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Last conversations with other sisters

Marie Guérin (Marie de l'Eucharistie)

Mary of the Trinity

Thérèse of St-Augustine

Hermance of the Heart of Jesus

Marie of the Angels

Martha of Jesus

Marie of Jesus

 

 

                     © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 

Marie Guérin (Marie de l'Eucharistie)

 

July 11.

"I advise you, when you have struggles against charity, to read this chapter of the Imitation: 'We must bear with the faults of others.' You will find that your struggles will disappear; it always did me a lot of good. It's very good and very true.'"

July 18.

I asked her to obtain great graces for me when she was in heaven: "Oh! when I am in heaven, I will do very many things, great things. ... It is impossible that it is not God, who has given me this desire; I am sure He will answer me! And also, when I am up there, I will follow you very closely!" And when I told her that this would frighten me: "Does your guardian angel frighten you? He follows you never­theless, all the time; well, I will follow you in the same way, and even

closer! I won't let anything pass you."

July

"It always gives God a very little pain when we rationalize a very lit­tle about what Mother Prioress has said; and it gives Him much pain when we rationalize much, even in our heart."

August 2.

"I don't find any natural pleasure in being loved, coddled, but I find great pleasure in being humiliated. When I make a bad blunder which humiliates me and makes me see what I am, oh! then, I ex­perience a natural pleasure; I experience a real joy such as you ex­perience at being loved."

 

September 11.

"You must become gentle; never any harsh words, never a harsh tone; never take on a harsh look, always be gentle.

"For example, you gave Sister X some trouble yesterday; a few moments afterwards, another Sister did the same. What happened? She cried! Well, if you hadn't treated her harshly, she would have been able to accept the second rebuff better, it would have passed unobserved. But two rebuffs coming close together put her in a state of great sadness; had you been gentle, nothing would have hap­pened."

One day, she made me promise that I would be a saint; she was asking me if I were making any progress, and I answered: "I promise you that I'll be a saint when you have left for heaven; at that moment, I'll put my whole heart into it. "

"Oh! don't wait for that. Begin now. The month which preceded my entrance into Carmel has remained for me a very sweet memory. At first, I said to myself: I'll be a saint when I'm in Carmel; while waiting, I won't put myself out. But God showed me the value of time; I did just the opposite of what I was thinking. I wanted to prepare myself for my entrance by being very faithful, and it's one of the most beautiful months of my life.

"Believe me, don't wait until tomorrow to begin becoming a saint."


 

Mary of the Trinity

April

She told me about the following incident which took place five months before her death:

"One evening, the infirmarian placed a hot-water bottle on my feet and some tincture of iodine on my chest. I was consumed with a fever, a burning thirst was devouring me. When submitting to these remedies, I couldn't resist complaining to Our Lord: 'My Jesus, You are my witness, I am burning, and they bring me still more heat and fire! Ah! if only I had in place of all this a glass of water! . . . My Jesus, your little girl is very thirsty! However, she's happy to find the opportunity of lacking what is necessary in order to resemble You bet­ter and to save souls.' Soon the infirmarian left me, and I didn't ex­pect to see her again except the next morning, when to my great sur­prise she returned a few moments afterwards, bringing me a refreshing drink. . . . Oh! how good our Jesus is! How sweet it is to confide in Him!'"

May

Yesterday, the singing of the "Unpetalled Rose" brought back to my mind a cherished memory. Mother Marie-Henriette of the Paris Carmel, on Messine Avenue, had asked me to beg Sister Thérèse to compose a poem on this subject. As this corresponded with the sen­timents of our dear Saint, she put her whole heart into the com­position. Mother Henriette was very happy to receive it, only she wrote to tell me that a last stanza was missing; it should explain that God, at death, would gather together these plucked petals to form them into a beautiful rose which would shine for all eternity. Then Sister Thérèse said to me:

"Let the good Mother make the stanza herself as she understands it; as for me, I'm not in the least bit inspired to do so. My desire is to be unpetalled forever in order to give joy to God. Period. That's all!

June

I have always felt the three long months of our Angel's agony. I'd been forbidden to speak to her under the pretext that as I was young I might contract her sickness! (I was certain of the opposite, for Sister Thérèse had told me nobody would catch her disease, that she had asked God for this.) Each day, news of her health was sadder and sad­der, and I was smothered with pain. One day, I went to take a walk in the garden, and I saw her in her wheelchair under the chestnut trees.

She was all alone and she made a sign for me to approach. "Oh! no, they would see us, and I have no permission. " I entered the grotto of the Holy Face where I began to cry; lifting up my head, I saw with sur­prise little Sister Thérèse seated on a trunk of a tree at my side. She said:

"I haven't been forbidden to come to you, and even though I should die of it, I want to console you."

She dried my tears and placed my head on her heart. I begged her to return to her wheelchair, for she was trembling with fever:

"Yes, but not before you have laughed for me!"

This I did immediately for fear she would get worse, and I helped her regain her wheelchair. '

I had very much pain at seeing her sick, and I often repeated to her: "Oh! life is sad!" But she took me up immediately, saying:

"Life is not sad! On the contrary, it is very happy. If you were to say: 'The exile is sad,' I would understand you. We make a mistake in giving the name of life to what must come to an end. It is only to the things of heaven, to what must never die that we must give this real

name; and, under this title, life is not sad, but happy, very happy!"

July-August

One feast day, in the refectory, they had forgotten to give me my dessert. After dinner, I went to see Sister Thérèse in the infirmary, and, finding my neighbor at table there, I made her understand in no uncertain terms that I had been forgotten. Sister Thérèse, having heard this, made me go tell the Sister in charge of the food, and when I begged her not to impose this on me, she said:

"No, this is your penance; you're not worthy of the sacrifices God is asking of you. He was asking the deprivation of your dessert, for He was the one who permitted them to forget. He believed you were generous enough to make this sacrifice, and you aren't measuring up to His expectation when going to claim it."

I can say that her lesson bore fruit and cured me forever of any desire to do it again. '

August

This recalls to my mind an intimate memory with Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. It was about a month before her death: the whole community was very sad, and I was second to none in my own sorrow. When going to see her in the infirmary, I noticed a large red balloon at the foot of her bed; it had been given her as a distraction. This balloon excited my interest, and I couldn't help telling her: "How I would love to play with it!" She smiled, but since her weakness was so great that she couldn’t bear any noise whatsoever, she said:

"Get behind me while there is no one here, and play with it; I'm going to close my eyes so that I won't get dizzy."

Delighted, I took the balloon and I was enjoying my game so much that little Thérèse partly opened her eyes to look at me without seeming to do so, and she couldn't help laughing. Then I said to her: "It's too long a time for me to be sad! I can't stand it any longer! I have temptations to distract myself, desires to play with the top you gave me at Christmas, but if they see me, they might be scandalized and say that I haven't any heart. "

"No, no, I oblige you to take your top and go and play for one hour in the attic of the novitiate; no one will hear you there, and if anyone sees you, tell them that I was the one who told you to do it. Go quickly, it will give me much pleasure to think you are going to enjoy yourself."

"When I am in heaven, you will have to fill my little hands with prayers and sacrifices to give me the pleasure of casting these as a shower of graces upon souls."

  

September

Eight days before her death, I had cried all evening when thinking of her approaching death. She noticed it and said:

"You have cried. Was it into the shell?"

I couldn 't lie, and my admission that I didn't do this saddened her. She answered:

"I'm going to die, and I won't be at ease regarding you unless you promise to follow my recommendation faithfully. I attach great im­portance to this for the good of your soul."

I had only to give in and I gave her my word, asking however, as a

favor, permission to cry freely over her death.

The day of her death, after Vespers, I went to the infirmary where I found the Servant of God sustaining with invincible courage the last struggles of the most terrible agony. Her hands were blue; she joined them with anguish and cried out in a voice which the over-stimulation of a violent suffering made clear and strong:

"O my God! . . . have pity on me! . . . O Mary, come to my aid! . . . My God, how I am suffering! . . . The chalice is full. . . . Full to the brim! . . . never will I know how to die!"

Mother Prioress was saying: "Courage, you 're coming to the end, a little while and everything will be finished. "

"No, Mother, it's still not finished! ... I feel that I'm going to suf­fer in this way for months."

"And if this were the will of God to leave you for a long time on the cross, would you accept it?" With an accent of extraordinary heroism, she said:

"I would."

And her head fell back upon the pillow with so calm, so resigned an air that we couldn't hold back our tears. She was absolutely like a martyr awaiting new tortures. I left the infirmary, not having the courage to bear with the very sad spectacle any longer. I didn't return

except with the community for the last moments, and I was witness to her beautiful and long ecstatic gaze at the moment when she died,

Thursday, September 30, 1897, at seven o'clock in the evening.''

 

 

Thérèse of St-Augustine

 

1.

When she (Thérèse) was brought down to the infirmary she said to me, “Your dream is coming true.”
When I went to see her I asked her, “And the black door?”
[This dream is spoken of in a big way ; here is how Mother Agnès summed it up in Sr. Thérèse of St Augustine’s circular.]

The 8th of January 1897, she had this dream:

“I found myself in a very dark apartment,” she said, “closed by a heavy black door under which a very bright ray of light came through. From the next door apartment where I perceived a brilliant light, a voice was heard; it asked for Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus! And I had that impression that near me, in an even darker part of the dark apartment, my dear little Sister was being prepared to answer that call. What was being done to her I don’t know but I heard the same voice insist: “She must be very beautiful!” And with that, I woke up persuaded that my Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was going to leave us soon for Heaven.

Several days after, Sr. Thérèse of Saint Augustine told this dream to Thérèse who replied to her:

“How beautiful! It’s not a dream, it’s a fantasy and it’s for me that you had it. (…) If you knew what good you do for me; haven’t I spoken to you about the state of my soul? (…) I don’t believe in eternal life, it seems to me after this earthly life, there is nothing more. I can’t describe to you the shadows into which I’ve sunk. What you just told me is exactly the state of my soul. The preparation they are doing with me and especially the black door is really the picture of what is happening in me. You saw nothing but red in that door that is so dark, that is to say that all has vanished for me and there is nothing left but love.”

“Oh!” she replied to me, becoming more and more serious. “Your dream is my only ray of light, I have no other. I know it by heart down to the smallest details.” Two days before her death she said to one of her sisters: “You can’t imagine how many times I think of Sr. Thérèse of St Augustine’s dream. If they only knew the good it does me and what consolations it gave me during my illness; it helped me to bear it.”

2.

Several days after her arrival in the infirmary, I went to see her. As soon as she saw me, she stretched her arms toward me and spoke with an accent of inexpressible tenderness:

“Oh, it’s my Sister Thérèse of Saint Augustine!”
Then speaking to the young sisters who were present:
“I beg you, leave me alone with her, I see her so little.”
When we were alone she again expressed the happiness that she had in seeing me. Each of my visits were for her a new source of joy.
The circular continued by attributing these words to Thérèse: “What a consoling prediction in my dark night!...And it’s through you that the good god grants it to me!” she insisted on these words : through you..." and tears filled her eyes.

Up until her death, our dear little Saint testified to her who had thus consoled her, her gratitude and her affection, willingly recalling with us in private the good God’s kindness which meant so much to her heart.

3.

One day I said to her: “You are suffering a lot but you will be well rewarded for it.”
-No, not for the reward but to give him pleasure. How unhappy I would be if I wasn’t abandoned to the good God’s will. Today the doctor says I am lost, tomorrow if I am better he will even let it be understood that I will perhaps be here at the end of April. How tiring this alternative would be; but all that doesn’t touch my soul and disturb its peace. I abandon myself.
-You’re right not to become bothered. I know better than he does and I maintain that you’re without hope, that very certainly you won’t be here the month of April but I worry that you would suffer a lot.
-Oh! Don’t worry yourself about that. The good God wouldn’t give me more than I could endure, we have to leave it to him.

July

"Tell me, have you had any struggles?"

"Oh! yes, I have had some. I've had a nature that wasn't easy­ going; this wasn't apparent exteriorly, but I know it well, and I can assure you that I wasn't a day without suffering, not a single day." "But some think you had none. "

"Ah! the judgments of creatures! Because they don't see, they don't believe!"

"There are some Sisters who believe you will experience the fears of the dying. "

"These haven't come to me as yet. If they should come, I'll bear them; but if I should have them, they would not be sufficient to purify me, they would be no more than Javel water. What I need is the fire of love."

 

 

Hermance of the Heart of Jesus

Last year during the illness of our angelic little sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we were reading the life of Saint Louis de Gonzague in the refectory when our dear Mother was struck by the touching and reciprocal affection of the young Saint and of a venerable religious of the Company of Jesus, Father Corbinelli. “You are the little Louis,” she said to our holy child, “and I am the old Father Corbinelli; when you are in Heaven, remember me!”

-Do you wish me, my Mother, to come soon to look for you?

-No, not yet. I haven’t suffered enough.

-Oh my Mother, I tell you that you have really suffered enough!...”

And Mother of the Heart of Jesus replied: “I don’t dare tell you yes yet….for such a serious thing, we need the sanction of authority.”

Indeed, the request was made to us, and without attaching too much importance to it, we gave a positive answer. It so happened that one of the last days of her life, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus almost unable to speak because of her great weakness, received from our dear Mother a little bouquet with an urgent request to the infirmarian to pass on, as thanks, a single word from our angel. And here was the truly prophetic word:

“Tell Mother Heart of God that this morning during Mass I saw the grave of Father Corbinelli next to that of little Louis.

-That’s well,” replied our good mother, very moved.”Tell Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus that I understand!”

 

 

Mary of the Angels

Mother Agnes of Jesus said to her one day when the community was standing around her bed: "Will you cast some flowers at the com­munity?"

"Oh, no, little Mother, don't ask me to do this, I beg you; I don't want to cast flowers at creatures. I would do it for the Blessed Virgin or St. Joseph but not at any other creatures."

A few days before her death, we had rolled her bed out under the cloister walk. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, in charge of the cloister courtyard, said to her: "Here's a rhododendron shoot that's dying, I'll pull it out."

"Oh, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart," she answered in a little supplicating tone of voice, "I don't understand you. ... 1 beg you, leave life to this poor rhododendron, for me who am about to die."

She had to insist further, but her desire was respected.

 

Martha of Jesus

Several weeks before her death, she sent for me and said:

I will not be easy about you, you must promise me to recite every day a Memorare to the Blessed Virgin.”

I promised her and was faithful to it.

 

Marie of Jesus

 

Her union with God was continual. I remember at the beginning of her illness I was giving her a remedy that took a little time and this was during prayer; I made a remark about it and asked if this wasn’t going to distract her.

“No,” she told me, “I’m going to pray, your remedy can’t keep me from it.”

I understood how this soul completely given to God knew how to make use of everything in order to not lose his presence.


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