On my arrival at Paris [early 1605], I received the heartiest welcome from all the novices. There was then in the convent no other professed nun but Eleanor of St. Bernard, to whom I owed much on this occasion as well as on many others.
But our novices were very numerous; they were put under my direction, and notwithstanding my charge of Prioress, I was commanded to take care of them. [Venerable] Mother Anne of Jesus and her two companions had gone to make a foundation in Burgundy.
One day while recommending them to God, He made me understand that Mother Isabel of the Angels was suited for France. I told M. de Berulle; and the result proved the truth of my words, for this Mother acquitted herself of her Office in a most perfect and religious manner.
They brought her from Dijon to Paris. She remained three months with us. During the time we were permitted to be together, we both experienced a renewal of courage and very great consolation.
This Mother was of great assistance to me in the Choir. She succeeded in everything because she had learned the method of leading and appeared full of sweetness.
This is required for souls in France because they are docile and inclined to virtue. Therefore, one succeeds better by gentleness with them than by any other way, and, provided it is done in a kind manner, one can make known to them all their faults; they will take it in good part.
Certainly, for my part, I consider this method best and conformed to the character of our Lord Jesus Christ; for if we stop to consider we will see that He lived as a brother and a companion with His disciples.
Just now many things occur to my mind to say; but I will refrain, fearing to do it poorly and to show little humility by entering on this subject. I have neither the capacity nor humility requisite.
Mother Isabel of the Angels took from here for the foundation of Amiens three professed religious, excellent subjects, and two novices. They arrived at Amiens on the eve of Pentecost; and, the following day, the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the Oratory of their monastery, to the great satisfaction of the entire city, which made a great demonstration of devotion on this occasion.
The Bishop, so they wrote, had the head of St. John the Baptist carried in procession, and celebrated a Pontifical Mass. I was much consoled on hearing the news at Paris, and to know that all was going on well. I must add that I was asked to be sent on this foundation, but it was not then possible.
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew
Third Book, VIII. Governs Convent at Paris (excerpt)
Read Blessed Anne’s account of their arrival in Paris, 15 October 1604
Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917, Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by Michael, M A, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.
Featured image: This is a detail of a 17th-century parchment engraving of Venerable Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew Transported by the Angels by Alexander I. Voet (Belgian, 1608–1689) from the Archives of the University of Antwerp Library (Public domain).