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Preparatory notes of Marie of the Eucharist on Therese

 (Marie Guérin)

 

Notes that Sr. Marie of the Eucharist had prepared before her death in 1905.

This copy was made in June-July (1910?) from the original notebook of 1897, not extant.

 

“No looking, no speaking.” (Ms. B, 4r 7v°)

One of the big recommendations of Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was “not to speak under the cloisters, in regular places, and above all in places where it is permitted to never speak the first word before the door is closed.” Then she also strongly recommended me “to never waste time, not even a single minute.” And in the refectory, she always made me make the resolution “to never raise my eyes.” Since I was almost always near her, each time she saw me look around me, I was sure to be called to order by a little flick of the fingers, skillfully and gently given. She never looked up, even when our Mother spoke of interesting things or if some incident happened to a sister in the middle of the refectory; or if at first she looked it was only a blink. Just as soon she lowered her eyes. I took advantage of these occasions to see what was going on; the little ad hoc finger snap happened and I got it until I lowered my eyes. When I was too stubborn, then my little sister raised her eyes to Heaven and let out sighs and ah!...which brought me back to myself. “You’ll never succeed,” she said to me, ”unless you mark each time you fail on your chaplet of practices. It’s the only way. For the love of the good God, don’t you then want to lower your eyes? Think that you are making an act of love each time you don’t raise your eyes, that you are saving a soul.”

Forget yourself!

And for your self-esteem! Ah! How many times did she say to me these words, “I beg you, be a little less occupied with yourself, occupy yourself with loving the good God and forget about yourself. All your scruples, this is just self-seeking. Your sorrows, your pains, all of this revolves around you. It’s always the same thing. Ah! I beg you, forget yourself. Think of saving souls. She repeated that to me each time I found myself with her.

Yes but…

When I had struggles with my boss who told me to do one thing when another was more pressing, when I found that that sister wasn’t organized and that she made me do impossible things, when I started to complain about this, she invariably answered, “Oh! yes but…” And then I finished the phrase, “I know very well that is where the merit is, but I can’t take it anymore. Then, she replied, “You have only to do what you are asked; when your boss orders you to plant cabbages with the head down, you only have to obey…It is by acting like this that you will have peace. I know that it’s very annoying but also that is where the merit is found.”

Humbly ask forgiveness

On the subject of humility she always said to me, “A little novice who is humble is so lovely, who displays humility in everything, who always accepts humiliations instead of rebelling, who admits her faults, who is humble in her ways, in the tone of her voice.” One day I had a little I had a little disagreement with Sister xxx; I was no in way wrong. She agreed but advised me to ask forgiveness anyway. I rebelled and didn’t want to. So she said, “Asking forgiveness only when one is wrong, that’s not where the merit is; it’s to ask when one is not really wrong isn’t wrong at all.”

Another time with Sister xxx, it was all my fault and I said to her in a rather light way, “All right, I’m going to ask forgiveness! “Ah! Yes,” she replied. “You’re again going to go ask her pardon while laughing. When one goes to ask forgiveness, it must always be done humbly, in a serious way and not laughing.” And with another sister that I didn’t really have wrongs, she advised me to go to humiliate myself with her and to reply “It’s true” to all the little reproaches she made against me.

Being cheerful for others

For recreations, she made this little remark to me one day, “Why do you go to recreations to satisfy yourself and to seek approval? It’s necessary to go there like any other Community exercise, through faithfulness, without ever stopping on the way there. Coming out of the refectory, you should go immediately to recreation; you don’t have permission to stop for other things, not even a single minute to speak to a sister…Then during recreation, practice virtue, be amiable with all no matter who you are next to…be cheerful through virtue and not by whim. When you’re sad, forget yourself and show some happiness. It seems that at recreations one should only seek pleasure without thinking of practicing virtue, without caring for the good God. But it’s a community exercise like another; take pleasure but above all through charity to others. Never forget yourself, remain virtuous even in the middle of pleasure. You should make the sacrifice of sitting next to those you love.” As I asked her if meant all recreations she answered me, “Yes, you should always deprive yourself. Moreover, it’s good to be merry during recreation, but there is a certain religious manner of being happy, of amusing others. You sometimes have a wild manner; do you think that pleases the sisters? They laugh at your madness but it doesn’t edify them.”

 

1897 During the illness of the Servant of God

Mutual support

JULY 11-- “ I advise you, that when you have combats against charity to read this chapter from the Imitation: “It is important to bear with the faults of others.” You see that your combats will fall away. It always did me a lot of good. It’s very good and very true.”

Great things from heaven.

JULY 18th—I asked her to great graces for me when she is in Heaven and she replied, “Oh! When I’m in Heaven I will do many things, great things. It’s impossible that the good God Himself didn’t give me this desire, I’m sure he will answer my prayers.—And then again, when I am up there, it’s me who will follow you closely!...”I told her she would perhaps frighten me. “Does your guardian angel frighten you?...He follows you however all the time. Well, I will follow you like that and closely too. I won’t let anything happen to you…”

When we reason…

It always hurts the good God a little bit when we reason a little bit about what the Mother Prioress says; and a lot when we reason a lot, even in our heart.

Since the age of three

I asked her if she sometimes refused sacrifices to the good God.----“No, never,” she replied, “I don’t remember ever refusing anything he asked.”

And when you were little?

“Oh, even less. I haven’t refused him anything since the age of three as I was already doing practices.”

About the joy of being humiliated.

AUGUST 2nd—“I find no natural pleasure in being loved, pampered but I find a very great joy in being humiliated. When I did a silly thing that humiliates me and makes me see what I am, oh! then that’s where I feel a natural pleasure. I feel a true joy such as you feel when being loved.”

Very gentle.

SEPTEMBER 11th—“You must be very gentle, never any hard words, no hard tone. Never have a hard look, always be gentle. Like that yesterday, you hurt Sister xx; several moments later another sister did the same. What happened?... She cried…So, if you hadn’t treated her harshly she would have better accepted the second pain which would have passed unnoticed. But two struggles so close put her in a great state of sorrow whereas if you had been gentle, nothing would have happened.”

A saint starting now.

One day she made me promise to be a saint. She asked me if I was making progress so I said to her, “I promise you to be a saint when you’ve gone to Heaven. At that time, I will put all my heart into it.”

“Oh! Don’t wait for that,” she replied to me. “Start now. The month that preceded my entrance into Carmel remains a sweet memory for me. Like you, I said to myself in the beginning, “I will be a saint when I am in Carmel. In the meanwhile I am not going to bother myself…”But the good God showed me the value of time. I did exactly the opposite of what I thought; I wanted to prepare for my entrance in being very faithful and it’s one of the most beautiful months of my life.

Believe me, never wait for tomorrow to become a saint.”

Do too much.

“Be charitable, thoughtful. At recreations, help the older ones by going to get chairs for them. Moreover for all occasions be helpful. A little novice should always do too much. This is so nice!...”

 

October 1897 After the death of the Servant of God.

Sometime after the death of Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, for the first time since her departure for Heaven, I was confused. I didn’t dare take Holy Communion. So I prayed to her to come console me and I found in the Gospel these words: “Say to the guests: Here I have prepared my banquet. Everything is ready. Come to the wedding.”

These few words put peace in my soul. I cannot doubt that this was truly heavenly advice and I made a fervent and peaceful Communion. Another time I experienced the same trouble as before; I still didn’t dare to take Holy Communion and I found these words: “This one threw his coat, set forth and came to Jesus.”

I understood. I threw far from me the coat of scruples and with happiness I “came to Jesus.”

In all of these circumstances, it is above all because of a feeling of peace and light that flood my soul that I believe these replies are heavenly.

Another time yet I felt despair, saying to myself, “Now I have no one to tell me anymore if I’m on a good path, if the good God is happy with me; perhaps I won’t be saved.” In that desperate state where I was suffering a lot, I prayed to my dear little sister. I asked her if I was agreeable to the good God. She answered me (through the holy Gospel):

“And a voice came from the Heavens, “You are my beloved son, in you I am well pleased.”

I was wondering if it was necessary to tell a scruple to our Mother. I didn’t know how to accuse myself of it in confession. After a prayer to my little Angel, I found in the Gospel: “He strongly ordered them to tell no one.”

 

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