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Biography of Marie Guerin (Marie of the Eucharist)


Cousin and novice St. Therese of the Child Jesus

1870-1905

sign MarieGuerin

Contemporaries since childhood


After her sisters, no one was closer to Saint Therese than her cousin Marie Guérin who entered the Carmel of Lisieux August 15th, 1895. She took the name Sister Marie of the Eucharist and benefited during her novitiate from the guidance of Thérèse, responsible for training young sisters.

But in the world there existed very close links between them. Marie's father was the brother of Mrs. Martin and readers of Story of a Soul know the role played by Uncle Guérin in the vocation of the young Thérèse, when he was first resolutely opposed. Mrs.
Martin's death had made him the guardian of his nieces, and Mr. Martin did not hesitate to leave Alençon for Lisieux in 1877 to bring his daughters near their uncle, aunt and two little cousins: Jeanne, born in 1868, and Marie who came into the world August 22nd,1870. A boy came to fulfill the expectations of Mr. and Mrs. Guérin, but died at birth, October 16th, 1871, little Paul Guérin.
In the relations between the Buissonnets and the Guerin pharmacy, we note many a trace in Thérèse’s manuscripts, also in the letters of our saint. Cousins ​​Jeanne, Marie, Celine and Therese attended the school run by Benedictines and they met again on Thursday and Sunday, shared games and walks, or just close relaxation with family. We remember Marie and Therese playing hermits (Ms A, 23r), but also staying at Deauville, Trouville, thanks to invitations from the Guérins, plus excursions at Saint-Ouen-le-Pin; Therese would draw this little country house that was owned by Mrs. Fournet - Mrs. Guérin’s mother-a drawing that would merit the grade “very good” on the part of her aunt.   

Personality of Marie Guerin


Marie Guerin - older than Thérèse by just three years - had a fiery soul in a frail and sickly body, the temperament of an artist (she excelled at the piano and had a voice like a nightingale), she appeared by turns languid and a joker, according to her mood swings and the vagaries of her health.

All her life was marked by the weighty trial of scruples.
She was smart and made sure to obtain the best rankings despite her frequent absences in class. Somewhat spoiled by her parents however, she was prepared with great care for her First Communion by her mother herself. She will later write this memory of such an event: "No one better than I can say that on this day, the most beautiful of my life, Jesus called me to religious life and we promised each other fidelity." (Letter to Sr. M. Joseph of the Cross, 1902).
The path of this vocation will be however chaotic and difficult; the rich character of Marie, fears that inspired in her an uneasy conscience, the hypersensitivity that made her impulsive. Everything in her begged for time so that things would be easier.

Her doubts, her agonizing indecision, she would only be delivered from this in 1890 on the occasion of Therese’s taking of the Veil and her choice deliberately settled on Carmel.

Influence of Therese on her cousin


We must highlight the role of Therese during the decisive years. In addition to meetings in the world, and later parlors in the  Carmel from 1888, there was correspondence between the two cousins. To the confidences of the elder, Therese will respond by already being guide and counselor.

If one moans her unworthiness, the other replies: Marie, if you are nothing, you must not forget that Jesus is All, so you must lose your little nothingness in His infinite All and think only of this uniquely lovable All.... Neither ought you desire to see the fruit gathered from your efforts, for Jesus is pleased to keep for Himself alone these little nothings that console Him." (LT-109 July 1890).

If one confesses scruples that keep her from Communion, the other will answer with ardor: "When the devil has managed to remove a soul from holy Communion, he has gained all, and Jesus is crying ... O darling, think that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone, he burns with the desire to enter your heart ... It is impossible that a heart that rests only in view of the tabernacle offends Jesus to the point of not being able to receive it. What offends Jesus, what wounds his heart, is the lack of confidence ... Receive Communion often, very often ... That's the only remedy if you want to heal. "  (LT-92, May 30th, 1889)


We know that Saint Pius X was enthusiastic when he later read that latter text, and he exclaimed, "You must do this Process quickly!" because he recognized there all the doctrine inherent in his own decrees concerning frequent communion.

In Carmel


Mr. and Mrs. Guerin had gradually became accustomed to the vocation of their daughter, a kind of honor done to them by the Lord. I can now die, wrote Mr. Guerin, because I am leaving a bright lamp behind me that will never cease to burn before the divine Eucharist. March 14, 1897.
  His wife echoed him, How good God is to have opened my eyes, and to have had me understand religious vocation! (December 31, 1896).

Therese, for her part, wrote for the entry of her cousin the poem: "Canticle of a soul having found the place of its rest" (Poem 21), of which verse evokes the program of the new postulant: 

O Jesus! on this day, you have fulfilled all my desires.
From now on, near the Eucharist, I shall be able
To sacrifice myself in silence, to wait for Heaven in peace.
Keeping myself open to the rays of the Divine Host,
In this furnace of love, I shall be consumed,
And like a seraphim, Lord, I shall love you.

The broadmindedness of Mother Marie de Gonzague thus enabled Marie Guerin to join the Carmel with her four Martin cousins.
And thus, there Sister Mary of the Eucharist became the novice of Therese. She will receive the Habit on March 17th, 1896 and make Profession on March 25th, 1897.
At first she joined eagerly in the Carmelite life as she imagined, so desired. But there was her nature.
Therese grasps the whole psychological complex of where her cousin struggles, so mistrustful of herself that she was fainthearted, so given to introspection she did not get out of continual self-preoccupation. Sensitive and sentimental, she risked becoming attached unwisely to a prioress. Demonstrating a certain frivolity, she did not fall spontaneously into a serious religious life. Therese took her task seriously; in regards to everything, she tried hard to reorient a heart too sensitive, to correct wayward behavior, to infuse selflessness, zeal for souls, humility in little conflicts of common life. The poems she dedicated to Sister Marie of the Eucharist are bearers of a curriculum:
Jesus alone (P.N. 36)
My weapons (P.N. 48)

Moreover the younger sister is charming, sincere, laughing. Had Therese not called her one day a "gaiety to make stones laugh "? This trait of her character follows her in Carmel.


Witness of Therese


But we are in 1897 and Therese will die. If she does not loosen her surveillance as a big sister in regard to Marie, it is Marie who, in the parlor or with the pen, opens the door to her parents and give news of their niece. Sister Marie of the Eucharist’s letters between April and September 1897 deliver invaluable information on the evolution of the disease and the attitude of the sick person.
We also see the young nun's request to her parents for everything that could relieve Therese, and because Mr. and Mrs. Guerin had always shown an extreme and delicate generosity for Carmel. It is moving to note the firmness with which the Mistress adresses the novice on September 11th, without introversion while being at death’s door:
"You have to become very kind: never be hard, hard ... So yesterday you hurt Sister X ... A few moments later, another sister did too. What happened? She cried ... Two reproaches so close together put her in a state of very great sadness, whereas if you would had been kind, nothing would have happened. "

After she left, Therese would continue her mission with Sister Marie of the Eucharist. She recognizes it when she wrote to her mother: "... my little Angel is leading me by the way of love. You don’t need lofty thoughts to go to heaven, you need love, and my whole retreat rests on this one word. My little Sister is teaching me a great deal on the subject."(May 29th, 1899)

 

Last years


On February 13th, 1900, Mrs. Guérin died at the age of 53. Her daughter felt this ordeal painfully, as they were close. But already the health of the young Carmelite was altered, and while following the success of the first editions
the Story of a Soul and echoes that the Carmel was receiving, she must accept, not without difficulty, waiving the full observance of the Rule.

Suffering created in her abandonment to the will of God, during these twenty-one months where tuberculosis will finish consuming her and prepare her to appear before God.

Administered January 15th, 1905, she will die on April 14th, 34 years and 7 months old. "I am not afraid to die. Oh! What peace! There should not be fear of suffering, He always gives strength ... " She died after crying out, "My Jesus, I love you. "

Of St. Therese’s five novices, she was the first to join her. Under her influence, she entered the legion of little victims of Merciful Love, and her prayer helped her to cross the passage of death. One of the Sisters who witnessed it said of that death several years later: "When we saw Sister Marie of the Eucharist, we could not be afraid of death. "

Back to the page of Marie Guerin

Cousin and novice St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Sister Marie of the Eucharist
Marie Guerin (1870-1905)


Contemporaries since childhood
After her sisters, no one was closer to Saint Therese than her cousin Marie Guérin who entered the Carmel of Lisieux August 15th, 1895. She took the name Sister Marie of the Eucharist and benefited during her novitiate from the guidance of Thérèse, responsible for training young sisters.
But in the world there existed very close links between them. Marie's father was the brother of Mrs. Martin and readers of Story of a Soul know the role played by Uncle Guérin in the vocation of the young Thérèse, when he was first resolutely opposed. Mrs.
Martin's death had made him the guardian of his nieces, and Mr. Martin did not hesitate to leave Alençon for Lisieux in 1877 to bring his daughters near their uncle, aunt and two little cousins: Jeanne, born in 1868, and Marie who came into the world August 22nd,1870 (a boy came to fulfill the expectations of Mr. and Mrs. Guérin, but died at birth, October 16th, 1871).
In the relations between the Buissonnets and the Guerin pharmacy, we
note many a trace in Thérèse’s manuscripts, also in the letters of our saint. Cousins ​​Jeanne, Marie, Celine and Therese attended the school run by Benedictines and they met again on Thursday and Sunday, shared games and walks, or just close relaxation with family. We remember Marie and Therese playing hermits (MS, 2320), but also staying at Deauville, Trouville, thanks to invitations from the Guérins, plus excursions at Saint-Ouen-le-Pin; Therese would draw this little country house that was owned by Mrs. Fournet - Mrs. Guérin’s mother-a drawing that would merit the grade “very good” on the part of her aunt.   

Personality of Marie Guerin
Marie Guerin - older than Thérèse by just three years - had a fiery soul in a frail and sickly body, the temperament of an artist (she excelled at the piano and had a voice like a nightingale), she appeared by turns languid and a joker, according to her mood swings and the vagaries of her health.

All her life was marked by the weighty trial of scruples.
She was smart and made sure to obtain the best rankings despite her frequent absences in class. Somewhat spoiled by her parents however, she was prepared with great care for her First Communion by her mother herself. She will later write this memory of such an event: "No one better than I can say that on this day, the most beautiful of my life, Jesus called me to religious life and we promised each other fidelity." (Letter to Sr. M. Joseph of the Cross, 1902).
The path of this vocation will be however chaotic and difficult; the rich character of Marie, fears that inspired in her an uneasy conscience, the hypersensitivity that made her impulsive. Everything in her begged for time so that things would be easier.

Her doubts, her agonizing indecision, she would only be delivered from this in 1890 on the occasion of Therese’s taking of the Veil and her choice deliberately settled on Carmel.

Influence of Therese on her cousin
We must highlight the role of Therese during the decisive years. In addition to meetings in the world, and later parlors in the  Carmel from 1888, there was correspondence between the two cousins. To the confidences of the elder, Therese
will respond by already being guide and counselor. If one moans
her unworthiness, the other replies: "Marie, if you are nothing, remember that Jesus is all; you must also lose your little nothing in this infinite all and think only of this loveable all ... Do not desire either to see the fruit of your efforts, Jesus likes to keep for Him alone those little things that the console him. "(Letter in July 1890.)

 

If one confesses scruples that keep her from Communion, the other will answer with ardor: "When the devil has managed to remove a soul from holy Communion, he has gained all, and Jesus is crying ... 0 darling, think that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone, he burns with the desire to enter your heart ... It is impossible that a heart that rests only in view of the tabernacle offends Jesus to the point of not being able to receive it. What offends Jesus, what wounds his heart, is the lack of confidence ... Receive Communion often, very often ... That's the only remedy if you want to heal. "
(Letter of May 30th, 1889.)   [we will place the exact translation of TH]


We know that Saint Pius X was enthusiastic when he later read
that latter text, and he exclaimed, "You must do this Process quickly!" because
he recognized there all the doctrine inherent in his own decrees concerning frequent communion.

In Carmel
Mr. and Mrs. Guerin had gradually became accustomed to the vocation of their daughter, a kind of honor done to them by the Lord: "We can now die,” wrote
Mr. Guérin, “as we leave behind us a burning lamp that will never cease to burn before the divine Eucharist ." His wife echoed him, “How it is good to have opened my eyes, showing me the beauty of the religious vocation. "
Therese, for her part, wrote for the entry of her cousin the poem "Song of a soul who found repose" of which verse evokes the program of the new postulant:


Use the translation on the website:

0 Jesus, on this day, you fill my wishes:
I can now close to the Eucharist
Immolate myself in silence, waiting for the heavens in peace.
Exposing me to the rays of the divine sacrifice,
At this home with love I consume,
And as a seraph, Lord, I love you.

The broadmindedness of Mother Marie de Gonzague thus enabled Marie Guerin to join the Carmel with her four Martin cousins.
And thus, there Sister Mary of the Eucharist became the novice of Therese. She will receive the Habit on March 17th, 1896 and make Profession on March 25th, 1897.
At first she joined eagerly in the Carmelite life as she imagined, so desired. But there was her nature.
Therese grasps the whole psychological complex of where her cousin struggles, so mistrustful of herself that she was fainthearted, so given to introspection she did not get out of continual self-preoccupation. Sensitive and sentimental, she risked becoming attached unwisely to a prioress. Demonstrating a certain frivolity, she did not fall spontaneously into a serious religious life. Therese took her task seriously; in regards to everything, she tried hard to reorient a heart too sensitive, to correct wayward behavior, to infuse selflessness, zeal for souls, humility in little conflicts of common life. The poems she dedicated to Sister Marie of the Eucharist are bearers of a curriculum:
Jesus alone (P.N. 36)
My weapons (P.N. 48)

Moreover the younger sister is charming, sincere, laughing. Had Therese not called her one day a "gaiety to make stones laugh "? This trait of her character follows her in Carmel.


Witness of Therese
But we are in 1897 and Therese will die. If she does not loosen her surveillance as a big sister in regard to Marie, it is Marie who, in the parlor or with the pen, opens the door to her parents and give news of their niece. Sister Marie of the Eucharist’s letters between April and September 1897 deliver invaluable information on the evolution of the disease and the attitude of the sick person.
We also see the young nun's request to her parents for everything that could relieve Therese, and because Mr. and Mrs. Guerin had always shown an extreme and delicate generosity for Carmel. It is moving to note the firmness with which the Mistress adresses the novice on September 11th, without introversion while being at death’s door:
"You have to become very kind: never be hard, hard ... So yesterday you hurt Sister X ... A few moments later, another sister did too. What happened? She cried ... Two reproaches so close together put her in a state of very great sadness, whereas if you would had been kind, nothing would have happened. "

After she left, Therese would continue her mission with Sister Marie of the Eucharist. She recognizes it when she wrote: "The way in which our little angel led me is Love. It is not beautiful thoughts that are needed to go to Heaven, it is Love. My little sister taught me a lot on this subject. "(To her mother, May 29th, 1899.)

 

Last years
On February 13th, 1900, Mrs. Guérin died at the age of 53. Her daughter felt this ordeal painfully, as they were close. But already the health of the young Carmelite was altered, and while following the success of the first editions
the Story of a Soul and echoes that the Carmel was receiving, she must accept, not without difficulty, waiving the full observance of the Rule.

Suffering created in her abandonment to the will of God, during these twenty-one months where tuberculosis will finish consuming her and prepare her to appear before God.

 Administered January 15th, 1905, she will die on April 14th, 34 years and 7 months old.
"I am not afraid to die. Oh! What peace! There should not be fear of suffering, He always gives strength ... " She died after crying out, "My Jesus, I love you. "

Of St. Therese’s five novices, she was the first to join her. Under her influence, she entered the legion of little victims of Merciful Love, and her prayer helped her to cross the passage of death. One of the Sisters who witnessed it said of that death several years later: "When we saw Sister Marie of the Eucharist, we could not be afraid of death. "

 

*

 

Cousine et novice de Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus

Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie
Marie Guérin (1870-1905)

 

 

Contemporaines dès l'enfance

Après ses sœurs, nulle ne fut plus proche de Sainte Thérèse que
sa cousine Marie Guérin : entrée au Carmel de Lisieux le 15 août
1895, elle prit le nom de Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie et bénéficia
durant son noviciat de la conduite de Thérèse, chargée de la
formation des jeunes sœurs.

Mais, dans le monde, il existait déjà entre elles des liens très
étroits : le père de Marie était le frère de Mme Martin et les
lecteurs de l'Histoire d'une Ame savent le rôle joué par l'oncle
Guérin dans la vocation de la jeune Thérèse, à laquelle il fut
d'abord résolument opposé. C'est que la mort de Mme Martin avait
fait de lui le tuteur de ses nièces, et M. Martin n'avait pas hésité
à quitter Alençon pour Lisieux en 1877 afin de rapprocher ses filles
de l'oncle, de la tante et des deux petites cousines : Jeanne, née
en 1868, et Marie qui était venue au monde le 22 août 1870 (un
garçon était venu combler l'attente de M. et Mme Guérin, mais il
mourut dès sa naissance, le 16 octobre 1871).

Des relations entre les Buissonnets et la pharmacie Guérin, on
relève mainte trace dans les Manuscrits de Thérèse comme aussi
dans les Lettres de notre Sainte. Les cousines Jeanne, Marie,
Céline, Thérèse, fréquentaient l'école tenue par les Bénédictines,
et elles se rencontraient encore les jeudis et dimanches pour
partager jeux et promenades, ou tout simplement détente intime
en famille. On se souvient de Marie et Thérèse jouant aux solitaires
(Ms, 2320), mais également des séjours à Deauville ou Trouville
grâce aux invitations des Guérin, sans oublier les excursions à
Saint-Ouen-le-Pin : Thérèse dessinera cette petite maison de
campagne qu'y possédait Mme Fournet - mère de Mme Guérin
-, dessin qui méritera la mention « très bien » de la part de sa
tante-

Personnalité de Marie Guérin

Marie Guérin - plus âgée que Thérèse de trois ans à peine -,
avait une âme ardente dans un corps frêle et souffreteux; tem-
pérament d'artiste (elle excellait au piano et avait une voix de
rossignol), elle se montrait tour à tour languissante ou boute-en-train, selon les sautes de son humeur et les aléas de sa santé. Toute
sa vie fut marquée par la lourde épreuve des scrupules.
Elle était intelligente et s'assurait les meilleures places malgré ses
absences fréquentes en classe. Quelque peu gâtée par ses pa-
rents, elle fut cependant préparée avec grand soin à sa Première
Communion par sa mère elle-même; elle pourra écrire plus tard ce
souvenir d'un tel événement : « Nul mieux que moi ne peut vous
dire qu'en ce jour, le plus beau de ma vie, Jésus m'a appelée à la
vie religieuse et nous nous sommes promis fidélité. » (A Sr
M.-Joseph de la Croix, 1902.)

Le cheminement de cette vocation sera cependant cahotique et
difficile : le caractère très riche de Marie, les craintes que lui
inspirait une conscience inquiète, l'hypersensibilité qui la rendait
impulsive, tout en elle postulait l'épreuve du temps afin que soit
aplani le chemin de la grâce. De ses doutes, de ses tiraillements,
elle ne sera délivrée qu'en 1890, à l'occasion de la Prise de Voile
de Thérèse, et son choix se fixera délibérément sur le Carmel.

4

Influence de Thérèse sur sa cousine

Il faut mettre en lumière le rôle de Thérèse au cours de ces années
décisives : outre les rencontres dans le monde, puis au parloir du
Carmel à partir de 1888, il y eut échange de correspondance entre
les deux cousines. Aux confidences de l'aînée, c'est Thérèse qui
va répondre en se faisant déjà guide et conseillère. Si l'une gémit
sur son indignité, l'autre lui répond : « Marie, si tu n'es rien, il ne
faut pas oublier que Jésus est tout : aussi il faut perdre ton petit
rien dans cet infini tout et ne plus penser qu'à ce tout uniquement
aimable... Il ne faut pas désirer non plus voir le fruit de tes efforts,
Jésus se plaît à garder pour Lui seul ces petits riens qui le
consolent. » (Lettre juillet 1890.) Si l'une avoue les scrupules qui
la tiennent éloignée de la Communion, l'autre réplique avec
ardeur : « Quand le diable a réussi à éloigner une âme de la sainte
Communion, il a tout gagné, et Jésus pleure... 0 ma chérie, pense
donc que Jésus est là dans le tabernacle exprès pour toi, pour toi
seule, il brûle du désir d'entrer dans ton cœur... Il est impossible
qu'un cœur qui ne se repose que dans la vue du tabernacle offense
Jésus au point de ne pouvoir le recevoir. Ce qui offense Jésus, ce
qui le blesse au cœur, c'est le manque de confiance... Communie
souvent, bien souvent... Voilà le seul remède si tu veux guérir. »
(Lettre du 30 mai 1889.)

On sait que le Saint Pape Pie X s'enthousiasma lorsqu'on lui fit lire
ce dernier texte, et il s'exclama : « Il faut faire vite ce Procès », car
il avait reconnu là toute la doctrine qui sous-tendait ses propres
décrets au sujet de la communion fréquente.

Au Carmel

M. et Mme Guérin s'étaient peu à peu habitués à la vocation de
leur fille, jusqu'à concevoir tout ¡'honneur qui leur était fait de la
donner au Seigneur : « Nous pouvons maintenant mourir, écrivait
M. Guérin puisque nous laissons après nous une lampe ardente qui
ne cessera jamais de brûler devant la divine Eucharistie »; sa
femme lui faisait écho : « Qu'il est bon de m'avoir ouvert les yeux
en me faisant comprendre la beauté de la vocation religieuse. »
Thérèse, de son côté, compose pour l'entrée de sa cousine le
poème : « Cantique d'une âme ayant trouvé le repos » dont une
strophe évoque tout le programme de la nouvelle postulante :

0 Jésus, en ce jour, tu combles tous mes vœux :

Je pourrai désormais près de l'Eucharistie

M'immoler en silence, attendre en paix les cieux.

M'exposant aux rayons de la divine hostie,

A ce foyer d'amour je me consumerai,

Et comme un séraphin, Seigneur, je t'aimerai.

La largeur d'esprit de Mère Marie de Gonzague a donc permis à

Marie Guérin de rejoindre au Carmel ses quatre cousines Martin.

Et, de ce fait, voici Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie devenue la novice

de Thérèse. Elle recevra l'Habit le 17 mars 1896 et fera Profession

le 25 mars 1897.

De prime abord elle entre avec ardeur dans cette vie carmélitaine
qu'elle a tant imaginée, tellement désirée. Mais sa nature est là.
Thérèse saisit tout le complexe psychologique où se débat sa
cousine, tellement défiante d'elle-même qu'elle en était pusilla-
nime, tellement portée à l'instrospection qu'elle ne sortait pas
d'une continuelle préoccupation de soi. Sensible et sentimentale,
elle risquait de s'attacher inconsidérément à telle prieure; faisant
preuve d'une certaine légèreté, elle n'entrait pas spontanément
dans le sérieux de la vie religieuse. Thérèse, elle, prit sa tâche au
sérieux : à propos de tout, elle s'attacha à reorienter ce cœur trop
sensible, à redresser les comportements capricieux, à insuffler
l'oubli de soi, le zèle des âmes, l'humilité dans les menus conflits
de la vie commune. Les poèmes qu'elle dédia à Sœur Marie de
l'Eucharistie sont porteurs de tout un programme :

Jésus seul (P.N. 36)

Mes armes (P.N. 48)

Au demeurant la jeune sœur est attachante, sincère, rieuse à ses
heures... Thérèse ne l'avait-elle pas qualifiée un jour « d'une gaieté
à faire rire les pierres »? Ce trait de son caractère se retrouve au
Carmel, et elle saura par exemple rimer avec humour vingt et un
couplets sur les détails d'une journée au monastère.

Témoin de Thérèse

Mais nous sommes en 1897 et Thérèse va mourir. Si elle ne relâche
pas sa surveillance de grande sœur à l'égard de sa novice, c'est
celle-ci qui, au parloir ou par la plume, porte à ses parents les nouvelles de leur nièce. Les lettres de Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie
entre avril et septembre 1897 livrent de précieux détails sur l'évolu-
tion de la maladie et sur l'attitude de la malade : l'édition des
Derniers Entretiens publie des passages importants de 23 d'entre
elles qui donnent quelque idée de tout ce qui se passait autour de
la chère mourante. On y voit aussi la jeune religieuse solliciter ses
parents pour tout ce qui pouvait soulager Thérèse, car M. et
Mme Guérin s'étaient toujours montrés d'une extrême et délicate
générosité pour le Carmel.

Il est émouvant de remarquer la fermeté avec laquelle la Maîtresse
reprend encore sa novice le 11 septembre, sans aucun repliement
sur elle-même, alors qu'elle est aux portes de la mort :

« Il faudrait que vous deveniez bien douce : jamais de paroles
dures, de ton dur... Ainsi hier, vous avez fait de la peine à Sœur X...
Quelques instants après, une sœur lui en a fait aussi. Qu'est-il
arrivé? elle a pleuré... Deux peines si rapprochées l'ont mise dans
un état de tristesse bien grande, tandis que si vous aviez été douce,
rien ne serait arrivé. »

Lorsqu'elle aura quitté la terre, Thérèse continuera sa mission
auprès de Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie, celle-ci le reconnaît quand
elle écrit : « La voie par laquelle notre petit ange me conduit, c'est
l'Amour. Ce ne sont pas les belles pensées qui sont nécessaires
pour aller au Ciel, c'est l'Amour. Ma petite Sœur m'instruit beau-
coup sur ce sujet. » (A sa mère, 29 mai 1899.)
Et encore : « Il est certain que, depuis la mort de notre petite
Sainte, je ne me sens plus la même, et les autres le remarquent
aussi. C'est incroyable comme elle aimait et comme elle aime
encore mon âme. »

Dernières années

Le 13 février 1900, Mme Guérin s'éteignait à l'âge de 53 ans : sa
fille ressentit douloureusement cette épreuve, tant leur intimité
était devenue étroite. Mais déjà la santé de la jeune Carmélite
s'était altérée, et tout en suivant le succès des premières éditions
de l'Histoire d'une Ame et des échos que le Carmel en recevait,
elle avait dû accepter, et non sans peine, de renoncer à l'obser-
vance intégrale de la Règle. La souffrance creuse en elle l'aban-
don, l'amour de la seule volonté de Dieu, la dévotion au moment
présent : voilà la manne de sa route, de ces vingt et un mois où
la tuberculose achèvera de la consumer et de la préparer à paraître
devant Dieu. Administrée le 15 janvier 1905, elle expirera le 14 avril,
âgée de 34 ans et 7 mois.

« Je ne crains pas de mourir. Oh! quelle paix! Il ne faut pas avoir
peur de la souffrance, Il donne toujours la force... » ainsi s'expri-
mait Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie en ses derniers jours; et comme
elle l'avait désiré, elle mourut après avoir lancé ce cri : « Mon
Jésus, je vous aime. »

Des cinq novices de Sainte Thérèse, elle fut la première à la
rejoindre : sous son influence entraînante, elle était entrée dans la
légion des petites victimes de l'Amour Miséricordieux, et sa prière
l'avait aidée à franchir ce passage de la mort qui auparavant lui
inspirait tant de répulsion. Une des Sœurs qui furent témoins de
cette mort disait plusieurs années après : « Quand on a vu mourir
Sœur Marie de l'Eucharistie, on ne peut plus avoir peur de la
mort. »

 

 

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