In 1590, during a morning Mass in the church of Saint-Gervais, she fell into ecstasy for several hours. Since the phenomenon was recurring frequently, she feared that it was the devil’s fault. Doctors prescribed bloodletting, which exhausted her. She met Benet Canfield during the summer of 1592. This Englishman, a convert to Catholicism who had become a Capuchin, was an eminent connoisseur of Rhineland mysticism: “He removed all her doubts and made her see that everything that was happening in her was from God and from the effects of grace.” Until her death, she would be subject to ecstasies during which she thought she would ‘die of sweetness’.
From 1593 onwards, she experienced the sufferings of the Passion of Christ every week without having any visible wounds. Father Coton writes on this subject: “She had the stigmata in her body in such a way that at certain times, especially on Fridays and Saturdays and Lenten days, she felt extreme pain in her feet, hands, sides, and head, as if someone had pierced them and had hanged her.” Madame Acarie then became continually united to Christ, bearing in her prayer a true passion for the salvation of sinners.
Moreover, she lived in complete trust in God’s Providence which guided her in everything she did. Her complete surrender to God gave her the courage to face difficulties that might seem insurmountable. In fact, she was entering the most trying period of her life.
“A soul can never do well if it does not throw itself as far as the eye can see into the arms of Divine Providence, because then God seems obliged by his promise to assist it.”Madame Acarie
Blessed Mary of the Incarnation
Olivier Rousseau, O.C.D.
Week 3, Advent 2020 Online Retreat with Madame Acarie (excerpt)
Discalced Carmelite Friars, Paris Province