me at prayer in the choir one evening, and that he believed my fervor was childish and my way was very sweet. My interview with the good Father was a great consolation to me, but it was [10] veiled in tears because I experienced much difficulty in confiding in him. I made a general confession, something I had never made before, and at its termination he spoke the most consoling words I ever heard in my life: “In the presence of God, the Blessed Virgin, and all the Saints, I DECLARE THAT YOU HAVE NEVER COMMITTED A MORTAL SIN.” [15] Then he added: “Thank God for what He has done for you; had He abandoned you, instead of being a little angel, you would have become a little demon.” I had no difficulty in believing it; I felt how weak and imperfect I was and gratitude flooded my soul. I had such a great fear of soiling my baptismal robe that such an assurance, coming [20] from the mouth of a director such as St. Teresa desired, i.e., one combining knowledge and virtue, it seemed to me to be coming from the mouth of Jesus Himself. The good priest also spoke these words which are engraved in my heart: “My child, may Our Lord always be your Superior and your Novice Master.”

He was this in fact, and He was also “my Director.” I don’t mean by this that I closed my soul to my Superiors; far from it, for I tried always to be an


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