Quote of the day: 5 February

During the ceremony, I received a special grace of intimate union with my Beloved; I could no longer see anything that was happening around me. The presence of the Bishop, the numerous clergy, the crowd of people who had come in droves, everything had disappeared in my eyes, I was alone with Jesus… when suddenly I was awakened from my inner silence by the singing of Compline which continued in vibrant and lively notes. The choir sang the psalm: Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi, and I could hear the meaning of it, and every word fell upon my soul as a pledge of a sacred promise made to me by the One to whom I united my life.

Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, O.C.D.

Céline Martin
Memoirs of her clothing day, 5 February 1895
Chapter III: Céline au cloître à l’école de Thérèse
Biography of Céline Martin by Stéphane-Joseph Piat, O.F.M.

 

arrangement beautiful beauty blooming
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 3 February

My beloved little sister, you’ll be able to come on Friday [January 29th], the elections won’t be until Monday or Tuesday [February 1st and 2nd].

I can’t be without you for a moment. Who could understand such a union!

Let us love the good Lord well! Everything is here, and there’s nothing out there!

The weather is so sad! We need to create a Blue Sky in our hearts.

Sr. Agnès de Jésus

(Pauline Martin)

Letter from Sr. Agnès de Jésus to Marie MSC
25-28 January 1886


 

On 3 February 1886, Mother Marie de Gonzague was elected to her third term as prioress of the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Lisieux. At the time of her death in 1904, she had served 6 years as sub-prioress and 21 years as prioress of the community. You can read the biography of Mother Marie de Gonzague on the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

 

gonzague-1902-1
Mother Marie de Gonzague
(Marie Davy de Virville)
Caen, 20 February 1834 – Lisieux, 17 December 1904
Credit: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

 

 

Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 31 January

Sunday, 31 January [1897]

My dearest Sister in Our Lord,

The goodness that God has shown me is very touching, and the goodness that He has imparted to you is working deep in my soul, comforted by the attention that your charity inspires in me—I feel myself becoming better each time I experience a little of the piety that you experience in Carmel—and I would like to love Jesus as you love Him there—You had it in your heart, Sister, when you were composing that hymn of love that you so kindly sent me [NP 17, Vivre d’Amour]. You’re inhaling a divine breath that makes you pure and strong. The evening of the day when I had the joy of receiving it, it was the object of a long and sweet meditation, together with my Director, who was so happy to know that my soul and my work were entrusted to your care.  Since then I have used it as a thanksgiving, the day before yesterday, today—I want to learn it fluently and use it as an ejaculatory prayer during the day, and at night when I wake up—I’ve put it in my New Testament, and since that holy book never leaves me, this hymn of love will always accompany me, to the ends of the earth.

I would like to be able to sing like you, my dear sister, to tell Jesus the feelings that your own feelings inspire in me—But He who is all good is only pleased with my rough and short prose. His most tender Heart doesn’t pay too much attention to the form and His Grace is always pouring down.

Oh, yes, Sister, “Let’s live in love.” It is the way to find happiness on earth—Without God, without his Love—it’s cold all around us—But as soon as a holy fervor enlivens our hearts, what serenity and sweetness there is in life—Indeed, it’s like resting on the stormy waves, it’s living the life of the Glorious King, the Delights of the Chosen Ones—to begin on earth the happiness of Heaven—Calvary then becomes Tabor and sorrow is no more—for, as the Holy One says: when we love, there is no more sorrow, or if there’s sorrow, it’s sorrow that we love.

I’m asking the Sacred Heart to give us this love that is ever greater, ever stronger, and ever more generous, and that through it He may so draw us to Himself that we may remain definitively and indissolubly attached to Him. You know then, Sister, that I must postpone my departure until October—yes, my superiors thought it better to wait; this disruption would have divided this year, which would at least have been troubled from the point of view of my studies. My Director here authorized me to leave—those over there prefer that I wait—But, next year! it will be the Novitiate, the preparation next and afterward—Onward, God, and Work.

When I baptize my first little black child, I will ask your Venerable Mother that you should be the godmother—for he will be yours, you will have drawn him to God more than I did. My dearest Sister, always pray to God for my conversion—may the Master make some progress in me—I am praying to Him often and very earnestly for you.

Forever in his Holy Heart, your miserable brother

M. Barthélemy-Bellière

p.s. I ask you to pray in particular for my exams that begin tomorrow, Monday and finish on the 14th.

 

Belliere- find a grave
Maurice Barthélemy-Bellière (1874-1907 | Credit: findagrave.com

 

 

The Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) have published an outstanding brief biography of Abbé Maurice Bellière on their website. You can read it here.

 

 

Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 10 January

I want to give my little daughter the only picture that is dear to me among all others… Aunt at Le Mans gave it to me, and I am attached to it, for it says much to my heart. But all for the little fiancée of Jesus!

Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart
(Marie Martin)

 

LT-245 (2)
“Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise”

 

In our Quote of the Day for 9 January, we shared Sr. Marie’s letter to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus on the eve of her clothing in the holy habit of Carmel. In the custom of Discalced Carmelite nuns, as a gift to Thérèse for the occasion, she re-gifted something that was of great value to her: a holy card that she had received from their Aunt Élise, St. Zélie Guérin’s sister Marie-Louise-Pétronille, who took the religious name Marie-Dosithée in the Visitation Monastery at Le Mans, France. 

Martin Family historian Maureen O’Riordan tells us that on the back of the holy card Marie Martin had written, “Souvenir from Aunt at Le Mans; I shall keep it forever.” We can understand how Marie now says that she is “attached to it” and “it says much to my heart.” 

Maureen O’Riordan notes: her generosity in giving it to Thérèse was all the greater because their aunt had died in 1877. The image shows the Child Jesus in a field of lilies, harvesting them. Across the bottom is printed, ‘Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise’.

 

LT-245
Aunt Élise’s holy card, which Marie said she would keep forever, later given to Thérèse for her clothing in January 1889, became Thérèse’s farewell gift to her three sisters in June 1897 (LT-245)

 

In June 1897, Thérèse will re-gift the holy card once more as a precious farewell souvenir to her three sisters, framing it and embellishing it with thoughts from St. Théophane Vénard and St. John of the Cross, such as this quote from the Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 29: For a little of this pure love is more precious to God and the soul and more beneficial to the Church, even though it seems one is doing nothing, than all these other works put together.

You can read an English translation of St. Thérèse’s inscription here and explore Maureen O’Riordan’s blogs devoted to St. Thérèse here, to St. Louis and Zélie here, and to Léonie Martin here. As always, you can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

Quote of the day: 2 January

My little girl was born last night, Thursday [January 2], at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet… I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin

Letter CF 84 to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin
3 January 1873

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 4

The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired

Sayings of Light and Love, 97

 

SCRIPTURE

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

 

MEDITATION

“Love makes _____.”

How would you complete this sentence?

Our answers may give us clues as to how we understand love: God’s love, our love for God, and how love, in all its forms—filial, erotic, and caritative—is at work in our lives. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul is talking about charity, or what some refer to as agape love (αγαπη).

And like a professor standing at a blackboard or whiteboard, Paul defines his term, including both what love is and what it is not. We can feel fairly certain that he is sketching some of the basic parameters of love… as St. John of the Cross might define it in his saying, an untiring love.

Now, nowhere in this passage of his first letter to the Corinthians is St. Paul scolding the Church for possessing a lack of love or a warped concept of love. The context of this chapter is an instruction on worship in the Corinthian church, and how any worship—no matter how glorious it may be—that lacks the spiritual gift of charity, i.e. love, is so much dust in the wind. Hence that famous verse that we so often hear at weddings: “Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Cor 13:8)

It was in reading these chapters that St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus found her inspiration one day. “I opened the Epistles of St. Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters 12 and 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes… the Apostle explains how all the most PERFECT gifts are nothing without LOVE. That Charity is the EXCELLENT WAY that leads most surely to God” (Ms B, 3r-3v). Therefore, St. Paul urges the Corinthians, “make love your aim” (1 Cor 14:1).

St. John Paul II noted this inspired reading of First Corinthians in his 1997 Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia:

She discovered hidden treasures, appropriating words and episodes, sometimes with supernatural boldness, as when, in reading the texts of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 12-13), she realized her vocation to love (cf. Ms B, 3r-3v). Enlightened by the revealed Word, Thérèse wrote brilliant pages on the unity between love of God and love of neighbor (cf. Ms C, 11v-19r).

St. Thérèse did not develop her mad love for God in a vacuum. Love was her aim from her youth, as she testified time and time again in her autobiographical manuscripts and letters. St. John Paul II explained the nature of her formation when he declared Thérèse to be a Doctor of the Universal Church:

Her doctrine, as was said, conforms to the Church’s teaching. From childhood, she was taught by her family to participate in prayer and liturgical worship. In preparation for her first Confession, first Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation, she gave evidence of an extraordinary love for the truths of the faith, and she learned the Catechism almost word for word (cf. Ms A, 37r-37v).

So what was this untiring love that St. Thérèse learned in her family? What did it look like? Who were her models?

When a Doctor of the Universal Church is born to a pair of Saints, one doesn’t have to look very far because ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ In fact, one particular letter from her mother, Saint Zélie Guérin Martin to her father, Saint Louis Martin, provides us with an example of the untiring love that was taught by example in the Martin family home. Written during the summer of 1873 after the birth of Thérèse, Zélie takes Pauline and Marie with her to visit her brother and the Guérin family in Lisieux. Can you read untiring, selfless love in these lines?

Lisieux, August 31, 1873

My dear Louis,

We arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty. My brother was waiting for us at the station and was delighted to see us. He and his wife are doing everything they can to entertain us. This evening, Sunday, there’s a beautiful reception in their home in our honor. Tomorrow, Monday, we’re going to Trouville. Tuesday there will be a big dinner at the home of Madame Maudelonde and, perhaps, a drive to the country house of Madame Fournet. The children are thrilled and if the weather were good, they’d be ecstatic.

As for me, I’m finding it hard to relax! None of that interests me! I’m absolutely like the fish you pull out of the water. They’re no longer in their element and they have to perish! This would have the same effect on me if I had to stay a lot longer. I feel uncomfortable, I’m out of sorts. This is affecting me physically, and it’s almost making me sick. However, I’m reasoning with myself and trying to gain the upper hand. I’m with you in spirit all day, and I say to myself, “Now he must be doing such and such a thing.”

I’m longing to be near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel my affection so much more when you’re not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live apart from you.

This morning I attended three Masses. I went to the one at six o’clock, made my thanksgiving and said my prayers during the seven o’clock Mass, and returned for the high Mass.

My brother is not unhappy with his business. It’s going well enough.

Tell Léonie and Céline that I kiss them tenderly and will bring them a souvenir from Lisieux.

I’ll try to write you tomorrow, if possible, but I don’t know what time we’ll return from Trouville. I’m hurrying because they’re waiting for me to go visiting. We return Wednesday evening at seven-thirty. How long that seems to me!

I kiss you with all my love. The little girls want me to tell you that they’re very happy to have come to Lisieux and they send you big hugs.

Zélie

(Family Correspondence CF 108)

 

NOVENA PRAYER

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of you:

mention your request.

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

 

ancien eglise de Leucate Diocese de Carcasonne-Narbonne Joconde # 11W02069
Saint John of the Cross
17th c. French painting
Saints Pierre et Paul des Etangs (Leucate), Diocese of Carcasonne-Narbonne
Photo credit: Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, diffusion RMN-GP

 

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem Bible.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

The autobiographical manuscripts and family correspondence are found on the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux. The English version of the website appears here and the complete French version of the website is found here.

Quote of the day: 20 November

November 23, 1887
Wednesday

My dear little sisters,

Rejoice! it is when all seemed lost that all is gained… We went to Naples and Pompeii yesterday and the day before with Mme. Bénard. During this time, Papa went to see the superior of the Brothers, to shake his hand and to thank him for the recep­tion he had given him two years ago with M. l’abbé Marie. The Brother was charmed. Papa spoke to him frankly; he recounted the audience we had on Sunday, Thérèse’s desires, her request, all the ups and downs, the sadness she experienced. The superior knew that Marie, Papa’s oldest daughter, had entered Carmel. He had never seen such a thing and he was very much enthused about our family. He understood this very well, and he him­self—if he had not entered the Brothers when young—believes that he would not have gone, and he thanked God every day for having called him when young (he is fifty years a Brother). He was noting down what Papa was saying about Thérèse, and he offered to speak about her to M. Révérony. But listen to the very end:

Papa stood up to leave and whom did he see enter but M. Révé­rony!… You may judge his surprise and that of the brother. M. Révérony was very much charmed by Papa; he seemed to be re­pentant. He reminded Papa that the Sovereign Pontiff had spo­ken to him particularly, because [M. Révérony] had introduced him by telling the pope that two of his daughters were Carmelites. Papa asked him if he had heard anything regarding the bishop’s decision, and he added: “You know very well that you had prom­ised to help me.” What a good Father! Then he recounted Thé­rèse’s grief at the audience and especially when he had replied that the matter was being examined by the superiors, etc. M. Révérony was touched, I believe, and he is beginning to believe that Thérèse’s vocation is extraordinary. He even said: “Well! I will assist at the ceremony; I’m inviting myself.” Papa told him he would be happy to have him and all sorts of amiable things were exchanged between them. That is what Papa told us this morning—I could not keep this in and I am writing to you immediately. To show you the promptitude with which I am writing this, I hardly waited for Papa to finish and in the office of the hotel I seized a piece of paper and a pen and here I am!….

Are you happy, dear little sisters? Perhaps even before this let­ter, you have some rays of hope, perhaps you even know more good news than we do. I believe we have won M. Révérony’s sym­pathy. Thérèse was so pretty at the feet of the Holy Father. She was kneeling at his feet, her hands joined on the pope’s knees, and her eyes were so pleading! It was beautiful to see her this way, and then I followed, in tears, asking for a blessing for the Carmel. This scene was touching, I assure you.

It could have influenced M. Révérony. So all goes well, what joy! I believe the trials are quite close to being over. . . .

Au revoir my darlings. We must go to dinner.

Your little Céline

Pisa, Hôtel de la Minerve Nice, Beau Rivage Marseille, Grand Hôtel de Marseille, you know the dates.

Letter from Céline to Agnes of Jesus and Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Céline1903-TH-et-LeonXIII_fusain
Thérèse kneels at the feet of Pope Leo XIII, charcoal drawing by Céline Martin | Image credit: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 18 October

Ordinary Process

Beatification of Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Witness 3 — Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Our parents were reputed to be extremely devout. Our mother fasted during Lent, without using the mitigations permitted. Every day my father and mother attended Mass at 5:30 am, because they said it was the poor people’s Mass. They took Communion frequently, more than once a week, which was quite exceptional for the time. In Lisieux, my father took Communion four or five times a week. My mother loathed society life and wanted nothing luxurious in the house. Reading the life of Madame Acarie (Bl. Marie of the Incarnation) one day, our mother said, “How fortunate she was to have given her three daughters to God!” Our mother had an extremely energetic and lively character, but was not harsh, with a very sensitive and very generous heart. Above all she showed great abnegation which meant she was self-forgetful and worked very arduously in order to have the means to give us a thorough Christian education. Also, in hardship, for example when my brothers and sisters died, she showed astonishing strength of character. Yet you can see from her letters that her heart was broken; but her faith helped her overcome everything. Our father’s dominant characteristic was great righteousness. He made it his duty to affirm his faith, even in front of unbelievers. When the priest brought the Holy Viaticum to our dying mother, he decided to accompany the Blessed Sacrament all the way to the church himself, holding a candle. He was very charitable and wholly devoted to his neighbor, never allowing ill to be spoken of anyone. His overall character gave an impression of goodness. He was also noted for his very pure life, which was reflected in his whole person. He was extremely careful to distance us from anything he considered to be a temptation.

 

Official-Vatican-Portrait
The official portrait for the canonization banner of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, 18 October 2015 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Apostolic Process

Canonization of Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Witness 7 — Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Our parents were models of every virtue; they attended Holy Mass every day, rising at 5 o’clock in the morning to do so. They would fast throughout Lent without slackening. They observed Sunday rest very faithfully. They would not have taken the liberty to arrange a trip on a Sunday, even a needful one. My father lost many sales opportunities because, unlike the other jewelers in town, he refused to open his shop on Sundays, even though his confessor left him free to do so.

My father had a generous character and placed human dignity above all else. He would never pass by a church without bowing, in whoever’s company he was. He would faithfully attend Night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every month, and when he moved to Lisieux, he obtained permission to establish the practice in the town. My father and mother had a deep faith, and to hear them talk together about heaven, though we were very young, we came to consider the things of the world as pure vanities.

My mother watched over the spiritual life of her children very carefully, and the smallest of faults would never go unchecked. She very much hoped to see signs of future sainthood in us. Referring to Thérèse, she said, “As for Thérèse, I do not yet know what she will be; she is so small! However, she has an intelligence that I haven’t seen in any of my children, and she always wears an angelic smile”.

My father and mother had a great devotion to the Bl. Virgin. That’s why they gave the name Mary to all their children, both boys and girls. Before he married, my father placed a statue of the Bl. Virgin on a path in his garden, and later it would become very dear to the whole family. It was this very statue that was in Thérèse’s childhood bedroom and which came to life and smiled at her when she was very sick. Praying at the foot of the same statue, my mother was granted very great favours. My parents were very helpful to the poor. When a servant happened to fall ill with rheumatoid arthritis, my mother treated her herself, day and night, for several weeks, not wishing to send her back to her parents because they were poor.

 


On 18 October 2015 Pope Francis canonized Marie Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, the first spouses to be canonized as a married couple.  You can learn more about the astounding miracle that led to their canonization in the video below. You can view photos of the canonization Mass here. Blessed be God forever!

 

Quote of the day: 1 October

Les Sacristines au jardin (5)
Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart, November 1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Cause of Beatification

Ordinary Process, Diocese of Lisieux
Deposition, Witness 3 (excerpts)

Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart (Marie Martin)

 

I asked Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus to write down what I called “her little way of trust and love,” which she did during her last retreat in September 1896, after having asked our Mother for permission. This letter is now a part of the printed manuscript  (Manuscript B).

After having read these impassioned pages, I told her it was impossible for me to reach such heights.

It was then that she wrote me the letter dated 17th September 1896 (Letter LT 197), in which, amongst other things, she said:

“How can you ask me if it is possible for you to love God as I love Him?. . . My desires of martyrdom are nothing; I really feel that it is not this at all that pleases God in my little soul; what pleases Him is seeing me loving my littleness and my poverty, and the blind hope that I have in His mercy . . . .That is my only treasure”.

One day when she had prayed to obtain the twofold love of angels and saints, as Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, (cf. 2 Kgs 2:9), she added,

“Jesus, I cannot fathom my request, I would be afraid of being overwhelmed by the weight of my bold desires. My excuse is that I am a child, and children do not reflect on the meaning of their words. However, their parents, once they are placed on a throne and possess immense treasures, do not hesitate to satisfy the desires of the little ones whom they love as much as they love themselves. To please them, they do foolish things, even to the extent of becoming weak for them. Well, I am the Child of the Church and the Church is Queen since she is Your Spouse, O divine King of kings. . . . O Jesus! Why can’t I tell all little souls how unspeakable Your condescension is? I feel that if You found a soul weaker and littler than mine, which is impossible, You would take pleasure in granting it still greater favors, provided it abandoned itself with total confidence to your infinite Mercy”.

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus loved God ardently and thought about Him constantly. One day, I said to her, “How do you manage to always think of God?”

“It’s not difficult,” she replied, “we naturally think of someone we love.”

“So, don’t you ever forget His presence?”

“Oh, no! I don’t think I’ve ever been three minutes without thinking of Him” (Conseils et Souvenirs, search for Oh ! non, je crois bien).

A few weeks before she died, she confided:

“If God were to say to me, ‘If you die right now, you will have very great glory. If you die at eighty, your glory will not be as great, but it will please Me much more,’ then I wouldn’t hesitate to answer, ‘My God, I want to die at eighty, for I’m not seeking my own glory but simply Your pleasure’” (Last Conversations, 16 July).

Recalling her memories of when she was five or six years old, she said:

“I loved God more and more as I grew older. . . I strove to please Jesus in everything I did, and I was very careful never to offend Him” (Ms A, 15v).

In the aforesaid letter written during her last retreat, this passage is also of note:

“Above all, O my beloved Savior, I would shed my blood for You, even to the very last drop. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me within the Carmel’s cloisters. But here again, I feel that my dream is a folly, for I cannot limit myself to desiring one kind of martyrdom. To satisfy me, I would need all of them” etc.

 

THERESE - Marie Therese sacristines

 


Note from the blogger . . .

Whereas the English translation of Sister Marie’s testimony provides written, in-text citations to her many references, we offer our readers the actual links to find the texts on the Archives website itself for the Carmel of Lisieux. Were Sister Marie to submit any portion of her deposition today in electronic format, she might include links to the various resources, also.

It is regrettable that Céline’s wonderful collection of words of advice and counsel that she gathered from her memories of novitiate, and which she later recorded in a volume called Conseils et Souvenirs, has not yet been translated into English. We will make an effort to share tidbits from her recollections in the month of October as time permits.

1 October: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

October 1
SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS
Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Feast

Thérèse Martin was born at Alencon in 1873. At the age of fifteen she entered the Carmel at Lisieux. She practiced heroic humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God, and taught the novices these virtues by word and example. She offered her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church. She died September 30, 1897.

Invitatory

Ant. The Lord reveals himself to little ones; come, let us worship him.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary.

Office of Readings

Hymn

Let all who lovingly avow
Those gifts the Christ Child came to share
Acclaim Thérèse’s virtues now
And praise her name in song and prayer.

Her patroness and mother chose
The lofty peaks of Carmel’s height
And there Thérèse in fervor goes
To follow Christ, her one delight.

Inspired by Jesus to convey
Amazing secrets of his grace,
She taught the world the simple way
Of childhood that the Gospels trace.

More like an angel than a child
She gathered virtue’s flowers at will
By whose sweet scent was God beguiled,
Whose tender fragrance charms us still.

Yet joy itself could not portray
The surge of her immense desire
Nor cloister walls have strength to stay
A love that swept the world like fire.

All glory, Jesus, be to you
This day revealed to little ones,
To Father and blest Spirit, too,
While age on age forever runs.

L.M.
Nomen decusque concinant

Ant. 1 Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, *
there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures *
where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me, *
To revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path; *
he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness *
no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff; *
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me *
in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil; *
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me *
all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell *
forever and ever.

Ant. Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Ant. 2 See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Psalm 103

My soul, give thanks to the Lord, *
all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord *
and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt *
who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave, *
who crowns you with love and compassion,

who fills your life with good things, *
renewing your youth like an eagle’s.

The Lord does deeds of justice, *
gives judgment for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses *
and his deeds to Israel’s sons.

The Lord is compassion and love, *
slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end; *
he will not be angry forever.

He does not treat us according to our sins *
nor repay us according to our faults.

For as the heavens are high above the earth *
so strong is his love for those who fear him.

Ant. See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Ant. 3 The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

As far as the east is from the west *
so far does he remove our sins.

As a father has compassion on his sons, *
the Lord has pity on those who fear him;

for he knows of what we are made, *
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; *
he flowers like the flower of the field;

the wind blows and he is gone *
and his place never sees him again.

But the love of the Lord is everlasting *
upon those who hold him in fear;

his justice reaches out to children’s children +
when they keep his covenant in truth, *
when they keep his will in their mind.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven *
and his kingdom is ruling over all.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels, +
mighty in power, fulfilling his word, *
who heed the voice of his word.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts, *
his servants who do his will.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his works, *
in every place where he rules.

My soul, *
give thanks to the Lord!

Ant. The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

Your word is a lamp for my feet
And a light on my path.

First Reading
From the first letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians

I Cor. 12:12, 27-31; 13:1-13

You together are Christ’s body, but each of you is a different part of it

The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ. You, then, are the body of Christ. Every one of you is a member of it. Furthermore, God has set up in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators, and those who speak in tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles or have the gift of healing? Do all speak in tongues, all have the gift of interpretation of tongues? Set your hearts on the greater gifts.

Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; it does not put on airs; it is not snobbish. Love is never rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Responsory

When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all people to myself.

Fragrant is the scent of your perfume; let us follow in your footsteps.
I will draw all people to myself.

Second Reading
From the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

(MS B, f. 3r-3v: ed. J. Clarke 1975, pp. 193-94)

In the heart of the Church I shall be love

My desires caused me a veritable martyrdom, and I opened the Epistles of Saint Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes. I read there, in the first of these chapters, that all cannot be apostles, prophets, doctors, etc., that the Church is composed of different members, and that the eye cannot be the hand at one and the same time. The answer was clear, but it did not fulfill my desires and gave me no peace. Without becoming discouraged, I continued my reading, and this sentence consoled me: Yet strive after the better gifts, and I point out to you a yet more excellent way. And the Apostle explains how all the most perfect gifts are nothing without Love. That Charity is the excellent way that leads most surely to God.

I finally had rest. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I had not recognized myself in any of the members described by Saint Paul, or rather I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was burning with love. I understood it was love alone that made the Church’s members act; that if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places… in a word, that it was eternal!

Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out, “O Jesus, my Love… my vocation, at last I have found it… My vocation is Love!”

Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be love. Thus I shall be everything, and thus my dream will be realized.

Responsory

Joy and gladness fill my heart;
the Lord has been merciful to me.

He has looked with favor on his lowly servant and taken account of my soul’s needs.
the Lord has been merciful to me.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:

Canticles (Alternative 1)

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Canticle I

Dt 32:3-7, 10-12

The deeds of kindness which God wrought for his people

How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her young under her wings (Mt 23:37)

I shall praise the name of the Lord. *
O give glory to this God of ours!
The Rock – his deeds are perfect, *
and all his ways are just,
a faithful God, without deceit, *
a God who is right and just.

Those whom he begot unblemished *
have become crooked, false, perverse.
Is it thus you repay the Lord, *
O senseless and foolish people?
Is he not your father who created you, *
he who made you, on whom you depend?

Remember the days of old, *
consider the years that are past;
ask your father and he will show you, *
ask your elders and they will tell you.

Israel God found him in a wilderness, *
in fearful, desolate wastes;
he surrounded him, he lifted him up, *
he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Like an eagle that watches its nest, *
that hovers over its young,
so he spread his wings; he took him, *
placed him on his outstretched wings.
The Lord alone was his guide *
and no other god was with him.

Canticle II

Song 1:3-4a; 2:8-10; 3:1b-2, 4bc

The faithful soul finds the beloved

Where have you hidden yourself, my Beloved? (St. John of the Cross)

Your name is oil poured out; *
therefore the maidens love you.
Draw me after you, let us make haste; *
your anointing oils are fragrant.
The king has brought me into his chambers; *
we will exult and rejoice in you.

The voice of my beloved:
Behold, he comes, *
leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle, *
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands behind our wall, *
gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, *
and come away.”

I sought him whom my soul loves; *
I sought him, but found him not.
“I will rise now and go about the city; *
in the streets and in the squares
I will seek him whom my soul loves;” *
I sought him, but found him not.

I found him whom my soul loves. *
I held him, and would not let him go.

Canticle III

Song 4:8ab, 9bc, 12, 15; 5:2; 6:3; 8:6-7a

The strength of love

Love turns labor into rest (St. Teresa of Jesus)

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; *
come with me from Lebanon.
You have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, *
with one jewel of your necklace.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride, *
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
A garden fountain, a well of living water, *
and flowing streams from Lebanon.

I slept, but my heart was awake. *
Hark! my beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love, *
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew, *
my locks with the drops of the night.”

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; *
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, *
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, *
jealousy is cruel as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame. *
Many waters cannot quench love.

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Gospel (Alternative 1)

Jn 17:17-26

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

I have sent them into the world

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

Holy Father,
consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world,
and for their sake I consecrate myself
so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realize that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father,
I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory
you have given me
because you loved me
before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known
that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.

Gospel (Alternative 2)

Jn 15:1-13

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes
to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away
-he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burned.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. †
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
 Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
 We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
— Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
 for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
 And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Morning Prayer

Hymn

Her boundless love for Christ her Lord
Impels Thérèse to greater things.
The martyr’s and apostle’s crown
To crown of virgins now she brings.

To be a victim of God’s love
Her heart aglow with mystic fire,
She begs her Spouse by love consume
Her life, a holocaust entire.

When death, the herald of true life,
Brings to its close, her life’s brief race,
She calls, “I love you” as she dies
And hastens to meet Christ’s embrace.

Now savoring all heaven’s joys,
The glories by her virtues won,
May she that shower of roses send
Which once she promised to her own.

O King of meek and gentle heart
Who for the little ones prepare
Your feast, grant us who follow her
In childlike trust, to enter there.

All praise be to the Father now,
Praise also to his only Son,
The Spirit in all virgin souls,
As ages endless through time run.

88.88.
Immensa Christi caritas

Psalmody

Ant. 1 My soul clings to you; with your right hand you have raised me up.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 You holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.

Ant. 3 The Lord takes delight in his people, and crowns the humble with salvation.

Reading

Romans 8:14-17

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father”). The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children, we are heirs as well; heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him.

Responsory

See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

The glory of the nations like an overflowing stream,
a river of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send laborers into his harvest.

Intercessions

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given Saint Thérèse to us as a model of the evangelical life. Let us pray to him and say:

R/. Hear us, O Lord.

Lord, you said, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink;”
give us an intense thirst for your love.

Lord, you said, “If you do not become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,”
help us to love you in simplicity of heart.

Lord, you told us, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents;”
help us to have a childlike trust in your mercy.

Lord, you said, “Whoever does the will of my Father will enter the kingdom of heaven,”
give us a spirit of faithful obedience to all your commands.

Lord, you said, “Whatsoever you do to one of the least of my brethren you do to me;”
may we see you today in our brothers and sisters, and love you in them.

Lord, you said, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he send laborers into the harvest;”
give to all of us the missionary spirit of Saint Thérèse, who longed for the salvation of souls.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Daytime Prayer

Psalms from the current weekday.

Midmorning

Ant. The Lord chose you for his own, to praise him and give glory to his name.

Reading

2 Corinthians 12:9b-10

I willingly boast of my weakness instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.

The Lord is my strength and my song.
In you I trust; I shall not be put to shame.

Midday 

Ant. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to little ones.

Reading

1 John 4:17-19

Our love is brought to perfection in this,
that we should have confidence on the day of judgment:
for our relation to this world is just like his.
Love has no room for fear;
rather, perfect love casts out all fear.
And since fear has to do with punishment,
love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid.
We, for our part, love
because he first loved us.

You, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer.
From eternity this is your name.

Midafternoon

Ant. The Lord looks kindly on the prayer of the needy, and his word is addressed to the lowly.

Reading

1 John 3:1-2

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
in letting us be called children of God!
Yet that is what we are.
The reason the world does not recognize us
is that it never recognized the Son.
Dearly beloved,
we are God’s children now;
what we shall later be has not yet come to light.
We know that when it comes to light
we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

I will run in the way of your commandments.
For you have given greatness to my heart.

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Evening Prayer

Hymn

From clear high mansions of that shining palace
Where you enjoy the light of God’s dear presence,
And plead our causes, mindful of your promise
Show’r down your roses.

Roses of faith to shed its light supernal,
Roses of hope when obstacles surround us,
And for our strengthening in daily living
Roses of pure love.

Through your own childlike confidence and candor
Send us the rose of quietly discerning
Love of a Father, shining in each happening
Both sweet and bitter.

This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory which through all creation
Resounds forever.

11.11.11.5.
Luce divina rutilantis aulae

Psalmody

Ant. 1 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Ant. 2 For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not proud *
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great *
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul *
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms, *
even so my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord *
both now and forever.

Ant. For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Ant. 3 God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Phil. 2:6-11

Though he was in the form of God, +
Jesus did not deem equality with God *
something to be grasped at.

Rather, he emptied himself, +
and took the form of a slave, *
being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate *
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death, *
death on a cross!

Because of this, *
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name *
above every name,

So that at Jesus’ name +
every knee must bend, *
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth, *
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father: *
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

Ant. God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Reading

1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6a

First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. And the truth is this:
“God is one
One also is the mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all.”

Responsory

I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

For you have not despised the poor in their distress;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Father, I have made your name known to those you have given me: make them holy in the truth.

Intercessions

Let us pray to God, our almighty Father, for his Church throughout the world:

Lord, remember your covenant with us.

May we be inspired by the example of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus;
may your Church give itself to you in love.

May all contemplatives be faithful witnesses of your goodness;
so that the world may believe in you.

May we bear one another’s burdens in a spirit of love;
so that your faithful people may see your face in us and imitate your Son.

Fill us with a faithful missionary spirit;
for you desire all the world to know the truth of Christ.

Grant to all the faithful departed the joy of seeing your face;
for Christ wants those you gave him to be with him where he reigns in glory.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Find this image and more in the Flickr photostream of The British Library

Quote of the day: 30 September

The Yellow Notebook

30 September

Thursday, the day of her holy death


In the morning, I was with her during the Mass. She didn’t speak a word to me. She was exhausted, gasping for breath; her sufferings, I thought, were indescribable. One moment she joined her hands and looked at the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

“Oh! I prayed fervently to her! But it’s the agony, really, without any mixture of consolation.”

I spoke a few words of sympathy and affection and I added that she had edified me very much all through her illness:

“And you, the consolations you’ve given me! Ah! they are very great!”

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 263
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 263. The words of Thérèse are written in black ink. View the complete image of pages 262 and 263 here.

 

All through the day, without a moment’s respite, she remained, we can say without any exaggeration, in veritable torments.

She appeared to be at the end of her strength and nevertheless, to our great surprise, she was able to move, to sit up in her bed.

“You see the strength that I have today! No, I’m not going to die! I still have strength for months, perhaps years!”

“And if God willed it, ” asked Mother Prioress, “would you accept it?”

She began to answer in her agony: “It would really have to be . . .”

But checking herself immediately, she said with a tone of sublime resignation, falling back on her pillows: “I really will it!”

I was able to gather these exclamations, but it is impossible to ex­press the tone in which they were said:

“I no longer believe in death for me. … I believe only in suf­fering. . . . Well, so much the better! . . .” “O my God! . . .” “I love God!”

“O good Blessed Virgin, come to my aid! ” “If this is the agony, what is death?! . . .”

“Ah! my God! . . . Yes, He is very good, I find Him very good. . . .” Looking at the statue of the Blessed Virgin: “Oh! you know I’m suffocating!”

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 264-5
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, pages 264 and 265. The words of Thérèse are written in black ink. View the complete image of pages 264 and 265 here.

 

“God is going to aid you, poor little one, and it will soon be all over. “

“Yes, but when?”

“. . . My God, have pity on Your poor little child! Have pity on her!”

To Mother Prioress:

“O Mother, I assure you, the chalice is filled to the brim! …”

“But God is not going to abandon me, I’m sure. . . .”

“He has never abandoned me.”

“Yes, my God, everything that You will, but have pity on me!”

“Little sisters! little sisters! pray for me!”

“My God! my God! You who are so good!”

“Oh, yes, You are good! I know it. . . .”

After Vespers, Mother Prioress placed a picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on her knees. She looked at it for a moment and said, when Mother Prioress assured her she’d be soon caressing the Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus:

“O Mother, present me quickly to the Blessed Virgin; I’m a baby who can’t stand anymore! . . . Prepare me for death.”

Mother Prioress told her that since she had always understood humility, her preparation was already made. She reflected a moment and spoke these words humbly:

“Yes, it seems to me I never sought anything but the truth; yes, I have understood humility of heart. . . . It seems to me I’m humble.”

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 266-7
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, pages 266 and 267. The words of Thérèse are written in black ink. View the complete image of pages 266 and 267 here.

 

She repeated once more:

“All I wrote about my desires for suffering. Oh! it’s true just the same!”

“And I am not sorry for delivering myself up to Love.”

With insistence:

“Oh! no, I’m not sorry; on the contrary!”

A little later:

“Never would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much! never! never! I cannot explain this except by the ardent desires I have had to save souls.”

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 268 voir appendice
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 268. The words of Thérèse are written in black ink, the words of Mother Agnès are written in red ink. View the complete image of pages 268 and 269 here.
Note the penciled annotation: “X voir appendice”. This refers to materials that were found later and appended to the yellow notebook. On 28 August 1940 Mother Agnès swore to the authenticity of these newly-discovered words of Thérèse.

 

 

Towards five o ‘clock, I was alone by her side. Her face changed all of a sudden; I understood it was her last agony.

When the community entered the infirmary, she welcomed all the Sisters with a sweet smile. She was holding her Crucifix and looking at it constantly.

For more than two hours, a terrible rattle tore her chest. Her face was blue, her hands purplish, her feet were cold, and she shook in all her members. Perspiration stood out in enormous drops on her forehead and rolled down her cheeks. Her difficulties in breathing were always increasing, and in order to breathe she made little in­voluntary cries.

All during this time, so full of agony for us, we heard through the window—it made me suffer very much—the twittering of robins, and other little birds, but this twittering was so strong, so close, and so prolonged! I prayed to God to make them keep silent; this concert pierced my heart, and I feared it would tire out our poor little Thérèse.

At one moment, her mouth seemed to be so dry that Sister Geneviève, thinking to relieve her, placed on her lips a little piece of ice. She accepted it, giving her a smile which I’ll never forget. It was like a last farewell.

At six o’clock, when the Angelus was ringing, she looked at the statue of the Blessed Virgin for a long time.

Finally, at a few minutes past seven, Mother Prioress dismissed the community, and she sighed:

“Mother! Isn’t this the agony! . . . Am I not going to die? . . .”

“Oh! I would not want to suffer for a shorter time!”

And looking at her Crucifix, the prioress replied: “Yes, my poor little one, it’s the agony, but God perhaps wills to prolong it for several hours. “

She answered with courage:

“Well . . . All right! . . . All right!”

“Oh! I love Him! …

“My God … I love you! . . .”

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 270
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 270. The words of Thérèse are written in black ink. View the complete image of pages 270 and 271 here.

 

Suddenly, after having pronounced these words, she fell back, her head leaning to the right. Mother Prioress had the infirmary bell rung very quickly to call back the community.

“Open all the doors, ” she said at the same time. These words had something solemn about them, and made me think that in heaven God was saying them also to His angels.

The Sisters had time to kneel down around her bed, and they were witnesses to the ecstasy of the little, dying saint. Her face had regained the lily-white complexion it always had in full health; her eyes were fixed above, brilliant with peace and joy. She made certain beautiful movements with her head as though someone had divinely wounded her with an arrow of love, then had withdrawn the arrow to wound her again…

Sister Marie of the Eucharist approached with a candle to get a closer view of that sublime look. In the light of the candle, there didn’t appear any movement in her eyelids. This ecstasy lasted almost the space of a Credo, and then she gave her last breath.

After her death, she had a heavenly smile. She was ravishingly beautiful. She was holding her Crucifix so tightly that we had to force it from her hands to prepare her for burial. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and I performed this office, along with Sister Aimée of Jesus, and we noticed she didn’t seem any more than twelve or thirteen years old.

Her limbs were supple right up to her burial, on Monday, October 4, 1897.

Sr. Agnès of Jesus, r.c.i.

(unworthy Carmelite religious)

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 272
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 272. The commentary of Mother Agnès is written in red ink. View the complete image of pages 272 and 273 here.

 


APPENDIX

Words
that I found
in my notes

30 September

 

… All my little desires have been fulfilled… Now this great one (to die of love) should be fulfilled!

In the afternoon:

Ah! I have such strength today!… I’ve got enough for months! And tomorrow, every day, it will still be worse!…

… Oh well! So much the better!

I can’t breathe, I can’t die!…

(Mother Agnès adds in the margin, “she never had oxygen, I believe that it wasn’t popular back then.”)

…I will never know how to die!. . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 280 oxygen
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 281. The footnote of Mother Agnès concerning the fact that Thérèse never used oxygen is written in red ink. View the complete image of pages 280 and 281 here.

 

… Yes, my God!… Yes! . . . . . . . . . .

… I really want to keep suffering … ………….

Toward 5 o’clock, Mother Marie de Gonzague had the relics of Bl. Théophane and Mother Anne of Jesus brought down, that had been pinned to her curtain on the right-hand side. They brought them to her and she gave them a little caress.

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 289 remarque

 

Important point.

 

When my holy little Thérèse told me 16 July 1897: “You know all the secret places of my soul, you alone…” I am sure that, in her mind, she wasn’t excluding Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart and Sr. Geneviève of the Holy Face from that complete knowledge of her soul. Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart, to whom she owed the smile of the Blessed Virgin, and who prepared her for her First Communion, to whom we owe even more the marvelous response of her goddaughter the 17th September 1896. Sr. Geneviève of the Holy Face, her Céline whom she sweetly called “the gentle echo of my soul.”

But she was inspired by the good God to say this to me in a very particular way so that later, because of the authority that would be given to me, one might rely entirely upon that which I would say and write about her.

Sr. Agnès of Jesus, c.d.i.

(unworthy Discalced Carmelite nun)

28 August 1940

 

Carnet Jaune 30sep97 page 290 signature
The Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus, 30 September 1897, page 290. The conclusion of the Appendix added by Mother Agnès containing additional words of St. Thérèse, which Mother found later in her notes. View the complete image of page 290 here.

 


Note from the blogger . . .

We present for our readers an idea of what Mother Agnès’ yellow notebook actually looks like. Neither Father John Clarke’s translation of the Last Conversations that was published by ICS Publications in 1977 (print edition out of stock) nor the same translation that appears on the English pages of the Archives website for the Carmel of Lisieux include these images of the notebook. Only the French version of the website provides photographic images of Pauline Martin’s months of note-taking and bedside companionship.

On the English pages of the Archives website, the Yellow Notebook ends with Mother Agnès’ comment concerning the body remaining supple until 4 October. The Appendix is not included.

The entire Appendixwith photographic imagesis found only on the French version of the Archives website. The translation of the Appendix for 30 September is our own. Thus, we encourage our readers to explore the links in the caption of each photo to see the complete pages of Mother’s Yellow Notebook, or to view the images for the entire month of September here. For further, in-depth analysis of St. Thérèse’s last conversations with her family and community at her bedside, as well as Mother Agnès’ record-keeping in her notebook, you can read an English translation of historian Claude Langlois’ commentary and analysis here. It is subdivided into 16 sections; click next at the bottom of each page or navigate back to the top of his analysis.

sainte petite Thérèse, pray for us!

de l'Enfant Jésus, T 1977, St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations, translated from the French by Clarke, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

The English translation of the Appendix is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and proper attribution.

 

Quote of the day: 31 August

Pranzini_photo_anthropométrique

 

One Sunday, closing my book at the end of Mass, a picture of Our Lord on the Cross half slipped out, showing only one of His Divine Hands, pierced and bleeding. I felt an indescribable thrill such as I had never felt before. My heart was torn with grief to see that Precious Blood falling to the ground, and no one caring to treasure It as It fell, and I resolved to remain continually in spirit at the foot of the Cross, that I might receive the Divine Dew of Salvation and pour it forth upon souls. From that day the cry of my dying Saviour—“I thirst!”—sounded incessantly in my heart, and kindled therein a burning zeal hitherto unknown to me. My one desire was to give my Beloved to drink; I felt myself consumed with thirst for souls, and I longed at any cost to snatch sinners from the everlasting flames of hell.

In order still further to enkindle my ardour, Our Divine Master soon proved to me how pleasing to him was my desire. Just then I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death for several shocking murders, and, as he was quite impenitent, everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church.

Need I say that in the depths of my heart I felt certain my request would be granted? But, that I might gain courage to persevere in the quest for souls, I said in all simplicity: “My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me.” My prayer was granted to the letter. My Father never allowed us to read the papers, but I did not think there was any disobedience in looking at the part about Pranzini. The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper, La Croix, and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds three times. . . . I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet. Was it not when I saw the Precious Blood flowing from the Wounds of Jesus that the thirst for souls first took possession of me? I wished to give them to drink of the Blood of the Immaculate Lamb that It might wash away their stains, and the lips of “my first born” had been pressed to these Divine Wounds. What a wonderful answer!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Story of a Soul

 

Henri Pranzini was executed on this date, 31 August 1877 in Paris

 

Léonie Martin—Sr. François-Thérèse, V.H.M.—was the seventh witness at the diocesan inquiry for the cause of beatification of her sister, Thérèse. In her response to the 21st question concerning the theological virtue of faith, she mentioned this incident… 


Her spirit of faith allowed her to see all things from a spiritual point of view. The letters she wrote to me spoke only of God and she only ever considered events from the point of view of faith. When our father died, she wrote (20th August 1894):

I am thinking more than ever about you ever since our dear Father went up to heaven… Papa’s death does not give me the impression of a death but of a real life. I am finding him once more after an absence of 6 years, I feel him around me, looking at me and protecting me. Dear little Sister, are we not more united now that we gaze on the heavens to find there a Father and a Mother who offered us to Jesus? … Soon their desires shall be accomplished, and all the children God gave them are going to be united to Him forever.

Saint Louis Martin died 29 July 1894

Read more from Léonie, Witness 7 at the Diocese of Lisieux Interrogatory

 

sea of clouds sunrise wallpaper
Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

The perfume vase

J.M.J.T.

July 22, 1897 – Feast of St. Magdalene

Jesus +

“Let the just man break me out of compassion for sinners, let the oil with which one perfumes his head not weaken mine.”

I cannot be broken, tried, except by the just, since all my Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be broken by a sinner than by a just man; but out of compassion for sinners in order to obtain their conversion, I ask You, oh, my God! that I may be broken for them by the just souls who surround me.

I ask You, too, that the oil of praise so sweet to nature may not weaken my head, that is, my mind, by making me believe I possess virtues that I have hardly practiced several times. Oh, Jesus, Your name is like oil poured out; it is in this divine perfume that I want to bathe myself entirely, far from the eyes of creatures….

Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Letter 259 to Sr. Geneviève

Mary Magdalene LA TOUR Georges LACMA
The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame
Georges de La Tour (French, 1593-1652)
Oil on canvas, 1635-37
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

 

View the original manuscript of St. Thérèse’s letter to Sr. Geneviève—her sister Paulineat the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Quote of the day: 22 July

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

The last words of Manuscript C

Manuscript C, folios 36 verso and 37 recto


My dear Mother, now I would like to tell you what I understand by the fragrance of the perfumes of the Beloved.

Since Jesus has re-ascended to Heaven, I can only follow him through the footprints that he left, but how illuminated are these footprints, how aromatic they are! I only have to cast my eyes on the holy gospel; all of a sudden I’m breathing in the perfumes of the life of Jesus and I know on which side to run…

It’s not the first place, but the last place that I aim for; rather than moving forward with the pharisee, I repeat, full of trust, the humble prayer of the tax-collector;

but above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine.

Yes, I feel it, even if I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go—my heart, broken in repentance—throw myself in the arms of Jesus because I know how much he cherishes the prodigal child who comes back to Him.

It’s not because the good God, in his prevenient mercy, has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I raise myself to Him through trust and love…

 

MsC36v j'imite la Madeleine (crop)
But above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine. | Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux (used by permission)

 


Renowned Discalced Carmelite scholar Father François-Marie Léthel concluded Meditation 8 of the 2011 Lenten Exercises for the Roman Curia by citing this final paragraph from Manuscript C. He also notes that, at the same moment, Thérèse writes to her spiritual brother Bellière:

You love St. Augustine, St. Magdalene; these souls to whom “many sins were forgiven because they loved much”. Me too, I love them; I love their repentance, and especially… their loving audacity! When I see Magdalene come forward in the midst of the numerous guests, showering the feet of her adorable Master with her tears, that she’s touching for the first time, I sense that her heart has understood the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus and that, total sinner that she is, this Heart of love is not only disposed to pardon her but still more to lavish upon her the benefits of his divine intimacy, to lift her up to the highest summits of contemplation. Ah! my dear little Brother, since it was given to me also to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit to you that has chased away all fear from my heart. The memory of my faults humiliates me, it brings me to never learn on my strength, which is only a weakness, but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love. How—when you throw your faults with total, filial trust in the burning all-consuming brazier of love—how wouldn’t they be consumed without coming back?”

Read Father John Clarke’s translation of Letter 247 from Saint Thérèse to Abbé Maurice Bellière (21 June 1897) here.

 


Nota Bene: We have elected to be as faithful to the original text as possible in our translation, avoiding a re-cast into contemporary idioms. There is the age-old question among translators of French: does avoir confiance mean to be confident, to have confidence, or does it mean to trust? As an example, again and again today, theological translators agree: the best and truest translation of Jésus, j’ai confiance en toi is, Jesus, I trust in you.

 

Lethel, François-Marie. (2011) La Lumière du Christ dans le Coeur de l'Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints. 
© 2011, Librairie Éditrice Vaticane. Pour la langue française: © Éditions Parole et Silence, 2011.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

 

Quote of the day: 14 July

Remember that your holy will
Is my rest, my only happiness.
I abandon myself and I fall asleep without fear
In your arms, O my divine Savior.
If you also fall asleep when the storm rages,
I always want to stay in deep peace.
But, Jesus, while you are asleep,
Prepare me
For the awakening!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux 
Jesus, My Beloved, Remember!…
“Rappelle-toi” (PN 24), Stanza 32

 

Carnet Jaune 14jul97
On 14 July 1897 Mother Agnès of Jesus notes that Thérèse began to repeat “with a heavenly melody and accent” stanza 32 of her poem, “Rappelle-toi” | Screenshot detail

 

Read the full text of the poem in French here and in English here. Read this and more entries from Mother Agnès’ yellow notebook of her last conversations with Saint Thérèse during July 1897 here. You can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

Quote of the day: 12 July

We arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty. My brother was waiting for us at the station and was delighted to see us. He and his wife are doing everything they can to entertain us. This evening, Sunday, there’s a beautiful reception in their home in our honor….

As for me, I’m finding it hard to relax! None of that interests me! I’m absolutely like the fish you pull out of the water. They’re no longer in their element and they have to perish! This would have the same effect on me if I had to stay a lot longer. I feel uncomfortable, I’m out of sorts. This is affecting me physically, and it’s almost making me sick. However, I’m reasoning with myself and trying to gain the upper hand. I’m with you in spirit all day, and I say to myself, “Now he must be doing such and such a thing.”

I’m longing to be near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel my affection so much more when you’re not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live apart from you.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin
Letter CF 108 to Saint Louis Martin (excerpt)
Lisieux, 31 August 1873

 

Louis-Zelie-Therese reliquary (2)
The relics of the Martin family saints: Louis, Thérèse, and Azélie | Tony Basilio / Flickr

 

Explore more of the correspondence of Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin here.

Quote of the day: 11 July

Here We are with you, the Shepherd with his dear flock, the Father with his beloved Sons.

Here We are with you, in the most holy name of our Divine Redeemer, of our lovable King of the Tabernacle; in the name of Saint Thérèse who, today more than ever, is the honour and glory of Lisieux and its Carmel…

Pray, beloved Sons, that, as the Divine King of the Tabernacle has created our souls and given all His precious blood for them, He will similarly deign also to sanctify and save them, in making them, here and now, in awaiting heavenly glory, living basilicas where He will be pleased to dwell with His sanctifying grace and all His blessings: basilicas so beautiful, so magnificent, that no worldly beauty could compare with them, not even the delightful splendors of the new Basilica of Lisieux.

Pope Pius XI
Radio message for the blessing of the Basilica of Lisieux 
11 July 1937

 

PioXI_et_Pacelliinaugurazioneradiovaticana
Pope Pius XI and Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli at Vatican Radio Studios for the inauguration and blessing of the new radio network, 12 February 1931 | Wikimedia Commons

 

Learn more about the blessing of the Basilica of Lisieux on 11 July 1937 here and here.

 

Quote of the day: 9 July

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, thou who hast been rightly proclaimed the Patroness of Catholic missions throughout the world, remember the burning desire which thou didst manifest here on earth to plant the Cross of Christ on every shore and to preach the Gospel even to the consummation of the world; we implore thee, according to thy promise, to assist all priests and missionaries and the whole Church of God.

 

Therese-patroness-missions (DETAIL)
Thérèse patroness of the missions (detail)
Sr. Marie of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Oil on canvas or panel, 1928; 85 x 132 cm.
Carmel of Lisieux
Painting executed by Sr. Marie of the Holy Spirit, Discalced Carmelite nun of Lisieux  (1892-1982), to illustrate the nomination of Thérèse as Patroness of the Missions by Pope Pius XI on 14 December 1927. Sister Marie followed a pencil on paper sketch by artist Charles Jouvenot

 

Pope Pius XI through an Apostolic Brief issued 9 July 1928 accorded a partial indulgence of 300 days once a day and a plenary indulgence, on the usual conditions, if this prayer is devoutly said every day for a month.

Sources: Efemerides Carmelitana, Raccolta

Quote of the day: 8 July

The Blessed Virgin will never be hidden from me, for I love her too much.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
The Yellow Notebook
8 July 1897

 

14-nd-des-victoires-infirmerie-37cm (3)
Our Lady of Victories kept in the Infirmary of the Carmel of Lisieux (detail). See a photo of the entire statue here.

 

On 8 July 1897 Saint Thérèse “was so sick there was talk of giving her Extreme Unction. That day, she was taken down from her cell to the infirmary; she was no longer able to stand up, and she had to be carried down.” Read more entries from Mother Agnès’ Yellow Notebook for the month of July here.

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