After seven o’clock Thérèse managed to say: Mother, isn’t this the agony? Am I not going to die? ‘Yes, my poor little one, it’s the agony, but God perhaps wills to prolong it for several hours.’ Well, all right! All right! I would not want to suffer for a shorter time. She looked at her crucifix: Oh! I love him! My God, I love you!
Her head fell back. Mother Marie de Gonzague had the bell rung again: the community returned very quickly. The kneeling sisters saw her face become once again very peaceful, her gaze was fixed a little above the statue of the Virgin of the Smile, ‘for the space of a creed’. Then she sank back onto the pillow, her eyes closed. She was smiling. She looked very beautiful and had the appearance of a very young girl. It was about twenty past seven.
Sister Geneviève, in tears, rushed out onto the cloister. It was raining. ‘If only there were some stars in the sky!’ she said to herself. A few moments later the clouds were swept away and stars twinkled in a sky which had become clear. The Guérins, returning home after spending the whole time of their niece’s agony in the chapel of the Carmel, noticed this sudden change. An extern sister had just given them a note from Mother Agnès: ‘My beloved Uncle and Aunt, my dearest Léonie, our angel is in heaven. She breathed her last sigh at seven o’clock clasping her crucifix to her heart and saying: “Oh, I love you!” She had raised her eyes to heaven; what was she seeing?!!!’
On a farewell picture given to her sisters in June, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had written: I see what I have believed. I possess what I have hoped for. I am united to the one whom I have loved with all the strength of my loving.
Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.
The Story of a Life: St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Chapter 11: Sickness, Passion, and Death
Guy Étienne Germain Gaucher, O.C.D. was ordained Bishop of Meaux, France 19 October 1986. He did not remain long in that diocese; on 7 May 1987 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, France by Saint John Paul II. He served with distinction and deep love for his Discalced Carmelite sisters and brothers, especially Saint Thérèse, until his retirement 1 July 2005, having reached the age limit. Bishop Gaucher died at the age of 84 on 3 July 2014; his funeral Mass was held in the Basilica of St. Thérèse in Lisieux, Father François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D. preaching.
Gaucher O.C.D., G 1987, The Story of a Life: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, HarperCollins Publishers and Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd., New York, NY.
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