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i > 



Fifteenth Thousand 





H U R N S & O A I K S, I , I M 1 1 I 1.) 


Printed in England 



AN INDULGENCE of Two Hundred Days was graciously granted 
by His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, on the Nineteenth of March, 
Nineteen Hundred and Twelve, to Readers of " Soeur Therese of 

TJ IE PROFITS of this volume price six shillings net will be 
devoted to the purpose of making the Little Flower of Jesus more 
widely known, and of thus recruiting her " Legion of Little Victims 
of Divine Love." 


Conformably to the Decree of Pope Urban VIII, the Editor 
declares that in the following pages the word " Saint " and 
" Miracle " are employed in a purely human sense, and all intention 
of anticipating the judgment of the Church is utterly disclaimed. 


Censor Deputatus 


Vicarius Generalis 

WESTMONASTERII, die nond Decembris, 1912. 




AUTOBIOGRAPHY ... . . . 13 





,, r. VOCATION OF THEKESE ..... 71 

,, / /. A PILGRIMAGE TO ROME .... 88 


,, / ///. PROFESSION OF SO-;UR THERT-L . . .118 

,, /A. THE NIGHT OF THE SOUL . . . .134 

,, A . THE NEW COMMANDMENT .... i ;.i. 

,, XI. A CANTICLE OF LOVE . . . . .171 


~ J 


T< CELINE ....... 





To MARIE GUERIN ...... 290 


To MISSIONARIES ....... ju2 












DAYS OF GRACE ... 3*9 


MEMORIES ... 3 2 3 








NOTE : A FORECAST . . - 4 J 3 



EDITORIAL NOTE .... 4 2 9 



SOF.UR THERESE . (By Celine after a photograph] Frontispiece 





THERESE AND HER FATHER . . . (Cf.;/.v) So 

SCEUR THERESE NOVICE . . . (From a photograph] 112 

SQ-.UR THERESE SACRISTAN . (By Celine after a photograph] 126 


S J .up. THERESE AFTER DEATH .... (Le.uit } 222 


CllAPEL OF THE CARMEL . ... 3 : 

"THE LITTLE FLOWER OF JESUS" . . (From a photograph] 352 



Awe become acquainted with the histories 
of those in whom, in long succession, God 
has been pleased to show forth examples 
of holiness of life, it seems as if every phase of 
human existence had in the history of the Church 
received its consecration as a power to bring men 
nearer to their Maker. But there is no limit to the 
types of sanctity which the Creator is pleased to un 
fold before His creatures. To many, on reading for 
the first time the story of Sister Teresa of the Child 
Jesus and of the Holy Face, it came almost as a shock 
to find a very youthful member of an austere Order, 
strictly retired from the world, engaged in hidden 
prayer and mortification, appearing before us to reveal 
to the whole world the wonders of the close intimacy 
of friendship to which her Divine Spouse had been 
pleased to call her. Certainly the way by which 
Sceur Therese was led is not the normal life of Carmel, 
nor hers the manner whereby most Carmelites are 
called to accomplish the wondrous apostolate of inter 
cession to which their lives are given. But no less 
certain is it that, in her particular case, her work for 
God and her apostolate were not to be confined 
between the walls of her religious home, or to be 
limited by her few years on earth. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

In the first place, we know that it was by obedience 
that the record of God s dealings with her soul were 
set down in writing. And, again, the long tale of 
graces granted in such strange profusion through her 
intercession is proof sufficient that it was not without 
Divine permission and guidance that the history of 
her special and peculiar vocation has become the pro 
perty of all Catholics in every land. It is for God to 
keep, and for Him to make known the secrets of His 
Love for men. And in the case of Sceur Therese it 
has been His Will to divulge His secrets in most 
generous consideration for our needs. 


What are the hidden treasures which Our Divine 
Master thus reveals to us through His chosen little 
servant ? 

It is the old story of simplicity in God s service, of 
the perfect accomplishment of small recurring duties, 
of trustful confidence in Him who made, and has 
redeemed and sanctified us. Humility, self-efface 
ment, obedience, hiddenness, unfaltering charity, with 
all the self-control and constant effort that they 
imply, are written on every page of the history of 
this little Saint. And, as we turn its pages, the lesson 
is borne in upon our souls that there is no surer nor 
safer way of pleasing Our Father Who is in Heaven 
than by remaining ever as little children in His sight. 
Doubtless for many of her clients whose hearts are 
kindled as they read this book, Sceur Therese will 
obtain, as she has done so often in the past, wonderful 
gifts for health of soul and body. But may she win 
for all of us without exception a deep and fruitful 



conviction of the unchanging truth, that unless we 
become as little children in the doing of our 
Heavenly Father s Will, we cannot enter into our 
Eternal Home. 


Archbishop of Westminster. 






IN the month of September, 1843, a young man 
of twenty climbed the mountain of the Great 
St. Bernard. His eyes shone with a holy 
enthusiasm as the splendour of the Alps stirred 
to the depths his responsive nature. Presently, accus 
tomed as they were to discern God s beauty in the 
beauty of His handi\vork, they glistened with tears. 
He paused for a space, then, continuing his journey, 
soon reached the celebrated monastery that like a 
beacon on those heights darts afar its beams of faith 
and magnificent charity. 

The Prior, struck by the frank and open counten 
ance of his guest, welcomed him with more than 
wonted hospitality. Louis Joseph Stanislaus Martin 
was the pilgrim s name. He was born on August 
22, 1823, at Bordeaux, while his father, a brave 
and devout soldier, was captain in the garrison 
there. " God has predestined this little one for 
Himself," said the saintly Bishop of Bordeaux on the 
occasion of his baptism, and events have proved the 
truth of his w ; ords. From this town, by the banks of 
the Garonne, his parents went to Alencon in lower 
Xormandy, and there in their new home; as in their 
old one, Louis was the cherished Benjamin. 

It was not the loveliness of Swiss lakes and moun 
tains and skies that had drawn the traveller from 
distant Alengon. He came to the monastery and his 
journey was chiefly on foot to consecrate his days to 
God. On learning his purpose the Prior questioned 
him upon his knowledge of Latin, only to discover 


Sceur Th^rese of Lisieux 

that the young aspirant had not completed his course 
of studies in that language. " I am indeed sorry, my 
child," said the venerable monk, " since this is an 
essential condition, but you must not be disheartened. 
Go back to your own country, apply yourself dili 
gently, and when you have ended your studies we shall 
receive you with open arms." 

Louis was disappointed. He set out for home 
for exile he would have said but ere long he saw 
clearly that his life was to be dedicated to God in 
another and equally fruitful way, and that the Alpine 
monastery was to be nothing more to him than a 
sweet memory. 

A few years after the vain quest of Louis Martin, 
a similar scene was enacted in Alengon itself. Accom 
panied by her mother, Zelie Guerin an attractive and 
pious girl presented herself at the Convent of the 
Sisters of Charity in the hope of gaining admission. 
For years it had been her desire to share the Sisters 
work, but this was not to be. In the interview that 
followed, the Superioress guided by the Holy Ghost 
decided unhesitatingly that Zelie s vocation was not for 
the religious life. God wanted her in the world, and 
so she returned to her parents, and to the companion 
ship of her elder sister and her younger brother. 
Shortly afterwards the gates of the Visitation Convent 
at Le Mans closed upon her beloved sister, and Zelie s 
thoughts turned to the Sacrament of Holy Matri 
mony. " O my God " she repeated constantly 
" since I am unworthy to be Thy Spouse, like my dear 
sister, I shall enter the married state to fulfil Thy 
Holy Will, and I beseech Thee to make me the mother 
of many children, and to grant that all of them may be 
dedicated to Thee." 

God gave ear to her prayer, and His Finger was 
visible in the circumstances which led to her be- 


coming the wife of Louis Martin, on July 12, 1858, 
in Alenc^on s lovely Church of Notre Dame. Like the 
chaste Tobias, they were joined together in matrimony 
kw soldv jor the love oj children, in whom Cod s Name 
might be blessed jor ever and ever" Nine white 
flowers bloomed in this sacred garden. Of the nine, 
four were transplanted to Paradise ere their buds had 
quite unfolded, while five were gathered in God s 
walled gardens upon earth, one entering the Visitation 
Convent at Caen, the others the Carmel of Lisieux. 

From the cradle all were dedicated to Mary 
Immaculate, and all received her name : Marie Louise, 
Marie Pauline, Marie Leonie, Marie Helene, who died 
at the age of four and a half, Marie Joseph Louis, 
Marie Joseph Jean Baptiste, Marie Celine, Marie 
Melanie Therese, who died when three months old, 
and lastly, Marie Franfoise Therese. 

The two boys were the fruit of prayers and tears. 
After the birth of the four elder girls, their parents 
entreated St. Joseph to obtain for them the favour 
of a son who should become a priest and a missionary. 
Marie Joseph soon was given them, and his pretty 
wavs appealed to all hearts, but only five months had 
run their course when Heaven demanded what it had 
lent. Then followed more urgent novenas. 

The grandeur of the Priesthood, glorious upon 
earth, ineffable in eternity, was so well understood by 
those Christian parents, that their hearts coveted it 
most dearly. At all costs the family must have a 
Priest of the Lord, one who would be an apostle, 
peradventure a martyr. But, " the thoughts of the 
Lord are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways" 
Another little Joseph was born, and with him hope 
once again grew strong. Alas ! nine months had 
scarcely passed when he, too, fled from this world and 
joined his angel brother. 

They did not ask again. Yet, could the veil of 
the future have been lifted, their heavy hearts would, 


Sceur Th6rese of Lisieux 

of a surety, have been comforted. A child was to be 
vouchsafed them who would be a herald of Divine love, 
not to China alone, but to all the ends of the earth. 

Nay, they themselves were destined to shine as 
apostles, and we read on one of the first pages of the 
Portuguese edition of the Autobiography, these sig 
nificant words of an eminent Jesuit : 

"To the Sacred Memory of Louis Joseph Stanislaus 
Martin and of Zelie Gudrin, the blessed parents of 
Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus, for an example 
to all Christian parents." 

They little dreamed of this future apostolate, 
nevertheless they made ready their souls day by day 
to be God s own instruments in God s good time. 
With most loving resignation they greeted the many 
crosses which the Lord laid upon them the Lord 
whose tender name of Father is truest in the dark 
hour of trial. 

Every morning saw them at Mass ; together they 
knelt at the Holy Table. They strictly observed the 
fasts and abstinences of the Church, kept Sunday as 
a day of complete rest from work in spite of the 
remonstrance of friends, and found in pious reading 
their most delightful recreation. They prayed in 
common after the touching example of Captain 
Martin, whose devout way of repeating the Our 
Father brought tears to all eyes. Thus the great 
Christian virtues flourished in their home. Wealth 
did not bring luxury in its train, and a strict simplicity 
was invariably observed. 

" How mistaken are the great majority of men ! " 
Madame Martin used often to say. " If they are rich, 
they at once desire honours ; and if these are ob 
tained, they are still unhappy ; for never can that 
heart be satisfied which seeks anything but God." 

Her whole ambition as a mother was directed to 



Heaven. " Four of my children are already well 
settled in life," she once wrote ; " and the others 
will go likewise to that Heavenly Kingdom enriched 
with greater merit because the combat will have been 
more prolonged." 

Charity in all its forms was a natural outlet to the 
piety of these simple hearts. Husband and wife set 
aside each year a considerable portion of their earnings 
for the Propagation of the Faith ; they relieved poor 
persons in distress, and ministered to them with their 
own hands. On one occasion Monsieur Martin, like 
a good Samaritan, was seen to raise a drunken man 
from the ground in a busy thoroughfare, take his bag 
of tools, support him on his arm, and lead him home. 
Another time when he saw, in a railway station, a 
poor and starving epileptic without the means to 
return to his distant home, he was so touched with 
pity that he took off his hat and, placing in it an 
alms, proceeded to beg from the passengers on 
behalf of the sufferer. Money poured in, and it was 
with a heart brimming over with gratitude that the 
sick man blessed his benefactor. 

Never did he allow the meannesses of human 
respect to degrade his Christian dignity. In what 
ever company he might be, he always saluted the 
Blessed Sacrament when passing a Church ; and he 
never met a priest without paying him a mark of 
respect. A word from his lips sufficed to silence 
whosoever dared blaspheme in his presence. 

In reward for his virtues, God showered even 
temporal blessings on His faithful servant. In 1871 
he was able to give up his business as a jeweller, and 
retire to a house in the Rue St. Blaise. The making 
of point-lace, however, begun by Madame Martin, 
was still carried on. 

In that house the " Little Flower of Jesus " first 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

saw the sunshine. Again and again, in the pages of 
her Autobiography, she calls herself by this modest 
name of the Little Flower, emblematic of her humility, 
her purity, her simplicity, and it may be added, of 
the poetry of her soul. The reader will learn in the 
Epilogue how it was also used by one of her favourite 
martyr-saints the now Blessed Theophane Venard. 
On the manuscript of her Autobiography she set the 
title : " The Story of the Springtime of a little white 
Flower" and in truth such it was, for long ere the rigours 
of life s winter came round, the Flower was blossoming 
in Paradise. 

It was, however, in mid- winter, January 2, 1873, 
that this ninth child of Louis Martin and Zelie 
Guerin was born. Marie and Pauline were at home 
for the Christmas holidays from the Visitation Con 
vent at Le Mans, and though there was, it is true, a 
slight disappointment that the future priest was still 
denied them, it quickly passed, and the little one was 
regarded as a special gift from Heaven. Later on, 
her beloved Father delighted in calling her his " Little 
Queen," adding at times the high-sounding titles " of 
France and Navarre." 

The Little Queen was indeed well received that 
winter s morning, and in the course of the day a poor 
waif rang timidly at the door of the happy home, and 
presented a paper bearing the following simple stanza : 

u Smile and swiftly grow ; 
All beckons thee to joy, 
Sweet love, and tenderest care. 
Smile gladly at the dawn, 
Bud of an hour ! for thou 
Shalt be a stately rose." 

It was a charming prophecy, for the bud unfolded 
its petals and became a rose a rose of love but not 
for long, " for the space of a morn ! " 


On January 4, she was carried to the Church of 
Notre Dame to receive the Sacrament of Baptism ; 
her eldest si>tcr, Marie, was her godmother, and she 
was yivcn the name of Marie Franfoise Therise.* 

All was joy at first, but soon the tender bud 
drooped on its delicate stem : little hope was held out 
it must wither and die. " You must pray to St. 
Francis de Sales," wrote her aunt from the convent 
at Le Mans, " and you must promise, if the child 
recovers, to call her by her second name, Frances." 
This was a sword-thrust for the Mother. Leaning 
over the cradle of her Therese, she awaited the 
coming of the end, saying : " Only when the last hope 
has gone, will I promise to call her Frances." 

The gentle St. Francis waived his claim in favour 
of the great Reformer of the Carmelite Order : the 
child recovered, and so retained her sweet name of 
Therese. Sorrow, however, was mixed with the 
Mother s joy, when it became necessary to send the 
babe to a foster-mother in the country. There the 
" little rose-bud " grew in beauty, and after some 
months had gained strength sufficient to allow of 
her being brought back to Alenon. Her memory of 
this short but happy time spent with her sainted 
Mother in the Rue St. Blaise was extraordinarily vivid. 
To-day a tablet on the balcony of No. 42 informs the 
passers-by that here was born a certain Carmelite, 
by name, Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus and of 
the Holy Face. Fifteen years have gone since the 
meeting in Heaven of Madame Martin and her Car 
melite child, and if the pilgrimage to where the Little 
Flov/er first saw the light of day, be not so large as that 
to the grave where her remains await their glorious 
resurrection, it may nevertheless be numbered in 
thousands. And to the English-speaking pilgrim there 

1 The bapth;r.. l entry, with it^ numerous signatures, is shown to visitors, rvi l 
a tablet in the LaptMery of the Iv.iutiful (iothic church tells the pilgrim that h<TC 
the " Little Queen " wai made a chil . f < jixl. [Ko.] 

Soeur Therbse of Lisieux 

is an added pleasure in the fact that her most notable 
convert, the first minister of the United Free Church 
of Scotland to enter the True Fold, performs, with 
his convert wife, the courteous duties of host. 

It will not be amiss to say a brief word here on the 
brother and sister of Madame Martin. Her sister 
in religion, Sister Marie Dosithea led a life so holy 
at Le Mans that she was cited by Dom Gueranger, 
perhaps the most distinguished Benedictine of the 
nineteenth century, as the model of a perfect nun. 
By her own confession, she had never been guilty from 
earliest childhood of the smallest deliberate fault. 
She died on February 24, 1877. ^ was m tne convent 
made fragrant by such holiness that her niece Pauline 
Martin, elder sister and " little mother " of Therese, 
and for five years her Prioress at the Carmel, received 
her education. And if the Little Flower may have 
imbibed the liturgical spirit from her teachers, the 
daughters of St. Benedict in Lisieux, so that she 
could say before her death : " I do not think it is 
possible for anyone to have desired more than I to 
assist properly at choir and to recite perfectly the 
Divine Office " may it not be to the influences from 
Le Mans that may be traced something of the honey- 
sweet spirit of St. Francis de Sales which pervades the 
pages of the Autobiography ? 

With the brother of Zelie Guerin the reader will 
make acquaintance in the narrative of Therese. He 
was a chemist in Lisieux, and it was there his daughter 
Jeanne Guerin married Dr. La Neele and his younger 
child Marie entered the Carmel. Our foreign mis 
sionaries had a warm friend in the uncle of Therese 
for his charities he was made godfather to an African 
King ; and to the Catholic Press that home missionary 
he was ever most devoted. Founder, at Lisieux, 
of the Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, 



and a zealous member of the Society of St. Vincent de 
Paul, he was called to his abundant reward on Sep 
tember 28, 1909. Verily the lamp of faith is not 
extinct in the land of the Norman. 

The Father of Therese, after the death of his wife, 
likewise made his home in the delightful town which 
lies amid the beautiful apple orchards of the valley 
of the Touques. Lisieux is deeply interesting by- 
reason of its fine old churches of St. Jacques and 
St. Pierre, and its wonderful specimens of quaint 
houses, some of which date from the twelfth century. 
In matters of faith it is neither fervent nor hostile, 
and in 1877 its inhabitants little thought that through 
their new citizen, Marie Francoise Therese Martin, 
their town would be rendered immortal. 

" The cell at Lisieux reminds us of the cell of the 
Blessed Gabriel at Isola. There is the same even tenor 
of way, the same magnificent fidelity in little things, 

J J O / 

the same flames of divine charity, consuming but 
concealed. Nazareth, with the simplicity of its Child, 
and the calm abysmal love of Mary and Joseph 
Nazareth, adorable but imitable, gives the key to her 
spirit, and her Autobiography does but repeat the 
lessons of the thirty hidden years." 1 

And it repeats them with an unrivalled charm. 
"This master of asceticism," writes a biographer 2 
of St. Ignatius Loyola, " loved the garden and loved 
the flowers. In the balcony of his study he sat 
gazing on the stars : it was then Lainez heard him 
say : Oh, how earth grows base to me when I look on 
Heaven ! . . . The like imaginative strain, so scorned 
of our petty day, inhered in all the lofty souls of that 

1 " As Little Children ": the abridged life of Soeur Thdr6se. Published at th? 
Orphans Press, Rochdale. 
1 Francis Thompson. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

age. Even the Saints of our day speak a less radiant 
language : and sanctity shows shorn of its rays 
through the black fog of universal utilitarianism, the 
materiality which men have drawn into the very lungs 
of their souls." 

This is not true of the sainted authoress of the 
chapters that follow " less radiant," in the medium 
of a translation. In her own inimitable pages, as in 
those of a Campion or an Ignatius, a Teresa of Avila, 
or a John of the Cross the Spirit of Poetry is the 
handmaiden of Holiness. This new ]over of flowers 
and student of the stars, this " strewer of roses," has 
uplifted a million hearts from the " base earth " and 
u black fog " to the very throne of God, and her mission 
is as yet but begun. 

The pen of Sceur Therese herself must now take 
up the narrative. It will do so in words that do not 
merely tell of love but set the heart on fire, and at 
the same time lay bare the workings of God in a soul 
that " since the age of three never refused the Good 
God anything." The writing of this Autobiography 
was an act of obedience, and the Prioress who im 
posed the task sought, in all simplicity, her own 
personal edification. But the fragrance of its pages 
was such that she was advised to publish them to 
the world. She did so in 1899 under the title of 
UHistoire (Tune Ame. An English version by M. H. 
Dzicwicki appeared in 1901. 

This new translation relates more fully the story 
of the childhood, girlhood, and brief convent days 
of Sceur Therese. It tells of her " Roses," and sets 
forth again, in our w r orld-wide tongue, her world 
wide embassy the ever ancient message of God s 
Merciful Love, the ever new way to Him of " con 
fidence and self-surrender." 







IT is to you, dear Mother, that I am about to 
confide the story of my soul. When you asked 
me to write it, I feared the task might unsettle 
me, but since then Our Lord has deigned to 
make me understand that by simple obedience I 
shall please Him best. I begin therefore to sing 
what must be my eternal song : " the Mercies of the 
Lord." l 

Before setting about my task I knelt before the 
statue of Our Lady which had given my family so 
many proofs of Our Heavenly Mother s loving care. 2 
As I knelt I begged of that dear Mother to guide my 
hand, and thus ensure that only what was pleasing 
to her should find place here. 

Then opening the Gospels, my eyes fell on these 
words : " Jesus, going up into a mountain, called unto 
11 1 m whom Pie wo u Id H im self. 3 

Thev threw a clear light upon the mystery of my 
vocation and of my entire life, and above all upon the 
favours which our Lord has granted to my soul. He 
does not call those who are worthy, but those whom 
He will. As St. Paul says: "God will have mercy 
on whom He will have mercy. 4 So then it is not of him 
that icilleth, nor of him that runneth, hut of God that 
shoiveth mercy" 5 

1 Ps. Ixxxviii. \. 

2 This statue twice ap;>"ared as if endowed \\ith life, in oidcr to enlighten 
an 1 console Mine. Marf.n, mother of Tlu -ri-be. A l;k- favour was granted to 
Therese herself, as will be seen in th" course of the nar.utive. 

:< Mark HI. 13. * Cj . Exod. xxxiii. 19. > CJ. Rom. ix. 16. 

i ; 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I often asked myself why God had preferences, 
why all souls did not receive an equal measure of 
grace. I was filled with wonder when I saw extra 
ordinary favours showered on great sinners like St. 
Paul, St. Augustine, St. Mary Magdalen, and many 
others, whom He forced, so to speak, to receive His 
grace. In reading the lives of the Saints I was sur 
prised to see that there were certain privileged souls, 
whom Our Lord favoured from the cradle to the 
grave, allowing no obstacle in their path which might 
keep them from mounting towards Him, permitting 
no sin to soil the spotless brightness of their baptismal 
robe. And again it puzzled me why so many poor 
savages should die without having even heard the 
name of God. 

Our Lord has deigned to explain this mystery 
to me. He showed me the book of nature, and I 
understood that every flower created by Him is beauti 
ful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness 
of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or 
the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that 
if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature 
would lose its springtide beauty, and the fields would 
no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it 
is in the world of souls, Our Lord s living garden. 
He has been pleased to create great Saints who may 
be compared to the lily and the rose, but He has also 
created lesser ones, who must be content to be daisies 
or simple violets flowering at His Feet, and whose 
mission it is to gladden His Divine Eyes when He 
deigns to look down on them. And the more gladly 
they do His Will the greater is their perfection. 

I understood this also, that God s Love is made 
manifest as well in a simple soul which does not resist 
His grace as in one more highly endowed. In fact, 
the characteristic of love being self-abasement, if all 
souls resembled the holy Doctors who have illuminated 
the Church, it seems that God in coming to them 


Earliest Memories 

would not s<oop low enough. But He has created 
the little child, who knows nothing and can but utter 
feeble eric-, and the poor savage who ha; only the 
natural law to guide him, and it is to their hearts that 
He deigns to stoop. These arc the field flowers 
who-c simplicity charms Him ; and by His conde- 
sccnsion to them Our Saviour shows His infinite 
greatness. As the sun shines both on the cedar and 
on the floweret, ^o the Divine Sun illumines every 
soul, great and small, and all correspond to His care 
just as in nature the seasons are so disposed that on 
the appointed day the humblest daisy shall unfold 
its petaK 

You will wonder, dear Mother, to what all this 
is leading, for till now I have said nothing that sounds 
like the story of my life ; but did you not tell me to 
write quite freely whatever came into my mind ? 
So, it will not be my life properly speaking, that you 
will find in these pages, but my thoughts about the 
graces which it has pleased Our Lord to bestow on me. 

I am now at a time of life when I can look back on 
the past, for my soul has been refined in the crucible of 
interior and exterior trials. Now, like a flower after 
the storm, I can raise my head and see that the words 
of the Psalm are realised in me : " The Lord is my 
Shepherd and I shall want nothing. He hath set me 
in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up on the 
zc aier of refreshment. He hath converted my soul. 
He hath led me on the -paths of justice for His own Name s 
sar.e. For though I should walk in the midst of the 
shadow of death, I will fear no evils for "Thou art with me." 1 

Yes, to me Our Lord lias always been " compas 
sionate and merciful, long-suffering and plenteous in 
mercy." ~ 

Arid so it gives me great joy, dear Mother, to come 
to you and sing I ii> unspeakable mercies. It is for 
you alone that I write the story of the little flower 

1 Cf. I s. xxii. 1-4. 2 Ps. cii. 8. 

17 B 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

gathered by Jesus. This thought will help me to 
speak freely, without troubling either about style or 
about the many digressions that I shall make ; for a 
Mother s heart always understands her child, even 
when it can only lisp, and so I am sure of being under 
stood and my meaning appreciated. 

If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it 
would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, 
without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under 
the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, 
or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had 
withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it 
knew that such were not the case. 

The Little Flower, that now tells her tale, rejoices 
in having to publish the wholly undeserved favours 
bestowed upon her by Our Lord. She knows that 
she had nothing in herself worthy of attracting Him : 
His Mercy alone showered blessings on her. He 
allowed her to grow in holy soil enriched with the 
odour of purity, and preceded by eight lilies of shining 
whiteness. In His Love He willed to preserve her 
from the poisoned breath of the world hardly had 
her petals unfolded when this good Master trans 
planted her to the mountain of Carmel, Our Lady s 
chosen garden. 

And now, dear Mother, having summed up in a 
few words all that God s goodness has done for me, 
I will relate in detail the story of my childhood. I 
know that, though to others it may seem wearisome, 
your motherly heart will find pleasure in it. In the 
story of my soul, up to the time of my entry into the 
Carmel, there are three clearly marked periods : the 
first, in spite of its shortness, is by no means the least 
rich in memories. 

It extends from the dawn of reason to the death of 
my dearly loved Mother ; in other words, till I was 
four years and eight months old. God, in His good 
ness, did me the favour of awakening my intelligence 


Earliest Memories 

very early, and He has imprinted the recollections of 
my childhood so deeply in my memory that past events 
seem to have happened but yesterday. Without 
doubt He wished to make me know and appreciate 
the Mother He had given me. Alas ! His Divine Hand 
soon took her from me to crown her in Heaven. 

All my life it has pleased Him to surround me with 
affection. My first recollections are of loving smiles 
and tender caresses ; but if He made others love me 
so much, He made me love them too, for I was of an 
ailectionate nature. 

You can hardly imagine how much I loved my 
Father and ?vlother, and, being very demonstrative, 
I showed my love in a thousand little ways, though the 
means I employed make me smile now when I think 
of them. 

Dear Mother, you have given me the letters which 
my Mother wrote at this time to Pauline, who was at 
school at the Visitation Convent at Le Mans. I re 
member perfectly the events they refer to, but it will 
be easier for me simply to quote some passages, though 
these charming letters, inspired by a Mother s love, 
are too often full of my praises. 

In proof of what I have said about my way of 
showing affection for my parents, here is an example: 
:i Baby is the dearest little rogue ; she comes to kiss me, 
and at the same time wishes me to die. Oh, how 
I wish you would die, dear Mamma, she said, and 
when she was scolded she was quite astonished, and 
answered : But I want you to go to Heaven, and you 
say we must die to go there ; and in her outbursts 
of affection for her Father she wishes him to die too. 
The dear little thing will hardly leave me, she follows 
me even where, but likes going into the garden best ; 
when I am not there she refuses to stay, and crie^ so 
much that they are obliged to bring her back. She 
will not even go upstairs alone without calling me at 
each step, Mamma ! Mamma ! and if I foret to 

Sceur Therese ot Lisieux 

answer Yes, darling ! she waits where she is, and 
will not move." 

I was nearly three years old when my Mother 
wrote : " Little Therese asked me the other day if 
she would go to Heaven. Yes, if you are good, 1 told 
her. * Oh, Mamma, she answered, then if I am not 
good, shall I go to Hell ? Well, I know what I will do 
I shall fly to you in Heaven, and you will hold me 
tight in your arms, and how could God take me away 
then ? I saw that she was convinced that God could 
do nothing to her if she hid herself in my arms." 

" Marie loves her little sister very much ; indeed 
she is a child who delights us aU. She is extraordinarily 
outspoken, and it is charming to see her run after 
me to confess her childish faults : Mamma, I have 
pushed Celine ; I slapped her once, but I ll not do it 
again. The moment she has done anything mis 
chievous, everyone must know. Yesterday, without 
meaning to do so, she tore off a small piece of wall 
paper ; you would have been sorry for her she wanted 
to tell her father immediately. When he came home 
four hours later, everyone else had forgotten about it, 
but she ran at once to Marie saying : Tell Papa that 
I tore the paper. She waited there like a criminal 
for sentence ; but she thinks she is more easily for 
given if she accuses herself." 

Papa s name fills me with many happy memories. 
Mamma laughingly said he always did whatever I 
wanted, but he answered : " Well, why not ? She 
is the Queen ! " Then he would lift me on to his 
shoulder, and caress me in all sorts of ways. Yet I 
cannot say that he spoilt me. I remember one day 
while I was swinging he called out as he passed : " Come 
and kiss me, little Queen." Contrary to my usual 
custom, I would not stir, and answered pertly : " You 
must come for it, Papa." He refused quite rightly, and 
went away. Marie was there and scolded me, saying : 
" How naughty to answer Papa like that ! " Her 


////, ;, / 

Earliest Memories 

reproof took cllcct ; 1 got oil the swiii:-; at once, and 
the whole house resounded with my cries. I hurried 
upstairs, not waiting this time to call Mamma at each 
step ; my one thought was to find Papa and make my 
peace with him. I need not tell you that this was soon 

I could not bear to think I had grieved my beloved 
parents, and acknowledged my faults instantly, as 
this little anecdote, related by my Mother, will show : 
" One morning before going downstairs I wanted to 
ki^s Therese ; she seemed to be fast asleep, and I did 
not like to wake her, but Marie said : Mamma, I 
am sure she is only pretending. So I bent down to 
kiss her forehead, and immediately she hid herself 
under the clothes, saying in the tone of a spoilt child : 
c I don t want air/one to look at me. I was not 
pleased with her, and told her so. A minute or two 
afterwards I heard her crying, and was surprised to see 
her by my side. She had got out of her cot by herself, 
and had come downstairs with bare feet, stumbling 
over her long nightdress. Her little face was wet with 
tears : Mamma, she said, throwing herseli on my 
knee, I am sorry for being naughty forgive me ! 
Pardon was quickly granted; I took the little anirel in 
my arms and pressed her to my heart, smothering her 
with kisses." 

I remember also my great affection for my ekk--t 
sister Marie, who had just left school. Without 
seeming to do so, I took in all that I saw and heard, and 
I think that I reflected on things then as I do now. I 
listened attentively while she taught Celine, and wa- 
very ;^ood and obedient, so a< to obtain the privilege 
of being allowed in the room during lesions. She 
o-.ive me manv triilin;/ praents which pleased me 
^re-atlv. 1 war, proud of my two big sisters; but a- 
Pauline seemed so far away from us, I thought of 
her all day long. When I was only just learning to 
tall-, and Mamma asked: "What are you thinking 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

about? " my answer invariably was : " Pauline." 
Sometimes I heard people saying that Pauline would be 
a nun, and, without quite knowing what it meant, I 
thought : " I will be a nun too." This is one of my 
first recollections, and I have never changed my mind ; 
so it was the example of this beloved sister which, from 
the age of two, drew me to the Divine Spouse of 
Virgins. My dearest Mother, what tender memories 
of Pauline I could confide to you here ! But it would 
take me too long. 

Leonie had also a very warm place in my heart ; 
she loved me very much, and her love was returned. 
In the evening when she came home from school she 
used to take care of me while the others went out, and 
it seems to me I can still hear the sweet songs she sang 
to put me to sleep. 1 remember perfectly the day 
of her First Communion, and I remember also her 
companion, the poor child whom my Mother dressed, 
according to the touching custom of the well-to-do 
families in Alengon. This child did not leave Leonie 
for an instant on that happy day, and in the evening 
at the grand dinner she sat in the place of honour. 
Alas ! I was too small to stay up for this feast, but I 
shared in it a little, thanks to Papa s goodness, for he 
came himself to bring his little Queen a piece of the 
iced cake. 

The only one now left to speak of is Celine, the 
companion of my childhood. My memories of her 
are so many that I do not know which to choose. We 
understood each other perfectly, but I was much more 
forward and lively, and far less ingenuous. Here is a 
letter which will show you, dear Mother, how sweet was 
Celine, and how 7 naughty Therese. I was then nearly 
three years old, and Celine six and a half. " Celine 
is naturally inclined to be good ; as to the little puss, 
Therese, one cannot tell how she will turn out, she is 
so young and heedless. She is a very intelligent child, 
but has not nearly so sweet a disposition as her sister, 


Earliest Memories 

and her stubbornness is almost unconquerable. When 
she has said No, nothing will make her chance ; one 
could leave her all day in the cellar without getting 
her to say 4 Yes. She would sooner sleep there." 

I had another fault also, of which my Mother did 
not speak in her letters : it was self-love. Here are 
two instances : One da} , no doubt wishing to see how- 
far my pride would go, she smiled and said to me, 
" Therese, if you will kiss the ground I will give you 
a halfpenny." In those days a halfpenny was a fortune, 
and in order to gain it 1 had not far to stoop, for I 
was so tiny there was not much distance between me 
and the ground ; but my pride was up in arms, and 
holding myself very erect, I said, " No, thank you, 
Mamma, I would rather go without it." 

Another time we were going into the country to 
see some friends. Mamma told Marie to put on my 
prettiest frock, but not to let me have bare arms. 
I did not say a word, and appeared as indifferent as 
children of that age should be, but I said to myself, 
" I should have looked much prettier with bare arms." 

With such a disposition I feel sure that had I been 
brought up by careless parents I should have become 
very wicked, and perhaps have lost my soul. But 
Jesus watched over His little Spouse, and turned even 
her faults to advantage, for, being checked early in 
life, they became a means of leading her towards 
perfection. For instance, as I had great seli-love and 
an innate love of good as well, it was enough to tell 
me once : " You must not do that," and I never 
wanted to do it again. Having only good example 
before my eyes, I naturally wished to follow it, and I 
see with pleasure in my Mother s letters that as I 

<jre\v older I be^an to be a greater comfort. This is 

. . 
what she writes in 1876: Even Therese is anxious 

to make sacrifices. Marie has given her little sisters 
a string of beads on purpose to count their acts of 
self-denial. They have really spiritual, but very 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

amusing, conversations together. Celine said the other 
day : How can God be in such a tiny Host ? Therese 
answered : < That is not strange, because God is 
Almighty ! < And what does Almighty mean ? It 
means that He can do whatever He likes. 

" But it is more amusing still to see Therese put 
her hand in her pocket, time after time, to pull a bead 
along the string, whenever she makes a little sacrifice. 
The children are inseparable, and are quite sufficient 
company for one another. Nurse has given Therese 
two bantams, and every day after dinner she and 
Celine sit by the fire and play with them. 

" One morning Therese got out of her cot and 
climbed into Celine s. The nurse went to fetch her to 
be^ dressed, and, when at last she found her, the little 
thing said, hugging her sister very hard : Oh, Louise ! 
leave me here, don t you see that we are like the 
little white bantams, we can t be separated from one 

^ It is quite true that I could not be separated from 
Celine ; I would rather leave my dessert unfinished at 
table than let her go without me, and I would get down 
from my high chair when she did, and off we went to 
play together. On Sundays, as I was still too small 
to go to the long services, Mamma stayed at home 
to take care of me. I was always very good, walking 
about on tip-toe ; but as soon as I heard the door open 
there was a tremendous outburst of joy I threw my 
self on my dear little sister, exclaiming : " Oh, Celine ! 
give me the blessed bread, quick ! " 1 One day she had 
not brought any- what was to be done ? I could not 
do without it, for I called this little feast my Mass. A 
bright idea struck me : " You have no blessed bread ! 
make some." Celine immediately opened the cup 
board, took out the bread, cut a tiny bit off, and after 

1 The custom still prevails in some parts of France of blessing bread at the 
Offertory of the Mass and then distributing it to the faithful. It is known a< 
fain Icnit. 1 his blessing only lakes place at the Parochial Mass [ED ] 

Earliest Memories 

?aymg a Hail Mary quite solemnly over it, triumphant} / 
presented it to me; and I, making the sign of the Cross, 
ate it with devotion, fancying it ta<ted exactly like the 
real blessed bread. 

One day Leonie, thinking no doubt that she wa- 
too big to play with dolls, brought us a basket filled 
with clothes, pretty pieces of stuff, and oilier triile- 
on which her doll was laid : " Here, dears," she said. 
^ choose whatever you like." Celine looked at it, and 
took a woollen ball. After thinking about it for a 
minute, I put out my hand saying : " I choose every 
thing," and I carried of! both doll and basket without 
more ado. 

Thi> childish incident was a forecast, so to sreak, 
of my whole life. Later on, when the way of per 
fection was opened out before me, I realised that in 
order to become a Saint one must sutler much, always 
seek the most perfect path, and forget oneself. l 
also understood that there are many degrees of holi 
ness, that each soul is free to respond to the calls of 
Our Lord, to do much or little for His Love in a word, 
to choose amongst the sacrifices He asks. And then 
also, as^in the days of my childhood, I cried out: 
4 My God, I choose everything, i will not be a Saint 
by halves, I am not afraid of suffering for Thee, I 
only fear one thing, and that is to do my own will. 
Accept the ottering of my will, for I choose all that 
Thou wiliest." 

But, dear Mother, I am forgetting myself- 1 must 
not tell you yet of my girlhood, 1 am sti ll speaking of 
the haby oi three and four .ear old. 

1 remember a dream I had at tLu age which im- 
presscd itsclt very deeply on in; ory. 1 thought 

1 was walking alone in the garden when, suddenlv, 1 
saw near the arbour two hideous little devils dancing 
with surprising agility on a barrel oi lime, in spite of 
the heavy irons attached to their feet. At first they 
cast fiery glances at me; then, as thou-h suddenly 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

terrified, I saw them, in the twinkling of an eye, throw 
themselves down to the bottom of the barrel, from 
which they came out somehow, only to run and hide 
themselves in the laundry which opened into the 
garden. Finding them such cowards, I wanted to know 
what they were going to do, and, overcoming my fears, 
I went to the window. The wretched little creatures 
were there, running about on the tables, not knowing 
how to hide themselves from my gaze. From time to 
time they came nearer, peering through the windows 
with an uneasy air, then, seeing that I was still there, 
they began to run about again looking quite desperate. 
Of course this dream was nothing extraordinary ; yet 
I think Our Lord made use of it to show me that a 
soul in the state of grace has nothing to fear from the 
devil, who is a coward, and will even fly from the gaze 
of a little child. 

Dear Mother, how happy I was at that age ! I 
was beginning to enjoy life, and goodness itself seemed 
full of charms. Probably my character was the same 
as it is now, for even then I had great self-command, 
and made a practice of never complaining when my 
things were taken ; even if I was unjustly accused, I 
preferred to keep silence. There was no merit in this, 
for I did it naturally. 

How quickly those sunny years of my childhood 
passed away, and what tender memories they have 
imprinted on my mind ! I remember the Sunday 
walks when my dear Mother always accompanied us ; 
and I can still feel the impression made on my childish 
heart at the sight of the fields bright with cornflowers, 
poppies, and marguerites. Even at that age I loved 
far-stretching views, sunlit spaces and stately trees ; 
in a word, all nature charmed me and lifted up my 
soul to Heaven. 

Often, during these walks, we met poor people. 
I was always chosen to give them an alms, which 
made me feel very happy. Sometimes, my dear 


Earliest Memories 

Father, knowing the way was too Ion;; for his little 
Queen, took me home. This was a cause of grief, 
and to console me Celine would fill her basket with 
daisies, and give them to me on her return. Truly 
everything on earth smiled on me ; I found flowers 
strewn at every step, and my naturallv happy dis 
position helped to make life bright. But a new era 
was about to dawn. 

I was to be the Spouse of Our Lord at such an early 
age that it was necessary I should suffer from my 
childhood. As the early spring flowers begin to come 
up under the snow and open at the first rays of the 
sun, so the Little Flower whose story I am writing 
had to pass through the winter of trial and to have 
her tender cup filled with the dew of tears. 


A-L the details of my Mother s illness are 
still fresh in my mind. I remember especi 
ally her last weeks on earth, when Celine 
and I felt like poor little exiles. Every 
morning a friend came to fetch us, and we spent the 
day with her. Once, we had not had time to say our 
prayers before starting, and on the way my little 
sister whispered : " Must we tell her that we have not 
said our prayers ? " " Yes," I answered. So, very 
timidly, Celine confided our secret to her, and she ex 
claimed : " Well, well, children, you shall say them." 
Then she took us to a large room, and left us there. 
Celine looked at me in amazement. I was equally 
astonished, and exclaimed : " This is not like Mamma, 
she always said our prayers with us." During the 
day, in spite of all efforts to amuse us, the thought of 
our dear Mother was constantly in our minds. I 
remember once, when my sister had an apricot 
given to her, she leant towards me and said : " We will 
not eat it, I will give it to Mamma." Alas ! our be 
loved Mother was now too ill to eat any earthly fruit ; 
she would never more be satisfied but by the glory 
of Heaven. There she would drink of the mysterious 
wine which Jesus, at His Last Supper, promised to 
share with us in the Kingdom of His Father. 

The touching ceremony of Extreme Unction made 
a deep impression on me. I can still see the place 
where I knelt, and hear my poor Father s sobs. 

My dear Mother died on August 28, 1877, in 

A Catholic Household 

her forty-sixth year. The day aucr her death my 
Father took me in his arms and said : " Come and kiss 
your dear Mother lor the last time. Without :-aving 
a \vord I pat my lips to her icy forehead. I do not 
remember having cried much, and I did not talk to 
anyone of all that filled my heart ; I looked and 
listened in silence, and I saw many tilings they would 
have hidden from me. Once I found myself clo.^e to 
the coffin in the passage. I stood looking at it for a 
long time ; I had neyer seen one before, but I knew 
what it was. I was so small that I had to lift up my 
head to see its whole length, and it seemed to me very 
big and very sad. 

Fifteen years later I was again standing by another 
coffin, that of our holy Mother Gcnevieve, 1 and 
I was carried back to the days of my childhood. 
Memories crowded upon me; it was the same little 
Therese who looked at it, but she had grown, and the 
coihn seemed small. She had not to lift up her head 
to it, now she only raised her eyes to contemplate 
Heaven which seemed to her very full of jov, for trials 
had matured and strengthened her soul, so that 
nothing on earth could make her grieve. 

Our Lord did not leave me wholly an orphan ; on 
the day of my Mother s funeral He gave me another 
mother, and allowed me to choose her freely. We were 
all live together, looking at one another sadly, when 
our nurse, overcome with emotion, said, turning to 
Celine and to me : " Poor little dears, you no longer 
have a Mother." Then Celine threw herself into 
Marie s arms, crying: " Well, you will be my Mother 
now." I was so accustomed to imitate Celine that 
I should undoubtedly have followed her example, 
but 1 ieared Pauline would be sad and feel her cl. 

1 This holy ;:T :;] ..t t!r- C : in^l of I oiti- rs. and %\>i 

from thr-re : I ; ; .: ieux in t8 3 8. Her m-m. ry is 

t) ,-: .e .-cuts ; in the sight of G 

th r.iost l\c: . :.-.:... I vvoiks 

by n holy dc<.::i. S:;e was thei htv-six years of ag". 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

left out if she too had not a little daughter. So, with 
a loving look, I hid my face on her breast saying in my 
turn : " And Pauline will be my Mother." 

That day, as I have said, began the second period 
of my life. It was the most sorrowful of all, especially 
after Pauline, my second Mother, entered the Carmel ; 
and it lasted from the time I was four years old until 
I was fourteen, when I recovered much of my childish 
gaiety, even though I understood more fully the serious 
side of life. 

I must tell you that after my Mother s death my 
naturally happy disposition completely changed. In 
stead of being lively and demonstrative as I had been, 
I became timid, shy, and extremely sensitive ; a look 
was enough to make me burst into tears. I could not 
bear to be noticed or to meet strangers, and was only 
at ease in my own family circle. There I was always 
cherished with the most loving care ; my Father s 
affectionate heart seemed endowed with a mother s 
love, and my sisters were no less tender and devoted. 
If Our Lord had not lavished so much love and sun 
shine on His Little Flower, she never could have become 
acclimatised to this earth. Still too weak to bear the 
storm, she needed warmth, refreshing dew, and soft 
breezes, and these gifts were never wanting to her, even 
in the chilling season of trials. 

Soon after my Mother s death, Papa made up his 
mind to leave Alen9on and live at Lisieux, so that we 
might be near our uncle, my Mother s brother. He 
made this sacrifice in order that my young sisters 
should have the benefit of their aunt s guidance in 
their new life, and that she might act as a mother 
towards them. I did not feel any grief at leaving my 
native town : children love change and anything out 
of the common, and so I was pleased to come to 
Lisieux. I remember the journey quite well, and our 
arrival in the evening at my uncle s house, and I can 
still see my little cousins, Jeanne and Marie, waiting 


A Catholic Household 

on the doorstep with my aunt. I -low touching was 
the affection all these clear ones showed us ! 

The next day they took us to our new home, 
Les Buissonnets, 1 situated in a quiet part of the town. 
I^vas charmed with the house my Father had taken. 
The large upper window from which there was an 
extensive view, the flower garden in front, and the 
kitchen garden at the back all these seemed delight 
fully new to my childish mind ; and this happy home 
became the scene of many joys and of family gather 
ings which I can never forget. Elsewhere, as I said 
before, I felt an exile, I cried and fretted for my 
Mother; but here my little heart expanded, and I 
smiled on life once more. 

When I woke there were my sisters ready to caress 
me, and I said my prayers kneeling between them. 
Then Pauline gave me my reading lesson, and I re 
member that "Heaven" was the "first word I could 
read alone. When lessons were over I went upstairs, 
where Papa was generally to be found, and how 
pleased I was when I had good marks to show. Every 
afternoon I went out for a walk with him, and we paid 
a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in one or other of the 
Churches. It was in this way that I first saw the 
Chapel of the Carmel : " Look, little Queen," Papa 
said to me, " behind that big grating there are holy 
nuns who are always praying to Almighty God." 
Little did I think that nine years later I should be 
amongst them, that in this blessed Carmel I should 
receive so many graces. 

On returning home I learnt my lessons, and then 
spent the rest of the day playing in the garden near 
Papa. I never cared for dolls, but one of my favourite 
amusements was making coloured mixtures with seeds 
and the bark of trees. If the colours were pretty, I 
would promptly offer them to Papa in a little cup and 

1 This house an object of ckvp interest to the clients of Sa-ur The. CM. , is 
much frequented by pilgrims to Lisi.-ux. [Kn.J 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

entice him to taste them ; then my dearest Father 
would leave his work and smilingly pretend to drink. 
I was very fond of flowers, and amused myself by 
making little altars in holes which I happened to find 
in the middle of my garden wall. When finished 
I would run and call Papa, and he seemed delighted 
with them. I should never stop if I told you of 
the thousand and one incidents of this kind that 
I can remember. How shall I make you understand 
the love that my Father lavished on his little 
Queen ! 

Those were specially happy days for me when I 
went fishing with my dear " King," as I used to call 
him. Sometimes I tried my hand with a small rod 
of my own, but generally I preferred to sit on the 
grass some distance away. Then my reflections 
became really deep, and, without knowing what 
meditation meant, my soul was absorbed in prayer. 
Far-off sounds reached me, the murmuring of the 
wind, sometimes a few uncertain notes of music from 
a military band in the town a long way off ; all this 
imparted a touch of melancholy to my thoughts. 
Earth seemed a place of exile, and I dreamed of Heaven. 

The afternoon passed quickly away, and it was soon 
time to go home, but before packing up I would eat 
the provisions I had brought in a small basket. Some 
how the slices of bread and jam, prepared by my 
sisters, looked different ; they had seemed so tempting, 
and now they looked stale and uninviting. Even 
such a trifle as this made the earth seem sadder, and I 
realised that only in Heaven will there be unclouded 

Speaking of clouds, I remember how one day when 

we were out, the blue sky became overcast and a storm 
came on, accompanied by vivid lightning. I looked 
round on every side, so as to lose nothing of the grand 
sight. A thunderbolt fell in a field close by, and, 
far from feeling the least bit afraid, I was delighted 


A Catholic Household 

it seemed that God was so near. Papa was not so 
pleaded, and put an end to my reverie, for already the 
tall grass and dairies, taller than I, were sparkling with 
rain-drops, and we had to cross several fields to reach 
the road. In spite of his fishing tackle, he carried me 
in his arms while I looked down on the beautiful 
jewelled drops, almost sorry that I could not be 
drenched by them. 

I do not think I have told you that in our daily 
walks at Lisieux, as in Alencon, I often used to give 
alms to the beggars. One day we came upon a poor 
old man who dragged himself painfully along on 
crutches. I went up to give him a penny. He looked 
sadly at me for a long time, and then, shaking his head 
with a sorrowful smile, he refused my alms. I cannot 
tell you what I ielc; I had wished to help and comfort 
him, and instead of that, I had, perhaps, hurt him and 
caused him pain. He must have guessed my thought, 
for I saw him turn round and smile at me when we 
were some way off. 

Just then Papa bought me a cake. I wished very 
much to run after the old man and give it to him, for 
I thought : " Well, he did not want money, but I am 
sure he would like to have a cake." I do not know 
what held me back, and I felt so sad I could hardly 
keep from crying ; then I remembered having heard 
that one obtains all the favours asked for on one s 
First Communion Day. This thought condoled me 
immediately, and though I was only six years old at the 
time, I said to myself : " I will pray for my poor old 
man on the day of my First Communion." Five 
years later I faithfully kept my resolution. I have 
always thought that my childish prayer for this 
suffering member of Christ has been blessed and 

As I grew older my love of God grew more and 
more. I often offered mv heart to Him, u ing the words 
my Mother had taught me, and I tried very hard to 

Sceur Tberse of Lisieux 

please Him in all my actions, taking great care never 
to offend Him. And yet one day I committed a 
fault of which I must tell you here it gives me a good 
opportunity of humbling myself, though I believe I 
have grieved over it with perfect contrition. 

It was the month of May, 1878. My sisters de 
cided that I was too small to go to the May devotions 
every evening, so I stayed at home with the nurse and 
said my prayers with her before the little altar which 
I had arranged according to my own taste. Every 
thing was small candlesticks, vases, and the rest ; 
two wax vestas were quite sufficient to light it up 
properly. Sometimes Victoire, the maid, gave me 
some little bits of real candle, but not often. 

One evening, when we went to our prayers, I 
said to her: "Will you begin the Memorare? I am 
going to light the candles." She tried to begin, and 
then looked at me and burst out laughing. Seeing 
my precious vestas burning quickly away, I begged 
her once more to say the Memorare. Again there was 
silence, broken only by bursts of laughter. All my 
natural good temper deserted me. I got up feeling 
dreadfully angry, and, stamping my foot furiously, 
I cried out : " Victoire, you naughty girl ! " She 
stopped laughing at once, and looked at me in utter 
astonishment, then showed me too late the sur 
prise she had in store hidden under her apron two 
pieces of candle. My tears of anger were soon changed 
into tears of sorrow; I was very much ashamed and 
grieved, and made a firm resolution never to act in 
such a way again. 

Shortly after this I made my first confession. 1 

It is a very sweet memory. Pauline had warned me : 

Therese, darling, it is not to a man but to God 

Himself that you are going to tell your sins." I was 

so persuaded of this that I asked her quite seriously if 

1 Tliis first confession was made in the beautiful church of St. Pierre, formerly 
the cathedral of Lisieux. [Eo.J 


A Catholic Household 

I should not tell Father Ducellier that I loved him 
" with my whole heart," as it was really Cod I was 
going to speak to in his per on. 

Well instructed as to what I was to do, I entered 
the confessional, and turning round to the priest, 
so as to see him better, I made my confession and 
received absolution in a spirit of lively faith mv 
sister having assured me that at this solemn moment 
the tears of the Holy Child Jesus would purify my soul. 
I remember well that he exhorted me above all to a 
tender devotion towards Our Lady, and I promised 
to redouble my love for her who already filled so large 
a place in my heart. Then I passed him my Rosarv 
to be blessed, and came out of the Confessional more 
joyful and lighthearted than I had ever felt before. 
It was evening, and as soon as I got to a street lamp I 
stopped and took the newlv blessed Rosary out of my 
pocket, turning it over and over. " What are you 
looking at, Therese, dear ? " asked Pauline. " I am see 
ing what a blessed Rosary looks like." This childi-h 
answer amused my sisters very much. I was deeply 
impressed by the graces I had received, and wished to 
go to confession again for all the big feasts, for these 
confessions filled me with joy. The feasts ! What 
precious memories these simple words bring to me. 
I loved them ; and my sisters knew so well how to 
explain the mysteries hidden in each one. Those 
days of earth became days of Heaven. Above all 1 
loved the procession of the Blessed Sacrament : wha: 
a joy it was to strew flowers in God s path ! But before 
scattering them on the ground I threw them high in 
the air, and was never so happy as when I saw my ro^e- 
leaves touch the sacred .Monstrance. 

And if the great feasts came but seldom, each week 
brought one verv dear to my heart, and that wa- 
Sunday. What a -lorious day ! The Feast of God ! 
The day of rest ! First of all the whole family went 
to High Aiass, and i remember that beiore the :crmon 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

we had to come down from our places, which were 
some way from the pulpit, and find seats in the nave. 
This was not always easy, but to little Therese and her 
Father everyone offered a place. My uncle was 
delighted when he saw 7 us come down ; he called me 
his " Sunbeam," and said that to see the venerable 
old man leading his little daughter by the hand was 
a sight which always filled him with joy. I never 
troubled myself if people looked at me, I was only 
occupied in listening attentively to the preacher. 
A sermon on the Passion of our Blessed Lord was the 
first I understood, and it touched me deeply. I was 
then five and a half, and after that time I was able 
to understand and appreciate all instructions. If St. 
Teresa was mentioned, my Father would bend down 
and whisper to me : " Listen attentively, little Queen, 
he is speaking of your holy patroness." I really did 
listen attentively, but I must own I looked at Papa 
more than at the preacher, for I read many things in 
his face. Sometimes his eyes were filled with tears 
which he strove in vain to keep back ; and as he 
listened to the eternal truths he seemed no longer 
of this earth, his soul was absorbed in the thought 
of another world. Alas ! many long and sorrowful 
years had to pass before Heaven was to be opened to 
him, and Our Lord with His Own Divine Hand was 
to wipe away the bitter tears of His faithful servant. 

To go back to the description of our Sundays. This 
happy day which passed so quickly had also its touch 
of melancholy ; my happiness was full till Compline, 
but after that a feeling of sadness took possession of 
me. I thought of the morrow when one had to begin 
again the daily life of work and lessons, and my heart, 
feeling like an exile on this earth, longed for the repose 
of Heaven the never ending Sabbath of our true 
Home. Every Sunday my aunt invited us in turns 
to spend the evening with. her. I was always glad 
when mine came, and it was a pleasure to listen to 


A Catholic Household 

my uncle s conversation. His talk wub serious, but 
it interested me, and he little knew that I paid such 
attention; but my joy was not unmixed \\ith lear 
when he took me on his knee and sang " Hluebeard " 
in his deep voice. 

About eiu r ht o clock Papa would come to fetch me. 
J remember that I used to look up at the stars with 
inexpressible delight. Orion s belt fascinated me 
especially, for I saw in it a likeness to the letter " T." 
" Look, Papa," I would cry, " my name is written in 
Heaven ! " Then, not wishing to see this dull earth 
any longer, I asked him to lead me, and with my head 
thrown back, I gazed unweariedly at the starry skies. 

I could tell you much about our winter evenings 
at home. After a game of draughts my sisters 
read aloud Dom Gueranger s Liturgical Tear, and then 
a few pages of some other intere-ting and instructive 
book. While this \vas going on I established myself 
on Papa s knee, and when the reading was done he 
u c ed to sing soothing snatches or melody in his beauti 
ful voice, as if to lull me to sleep, and 1 would lay my 
head on his breast while he rocked me gentlv to and 

Later on we went upstairs for night prayers, and 
there again my place was beside my beloved Father, 
and I had only to look at him to know how the Saints 
pray. Pauline put me to bed, and I invariably asked 
her : " Have I been good to-day ? Is God pleased 
with me ? Will the Angels watch over me : v The 
answer was always " Yes," otherwise I should have 
spent the whole night in tears. After these questions 
my sisters kissed me, and little Thercse was left alone 
in the dark. 

1 look on it as a real grace that from childhood I 
wa- taught u> overcome my fears. Sometimes in the 
evening Pauline would send me to fetch something 
from a distant room ; she would take no refusal, and 
she was quite right, for otherwise I should have become 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

very nervous, whereas now it is difficult to frighten me. 
I wonder sometimes how my little Mother was able 
to bring me up with so much tenderness, and yet 
without spoiling me, for she did not pass over the least 
fault. It is true she never scolded me without cause, 
and I knew well she would never change her mind 
when once a thing was decided upon. 

To this dearly loved sister I confided my most 
intimate thoughts ; she cleared up all my doubts. 
One day I expressed surprise that God does not give 
an equal amount of glory to all the elect in Heaven 
I was afraid that they would not all be quite happy. 
She sent me to fetch Papa s big tumbler, and put it 
beside my tiny thimble, then, filling both with water, 
she asked me which seemed the fuller. I replied that 
one was as full as the other it was impossible to pour 
more water into either of them, for they could not 
hold it. In this way Pauline made it clear to me that 
in Heaven the least of the Blessed does not envy the 
happiness of the greatest ; and so, by bringing the 
highest mysteries down to the level of my under 
standing, she gave my soul the food it needed. 

Joyfully each year I welcomed the prize day. 
Though I was the only competitor, justice was none 
the less strictly observed, and I never received rewards 
unless they were well merited. My heart used to beat 
with excitement when I heard the decisions, and in 
presence of the whole family received prizes from 
Papa s hands. It was to me like a picture of the 
Judgment Day ! 

Seeing Papa so cheerful, no suspicion of the terrible 
trials which awaited him crossed my mind ; but one 
day God showed me, in an extraordinary vision, a 
vivid picture of the trouble to come. My Father 
was away on a journey, and could not return as early 
as usual. It was about two or three o clock in the 
afternoon ; the sun was shining brightly, and all the 
world seemed gay. I was alone at a window looking 


A Catholic Household 

on to the kitchen garden, my mind full of cheerful 
thoughts, when I saw before me, in front of the wash- 
house, a man dressed exactly like Papa, of the same 
height and appearance, but more bent and aired. I 
say aged, to describe his general appearance, for I did 
not see his face as his head was covered with a thick 
veil, tie advanced slowly, with measured step, along 
my little garden ; at that instant a feeling of super 
natural fear seized me, and I called out loudly in a 
trembling voice : " Papa, Papa ! " The mysterious 
person seemed not to hear, he continued his walk 
without even turning, and went towards a clump of 
firs which grew in the middle of the garden. I ex 
pected to see him reappear at the other side of the 
big trees, but the prophetic vision had vanished. 

It was all over in a moment, but it was a moment 
which impressed itself so deeply on my memory hat 
even now, after so many years, the remembrance of 
it is as vivid as the vision itself. 

My sisters were all together in an adjoining room. 
Hearing me call " Papa ! " they were frightened them 
selves, but Marie, hiding her feelings, ran to me and 
said : " Why are you calling Papa, when he is at 
Alencon ? " I told her what I had seen, and to re 
assure me they said that Nurse must have covered 
her head with her apron>on purpose to frighten me. 
Victoire, however, when questioned, declared she had 
not left the kitchen besides, the truth was too deeply 
impressed on my mind : I had seen a man, and that 
man was exactly like my Father. We all went to look 
behind the clump of trees, and, finding nothing, my 
sisters told me to think no more about it. Ah, that 
was not in my power ! Often and often my imagina 
tion brought before me this mysterious vision, often 
and often I tried to raise the veil which hid its true 
meaning, and deep down in my heart I had a con 
viction that c ome day it would be fully revealed to -i.e. 
And you know all, dear Mother. You know liiut ii 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

was really my Father whom God showed me, bent by 
age, and bearing on his venerable face and his white 
head the symbol of his terrible trial. 1 

As the Adorable Face of Jesus was veiled during His 
Passion, so it was fitting that the face of His humble 
servant should be veiled during the days of his humilia 
tion, in order that it might shine with greater brilliancy 
in Heaven. How I admire God s ways ! He showed 
us this precious cross beforehand, as a father shows his 
children the glorious future he is preparing for them 
a future which will bring them an inheritance of 
priceless treasures. 

But a thought comes into my mind : " Why did 
God give this light to a child who, if she had under 
stood it, would have died of grief ? " " Why ? " 
Here is one of those incomprehensible mysteries which 
we shall only understand in Heaven, where they will 
be the subject of our eternal admiration. My God, 
how good Thou art ! How well dost Thou suit the 
trial to our strength ! 

At that time I had not courage even to think that 
Papa could die, without being terrified. One day he 
was standing on a high step-ladder, and as I was close 
by he called out : " Move away, little Queen ; if I fall 
I shall crush you." Instantly I felt an inward shock, 
and, going still nearer to the ladder, I thought : " At 
least if Papa falls I shall not have the pain of seeing 
him die, for I shall die with him." I could never say 
how much I loved him. I admired everything he did. 
When he explained his ideas on serious matters, as if 
I were a big girl, I answered him naively : "It is 
quite certain, Papa, that if you spoke like that to the 
great men who govern the country they would take 
you and make you King. Then France would be 
happier than it has ever been ; but you would be 

1 It seems advisable, on account of the vague allusions which occur here and 
elsewhere, to state what happened to M. Louis Martin. At the age of sixty-six, 
having already had several partial attacks, he was struck with general paralysis, 
and his mind gave way altogether. 


A Catholic Household 

unhnppy, because that is the lot of kings ; besides you 
would no longer be my King alone, so I am glad that 
they do not know you." 

When I was six or seven years old I saw the ^ea for 
the first time. The sight made a deep impre^ion on 
me, I could not take my eyes off it. Its majesty, and the 
roar of the waves, all spoke to my soul of the greatness 
and power of God. I remember, when we were on 
the beach, a man and woman looked at me for a 
long time, then, asking Papa if I was his child, they 
remarked that I was a very pretty little girl. Papa 
at once made a sign to them not to flatter me ; I was 
delighted to hear what they said, for I did not think 
I was pretty. My sisters were most careful never to 
talk beiore me in such a way as to spoil my simplicity 
and childish innocence ; and, because I believed so 
implicitly in them, I attached little importance to 
the admiration of these people and thought no more 
about it. 

That evening at the hour when the sun seems to 
sink into the vast ocean, leaving behind it a trail of 
glory, I sat with Pauline on a bare rock, and gazed for 
long on this golden furrow which she told me was an 
image of grace illumining the way of faithful souls 
here below. Then I pictured my soul as a tiny barque, 
with a graceful white sail, in the midst of the furrow, 
and I resolved never to let it withdraw from the >i;:ht 
of Jesus, so that it might sail peacefully and quickly 
towards the lleavenlv Shore. 



I WAS eight and a half when Leonie left school, 
and I took her place at the Benedictine Abbey 
in Lisieux. The girls of my class were all 
older than myself ; one of them was fourteen, 
and, though not clever, she knew how to impose on the 
little ones. Seeing me so young, nearly always first 
in class, and a favourite with all the nuns, she was 
jealous, and used to pay me out in a thousand ways. 
Naturally timid and sensitive, I did not know how 
to defend myself, and could only cry in silence. Celine 
and my elder sisters did not know of my grief, and, 
not being advanced enough in virtue to rise above 
these troubles, I suffered considerably. 

Every evening I went home, and then my spirits 
rose. I would climb on to Papa s knee, telling him 
what marks I had, and his caresses made me forget 
all my troubles. With what delight I announced 
the result of my first essay, for I won the maximum 
number of marks. In reward I received a silver coin 
which I put in my money box for the poor, and nearly 
every Thursday I was able to increase the fund. 

Indeed, to be spoilt was a real necessity for me. 
The Little Flower had need to strike its tender roots 
deeper and deeper into the dearly loved garden of 
home, for nowhere else could it find the nourishment 
it required. Thursday was a holiday, but it was not 
like the holidays I had under Pauline, which I generally 
spent upstairs with Papa. Not knowing how to play 
like other children, I felt myself a dull companion. 

Pauline enters the Carmel 

I tried my best to do as the others did, but without 

After Celine, \vlio was, so to say, indispensable to 
me, I sought the company of my little cousin Marie, 
because she left me free to choose the games I liked 
best. \Ve were already closely united in heart and 
will, ^as if God were showing us in advance how one 
day in the Carmel we should embrace the same re 
ligious life. 1 

Very often, at my uncle s house, we used to play 
at being two austere hermits, with only a poor hut, 
a httle patch of corn, and a garden in which to grow 
a few vegetables. Our life was to be spent in "con 
tinual contemplation, one praying while the other 
engaged in active duties. All was done with religious 
gravity and ^ decorum. If we went out, the make- 
believe continued even in the street ; the two hermits 
would say the Rosary, using their fingers to count on, 
so^ as not to display their devotion before those who 
might scoff. One day, however, the hermit Therese 
forgot herself before eating a cake, given her for 
lunch, she made a large Sign of the Cross, and some 
worldly folk did riot repress a smile. 

We were so bent on always doing the same thing 
that sometimes we carried it too far. Endeavouring 
one evening, on our way home from school, to imitate 
the modest demeanour of the hermits, I said to Marie : 
w Lead me, I am going to shut my eyes." " So am I," 
she answered. Being on the pavement we were in no 
fear of vehicles, and for a short while all went well, 
and we enjoyed walking with our eyes shut ; but 
presently we both fell over some boxes standing at a 
shop door_ and knocked them down. The shopkeeper 
came out in a rage to replace them, but the would-be 
blind pair picked themselves up and ran off as fast 
as they could, with eyes wide open. Then the hermiis 

1 Marie Gudrin entered the Carmel at I.isieux on Ancust r- iSa- rui 
took thr name of Sister Mary of the Eucharist. She died on April 4 ioo7 
itged thirty-four. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

had to listen to a well-deserved scolding from 
Jeanne, the maid, who seemed as vexed as the shop 

I have not yet told you how Celine and I altered 
when we came to Lisieux. She had now become the 
little romp, full of mischief, while Therese had turned 
into a very quiet little girl, far too much inclined to 
tears. I needed a champion, and who can say how 
courageously my dear little sister played that part. 
We used to enjoy making each other little presents, 
for, at that age, the simplicity of our hearts was un 
spoiled. Like the spring flowers they unfolded, glad 
to receive the morning dew, while the same soft breezes 
swayed their petals. Yes, our joys were mutual. 
I felt this especially on the happy day of Celine s 
First Communion ; I was only seven years old, and had 
not yet begun school at the Abbey. How sweet is 
the remembrance of her preparation ! Every evening 
during its last weeks my sisters talked to her of the 
great event. I listened, eager to prepare myself too, 
and my heart swelled with grief when I was told to go 
away because I was still too young. I thought that 
four years was not too long to spend in making ready 
to receive Our dear Lord. One evening I heard 
someone say to my happy little sister : " From the 
time of your First Communion you must begin an 
entirely new life." At once 1 made a resolution not 
to wait till the time of my First Communion, but to 
begin with Celine. During her retreat she re 
mained as a boarder at the Abbey, and it seemed to 
me she was away a long time ; but at last the happy 
day came. What a delightful impression it has left 
on my mind it was like a foretaste of my own First 
Communion ! How many graces I received that day ! 
I look on it as one of the most beautiful of my life. 

I have gone back a little in order to recall these 
happy memories ; but now I must tell you of the 
mournful parting which crushed my heart when Our 


Pauline enters the Carmel 

Lord took from me my little Mother whom I loved so 
dearly. I told her once that I would like to go away 
with her to a fur-oft desert ; she replied that it was her 
wish too, but that she was waiting till I was bic: enough 
to set out. Thl- impossible promise I took in earnest, 
and what was my grief when I heard Pauline talking 
to Marie about soon entering the Carmel ! I did not 
know the Carmel ; but I knew that she was leaving 
me to enter a convent, and that she would not wait 
for me. 

How can I describe the anguish I suffered ! In a 
flash I saw life spread out before me as it really is, 
full of sufferings and frequent partings, and I shed 
bitter tears. At that time I did not know the joy of 
sacrifice ; I was weak so weak that I look on it as a 
great grace that I was able to bear such a trial, one 
seemingly so much beyond my strength and yet live. 
I shall never forget how tenderly my little Mother 
consoled me, while explaining the religious life. Then 
one evening, when I was thinking over the picture she 
had drawn, I felt that the Carmel was the desert where 
God wished me also to hide. I felt this so strongly 
that 1 had not the least doubt about it ; nor was" i t 
a childish dream, but the certainty of a Divine Call. 
This impression, which I cannot properlv describe, 
left me with a feeling of great inward peace. 

Next day I confided my desires to Pauline. They 
seemed to her as a proof of God s Will, and ^he promised 
to take me soon to the Carmel, to see the Mother 
Prioress and to tell her my secret. This solemn visit 
was fixed for a certain Sunday, and great was my 
embarrassment on hearing that my cousin Marie 
who was still youn^ enough to be allowed to see the 
Carmelites was to come with us. 1 

I had to contrive a means of being alone with the 
Reverend Mother, and this is what I planned. I told 

1 With the C.mnclitcs the grating is only opened for near relatives and very 
young children. [ED.] J 


Sceur Therse of Lisieux 

Marie, that, as we were to have the great privilege of 
seeing her, we must be very good and polite, and tell 
her our little secrets, and, in order to do that, we must 
go out of the room in turns. Though she did not 
quite like it, because she had no secrets to confide, 
Marie took me at my word, and so I was able to be 
alone with you, dear Mother. You listened to my 
great disclosure, and believed in my vocation, but you 
told me that postulants were not received at the age 
of nine, and that I must wait till I was sixteen. In 
spite of my ardent desire to enter with Pauline and 
make my First Communion on her clothing day, I 
had to be resigned. 

At last the 2nd of October came a day of tears, 
but also of blessings, when Our Lord gathered the 
first of His flowers, the chosen flower who, later on, 
was to become the Mother of her sisters. 1 Whilst 
Papa, with my uncle and Marie, climbed the mountain 
of Carmel to offer his first sacrifice, my aunt took me 
to Mass, with my sisters and cousins. We were 
bathed in tears, and people gazed at us in astonishment 
when we entered the church, but that did not stop 
our crying. I even wondered how the sun could 
go on shining. Perhaps, dear Mother, you think I 
exaggerate my grief a little. I confess that this parting 
ought not to have upset me so much, but my soul was 
yet far from mature, and I had to pass through many 
trials before reaching the haven of peace, before 
tasting the delicious fruits of perfect love and of 
complete abandonment to God s Will. 

In the afternoon of that October day, 1882, behind 
the grating of the Carmel, I saw my beloved Pauline, 
now become Sister Agnes of Jesus. Oh, how much 
I suffered in that parlour ! As I am writing the 
story of my soul, it seems to me that I ought to tell 
you everything. Well, I acknowledge that I hardly 

1 " Pauline " has several times been Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux, and 
in 1909 again succeeded to that office on the death of the young and saintly 
Mother Mary of St. Angelus of the Child Jesus. [ED.] 

4 6 

Pauline enters the Cnrmcl 

counted the first pains of this parting in comparison 
with those which followed. 1, who had been accus 
tomed to tall; with my little Mother of all that wa 
m^ my heart, could now scarcely snatch tv.o or three 
minutes with her at the end of the family visits ; even 
these short minutes were passed in tears, and I went 
away with my heart torn with grief. 

1 did not realise that it was impossible to give u* 
each half an hour, and that of course Papa and Marie 
must have the largest share. I could not understand 
all this, and I said from the depths of my heart : 
Pauline is lost to me." 

This suffering so affected me that I soon became 
seriously ill. The illness was undoubtedly the work 
of the devil, who, in his fury at this first entry into the 
Carmel, tried to avenge himself on me for the great 
harm my family was to do him in the future. How 
ever, he little knew that the Queen of Heaven was 
watching faithfully over her Little Flower, that she was 
smiling upon it from on high, ready to still the tempest 
just when the delicate and fragile stalk was in danger 
of being broken once and for all. At the close of the 
year 1882 I began to sutler from constant headaches; 
they were bearable, however, and did not prevent me 
from continuing my studies. This lasted till the 
Easter of 1883. Just then Papa went to Paris with 
my elder sisters, and confided Celine and me to the 
care of our uncle and aunt. One evening I was alone 
with my uncle, and he talked so tenderly of my Mother 
and of bygone da}-? that I was deeply moved and began 
to crv. My sensitiveness touched him too; he was 
surprised that one of my age should feel as I did. So 
lie determined to do all he could to divert mv mind 
during the holidays. 

But God had decided otherwise. That very even 
ing my headache became acute, and I was seized 
with a strange shivering which lasted all ni-ht. My 
aunt, like a real mother, never left me for a moment - 

Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

all through my illness she lavished on me the most 
tender and devoted care. You may imagine my poor 
Father s grief when he returned from Paris to find 
me in this hopeless state ; he thought I was going to 
die, but Our Lord might have said to him : " This 
sickness is not unto death^ but for the glory of God" * 

Yes, God was glorified by means of this trial, by 
the wonderful resignation of my Father and sisters. 
And to Marie especially what suffering it brought, 
and how grateful I am to this dear sister ! She 
seemed to divine my wants by instinct, for a mother s 
heart is more knowing than the science of the most 
skilful doctors. 

And now Pauline s clothing day was drawing near ; 
but, fearing to distress me, no one dared mention it in 
my presence, since it was taken for granted that I 
would not be well enough to be there. Deep down 
in my heart, however, I firmly believed that God would 
give me the consolation of seeing dear Pauline on that 
day. I was quite sure that this feast would be un 
clouded ; I knew that Our Lord would not try His 
Spouse by depriving her of my presence, she had 
already suffered so much on account of my illness. 
And so it turned out. I was there, able to embrace 
my dear little Mother, to sit on her knee, and, hiding 
myself under her veil, to receive her loving caresses. 
I was able to feast my eyes upon her she looked so 
lovely in her veil and mantle of white. Truly it was 
a day of happiness in the midst of heavy trials ; but 
this day, or rather this hour, passed only too quickly, 
and soon we were in the carriage which was to take 
us away from the Carmel. On reaching home I 
was made to lie down, though I did not feel at all 
tired ; but next day I had a serious relapse, and became 
so ill that, humanly speaking, there was no hope of my 

I do not know how to describe this extraordinary 

1 John xi. 4. 


Pauline enters the Carmel 

illness. I said ihings which I had never thought of; I 
acted as though I were forced to act in spite of myself; 
seemed nearly always to be delirious ; and yet I 
feel certain that I was never, for a minute, deprived 
of my reason. Sometimes 1 remained in a >tate of 
extreme exhaustion for hour> together, unable to make 
the least movement, and yet, in spite of this extra- 
dinary torpor, hearing the least whisper, I remem 
ber it still. And what fears the devil inspired ! I 
was afraid of even-thing ; my bed seemed to be <ur- 
rounded by frightful precipices; nails in the wall 
k the terrifying appearance of long fingers, shrivelled 
:kened with lire, making me cry out in terror. 
day ?< while Papa stood looking at me in silence, 
the hat m his hand was suddenly transformed into 
some horrible shape, and I was so frightened that he 
went away sobbing. 

t But if God allowed the devil to approach me in 
ien way, Angels too were sent to console and 
^hen me. A larie never left me, and never showed 
: least trace of weariness in spite of all the trouble I 
gave her- -for I could not rest when she was away 
$ meals, when Victoire took care of me. I never 
ceased calling tearfully " Marie ! Marie ! " When she 
wanted to go out, it was only if he were ^oin^ to Ma<s 
or to see Pauline that I kept quiet. As for Leonic 
and my httle Celine, they could not do enough for me. 
On Sunday, they shut themselves up for hour; with a 
poor child who seemed almost to have lost her reason 
My own dear sisters, how much I made you suifer ! 
My uncle and aunt were al.o devoted to me. My 
aunt came to sec me even- day, and brought me many 
little gifts. 1 could never tell you how my love for 
c dear ones increased durin-r this illness. I under 
stood better than ever what Papa had so often told 
Always remember, children, that vour uncle 
and aunt have devoted themselves to you in a way 
that is quite exceptional." [ n his old age he 

49 D 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

experienced this himself, and now he must bless and 
protect those who lavished on him such affectionate 

care. 1 

When my sufferings grew less, my great delight 
was to weave garlands of daisies and forget-me-nots 
for Our Lady s statue. We were in the beautiful 
month of May, when all nature is clothed with the 
flowers of spring ; the Little Flower alone drooped, and 
seemed as though it had withered for ever. Yet she 
too had a shining Sun, the miraculous statue of the 
Queen of Heaven. How often did not the Little 
Flower turn towards this glorious Sun ! 

One day Papa came into my room in the deepest 
distress, and I watched him go up to Marie and give 
her some money, bidding her write to Paris, and have 
a novena of Masses said at the shrine of Our Lady of 
Victories, 2 to obtain the cure of his poor little Queen. 
How touching were his faith and love ! How much I 
longed to get up and tell him I was cured ! Alas ! 
my wishes could not work a miracle, and it needed 
one to restore me to health. Yes, it needed a great 
miracle, and this was wrought by Our Lady of Vic 
tories herself. 

One Sunday, during the novena, Marie went into 
the garden, leaving me with Leonie, who was reading 
by the window. After a short time I began to call : 
" Marie ! Marie ! " very softly. Leonie, accustomed 
to hear me fret like this, took no notice, so I called 
louder, until Marie came back to me. I saw her come 
into the room quite well, but, for the first time, I 
failed to recognise her. I looked all round and glanced 
anxiously into the garden, still calling : " Marie ! 

1 Mme. Gue"rin died holily on February 13, 1900, aged fifty-two. During her 
illness Therese assisted her in an extraordinary way, several times making her 
presence felt. Monsieur Gue"rin, having for many years used his pen in defence 
of the Church, and his fortune in the support of good works, died a beautiful 
death on September 28, 1909, in his sixty-ninth year. [ED.] 

2 It was in this small church once deserted and to-day perhaps the most 
frequented in Paris that the saintly Abbe" Desgenettes was inspired by Our 
Lady, in 1836, to establish the Confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary 
for the conversion of sinners. [Eo.] 


Pauline enters the Carmel 

Marie ! Her anguish was perhaps greater than 
mine, and that was unutterable. At last, after many 
fruitless eilorts to make me recognise her, she whispered 
a few words to Leonie, and went away pale and trem 
bling. Leonie presently carried me to the window. 
There I saw the garden, and Marie walking up and down, 
but ^still I did not recognise her ; she came forward 
smiling and held out her arms to me calling tcnderlv : 
"Therese, dear ^ little Therese ! " This ^ last effort 
failing, she came in again and knelt in tears at the foot 
of my bed ; turning towards the statue of Our Lady, 
she entreated her with the fervour of a mother who 
begs the life of her child and will not be refused. 
Leonie and Celine joined her, and that cry of faith 
forced the gates of Heaven. I too, finding no help 
on earth and nearly dead with pain, turned to my 
Heavenly Mother, begging her from the bottom of 
my heart to have pity on me. Suddenly the statue 
seemed to come to life and grow beautiful, with a 
divine beauty that I shall never find words to describe. 
The expression of Our Lady s face was ineffably sweet, 
tender, and compassionate; but what touched me 
to the very depths of my soul was her gracious smile. 
Then, all my pain vanished, two big tears started to 
my eyes and fell silently. . 

They were indeed tears of unmixed heavenly joy. 
" Our Blessed Lady has come to me, she has smiled 
at me. How happy I am, but I shall tell no one, or 
my happiness will leave me! " Such were my thoughts. 
Looking round, I recognised Marie; she seemed "very 
much overcome, and looked lovingly at me, as though 
she guessed that I had just received a great grace. 

Indeed her prayers had gained me this unspeakable 
favour a smile from the Blessed Virgin ! When she 
saw me with my eyes fixed on the statue, she said to 
herself : Therese is cured ! " And it was true. The 
Flower had come to life again a bright ray from 
its glorious Sun had wanned and set it free for ever 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

from its cruel enemy. " The dark winter is past, the 
rain is over and, gone" l and Our Lady s Little Flower 
gathered such strength that five years later it opened 
wide its petals on the fertile mountain of Carmel. 

As I said before, Marie was convinced that Our 
Blessed Lady, while restoring my bodily health, had 
granted me some hidden grace. So, when I was alone 
with her, I could not resist her tender and pressing 
inquiries. I was so astonished to find my secret 
already known, without my having said a word, that 
I told her everything. Alas ! as I had foreseen, my 
joy was turned into bitterness. For four years the re 
membrance of this grace was a cause of real pain to me, 
and it was only in the blessed sanctuary of Our Lady 
of Victories, at my Mother s feet, that I once again 
found peace. There it was restored to me in all its 
fulness, as I will tell you later. 

This is how my joy was changed into sadness. 
When Marie had heard the childish, but perfectly 
sincere, account of the grace I had received, she begged 
my leave to tell them at the Carmel, and I did not like 
to refuse her. My first visit there after my illness was 
full of joy at seeing Pauline clothed in the habit of 
Our Lady of Carmel. It was a happy time for us 
both, we had so much to say, we had both suffered 
so much. My heart was so full that I could hardly 

You were there, dear Mother, and plainly showed 
your affection for me ; I saw several other Sisters 
too, and you must remember how they questioned me 
about my cure. Some asked if Our Lady was holding 
the Infant Jesus in her arms, others if the Angels were 
with her, and so on. All these questions distressed 
and grieved me, and I could only make one answer : 
" Our Lady looked very beautiful ; I saw her come 
towards me and smile." But noticing that the nuns 
thought something quite different had happened from 

1 Cant. ii. n. 


Pauline enters the Carmel 

\vhat I had told them, I be^an to persuade myself 
that I had been guilty of an untruth. 

If only I had kept my secret I should have kept my 
happiness also. But Our Lady allowed this trouble 
to befall me for the good of my soul ; perhaps without 
it vanity would have crept into my heart, whereas 
now 1 was humbled, and I looked on myself with 
feelings of contempt. My God, Thou alone knowest 
all that 1 suffered ! 




WHILE describing this visit to the Carmel, 
my thoughts are carried back to the 
first one which I paid after Pauline 
entered. On the morning of that happy 
day, I wondered what name would be given to me 
later on. I knew that there was already a Sister 
Teresa of Jesus ; nevertheless, my beautiful name of 
There se could not be taken from me. Suddenly I 
thought of the Child Jesus whom I loved so dearly, 
and I felt how much I should like to be called Teresa 
of the ; Child Jesus. I was careful not to tell you of 
my wish, dear Mother, yet you said to me, in the 
middle of our conversation : " When you come to 
us, little one, you will be called Teresa of the 
Child Jesus. My joy was great indeed. This happy 
coincidence of thought seemed a special favour from 
the Holy Child. 

So far I have not said anything about my love for 
pictures and books, and yet I owe some of the happiest 
and strongest impressions which have encouraged me 
in the practice of virtue to the beautiful pictures 
Pauline used to show me. Everything was forgotten 
while looking at them. For instance, " The Little 
Flower of the Divine Prisoner " suggested so many 
thoughts that I would remain gazing at it in a kind 
of ecstasy. I offered myself to Our Lord to be His 
Little Flower ; I longed to console Him, to draw as near 
as possible to the Tabernacle, to be looked on, cared 
for, and gathered by Him. 


First Communion and Confirmation 

As I was of no use at games, I should have preferred 
to spend all my time in reading. Happily for me, I 
had visible guardian angels to guide me in this matter ; 
they chose books suitable to my age, which interested 
me and at the same time provided food for my thoughts 
and affections. I was only allowed a limited time for 
this favourite recreation, and it became an occasion 
of much self-sacrifice, for as soon as the time had 
elapsed I made it my duty to stop instantly, even in 
the middle of a most interesting passage. 

As to the impressions produced on me by these 
books, I must franklv own that, in reading certain 
tales of chivalry, I did not always understand the 
realities of life. And so, in my admiration of the 
patriotic deeds of the heroines of France, especially of 
the Venerable Joan of Arc, I longed to do what they 
had done. About this time I received what I have 
looked on as one of the greatest graces of my life, for, 
at that age, I was not favoured with lights from 
Heaven, as I am now. 

Our Lord made me understand that the only true 
glory is that which lasts for ever ; and that to attain 
it there is no necessity to do brilliant deeds, but 
rather to hide from the eyes of others, and even from 
oneself, so that " the left hand knows not what the right 
hand does" l Then, as I reflected that I was born for 
great things, and sought the means to attain them, 
it was made known to me interiorly that my personal 
glory would never reveal itself before the eyes of men, 
but that it would consist in becoming a Saint. 

This aspiration may very well appear rash, seeing 
how imperfect I was, and am, even now, after so many 
years of religious life ; yet I still feel the same daring 
confidence that one day I shall become a great Saint. 
I am not trusting in my own merits, for I have none ; 
but I trust in Him Who is Virtue and Holiness itself. 
It is He alone Who, pleased with my feeble efforts, 

1 Cf. M.itt. vi, 3. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

will raise me to Himself, and, by clothing me with 
His merits, make me a Saint. At that time I did not 
realise that to become one it is necessary to suffer a 
great deal; but God soon disclosed this secret to me 
by means of the trials I have related. 

I must now continue my story where I left off. 
Three months after my cure Papa took me away for a 
change. It was a very pleasant time, and I began to 
see something of the world. All around me was joy 
and gladness ; I was petted, made much of, admired 
in fact, for a whole fortnight my path was strewn with 
flowers. The Wise Man is right when he says : " The 
bewitching of vanity overturned the innocent mind." 
At ten years of age the heart is easily fascinated, and I 
confess that in my case this kind of life had its charms. 
Alas ! the world knows well how to combine its pleasures 
with the service of God. How little it thinks of 
death ! And yet death has come to many people I 
knew then, young, rich, and happy. I recall to 
mind the delightful places where they lived, and ask 
myself where they are now, and what profit they 
derive to-day from the beautiful houses and grounds 
where I saw them enjoying all the good things of this 
life. And I reflect that " All is vanity besides loving 
God and serving Him alone." 

Perhaps Our Lord wished me to know something 
of the world before He paid His first visit to my soul, 
so that I might choose more deliberately the way in 
which I was to follow Him. 

I shall always remember my First Commuriiori Day 
as one of unclouded happiness. It seems to me that 
I could r not have been better prepared. Do you re 
member, dear Mother, the charming little book you 
gave me three months before the great day ? I found 
in it a helpful method which prepared me gradually 
and thoroughly. It is true I had been thinking about 
my First Communion for a long time, but, as your 

1 Wisdom iv. 12. z I nut., I, ch. i. 3, 

First Communion and Confirmation 

precious manuscript told me, I must stir up in my 
heart fresh transports of love and fill it anew with 
flowers. So, each day I made a number of little 
sacrifices and acts of love, which were to be changed 
into so many flowers : now violets, another time 
roses, then cornflowers, daisies, or forget-me-nots 
in a word, all nature s blossoms were to form in me 
a cradle for the Holy Child. 

I had Marie, too, who took Pauline s place. Every 
evening I spent a long time with her, listening eagerly 
to all she said. How delightfully she talked to me ! 
I felt myself set on fire by her noble, generous spirit. 
As the warriors of old trained their children in the 
profession of arms, so she trained me for the battle of 
life, and roused my ardour by pointing to the victor s 
glorious palm. She spoke, too, of the imperishable 
riches which are so easy to amass each day, and of the 
folly of trampling them under foot when one has but 
to stoop and gather them. When she talked so elo 
quently, I was sorry that I was the only one to listen 
to her teaching, for, in my simplicity, it seemed to me 
that the greatest sinners would be converted if they 
but heard her, and that, forsaking the perishable 
riches of this world, they would seek none but the 
riches of Heaven. 

I should have liked at this time to practise mental 
prayer, but Marie, finding me sufficiently devout, cnlv 
let me say my vocal prayers. A minre- at the Abbev 
asked me once what I did on holidavs. when 1 stayed 
at home. I answered timidly : " I often hide myself 
in a corner of my room where I can :-hut myself 
in with the bed curtains, and then I think. " But 
what do you think about : " said the <rood nun, laugh 
ing. " 1 think about the Good God, about the short 
ness of life, and about eternity : in a word, 1 think." 
My mistress did not forget this, and later on she used 
to remind me of the time when I thought, asking me 
if I still thought. . . . Now, 1 know that I was really 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

praying, while my Divine Master gently instructed 

The three months preparation for First Com 
munion passed quickly by ; it was soon time for me to 
begin my retreat, and, during it, I stayed at the Abbey. 
Oh, what a blessed retreat it was ! I do not think 
that one can experience such joy except in a religious 
house; there, with only a few children, it is easy for 
each one to receive special attention. I write this in 
a spirit of filial gratitude ; our mistresses at the Abbey 
showed us a true motherly affection. I do not know 
why, but I saw plainly that they w 7 atched over me more 
carefully than they did over the others. 

Every night the first mistress, carrying her little 
lamp, opened my bed curtains softly, and kissed me 
tenderly on the forehead. She showed me such 
affection that, touched by her kindness, I said one 
night : " Mother, I love you so much that I am going 
to tell you a great secret." Then I took from under 
my pillow the precious little book you had given me, 
and showed it to her, my eyes sparkling with pleasure. 
She opened it with care, and, looking through it atten 
tively, told me how privileged I was. In fact, several 
times during the retreat, the truth came home to me 
that very few motherless children of my age are as 
lovingly cared for as I was then. 

I listened most attentively to the instructions 
given us by Father Domin, and wrote careful notes 
on them, but I did not put down any of my own 
thoughts, as I knew I should remember them quite 
well. And so it proved. 

How happy I was to attend Divine Office as the 
nuns did ! I was easily distinguished from my 
companions by a large crucifix, which Leonie 
had given me, arid which, like the missionaries, I 
carried in my belt. They thought I was trying to 
imitate my Carmelite sister, and indeed my thoughts 
did often turn lovingly to her I knew she was in 

First Communion and Confirmation 

retreat too, not that Jesus might give Himself to her, 
but that she might give herself entirelv to Jesus, and 
this on the same day as I made my First Communion. 
The time of quiet waiting was therefore doubly dear 
to me. 

At la^t there dawned the most beautiful day of 
all the days of mv life. How perfectly I remember 
even the smallest details of those sacred hours ! The 
joyful awakening, the reverent and tender embraces 
of my mistresses and older companions, the room 
filled with snow-white frocks, where each child was 
dressed in turn, and, above all, our entrance into the 
chapel and the melody of the morning hymn : " O 
Altar of God, where the An::els are hovering." 

But I would not and I could not tell you all. Some 
things lose their fragrance when exposed to the air, 
and so, too, one s inmost thoughts cannot be translated 
into earthly words without instantly losing their deep 
and heavenly meaning. How sweet was the first 
embrace of Jesus ! It was indeed an embrace of love. 
I felt that I was loved, and I said : " I love Thee, and 
I give myself to Thee for ever." Jesus asked nothing 
of me, and claimed no sacrifice ; for a long time He 
and little Therese had known and understood one 
another. That day our meeting was more than 
simple recognition, it was perfect union. We were 
no longer two. Therese had disappeared like a drop 
of water lost in the immensity of the ocean ; Jesus 
alone remained He was the Master, the King ! Had 
not Therese a^kcd Him to take away her liberty which 
frightened her ? She felt herself so weak and frail, 
that she wished to be for ever united to the Divine 

And then my joy became so intense, so deep, that 
it could not be restrained ; tears of happiness welled up 
and overflowed. My companions were astonished, and 
asked each other afterwards : u Why did she cry ? 
Had she anything on her conscience ? No, it is 


Sceur Therse of Lisieux 

because neither her Mother nor her dearly loved 
Carmelite sister is here." And no one understood 
that al] the joy of Heaven had come down into one 
heart, and that this heart, exiled, weak, and mortal 
as it was, could not contain it without tears. 

How could my Mother s absence grieve me on my 
First Communion Day ? As Heaven Itself dwelt in 
my soul, in receiving a visit from Our Divine Lord I 
received one from my dear Mother too. Nor was I 
crying on account of Pauline s absence, for we were 
even more closely united than before. No, I repeat 
it joy alone, a joy too deep for words., overflowed 
within me. 

During the afternoon I read the act of consecration 
to Our Lady, for myself and my companions. I was 
chosen probably because I had been deprived of my 
earthly Mother while still so young. With all my 
heart I consecrated myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
and asked her to watch over me. She seemed to look 
lovingly on her Little Flower and to smile at her again, 
and I thought of the visible smile which had once 
cured me, and of all I owed her. Had she not herself, 
on the morning of that 8th of May, placed in the 
garden of my soul her Son Jesus " the Flower of the 
field and the Lily of the valleys " ? 1 

On the evening of this happy day Papa and I went 
to the Carmel, and I saw Pauline, now become the 
Spouse of Christ. She wore a white veil like mine and 
a crown of roses. My joy was unclouded, for I hoped 
soon to join her, and at her side to wait for Heaven. 

I was pleased with the feast prepared for me at 
home, and was delighted with the beautiful watch 
given to me by Papa. My happiness was perfect, and 
nothing troubled the inward peace of my soul. Night 
came, and so ended that beautiful day. Even the 
brightest days are followed by darkness ; one alone 
will know no setting, the day of the First and Eternal 

1 Cant. ii. i. 


First Communion and Confirmation 

Communion in our true Home. Somehow the next 
day seemed sorrowful. The pretty clothes and the 
presents I had received could not satisfy me. Hence 
forth Our Lord alone could fill my heart, and all I 
longed for was the blissful moment when I should 
receive Him again. 

T made my second Communion on Ascension Day, 
and had the happiness of kneeling at the rails between 
Papa and Marie. My tears flowed with inexpressible 
sweetness ; I kept repeating those words of St. Paul : 
" / live now, not I ; but Christ liveth in me." After 
this second visit of Our Lord I longed for nothing 
else but to receive Him. Alas ! the feasts seemed so 
far apart. . . . 

On the eve of these happy days Marie helped me to 
prepare, as she had done for my First Communion. 
I remember once she spoke of suffering, and said that 
in all probability, instead of making me walk by this 
road, God, in His goodness, would carry me always 
like a little child. Her words came into my mind 
next day after my Communion ; my heart became 
inilamed with an ardent desire for suffering, and I 
felt convinced that many crosses were in store for me. 
Then my soul was flooded with such consolation as 
I have never since experienced. Suffering became 
attractive, and I found in it charms which held me 
spellbound, though as yet I did not appreciate them 
to the full. 

I had one other great wMi ; it was to love God 
onlv, and to find my joy in Him alone. During my 
thanksgiving after Holy Communion I often repeated 
tliis passage from the Imitation of Christ : u O my 
God, Who art unspeakable sweetness, turn for me 
into bitterness all the consolations of earth." ~ These 
words rose to my lip-; quite naturally ; I said them 
like a child, who, without well understanding, repeats 
what a friend may suggest. Later on I will tell you, 

1 v/al ii -: : *, Ill, ch. xxvi. 3. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

dear Mother, how Our Lord has been pleased to fulfil 
my desire, how He, and He alone, has always been my 
joy ; but if I were to speak of it now I should have to 
pass on to my girlhood, and there is still much to tell 
you of my early days. 

Soon after my First Communion I went into 
retreat again, before being confirmed. I prepared 
myself with the greatest care for the coming of the 
Holy Ghost ; I could not understand anyone not doing 
so before receiving this Sacrament of Love. As the 
ceremony could not take place on the day fixed, I had 
the consolation of remaining somewhat longer in re 
treat. How happy I felt ! Like the Apostles, I looked 
with joy for the promised Comforter, gladdened by the 
thought that I should soon be a perfect Christian, 
and have the holy Cross, the symbol of this wondrous 
Sacrament, traced upon my forehead for eternity. 
I did not feel the mighty wind of the first Pentecost, 
but rather the gentle breeze which the prophet Elias 
heard on Mount Horeb. On that day I received 
the gift of fortitude in suffering a gift I needed 
sorely, for the martyrdom of my soul was soon to 

When these delightful feasts, which can never be 
forgotten, were over, I had to resume my life as a day 
scholar, at the Abbey. I made good progress with my 
lessons, and remembered easily the sense of what I 
read, but I had the greatest difficulty in learning by 
heart ; only at catechism were my efforts crowned with 
success. The Chaplain called me his little " Doctor 
of Theology," no doubt because of my name, 

During recreation I often gave myself up to 
serious thoughts, while from a distance I watched 
my companions at play. This was my favourite 
occupation, but I had another which gave me real 

1 St. Teresa, who reformed the Carmelite Order, and died in 1582, is some 
times called the Doctor of Mystical Theology, because of her luminous writings 
on the relations of the soul with God in prayer. [Eo.] 


First Communion and Confirmation 

pleasure. I would search carci ullv for any poor little 
birds that had fallen dead under the big trees, and I 
then buried them with great ceremony, all in the ^aiae 
cemetery, in a special grass plot. Sometimes I told 
stories to my companions, and often even the big 
girls came to listen ; but soon our mistress, very 
rightly, brought my career as an orator to an end, 
saying she wanted us to exercise our bodies and not 
our brains. At this time I chose as friends two little 
girls of my own age ; but how shallow are the hearts 
of creatures ! One of them had to stay at home lor 
some months ; while she was away I thought about her 
very often, and on her return I showed how pleased 
I was. However, all I got was a glance of indifference 
my friendship was not appreciated. I felt this verv 
keenly, and I no longer sought an affection which had 
proved so inconstant. Nevertheless I still love my 
little school friend, and continue to pray for her, for 
God has given me a faithful heart, and when once I 
love, I love for ever. 

Observing that some of the girls were very devoted 
to one or other of the mistresses, I tried to imitate 
them, but I never succeeded in winning special favour. 
O happy failure, from how many evils have you saved 
me ! I am most thankful to Our Lord that He 
let me find only bitterness in earthly friend: hips. 
With a heart like mine, I should have been taken 
captive and had my wings clipped, and how then 
should I have been able to fly away and, be at 
rest " ? l 

How can a heart given up to human affections be 
closely united to God ? It seems to me that it is 
impossible. I have seen so many souls, allured by 
this false light, fly right into it like poor moths, and 
burn their wings, and then return, wounded, to Our 
Lord, the Divine Fire which burns and does not con 
sume. I know well Our Lord saw that I was too 

Sceur Tlierese of Lisieux 

weak to be exposed to temptation, for, without doubt, 
had the deceitful light of created love dazzled my eyes, 
I should have been entirely consumed. Where strong 
souls find joy and practise detachment faithfully, I 
only found bitterness. No merit, then, is due to me 
for not having given myself up to these frail ties, since 
I was only preserved from them by the Mercy of God. 
I fully realised that without Him I should have fallen 
as low as St. Mary Magdalen, and the Divine Master s 
words re-echoed sweetly in my soul. Yes, I know that 
" To whom less is forgiven he loveth less" 1 but I know 
too that Our Lord has forgiven me more than St. 
Mary Magdalen. I wish I could express all that I feel 
about it. Here is an example which will, at any rate, 
show you some of my thoughts. 

Let us suppose that the son of a very clever doctor, 
stumbling over a stone on the road, falls and breaks his 
leg. His father hastens to him, lifts him lovingly, 
and binds up the fractured limb, putting forth all his 
skill. The son, when cured, displays the utmost grati 
tude, and he has excellent reason for doing so. But let 
us take another supposition. 

The father, aware that a dangerous stone lies in his 
son s path, is beforehand with the danger and removes 
it, unseen by anyone. The son, thus tenderly cared 
for, not knowing of the mishap from which his father s 
hand has saved him, naturally will not show him any 
gratitude, and will love him less than if he had cured 
him of a grievous wound. But suppose he heard the 
whole truth, would he not in that case love him still 
more ? Well now, I am this child, the object of the 
foreseeing love of a Father " Who did not send His Son 
to call the just, but sinners" 2 He wishes me to love 
Him, because He has forgiven me, not much, but every 
thing. Without waiting for me to love Him much, as 
St. Mary Magdalen did, He has made me understand 
how He has loved me with an ineffable love and 

1 Luke vii. 47. * Luke v. 32. 


First Communion and Confirmation 

forethought, so that now my love mav know no 

I had often heard it said, both in retreats and 
cl-euherc, that lie i< more deeply loved by repentant 
souls than by those who have not lost their baptismal 
innocence. Ah! if I could but give the lie to those 
words. . . . 

But I have wandered so far from my subject that 
I hardly know where to begin again. It was during 
the retreat before my second Communion that I 
was attacked by the terrible disease of scruple-. 
One must have passed through this martyrdom to 
understand it. It would be quite impossible for me to 
tell you what I suffered for nearly two years. All my 
thoughts and actions, even the simplest, were a source 
of trouble and anguish to me ; I had no peace till I 
had told Marie everything, and this was most painful, 
since I imagined I was obliged to tell absolutely all 
my thoughts, even the most extravagant. As soon as 
I had unburdened myself I felt a momentary peace, 
but it pa-ed like a flash, and my martyrdom began 
again. Many an occasion for patience did I pro 
vide for my dear sister. 

That year we spent a fortnight of our holidays at 
the sea-side. My aunt, who always showed us such 
motherly care, treated us to all possible pleasures 
donkey rides, shrimping, and the rest. She even 
spoiled us in the matter of clothes. I remember one 
.lie gave me some pale blue ribbon ; although I 
was twelve and a half, I was still such a child that I 
quite enjoyed tying it in my hair. But this childish 
pleasure seemed sintul to me, and I had so manv 
scruple- that I had to go to Confession, even at 
Tr< luville. 

\\ hile I was there [ had an experience which 
did me u ood. My cousin Marie often suffered from 
sick headaches. On these occasions mv aunt u-ed to 
fun. lie her and coax her with the most endearing 


Sceur Therse of Lisieux 

names, but the only response was continual tears and 
the unceasing cry : " My head aches ! " I had a 
headache nearly every day, though I did not say so ; 
but one evening I thought I would imitate Marie. 
So I sat down in an armchair in a corner of the room, 
and set to work to cry. My aunt, as well as my cousin 
Jeanne, to whom I was very devoted, hastened to me 
to know what was the matter. I answered like Marie : 
" My head aches." It would seem that complaining 
was not in my line ; no one would believe that a head 
ache was the reason of my tears. Instead of petting 
me as usual, my aunt spoke to me seriously. Even 
Jeanne reproached me, very kindly it is true, and 
was grieved at my want of simplicity and trust in my 
aunt. She thought I had a big scruple, and was not 
giving the real reason of my tears. At last, getting 
nothing for my pains, I made up my mind not to 
imitate other people any more. I thought of the. 
fable of the ass and the little dog ; I was the ass, 
who, seeing that the little dog got all the petting, 
put his clumsy hoof on the table to try and secure his 
share. If I did not have a beating like the poor beast, 
at any rate I got what I deserved a severe lesson, 
which cured me once for all of the desire to attract 

I must go back now to the subject of my scruples. 
They made me so ill that I was obliged to leave 
school when I was thirteen. In order to continue 
my education, Papa took me several times a week to a 
lady who was an excellent teacher. Her lessons served 
the double purpose of instructing me and making me 
associate with other people. 

Visitors were often shown into the old-fashioned 
room where I sat with my books and exercises. As 
far as possible my teacher s mother carried on the 
conversation, but still I did not learn much while 
it lasted. Seemingly absorbed in my book, I could 
hear many things it would have been better for me 


First Communion and Confirmation 

not to hear. One lady said [ had beautiful hair: 
another asked, as she left, who was that pretty little 
girl. Such remarks, the more flattering because I 
was not meant to hear them, gave me a feeling 
of pleasure wluVli Allowed plainly that I was full of 

I am very sorry for souls who lose themselves in 
this way. It is so easy to go astray in the seductive 
paths of the world. Without doubt, for a soul some 
what advanced in virtue, the sweetness offered by the 
world is mingled with bitterness, and the immense 
void of its desires cannot be filled by the flattery of a 
moment ; but I repeat, if my heart had not been 
lilted up towards God from the first moment of con 
sciousness, if the world had smiled on me from the 
beginning of my life, what should I have become ? 
Dearest Mother, with what a grateful heart do I sin- 
^tbe Mercies oj the Lord!" Has He not, according 
to the words of Holy Wisdom, " taken me away from 
the world lest wickedness should alter my under star, 
or deceit beguile my soul " ? * 

Meanwhile I resolved to consecrate myself in a 
special way to Our Blessed Lady, and I begged to be 
enrolled among the Children of Mary. 2 To gain this 
favour I had to go twice a week to the Convent, and 
I must contess this cost me something, I was so shv. 
There was no question of the affection I felt towards 
mv mistresses but, as I said before, I had no special 
friend among them, with whom I could have spent 
many hour, like other old pupils. So I worked in 
silence till the end of the lesion, and then, as no one 
tooK any notice of me, I went to the tribune in the 
Chapel till Papa came to fetch me home. Here, 
durmg thb silent visit, I found my one consolation 
for was not Je-us my only Friend? To Him alone 
could I open my heart; all conversation with 

"It was on Ma ,i : ne a Socialist of Our Lady. [Ko.J 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

creatures, even on holy subjects, wearied me. It is 
true that in these periods of loneliness I sometimes 
felt sad, and I used often to console myself by repeat 
ing this line of a beautiful poem Papa had taught 
me : " Time is thy barque, and not thy dwelling- 

Young as I was, these words restored my courage, 
and even now, in spite of having outgrown many 
pious impressions of childhood, the symbol of a ship 
always delights me and helps me to bear the exile of 
this life. Does not the Wise Man tell us " Life is like 
a ship that fasseth through the waves : when it is gone 
by, the trace thereof cannot be found " ? * 

When my thoughts run on in this way, my soul 
loses itself as it were in the infinite ; I seem already 
to touch the Heavenly Shore and to receive Our Lord s 
embrace. I fancy I can see Our Blessed Lady coming 
to meet me, with my Father and Mother, my little 
brothers and sisters ; and I picture myself enjoying 
true family joys for all eternity. 

But before reaching Our Father s Home in Heaven, 
I had to go through many partings on this earth. The 
year in which I was made a Child of Mary, Our Lady 
took from me my sister Marie, the only support of 
my soul, 2 my oracle and inseparable companion since 
the departure of Pauline. As soon as I knew of her 
decision, I made up my mind to take no further plea 
sure in anything here below. I could not tell you how 
many tears I shed. But at this time I was much given 
to crying, not only over big things, but over trifling 
ones too. For instance : I was very anxious to ad 
vance in virtue, but I went about it in a strange way. 
I was not accustomed to wait on myself ; Celine 
always arranged our room, and I never did any house 
hold work. Sometimes, in order to please Our Lord, 
I used to make my bed, or, if she were out in the even- 

1 Wisdom v. 10. 

2 Marie entered the Carmel of Lisieux on October 15, 1886, taking the name 
of Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart. 


First Communion and Confirmation 

ing, to bring in her plants and seedlings. As I said 
before, it was simply to please Our Lord that 1 did 
these things and so I ought not to have expected any 
thanks from creatures. But, alas ! I did expect them, 
and, if unfortunately Celine did not seem surprised and 
grateful lor my little services, 1 was not pleased, and 
tears rose to my eyes. 

Again, if by accident I offended anyone, instead of 
taking it in the right way, I fretted till I made myself 
ill, thus making my fault worse, instead of mending it ; 
and when I began to realise my foolishness, I would 
cry for having cried. 

In fact, I made troubles out of everything. Now, 
things are quite different. God in His goodness has 
given me grace not to be cast down by any passing 
difficulty. When I think of what I used to be, my 
heart overflows with gratitude. The graces I have 
received have changed me so completely, that I am 
scarce!}- the same person. 

After Marie entered the Carmel, and I no longer 
had her to listen to my scruples, I turned towards 
Heaven and confided them to the four little angels 
who had already gone before me, for I thought that 
these innocent souls, who had never known sorrow 
or fear, outfit to have pity on their poor little suffer- 
in- sister. I talked to them with childish simplicity, 
telling them that, as I was the youngest of the family, 
I had always been the most petted and loved by my 
parents and sisters ; that if they had remained on earth 
they would no doubt have given me the same proofs 
of their affection. I he fact that they had gone to 
Heaven seemed no reason why they should forget me 
on the contrary, as thev were able to draw from the 
treasury of Heaven, thev ought to obtain for me the 
grace of peace, and prove that they still knew how to 
love me. 

The answer \va> not long in coming ; soon my soul 
was flooded with the sweetest peace. I knew that I 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

was loved, not only on earth but also in Heaven. 
From that time my devotion for these little brothers 
and sisters increased ; I loved to talk to them and tell 
them of all the sorrows of this exile, and of my wish 
to join them soon in our Eternal Home. 



I WAS far from meriting all the graces which 
Our Lord showered on me. I had a constant 
and ardent desire to advance in virtue, but 
often my actions were spoilt by imperfections. 
Mv extreme sensitiveness made me almost unbear 
able. All arguments were useless. I simply could not 
correct myself of this miserable fault. How, then, 
could I hope soon to be admitted to the Carmel ? A 
miracle on a small scale was needed to give me strength 
of character all at once, and God worked this long- 
desired miracle on Christmas Day, 1886. 

On that blessed night the sweet Infant Jesus, 
scarce an hour old, filled the darkness of my soul with 
floods of light. By becoming weak and little, lor love 
of me, He made me strong and brave ; lie put Hi- own 
weapons into my hands, so that I went from victory 
to victory, beginning, if I may say so, " to run as a 
. i7///." The fountain of my tears was dried up, and 
irom that time the}- flowed neither easily nor often. 

Now I will tell you, dear Mother, how I received 
this inestimable grace of complete conversion. 1 knew 
that when we reached home after Midnight Mass I 
should find my shoes in the chimney-corner, filled 
with presents, just as when I was a little child, which 
prove-.- that my si-ters still treated me as a baby. Papa, 
too, liked to watch my enjoyment and hear mv cries 
ot deli-lit at each frc-h surprise that came from the 
magic ^hoes, and his pleasure added to mine. But the 
time had come when Our Lord wished to free me from 

1 Cj . I bal:;. xviii. 5. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

childhood s failings, and even withdraw me from its 
innocent pleasures. On this occasion, instead of in 
dulging me as he generally did, Papa seemed vexed, 
and on my way upstairs I heard him say : " Really 
all this is too babyish for a big girl like Therese, and I 
hope it is the last year it will happen." His words 
cut me to the quick. Celine, knowing how sensitive I 
was, whispered : " Don t go downstairs just yet wait 
a little, you would cry too much if you looked at your 
presents before Papa." But Therese was no longer 
the same Jesus had changed her heart. 

Choking back my tears, I ran down to the dining- 
room, and, though my heart beat fast, I picked up my 
shoes, and gaily pulled out all the things, looking as 
happy as a queen. Papa laughed, and did not show 
any trace of displeasure, and Celine thought she must 
be dreaming. But happily it was a reality ; little 
Therese had regained, once for all, the strength of 
mind which she had lost at the age of four and a half. 

On this night of grace, the third period of my life 
began the most beautiful of all, the one most filled 
with heavenly favours. In an instant Our Lord, 
satisfied with my good will, accomplished the work 
I had not been able to do during all these years. 
Like the Apostle I could say : " Master, we have 
laboured all night, and have taken nothing" 

More merciful to me even than to His beloved 
Disciples, Our Lord Himself took the net, cast it, and 
drew it out full of fishes. He made me a fisher of men. 
Love and a spirit of self-forgetfulness took possession 
of me, and from that time I was perfectly happy. 

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 

1 Luke v. 5. 

Vocation of Thcr^sc 

one caring to treasure It as It fell, and I resolved to 
remain continually in spirit at the foot of tiie Cross, 
that 1 mu. r ht receive the Divine Dew of Salvation and 
pour it forth upon soub. From that day the cry of 
my dyini: Saviour " I thirst ! " sounded incessantly in 
my heart, and kindled therein a burning y.eal hitherto 
unknown to me. My one desire was to ^ive my Be 
loved to drink ; I felt myself consumed with thirst 
ior soul , and I longed at any cost to snatch sinner^ 
from the everlasting flames of hell. 

In order still further to enkindle in}- 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 oi, 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 quen for souls, 
I said in all simplicity : " Mv 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 Mini of sorrow, because I have such confidence in 
1 hy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, 
and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to 
rea-urc me." Mv p raver was granted to the letter. 
My Father never allowed us to read the papers, but I 
did not think there wa^ any disobedience in looking 
at the part about Pranzini. The dav after hi; execu 
tion I hastily opened the paper. La CrL\\ and what 
did 1 see ? Fear- bet raved mv emotion ; I wa<> 
obliged to run out ot the room. Pranzini had mounted 
the scallold without confessing or receiving absolution, 

o o 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

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 ! 

After receiving this grace my desire for the salva 
tion of souls increased day by day. I seemed to hear 
Our Lord whispering to me, as He did to the Sama 
ritan woman : " Give me to drink ! " 1 It was indeed 
an exchange of love : upon souls I poured forth the 
Precious Blood of Jesus, and to Jesus I offered these 
souls refreshed with the Dew of Calvary. In this way 
I thought to quench His Thirst ; but the more I gave 
Him to drink, so much the more did the thirst of my 
own poor soul increase, and I accepted it as the most 
delightful recompense. 

In a short time God, in His goodness, had lifted me 
out of the narrow sphere in which I lived. The great 
step was taken ; but, alas ! I had still a long road to 
travel. Now that I was free from scruples and morbid 
sensitiveness, my mind developed. I had always loved 
what was noble and beautiful, and about this time 
I was seized with a passionate desire for learning. 
Not content with lessons from my teachers, I took up 
certain subjects by myself, and learnt more in a few 
months than I had in my whole school life. Was not 
this ardour " vanity and vexation of spirit " ? 2 For 
me, with my impetuous nature, this was one of the 

1 John iv. 7. 2 Eccl. i. 14. 


Vocation of Thcrcse 

most dangerous times of my life, but Our Lord ful 
filled in me tho.-e words of K/echiel s prophecy : 
lk Behold thy time was the time of lovers : and 1 spread 
my garment over thee. And 1 swore to thee, and 1 
entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, 
and thou becamest Mine. And I washed thee with 
water, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee 
with fine garments, and pit a chain about thy neck. 
Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil, and. wast 
made exceedingly beautiful, and wast advanced to be 
a queen" 1 

Yes, Our Lord has done all this for me. I mi-lit 
take each word of that striking passage, and show how 
it has been completely realised in me, but the graces 
of which I have already told you are sufficient proof. 
So I will only speak now of the food with which my 
Divine Master abundant!}- provided me. For a lon ^ 
time I had nourished my spiritual life with the "fine 
jlour " contained in the Imitation of Christ. It was 
the only book which did me good, for I had not yet 
found the treasures hidden in the Holy Gospel-. I 
always had it with me, to the amusement of my people 
at home. My aunt used often to open it, and make me 
repeat by heart the first chapter she chanced to light 

Seeing my great thirst for knowledge, God was 
pleased, when I was fourteen, to add "to the "fine 
flour" phoney" and "oil" in abundance. 

r ! his " honey " and " oil " I found in the con 
ferences of Father Arminjon on The End of this 
World, and the Mysteries of the World t> Come. 
\\ liile reading this book my soul was flooded with a 
happiness quite supernatural. I experienced a fore 
taste 01 what God ha< prepared for those who love 
Him ; and, seeing that eternal reward- are so much 
in excess of the petty sacrifices of tin- life, I yearned 
to love Our Lord, to love Him passionately, and to 

1 Kicchi jl xvi. 8, 9, 13. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

give Him countless proofs of affection while this was 
still in my power. 

Celine had become the most intimate sharer of 
my thoughts, especially since Christmas. Our Lord, 
Who wished to make us advance in virtue together, 
drew us to one another by ties stronger than blood. 
He made us sisters in spirit as well as in the flesh. 
The words of our Holy Father, St. John of the Cross, 
were realised in us : 

Treading within Thy Footsteps 

Young maidens lightly run upon the way. 

From the spark s contact, 

And the spicdd wine, 

They give forth aspirations of a balm divine. 

It was lightly indeed that we followed in the foot 
steps of Our Saviour. The burning sparks which He 
cast into our souls, the strong wine which He gave us 
to drink, made us lose sight of all earthly things, and 
we breathed forth sighs of love. 

Very sweet is the memory of our intercourse. 
Every evening we went up to our attic window to 
gether and gazed at the starry depths of the sky, and I 
think very precious graces were bestowed on us then. 
As the Imitation says : " God communicates Himself 
sometimes amid great light, at other times sweetly 
in signs and figures." 

In this way He deigned to manifest Himself to our 
hearts ; but how slight and transparent was the veil ! 
Doubt was no longer possible ; already Faith and 
Hope had given place to Love, which made us find 
Him whom we sought, even on this earth. When He 
found us alone " He gave us His kiss, and now no one 
may des-pise us." z 

These divine impressions could not but bear fruit. 
The practice of virtue gradually became sweet and 
natural to me. At first my looks betrayed the effort, 
but, little by little, self-sacrifice seemed to come more 

1 Cf. Imit,, III, ch. xliii. 4. 2 Cf. Cant. viii. x. 


Vocation of Therese 

easily and without hesitation. Our Lord has said : " / o 
everyone lk<it hath shall be ?jven, and be shall abound" 

Each grace faithfully received brought mam 
others. lie gave Himself to me in Holy Communion 
oitener than 1 should have dared to hope. I had 
made it my practice to go to Communion as often as 
mv confessor allowed me, but never to ask for leave 
to go more frequently. Now, however, I should act 
differently, for I am convinced that a soul ought to 
disclose to her director the longing she has to receive 
her (jod. lie does not come down from Heaven each 
day in order to remain in a golden ciborium, but to 
find another Heaven the Heaven of our souls in 
which He takes such delight. 

Our Lord, Who knew my desire, inspired my con 
fessor to allow me to go to Communion several times 
a week, and this permission, coming as it did straight 
from Him, filled me with joy. 

In those days I did not dare to speak of my inner 
feelings ; the road which I trod was so direct, so clear, 
that I did not feel the need of any guide but Jc^us. 
I compared directors to mirrors who faithfully reilect 
Our Saviour to the souls under their care, and I 
thought that in my case He did not use an inter 
mediary but acted directly. 

When a gardener gives special attention to a fruit 
which he wishes to ripen early, he does so, not with a 
view to leaving it on the tree, but in order to place 
it on a well-spread table. Our Lord lavished lli ; 
favour* on His Little Flower in the same way. He 
wished His Mercies to shine forth in me He \\lio, 
while on earth, cried out in a trail-port of joy : " I bless 
T/ YY, O Father, because Thou hast hidden these things 
fr im the wise an,l prudent and hast revealed them ) 
little w."- 

And becau c I wa- small and frail He bent down 
to me and instructed me sweetlv in the secrets of His 

1 Luke x:x. 26. J Cf. Luke \. ~i. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

love. As St. John of the Cross says in his " Canticle 
of the Soul " \ 

On that happy night 

In secret I went forth, beheld by none, 

And seeing naught ; 

Having no light nor guide 

Excepting that which burned within my heart, 

Which lit my way 

More safely than the glare of noon-day sun 

To where, expectant, 

He waited for me Who doth know me well, 

Where none appeared but He. 

This place was Carmel, but before I could " sit 
down under His Shadow Whom I desired" l I had to 
pass through many trials. And yet the Divine Call 
was becoming so insistent that, had it been necessary 
for me to go through fire, I would have thrown 
myself into it to follow my Divine Master. 

Pauline 2 was the only one who encouraged me in my 
vocation ; Marie thought I was too young, and you, 
dear Mother, no doubt to prove me, tried to restrain 
my ardour. From the start I encountered nothing 
but difficulties. Then, too, I dared not speak of it to 
Celine, and this silence pained me deeply ; it was so 
hard to have a secret she did not share. 

However, this dear sister soon found out my in 
tention, and, far from wishing to keep me back, she 
accepted the sacrifice with wonderful courage. As 
she also wished to be a nun, she ought to have been 
given the first opportunity ; but, imitating the martyrs 
of old, who used joyfully to embrace those chosen to 
go before them into the arena, she allowed me to leave 
her, and took my troubles as much to heart as if it were 
a question of her own vocation. From Celine, then, 
I had nothing to fear, but I did not know how to 
set about telling Papa. How could his little Queen 

1 Cant. ii. 3. 2 Sister Agnes of Jesus. 


Vocation of Therese 

talk of leaving him when he had already parted with 
his two eldest daughters ? Moreover, this year he 
had been stricken with a serious attack of paralysis, 
and i hough lie recovered quickly we were full of anxiety 
for the future. 

What struggles I went through before I could make 
up my mind to speak ! But I had to act decisively ; 
I was now fourteen and a half, and in six months time 
the blessed feast of Christmas would be here. I had 
resolved to enter the Carmel at the same hour at 
which a year before I had received the grace of con 

I chose the feast of Pentecost on which to make my 
great disclosure. All day I was praying for light from 
the Holy Ghost, and begging the Apostles to pray for 
me, to inspire me with the words I ought to use. 
Were they not the very ones to help a timid child 
whom God destined to become an apostle of apostles 
by prayer and sacrifice ? 

In the afternoon, when Vespers were over, I found 
the opportunity I wanted. My Father was sitting 
in the garden, his hands clasped, admiring the wonders 
of nature. The rays of the setting sun gilded the tops 
of the tall trees, and the birds chanted their evening 

His beautiful face wore a heavenly expression I 
could feel that his soul was full of peace. Without a 
word, I sat down by his side, my eyes already wet with 
tears. He looked at me with indescribable tenderness, 
and, pressing me to his heart, said : " What is it, little 
Queen ? Tell me even-thing." Then, in order to 
hide his own emotion, he rose and walked slowlv up 
and down, still holding me close to him. 

Through my tear- I spoke of the Carmel and of my 
great wisli to enter soon. He, too, wept, but did not 
say a word to turn me from my vocation ; he only told 
me that I was very youivj to make such a grave decision, 
and as I insisted, and fully explained mv reasons. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

noble and generous Father was soon convinced. We 
walked about for a long time ; my heart was lightened, 
and Papa no longer shed tears. He spoke to me as 
Saints speak, and showed me some flowers growing in 
the low stone wall. Picking one of them, he gave it to 
me, and explained the loving care with which God had 
made it spring up and grow till now. 

I fancied myself listening to my own story, so close 
was the resemblance between the little flower and 
little Therese. I received this floweret as a relic, and 
noticed that in gathering it my Father had pulled it 
up by the roots without breaking them ; it seemed 
destined to live on, but in other and more fertile soil. 
Papa had just done the same for me. He allowed me 
to leave the sweet valley, where I had passed the first 
years of my life, for the mountain of Carmel. I 
fastened my little white flower to a picture of Our 
Lady of Victories the Blessed Virgin smiles on it, and 
the Infant Jesus seems to hold it in His Hand. It is 
there still, but the stalk is broken close to the root. 
God doubtless wishes me to understand that He will 
soon break all the earthly ties of His Little Flower and 
will not leave her to wither on this earth. 

Having obtained my Father s consent, I thought I 
could now fly to the Carmel without hindrance. Far 
from it ! When I told my uncle of my project, he 
declared that to enter such a severe Order at the age of 
fifteen seemed to him against all common sense, and 
that it would be doing a wrong to religion to let a 
child embrace such a life. He added that he should 
oppose it in every w r ay possible, and that nothing 
short of a miracle would make him change his mind. 

I could see that all arguments were useless, so I 
left him, my heart weighed down by profound sad 
ness. My only consolation was prayer. I entreated 
Our Lord to work this miracle for me because thus 
only could I respond to His appeal. Some time went 
by, and my uncle did not seem even to remember 


Vocation of Therese 

our conversation, though I learnt later that it had 
been constantly in his thoughts. 

Before allowing a ray of hope to shine on my soul, 
Our Lord deigned to send me another most painful 
vhich lasted for three days. Never had I under 
stood so well the bitter grief of Our Lady and St. 
Joseph when they were searching the streets of Jeru 
salem for the Divine Child. I seemed to be in a 
frightful desert, or rather, my soul was like a frail 
skiff, without a pilot, at the mercy of the stormy 
waves. I knew that Jesus was there asleep in my 
little boat, but how could I see Him while the night 
was^so dark ? If the storm had really broken, a flash 
of lightning would perhaps have pierced the clouds 
that hung over me : even though it were but a passing 
ray, it would have enabled me to catch a momen 
tary glimpse of the Beloved of my heart but this was 
denied ^ me. Instead, it was night, dark night, utter 
desolation, death! Like my Divine Master in the 
Agony in the Garden, I felt that I was alone, and found 
no comfort on earth or in Heaven. 

Nature itself seemed to share my bitter sadness, 
for during these three days there was not a ray of 
sunshine and the rain fell in torrents. I have noticed 
again and again that in all the important events of my 
life nature has reflected my feelings. When I wept, 
the skies wept with me ; when I rejoiced, no cloud 
darkened the blue of the heavens. On the fourth 
day, a Saturday, I went to see my uncle. What was 
my^ surprise when I found his attitude towards me 
entirely changed ! He invited me into his study, 
a privilege I had not asked for; then, after gently 
reproaching me for being a little constrained with him, 
he told me that the miracle of which he had spoken 
was no longer needed. He had prayed God to 
guide his heart aright, and his prayer had been heard. 
I felt as if I hardly knew him, he seemed so 
different. He embraced me with fatherly affection 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

saying with much feeling : " Go in peace, my dear 
child, you are a privileged little flower which Our 
Lord wishes to gather. I will put no obstacle in 
the way." 

Joyfully I went home. . . The clouds had quite 
disappeared from the sky, and in my soul also dark 
night was over. Jesus had awakened to gladden my 
heart. I no longer heard the roar of the waves. 
Instead of the bitter wind of trial, a light breeze 
swelled my sail, and I fancied myself safe in port. 
Alas ! more than one storm was yet to rise, sometimes 
even making me fear that I should be driven, without 
hope of return, from the shore which I longed to 

I had obtained my uncle s consent, only to be told 
by you, dear Mother, that the Superior of the Car 
melites would not allow me to enter till I was twenty- 
one. No one had dreamt of this serious opposition, 
the hardest of all to overcome. And yet, without 
losing courage, I went with Papa to lay my request 
before him. He received me very coldly, and could 
not be induced to change his mind. We left him at 
last with a very decided " No." " Of course," he 
added, " I am only the Bishop s delegate ; if he allows 
you to enter, I shall have nothing more to say." 

When we came out of the Presbytery again, it was 
raining in torrents, and my soul, too, was overcast with 
heavy clouds. Papa did not know how to console me, 
but he promised, if I wished, to take me to Bayeux to 
see the Bishop, and to this I eagerly consented. 

Many things happened, however, before we were 
able to go. To all appearances my life seemed to 
continue as formerly. I went on studying, and, what 
is more important, I went on growing in the love of 
God. Now and then I experienced what were indeed 
raptures of love. 

One evening, not knowing in what words to tell 
Our Lord how much I loved Him, and how much I 


Vocation of Therese 

wished that lie was served and honoured everywhere, 
I thought sorrowfully that from the depths of hell 
there does not go up to Him one single act of love. 
Then, trom my inmost heart, I cried out that I would 
gladly be can into that place of torment and blas 
phemy so that He might be eternally loved even there. 
This could not be for His Glory, since He only wishes 
our happiness, but love feels the need of saying foolish 
tilings. If I spoke in this way, it was not that I did 
not long to go to Heaven, but for me Heaven was 
nothing else than Love, and in my ardour I felt that 
nothing could separate me from the Divine Being 
Who held me captive. 

About this time Our Lord gave me the consolation 
of an intimate knowledge of the souls of children. 
I ga:ncd it in this way. During the illness of a poor 
woman, I interested myself in her two little girls, the 
elder of whom was not yet six. It was a real pleasure 
to see how simply they believed all that I told them. 
Baptism does indeed plant deeply in our souls the 
theological virtues, since from early childhood the 
hope of heavenly reward is strong enough to make us 
practise sell-denial. When I wanted my two little 
girls to be specially kind to one another, instead of 
promising them toys and sweets I talked to them 
about the eternal recompense the Holy Child Jesus 
would give to good children. The elder one, who 
was coming to the use of reason, used to look quite 
pleased and asked me charming questions about the 
little Jems and His beautiful Heaven. She promised 
me faithfully always to give in to her little sister, 
adding that all through her life she would never 
forget what I had taught her. I used to compare 
these innocent souls to soft wax, ready to receive anv 
impression evil, alas ! as well as good, and I understood 
the words of Our Lord : " It were better to be thr 
into the sea than to scandalise one of these little ones" * 

1 Cf. Mitt xviii. 6. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

How many souls might attain to great sanctity 
if only they were directed aright from the first ! I 
know God has not need of anyone to help Him in His 
work of sanctification, but as He allows a clever gardener 
to cultivate rare and delicate plants, giving him the 
skill to accomplish it, while reserving to Himself 
.. the right of making them grow, so does He wish to 
^ be helped in the cultivation of souls. What would 
happen if an ignorant gardener did not graft his trees 
in the right way ? if he did not understand the nature 
of each, and wished, for instance, to make roses grow 
on peach trees ? 

This reminds me that I used to have among my 
birds a canary which sang beautifully, and also a 
little linnet taken from the nest, of which I was very 
fond. This poor little prisoner, deprived of the 
teaching it should have received from its parents, 
and hearing the joyous trills of the canary from morn 
ing to night, tried hard to imitate them. A difficult 
task indeed for a linnet ! It was delightful to follow 
the efforts of the poor little thing ; his sweet voice 
found great difficulty in accommodating itself to the 
vibrant notes of his master, but he succeeded in time, 
and, to my great surprise, his song became exactly like 
the song of the canary. 

Oh, dear Mother, you know who taught me to 
sing from the days of my earliest childhood ! You 
know the voices which drew me on. And now I trust 
that one day, in spite of my weakness, I may sing for 
ever the Canticle of Love, the harmonious notes of 
which I have often heard sweetly sounding here below. 

But where am I ? These thoughts have carried 
me too far, and I must resume the history of my 

On October 31, 1887, alone with Papa, I started 
for Bayeux, my heart full of hope, but also excited at 
the idea of presenting myself at the Bishop s house. For 
the first time in my life, I was going to pay a visit without 

Vocation of Thercse 

any of my sisters, and this to a Bishop. I, who had never 
yet had to speak except to answer questions addressed 
to me, would have to explain and enlarge on my 
reasons for begging to enter the Carmel, and so give 
proots of the genuineness of my vocation. 

Jt cost me a great etlort to overcome my shvnc^ 
sufficiently to do this. But it is true that Love knows 
no such word as " impo-ible," for it deems "all 
things possible, all things allowed." 1 Nothing whatso 
ever but the love of Jesus could have made me face 
these difficulties and others which followed, for I had 
to purchase my happiness by heavy trials. Now, it i-. 
true, I think I bought it very cheaply, and I would 
willingly bear a thousand times more bitter suffering 
to gain it, if it were not already mine. 

When we reached the Bishop s house, the flood 
gates of Heaven seemed open once more. The Vicar- 
General, Father Reverony, who had settled the date of 
our coming, received us very kindly, though he looked 
a jittle surprised, and seeing tears in my eyes said : 
Those diamonds must not be shown to His Lord 
ship ! We were led through large reception-rooms 
which made me feel how small I was, and I wondered 
what I should dare say. The Bishop was walking in a 
corridor with two Priests. I saw the Vicar-General 
speak a few words to him, then they came into the 
room where we were waiting. There were three large 
armchairs in front of the fireplace, where a bright tire 

As his Lordship entered, my Father and I knelt 
for his blessing ; then he made u< sit down. Father 
Reverony offered me the armchair in the middle. 
1 excused myself politely, but he insisted, telling me to 
show if 1 knew how to obey. 1 did so without anv 
more hesitation, and was mortified to see him take an 
ordinary chair while I was buried in an enormous 
seat that would comfortably have held lour children 

1 Cj. /mi. . , III, v. 4. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

like me more comfortably in fact, for I was far from 
being at ease. I hoped that Papa was going to do all 
the talking, but he told me to explain the reason of our 
visit. I did so as eloquently as I could, though I 
knew well that one word from the Superior would have 
carried more weight than all my reasons, while his 
opposition told strongly against me. The Bishop 
asked how long I had wanted to enter the Carmel. 
" A very long time, my Lord ! " " Come ! " said the 
Vicar-General, laughing, " it cannot be as long as 
fifteen years." " That is true," I answered, " but it 
is not much less, for I have wished to give myself to 
God from the time I was three." The Bishop, no 
doubt to please Papa, tried to explain that I ought to 
remain some time longer with him ; but, to his great 
surprise and edification, my Father took my part, add 
ing respectfully that we were going to Rome with the 
diocesan pilgrimage, and that I should not hesitate 
to speak to the Holy Father if I could not obtain 
permission before then. However, it was decided 
that; previous to giving an answer, an interview with 
the Superior was absolutely necessary. This was 
particularly unpleasant hearing, for I knew his declared 
and determined opposition ; and, in spite of the 
advice not to allow the Bishop to see any diamonds, 
I not only showed them but let them fall. He 
seemed touched, and caressed me fondly. I was 
afterwards told he had never treated any child so 

" All is not lost, little one," he said, " but I am 
very glad that you are going to Rome with your 
good Father ; you will thus strengthen your vocation. 
Instead of weeping, you ought to rejoice. I am going 
to Lisieux next week, and I will talk to the Superior 
about you. You shall certainly have my answer when 
you are in Italy." His Lordship then took us to the 
garden, and was much interested when Papa told him 
that, to make myself look older, I had put up my hair 


Vocation of Therese 

for the first time that verv morning. This wa; not 
forgotten, for I know that even now, whenever the 
Bishop tell-; anyone about his u little daughter," he 
always repeats the story about her hair. 1 must sav 
I should prefer my little secret to have been kept. 
As he took u< to the door, the Vicar-General remarked 
that such a tiling had never been seen a lather as 
anxious to give his child to God as the child was to 
oiler herself. 

\Ve had to return to Lisieux without a favourable 
answer. It seemed to me as though my future were 
shattered for ever ; the nearer I drew to the goal, the 
greater my difficulties became. But all the time I 
felt deep down in my heart a wondrous peace, because 
I knew that I was only seeking the Will of my Lord. 


THREE days after the journey to Bayeux, 
I started on a much longer one to the 
Eternal City. This journey taught me 
the vanity of all that passes away. Never 
theless I saw splendid monuments ; I studied the 
countless wonders of art and religion ; and better than 
all, I trod the very ground the Holy Apostles had 
trodden the ground watered by the blood of martyrs 
and my soul grew by contact with these holy things. 

I was delighted to go to Rome ; but I could quite 
understand people crediting Papa with the hope that 
in this way I should be brought to change my mind 
about the religious life. It might certainly have upset 
a vocation that was not very strong. 

To begin with, Celine and I found ourselves in 
the company of many distinguished people. In fact, 
there were scarcely any others in the pilgrimage ; 
but, far from being dazzled thereby, titles seemed to us 
but a " vapour of smoke" 1 and I understood the words 
of the Imitation : " Be not solicitous for the shadow 
of a great name." 2 I understood that true greatness 
is not found in a name but in the soul. The Prophet 
Isaias tells us : " The Lord shall call His servants by 
another name" 3 and we read in St. John : " To him 
that overcometh I will give a white counter, and on the 
counter a new name written which no man knoweth but 
he that receiveth it" 4 In Heaven, therefore, we shall 
know our titles of nobility, and " then shall every man 

1 Joel, ii. 19 2 Imit. } III, xxiv. 2. Isa. Ixv. 15. * Apoc. ii. 17. 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

have praise from God" 1 and he who on earth chose to 
he poore-t and least known for love of his Saviour, 
he will he the first, the noblest, and the richest. 

The second thin^ 1 learnt had to do with Priests. 
Up to this time I had not understood the chief aim ot 
the Carmelite Reform. To pray for sinners delighted 
me ; to pray for Priests, whose souls seemed pure as 
crystal, that indeed astonished me. But in Italy I 
realised my vocation, and even so long a journey was 
a small price to pay for such valuable knowledge. 
During that month I met with many holy Priests, and 
yet I saw that even though the sublime dignity of 
Priesthood raises them higher than the Angels, they 
are still but weak and imperfect men. And so if holy 
Priests, whom Our Lord in the Gospel calls the salt 
of the earth, have need of our prayers, what must we 
think of the lukewarm ? Has not Our Lord said : 
" Ij the salt lose its savour wherewith shall it be salted ? " 
Olu dear Mother, how beautiful is our vocation ! We 
Carmelites are called to preserve u the salt of the earth. / 
We offer our prayers and sacrifices for the apostles 
of the Lord ; we ourselves ought to be their apostles, 
while they, by word and example, are preaching the 
Gospel to our brethren. Have we not a glorious 
mission to fulfil ? But I must say no more, for I feel 
that on this subject my pen would run on for ever. 

Now let me describe my journey in some detail. 
At three o clock in the morning of November 4, we 
passed through the silent sireets. Li-icux still lay 
shrouded in the darkness of night. I felt that I was 
going out into the unknown, and that great things 
were awaiting me in Rome. When we reached Paris 
Papa took us to see all the sights. For me there was 
but oneOur Lady of Victories. 1 can never tell you 
what I ielt at her shrine ; the grace- Our Lady granted 
me were like those of my First Communion Dav. 
I was filled with peace and happiness. Iri this holy 

1 i Cor. iv. 5. .\Lat. v. 15 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

spot the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, told me plainly 
that it was really she who had smiled on me and cured 
me. With intense fervour I entreated her to keep 
me always, and to realise my heart s desire by hiding 
me under her spotless mantle, and I also asked her to 
remove from me every occasion of sin. 

I was well aware that during this journey I would 
come across things that might disturb me ; knowing 
nothing of evil, I feared I might discover it. As yet 
I had not experienced that " to the pure all things 
are pure" l that a simple and upright soul does not 
see evil in anything, because evil only exists in impure 
hearts and not in inanimate objects. I prayed speci 
ally to St. Joseph to watch over me ; from my child 
hood, devotion to him has been interwoven with my 
love for our Blessed Lady. Every day I said the 
prayer beginning: " St. Joseph, Father and Protector of 
Virgins "... so I felt I was well protected and quite 
safe from danger. 

We left Paris on November 7, after our solemn 
Consecration to the Sacred Heart in the Basilica of 
Montmartre. 2 Each compartment of the train was 
named after a Saint, and the selection was made in 
honour of some Priest occupying it his own patron 
or that of his parish being chosen. But in the presence 
of all the pilgrims our compartment was named after 
St. Martin ! My Father, deeply touched by this 
compliment, went at once to thank Mgr. Legoux, 
Vicar - General of Coutances and director of the 
pilgrimage. From this onwards he was often called 
" Monsieur Saint Martin." 

Father Reverony watched my behaviour closely. 

1 Tit. i. 15. 

2 Montmartre the " Mount of Martyrs" is the hill whereon St. Denis, 
apostle and bishop of Paris, was martyred with his two companions in the third 
century. It was a famous place of pilgrimage in mediaeval times, and here 
St. Ignatius and the first Jesuits took their vows. Under the presidency of 
Marshal MacMahon, the erection of the well-known Basilica was voted in 1873 by 
the French Chamber of Deputies as a national act of reparation to the Sacred 
Heart. [ED,] 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

I could tell that he was doing c o ; at table, ii I were 
not opposite 1 to him, he would lean forward to look 
at me and listen to what I was saying. 1 think 
he must have been ^ati-lied with his investigations, lor, 
towards the end of the journey, he seemed more 
favourably disposed. I say towards the end, for in 
Rome he was iar from being my advocate, as I will 
tell you presently. Still 1 would not have it thought 
he deceived me in any way by falling short of the good 
will he had shown at Bayeux. On the contrary, I am 
sure that he always felt kindly towards me, and that 
if he opposed my wishes it was only to put me to the 

On our way into Italy we passed through Switzer 
land, with its high mountains their snowy peaks lost 
in the clouds its rushing torrents and its deep valle\> 
filled with giant ferns and purple heather. Great 
good was wrought in my soul by these beauties oi 
nature so abundantly scattered abroad. They lifted 
it to Him Who had been pleased to lavish such ma-ter- 
pieces upon this transient earth. 

Sometimes we were high up the mountain -idc, 
\\hile at our feet an unfathomable abyss seemed ready 
to engulf us. A little later we were passing through 
a charming village with its cottages and graceful 
belfry, above which li^ht fleecy clouds floated lazily. 
Farther on a great lake \\ith its blue water.-, so calm 
and clear, would blend with the glowing splendour oi 
the setting sun. I cannot tell you how deeply I was 
impressed with this scenerv so full of poetry and 
grandeur. It was a foretaste of the wonders of 
Heaven. Then the thought of religious life would 
come before me, a; it really is with its constraints 
and it- little daily sacrifices made in secret. 1 under 
took how ca^ilv OIK- might become wrapped in *-eli 
and forget the Hiblime end of one s vocation, and i 
thought : tl Later on. when the time of trial comes, 
when I am enclosed in tne Carmel and .-hall onlv be 

9 1 

Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

able to see a little bit of sky, I will remember this day 
and it will encourage me. I will make light of my 
own small interests by thinking of the greatness and 
majesty of God ; I will love Him alone, and will not 
be so foolish as to attach myself to the fleeting trifles 
of this world, now that my heart has had a glimpse 
of what is reserved for those who love Him." 

After having contemplated the works of God, I 
turned next to admire those of His creatures. Milan 
was the first Italian town we visited, and we carefully 
studied its Cathedral of white marble, adorned with 
countless statues. Celine and I left the timid ones, 
who hid their faces in fear after climbing to the first 
stage, and, following the bolder pilgrims, we reached 
the top, from whence we viewed the city below. 
When we came down we started on the first of our 
expeditions ; these lasted the whole month of the 
pilgrimage, and quite cured me of a desire to be always 
lazily riding in a carriage. 

The " Campo Santo " l charmed us. The whole 
vast enclosure is covered with marble statues, so ex 
quisitely carved as to be life-like, and placed with an 
apparent negligence that only enhances their charm. 
You feel almost tempted to console the imaginary 
personages that surround you, their expression so 
exactly portrays a calm and Christian sorrow. And 
what works of art ! Here is a child putting flowers 
on its father s grave one forgets how solid is marble 
the delicate petals appear to slip through its fingers. 
Sometimes the light veils of the widows, and the rib 
bons of the young girls, seem floating on the breeze. 

We could not find words to express our admiration, 
but an old gentleman who followed us everywhere 
regretting no doubt his inability to share our senti 
ments said in a tone of ill-temper : " Oh, what 
enthusiasts these French people are ! " and yet he also 
was French. I think the poor man would have done 

1 Cemetery. 

A Pilgrimage to Rome 

better to stay at home. Instead of enjoying the 
journev he was always grumbling : nothing pleased 
him, neither cities, hotels, people, nor anything else. 
My Father, whose disposition was the exact opposite, 
was quite content, no matter what happened, and 
tried to cheer our friend, offering him his place in the 
carriage or elsewhere, and with his wonted goodness 
encouraging him to look on the bright side of things. 
Hut nothing could cheer him. How many different 
kinds of people we saw and how interesting it is to 
study the world when one is just about to leave it ! 

In Venice the scene changed completely. Instead 
of the bib tie of a large city, silence reigned, broken 
only by the lapping of the waters and the cries of the 
gondoliers as they plied their oars ; it is a city full of 
charm but full of sadness. Even the Palace of the 
Doges, splendid though it be, is sad ; we walked 
through halls whose vaulted roofs have long since 
ceased to re-echo the voices of the governors in their 
sentences of life and death. Its dark dungeons are 
no longer a living tomb for unfortunate prisoners to 
pine within. 

While visiting these dreadful prisons I fancied 
myself in the times of the martyrs, and gladly would I 
have cho-en this sombre abode for my dwelling if 
there had been any question of confessing my faith. 
Presently the guide s voice routed me from my reverie, 
and I crossed the " Bridge of Sighs," so called because 
of the si^hs uttered by the wretched prisoners as they 
passed from their dungeons to sentence and to death. 
After leaving Venice we visited Padua and there vener 
ated the relic of St. Anthony s tongue ; then Bologna. 
where St. Catherine s body rests. Her face still 
bear- the impress of the kiss bestowed on her by the 
Infant Jesus. 

I was indeed happy when on the way to Loreto. 
Our Ladv ha> chosen an ideal spot in which to place 
her Holv I louse. Everything is poor, simple, and 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

primitive ; the women still wear the graceful dress 
of the country and have not, as in the large towns, 
adopted the modern Paris fashions. I found Loreto 
enchanting. And what shall I say of the Holy House ? 
I was overwhelmed with emotion when I realised that 
I was under the very roof that had sheltered the Holy 
Family. I gazed on the same walls Our Lord had 
looked on. I trod the ground once moistened with 
the sweat of St. Joseph s toil, and saw the little chamber 
of the Annunciation, where the Blessed Virgin Mary 
held Jesus in her arms after she had borne Him there 
in her virginal womb. I even put my Rosary into 
the little porringer used by the Divine Child. How 
sweet those memories ! 

But our greatest joy was to receive Jesus in His 
own House, and thus become His living temple in the 
very place which He had honoured by His Divine 
Presence. According to Roman custom the Blessed 
Sacrament is reserved at one Altar in each Church, 
and there only is it given to the faithful. At Loreto 
this Altar was in the Basilica which is built round the 
Holy House, enclosing it as a precious stone might 
be enclosed in a casket of white marble. The exterior 
mattered little to us, it was in the diamond itself that 
we wished to receive the Bread of Angels. My 
Father, with his habitual gentleness, followed the 
other pilgrims, but his daughters, less easily satisfied, 
went towards the Holy House. 

God favoured us, for a Priest was on the point of 
celebrating Mass ; we told him of our great wish, and 
he immediately asked for two hosts, which he placed 
on the paten. You may picture, dear Mother, the 
ecstatic happiness of that Communion ; no words 
can describe it. What will be our joy when we 
communicate eternally in the dwelling of the King 
of Heaven ? It will be undimmed by the grief of 
parting, and will know no end. His House will be 
ours for all eternity, and there will be no need to covet 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

fragments from the walls hallowed In the Divine 
Presence. lie will not give us His earthly Home 
He only shows it to us to make us love poverty and the 
hidden li!e. What lie has in store for us is the Palace 
of His (jlory, where we shall no longer see Him veiled 
under the form of a child or the appearance of bread, 
but as He is, in the brightness of His Infinite Beauty. 

Now I am going to tell you about Rome Rome, 
where I thought to find comfort and where I found 
the cross. It was night when we arrived. I was 
asleep, and was awakened by the porters calling : 
Roma!" The pilgrims caught up the cry and re 
peated : " Roma, Roma ! " Then I knew that it was 
not a dream, I was really in Rome ! 

Our first day. and perhaps the most enjoyable, was 
spent outside the walls. There, everything retains 
it:, stamp of antiquity, whilst in Rome, with its hotels 
and shops, one might fancy oneself in Paris. This 
drive in the Roman Campagna has left a specially 
delightful impression on my mind. 

How shall I describe the feelings which thrilled 
me when I gazed on the Coliseum ? At last I saw the 
arena where so many Martyrs had shed their blood 
for Christ. My first impulse was to kiss the ground 
sanctified by their glorious combats. But what a 
disappointment ! The soil has been raised, and the 
real arena is now buried at the depth of about twenty- 
six feet. 

As the result of excavations the centre is nothing 
but a mass of rubbish, and an insurmountable barrier 
guards the entrance ; in any case no one dare pene 
trate into the midst of these dangerous ruins. But 
was it possible to be in Rome and not go down to the 
real Coliseum ? No, indeed ! and I no longer listened 
to the guide s explanations : one thought only filled 
my mind I must reach the arena. 

\Ve are told in the Gospel that St. Mary Magdalen 
remained close to the Sepulchre and stooped down 


Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

constantly to look in ; she was rewarded by seeing two 
Angels. So, like her, I kept stooping down and I saw, 
not two Angels, but what I was in search of. I uttered 
a cry of joy and called out to my sister : " Come, 
follow me, we shall be able to get through." We 
hurried on at once, scrambling over the ruins which 
crumbled under our feet. Papa, aghast at our bold 
ness, called out to us, but we did not hear. 

As the warriors of old felt their courage grow in 
face of peril, so our joy increased in proportion to the 
fatigue and danger we had to face to attain the object 
of our desires. Celine, more foreseeing than I, had 
listened to the guide. She remembered that he had 
pointed out a particular stone marked with a cross, 
and had told us it was the place where the Martyrs 
had fought the good fight. She set to work to find it, 
and having done so we threw ourselves on our knees 
on this sacred ground. Our souls united in one and 
the same prayer. My heart beat violently when I 
pressed my lips to the dust reddened with the blood 
of the early Christians. I begged for the grace to be a 
martyr for Jesus, and I felt in the depths of my heart 
that my prayer was heard. All this took but a short 
time. After collecting some stones we approached 
the walls once more to face the danger. We were so 
happy that Papa had not the heart to scold us, and I 
could see that he was proud of our courage. 

From the Coliseum we went to the Catacombs, and 
there Celine and I laid ourselves down in what had 
once been the tomb of St. Cecilia, and took some of 
the earth sanctified by her holy remains. Before our 
journey to Rome I had not felt any special devotion 
to St. Cecilia, but on visiting the house where she was 
martyred, and hearing her proclaimed " Queen of 
harmony " because of the sweet song she sang in her 
heart to her Divine Spouse I felt more than devotion 
towards her, it was real love as for a friend. She 
became my chosen patroness, and the keeper of all 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

my secrets ; her abandonment to God and her bound 
less confidence delighted me beyond measure. They 
were ?o -rout that they enabled her to make souls 
pure v.hich had never till then de>ired aught but 
earthlv pleasures. 

St. Cecilia is like the Spouse in the Canticles. 
T imd in her the Scriptural " choir in an armed camp" 
Her life was one melodious song in the midst of the 
greatest triah ; and this is not strange, because we 
read that " the Book of the Holv Gospels lay ever on 
her heart, " \vhile in her heart repo-ed the Spouse 
of Vi ruins. 

Our visit to the Church of St. Agnes was also very 
delightful. I tried, but without success, to obtain a 
relic to take back to my little Mother, Sister Agnes 
of Jesus. Men refused me. but God Himself came to 
my aid : a little bit of red marble, from an ancient 
mosaic dating back to the time of the sweet martyr, 
fell at my feet. Was this not touching ? St. Agnes 
herself gave me a keepsake from her house. 

\\ e spent six days in visiting the great wonders 
in Rome, and on the seventh saw the greatest of all 
Leo XIII. I longed for, yet dreaded, that day, 
for on it depended my vocation. I had received no 
answer from the Bishop of Bayeux. and so the Holy 
Father s permission was my one and only hope. But 
in order to obtain this permission I had first to ask 
it. The mere thought made me tremble, for I must 
dare speak to the Pope, and that, in presence of many 
Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops ! 

On Sunday morning, November 20, we went to 

the Vatican, and were taken to the Pope s private 

el. At ei-jht o clock we as^ted at his Ma , 

during which hi> fervent piety, worthv of the Vicar 

ot Christ, i^ave evidence that he was. in truth the 

"Holv Father. 

The (io^pel tor that dav contained these touchin 

<-j. C.;:. r - O:Vice of 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

words : " Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your 
Father to give you a Kingdom" My heart was filled 
with perfect confidence. No, I would not fear, I 
would trust that the Kingdom of the Carmel would 
soon be mine. I did not think of those other words 
of Our Lord : " / dispose to you, as my Father hath 
disposed to Me, a Kingdom" That is to say, I will 
give you crosses and trials, and thus will you become 
worthy to possess My Kingdom. Ij you desire to sit 
on His right Hand you must drink the chalice which He 
has drunk Himself? " Ought not Christ to have suffered 
these things, and so to enter into His glory ? " 4 

A Mass of thanksgiving followed, and then the 
audience began. Leo XIII, whose cassock and cape 
were of white, was seated on a raised chair, and round 
him were grouped various dignitaries of the Church. 
According to custom each visitor knelt in turn and 
kissed, first the foot and next the hand of the vener 
able Pontiff, and finally received his blessing ; then 
two of the Noble Guard signed to the pilgrim that he 
must rise and pass on to the adjoining room to make 
way for those who followed. 

No one uttered a word, but I was firmly deter 
mined to speak, when suddenly the Vicar-General of 
Bayeux, Father Reverony, who was standing at the 
Pope s right hand, told us in a loud voice that he 
absolutely forbade anyone to address the Holy Father. 
My heart beat fast. I turned to Celine, mutely in 
quiring what I should do. " Speak ! " she said. 

The next moment I found myself on my knees 
before the Holy Father. I kissed his foot and he held 
out his hand ; then raising my eyes, which were filled 
with tears, I said entreatingly : " Holy Father, I have 
a great favour to ask you." At once he bent towards 
me till his face almost touched mine, and his piercing 
black eyes seemed to read my very soul. " Holy 

1 Luke xii. 32. 2 Luke xxii. 29. 

3 Cf. Matt. xx. 22. 4 Luke xxiv. 26. 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

Father," I repeated, " in honour of your jubilee, will 
you allow me to enter the Carmcl when I am fifteen ? " 

The Vicar-General, Mirpri^ed and di-pleased, said 
quickly : k Holv Father, this is a child who desires to 
become a Car:;. elite, but the Superiors of the Carmel 
are looking into the matter." kt Well, my child," said 
His Holiness, "do whatever the Superiors decide." 
Cla-ping my hands and resting them on his knee, I 
made a final effort: "Holy Father, if only you say 
yes, everyone else would agree." 

Fie looked at me fixedly and said clearly and em 
phatically : " Well, well ! you will enter it it is God s 
\\ ill." I was going to speak again, when the Noble 
Guards motioned to me. A- 1 paid little attention 
they came forward, the Vicar-General with them, for 
I was still kneeling before the Pope with my hands 
resting on his knee. Just as I was forced to rise, the 
dear Holy Father gently placed his hand on my lips, 
then lifted it to bless me ; letting his eyes follow me for 
quite a long time. 

My Father was much distressed to find me coming 
from the audience in tears ; he had passed out before 
me, and so did not know anything about my request. 
The Vicar-General had shown him unusual kindness, 
presenting him to Leo XIII as the father of two 
Carmelite-. The Sovereign Pontiff, as a special si _rn 
01 benevolence, had placed his hand on his head, thus 
appearing in the name of Christ Himself to mark him 
v. ith a mysterious seal. But now that this father of 
/ ur Carmelites is in I leaven, it is no longer the hand 
oi Christ s Vicar which rests on his brow, prophesying 
his martyrdom : it is the hand of the Spouse of Virgins, 
of the Kin- of Heaven; and this Divine Hand will 
never be taken awav from the head which it ha 

This trial was indeed a heavy one. but I must ad 
mit that in spite of my tear; I felt a deep inward peace, 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

for I had made every effort in my power to respond 
to the appeal of my Divine Master. This peace, 
however, dwelt in the depths of my soul on the sur 
face all was bitterness ; and Jesus was silent absent 
it would seem, for nothing revealed that He was there. 

On that day, too, the sun dared not shine, and 
the beautiful blue sky of Italy, hidden by dark clouds, 
mingled its tears with mine. All was at an end. My 
journey had no further charm for me since it had 
failed in its object. It is true the Holy Father s 
words : " You will enter if it is God s Will," should 
have consoled me, they were indeed a prophecy. In 
spite of all these obstacles, what God in His goodness 
willed, has come to pass. He has not allowed His 
creatures to do what they will but only what He wills. 
Sometime before this took place I had offered myself 
to the Child Jesus to be His little plaything. I told 
Him not to treat me like one of those precious toys 
which children only look at and dare not touch, but 
to treat me like a little ball of no value, that could be 
thrown on the ground, kicked about, pierced, left in 
a corner, or pressed to His Heart just as it might 
please Him. In a word I wished to amuse the Holy 
Child and to let Him play with me as He fancied. 
Here indeed He was answering my prayer. In Rome 
Jesus pierced His little plaything. He wanted to see 
what was inside . . . and when satisfied, He let it 
drop and went to sleep. What was He doing during 
His sweet slumber, and what became of the ball thus 
cast on one side ? He dreamed that He was still at 
play, that He took it up or threw it down, that He 
rolled it far away, but at last He pressed it to His Heart, 
nor did He allow it again to slip from His tiny Hand. 
Dear Mother, you can imagine the sadness of the little 
ball lying neglected on the ground ! And yet it 
continued to hope against hope. 

After our audience my Father went to call on 
Brother Simeon the founder and director of St. 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

Joseph s College and there he met Father Reverony. 
He reproached him gently for not having helped me in 
my diilicult task, and told the whole story to Brother 
Simeon. The good old man listened with much 
interest and even made notes, saying with evident 
feeling : " Tlii- kind of thing is not seen in Italy." 

The next day we started for Naples and Pompeii. 
Vesuvius did us the honour of emitting from its crater 
a thick volume of smoke, accompanied by numerous 
loud reports. The traces of the devastation of 
Pompeii are terrifying. They show forth the powei 
of God : " He looketb upon the earth, and maketh it 
tremble ; He toucheth the mountains and they smoke." 

I should like to have wandered alone among its 
ruins, meditating on the instability of human things, 
but such solitude was not to be thought of. 

At Naples we made an expedition to the monastery 
of San Martino ; it crowns a high hill overlooking 
the whole city. On the way back the horses took the 
bit in their teeth, and it is solely to our Guardian 
Angels that I attribute our safe return to the splendid 
hotel. This word " splendid " is not too strong to 
describe it ; in fact during the whole journey we 
stayed only at the most expensive hotels. I had never 
been surrounded by such luxury, but it is indeed a 
true saying that riches do not make happiness. I 
should have been a thousand times more contented 
under a thatched roof, with the hope of entering the 
Carmel, than I was amid marble staircases, gilded 
ceilings, and silken hangings, with my heart full of 

I realised thoroughly that joy is not found in 
the things which surround us, but lives only in the 
soul. One could possess it as well in an obscure 
prison as in the palace of a king. And so now I am 
happier at the Carmel, in the midst of trials within 
and without, than I was in the \\orld where I had 

1 I s. tin. 32. 

Soeur Therese o Lisieux 

everything I wanted, and, above all, the joys of a 
happy home. 

Although I felt heavy of heart, outwardly I was 
as usual, for I thought no one had any knowledge 
of my petition to the Pope. I was mistaken. One 
day, when the other pilgrims had gone to the refresh 
ment-room and Celine and I were alone, Mgr. Legoux 
came to the door of the carriage. He looked at me 
attentively and smiling said : " Well, and how is 
our little Carmelite ? ?: This showed me that my 
secret was known to all the pilgrims, and I gathered it, 
too, from their kindly looks ; but happily no one spoke 
to me on the subject. 

At Assisi I had a little adventure. While visiting 
the places sanctified by the virtues of St. Francis 
and St. Clare I lost the buckle of my belt in the monas 
tery. It took me some time to find and put it back in 
place, and when I reached the door all the carriages 
had started except one ; that belonged to the Vicar- 
General of Bayeux ! Should I run after those which 
were no longer in sight and so perhaps miss the train, 
or should I beg for a seat in the carriage of Father 
Reverony ? I decided that this was the wiser plan. 

I tried to hide my extreme embarrassment and 
explained things. He was placed in a difficulty him 
self, for all the seats were occupied, but one of the 
party promptly gave me his place and sat by the 
driver. I felt like a squirrel caught in a snare. I was 
ill at ease in the midst of these great people, and I had 
to sit face to face with the most formidable of them all. 
He was exceedingly kind, however, and now and then 
interrupted his conversation to talk to me about the 
Carmel and promise that he would do all in his power 
to realise my desire of entering at fifteen. This 
meeting was like balm to my wounds, though it did 
not prevent me from suffering. I had now lost all 
trust in creatures and could only lean on God Himself. 

And yet my distress did not hinder me from taking 

1 02 

A Pilgrimage to Rome 

a deep interest in the holy places we visited. In 
Florence we MIW the shrine of St. Mary Magdalen of 
Pazzi, in the choir of the Carmelite Church. All the 
pilgrims wanted to touch the Saint s tomb with their 
Rosaries, but inv hand was the only one small enough 
to pass through the grating. So I was deputed for 
this important and lengthy task, and I did it with pride. 

It was not the first time I had obtained special 
favours. One day, at Santa Croce, in Rome, we vener 
ated the relics of the True Cross, together with two 
of the Thorns, and one of the Sacred Nails. I wanted 
to examine them closely, so I remained behind, and 
when the monk in charge was going to replace them 
on the Altar, I asked if I might touch the precious 
treasures. He said I might do so, but was doubtful 
if I should succeed ; however, I put my little finger 
into one of the openings of the reliquary and was 
able to touch the Sacred Nail once hallowed by the 
Blood of Our Saviour. You see I behaved towards 
Him like a child who thinks it may do as it pleases and 
looks on its Father s treasures as its own. 

Having passed through Pisa and Genoa we came 
back to France by one of the loveliest routes. At 
times we were close to the sea, and one day during a 
storm it seemed as though the waves would reach the 
train. Farther on we travelled through plains covered 
with orange trees, olives, and feathery palms, while 
at night the numerous seaports twinkled with lights, 
and stars came out in the deep blue sky. But I 
watched the fairy picture fade away from my eyes 
without any regret my heart was set elsewhere. 

My Father proposed to take me to Jerusalem, but 
in spite of the natural wish I had to visit the places 
sanctified by Our Ford s Footsteps, I was weary of 
earthly pilgrimages and only longed for the beauties 
oi Heaven. In order to win these beauties for souls 
I wanted to become a prisoner a< quickly as possible. 
I felt that I must sutler and struggle still more before 

I0 3 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

the gates of my blessed prison would open ; yet my 
trust in God did not grow less, and I still hoped to 
enter at Christmas. 

We had hardly reached home when I paid a visit 
to the Carmel. You must remember well that inter 
view, dear Mother. I left myself entirely in your 
hands, for I had exhausted all my resources. You 
told me to write to the Bishop and remind him of 
his promise. I obeyed at once, and as soon as 
my letter was posted I felt I should obtain the 
coveted permission without any delay. Alas ! each 
day brought fresh disappointments. The beautiful 
feast of Christmas dawned ; still Jesus slept. He 
left His little ball on the ground without even 
glancing that way. 

This was indeed a sore trial, but Our Lord, Whose 
Heart is always watching, taught me that He grants 
miracles to those whose faith is small as a grain of 
mustard seed, in the hope of strengthening this 
slender faith ; whilst for His intimate friends, for His 
Mother, He did not work miracles till He had proved 
their faith. Did He not permit Lazarus to die even 
though Mary and Martha had sent word that he was 
sick ? And at the marriage feast of Cana, when Our 
Lady asked her Divine Son to aid the master of the 
house, did He not answer that His hour had not yet 
come ? But after the trial what a reward ! Water 
is changed into wine, and Lazarus rises from the dead. 
In this way did my Beloved act with His little Therese ; 
after He had tried her for a long time He granted all 
her desires. 

For my New Year s gift of 1888, Jesus again gave 
me His Cross. You told me, dear Mother, that you 
had had the Bishop s answer since December 28, the 
feast of Holy Innocents ; that he authorised my 
immediate entry into the Carmel, but that neverthe 
less you had decided not to open its doors till after 
Lent. I could not restrain my tears at the thought 


A Pilgrimage to Rome 

of such a long delay. This trial aiTcctcd me in a 
special manner, for 1 felt my earl lily ties were severed, 
and yet the Ark in its turn refused to admit the poor 
little dove. 

How did these three months pass ? They were 
fruitful in sufferings and still more so in other graces. 
At first the thought came into my mind that I would 
not put any extra restraint on myself, I would lead 
a life somewhat less strictly ordered than was my 
custom. But Our Lord made me understand the 
benefit I might derive from this time He had granted 
me, and I then resolved to give myself up to a more 
serious and mortified life. When I say mortified, 
I do not mean that I imitated the penances of the 
Saints ; far from resembling those beautiful souls 
who have practised all sorts of mortifications from 
their infancy, I made mine consist in simply checking 
my inclinations, keeping back an impatient answer, 
doing little services to those around me without 
setting store thereby, and a hundred other things 
of the kind. By practising these trifles I prepared 
myself to become the Spouse of Jesus, and I can never 
tell you, Mother, how much the added delay helped 
me to grow in abandonment, in humility, and in other- 



MONDAY, April 9, 1889, being the Feast 
of the Annunciation, transferred from 
Passiontide, was the day chosen for me 
to enter the Carmel. On the evening 
before, we were gathered around the table where 
I was to take my place for the last time. These 
farewells are in themselves heartrending, and just 
when I would have liked to be forgotten I received the 
tenderest expressions of affection, as if to increase the 
pain of parting. 

The next morning, after a last look at the happy 
home of my childhood, I set out for the Carmel, 
where we all heard Mass. At the moment of Com 
munion, when Jesus had entered our hearts, I heard 
sobs on all sides. I did not shed a tear, but as I led 
the way to the cloister door my heart beat so violently 
that I wondered if I were going to die. Oh, the agony 
of that moment ! One must have experienced it in 
order to understand. 

I embraced all my dear ones and knelt for my 
Father s blessing. He, too, knelt down and blessed 
me through his tears. It was a sight to gladden the 
Angels, this old man giving his child to God while 
she was yet in the springtime of life. At length the 
doors of the Carmel closed upon me. ... I found a 
welcome in your arms, dear Mother, and received the 
embraces of another family, whose devotedness and 
love is not dreamt of by the outside world. 

At last my desires were realised, and I cannot 

The Little Flower enters the Carmel 

describe the deep sweet peace which filled my soul. 
This peace has remained, with me during the eight and 
a half years of my life here, and has never left me even 
amid the greatest trials. 

Everything in the Convent delighted me, especially 
our little cell. 1 I fancied myself transported to the 
desert. I repeat that my happiness was calm and 
peaceful not even the lightest breeze ruffled the 
tranquil waters on which my little barque sailed ; 
no cloud darkened the blue sky. I felt fully recom 
pensed for all I had gone through, and I kept saying : 
" Now I am here for ever." Mine was no passing joy, it 
did not fade like first illusions. From illusions God 
in His Mercy has ever preserved me. I found the 
religious life just what I expected, and sacrifice was 
never a matter of surprise. Yet you know well that 
from the beginning my way was strewn with thorn- 
rather than with roses. 

In the first place, my soul had. for its daily food the 
bread of spiritual dryness. Then, too, dear Mother, 
Our Lord alknved you, unconsciously, to treat me very 
severely. You found fault with me whenever you met 
me. I remember once I had left a cobweb in the 
cloister, and you said to me before the whole com 
munity : " It is easy to see that our cloisters are swept 
by a child of fifteen. It is disgraceful ! Go and 
sweep away that cobweb, and be more careful in 

On the rare occasions when I spent an hour with 
you for spiritual direction, you seemed to be scolding 
me nearly all the time, and what pained me most of 
all was that I did not see how to correct my faults : 
for instance, my slow ways and want of thoroughness 
in my duties, faults which you were careful to point 

One day it occurred to me that you would certainlv 

1 Nun-, in the spirit of po-.rrty, avo: 1 u-ini; th^ word my. as dnioting private 
possessions; so, later on, "our lamp," "our handkerchief," will occur. [l -D.] 


Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

prefer me to spend my free time in work instead of in 
prayer, as was rny custom ; so I plied my needle in 
dustriously without even raising my eyes. No one 
ever knew of this, as I wished to be faithful to Our 
Lord and do things solely for Him to see. 

While I was a postulant our Mistress used to send 
me every afternoon at half-past four to weed the 
garden. This was a real penance, the more so, dear 
Mother, because I was almost sure to meet you on 
the way, and once you remarked : " Really, this 
child does absolutely nothing. What are we to think 
of a novice who must have a walk every day ? " And 
it was in this way you invariably dealt with me. And 
yet, dear Mother, how grateful I am to you for giving 
me such a sound and valuable training. It was an 
inestimable grace. What should I have become, if, 
as the world outside believed, I had been but the pet 
of the Community ? Perhaps, instead of seeing Our 
Lord in the person of my superiors, I should only have 
considered the creature, and my heart, which had been 
so carefully guarded in the world, would have been 
ensnared by human affection in the cloister. Happily, 
your motherly prudence saved me from such a disaster. 

And not only in this matter, but in other and more 
bitter trials, I can truly say that Suffering opened her 
arms to me from the first, and I took her to my heart. 
In the solemn examination before my profession I 
declared as was customary the reason of my entry 
into the Carmel : "I have come to save souls, and 
especially to pray for Priests." One cannot attain the 
end without adopting the means, and as Our Lord 
made me understand that it was by the Cross He 
would give me souls, the more crosses I met with, the 
stronger grew my attraction to suffering. For five 
years this way was mine, but I alone knew it ; this 
was precisely the flower I wished to offer to Jesus, 
a hidden flower which keeps its perfume only for 


The Little Flower enters the Carmel 

Two months after my entry Father Pichon was 
surprised at the workings of grace in my soul ; he 
thought my piety childlike and my path an easy one. 
My conversation with this good Father would have 
brought me great comfort, had it not been for the 
extreme difficulty I found in opening my heart. 
Nevertheless I made a general confession, and after 
it he said to me : " Before God, the Blessed Virgin, 
the Angels, and all the Saints, I declare that you have 
never committed a mortal sin. Thank God for the 
favours He has so freely bestowed on you without any 
merit on your part." 

Without any merit on my part ! That was not 
difficult to believe. Fully conscious of my weakness 
and imperfection, my heart overflowed with gratitude. 
I had distressed myself, fearing I might have stained 
my baptismal robe, and this assurance, coming as it 
did from the lips of a director, a man of wisdom and 
holiness, such as our Mother St. Teresa desired, 
seemed to come from God Himself. Father Pichon 
added : " May Our Lord always be your Superior 
and your Novice Master ! " And indeed He ever was, 
and likewise my Director. In saying this I do not mean 
to imply that I was not communicative with my 
superiors ; far from being reserved, I always tried to 
be as an open book. 

Our Mistress was a true saint, the perfect type 
of the first Carmelites, and I seldom left her side, 
for she had to teach me how to work. Fler kindness 
was beyond words, I loved and appreciated her, and 
yet my soul did not expand. I could not explain 
myself, words failed me, and so the time of spiritual 
direction became a veritable martyrdom. 

One of the older nuns seemed to understand what 
I felt, for she once said to me during recreation : 
" I should think, child, you have not much to tell 
your superiors." " Why do you think that, dear 
Mother ? " I asked. " Because your soul is very 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

simple ; but when you are perfect you will become 
more simple still. The nearer one approaches God, the 
simpler one becomes." 

This good Mother was right. Nevertheless the 
great difficulty I found in opening my heart, though 
it came from simplicity, was a genuine trial. Now, 
however, without having lost my simplicity, I am able 
to express my thoughts with the greatest ease. 

I have already said that Our Lord Himself had 
acted as my Spiritual Guide. Hardly had Father 
Pichon become my director when his Superiors sent 
him to Canada. I was only able to hear from him 
once in the year, so now the Little Flower which had 
been transplanted to the mountain of Carmel quickly 
turned to the Director of Directors, and unfolded 
itself under the shadow of His Cross, having for re 
freshing dew His Tears, His Precious Blood, and for 
radiant sun His Adorable Face. 

Until then I had not appreciated the beauties of 
the Holy Face ; it was my dear Mother, Agnes of 
Jesus, who unveiled them to me. As she had been the 
first of her sisters to enter the Carmel, so she was the 
first to penetrate the mysteries of love hidden in the 
Face of Our Divine Spouse. Then she showed them 
to me and I understood better than ever, in what true 
glory consists. He whose " Kingdom is not of this 
world" 1 taught me that the only royalty to be coveted 
lies in being " unknown and esteemed as naught," 2 and 
in the joy of self-abasement. And I wished that my 
face, like the Face of Jesus, " should be, as it were, 
hidden and despised" 3 so that no one on earth should 
esteem me. I thirsted to suffer and to be forgotten. 

Most . merciful has been the way by which the 
Divine Master has ever led me. He has never in 
spired me with any desire and left it unsatisfied, and 
that is why I have always found His bitter chalice 
full of sweetness. 

1 John xviii. 36. Imit., I, ii. 3. * Is, liil. 3. 


The Little Flower enters the Carmel 

At the end of May, Marie, our eldest, was professed, 
and Thence, the Benjamin, had the privilege of 
crowning her with roses on the dav of her mystical 
espousals. After this happy feast trials again came 
upon us. Ever since his first attack of paralysis we 
realised that my Father was very easily tired. During 
our journey to Rome I often noticed that he seemed 
exhausted and in pain. But, above all, I remarked 
his progress in the path of holiness ; he had succeeded 
in obtaining a complete mastery over the impetuosity 
of his natural disposition, and earthly things were 
unable to ruffle his calm. Let me give you an instance. 
During our pilgrimage we were in the train for 
days and nights together, and to wile away the time 
our companions played cards, and occasionally grew 
very noisy. One day they asked us to join them, but 
we refused, saying we knew little about the game ; 
we did not find the time long only too short, indeed 
to enjoy the beautiful views which opened before us. 
Presently their annoyance became evident, and then 
dear Papa began quietly to defend us, pointing out 
that^as we were on pilgrimage, more of our time might 
be given to prayer. 

One of the players, forgetting the respect due to 
age, called out thoughtlessly : Thank God, Phari 
sees are rare ! My Father did not answer a word, 
he even seemed pleased ; and later on lie found an 
opportunity of shaking hands with this man, and of 
speaking so pleasantly that the latter must have thought 
his rude words had cither not been heard, or at least 
were forgotten. 

His habit of forgiveness did not date from this 

day ; my Mother and all who knew him bore witness 

that no uncharitable word ever passed his lips. 

_ His faith and generosity were likewise equal to any 

This is how he announced my departure to 

one of his friends : Therese, my little Queen, entered 

the Larmel yesterday. God alone could ask such a 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

sacrifice ; but He helps me so mightily that even in 
the midst of tears my heart is overflowing with joy." 

This faithful servant must needs receive a reward 
worthy of his virtues, and he himself claimed that 
reward. You remember the interview when he said 
to us : " Children, I have just come back from Alengon, 
and there, in the Church of Notre Dame, I received 
such graces and consolations that I made this prayer : 
6 My God, it is too much, yes, I am too happy ; I 
shall not get to Heaven like this, I wish to suffer some 
thing for Thee and I offered myself as a : . . . the 
word victim died on his lips. He dared not pronounce 
it before us, but we understood. You know, dear 
Mother, the story of our trial ; I need not recall its 
sorrowful details. 

And now my clothing day drew near. Contrary 
to all expectations, my Father had recovered from a 
second attack, and the Bishop fixed the ceremony for 
January 10. The time of waiting had been long 
indeed, but now what a beautiful feast ! Nothing was 
wanting, not even snow. 

Do you remember my telling you, dear Mother, 
how fond I am of snow ? While I was still quite 
small, its whiteness entranced me. Why had I such 
a fancy for snow ? Perhaps it was because, being a 
little winter flower, my eyes first saw the earth clad 
in its beautiful white mantle. So, on my clothing 
day, I wished to see it decked, like myself, in spotless 
white. The weather was so mild that it might have 
been spring, and I no longer dared hope for snow. 
The morning of the feast brought no change and I 
gave up my childish desire, as impossible to be realised. 
My Father came to meet me at the enclosure door, 
his eyes full of tears, and pressing me to his heart 
exclaimed : " Ah ! here is my little Queen ! " Then, 
giving me his arm, we made our solemn entry into the 
public Chapel. This was his day of triumph, his last 
feast on earth ; now his sacrifice was complete, and his 


The Little Flower enters the Carmel 

children belonged to God. 1 Celine had already 
confided to him that later on she also wished to leave 
the world for the Carmel. On hearing this he was 
beside himself with joy: "Let us go before the 
:ssed Sacrament," he said, " and thank God for all 
the graces He has granted us and the honour He has 
paid me in choosing His Spouses from my household 
Ood has indeed done me great honour in asking for my 
children. If I possessed anything better I would 
hasten to offer it to Him." That something better 
was himself, "and God received him as a victim of 
holocaust ; He tried him as gold in the furnace, and 
found him worthy of Himself." - 

After the ceremony in the Chapel I re-entered 
the Convent and the ELJiop intoned the Te Dcum 
Une of the Priests observed to him that this hvmn 
of thanksgiving was only sung at professions but 
once begun, it was continued to the end. Was it not 
right that this feast should be complete, since in it 
all other joyful days were reunited ? 

The instant I set foot in the enclosure again mv 
eyes fell on the statue of the Child Jesus smiling on 
me amid the flowers and lights ; then, turning to 
wards the quadrangle, I saw that, in spite of the mild 
ness of the weather, it was covered with snow. What 
a delicate attention on the part of Jesus ! Gratifying 
the least wish of His little Spouse, He even sent her 
this. Where is the creature so mi-hty that he can 
make one flake of it fall to please his beloved ? 

Everyone was amazed, and since then many 
people, hearing of my desire, have described this event 
the little miracle" of my clothing day, and 
thought it strange I should be so fond of snow. So 
much the ^ better, it shows still more the wonderful 
condescension of the Spouse of Virgins of Him Who 

Iconic, having ent.-red an order too severe for he: delicate health, i:;ul b^n 
, :ei l<atht - r - I- uter ^-h,? bvcaine u Vi.-itatiun nun .v 

en, and took the name of Sister 1 Yamvs Teresa. 

* Cf. Wisdom iii. 5, 6. 

1 J 3 H 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

]oves lilies white as the snow. After the ceremony 
the Bishop entered. He gave me many proofs of his 
fatherly tenderness, and, in presence of all the Priests, 
spoke of my visit to Bayeux and the journey to Rome ; 
nor did he forget to tell them how I had put up my 
hair before visiting him. Then, laying his hand on 
my head, he blessed me affectionately. My mind 
dwelt with ineffable sweetness on the caresses Our 
Lord will soon lavish upon me before all the Saints, 
and this consoling thought was a foretaste of Heaven. 
I have just said that January 10 was a day of triumph 
for my dear Father. I liken it to the feast of the entry 
of Christ into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday. As in 
the case of Our Divine Master, his day of triumph 
was followed by long days of sorrow ; and, even as 
the agony of Jesus pierced the heart of His divine 
Mother, so our hearts were deeply wounded by the 
humiliations and sufferings of him, whom we loved 
best on earth. ... I remember that in the month of 
June, 1888, when we were fearing another stroke of 
paralysis, I surprised our Novice Mistress by saying : 
" I am suffering a great deal, Mother, yet I feel I can 
suffer still more." I did not then foresee the trial 
awaiting us. I did not know that on February 12, 
one month after my clothing day, our beloved Father 
would drink so deeply of such a bitter chalice. I no 
longer said I could suffer more, words cannot express 
our grief ; nor shall I attempt to describe it here. 

In Heaven, we shall enjoy dwelling on these dark 
days of exile. Yet the three years of my Father s 
martyrdom seem to me the sweetest and most fruitful 
of our lives. I w ; ould not exchange them for the 
most sublime ecstasies, and my heart cries out in 
gratitude for such a priceless treasure : " We have 
rejoiced for the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us" 
Precious and sweet was this bitter cross, and our 
hearts only breathed out sighs of grateful love. We no 

1 Ps. Ixxxix. I 

The Little Flower enters the Curmel 

longer walked we ran, we flew along the path of 

Leonie and Celine, though living in the \vorld, 
were no longer of the world. The letters they wrote 
to us at thb time are full of the most edifying resig 
nation. And v.hut talks I had with Celine ! Far from 
separating us, the grating of the Cannel united u, 
more closely : the same thoughts the same desires, 
the same love for Our Lord and for souls, made our 
very life. Not a word concerning things of earth 
entered into our conversation ; but, just as in for ;ier 
days we lifted Ion-ing eyes to Heaven, so now our 
hearts strained after the joys bevond time and space, 
and, for the sake of an eternal happiness, we chose to 
suffer and be despised here below." 

Though my suffering seemed to have reached its 
height, yet my attraction thereto did not grow less, 
and soon my soul shared in the trials my heart had 
to bear. My spiritual aridity increased, and I found 
no comfort either in Heaven or on earth ; vet, amid 
these waters of tribulation that I had so thirsted for, 
I was the happiest of mortals. 

Thus passed the time of my betrothal, too lon^ a 
time for me. At the end of the year YOU told me, 
dear Mother, that I must not yet think of my pro 
fession, as our Ecclesiastical Superior expressly forbade 
it. I had therefore to wait for eight months more. 
At first I found it very difficult to be resigned to 
such a sacrifice, but divine light penetrated my soul 
before long. 

At this time I was using for my meditations Surin s 
Foundations oj the Shirilual life. Ono day during 
prayer, it was brought home to me that my too eager 
desire to take my vows was min led with much self- 
love; as I belon-cd to Our Lord and was His little 
plaything to console and please Him, it was for me to 
do His Will, not for Him to do mine. [ al^o under 
stood tint a bride would not be pleasing to the 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

bridegroom on her wedding day were she not magnifi 
cently attired. But, what had I made ready ? So I said 
to Our Lord : " I do not ask Thee to hasten the day 
of my profession, I will wait as long as Thou pleasest, 
only I cannot bear that through any fault of mine 
my union with Thee should be delayed ; I will set 
to work and carefully prepare a wedding-dress en 
riched with diamonds and precious stones, and, wherj 
Thou findest it sufficiently rich, I am sure that nothing 
will keep Thee from accepting me as Thy Spouse." 

I took up the task with renewed zest. Since my 
clothing day I had received abundant lights on re 
ligious perfection, chiefly concerning the vow of 
poverty. Whilst I was a postulant I liked to have 
nice things to use and to find everything needful 
ready to hand. Jesus bore with me patiently, for He 
does not unfold everything at once to the soul. He 
gives His light little by little. At the beginning of 
my spiritual life, about the age of fourteen, I used to 
ask myself how, in days to come, I should more clearly 
understand the true meaning of perfection. I ima 
gined I then understood it completely, but I soon 
came to realise that the more one advances along this 
path the farther one seems from the goal, and now I 
am resigned to be always imperfect, and I even find 
joy therein. 

To return to the lessons which Our Lord taught 
me. One evening after Compline I searched in vain 
for our lamp on the shelves where they are kept, and, 
as it was the time of the " Great Silence," I could 
not recover it. I guessed rightly that a Sister, be 
lieving it to be her own, had taken it ; but just on 
that evening I had counted much on doing some work, 
and was I to spend a whole hour in the dark on 
account of this mistake ? Without the interior light 
of grace I should undoubtedly have pitied myself, but, 
with that light, I felt happy instead of aggrieved, and 
reflected that poverty consists in being deprived not 


The Little Flower enters the Carmel 

only of what is convenient, but of what is necessary. 
And, in this exterior darkness, I found my soul illu 
mined by a brightness that was divine. 

At this time I was seized with a craving for what 
ever was ugly and inconvenient ; and was thus quite 
pleased when a pretty little jug was taken from our 
cell and a large chipped one put in its place. I also 
tried hard not to make excuses, but I found this very 
difficult, especially with our Mistress; from her I did 
not like to hide anything. 

My first victory was not a great one, but it cost 
me a good deal. A small jar, left behind a window, 
was found broken. No one knew who had put it 
there, but our Mistress was displeased, and, thinking 
I was to blame in leaving it about, told me I was very 
untidy and must be more careful in future. Without 
answering, I kissed the ground and promised to be more 
observant. I was so little advanced in virtue that these 
small sacrifices cost me dear, and I had to console 
myself with the thought that at the day of Judgment 
all would be known. 

Above all I endeavoured to practise little hidden 
acts of virtue ; thus I took pleasure in folding the 
mantles forgotten by the Sisters, and I sought for 
every possible occasion of helping them. One of 
God s gifts was a great attraction towards penance, 
but I was not permitted to satisfy it ; the only 
mortification allowed me consisted in mortifying my 
self-love, and this did me far more good than bodilv 
penance would have done. 

However, Our Lady helped me with my wedding- 
dress, and, as soon as it was finished, every obstacle 
vanished and my profession was fixed for September 8, 

All that I have set down in these few words would 
take many paecs to relate ; but those pag:.s will never 
be read on earth. . . . 




NEED I. tell you, dear Mother, about the 
retreat before my profession : Far from re 
ceiving consolation, I went through it in 
a state of utter dryness and as if aban 
doned by God. Jesus, as was His wont, slept in 
my little barque. How rarely do souls suffer Him 
to sleep in peace ! This Good Master is so wearied 
with continually making fresh advances that He 
eagerly avails Himself of the repose I offer Him, and, 
no doubt, He will sleep on until my great and ever 
lasting retreat ; but, instead of being grieved at this, 
I am glad. 

In truth I am no Saint, as this frame of mind well 
shows. I ought not to rejoice in my dryness of soul, 
but rather attribute it to my want of fervour and 
fidelity. That I fall asleep so often during meditation, 
and thanksgiving after Communion, should distress 
me. Well, I am not distressed. I reflect that little 
children are equally dear to their parents whether 
they are asleep or awake ; that, in order to perform 
operations, doctors put their patients to sleep ; and 
finally that " The Lord knozuetb our jrame, Re remem 
ber etb that we are but dust" J Yet, apparently barren 
as was my retreat and those which followed have 
been no less so I unconsciously received many in 
terior lights on the best means of pleasing God, and 
practising virtue. I have often observed that Our 
Lord will not give me any store of provisions, but 

1 Ps. cii. 14. 

Profession of Sceur Theresc 

nourishes me cacli moment with food that is ever 
new ; I find it within me without knowing how it has 
come there. I simply believe that it is Jesus Himself 
hidden in my poor heart, who is secretly at work, 
inspiring me with what He wishes me to do as each 
occasion arises. 

Shortly before my profession I received the Holy 
Father s Blessing, through the hands of Brother 
Simeon ; and this precious Blessing undoubtedly 
helped me through the most terrible storm of my 
whole life. 

On the eve of the great day, instead of being filled 
with the customary sweetness, my vocation suddenly 
seemed to me as unreal as a dream. The devil for 
it was he made me feel sure that I was wholly un- 
suited for life in the Carniel, and that I was deceiv 
ing my superiors by entering on a way to which I 
was not called. The darkness was so bewildering 
that I understood but one thing I had no religious 
vocation, and must return to the world. I cannot 
describe the agony I endured. What was I to do in 
such a difficulty ? I chose the right course, deciding 
to tell my Novice Mistress of the temptation without 
delay. I sent for her to come out of choir, and, though 
full of confusion, I confessed the state of my soul. 
Fortunately she saw more clearly than I did, and re 
assured me completely by laughing frankly at my 
story. The devil was put to instant flight by my 
humble avowal ; what he wanted was to keep me from 
speaking, and thu^ draw me into his snares. But it was 
my turn now to ensnare him, for, to make my humilia 
tion more complete, I also told vou everything, dear 
Mother, and your consoling words dispelled my last 

On the morning of September S, a wave of peace 
flooded my soul, and, in " that peace which surpasseth 
all under standing " I pronounced my holy vows. 

1 riiii. iv. 7 . 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Many were the graces I asked. I felt myself truly 
a queen and took advantage of my title to obtain every 
favour from the King for His ungrateful subjects. 
No one was forgotten. I wished that every sinner on 
earth might be converted ; that on that day Purga 
tory should set its captives free ; and I bore upon my 
heart this letter containing what I desired for myself : 

" O Jesus, my Divine Spouse, grant that my baptismal 
robe may never be sullied. Take me from this world rather 
than let me stain my soul by committing the least wilful fault. 
May I never seek or find aught but Thee alone ! May all 
creatures be nothing to me and I nothing to them ! May 
no earthly thing disturb my peace ! 

" O Jesus, I ask but Peace. . . . Peace, and above all, 
Love. . . . Love without limit. Jesus, I ask that for 
Thy sake I may die a Martyr ; give me martyrdom of soul 
or body. Or rather give me both the one and the other. 

" Grant that I may fulfil my engagements in all their 
perfection ; that no one may think of me ; that I may be 
trodden under foot, forgotten, as a little grain of sand. I 
offer myself to Thee, O my Beloved, that Thou mayest ever 
perfectly accomplish in me Thy Holy Will, without let or 
hindrance from creatures." 

When at the close of this glorious day I laid my 
crown of roses, according to custom, at Our Lady s 
feet, it was without regret. I felt that time would 
never lessen my happiness. 

It was the Nativity of Mary. \Vhat a beautiful 
feast on which to become the Spouse of Jesus ! It 
was the little new-born Holy Virgin who presented 
her little Flower to the little Jesus. That day every 
thing was little except the graces I received except 
my peace and joy in gazing upon the beautiful star-lit 
sky at night, and in thinking that soon I should fly 
away to Heaven and be united to my Divine Spouse 
amid eternal bliss. 

On September 24 took place the ceremony of my 
receiving the veil. This feast was indeed veiled in 
tears. Papa was too ill to come and bless his little 


Profession of Soeur Thcrese 

Queen; at the last minute Mgr. Hugonin, who should 
have presided, was unable to do so, and, for other 
reasons also, the day was a painful on ,-. And yet 
amid it all, my soul was profoundly at peace. That 
day it pleased Our Lord that I should not be able to 
restrain my tears, and those tears were not understood. 
It is true 1 had borne far harder trials without shedding 
a tear ; but then I had been helped by special graces, 
whilst on this day Jesus left me to myself, and I soon 
showed my weakness. 

Eight days after I had taken the veil my cousin, 
Jeanne Guerin, was married to Dr. La Xecle. When 
she came to see us afterwards and I heard of all the 
little attentions she lavished on her husband, my 
heart thrilled and I thought : " It shall never be said 
that a woman in the world does more for her husband 
than I do for Jesus, my Beloved." And, filled with 
fresh ardour, I set myself more earnestly than ever 
to please my Heavenly Spouse, the King of Kings, 
Who had deigned to honour me by a divine alliance. 

Having seen the letter announcing the marriage, 
I amused myself by composing the following invitation, 
which I read to the novices in order to bring home 
to them what had struck me so forcibly that the glory 
of all earthly unions is as nothing compared to the 
titles of a Spouse of Our Divine Lord. 

"God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Sovereign 
Ruler of the Universe, and the Glorious Virgin Mary, Queen 
of the Heavenly Court, announce to you the Spiritual Espousals 
of their August Son, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, 
with little Thcrese Martin, now Princess and Lady of His 
Kingdoms of the Holy Childhood and the Passion, a^sinncd 
to her as a dowry, by her Divine Spouse, from which King 
doms she holds her titles of nobilitv of iJ:e Child Jesus and 
of the Jfcl\ Face. It was not possible to invite you to the 
Wedding Feast which took place on the Mountain of Carmel, 
September 8, 1890 the Heavenly Court was alone admitted 
but you arc requested to be present at the Wedding Feast 
which will take place to-morrow, the day of Eternity, when 


Sosur Therese of Llsleux 

Jesus, the Son of God, will come in the clouds of Heaven, 
in the splendour of His Majesty, to judge the living and the 

"The hour being still uncertain, you are asked to hold 
yourselves in readiness and watch." l 

And now, Mother, what more shall I say ? It was 
through your hands that I gave myself to Our Lord, 
and you have known me from childhood need I. write 
my secrets ? Forgive me if I cut short the story of my 
religious life. 

During the general retreat following my profession 
I received great graces. As a rule I find preached 
retreats most trying, but this one was quite an excep 
tion. I anticipated so much suffering that I prepared 
myself by a fervent novena. It was said that the good 
Priest understood better how to convert sinners than 
to direct the souls of nuns. Well then, I must be a 
great sinner, for God made use of this holy religious 
to bring me much consolation. At that time I had 
all kinds of interior trials which I found it impossible 
to explain to anyone ; suddenly, I was able to lay open 
my whole soul. The Father understood me in a 
marvellous way ; he seemed to divine my state, and 
launched me full sail upon that ocean of confidence and 
love in which I had longed to advance, but so far had 
not dared. He told me that my faults did not pain 
the Good God, and added : " At this moment I hold 
His place, and I assure you from Him that He is well 
pleased with your soul." How happy these consoling 
words made me ! I had never been told before that it 
was possible for faults not to pain the Sacred Heart ; 
the assurance filled me with joy and helped me to bear 
with patience the exile of this life. It was also the 
echo of my inmost thoughts. In truth I had long 
known that the Lord is more tender than a mother, 

1 This letter, the style of which may seem strange to English ears, is modelled 
closely on the formal and quaint letters whereby French parents of the better 
class announce to their friends the marriage of their children. Such letters of 
"faire-part" arc issued in the name of relatives to the third or fourth degree. [ED.] 


Profession of Scrur Thercse 

and I have sounded the depths of more than one 
n. other s heart. I know that a mother i- ever ready 
to forgive her child s small thoughtless faults. Mow 
oiten have I not had thi< s\veet experience ! No 
reproach could have touched me more than one single 
ki c s from my Mother. Mv nature is such that fear 
makes me shrink, while, under love s sweet rule, I not 
onlv advance I nV. 

Two months alter this happy retreat our Venerable 
Foundress, Mother Genevieve of St. Terc a. quitted 
our I ttle convent to enter the Heavenly Carmel. 
Before speaking of my impressions at the time of her 
death, I should like to tell you what a joy it was to 
.have lived for some years with a soul whose holiness 
was not inimitable, but lay in the practice of simple 
and hidden virtues. A lore than once she was to me 
a source of great consolation. 

One Sunday I went to the infirmary to pay her a 
visit, but, as two of the older nuns were there, I wa.; 
retiring quietly, when she called me and said, with 
something of inspiration in her manner : " Wait, rnv 
child, I have just a word for you ; vou are always 
asking me for a spiritual bouquet, well, to-day I give 
\ ou this one: Serve the Lord in peace and in joy. 
Remember that Our God is the God of peace." 

I thanked her quite simplv and went out of the 
room. 1 was moved almost to tears, and was convinced 
1 hat God had revealed to her the state of my soul. 
] liat day 1 had been sorelv tried, almost to sadness. 
Sue/. \vas the darkness that I no longer knew if I 
were beloved of God, and so, dear Mother, you can 
understand what light and consolation succeeded thir- 

The following Sunday T a-kcd her whether she had 
received any rcvej.:;. n ... out me, but she assured me 
that she had not, and this only made me admire her 
the more, for it showed how intimately Jcsu-- lived in 
her soul and directed her word? and actions. Such 

I 2 ^ 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

holiness seems to me the most true, the most holy ; 
it is the holiness I desire, for it is free from all illusion. 

On the day when this revered Mother ended her 
exile, I received a very special grace. It was the first 
time I had assisted at a death-bed, yet though the 
sight enchanted me by its beauty, my two hours of 
watching had made me very drowsy. I was grieved 
at this, but, at the moment her soul took its flight to 
Heaven, my feelings were completely changed. In an 
instant I was filled with an indescribable joy and 
fervour, as if the soul of our blessed Foundress made 
me share in the happiness she already enjoyed for I 
am quite convinced she went straight to Heaven. 
I had said to her some time previously : " You will 
not go to Purgatory, dear Mother." " I hope not," 
she answered sweetly. Certainly God would not dis 
appoint a hope so full of humility ; and the proof 
that He did not, lies in the many favours we have 

The Sisters hastened to claim something belonging 
to our beloved Mother, and you know what precious 
relic is mine. During her agony I had noticed a tear 
glistening like a beautiful diamond. That tear, the 
last she shed on this earth, did not fall, I still saw 
it shining when her body was exposed in the choir. 
When evening came, I made bold to approach unseen, 
with a little piece of linen, and I now have the happi 
ness of possessing the last tear of a Saint. 

I attach no importance to my dreams, and indeed, 
they seldom have any special meaning, though I do 
often wonder how it is that, as I think of God all the 
day, my mind does not dwell on Him more in my 
sleep. Generally I dream of the woods and the 
flowers, the brooks and the sea, and nearly always of 
pretty children ; or I chase birds and butterflies such 
as I have never seen. But, if my dreams are sometimes 
poetical, they are never mystical. 

However, one night after Mother Genevieve s 

Profession of Soeur Therese 

death, I had a more consoling one. I thought I saw 
her giving to each of us something that had belonged 
to herself. When my turn came, her hands were 
empty, and I was afraid I was not to receive anything ; 
but she looked at me lovingly, and said three times : 
To you I leave my heart." 

About a month after that seraphic death, towards 
the close of the year 1891, an epidemic of influenza 
raged in the Community ; I only had it slightly and 
was able to be about with two other Sisters. It is 
impossible to imagine the heartrending state of our 
Carmcl throughout those days of sorrow. The worst 
sufferers were nursed by those who could hardly drag 
themselves about ; death was all around us, and, when 
a Sister had breathed her last, we had to leave her 

My nineteenth birthday was saddened by the 
death of Mother Sub-Prioress ; I assisted with the 
infjrmarian during her agony, and two more deaths 
quickly followed. I now had to do the Sacristy work 
single-handed, and I wonder sometimes how I was 
equal to it all. 

One morning, when it was time to rise, I had 
a presentiment that Sister Magdalen was no more. 
The dormitory was quite in darkness, no one was 
leaving her cell. I decided, however, to go in to Sister 
Magdalen, and I found her dressed, but lying dead 
on her bed. I was not in the least afraid, and running 
to the Sacristy I quickly brought a blessed candle, 
and placed on her head a wreath of roses. Amid all 
this desolation I felt the Hand of God and knew that 
His Heart was watching over us. Our dear Sisters 
left this life for a happier one without any struggle ; 
an expression of heavenly joy shone on their faces, 
and they seemed only to be enjoying a pleasant sleep. 
During all these long and trying weeks I had 
the unspeakable consolation of receiving Holy Com 
munion every day. How sweet it was! For a long 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

time Jesus treated me as a spoilt child, for a longer 
time than His more faithful Spouses. He came to 
me daily for several months after the influenza had 
ceased, a privilege not granted to the Community. 
I had not asked this favour, but I was unspeakably 
happy to be united day after day to my Beloved. 

Great was my joy in being allowed to touch the 
Sacred Vessels and prepare the Altar linen on which 
Our Lord was to be laid. I felt that I must increase 
in fervour, and I often recalled those words addressed 
to deacons at their ordination : "Be you holy, you 
who carry the Vessels of the Lord." 

What can I tell you, dear Mother, about my thanks 
givings after Communion ? There is no time when 
I taste less consolation. But this is w r hat I should 
expect. I desire to receive Our Lord, not for my own 
satisfaction, but simply to give Him pleasure. 

I picture my soul as a piece of waste ground and 
beg Our Blessed Lady to take away my imperfections 
which are as heaps of rubbish and to build upon 
it a splendid tabernacle worthy of Heaven, and adorn 
it with her own adornments. Then I invite all the 
Angels and Saints to come and sing canticles of love, 
and it seems to me that Jesus is well pleased to see 
Himself received so grandly, and I share in His joy. 
But all this does not prevent distractions and drowsi 
ness from troubling me, and not unfrequently I 
resolve to continue my thanksgiving throughout the 
day, since 1 made it so badly in choir. 

You see, dear Mother, that my way is not the way 
of fear ; I can always make myself happy, and profit 
by my imperfections, and Our Lord Himself encour 
ages me in this path. Once, contrary to my usual 
custom, I felt troubled when I approached the Holy 
Table. For several days there had not been a suffi 
cient number of Hosts, and I had only received a small 
part of one ; this morning I foolishly thought : " If 
the same thing happens to-day, I shall imagine that 


Profession of Sceur Thchvse 

Jesus docs not care to conic into my heart. I 
approached the rail?. What a jov awaited me ! The 
Priest hesitated a moment, then gave me t\vo entire 
Hosts. Was this not a sweet re -^onse ? 

I have much to he thankful (or. I will tell vou 
quite openly what the Lord has done for me. lie- 
has shown unto me the same mercy as unto King 
Solomon. All my desire^ have been satisfied ; not 
only my desires of perfection, but even tho-c of which 
I understood the vanity, in theory, if not in practice. 
I had always looked on Sisicr Agnes o: Jesus as my 
model, and I wished to be like her in everything. 
She used to paint exquisite miniatures and write beauti 
ful poems, and this inspired me with a desire to learn 
to paint, 1 and express mv thoughts in verse, that I 
might do some good to those around me. But I 
would not ask for these natural gifts, and my desire 
remained hidden in my heart. 

Jesus, too. had hidden Himself in this poor little 
heart, and He was pleased to show me once more the 
vanity of all that passes. To the great astonishment 
of the Community, I succeeded in painting several 
pictures and in writing poems which have been a 
help to certain souls. And just as Solomon, " turning 
to all the works which his i:.:::d had wrought, aid to the 
labours wherein he had laboured in vain, saw in all 
things vanity and- vexation of mind" ~ so experience 
showed me that the sole happincs- of earth consists 
in lying hidden, and remaining in total ignorance of 
created things. I understood that without love ever, 

1 IhriL-se had kept this \vi.\-h hidden in lu-r heart from the days of lu- 
childhood, ;ind later in ht e s!u- rn : " I was t -n (he 

d v I a: a to!d Crime that she was -.vious. 

I : en ho turned to u e and s,i;d : W< I ::, \vo-.dd you . 

painting too ? 1 ty : Ye , arie i\ - 

in; kc : that I ha I not tin: s me t isto : r it as ( Y-line. She carried lip- 
and I said nothinr, thinking it was a lid o;y orf.mity to make a ! i., 

saciifi C for (_)u, 1. : 1 ; 1 v, ..b so anxi ".s tu learn, that even now I v.ond T ho\v 
1 wa^ able to !, i il -nci 1 ." 
Keel. ii. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

the most brilliant deeds count for nothing. These 
gifts, which Our Lord lavished upon me, far from 
doing me any harm, drew me towards Him ; I saw that 
He alone is unchangeable, He alone can fill the vast 
abyss of my desires. 

Talking of my desires, I must tell you about others 
of quite a different kind, which the Divine Master 
has also been pleased to grant : childish desires, like 
the wish for snow on my clothing day. You know, 
dear Mother, how fond I am of flowers. When I 
made myself a prisoner at the age of fifteen, I gave up 
for ever the delight of rambling through meadows 
bright with the treasures of spring. Well, I never 
possessed so many flowers as I have had since entering 
the Carmel. In the world young men present their 
betrothed with beautiful bouquets, and Jesus did not 
forget me. For His Altar I received, in abundance, 
all the flowers I loved best : cornflowers, poppies, 
marguerites one little friend only was missing, the 
purple vetch. I longed to see it again, and at last it 
came to gladden me and show that, in the least as in 
the greatest, God gives a hundred-fold, even in this 
life, to those who have left all for His Love. 

But one desire, the dearest of all, and for many 
reasons the most difficult, remained unfulfilled. It 
was to see Celine enter the Carmel of Lisieux. How 
ever, I had made a sacrifice of my longing, and com 
mitted to God alone the future of my loved sister. I 
was willing she should be sent to far distant lands if it 
must be so ; but I wanted above all things to see her 
like myself, the Spouse of Jesus. I suffered deeply, 
aware that she was exposed in the world to dangers 
I had never even known. My affection for her was 
maternal rather than sisterly, and I was filled with 
solicitude for the welfare of her soul. 

She was to go one evening with my aunt and cousins 
to a dance. I know not why, but I felt more anxious 
than usual, and I shed many tears, imploring Our Lord 


Profession of Sceur Thercse 

to hinder her dancing. And this was just what hap 
pened ; for He did not suffer His little Spouse to 
dance that evening, although as a rule she did so most 
gracefully. And, to the astonishment of everyone, her 
partner, too, found that he was only able to walk gravely 
up and down with Mademoiselle. The poor young 
man slipped away in confusion, and did not dare appear 
again that evening. This unique occurrence increased 
my confidence in Our Lord, and showed me clearly that 
He had already set His seal on my sister s brow. 

On July 29, 1894, Goci called my saintly and much- 
tried Father to Himself. For the last two years of his 
life he^ was completely paralysed ; so my uncle took him 
into his house and surrounded him with the tenderest 
care. He became quite helpless and was only able to 
visit us once during the whole course of his illness. It 
was a sad interview. At the moment of parting, as we 
said good-bye, he raised his eyes, and pointing upwards 
said in a voice full of tears : " In Heaven ! " 

Now that he was with God, the last ties which kept 
his consoling Angel in the world were broken. Angels 
do not remain on this earth ; when they have accom 
plished their mission, they return instantly to Heaven. 
That is why they have wings. Celine tried therefore 
to fly to the Carmel ; but the obstacles seemed in 
surmountable. One day, when matters were going 
from bad to worse, I said to Our Lord after "Holy 
Communion : " Thou knowest, dear Jesus, how ear 
nestly I have desired that the trials my Father en 
dured should serve as his purgatory. I long to know 
if my wish is granted. I do not ask Thee to speak to 
me, I only want a sign. Thou knowest how much 
opposed is Sister N. to Celine s entering ; if she with 
draw her opposition, I shall regard it as an answer 
from Thee, and in this way I -hall know that my 
Father went straight to Heaven." 1 

God, Who holds in His Hand the hearts of His 
creatures, and incline; them as He will, deigned in 

129 ! 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

His infinite mercy and ineffable condescension to 
change that Sister s mind. She was the first person 
I met after my thanksgiving, and, with tears in her 
eyes, she spoke of Celine s entrance, which she now 
ardently desired. Shortly afterwards the Bishop set 
every obstacle aside, and then you were able, dear 
Mother, without any hesitation, to open our doors to 
the poor little exile. 1 

Now I have no desire left, unless it be to love 
Jesus even unto folly ! It is Love alone that draws 
me. I no longer wish either for suffering or death, 
yet both are precious to me. Long did I call upon 
them as the messengers of joy. I have suffered much, 
and I have thought my barque near indeed to the 
Everlasting Shore. From earliest childhood I have 
imagined that the Little Flower would be gathered in 
its springtime ; now, the spirit of self-abandonment 
alone is my guide. I have no other compass, and 
know not how to ask anything with eagerness, save 
the perfect accomplishment of God s designs upon 
my soul. I can say these words of the Canticle of 
our Father, St. John of the Cross : 

" I drank deep in the cellar of my Friend, 
And, coming forth again, 
Knew naught of all this plain, 
And lost the flock I erst was wont to tend. 
My soul and all its wealth I gave to be His Own ; 
No more I tend my flock, all other work is done, 
And all my exercise is Love alone." 2 

Or rather : 

"Love hath so wrought in me 
Since I have known its sway, 
That all within me, whether good or ill, 
It makes subservient to the end it seeks, 
And soon transforms my soul into itself." 3 

1 Celine entered the Convent on September 14, 1894, and took the name of 
Sister Genevieve of St. Teresa. 

2 Spiritual Canticle : Stanzas 18 and 20. 3 Hymn to the Deity. 


Profession of Sceur Thcrcse 

Full sweet is the way of Love. It is true one may 
fall and be unfaithful to grace ; but Love, knowing 
how to profit by everything, quickl-/ consumes what 
ever is displeasing to Jesus, leaving in the heart only 
a deep and humble peace. I have obtained manV 
spiritual lights through the works of St. John of the 
Cro . \\ hen I was seventeen and eighteen they 
were my only food ; but, later on, and even now, ail 
spiritual authors leave me cold and dry. However 
beautiful and touching a book may be, my heart doe.s 
not respond, and 1 read without understanding, or, 
if I understand, I cannot meditate. In my hcljdess- 
ness the Holy Scripture.; and the Imitation zit of the 
greatest assistance; in them I find a hidden manna, 
genuine and pure. But it is from the Gospels that !. 
hnd most help in the time of praver ; from them I 
draw all that I need for my poor soul. I am always 
discovering in them new li .hts and hidden m\ eri- 
ous meanings. I know and I have experienced that 
" the Kingdom of God is within us." Our Lord has 
no need of books or teachers to in truer our souls. 
He, die Teacher of Teachers, instructs us vviihout any 
nobe of words. I have never heard Him speak, vet I 
know lie I s within me. [ ! e is there, always guiding 
and inspiring me ; and just when I need them, ! : 
hitherto unseen, break in. Thh is not as a rule during 
my prayers, but in die mid>t of my dailv duties. 
Sometimes, however, as this evening, at the close of a 
meditation spent in utter dr ne s, a word of c mfort 
is given to me: " Here is the Master I give tbee, 
fie zvill teach tbee c.ll that !>: . / wish 

tbee to read in tbe Book of Lift in which is contained 
the science of love. ..." 

The Science of Love! How sweetly do dicse 
woi\L echo in my soul! That science alone do I 
desire. Having n vcn all , ubstance for it, like the 
Spouse in the Canticle, vv / tbink thai I have ^/-:vv; 

1 Luke xvu. ai. = 1< V \ : 01" O;ir J r iu inl. M, 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

nothing" 1 After so many graces, may I not sing 
with the Psalmist that " the Lord, is good, that His 
Mercy endure th for ever " ? 2 

It seems to me that if everyone were to receive 
such favours God would be feared by none, but 
loved to excess ; that no one would ever commit 
the least wilful fault and this through love, not 

Yet all souls cannot be alike. It is necessary that 
they should differ from one another in order that 
each Divine Perfection may receive its special honour. 
To me, He has given His Infinite Mercy, and it is in 
this ineffable mirror that I contemplate His other 
attributes. Therein all appear to me radiant with 
Love. His Justice, even more perhaps than the rest, 
seems to me to be clothed with Love. What joy to 
think that Our Lord is just, that is to say, that He takes 
our weakness into account, that He knows perfectly 
the frailty of our nature ! Of what, then, need I be 
afraid ? 

Will not the God of Infinite Justice, Who deigns so 
lovingly to pardon the sins of the Prodigal Son, be 
also just to me " who am always zvith Him " ? 3 

In the year 1895 I received the grace to under 
stand, more than ever, how much Jesus desires to be 
loved. Thinking one day of those who offer them 
selves as victims to the Justice of God, in order to turn 
aside the punishment reserved for sinners by taking 
it upon themselves, I felt this offering to be noble and 
generous, but was very far from feeling myself drawn 
to make it. " O my Divine Master," I cried from the 
bottom of my heart, " shall Thy Justice alone receive 
victims of holocaust ? Has not Thy Merciful Love 
also need thereof : On all sides it is ignored, re 
jected . . . the hearts on which Thou wouldst lavish 
it turn to creatures, there to seek their happiness in 
the miserable satisfaction of a moment, instead of 

1 Cant. viii. 7. a Ps. ciii. i. a Luke xv. 31. 


Profession of Sceur Therese 

casting themselves into Thine Anns, into the un 
fathomable furnace of Thine Infinite Love. 

" O my God ! must Thy Love -which is disdained 
lie hidden in Thy Heart ? Methinks, if Thou shouldst 
find souls offering themselves as victims of holocaust 
to Thy Love, Thou wouldst consume them rapidly ; 
Thou wouldst be well pleased to suffer the flames of 
infinite tenderness to escape that are imprisoned in 
Thy Heart. 

" If Thy Justice which is of earth must nced> 
be satisfied, how much more must Thy Merciful Love 
desire to inflame souls, since " Thy Mercy rcacbetb even 
to the Heavens " ? l O Jesus ! let me be that happy 
victim consume Thy holocaust with the Fire of 
Divine Love ! " 

Dear Mother, you know the love, or rather the 
oceans of grace which flooded my soul immediately 
after I made that Act of Oblation on June 9, 1895. 
From that day I have been penetrated and surrounded 
with love. Kvery moment this A I ere if ul Love renews 
me and purifies me, leaving in my soul no trace of sin. 
I cannot fear Purgatory ; I know I do not merit to 
enter, even, into that place of expiation with the 
Holy Souls, but I also know that the fire of Love is 
more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory. I know- 
that Jesus could not wish useless suffering for us, and 
He would not inspire me with the desires I feel, were 
He not willing to fulfil them. 

1 CJ. Ps. xxxv. 6. 




DEAR Mother, ! thought I had written enough, 
and now you wish for more details of 
my religious life. I will not argue, but 
I cannot help smiling when 1 have to 
tell you things that you know quite as well as I 
do. Nevertheless, I will obey. I do not ask what 
use this manuscript can be to any one, I assure you 
that even were you to burn it before my eyes, without 
having read it, I should not mind in the least. 

The opinion is not uncommon in the Community 
that you have always indulged me, ever since I entered 
the Convent ; however, " Man seetb those things that 
appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart" Dear 
Mother, once again I thank you for not having spared 
me. Jesus knew well that His Little Flower needed the 
life-giving water of humiliation it was too weak to 
take root otherwise, and to you it owes so great a 
blessing. But for some months, the Divine Master 
has entirely changed His method of cultivating His 
Little Flower. Finding no doubt that it has been 
sufficiently watered, He now allows it to expand under 
the warm rays of a brilliant sun. He smiles on it, 
and this favour also comes through you, dear Mother, 
but far from doing it harm, those smiles make the 
Little Flower grow in a wondrous way. Deep down 
in its heart it treasures those precious drops of dew 
the mortifications of other days and they remind 
it that it is small and frail. Even were all creatures 

1 J Kings xvi. 7. 

The Nio;lit of the Soul 


to draw near to admire and Hatter it, that would not 
add a -hade of idle satisfaction to the true joy which 
thrills it, on realising that in God s Kyes it is but a 
poor, worthless thing, and nothing more. 

When 1 say that I am inditlerent to praise, I am 
not speaking, dear .Mother, of the love and confidence 
you show me ; on the contrary I am deeply touched 
thereby, but I feel that I have now nothing to fear, 
and I can listen to those praises unperturbed, attri 
buting to God all that is good in me. If it please 
Him to make me appear better than I am, it is nothing 
to me, He can act as lie will. My God, by how many 
ways dost Thou lead souls ! We read of Saints who 
left absolutely nothing at their death, not the least 
tiling by which to remember them, not even a single 
line of writing ; and there are others like our holy 
Mother, St. Teresa, who have enriched the Church 
with their sublime teaching, and have not hesitated 
to reveal " the secrets of the King" l that He may be 
better known and better loved. 

Which of these two ways is more pleasing to Oui 
Lord : It seems to me they are equally so. 

All those beloved by God have followed the in 
spiration of the Holy Ghost, who commanded the 
prophets to write : k> fell the just man that all is well. 
Yes, all is well when one seeks only the Master s Will, 
and so I, poor Little Flower, obey my Jesus when I try 
to plea c e you, who represent him here on earth. 

You know it has ever been my desire to become a 
Saint, but I have always felt, in comparing my? elf with 
the Saints, that I am as far removed from them as the 
grain of sand, which the passer-by tramples underfoot, 
is remote from the mountain whose summit is lost 
in the cluuds. 

Instead of being discouraged, concluded that 
God would not inspire desires which could not be 
realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of 

1 Tobias xii. 7. a Cf. Isaias iii. 10, 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. 
I must bear with myself and my many imperfections ; 
but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a 
little way very short and very straight, a little way 
that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions ; 
nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, 
they have lifts instead. Well, I mean to try and 
find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for 
I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. 
I have sought to find in Holy Scripture some sugges 
tion as to what this lift might be which I so much 
desired, and I read these words uttered by the Eternal 
Wisdom Itself : " Whosoever is a little one, let him 
come to Me. 77 Then I drew near to God, feeling sure 
that I had discovered what I sought ; but wishing 
to know further what He would do to the little one, 
I continued my search and this is what I found : 
" Ton shall be carried at the breasts and upon the 
knees ; as one whom the mother caresseth, so tuill I 
comfort you" 

Never have I been consoled by words more tender 
and sweet. Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift 
which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get 
there I need not grow ; on the contrary, I must re 
main little, I must become still less. O my God, Thou 
hast gone beyond my expectation, and I . . . " / will 
sing Thy mercies ! Thou hast taught me, Lord, from 
my youth and till nozu I have declared Thy wonderful 
works, and thus unto old age and grey hairs" 3 

What will this old age be for me ? It seems to 
me that it could as well be now as later : two thousand 
years are no more in the Eyes of the Lord than twenty 
years . . . than a single day ! But do not think, dear 
Mother, that your child is anxious to leave you, and 
deems it a greater grace to die in the morning rather 
than in the evening of life ; to please Jesus is what 
the really values and desires above all things. Now 

1 Prov. ix. 4. 2 i sa . i xv j t I2j I3 _ cf. Ps. Ixx. 17, 18. 


The Night of the Soul 

that He seems to come near and dra\v her to His 
Heavenly Home, she is ylad ; she lias understood that 
God has need of no one to do jood upon earth, still 
less of her than of others. Meantime I know your 
will, dear Mother. You v.i^h me to earn- out, at your 
side, a work which is both sweet and easy, 1 and this 
work I shall complete in Heaven. You have said to 
me, as Our Lord said to St. Peter : " Feed my lambs" 
1 am amaxcd, for I feel that I am so little. I have 
entreated you to feed your little lambs yourself and 
to keep me among them. You have complied in part 
with my reasonable wish, and have called me their 
companion, rather than their mistress, telling me never 
theless to lead them through fertile and shady pastures, 
to point out where the grass is sweetest and best, and 
warn them against the brilliant but poisonous flowers, 
which they must never touch except to crush under foot. 

How is it, dear Mother, that my youth and inex 
perience have not frightened you \ Are you not afraid 
that I shall let your lambs stray afar ? In acting as 
you have done, perhaps you remembered that Our 
Lord is often pleased to give wisdom to little ones. 

On this earth it is rare indeed to find souls who do 
not measure God s Omnipotence by their own narrow 
thoughts. The world is always ready to admit excep 
tions everywhere here below. God alone is denied 
this liberty. It has long been the custom among 
men to reckon experience by age, for in his youth the 
holy King David sang to His Lord : " / am young and 
despised"" - but in the same Psalm he does not fear 
to say : "7 have had understanding above old men, 
because I have sought Thy commandments, Thy word 
is a lamp to my fed, and a light to my paths ; I have 
szvoru, and I am determined, to keep the judgments of 
Thy Justice." 3 

1 Scour Tiu ; rcse , hnrge of the novices without being given the title of 
Novice Mistress. 

2 I s. cxviii. 141. * 1 s. cxviii. 100, 105, lob. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

And. you did. not even consider it imprudent to 
assure me one day, that the Divine M aster had en 
lightened my soul and given me the experience of 
years. I am too little now to be guilty of vanity ; I 
am likewise too little to endeavour to prove my 
humility by fine-sounding words. I prefer to own in 
all simplicity that " He that is mighty hath done great 
things to me " 1 and the greatest is that He has shown 
me my littleness and how incapable I am of anything 

My soul has known trials of many kinds. I have 
suffered much on this earth. In my childhood I 
suffered with sadness., but now 7 I find sweetness in all 
things. Anyone but you, clear Mother, who know me 
thoroughly, would smile at reading these pages, for 
has ever a soul seemed less tried than mine ? But 
if the martyrdom which I have endured for the past 
year were made known, how astonished everyone 
would be ! Since it is your wish I will try to describe 
it, but there are no words really to explain these 
things. The words will always fall short of the reality. 

During Lent last year 1 felt much better than 
ever and continued so until Koly Week, in spite of the 
fast which I observed in all its rigour. But in the 
early hours of Good Friday, Jesus gave me to hope 
that I should soon join Him in Hi: beautiful Home. 
How sweet is this memory ! 

I could not obtain permission to remain watching 
at the Altar of Repose throughout the Thursday night, 
and I returned to our ceil at midnight. Scarcely 
was my head laid on the pillow when I felt a hot 
stream rise to my lips. I thought I was going to 
die, and my heart nearly broke with joy. But as I 
had already put out our lamp, I mortified my curiosity 
until the morning and slept in peace. At five o clock, 
when it was time to get up, I remembered at once that 
I had some good news to learn, and going to the window 

i Luke i. 49. 

The Night of the Soul 

J found, a< T had expected, ilia; our handkerchief 
was soaked \\ilii blood. DC rest . what hope 

was mine ! 1 was rinnlv convinced that on this an- 
niversary of Hi- Death, my Beloved had allowed me 
to hear His first call, like a sweet, distant murmur. 
heralding Hi- joyful approach. 

1 arsistcd at Prime and Charter most fervently, 
and then I hastened to cast myself at my Mother s 
knees and conf.J.c to her my happiness. I did not 
leel the least pain, so i ea^ih obtained permission to 
finish Lent as I had begun, and on tin- Good Friday 
I shared in all the austerities of the Carmel without 
any relaxation. Never had these austerities Deemed 
sweeter to me ; the hope of soon entering Heaven 
transported me with joy. 

Still lull of joy, I returned to our cell on the 
evening of that happy day, and was quietly falling 
asleep, when my sweet lesus gave me the same si^n 
as on the previous night, of my speed v entrance to 
internal Life. I felt such a clear and livelv Faith that 
the thought of Heaven was my sole delight. I could 
not believe it possible for men to be uttcrlv devoid 

I: anii. and I was convinced that tho-e who dcnv 
the existence of another world rcahV lie in their hearts. 

But during the Paschal days, so full of li.dit, our 
Lord made me understand that there rcallv are in truth 
souls bereft of Faith and Hope, who, through abuse 
of grace, lose these precious treasures, the onlv source 
of pure and lasting joy. lie allowed mv soul to be 
overwhelmed with darkness, and the thought of 
Heaven, which had consoled me from my earliest 
childhood, now became a subject of conflict and tor 
ture. This trial did not la-t merely "or davs or -\ceks ; 

1 have been suffering for months, and I still await 
deliverance. 1 wish I could express what I feel, but 
it is beyond me. One must have passed through this 
dark tunnel to understand its blackness. However, 
I will trv to explain it by means of a comparison. 

Sosur Therese of Lisieux 

Let me suppose that I had been born in a land of 
thick fogs, and had never seen the beauties of nature, 
or a single ray of sunshine, although I had heard of 
these wonders from my early youth, and knew that 
the country wherein I dwelt was not my real home 
there was another land, unto which I should always 
look forward. Now this is not a fable, invented by an 
inhabitant of the land of fogs, it is the solemn truth, 
for the King of that sunlit country dwelt for three 
and thirty years in the land of darkness, and alas ! 
the darkness did not understand that He was the 
Light of the World. 1 

But, dear Lord, Thy child has understood Thou 
art the Light Divine ; she asks Thy pardon for her 
unbelieving brethren, and is willing to eat the bread 
of sorrow as long as Thou mayest wish. For love of 
Thee she will sit at that table of bitterness where these 
poor sinners take their food, and she will not stir from 
it until Thou givest the sign. But may she not say 
in her own name, and the name of her guilty brethren : 
" O God, he merciful to us sinners ! " Send us away 
justified. May all those on whom Faith does not 
shine see the light at last ! O my God, if that table 
which they profane can be purified by one that loves 
Thee, I am willing to remain there alone to eat the 
bread of tears, until it shall please Thee to bring me 
to Thy Kingdom of Light : the only favour I ask is, 
that I may never give Thee cause for offence. 

From the time of my childhood I felt that one day 
I should be set free from this land of darkness. I 
believed it, not only because I had been told so by 
others, but my heart s most secret and deepest long 
ings assured me that there was in store for me another 
and more beautiful country an abiding dwelling- 
place. I was like Christopher Columbus, whose 
genius anticipated the discovery of the New World. 
And suddenly the mists about me have penetrated 

1 Cf. John 1.5. 2 cf. Luke xviii. 13. 


The Night of the Soul 

my very soul and have enveloped me so completely 
that I cannot even picture to myself this promised 
country . . . all has laded away. When my heart, 
weary of the surrounding darkness, tries to find some 
rest in the thought of a life to come, my anguish in 
creases. It seems to me that out of the darkness I 
hear the mocking voice of the unbeliever : " You 
dream of a land of light and fragrance, you dream that 
the Creator of the^c wonders will be yours for ever, 
you think one day to escape from these mists where 
you now languish. Nay, rejoice in death, which will 
give you, not what you hope for, but a night darker 
still, the night of utter nothingness ! " . . . 

Dear A I other, this description of what I suffer is 
as far removed from reality as the lirst rough outline 
is from the model, but I fear that to write more were 
to blaspheme . . . even now I may have said too 
much. A lay God forgive me ! He knows that I try 
to live by .Faith, though it does not afford me the 
least consolation. I have made more acts of Faith 
in this last year than during all the rest of my life. 

Each time that my enemy would provoke me to 
combat, I behave as a gallant soldier. I know that 
a duel is an act of cowardice, and so, without once 
looking him in the face, I turn my back on the foe, 
then 1 hasten to my Saviour, and vow that I am ready 
to shed my blood in u it ness of my belief in Heaven. 
1 tell Him, if only He will deLm to open it to poor un 
believers, I am content to sacrifice all pleasure in the 
thought of it as long as I live. And in spite of this 
trial, which robs me of all comfort, I still can say : 
" Thou bast ^jven mt\ O Lord, ddi^ht in all Thou 
dost" For wiiat joy can be greater than to Hi Ter 
lor Thy Love : The more the suiTcrim; is and the less 
it appears before men, the more i-; it to Thy Honour 
and Glory. I. .ven ii but 1 know it to be impossible 
Thou shouldst not cieijn to heed mv sufferings, I 

I s. xci. 5. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

should still be happy to bear them, in the hope that 
by rny tears I might perhaps prevent or atone for one 
sin against Faith. 

No doubt, dear Mother, you. will think I exag 
gerate somewhat the night of my soul. If you judge 
by the poems I have composed this year, it must seem 
as though I have been flooded with consolations, 
like a child for whom the veil of Faith is almost rent 
asunder. And ye : it is not a veil it is a wall which 
rises to the very heavens and shuts out the starry 

When I sing of the happiness of Heaven and the 
eternal possession of God, I do not feel any joy therein, 
for I sing only of what I wish to believe. Some 
times, I confess, a little ray of sunshine illumines my 
dark night, and I enjoy peace for an instant, but later, 
the remembrance of this ray of li<rht, instead of con 
soling me, makes the blackness thicker still. 

And yet never have I felt so deeply how sweet and 
merciful is the Lord. He did not send me this heavy 
cross when it might have discouraged me, but at a 
time when I was able to bear it. Now it simply takes 
from me all natural satisfaction I might feel in my 
longing for Heaven. 

Dear Mother, it seems to me that at present there 
is nothing to impede my upward flight, for I have no 
longer any desire save to love Him till I die. I am 
free ; I fear nothing now, not even what I dreaded 
more than anything else, a long illness which would 
make me a burden to the Community. Should it 
please the Good God, I am quite content to have my 
bodily and mental sufferings orolonp-ed for years. 

O x J 

I do not fear a long life ; I do not shrink from the 
struggle. The Lord is the rock upon which I stand 
" Who teachzih my hands to fight, and my fingers to 
war. He is my Protector and I have hoped in Him" ] 
I have never asked God to let me die young. It is 

1 Ps. cxliii. T. a, 

The Night of the Soul 

true I have aLvavs thought I ^hould do so, but it is a 
favour I have not tried to obtain. 

Our Lord i often content with the wi : h to do 
something ior His Glory, and you know the immensity 
of my de-ires. You know aLo that fc ii- has offered 
me more than one bitter chalice through my dearly 
loved sisters. The liolv lviiiL r David \\ a; right when 
he sanir : " Behold hoio good and ho-:v -pleasant it is 
for brethren to d:cell together in unity" But such 
unity can onlv exi-t upon earth in the mid^t of sacri 
fice. It \vas not in order to be with my sisters that I 
came to this holy Car; . el ; on the contrary, 1 knew well 
that in curbing my natural affection I should have 
much to suiter. 

How can it be said that it i.- more perfect to sepa 
rate oneself from home and friends ? lias anyone ever 
reproached brothers who fight >ide by side, or together 
win the martvrs pahn ? it is true, no doubt, the;, 
encourage each other ; but it is also true that the 
martyrdom of each is a martyrdom to them all. 

And so it is in the religious life ; theologians call 
it a martyrdom. A heart given to God loses nothing o: 
its natural affection on the contrary, this affection 
grows stronger by becoming purer and more spiritual. 
It is with this love, dear Mother, that I love you and 
my sisters. I am glad to fight beside you for the 
glory of the King of Heaven, but I am rcadv to c r o to 
another battlefield, did tli Divine Commander bur 
express a wish. An order would nor be necessary : 
a simple look, a sign, would suffi e. 

Kver since I came to the Carmel I have thou/hf 
that if Our Lord did nni take me quii kl; to Heaven. 
my lot would be that of Xoe"> nd that one dav 

he would <>T Cn the window oi the Ark and bid mo 
fly to heat lien land , bearin ; the olive branch. Y\\\< 
thought has helped me io >ar above a!> created 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

Knowing that even in the Carmel there must be 
partings, I tried to make my abode in Heaven ; and I 
accepted not only exile in the midst of an unknown 
people, but what v/as far more bitter, I accepted exile 
for my sisters. And indeed, two of them were asked 
for by the Carmel of Saigon, our own foundation. 
For a time there was serious question of their being 
sent, and I would not say a word to hold them back, 
though my heart ached at the thought of the trials 
awaiting them. Now all that is at an end ; the 
superiors were absolutely opposed to their departure, 
and I only touched the cup with my lips long enough 
to taste of its bitterness. 

Let me tell you, dear Mother, why, if Our Lady 
cures me, I wish to respond to the call from our 
Mothers of Hanoi. It appears that to live in foreign 
Carmels, a very special vocation is needed, and many 
souls think they are called without being so in reality. 
You have told me that I have this vocation, and that 
my health alone stands in the way. But if I am 
destined one day to leave this Carmel, it will not be 
without a pang. My heart is naturally sensitive, and 
because this is a cause of much suffering, I wish to 
offer Jesus whatsoever it can bear. Here, I am loved 
by you and all the Sisters, and this love is very sweet 
to me, and I dream of a convent where I should be 
unknown, where I should taste the bitterness of exile. 
I know only too well how useless I am, and so it is not 
for the sake of the services I might render to the 
Carmel of Hanoi that I would leave all that is dearest 
to me my sole reason would be to do God s Will, 
and sacrifice myself for Him. 

And I should not suffer any disappointment, for 
when we expect nothing but suffering, then the least 
joy is a surprise ; and later on suffering itself becomes 
the greatest of all joys, when we seek it as a precious 

But I know I shall never recover from this sickness, 

The Night of the Soul 

and yet I am at peace. For years I have not belonged 
to myself, I have surrendered myself wholly to Jesus, 
and He is iree to do with me whatsoever He pleases. 
He has spoken to me of exile, and has asked me if I 
would consent to drink of that chalice. At once I 
essayed to -rasp it, but He, withdrawing His Hand, 
showed me that my consent was all He desired. 

O my God ! from how much disquiet do we free 
ourselves by the vow of obedience! Happy is the 
simple religious. Her one guide being the will of her 
superiors, she is ever sure of following the right path, 
and has no fear of being mistaken, even when it seems 
that her superiors are making a mistake. But if she 
ceases to consult the unerring compass, then at once 
her soul goes astray in barren wastes, where the waters 
of grace quickly fail. Dear Mother, you are the com 
pass Jesus has given me to direct me safely to the 
Eternal Shore. I find it most sweet to fix my eyes 
upon^you, and then do the Will of my Lord. By 
allowing me to suffer these temptations against Faith, 
He has greatly increased the spirit of Faith, which 
makes me see Him living in your soul, and through 
you communicating His holy commands. 

I^am well aware that you lighten the burden of 
obedience for me, but deep in my heart I feel that my 
attitude would not change, nor would my filial affec 
tion grow less, were you to treat me with severity : 
and this because I should still see the Will of God 
manifesting itself in another way for the greater good 
of my soul. 

Among the numberless graces that I have received 
this year, not the least is an understanding of how- 
far-reaching is the precept of charity. I had never 
beiore fathomed these words of Our Lord : " The 
second commandment is like to the first : Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself." l I had set mvself 
above all to love God, and it was in loving Him that 

1 Matt. xxii. 39. 

45 K 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I discovered the hidden meaning of these other words : 
" It is not those who say, Lord, Lord ! who enter into 
the Kingdom oj Heaven, but he who does the Will of My 
Father." * 

Jesus revealed me this Will when at the Last Supper 
He gave His New Commandment in telling His Apostles 
to love one another as He had loved them. 2 I set myself 
to find out how He had loved His Apostles ; and I saw 
that it was not for their natural qualities, for they were 
ignorant men, full of earthly ideas. And yet He calls 
them His Friends, His Brethren ; He desires to see 
them near Him in the Kingdom of His Father, and 
in order to admit them to this Kingdom He wills to 
die on the Cross, saying : " Greater love than this no 
man hath, that a man lay down his life jor his jriends." 8 

As I meditated on these Divine words, I saw how 
imperfect was the love I bore my Sisters in religion. 
I understood that I did not love them as Our Lord 
loves them. I know now that true charity consists 
in bearing all our neighbours defects not being sur 
prised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest 
virtues. Above all I know that charity must not re 
main shut up in the heart, for " No man lighteth a 
candle, and putttth it in a hidden -place, nor under a 
bushel ; but upon a candlestick, that they who come in 
may see the light." * 

It seems to me, dear Mother, this candle represents 
that charity which enlightens and gladdens, not only 
those who are dear to us, but all those who are oj the 

In the Old Law, when God told His people to love 
their neighbour as themselves, He had not yet come 
down upon earth ; and knowing full well how man 
loves himself, He could not ask anything greater. 
But when Our Lord gave His Apostles a New Com 
mandment " His own commandment " 5 He was not 

1 Cf. Matt. vii. 21. z Cf. John xiii. 34. 8 John xv. 13. 

4 Luke xi. 33. 6 John xv. 12. 


The Night of the Soul 

content with saying : " Thou shalt love thy neighbour 
as tkyselj" but would have them love even as He had 
loved, and as He will love till the end of time. 

O my Jesus ! Thou dost never a k what is impos 
sible ; Thou knowest better than I, how frail and 
imperfect I am, and Thou knowest that I shall never 
love my Sisters as Thou hast loved them, unless within 
me Thou lovest them, dear Lord ! It is because Thou 
dost desire to grant me this grace that Thou hast 
given a New Commandment. Oh how I love it, 
since I am assured thereby that it is Thy Will to love 
in me all those Thou dost bid me love ! 

Yes, I know when I show chanty to others, it is 
simply Jesus acting in me, and the more closely I am 
united to Him, the more dearly I love my Sisters. 
If I wish to increase this love in my heart, and the devil 
tries to bring before me the defects of a Sister, I 
hasten to look for her virtues, her good motives ; I call 
to mind that though I may have seen her fall once, 
no doubt she has gained many victories over herself, 
which in her humility she conceals. It is even possible 
that what seems to me a fault, may very likely, on 
account of her good intention, be an act of virtue. 
I have no difficulty in persuading myself of this, 
because I have had the same experience. One day, 
during recreation, the portress came to ask for a 
Sister to help her. I had a childish longing to do thi- 
work, and it happened the choice fell upon me. I 
therefore began to fold up our needlework, but so 
slowly that my neighbour, who I. knew would like 
to take my place, was ready before me. The Sister 
who had asked for help, seeing how deliberate I was, 
said laughingly : " I thought you would not add this 
pearl to your crown, you are so extremely slow," and 
all the Community thought I had yielded to natural 
reluctance. I cannot tell you what profit I derived 
from this incident, and it made me indulgent towards 
others. It still checks any feelings of vanity, when I 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

am praised, for I reflect that since my small acts of 
virtue can be mistaken for imperfections, why should 
not my imperfections be mistaken for virtue ? And I 
say with St. Paul : " To me it is a very small thing to 
be judged by you, or by man s day. But neither do I 
judge myself. He that judgeth me is the Lord" * 

And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, Who is my judge. 
Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, 
that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, 
since He says : " Judge not, and ye shall not be judged" 2 

But returning to the Holy Gospel where Our Lord 
explains to me clearly in what His New Commandment 
consists, I read in St. Matthew : " Ton have heard 
that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and 
hate thy enemy : but I say unto you, Love your enemies, 
and pray jor them that persecute you" 

There are, of course, no enemies in the Carmel; 
but, after all, we have our natural likes and dislikes. 
We may feel drawn towards one Sister, and may be 
tempted to go a long way round to avoid meeting 
another. Well, Our Lord tells me that this is the 
Sister to love and pray for, even though her behaviour 
may make me imagine she does not care for me. " If 
you love them that love you, what thanks are to you ? 
For sinners also love those that love them" * And it is 
not enough to love, we must prove our love ; natu 
rally one likes to please a friend, but that is not charity, 
for sinners do the same. 

Our Lord also taught me : " Give to everyone 
that asketh thee ; and of him that taketh away thy 
goods, ask them not again" 6 To give to everyone 
w r ho asks is not so pleasant as to give of one s own 
accord. If we are asked pleasantly, it is easy to give ; 
but if we are asked discourteously, then, unless we 
are perfect in charity, there is an inward rebellion, 
and we find no end of excuses for refusing. Perhaps, 

1 I Cor. iv. 3, 4. 2 Luke vi. 37. 3 Matt. v. 43. 44. 

4 Luke vi. 32. 6 Luke vi. 30. 


The Night of the Soul 

after first pointing out the rudeness of the request, 
we make such a favour of consenting thereto, that 
the slight service takes far less time to perform than 
was lost in arguing the point. And if it is difficult to 
give to whosoever asks, it is far more difficult to let 
what belongs to us be taken without asking it a^ain. 
Dear Mother, I say this is hard, but I should rather 
say that it seems hard, for " The yoke of the Lord is 
sweet and His burden light" 1 And when we submit 
to that yoke, we at once feel its sweetness. 

I have said Jesus does not wish me to ask a^ain for 
what is my own. This ought to seem quite easy, for, 
in reality, nothing is mine. I ought, then, to be glad 
when an occasion arises which brings home to me 
the poverty to which I am vowed. I used to think 
myself completely detached, but since Our Lord s 
words have become clear, I see that I am indeed very 

For instance : when starting to paint, if I find 
the brushes in disorder, and a ruler or penknife gone, 
I feel inclined to lose patience, and have to keep a firm 
hold over myself not to betray my feelings. Of 
course I may ask for these needful things, and if I do 
so humbly I am not disobeying Our Lord s command. 
I am then like the poor who hold out their hands 
for the necessaries of life, and, if refused, are not 
surprised, since no one owes them anything. Deep 
peace inundates the soul when it soars above mere 
natural sentiments. There is no joy equal to that 
which is shared by the truly poor in spirit. If they 
ask with detachment for something necessary, and not 
only is it ret used, but an attempt is made to take awav 
what they already possess, they are following the 
Master s advice: ^ If any man will take away thy 
coat, let him have thy cloak also" To <*ive up one s 
cloak is, it seems to me, to renounce every right, and 
to regard oneself as the servant, the slave, of all. 

1 Matt. x,. jo. 2 M;lUi v 40> 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Without a cloak it is easier to walk or run, and so the 
Master adds : " And whosoever shall force thee to go 
one mile, go with him other two" * 

It is therefore not enough for me to give to who 
ever asks I ought to anticipate the wish, and show 
myself glad to be of service ; but if anything of mine 
be taken away, I should show myself glad to be rid of it. 
I cannot always carry out to the letter the words of 
the Gospel, for there are occasions when I am com 
pelled to refuse some request. Yet when charity 
is deeply rooted in the soul it lets itself be outwardly 
seen, and there is a way of refusing so graciously what 
one is unable to give, that the refusal affords as much 
pleasure as the gift would have done. It is true that 
people do not hesitate to ask from those who readily 
oblige, nevertheless I ought not to avoid importunate 
Sisters on the pretext that I shall be forced to refuse. 
The Divine Master has said : " From him that would 
borrow oj thee turn not away." 2 Nor should I be kind 
in order to appear so, or in the hope that the Sister 
will return the service, for once more it is written : 
" // you lend to them oj whom you ho-pe to receive, what 
thanks are to you ? For sinners also lend to sinners 
for to receive as much. But you do good and lend, 
hoping for nothing thereby, and your reward shall be 
great." 3 

Verily, the reward is great even on earth. In 
this path it is only the first step which costs. To lend 
without hope of being repaid seems hard ; one would 
rather give outright, for what you give is no longer 
yours. When a Sister says confidently : " I want 
your help for some hours I have our Mother s leave, 
and be assured I will do as much for you later," one 
may know well that these hours lent will not be 
repaid, and be sorely tempted to say : " I prefer to 
give them." But that would gratify self-love, besides 
letting the Sister feel that you do not rely much on 

1 Matt v. 41. * Matt. v. 42. Luke vi. 34, 35. 


The Night of the Soul 

her promise. The Divine precepts run contrary to our 
natural inclinations, and without the help of grace 
it would be impossible to understand them, far less 
to put them in practice. 

Dear Mother, I feel that I have expressed myself 
with more than usual confusion, and I do not know 
what you can find to interest you in these rambling 
pages, but I am not aiming at a literary masterpiece, 
and if I weary you by this discourse on charity, it will 
at least prove your child s good will. I must confess I 
am far from living up to my ideal, and yet the very desire 
to do so gives me a feeling of peace. If I fall into some 
fault, I arise again at once and for some months 
now I have not even had to struggle. I have been able 
to say with our holy Father, St. John of the Cross : 
" My house is entirely at peace," and I attribute this 
interior peace to a victory I gained over myself. Since 
that victory, the hosts of Heaven have hastened to my 
aid, for they will not allow me to be wounded, now 
that I have fought so valiantly. 

A holy nun of our Community annoyed me in all 
that she did ; the devil must have had something to 
do with it, and he it was undoubtedly who made me 
see in her so many disagreeable points. I did not want 
to yield to my natural antipathy, for I remembered 
that charity ought to betray itself in deeds, and not 
exist merely in the feelings, so I set myself to do for 
this Sister all I should do for the one I loved most. 
Every time I met her I prayed for her, and offered to 
God her virtues and merits. I felt that this was very 
pleasing to Our Lord, for there is no artist who is not 
gratified when his works are praised, and the Divine 
Artist of souls is pleased when we do not stop at the 
exterior, but, penetrating to the inner sanctuary He 
has chosen, admire its beauty. 

I did not rest satisfied with praying for this Sister, 
who gave me such occasions for self-mastery, I tried 
to render her as man services as I could, and when 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

tempted to answer her sharply, I made haste to smile 
and change the subject, for the Imitation says : " It 
is more profitable to leave everyone to his way of 
thinking than to give way to contentious discourses." 
And sometimes when the temptation was very severe, 
I would run like a deserter from the battlefield if I 
could do so without letting the Sister guess my in 
ward struggle. 

One day she said to me with a beaming face : 
" My dear Sceur Therese, tell me what attraction you 
find in me, for whenever we meet, you greet me with 
such a sweet smile." Ah ! what attracted me was 
Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul Jesus who 
maketh sweet even that which is most bitter, v 

I spoke just now, dear Mother, of the flight that 
is my last resource to escape defeat. It is not honour 
able, I confess, but during my noviciate, whenever I 
had recourse to this means, it invariably succeeded. 
I will give you a striking example, which will, I am sure, 
amuse you. You had been ill with bronchitis for 
several days, and we were all uneasy about you. One 
morning, in my duty as sacristan, I came to put back 
the keys of the Communion-grating. This was my 
work, and I was very pleased to have an opportunity 
of seeing you, though I took good care not to show it. 
One of the Sisters, full of solicitude, feared I should 
awake you, and tried to take the keys from me. I 
told her as politely as I could, that I was quite as 
anxious as she was there should be no noise, and 
added that it was my right to return them. I see now 
that it would have been more perfect simply to yield, 
but I did not see it then, and so I followed her into 
the room. Very soon what she feared came to pass : 
the noise did awaken you. All the blame fell upon 
me ; the Sister I had argued with began a long dis 
course, of which the point was : Sceur Therese made 
all the noise. I was burning to defend myself, but 
a happy inspiration of grace came to me. I thought 


The Night of the Soul 

that if I began to justify myself I should certainly lose 
my peace of mind, and as I had too little virtue to let 
myself be unjustly accused without answering, my last 
chance of safety lay in flight. No sooner thought 
than done. I hurried away, but my heart beat so 
violently, I could not go far, and I was obliged to sit 
down on the stairs to enjoy in quiet the fruit of my 
victory. This is an odd kind of courage, undoubtedly, 
but I think it is best not to expose oneself in the face 
of certain defeat. 

When I recall these days of my noviciate I under 
stand how far I was from perfection, and the memory 
of certain things makes me laugh. How good God 
has been, to have trained my soul and given it wings ! 
All the snares of the hunter can no longer frighten me, 
for " A net is spread in vain before the eyes of them 
that have win PS" l 


It may be that some day my present state will 
appear to me full of defects, but nothing now sur 
prises me, and I do not even distress myself because 
I am so weak. On the contrary I glory therein, and 
expect each day to find fresh imperfections. Nay, 
I must confess, these lights on my own nothingness 
are of more good to my soul than lights on matters 
of Faith. Remembering that " Charity cover eth a 
multitude of sins" 2 I draw from this rich mine, which 
Our Saviour has opened to us in the Gospels. I 
search the depths of His adorable words, and cry out 
with David : " / have run in the zvay of Thy command- 
merits since Thou hast enlarged my heart" 3 And 
charity alone can make wide the heart. O Jc-us ! 
since its sweet flame consumes my heart, I run \\ith 
delight in the way of Thv New Commandment, and I 
desire to run therein until that blessed dav when, with 
Thy company of Virgins, 1 shall follow Thee through 
Thy boundless Realm, singing Thy New Canticle 
The Canticle of Love. 

1 I rov. i. 17. * 1 iov. x. 12. * Ps. civiii. 32. 



DEAR Mother, God in His infinite good 
ness has given me a clear insight into the 
deep mysteries of Charity. If I could 
but express what I know, you would hear 
a heavenly music ; but alas ! I can only stammer 
like a child, and if God s own words were not my 
support, I should be tempted to beg leave to hold my 
peace. When the Divine Master tells me to give to 
whosoever asks of me, and to let what is mine be 
taken without asking it again, it seems to me that He 
speaks not only of the goods of earth, but also of the 
goods of Heaven. Besides, neither one nor the other 
are really mine ; I renounced the former by the vow of 
poverty, and the latter gifts are simply lent. If God 
withdraw them, I have no right to complain. 

But our very own ideas, the fruit of our mind and 
heart, form a treasury on which none dare lay hands. 
For instance, if I reveal to a Sister some light given 
me in prayer, and she repeats it later on as though it 
were her own, it seems as though she appropriates 
what is mine. Or, if during recreation someone 
makes an apt and witty remark, which her neighbour 
repeats to the Community, without acknowledging 
whence it came, it is a sort of theft ; and the person who 
originated the remark is naturally inclined to seize the 
first opportunity of delicately insinuating that her 
thoughts have been borrowed. 

I could not so well explain all these weaknesses of 
human nature had I not experienced them. I should 
have preferred to indulge in the illusion that I was the 


The New Commandment 

only one who suffered thus, had you not bidden me 
advise the novices in their difficulties. I have learnt 
much in the discharge of this duty, and especially 
I feel bound to put in practice what I teach. 

I can say with truth that by God s grace I am no 
more attached to the gifts of the intellect than to 
material things. If it happens that a thought of mine 
should please my Sisters, I find it quite easy to let 
them regard it as their own. My thoughts belong 
to the Holy Ghost. They are not mine. St. Paul 
assures us that without the Spirit of Love, we cannot 
call God our Father.^ 

And besides, though far from depreciating those 
beautiful thoughts w 7 hich bring us nearer to God, I 
have long been of opinion that we must be careful 
not to over-estimate their worth. The highest in 
spirations are of no value without good works. It is 
true that others may derive much profit therefrom, 
if they are duly grateful to our Lord for allowing 
them to share in the abundance of one of His privileged 
souls ; but should this privileged soul take pride in 
spiritual wealth, and imitate the Pharisee, she becomes 
like to a hostess dying of starvation at a well-spread 
table, while her guests enjoy the richest fare, and 
perhaps cast envious glances at the possessor of so 
many treasures. 

Verily it is true that God alone can sound the 
heart. How short-sighted are His creatures ! When 
they sec a soul whose lights surpass their own, they 
conclude that the Divine Master loves them less. 
Since when has He lost the right to make use of one 
of His children, in order to supply the others with the 
nourishment they need ? That right was not lost in 
the days of Pharaoh, for God said unto him : " And 
ih crs/ore have I r-.used thet\ that I tuav show My p<wer 
in tbcc, and My name ;/:.:v be spoken oj throughout all the 

Cf. Ron), viii. 15. lixod. ix. 16. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

Generations have passed away since the Most 
High spoke these words, and His ways have not changed. 
He has ever chosen human instruments for the accom 
plishment of His work. 

If an artist s canvas could but think and speak, 
surely it would never complain of being touched and 
re-touched by the brush, nor would it feel envious 
thereof, knowing that all its beauty is due to the artist 
alone. So, too, the brush itself could not boast of the 
masterpiece it had helped to produce, for it must know 
that an artist is never at a loss ; that difficulties do 
but stimulate him ; and that at times it pleases him 
to make use of instruments the most unlikely and 

Dear Mother, I am the little brush that Jesus has 
chosen to paint His likeness in the souls you have con 
fided to my care. Now an artist has several brushes 
two at the least : the first, which is more useful, 
gives the ground tints and rapidly covers the whole 
canvas ; the other, and smaller one, puts in the lesser 
touches. Mother, you represent the big brush which 
our Lord holds lovingly in His Hand when He wishes 
to do some great work in the souls of your children ; 
and I am the little one He deigns to use afterwards, 
to fill in the minor details. 

The first time the Divine Master took up His 
little brush was about December 8, 1892. I shall 
always remember that time as one of special grace. 

When I entered the Carmel, I found in the 
noviciate a companion about eight years older than I 
was. In spite of this difference of age, we became the 
closest friends, and to encourage an affection which 
gave promise of fostering virtue we were allowed to 
converse together on spiritual subjects. My com 
panion charmed me by her innocence and by her open 
and frank disposition, though I was surprised to find 
how her love for you differed from mine ; and besides, 
I regretted many things in her behaviour. But God 


The New Commandment 

had already given me to understand that there are 
souls for whom in His Mercy He waits unweariedly, 
and to whom He gives His light by degrees ; so I was 
very careful not to forestall Him. 

One day when I was thinking over the permission 
we had to talk together, so that we might as our 
holy constitutions tell us incite ourselves more ar 
dently to the love of our Divine Spouse, it came home 
to me sadly that our conversations did not attain the 
desired end ; and I understood that either I must no 
longer fear to speak out, or else I must put an end to 
what was degenerating into mere worldly talk. I 
begged our Lord to inspire me with words, kind and 
convincing ; or better still, to speak Himself for me. 
He heard my prayer, for those zvho look upon Him 
shall be enlightened, l and " to the upright a light is 
risen in the darkness" 2 The first of these texts I apply 
to myself, the other to my companion, who was truly 
upright in heart. 

The next time we met, the poor little Sister saw 
at once that my manner had changed, and, blushing 
deeply, she sat down beside me. I pressed her to my 
heart, and told her gently what was in my mind ; then 
I pointed out to her in what true love consists, and 
proved that in loving her Prioress with such natural 
affection she was in reality loving herself. I confided 
to her the sacrifices of this kind which I had been 
obliged to make at the beginning of my religious life, 
and before long her tears were mingled with mine. 
She admitted very humbly that she was in the wrong 
and that I was right, and, begging me as a favour 
always to point out her faults, she promised to be^in 
a new life. From this time our love for one another 
became truly spiritual ; in us were fulfilled these word 
of the Holy Ghost : " A brother that is helped by his 
brother is like a strong city. 993 

Dear Mother, you know very well that it was not 

1 Cf. Ps. xxxiii. 6. Ps. cxi. 4. ProT xviii. 19. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

my wish to turn my companion away from you, I only 
wanted her to grasp that true love feeds on sacrifice, 
and that in proportion as our souls renounce natural 
enjoyments our affections become stronger and more 

I remember that when I was a postulant I was 
sometimes so violently tempted to seek my own 
satisfaction by having a word with you, that I was 
obliged to hurry past your cell and hold on to the 
banisters to keep myself from turning back. Numer 
ous permissions I wanted to ask, and a hundred pretexts 
for yielding to my desires suggested themselves, but 
now I am truly glad that I did not listen. I already 
enjoy the reward promised to those who fight bravely. 
I no longer feel the need of refusing myself these con 
solations, for my heart is fixed on God. Because it 
has loved Him only, it has grown, little by little, and 
now it can give to those who are dear to Him a far 
deeper and truer love than if it were centred in a 
barren and selfish affection. 

I have told you of the first piece of work which you 
accomplished together with Our Lord by means of the 
little brush, but that was only the prelude to the 
masterpiece which was afterwards to be painted. 
From the moment I entered the sanctuary of souls, 
I saw at a glance that the task was beyond my strength. 
Throwing myself without delay into Our Lord s Arms, 
I imitated those tiny children, who, when they are 
frightened, hide their faces on their father s shoulder, 
and I said : 

" Dear Lord, Thou seest that I am too small to 
feed these little ones, but if through me Thou wilt give 
to each what is suitable, then fill my hands, and with 
out leaving the shelter of Thine Arms, or even turning 
away, I will distribute Thy treasures to the souls 
who come to me asking for food. Should they find 
it to their taste, I shall know that this is due not to me, 
but to Thee ; and if, on the contrary, they find fault 

The New Commandment 

with its bitterness, I shall not be cast down, but try 
to persuade them that it cometh from Thee, while 
taking good care to make no change in it." 

The knowledge that it was impossible to do any 
thing of myself rendered my task easier. My one 
interior occupation was to unite myself more and 
more closely to God, knowing that the rest would be 
given to me over and above. And indeed my hope 
has never been deceived ; I have always found my 
hands filled when sustenance was needed for the souls 
of my Sisters. But had I done otherwise, and relied 
on my own strength, I should very soon have been 
forced to abandon my task. 

From afar it seems so easy to do good to souls, to 
teach them to love God more, and to model them 
according to one s own ideas. But, when we draw 
nearer, we quickly feel that without God s help this 
is quite as impossible as to bring back the sun when once 
it has set. We must forget ourselves, and put aside our 
tastes and ideas, and guide souls not by our own way, 
but along the path which Our Lord points out. Even 
this is not the most difficult part ; what costs me more 
than all is having to observe their faults, their slightest 
imperfections, and wage war against them. 

Unhappily for me I was going to say, but that 
would be cowardly, so I will say happily for my 
Sisters, ever since I placed myself in the Arms of Jesus 
I have been like a watchman on the look-out for the 
enemy from the highest turret of a fortified castle. 
Nothing escapes my vigilance ; indeed, I am sometimes 
surprised at my own clear-sightedness, and I think 
it was quite excusable in the prophet Jonas to fly 
before the face of the Lord, that he might not have 
to announce the ruin of Ninive. Rather than make 
one single reproach, I would prefer to receive a 
thousand, yet I feel it is necessary that the task should 
cause me pain, for if I spoke only through natural 
impulse, then the soul in fault would not understand 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

its defects and would simply think : " This Sister is 
displeased, and her displeasure falls on me although 
I am full of the best intentions." 

But in this, as in all else, I must practise sacrifice 
and self-denial. Even in the matter of writing a 
letter, I feel that it will produce no fruit, unless I am 
disinclined to write, and only do so from obedience. 

When conversing with a novice I am on the watch 
to mortify myself, and I avoid asking questions which 
would satisfy my curiosity. If she begins to speak 
on an interesting subject, and, leaving it unfinished, 
passes on to another that wearies me, I take care not 
to remind her of the interruption, for it seems to me 
that no good can come of self-seeking. 

I know, dear Mother, that your little lambs find 
me severe ; if they were to read these lines, they 
would say that, so far as they can see, it does not dis 
tress me to run after them, and show them how they 
have soiled their beautiful white fleece, or torn it in 
the brambles. Well, the little lambs may say what 
they like in their hearts they know that I love them 
dearly ; there is no fear of my imitating " the hireling 
. . . who seeth the wolj coming and, leaveth the sheep, and 
fiieth." 1 

I am ready to lay down my life for them, and my 
affection is so disinterested that I would not have my 
novices know this. By God s help, I have never tried 
to draw their hearts to myself, for I have always under 
stood that my mission was to lead them to Him and 
to you, dear Mother, who on this earth hold His 
place in their regard, and whom, therefore, they must 
love and respect. 

I said before, that I have learnt much by guiding 
others. In the first place I see that all souls have more 
or less the same battles to fight, and on the other hand, 
that one soul differs widely from another, so each 
must be dealt with differently. With some I must 

* John T. T3. 
1 60 

The New Commandment 

humble myself, and not shrink from acknowledging 
my own struggles and defeats ; then they confess more 
readily the faults into which thev fall, and are pleased 
that . know by experience what they suffer. With 
others, my only means of success is to be firm, and never 
go back on what I have once said ; self-abasement 
would be taken for weakness. 

Our Lord has granted me the grace never to fear 
the conflict ; at all costs I must do my duty. I have 
more than once been told : " If you want me to obey, 
you must be gentle and not severe, otherwise you will 
gain nothing." But no one is a good judge in his own 
case. During a painful operation a child will be sure 
to cry out and say that the remedy is worse than the 
disease ; but if after a few days he is cured, then he is 
greatly delighted that he can run about and play. And 
it is the same with souls : they soon recognise that a 
little bitter is better than too much sweet, and they 
are not afraid to make the acknowledgment. Some 
times the change which takes place from one day to 
another seems almost magical. 

A novice will say to me : " You did well to be 
severe yesterday ; at first I was indignant, but when 
I thought it all over, I saw that you were quite right. 
I left your cell thinking: This ends it. I will tell 
Our Mother that I shall never go to Sceur Therese 
again ; but I knew this was the devil s suggestion, 
and then I felt you were praying for me, and I grew 
calm. I began to see things more clearly, and now I 
come to you for further guidance." 

I am only too happy to follow the dictates of my 
heart and hasten to console with a little sweetness, 
but I <ee that one must not press forward too quickly 
a word r.n, ht undo the work that cost so many tears. 
If I say the least thing which seems to tone down the 
hard truths of the previous day, [ see my little Sifter 
trying to take advantage of the opening thus ^ivcn her. 
At once I have recourse to prayer, I turn to Our Blessed 

161 L 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Lady, and Jesus always triumphs. Verily in prayer 
and sacrifice lies all my strength, they are my invin 
cible arms ; experience has taught me that they touch 
hearts far more easily than words. 

Two years ago, during Lent, a novice came to me 
smiling, and said : " You would never imagine what I 
dreamt last night I thought I was with my sister, 
who is so worldly, and I wanted to withdraw her from 
all vain things ; to this end I explained the words of 
your hymn : 

1 They richly lose who love Thee, dearest Lord ; 
Thine are my perfumes, Thine for evermore. 

I felt that my words sank deep into her soul, and 
I was overjoyed. This morning it seems to me that 
perhaps Our Lord would like me to gain Him this 
soul. How would it do if I wrote at Easter and 
described my dream, telling her that Jesus desires to 
have her for His Spouse ? J: I answered that she 
might certainly ask permission. 

As Lent was not nearly over, you were surprised, 
dear Mother, at such a premature request, and, 
evidently guided by God, you replied that Carmelites 
should save souls by prayer rather than by letters. 
When I heard your decision I said to the little Sister : 
" We must set to work and pray hard ; if our prayers 
are answered at the end of Lent, what a joy it will be ! " 
O Infinite Mercy of our Lord ! At the close of Lent, 
one soul more had given herself to God. It was a 
real miracle of grace a miracle obtained through the 
fervour of a humble novice. 

How wonderful is the power of prayer ! It is like 
unto a queen, who, having free access to the king, 
obtains whatsoever she asks. In order to secure a 
hearing there is no need to recite set prayers com 
posed for the occasion were it so, I ought indeed to 
be pitied ! 


The New Commandment 

Apart from the Divine Office, which in spite of my 
unworthiness is a daily joy, I have not the courage 

to look through books for beautiful prayers. I only 
get a headache because of their number, and besides, 
one is more lovely than another. Unable therefore 
to say them all, and lost in choice, I do as children 
who have not learnt to read I simply tell Our Lord 
all that I want, and He always understands. 

With me prayer is an uplifting of the heart ; a 
glance towards heaven ; a cry of gratitude and love, 
uttered equally in sorrow and in joy. In a word, it is 
something noble, supernatural, which expands my 
soul and unites it to God. Sometimes when I am in 
such a state of spiritual dry ness that not a single good 
thought occurs to me, I say very slowly the " Our 
Father" or the "Hail Alary," and these prayers 
suffice to take me out of myself, and wonderfully 
refresh me. 

But what was I speaking of ? Again I am lost in 
a maze of reflections. Forgive me, dear Mother, 
for wandering thus. My story is like a tangled skein, 
but I fear I can do no better. I write my thoughts 
as they come ; I fish at random in the stream of my 
heart, and offer you all that I catch. 

I was telling you about the novices. They often 
say : " You have an answer for even-thing. This 
time I thought I should puzzle you. Where do you 
find all that you teach us ? : Some are even simple 
enough to think I can read their souls, because at 
times it happens I discover to them without reve 
lation the subject of their thoughts. The senior 
novice had determined to hide from me a great sorrow. 
She spent the night in anguish, keeping back her tears 
lest her eyes might betray her. Yet she came to me 
with a smile next day, seeming even more cheerful 
than usual, and when I said : " You are in trouble, 
I am sure," she looked at me in inexpressible amaze 
ment. Her surprise was so great that it reacted on 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

me, and imparted a sense of the supernatural. I felt 
that God was close to us. Unwittingly for I have 
not the gift of reading souls I had spoken as one 
inspired, and was able to console her completely. 

And now, dear Mother, I wilJ tell you wherein I 
gain most with the novices. You know they are 
allowed without restriction to say anything to me, 
agreeable or the reverse ; this is all the easier since they 
do not owe me the respect due to a Novice-Mistress. 
I cannot say that Our Lord makes me walk in the way 
of exterior humiliation ; He is satisfied with humbling 
me in my inmost soul. In the eyes of creatures all 
is success, and I walk in the dangerous path of honour 
if a religious may so speak. I understand God s 
way and that of my superiors in this respect ; for if 
the Community thought me incapable, unintelligent, 
and wanting in judgment, I could be of no possible 
use to you, dear Mother. This is why the Divine 
Master has thrown a veil over all my shortcomings, 
both interior and exterior. Because of this veil I 
receive many compliments from the novices com 
pliments without flattery, for they really mean what 
they say ; and they do not inspire me with vanity, 
for the remembrance of my weakness is ever before 
me. At times my soul tires of this over-sweet food, 
and I long to hear something other than praise ; then 
Our Lord serves me with a nice little salad, well 
spiced, with plenty of vinegar oil alone is wanting, 
and this it is which makes it more to my taste. And 
the salad is offered to me bv the novices at the moment 
I least expect. God lifts the veil that hides my 
faults, and my dear little Sisters, beholding me as I 
really am, do not find me altogether agreeable. With 
charming simplicity, they tell me how I try them and 
what they dislike in me ; in fact, they are as frank 
as though they were speaking of someone else, for they 
are aware that I am pleased when they act in this way. 

I am more than pleased I am transported with 

The New Commandment 

delight by this splendid banquet set before me. How 
can anything so contrary to our natural inclina 
tions a fiord such extraordinary pleasure ? Had I not 
experienced it, I could not have believed it possible. 

One day, when I was ardently longing for some 
humiliation, a young postulant came to me and sated 
my desire so completely, that I was reminded of the 
occasion when Semei cursed David, and I repeated to 
myself the words of the holy King : " Tea, it is the 
Lord Who hath bidden him say all these things" l In 
this way God takes care of me. He cannot always 
provide that strength-giving bread, exterior humilia 
tions, but from time to time He allows me to eat of 
" the crumbs from the table oj the children." 2 How 
magnificent are His Mercies ! 

Dear Mother, since that Infinite Mercy is the 
subject of this my earthly song, I ought also to dis 
cover to you one real advantage, reaped with many 
others in the discharge of my task. Formerly, if 1 
saw a Sister acting in a way that displeased me, and 
was seemingly contrary to rule, I would think : " Ah, 
how glad I should be if only I could warn her and 
point out where she is wrong." Since, however, this 
burden has been laid upon me my ideas have changed, 
and when I happen to see something not quite right, 
I say with a sigh of relief: "Thank God! it is not 
a novice, and I am not obliged to correct " ; and at 
once I try to find excuses, and credit the doer with 
the good intentions she no doubt possesses. 

Your devotedness, dear Mother, now that I am 
ill, has also taught me many a lesson of charity. \<> 
remedy is too costly, and if one does not succeed, 
you unhesitatingly try something new. When I 
am present at recreation, how careful you are to 
shield me from draughts. I feel that I oii-ht to be 
as compassionate for the spiritual infirmities of my 
Sisters as you are for my bodily ills. 

1 Q. -2 Ki:n;s xvi. 10. vii. 28. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I have noticed that it is the holiest nuns who are 
most deeply loved ; everyone is anxious to seek their 
company, and do them service, without even being 
asked. These very souls who are well able to bear 
with want of affection and little attentions are always 
surrounded by an atmosphere of love. Our Father, 
St. John of the Cross, says with great truth : " All 
good things have come unto me, since I no longer 
sought them for myself." 

Imperfect souls, on the contrary, are left alone. 
They are treated, it is true, with the measure of polite 
ness which religious life demands ; yet their company 
is avoided, lest a word might be said which would 
hurt their feelings. When I say imperfect souls, 
I am not referring to souls with spiritual imperfections 
only, for the holiest souls will not be perfect till they 
are in heaven. I mean those who are also afflicted 
with want of tact and refinement, as well as ultra 
sensitive souls. I know such defects are incurable, 
but I also know how patient you would be, in nursing 
and striving to relieve me, were my illness to last for 
many years. 

From all this I draw the conclusion : I ought to 
seek the companionship of those Sisters towards whom 
I feel a natural aversion, and try to be their good 
Samaritan. A word or a smile is often enough to put 
fresh life in a despondent soul. And yet it is not 
merely in the hope of giving consolation that I try 
to be kind. If it were, I know that I should soon 
be discouraged, for well-intentioned words are often 
totally misunderstood. Consequently, not to lose my 
time or labour, I try to act solely to please Our 
Lord, and follow this precept of the Gospel : " When 
thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends 
or thy brethren, lest perhaps they also invite thee again 
and a recompense be made to thee. But when thou 
makest a j east, call the poor, the maimed, the blind, and 
the lame, and thou shalt be blessed, because they have 


The New Commandment 

naught wherewith to make thee recompense, and thy Father 
Who seeth in secret will repay thee." 1 

What feast can I offer my Sisters but a spiritual 
one of sweet and joyful charity ! I know none other, 
and I wish to imitate St. Paul, who rejoiced with those 
who rejoiced. It is true that he wept with those who 
wept, and at my feast, too, the tears must sometimes 
fall, still I shall always try to change them into smiles, 
for "God loveth a cheerful giver" 2 

I remember an act of charity with which God 
inspired me while I was still a novice, and this act, 
though seemingly small, has been rewarded even in 
this life by Our Heavenly Father, " Who seeth in 


Shortly before Sister St. Peter became quite bed 
ridden, it was necessary every evening, at ten minutes 
to six, for someone to leave meditation and take her 
to the refectory. It cost me a good deal to offer my 
services, for I knew the difficulty, or I should say the 
impossibility, of pleasing the poor invalid. But I 
did not want to lose such a good opportunity, for I 
recalled Our Lord s words : " As long as you did it 
to one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me" 3 
I therefore humbly offered my aid. It was not with 
out difficulty I induced her to accept it, but after 
considerable persuasion I succeeded. Every evening, 
when I saw her shake her sand-glass, I understood 
that she meant : " Let us go ! " Summoning up all 
my courage I rose, and the ceremony began. First 
of all, her stool had to be moved and carried in a 
particular way, and on no account must there be any 
hurry. The solemn procession ensued. I had to 
follow the good Sister, supporting her by her girdle ; 
I did it as gently as possible, but if by some mischance 
she stumbled, she imagined I had not a firm hold, 
and that she was going to fall. " You are going too 
fast," she would say, " I shall fall and hurt myself ! " 

1 Cf. Luke xiv. 12, 13, 14. 2 2 Cor. ix. 7. Matt. xxv. 40. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

Then when I tried to lead her more quietly : " Come 
quicker ... I cannot feel you . . . you are letting 
me go ! I was right when I said you were too young 
to take care of me." 

When we reached the refectory without further 
mishap, more troubles were in store. I had to settle 
my poor invalid in her place, taking great pains not 
to hurt her. Then I had to turn back her sleeves, 
always according to her own special rubric, and after 
this I was allowed to go. 

But I soon noticed that she found it very difficult 
to cut her bread, so I did not leave her till I had per 
formed this last service. She was much touched by 
this attention on my part, for she had not expressed 
any wish on the subject ; it was by this unsought- 
for kindness that I gained her entire confidence, and 
chiefly because as I learnt later at the end of my 
humble task I bestowed upon her my sweetest smile. 

Dear Mother, it is long since all this happened, but 
Our Lord allows the memory of it to linger with me 
like a perfume from Heaven. One cold winter even 
ing, I was occupied in the lowly work of which I have 
just spoken, when suddenly I heard in the distance 
the harmonious strains of music outside the convent 
walls. I pictured a drawing-room, brilliantly lighted 
and decorated, and richly furnished. Young ladies, 
elegantly dressed, exchanged a thousand compliments, 
as is the way of the world. Then I looked on the 
poor invalid I was tending. Instead of sweet music 
I heard her complaints, instead of rich gilding I saw 
the brick walls of our bare cloister, scarcely visible in 
the dim light. The contrast was very moving. Our 
Lord so illuminated my soul with the rays of truth, 
before which the pleasures of the world are but as 
darkness, that for a thousand years of such worldly 
delights, I would not have bartered even the ten 
minutes spent in my act of charity. 

If even now, in days of pain and amid the smoke 
1 68 

The New Commandment 

of battle, the thought that God has withdrawn us from 
the world is so entrancing, what will it be when in 
eternal glory and everlasting repose, we realise the 
favour beyond compare He has done us here, by 
singling us out to dwell in His Carmel, the very 
portal of Heaven ? 

I have not always felt these transports of joy in 
performing acts of charity, but at the beginning of my 
religious life Jesus wished to make me feel how sweet 
to Him is charity, when found in the hearts of his 
Spouses. Thus when I led Sister St. Peter, it was with 
so much love that I could not have shown more were 
I guiding Our Divine Lord Himself. 

The practice of charity has not always been so 
pleasant as I have just pointed out, dear Mother, 
and to prove it I will recount some of my many 


For a long time my place at meditation was near 
a Sister who fidgeted continually, either with her 
Rosary, or something else ; possibly, as I am very 
quick of hearing, I alone heard her, but I cannot tell 
you how much it tried me. I should have liked to 
turn round, and by looking at the offender, make 
her stop the noise ; but in my heart I knew that I 
ought to bear it tranquilly, both for the love of God 
and to avoid giving pain. So I kept quiet, but the 
cilort cost me so much that sometimes I was bathed 
in perspiration, and my meditation consisted merely 
in suffering with patience. After a time I tried to 
endure it in peace and joy, at least deep down in my 
soul, and I strove to take actual pleasure in the dis 
agreeable little noise. Instead of trying not to hear 
it, which was impossible, I set myself to listen, as 
though it had been some delightful music, and mv 
meditation which was not the kv prayer of quiet " 
was passed in offering thi; mu.-ic to Our Lord. 

Another time 1 wa^ working in the laundry, and 
the Sister opposite, while washing handkerchiefs, 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

repeatedly splashed me with dirty water. My first 
impulse was to draw back and wipe my face, to show 
the offender I should be glad if she would behave 
more quietly ; but the next minute I thought how 
foolish it was to refuse the treasures God offered me 
so generously, and I refrained from betraying my 
annoyance. On the contrary, I made such efforts 
to welcome the shower of dirty water, that at the end 
of half an hour I had taken quite a fancy to this novel 
kind of aspersion, and I resolved to come as often as I 
could to the happy spot where such treasures were 
freely bestowed. 

Dear Mother, you see that I am a very little soul, 
who can only offer very little things to Our Lord. 
It still happens that I frequently let slip the occasion 
of these slender sacrifices, which bring so much peace, 
but this does not discourage me ; I bear the loss of a 
little peace, and I try to be more watchful for the 

How happy does Our Lord make me, and how 
sweet and easy is His service on this earth ! He has 
always given me what I desired, or rather He has 
made me desire what He wishes to give. A short 
time before my terrible temptation against Faith, I 
had reflected how few exterior trials, worthy of 
mention, had fallen to my lot, and that if I were to 
have interior trials, God must change my path ; and 
this I did not think He would do. Yet I could not 
always live at ease. Of what means, then, would He 
make use ? 

I had not long to wait for an answer, and it showed 
me that He whom I love is never at a loss, for without 
changing my way, He sent me this great trial ; and 
thus mingled a healing bitterness with all the sweet. 




IT is not only when He is about to send me some 
trial that Our Lord gives me warning and 
awakens my desire for it. For years I had 
cherished a longing which seemed impossible 
of realisation to have a brother a Priest. I often 
used to think that if my little brothers had not gone 
to Heaven, I should have had the happiness of seeing 
them at the Altar. I greatly regretted being de 
prived of this joy. Yet God went beyond my dream ; 
I only asked for one brother who would remember 
me each day at the Holy Altar, and He has united 
me in the bonds of spiritual friendship with two of 
His apostles. I should like to tell you, dear Mother, 
how Our Divine Master fulfilled my desire. 

In 1898 our holy Mother, St. Teresa, sent my 
first brother as a gift for my feast. It was washing 
day, and I was busy at my work, when Mother Agnes 
of Jesus, then Prioress, called me aside and read me a 
letter from a young Seminarist, in which he said he had 
been inspired by St. Teresa to ask for a sister who would 
devote herself specially to his salvation, and to the 
salvation of his future flock. He promised always 
to remember this spiritual sister when saying Mass, 
and the choice fell upon me. Dear Mother, I cannot 
tell you how happy this made me. Such unlooked- 
for fulfillment of my desire awoke in my heart the 
joy of a child ; it carried me back to those early days, 
when pleasures were so keen, that my heart seemed 
too small to contain them. Years had passed since 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

I had tasted a like happiness, so fresh, so unfamiliar, 
as if forgotten chords had been stirred within me. 

Fully aware of my obligations, I set to work, and 
strove to redouble my fervour. Now and again I 
wrote to my new brother. Undoubtedly, it is by 
prayer and sacrifice that we can help our missionaries, 
but sometimes, when it pleases Our Lord to unite two 
souls for His Glory, He permits them to communicate 
their thoughts, and thus inspire each other to love 
God more. Of course an express command from 
those in authority is needed for this, otherwise, it 
seems to me, that such a correspondence would do 
more harm than good, if not to the missionary, at 
least to the Carmelite, whose manner of life tends 
to continual introversion. This exchange of letters, 
though rare, would occupy her mind uselessly ; in 
stead of uniting her to God, she would perhaps fancy 
she was doing wonders, when in reality, under cover 
of zeal, she was doing nothing but producing needless 
distraction. And here am I, launched, not upon a 
distraction, but upon a dissertation equally super 
fluous. I shall never be able to correct myself of 
these lengthy digressions, which must be so wearisome 
to you, dear Mother. Forgive me, should I offend 

Last year, at the end of May, it was your turn to 
give me my second brother, and when I represented 
that, having given all my merits to one future apostle, 
I feared they could not be given to another, you told 
me that obedience would double their value. In the 
depths of my heart I thought the same thing, and, 
since the zeal of a Carmelite ought to embrace the 
whole world, I hope, with God s help, to be of use to 
even more than two missionaries. I pray for all, not 
forgetting our Priests at home, whose ministry is 
quite as difficult as that of the missionary preaching 
to the heathen. ... In a word, I wish to be a true 
daughter of the Church, like our holy Mother St. 


A Canticle of Love 

Teresa, and pray for all the intentions of Christ s 
Vicar. That is the one great aim of my life. But 
just as I should have had a special interest in my little 
brothers had the\ lived, and that, without neglecting 
the general interests of the Church, so now, I unite 
myself in a special way to the new brothers whom 
|esus has given me. Ah 1 that I possess is theirs also. 
God is too good to give by halves ; He is so rich that 
He gives me all I ask for, even though I do not lose 
myself in lengthy enumerations. As I have two 
brothers and my little sisters, the novices, the days 
would be too short were I to ask in detail for the 
needs of each soul, and I fear I might forget something 
important. Simple souls cannot understand com 
plicated methods, and, as I am one of their number, 
Our Lord has inspired me with a very simple way of 
fulfilling my obligations. One day, after Holy Com 
munion, He made me understand these words of the 
Canticles : " Draw me : we will run after Thee to the 
odour of Thy ointments." O my Jesus, there is no 
need to say : " In drawing me, draw also the souls 
that I love " : these words, " Draw me" suffice. 
When a soul has let herself be taken captive by the 
inebriating odour of Thy perfumes, she cannot run 
alone ; as a natural consequence of her attraction 
towards Thee, the souls of all those she loves are drawn 
in her train. 

Just as a torrent carries into the depths of the sea 
all that it meets on its way, so, my Jesus, does the soul 
who plunges into the shoreless ocean of Thy Love 
bring with it ah 1 its treasures. My treasures are the 
souls it has pleased Thee to unite with mine ; Thou 
hast confided them to me, and therefore I do not fear 
to use Thy own words, uttered by Thee on the last 
ni^ht that saw Thee still a traveller on this earth. 
Jesus my Beloved ! I know not when my exile will have 
an end. Many a night I may yet sing Thy Mercies 

i Can . !. 3 . 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

here below, but for me also will come the last night, 
and then I shall be able to say : 

" / have glorified Thee upon earth : I have finished the work 
which Thou gavest me to do. I have manifested Thy name to the 
men whom Thou hast given me out of the world. Thine they were, 
and to me Thou gavest them ; and they have kept Thy word. 
Now they have known that all things which Thou hast given me 
are from Thee ; because the words which Thou gavest me I have 
given to them ; and they have received them, and have known for 
certain that I came forth from Thee, and they have believed that 
Thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, 
but for them whom Thou hast given me, because they are Thine. 
And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine ; and I am glorified 
in them. And now I am no more in the world, and these are in 
the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy 
name, whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we also 
are one. And now I come to Thee, and these things I speak in 
the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves. I do not 
ask that Thou take them away out of the world, but that Thou 
preserve them from evil. They are not of the world, as I also 
am not of the world. And not for them only do I pray, but for 
those also who through their word shall believe in me. Father, I 
will that where I am they also whom Thou hast given me may be 
with me, that they may see my glory which Thou hast given me, 
because Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world. 
And I have made known Thy name unto them, and will make it 
kno^un, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in 
them and I in them." ! 

Yea, Lord, thus would I repeat Thy words, before 
losing myself in Thy loving embrace. Perhaps it is 
daring, but, for a long time, hast Thou not allowed me 
to be daring with Thee ? Thou hast said to me, 
as the Prodigal s father to his elder son : " All I 
have is thine" And therefore I may use Thy very 
own words to draw down favours from Our Heavenly 
Father on all who are dear to me. 

My God, Thou knowest that I have ever desired 
to love Thee alone. It has been my only ambition. 
Thy love has gone before me, even from the days of 

1 Cf. John xvi . 2 L u k e xv. 31. 


A Canticle of Love 

my childhood. It has grown with my growth, and 
now it is an abyss whose depths I cannot fathom. 

Love attracts love ; mine darts towards Thee, and 
would fain make the abyss brim over, but alas ! it 
is not even as a dewdrop in the ocean. To love Thee 
as Thou loves t me, I must make Thy Love mine own. 
Thus alone can I find rest. O my Jesus, it seems 
to me that Thou couldst not have overwhelmed a 
soul with more love than Thou hast poured out on 
mine, and that is why I dare ask Thee to love those 
Thou hast given me, even as Thou lovest me. 

If, in Heaven, I find that Thou lovest them more 
than Thou lovest me, I shall rejoice, for I acknowledge 
that their deserts are greater than mine, but now, 
I can conceive no love more vast than that with which 
Thou hast favoured me, without any merit on my part. 

Dear Mother, what I have just written amazes me. 
I had no intention of writing it. When I said : " The 
words which Thou gavest me I have given unto them,* 
I was thinking only of my little sisters in the novi 
ciate. I am not able to teach missionaries, and the 
words I wrote for them were from the prayer of Our 
Lord : " I do not ask that Thou shouldst take them out 
of the world ; I pray also for them who through their word 
shall believe in Thee." 

How could I forget those souls they are to win by 
their sufferings and exhortations ? 

But I have not told you all my thoughts on this 
passage of the Sacred Canticles : " Draw me we will 
run ! Our Lord has said : " No man can come to 
Me except the Father Who hath sent Me, draw kitn" : 
and later He tells us that whosoever seeks shall find, 
whosoever asks shall receive, that unto him that k?:ocks 
it shall be opened, and He adds that whatever we a.-k 
the Father in His Name shall be given us. It was 
no doubt for this reason that, long before the birth 

1 John vi. 44. 

Sosur Therese of Lisieux 

of Our Lord, the Holy Spirit dictated these prophetic 
words: " Draw me we will run!" By asking to be 
drawn, we desire an intimate union with the object of 
our love. If iron and fire were endowed with reason, and 
the iron could say: " Draw me ! " would not that prove 
its desire to be identified with the fire to the point 
of sharing its substance ? Well, this is precisely my 
prayer. I asked Jesus to draw me into the Fire of His 
love, and to unite me so closely to Himself that He may 
live and act in me. I feel that the more the fire of 
love consumes my heart, so much the more shall I say : 
" Draw me I " and the more also will souls who draw 
near me run swiftly in the sweet odour oj the Beloved. 

Yes, they will run we shall all run together, for 
souls that are on fire can never be at rest. They may 
indeed, like St. Mary Magdalen, sit at the feet of Jesus, 
listening to His sweet and burning words, but, though 
they seem to give Him nothing, they give much 
more than Martha, who busied herself about many 
things. It is not Martha s work that Our Lord 
blames, but her over-solicitude ; His Blessed Mother 
humbly occupied herself in the same kind of work 
when she prepared the meals for the Holy Family. 
All the Saints have understood this, especially those 
who have illumined the earth with the light of Christ s 
teaching, Was it not from prayer that St. Paul, 
St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the 
Cross, St. Teresa, and so many other friends of God 
drew that wonderful science which has enthralled 
the loftiest minds. 

" Give me a lever and a fulcrum on which to lean 
it," said Archimedes, " and I will lift the world." 

What he could not obtain because his request had 
only a material end, without reference to God, the 
Saints have obtained in all its fulness. They lean 
on God Almighty s power itself and their lever is the 
prayer that inflames with love s fire. With this lever 
they have raised the world with this lever the Saints 

A Canticle of Love 

of the Church Militant still raise it, and will raise it 
to the end of time. 

Dear Mother, I have still to tell you what I under 
stand by the sweet odour of the Beloved. As Our Lord 
is now in Heaven, I can only follow Him by the foot 
prints He has left footprints full of life, full of fra 
grance. I have only to open the Holy Gospels and at 
once I breathe the perfume of Jesus, and then I know 
which way to run ; and it is not to the first place, 
but to the last, that I hasten. I leave the Pharisee 
to go up, and full of confidence I repeat the humble 
prayer of the Publican. Above all I follow Magdalen, 
for the amazing, rather I should say, the " loving 
audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has cast 
its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been 
preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to 
God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my 
conscience every crime one could commit, I should 
lose nothing of my confidence : my heart broken with 
sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my 
Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I 
have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the 
woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. 
No one^could frighten me, for I know what to believe 
concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that 
all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, 
even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace. 

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert 
how one of them converted a public sinner, whose 
evil deeds were the scandal or the whole country. 
This wicked woman, touched by grace, followed the 
Saint into the descr.:, there to perform rigorous 
penance. But on the first night of the journey, before 
even reaching the place of her retirement, the bonds 
that bound her to earth were broken by the vehe 
mence^ of her loving sorrow. The holv inan, at the 
same instant, saw her soul borne by Angels to tin 
Bosom of God. 

J 77 M 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

This is a striking example of what I want to 
say, but these things cannot be expressed. Dearest 
Mother, if weak and imperfect souls like mine felt 
what I feel, none would despair of reaching the summit 
of the Mountain of Love, since Jesus does not ask for 
great deeds, but only for gratitude and self-surrender. 

He says : " / will not take the he-goats from out of 
thy flocks, for all the beasts of the forests are mine, the 
cattle on the hills and the oxen. I know all the fowls 
of the air. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee, for 
the world is Mine, and the fulness thereof. Shall I eat 
the flesh of bullocks, or shall I drink the blood of goats ? 
Offer to God the sacrifice of -praise and thanksgiving" l 

This is all Our Lord claims from us. He has 
need of our love He has no need of our works. The 
same God, Who declares that He has no need to tell 
us if He be hungry, did not disdain to beg a little water 
from the Samaritan woman. He was athirst, but when 
He said : " Give me to drink," 2 He, the Creator of the 
Universe, asked for the love of His creature. He 
thirsted for love. 

And this thirst of Our Divine Lord was ever on 
the increase. Amongst the disciples of the world, He 
meets with nothing but indifference and ingratitude, 
and alas ! among His own, how few hearts surrender 
themselves without reserve to the infinite tenderness 
of His Love. Happy are we who are privileged to 
understand the inmost secrets of Our Divine Spouse. 
If you, dear Mother, w 7 ould but set down in writing 
all you know, what wonders could you not unfold ! 

But, like Our Blessed Lady, you prefer to kee-p all 
these things in your heart? To me you say that " It is 
honourable to reveal and confess the works of God" 
Yet you are right to keep silence, for no earthly 
words can convey the secrets of Heaven. 

As for me, in spite of all I have written, I have not 
as yet begun. I see so many beautiful horizons, such 

1 Ps. xlix. 9-14. r John iv. 7. 3 Cf. Luke ii. 19. * Tob. xii. 7. 


A Canticle of Love 

infinitely varied tints, that the palette of the Divine 
Painter will alone, after the darkness of this life, be 
able to supply me with the colours wherewith I may 
portray the wonders that my soul descries. Since, 
however, you have expressed a desire to penetrate 
into the hidden sanctuary of my heart, and to have in 
writing what was the most consoling dream of my life, 
I will end this story of my soul, by an act of obedience. 
If you will allow me, it is to Jesus I will address myself, 
tor in this way I shall speak more easily. You mav 
find my expressions somewhat exaggerated, but I 
assure you there is no exaggeration in my heart there 
all is calm and peace. 

O my Jesus, who can say how tenderly and gently 
Thou dost lead my soul ! The storm had raged 
there ever since Easter, the glorious feast of Thy 
triumph, until, in the month of May, there shone 
through the darkness of my night one bright ray of 
grace. . . . My mind dwelt on mysterious dreams 
sent sometimes to Thy favoured ones, and I thought 
how such a consolation was not to be mine that for 
me, it was night, always the dark night. And in the 
midst of the storm I fell asleep. The following day, 
May 10, just at dawn, I dreamt that I was walking 
in a gallery alone with Our Mother. Suddenly, 
without knowing how they had entered, I perceived 
three Carmelites, in mantles and long veils, and I 
knew that they came from Heaven. " Ah ! " I 
thought, " how glad I should be if I could but look 
on the face of one of the^e Carmelites ! " And, as 
if my wish had been heard, I saw the tallest of the 
three Saints advance towards me. An inexpressible 
joy took possession of me as she raised her veil, and 
then covered me with it. 

At once I recognised our Venerable Mother, Anne 
of Jesus, foundress of the Carmel in France. 1 Her 

1 The Vt-nerahle Mother Ann^ of Je-,u., in the world, Ani.r of Lot^i.i -wus 
ho, n in Spain in TC.JI;. She entered th; < nrmelitr Ord-T in i;~o in the first 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

face was beautiful with an unearthly beauty ; no rays 
came from it, and yet, in spite of the thick veil which 
enveloped us, I could see it suffused by a soft light, 
which seemed to emanate from her heavenly coun 
tenance. She caressed me tenderly, and seeing myself 
the object of such affection, I made bold to say : 
" Dear Mother, I entreat you, tell me, will Our Lord 
leave me much longer in this world ? Will He not 
soon come to fetch me ? " She smiled sweetly, and 
answered, " Yes, soon . . . very soon ... I promise 
you." " Dear Mother," I asked again, " tell me if 
He does not want more from me than these poor 
little acts and desires that I offer Him. Is He 
pleased with me ? " Then our Venerable Mother s 
face shone with a new splendour, and her expression 
became still more gracious : " The Good God asks no 
more of you, 5 she said, " He is pleased, quite pleased," 
and, taking my head between her hands, she kissed me 
so tenderly that it would be impossible to describe 
the joy I felt. My heart was overflowing with glad 
ness, and, remembering my Sisters, I was about to 
beseech some favour for them, when, alas ! I awoke. 
My happiness was too great for words. Many months 
have passed since I had this wonderful dream, and yet 
its memory is as fresh and delightful as ever. I can 
still picture the loving smiles of this holy Carmelite 
and feel her fond caresses. O Jesus ! " Thou didst 
command the winds and the storm, and, there came a 
great calm" 

convent of St. Joseph of Avila, and shortly afterwards became the counsellor and 
coadjutor of St. Teresa, who called her, "her daughter and her crown." St. 
John of the Cross, who was her spiritual director for fourteen years, described her 
as " a seraph incarnate," and her prudence and sanctity were held in such esteem 
that the most learned men consulted her in their doubts, and accepted her 
answers as oracles. She was always faithful to the spirit of St. Teresa, and had 
received from Heaven the mission to re. tore the Carrnel to its primitive perfection. 
Having founded three convents of the Reform in Spain, she established one in 
France, and another in Belgium. She died in the odour of sanctity in the G .rmel 
of Brussels on March 4, 1621. On Mays, l8 7 8 . Hi s Holiness Pope Leo XUf 
signed the Decree introducing the Cause of her Beatification. 
1 Matt, viii. 10. 

I 80 

A Canticle of Love 

On waking, 1 realised that Heaven does indeed 
cxbt, and that this Heaven is peopled with souls who 
cherish me as their child, and this impression still re 
mains with me all the sweeter, because, up to that 
time, I had but little devotion to the Venerable 
Mother Anne of Jesus. I had never sought her help, 
and but rarely heard her name. And now I know and 
understand how constantly I \va> in her thoughts 
and the knowledge adds to my love for her and for all 
the clear ones in my Father s Home. 

O my Beloved ! this was but the prelude of graces 
vet greater which Thou didst desire to heap upon me. 
Let me remind Thee of them to-day, and forgive mv 
lolly if I venture to tell Thee once more of my hopes, 
and my heart s well nigh infinite longings forgive 
me and grant my desire, that it may be well with my 
soul. To be Thy Spouse, O my Jesus, to be a daughter 
of Carmel, and by my union with Thee to be the 
mother of soul;, should not all this content me ? 
And yet other vocations make themselves felt I feel 
called to the Priesthood and to the Apostolate I 
would be- a Martyr, a Doctor of the Cliurch. I should 
like to accomplish the most heroic deeds the spirit OL 
the Crusader burns within me, and I long to die on the 
held of battle in defence of Holy Church. 

The vocation of a Priest ! With what love, my 
Jesus, would I bear Thee in mv hand, \\licn my words 
brought Thee down from Heaven! With what love 
would I give Thcc to souls ! And yet, while lonirinii 
to be a Priest, I admire and envv the humiluv of St. 
Francis of Assisi, and am drawn to imitate him by 
refusing the sublime dignity of the Priesthood. How 
reconcile these opposite tendencies ? 

Like the Prophets and Doctors, 1 would be a li^lit 
unto souls, I would travel to every land to preach Thy 
name, O my Beloved, and rai>e on heal hen soil the 

1 St. !>; . M>-is r-f A?Msi, out of humility, refused t ) accept * su!;!ime !i; nity 
c.f the Priesthood, ar. 1 remained .1 1 Vac -n until hh r!:\uh. [F.:>. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

glorious standard of Thy Cross. One mission alone 
would not satisfy my longings. I would spread the 
Gospel to the ends of the earth, even to the most 
distant isles. I would be a Missionary, not for a few 
years only, but, were it possible, from the beginning 
of the world till the consummation of time. Above 
all, I thirst for the Martyr s crown. It was the desire 
of my earliest days, and the desire has deepened with 
the years passed in the Carmel s narrow cell. But 
this too is folly, since I do not sigh for one torment ; 
I need them all to slake my thirst. Like Thee, O 
Adorable Spouse, I would be scourged, I would be 
crucified ! I would be flayed like St. Bartholomew, 
plunged into boiling oil like St. John, or, like St. 
Ignatius of Antioch, ground by the teeth of wild 
beasts into a bread worthy of God. 1 

With St. Agnes and St. Cecilia I would offer my 
neck to the sword of the executioner, and like Joan 
of Arc I would murmur the name of Jesus at the 

My heart thrills at the thought of the frightful 
tortures Christians are to surfer at the time of Anti- 
Christ, and I long to undergo them all. Open, O 
Jesus, the Book of Life, in which are written the deeds 
of Thy Saints : all the deeds told in that book I long 
to have accomplished for Thee. To such folly as 
this what answer wilt Thou make ? Is there on the 
face of this earth a soul more feeble than mine ? And 
yet, precisely because I am feeble, it has delighted 
Thee to accede to my least and most child-like 
desires, and to-day it is Thy good pleasure to realise 
those other desires, more vast than the Universe. 
These aspirations becoming a true martyrdom, I 
opened, one day, the Epistles of St. Paul to seek relief 
in my sufferings. My eyes fell on the I2th and I3th 

1 An allusion to the beautiful words of the martyr St. Ignatius of Antioch, 
uttered when he heard the roar of the lions in the Roman arena. " I am the 
wheat of Christ ; let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may 
become clean bread." [Eo.] 


A Canticle of Love 

chapters of the First Kpistle to the Corinthians. I read 
that all cannot become Apostles, Prophets, and Doctors ; 
that the Church is composed of diilerent members ; 
that the eye cannot also be the hand. The answer 
was clear, but it did not fulfil my desires, or give to 
me the peace I sought. " Then descending into the 
depths of my nothingness, I was so lifted up that 1 reached 

my aim." 

Without being discouraged I read on, and found 
comfort in this counsel : " Be zealous for the better 
gifts. And I show unto you a yet more excellent way" 
The Apostle then explains how all perfect gifts are 
nothing without Love, that Charity is the most 
excellent way of going surely to God. At last I had 
found rest. 

Meditating on the mystical Body of Holy Church, 
I could not recognise myself among any of its members 
as described by St. Paul, or was it not rather that I 
wished to recognise myself in all ? Charity provided 
me with the key to my vocation. I understood that 
since the Church is a body composed of different 
members, the noblest and most important of all the 
organs would not be wanting. I knew that the Church 
has a heart, that this heart burns with love, and that 
it is love alone which gives life to its members. I 
knew that if this love were extinguished, the Apostles 
would no longer preach the Gospel, and the Martyrs 
would refuse to shed their blood. I understood that 
love embraces all vocations, that it is all things, and 
that it reaches out through all the ages, and to the 
uttermost limits of the earth, because it is eternal. 

Then, beside myself with joy, I cried out : " O 
Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation. 
My vocation is love ! Yes, I have found my place 
in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my 
God, Thou hast Thyself given to me : in the heart 
of the Church, my Mother, 1 will be LOVE ! . . . Thus 

i St. John of the Cross. a i Cor. xii. 31. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I shall be all things : thus will my dream be 
realised. ..." 

Why do I say I am beside myself with joy ? This 
does not convey my thought. Rather is it peace 
which has become my portion the calm peace of the 
sailor when he catches sight of the beacon which 
lights him to port. O luminous Beacon of Love ! 
I know how to come even unto Thee, I have found 
the means of borrowing Thy Fires. 

I am but a weak and helpless child, yet it is my 
very weakness which makes me dare to offer myself, 
O Jesus, as victim to Thy Love. 

In olden days pure and spotless holocausts alone 
were acceptable to the Omnipotent God. Nor could 
His ^ Justice be appeased, save by the most perfect 
sacrifices. But the law of fear has given place to the 
law of love, and Love has chosen me, a weak and im 
perfect creature, as its victim. Is not such a choice 
worthy of God s Love ? Yea, for in order that Love 
may be fully satisfied, it must stoop even unto nothing 
ness, and must transform that nothingness into fire. O 
my God, I know it " Love is repaid by love alone" 1 
Therefore I have sought, I have found, how to ease 
my heart, by rendering Thee love for love. 

Use the riches that make men unjust, to find, yoio 
friends who may receive you into everlasting dwellings" 2 
This, O Lord, is the advice Thou gavest to Thy disciples 
after complaining that " the children of this world are 
wiser in their generation than the children of light." 3 

Child of light, as I am, I understood that my 
desires to be all things, and to embrace all vocations, 
were riches that might well make me unjust ; so I set 
to work to use them for the making of friends. Mind 
ful of the prayer of Eliseus when he asked the Prophet 
Elias for his double spirit, I presented myself before 
the company of the Angels and Saints and addressed 
them thus : " I am the least of all creatures. I know 

1 St. John of the Cross. a Cf. Luke xvi. 9. Luke xvi, 8. 


A Canticle of Love 

my mean cst.ite, but I kno\v that noble and generous 
hearts love to do good. Therefore, O Blessed Inhabi 
tants ol the Celestial City, I entreat you to adopt me as 
your child. All the glory that you help me to acquire, 
will be yours ; only deign to hear my prayer, and 
obtain lor me a double portion of the love of God." 

O my God ! I cannot measure the extent of my 
request, 1 should fear to be crushed by the very weight 
oi its auda:ity. I\ly only excuse is mv claim to child 
hood, and that children do not grasp the full meaning 
of their words. Yet if a father or mother were on the 
throne and possessed vast treasures, they would not 
hesitate to grant the desires of those little ones, more 
dear to them than life itself. To give them pleasure 
they will stoop even unto folly. 

Well, I am a child of Holy Church, and the Church 
is a Queen, because she is now espoused to the Divine 
King of Kings. I ask not for riches or glory, not even 
the glory of Heaven that belongs by right to my 
brothers the Angels and Saints, and my own glory 
shall be the radiance that streams from the queenly 
brow of my Mother, the Church. Nay, I ask for 
Love. To love Thee, Jesus, is now my only desire. 
Great deeds are not for me ; I cannot preach the Gospel 
or shed my blood. No matter ! My brothers work 
in my stead, and I, a little child, stay close to the 
throne, and love Thee for all who are in the strife. 

But how shall 1 show my love, since love proves 
itself by deeds ? Well ! the little child will strew 
flowers . . . she will embalm the Divine Throne with 
their fragrance, she will sing Love s Canticle in silvery 
tones. Yea, my Beloved, it is thus my short life shall 
be spent in Thy sight. The only way I have of 
proving my love is to strew flowers before Thee that 
is to say, I will let no tiny sacrifice pass, no look, no 
word. I wish to profit by the smallest actions, and 
to do them for Love. 1 wish to suiler for Love s 
sake, and for Love s sake even to rejoice : thus shall 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without scatter 
ing its petals before Thee . . . and I will sing ... I 
will sing always, even if my roses must be gathered 
from amidst thorns ; and the longer and sharper the 
thorns, the sweeter shall be my song. 

But of what avail to thee, my Jesus, are my flowers 
and my songs ? I know it well : this fragrant shower, 
these delicate petals of little price, these songs of ]ove 
from a poor little heart like mine, will nevertheless 
be pleasing unto Thee. Trifles they are, but Thou 
wilt smile on them. The Church Triumphant, stoop 
ing towards her child, will gather up these scattered 
rose leaves, and, placing them in Thy Divine Hands, 
there to acquire an infinite value, will shower them on 
the Church Suffering to extinguish its flames, and on 
the Church Militant to obtain its victory. 

O my Jesus, I love Thee ! I love my Mother, the 
Church ; I bear in mind that " the least act of <pure love 
is of more value to her than all other works together" 

But is this pure love really in my heart? Are not 
my boundless desires but dreams but foolishness ? 
If this be so, I beseech Thee to enlighten me ; Thou 
knowest I seek but the truth. If my desires be rash, 
then deliver me from them, and from this most 
grievous of all martyrdoms. And yet I confess, if I 
reach not those heights to which my soul aspires, 
this very martyrdom, this foolishness, will have been 
sweeter to me than eternal bliss will be, unless by a 
miracle Thou shouldst take from me all memory of the 
hopes I entertained upon earth. Jesus, Jesus ! if the 
mere desire of Thy Love awakens such delight, what 
will it be to possess it, to enjoy it for ever ? 

How can a soul so imperfect as mine aspire to the 
plenitude of Love ? What is the key of this mystery ? 
O my only Friend, why dost Thou not reserve these 
infinite longings to lofty souls, to the eagles that soar 
in the heights ? Alas ! I am but a poor little un- 

1 St. John of the Cross. 

1 86 

A Canticle of Love 

fledged bird. I am not an eagle, I have but the eagle s 
eyes and heart ! Yet, notwithstanding my exceeding 
littleness, I dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun of Love, 
and I burn to dart upwards unto Him ! I would fly, 
I would imitate the eagles ; but all that I can do is to 
lift up my little wings- it is beyond my feeble power 
to soar. What is to become of me ? Must I die of 
sorrow because of my helplessness ? Oh, no ! I will 
not even grieve. With daring self-abandonment 
there will I remain until death, my gaze fixed upon 
that Divine Sun. Nothing shall affright me, nor wind 
nor rain. And should impenetrable clouds conceal 
the Orb of Love, and should I seem to believe that 
beyond this life there is darkness only, that would be 
the hour of perfect joy, the hour in which to push my 
confidence to its uttermost bounds. I should not 
dare to detach my gaze, well knowing that beyond 
the dark clouds the sweet Sun still shines. 

So far, O my God, I understand Thy Love for me. 
But Thou knowest how often I forget this, my onlv 
care. I stray from Thy side, and my scarcely fledged 
wings become draggled in the muddy pools of earth ; 
then I lament " like a young swallow" and my 
lament tells Thee all, and I remember, O Infinite 
Mercy ! that " Thou didst not come to call the just, but 

Yet shouldst Thou still be deaf to the plaintive 
cries of Thy feeble creature, shouldst Thou still be 
veiled, then I am content to remain benumbed with 
cold, my wings bedraggled, and once more I rejoice 
in this well-deserved suffering. 

O Sun, my only Love, I am happy to feel myself so 
small, so frail in Thy sunshine, and I am in peace . . . 
I know that all the eagles of Thy Celestial Court 
have pity on me, they guard and defend me, they put 
to flight the vultures the demons that fain would 
devour me. I fear them not, these demons, I am 

1 Isa. xxxviii. 14. : Matt. ix. 15. 


Sceur Ther&se of Lisieux 

not destined to be their prey, but the prey of the 
Divine Eagle. 

Eternal Word ! O my Saviour ! Thou art 
the Divine Eagle Whom I love Who lurest me. 
Thou Who, descending to this land of exile, didst will 
to suffer and to die, in order to bear away the souls 
of men and plunge them into the very heart of the 
Blessed Trinity Love s Eternal Home ! Thou Who, 
reascending into inaccessible light, dost still remain 
concealed here in our vale of tears under the snow- 
white semblance of the Host, and this, to nourish me 
with Thine own substance ! O Jesus ! forgive me if 
I tell Thee that Thy Love reacheth even unto folly. 
And in face of this folly, what wilt Thou, but that my 
heart leap up to Thee ? How could my trust have 
any limits : 

1 know that the Saints have made themselves as 
fools for Thy sake ; being eagles, they have done great 
things. I am. too little for great things, and my folly 
it is to hope that Thy Love accepts me as victim ; my 
folly it is to count on the aid of Angels and Saints, 
in order that I may fly unto Thee with Thine own 
wings, O my Divine Eagle ! For as long a time as 
Thou wiliest I shall remain my eyes fixed upon Thee. 
I long to be allured by Thy Divine Eyes ; I would 
become Love s prey. I have the hope that Thou 
wilt one day swoop down upon me, and, bearing me 
away to the Source of all Love, Thou wilt plunge me 
at last into that glowing abyss, that I may become for 
ever its happy Victim. 

O Jesus ! would that I could tell all little souls of 
Thine ineffable condescension ! I feel that if by any 
possibility Thou couldst find one weaker than my own, 
Thou wouldst take delight in loading her with still 
greater favours, provided that she abandoned herself 
with entire confidence to Thine Infinite Mercy. But, 
O my Spouse, why these desires of mine to make 
known the secrets of Thy Love ? Is it not Thyself 

1 88 

A Canticle of Love 

alone Who hast taught them to me, and canst Thou 
not unveil them to others ? Yea ! I know it, and thL 
I implore Thee ! . . . 







MANY pages of this story "-said its writer 
will never be read upon earth." It 
is necessary to repeat and cmpha^e 

her words. There are suffering which 
are not to be disclosed here below ; Our Lord ha- 
jealously reserved to Himself the right to reveal their 
merit and glory, in the clear vision where all veils 
sha 1 be removed. " .My God," she cried on the dav 
of her religious profession, give me martyrdom of 
soul or body . or rather give me both the one 
and the other ! And Our Lord Who, as she herself 
avowed, fulfilled all her desires, granted this one also 
and in more abundant measure than the re<t lie 
caused "the floods of infinite tenderness pent up in 

Heart to overflow into the soul of His 
little Spouse. This was the " Martyrdom of Love " 
so well described in her melodious song. But it was 
her own doctrine that, " to dedicate oneself as a 
Victim of Love is not to be dedicated to sweetness 
and consolations ; it is to oiler oneself to all that is 
painful and bitter, because Love lives only by sacrifice 
. . and the more we would surrender ourselves to 
Love,_ the more we must surrender ourselves to 

Therefore, because -he desired to attain "the 
loftiest height of Love." the Divine Master led her 
thither by the rugged path of sorrow, and it was only 
on its bleak summit that -:he died a I iclim oj Love. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

We have seen how great was her sacrifice in leaving 
her happy home and the Father who loved her so 
tenderly. It may be imagined that this sacrifice was 
softened, because at the Carmel she found again her 
two elder and dearly loved sisters. On the contrary, 
this afforded the young postulant many an occasion 
for repressing her strong natural affections. The 
rules of solitude and silence were strictly observed, 
and she only saw her sisters at recreation. Had she 
been less mortified, she might often have sat beside 
them, but " by preference she sought out the com 
pany of those religious who were least agreeable to 
her," and no one could tell whether or not she bore a 
special affection towards her own sisters. 

Some time after her entrance, she was appointed 
as " aid " to Sister Agnes of Jesus, her dear " Pauline " ; 
this was a fresh occasion for sacrifice. Therese knew 
that all unnecessary conversation was forbidden, and 
therefore she never allowed herself even the least 
word. " O my little Mother," she said later, " how 
I suffered ! I could not open my heart to you, and 
I thought you no longer knew me ! " 

After five years of this heroic silence, Sister Agnes 
of Jesus was elected Prioress. On the evening of the 
election Therese might well have rejoiced that hence 
forth she could speak freely to her " little Mother," 
and, as of old, pour out her soul. But sacrifice had 
become her daily food. If she sought one favour more 
than another, it was that she might be looked on as 
the lowest and the least ; and, among all the religious, 
not one saw less of the Mother Prioress. 

She desired to live the life of Carmel with all the 
perfection required by St. Teresa, and, although a 
martyr to habitual dry ness, her prayer was continuous. 
On one occasion a novice, entering her cell, was struck 
by the heavenly expression of her countenance. She 
was sewing industriously, and yet seemed lost in 
deep contemplation. " What are you thinking of ? " 


A Victim of Divine Love 

the young Sister asked. " I am meditating on the 
Our Father, Therese answered. " It is so sweet 
to call God, < Our Father ! ... and tears glistened 
in her eyes. Another time she said, " I cannot well 
see what more I shall have in Heaven than I have now ; 
I shall see God, it is true, but, as to being with Him, 
I am that already even on earth." 

The flame of Divine Love consumed her, and this 
is what she herself relates : " A few days after the 
oblation of myself to God s Merciful Love, 1 I was in 
the choir, beginning the Way of the Cross, when I 
felt myself suddenly wounded by a dart of fire so 
ardent that I thought I should die. [ do not 
know how to explain this transport ; there is no 
comparison to describe the intensity of that flame. 
It seemed as though an invisible force plunged me 
wholly into fire. . . . But oh ! what fire ! what 
sweetness ! " 

When Mother Prioress asked her if this rapture 
was the first she had experienced, she answered 
simply : : < Dear Mother, I have had several trans 
ports of love, and one in particular during my Novi 
ciate, when I remained for a whole week far removed 
from this world. It seemed as though a veil were 
thrown over all earthly things. But, I was not then 
consumed by a real fire. I was able to bear those 
transports of love without expecting to see the ties 
that bound me to earth give way ; whilst, on the day 
of which I now speak, one minute one second more 
and my soul must have been set free. Alas ! I found 
myself again on earth, and dryness at once returned 
to my heart." True, the Divine Hand had with 
drawn the iiery dart but the wound was unto death ! 
In that close union with God, Therese acquired 
a remarkable mastery over self. All sweet virtues 
flourished in the fragrant garden of her soul, but do 

1 The full text of this beautiful prayer <>l a " Victim of Love" is given on 
page 311. [Ko.J 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

not let us imagine that these wondrous flowers grew 
without effort on her part. 

"In this world there is no fruit fulness without 
suffering either physical pain, secret sorrow, or trials 
known sometimes only to God. When good thoughts 
and generous resolutions have sprung up in our souls 
through reading the lives of the Saints, we ought not 
to content ourselves, as in the case of profane books, 
with paying a certain tribute of admiration to the 
genius of their authors we should rather consider 
the price which, doubtless, they paid for that super 
natural good they have produced." 1 

And, if to-day Therese transforms so many hearts, 
and the good she does on earth is beyond reckoning, 
we may well believe she bought it all at the price with 
which Jesus bought back our souls : by suffering and 
the Cross ! 

Not the least of these sufferings was the unceasing 
war she waged against herself, refusing every satisfaction 
to the demands of her naturally proud and impetuous 
nature. While still a child she had acquired the habit 
of never excusing herself or making a complaint ; at 
the Carmel she strove to be the little servant of her 
Sisters in religion, and in that same spirit of humility 
she endeavoured to obey all without distinction. 

One evening, during her illness, the Community 
had assembled in the garden to sing a hymn before an 
Altar of the Sacred Heart. Soeur Therese, who was 
already wasted by fever, joined them with difficulty, 
and, arriving quite exhausted, was obliged to sit down 
at once. When the hymn began, one of the Sisters 
made her a sign to stand up. Without hesitation, the 
humble child rose, and, in spite of the fever and great 
oppression from which she was suffering, remained 
standing to the end. 

The Infirniarian had advised her to take a little 
walk in the garden for a quarter of an hour each clay. 

1 Dom Guf ranger, 

A Victim of Divine L 

This recommendation \vas lor her a co id. -)n-j 
afternoon a Sifter, noticing what an eMort it co t 
her, said : Sccur Thcrc-sc, you uould do much better 
to rest; \\alking like this cannot do vou an 
You onlv tire yourself!" "That is true," -he re 
plied, ct hut, do vou know what gives me stren _ ih : 
I offer each step for some mis-ionarv. I think that 
possibly, over there, far away, one of them is weary 
and tired in his apostolic labours, and to lessen his. 
fatigue I oiler mine to the Good God." 

She gave her novices some beautiful examples of 
detachment. One year the relations of the Sifters 
and the servants of the Convent had sent bouquets 
of flowers for Mother Prioress s least. There. -e was 
arranging them most tastefully, when a Lay-sister 
said crossly : " It is easy to see that the large bouquets 
have been given by your friend . 1 . uppose those 
sent by the poor will again be put in the background ! 
. . . A sweet smile was the onlv replv, and notwith 
standing the unplcasing effect, she immediately put 
the flowers sent by the servants in the most conspicu 
ous place. 

Struck with admiration, the Lay i-ter went at 
once to the Prioress to accuse her- elf of her unkind - 
ness, and to praise the patience and humility sh 
by Sceur Therese. 

After the death of Therese that same Sifter, full 
of confidence, pressed her forehead a-amst the feet 
of the saintly nun, once more asking forgiveness tor 
her fault. At the same inn ant she lelt her -ell cured 
of cerebral ancemia, from which she had suffered tor 
many years, and which had prevented her irorn apply 
ing herself either to reading or mental prayer. 

.Far from avoiding humiliations, Sivur ThenSc 
soueht them eagerlv, and for that reason she offered 
herself as " aid " to a Sister who, she well knew, was 
difficult to please, and her generous proposal was 
accepted. One day, when she had suffered much irom 


Sceur Therese of Llsieux 

this Sister, a novice asked her why she looked so happy. 
Great was her surprise on receiving the reply : " It is 
because Sister N. has just been saying disagreeable 
things to me. What pleasure she has given me ! 
I wish I could meet her now, and give her a sweet 
smile." ... As she was still speaking, the Sister in 
question knocked at the door, and the astonished 
novice could see for herself how the Saints forgive. 
Sceur Therese acknowledged later on, she " soared 
so high above earthly things that humiliations did but 
make her stronger." 

To all these virtues she joined a wonderful courage. 
From her entrance into the Carmel, at the age of 
fifteen, she was allowed to follow all the practices of 
its austere Rule, the fasts alone excepted. Sometimes 
her companions in the noviciate, seeing how pale she 
looked, tried to obtain a dispensation for her, either 
from the Night Office, or from rising at the usual 
hour in the morning, but the Mother Prioress would 
never yield to these requests. " A soul of such 
mettle," she would say, " ought not to be dealt with 
as a child ; dispensations are not meant for her. Let 
her be, for God sustains her. Besides, if she is really 
ill she should come and tell me herself." 1 

But it was always a principle with Therese that 
" We should go to the end of our strength before we 
complain." How many times did she assist at Matins 
suffering from vertigo or violent headaches ! " I 
am able to walk," she would say, " and so I ought to 
be at my duty." And, thanks to this undaunted 
energy, she performed acts that were heroic. 

1 Mother Mary of Gonzaga died Dec. 17, 1904, at the age of 71. Mother 
Agnes of Jesus (Pauline) was at that time Prioress. The former herself of the 
line of St. Antony of Padua recognised in Sceur Therese " an heroic soul, filled 
with holiness, and capable of becoming one day an excellent Prioress." With 
this end in view, she trained her with a strictness for which the young Saint was 
most grateful. In the arms of Mother Mary of Gonzaga the "Little Flower of 
Jesus" was welcomed to the Carmel, and in those arms she died "happy," 
she declared, " not to have in that hour as Superioress her little Mother, 1 in 
order the better to exercise her spirit of faith in authority." [Eo.] 


A Victim of Divine Love 

It was with difficulty that her delicate stomach 
accustomed itself to the frugal fare of the Carmcl. 
Certain things made her ill, but she knew so well how- 
to hide this, that no one ever suspected it. Her 
neighbour at table said that she had tried in vain to 
discover the dishes Aic preferred, and the kitchen 
Sisters, finding her so easy to please, invariably served 
her with what was left. It was only during her last 
illness, when she was ordered to say what disagreed 
with her, that her mortifications came to light. 
u When Jesus wishes us to suffer," she said at that 
time, " there can be no evading it. And so, when 
Sister Alary of the Sacred Heart l was procuratrix, 
she endeavoured to look after me with a mother s 
tenderness. To all appearances, I was well cared for, 
and yet what mortifications did she not impose upon 
me ! for she served me according to her own taste, 
which \vas entirely opposed to mine." 

Therese s spirit of sacrifice was far-reaching ; she 
eagerly sought what was painful and disagreeable, 
as her rightful share. All that God asked she gave 
Him without hesitation or reserve. 

" During my postulancy," she said, " it cost me a 
great deal to perform certain exterior penances, 
customary in our convents, but I never yielded to 
these repugnances ; it seemed to me that the image 
of my Crucified Lord looked at me with beseeching 
eyes, and begged these sacrifices." 

Her vigilance was so keen, that she never left un 
observed any little recommendations of the Mother 
Prioress, or any of the small rule> which render the 
religious life so meritorious. One of the old nuns, 
having remarked her extraordinary fidelity on this 
point, ever afterwards regarded her as a Saint. Sceur 
Therese was accustomed to say that she never did any 
great penances. That was because her fervour counted 
as nothing the few that were allowed her. It happened 

1 A . .ill IK remembered, this was Marie, her eldest sister. [Eo.] 
I 99 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

however, that she fell ill through wearing for too long 
a time a small iron Cross, studded with sharp points, 
that pressed into her flesh. " Such a trifle would not 
have caused this," she said afterwards, " if God had 
not washed thus to make me understand that the 
greater austerities of the Saints are not meant for me 
nor for the souls that walk in the path of ; spiritual 
childhood. " 

" The souls that are the most dear to My Father," 
Our Lord once said to Saint Teresa, " are those He 
tries the most, and the greatness of their trials is the 
measure of His Love." Therese was a soul most dear 
to God, and He was about to nil up the measure of 
His Love by making her pass through a veritable 
martyrdom. The reader will remember the call on 
Good Friday, April 3, 1896, when, to use her own 
expression, she heard the " distant murmur which 
announced the approach of the Bridegroom " ; but 
she had still to endure long months of pain before 
the blessed hour of her deliverance. 

On the morning of that Good Friday, she made so 
little of the haemorrhage of the previous night, that 
Mother Prioress allowed her to practise all the penances 
prescribed by the Rule for that day. In the after 
noon, a novice saw her cleaning windows. Her face 
was livid, and, in spite of her great energy, it was 
evident that her strength was almost spent. Seeing 
her fatigue, the novice, who loved her dearly, burst 
into tears, and begged leave to obtain her some little 
reprieve. But the young novice-mistress strictly for 
bade her, saying that she was quite able to bear this 
slight fatigue on the day on which Jesus had suffered 
and died. 

Soon a persistent cough made the Mother Prioress 
feel anxious ; she ordered Sceur Therese a more 
strengthening diet, and the cough ceased for some 
time. " Truly sickness is too slow a liberator," ex- 

A Victim of Divine Love 

claimed our clear little Sister, "I can onlv rely upon 



She \va? strongly tempted to respond to the appeal of 
the Carmelite-; of 1 lanoT, who much desired to have her, 
and began a novena to the Venerable ThcophancVenard 1 
to obtain her cure, but alas I that novena proved but 
the beginning of a more serious phase of her maladv. 

Like her Divine Master, she parsed through "the 
world doing good; like Him she had been forgotten 
and unknown, and now, still following in lib Foot 
steps, she \vas to climb the hill of Calvary. Accus 
tomed to sec her always suffering, yet alwavs joyous 
and brave, Mother Prioress, doubtless inspired by 
God, allowed her to take part in the Community 
exercises, some of which tired her extremelv. At 
night, she would courageously mount the stair- alone, 
pausing at each step to take breath. It was with 
difficulty that she reached her cell, and then in so 
exhausted a state, that sometimes, as she avowed later. 
it took her quite an hour to undress. After all this 
exertion it was upon a hard pallet that she took her 
rest. Her nights, too, were very bad, and when asked 
if she would not like someone to be near her in her 
hours of pain, she replied : " Oh, no ! on the contrary, 
1 am only too glad to be in a cell awav from my Sisters, 
that I may not be heard. I am content to suffer alone 
as soon as I am pitied and loaded with attentions, 
my happiness leaves me." 

1 T h ! VY nard was born at S . Lnup, in th<" diorp^- of 

Poitiers, < i Ihe I Vust ol tl ! . . !v, Nov. 21, i--.). Hr was 

i . rty; ,1 ,it Kcch , I ;, < <n t 1 :- K<\>st of th j I tesental Lo: i, 

Keb. .:, ir/Ji. at the at. c of 32. A ! mg and dHi^htf .il i >. :h his 

family, lv;un in . Krcho, 

revr.tls a k;: anctity a: d of t "." love of home, between 

t 1 " twfl " r . I: - rs." I lie ! canty l h: . \ ible in his b yis!i 

face tliat he was span . all toitui ; i is two rnont ns in the "ra^f--." In 

" > ( ir ri v - i imr nceinent 

of the ] .;, iscopal Process, i ivcc;ved th.c honours of i U.-; l ation. 

Anotlier child uf I- raiu-c -Joan, its " Martyr-Maid " \V!K\S - prais-s have l>een 
sti!i- in affectionate verse by the Saints of St. Loup and Lisieux, WAS bc.itil:.-(l 
that L-anic year. [Kix ] 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

What strength of soul these words betray ! Where 
we find sorrow she found joy. What to us is so hard to 
bear being overlooked and ignored by creatures 
became to her a source of delight. And her Divine 
Spouse knew well how to provide that bitter joy she 
found so sweet. Painful remedies had often to be 
applied. One day, when she had suffered from them 
more than usual, she was resting in her cell during 
recreation, and overheard a Sister in the kitchen 
speaking of her thus : " Soeur Therese will not live 
long, and really sometimes I wonder what our Mother 
Prioress will find to say about her when she dies. 1 
She will be sorely puzzled, for this little Sister, amiable 
as she is, has certainly never done anything worth 
speaking about." The Infirmarian, who had also 
overheard the remark, turned to Therese and said : 
" If you relied upon the opinion of creatures you would 
indeed be disillusioned to-day." " The opinion of 
creatures ! " she replied ; " happily God has given me 
the grace to be absolutely indifferent to that. Let 
me tell you something which showed me, once and 
for all, how much it is worth. A few days after my 
Clothing, I went to our dear Mother s room, and one 
of the Sisters who happened to be there, said on 
seeing me : Dear Mother, this novice certainly does 
you credit. How well she looks ! I hope she may 
be able to observe the Rule for many years to come. 
I was feeling decidedly pleased at this compliment 

1 An allusion to the obituary notice sent to each of the French Carmels when 
a Carmelite nun dies in that country. In the case of those who die in the odour 
of sanctity these notices sometimes run to considerable length. Four notices 
issued from the Carmel of Lisieux are of great interest to the clients of Sceur 
The rese, and are in course of publication at the Orphans Press, Rochdale ; those 
of the Carmel s saintly Foundress, Mother Genevieve of St. Teresa, whose death is 
referred to in Chapter VIII ; Mother Mary of Gonzaga, the Prioress of The rese ; 
Sister Mary of the Eucharist (Marie Gue"rin), the cousin of The rese (Chapter III) ; 
and most interesting of all, the long sketch, partly autobiographical, of Mother 
Mary of St. Angelus (Marie Ange), the "trophy of The rese," brought by her 
intercession to the Carmel in 1902 where the writer made her acquaintance in 
the following spring ; she became Prioress in 1908, dying eighteen months later 
in the odour of sanctity, aged only 28. [En.] 


A Victim of Divine Love 

when another Si.-lcr came in, and, looking at me, si 
Poor little Su ur Therese, ho\v very tired you s^ 
You quite alarm me. Ji" you do not soon improve. 
I am afraid you will not "be able to keep the Rule 
very Ion-. I was then only sixteen, but this little 
incident made such an impression on me, that I 
never again set store on the varying opinion of 

On another occasion someone remarked : " It is 
said that you have never suffered much." Smiling, 
she pointed to a glass containing medicine of a bright 
red colour. " You see this little glass ? " she said. 
" One would suppose that it contained a most delicious 
draught, whereas, in reality, it is more bitter than 
anything else I take. It is the image of my life. To 
others it has been all rose colour; they have thought 
that I continually drank of a most delicious wine ; 
yet to me it has been full of bitterness. I say bitter 
ness, and yet my life has not been a bitter one, for I 
have learned to find my joy and sweetness in all that 
is bitter." 

You are suffering very much just now, are you 
not : " Yes, but then I have so longed to suffer." 
" How it distresses us to see you in such pain, and to 
think that it may increase ! " said her novices. 

" Oh ! do not grieve about me. I have reached 
a point where I can no longer suffer, because all 
suffering is become so sweet. Besides, it is quite a 
mistake to trouble yourselves as to what I may still 
have to undergo, it is like meddling with God s 
work. We who run in the way of Love must never 
allow ourselves to be disturbed by anything. If I 
did not simply live trom one moment to another, it 
would be impossible for me to be patient ; but I 
only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take 
good care not to forestall the future. When we yield 
to discouragement or despair, it is usually because we 
think too much about the past and the future. But 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

pray much for me, for it is often just when 1 cry to 
Heaven lor help that I feel most abandoned." 

" How do you manage riot to give way to discour 
agement at such times ? ?: " I turn to God and all 
His Saints, and thank them notwithstanding ; I 
believe they want to see how far my trust may extend. 
But the words of Job have not entered my heart in 
vain : Even if God should kill me, I would still trust 
in Him. ] I own it has taken a long time to arrive 
at this degree of self-abandonment ; but I have reached 
it now, and it is the Lord Himself Who has brought 
me there." 

Another time she said : " Our Lord s Will fills 
my heart to the brim, and hence, if aught else is added, 
it cannot penetrate to any depth, but, like oil on the 
surface of limpid waters, glides easily across. If my 
heart were not already brimming over, and must 
needs be filled by the feelings of joy and sadness that 
alternate so rapidly, then indeed would it be flooded 
by a wave of bitter pain ; but these quick-succeeding 
changes scarcely ruffle the surface of my soul, and in 
its depths there reigns a peace that nothing can 

And yet her soul was enveloped in thick darkness, 
and her temptations against Faith, ever conquered 
but ever returning, were there to rob her of all feeling 
of happiness at the thought of her approaching death. 
" \Vere it not for this trial, which is impossible to 
understand," she would say, " I think I should die of 
joy at the prospect of soon leaving this earth." 

By this trial, the Divine Master wished to put the 
finishing touches to her purification, and thus enable 
her not only to walk with rapid steps, but to run in 
her little way of confidence and abandonment. Her 
words repeatedly proved this. " I desire neither 
death nor life. Were Our Lord to offer me my choice, 
I would not choose. I only will what He wills ; it is 

1 Cf. Job xiii. 15. 

A Victim of Divine Love 

what He docs that I love. I do not fear the last 
struggle, nor any pains however great ----my illness 
may bring. Cod has always been my help. He ha^ 
led me by the hand from my earliest childhood, and 
on Him I rely. Afy agony may reach the furthest 
limits, but I am convinced He will never forsake me." 

Such confidence in God, of necessity stirred the 
fury of the devil of him who, at life s close, tries every 
ruse to sow the seeds of despair in the hearts of the 
d\ ing. 

" Last night I was seized with a terrible feeling of 
anguish," she confessed to Mother Agnes of Jesus on 
one occasion ; " I was lost in darkness, and from out of 
it came an accursed voice : Are von certain God 
loves you ? Has He Himself told you so ? The 
opinion of creatures will not justify you in His sight. 
These thoughts had long tortured me, when your 
little note, like a message from Heaven, was brought 
to me. You recalled to me, dear Mother, the special 
graces Jesus had lavished on me, and, as though von 
had had a revelation concerning my trial, you assurjd 
me I was dearly loved by God, and was on the eve of 
receiving from His Hands my eternal crown. Im 
mediately peace and joy were restored to my heart. 
Yet the thought came to me, " It is my little Mother .- 
affection that makes her write these words. Sin" 
way I felt inspired to take up the Gospels, and, o 
in;_r the book at random, I lighted on a passage which 
had hitherto escaped me: "lie whom God bath sent 
s-ptaketh the Words of God, for G . //v 

Spirit by measure? ! Then I fell asleep fully con oled. 
It was you, dear Mother, whom the Good God -cut 
me, and I must believe von, because you speak the 
Word of God." 

For several days, during the month of August. 
Thciv^e remained, so to speak, beside herself, and 
implored that prayers i:ii<:hi be offered fur her. Sh<- 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

had never before been seen in this state, and in her 
inexpressible anguish she kept repeating : " Oh ! 
how necessary it is to pray for the agonising ! If one 
only knew ! " 

One night she entreated the Infirmarian to sprinkle 
her bed with Holy Water, saying : " I am besieged 
by the devil. I do not see him, but I feel him ; he 
torments me and holds me with a grip of iron, that I 
may not find one crumb of comfort ; he augments 
my woes, that I may be driven to despair. . . . And 
I cannot pray. I can only look at Our Blessed Lady 
and say : Jesus ! How needful is that prayer we 
use at Compline : c Procul recedant somnia et noctium 
-phantasmata ! ( c Free us from the phantoms of the 
night. ) Something mysterious is happening within 
me. I am not suffering for myself, but for some other 
soul, and satan is angry." The Infirmarian, startled, 
lighted a blessed candle, and the spirit of darkness 
fled, never to return ; but the sufferer remained to 
the end in a state of extreme anguish. 

One day, while she was contemplating the beauti 
ful heavens, some one said to her : " Soon your home 
will be there, beyond the blue sky. How lovingly 
you gaze at it ! " She only smiled, but afterwards 
she said to the Mother Prioress : " Dear Mother, 
the Sisters do not realise my sufferings. Just now, 
when looking at the sky, I merely admired the beauty 
of the material heaven the true Heaven seems more 
than ever closed against me. At first their words 
troubled me, but an interior voice whispered : c Yes, 
you were looking to Heaven out of love. Since your 
soul is entirely delivered up to love, all your actions, 
even the most indifferent, are marked with this 
divine seal. At once I was consoled." 

In spite of the darkness which enveloped her, 
her Divine Saviour sometimes left the door of her 
prison ajar. Those were moments in which her soul 
lost itself in transports of confidence and love. Thus 


A Victim of Divine Love 

it happened that on a certain day, when walking in 
the garden supported by one of her own sisters, -he 
stopped at the charming spectacle of a hen sheltering 
its pretty little ones under its wing. Her eyes filled 
with tears and, turning to her companion, she said : 
" I cannot remain here any longer, let us go in ! " 
And even when she reached her cell, her tears con 
tinued to fall, and it was some time before she could 
speak. At last she looked at her mister with a heavenly 
expression, and said : " I was thinking of Our Lord, 
and the beautiful comparison He chose in order to 
make us understand His ineffable tenderness. This 
is what He has done for me all the days of my life. 
He has completely hidden me under His Wing. I 
cannot express all that has just stirred my heart ; 
it is well for me that God conceals Himself, and lets 
me see the effects of His Mercy but rarely, and as 
it were from behind the lattices? Were it not so \ 
could never bear such sweetness." 

Disconsolate at the prospect of losing their trea 
sure, the Community began a novena to Our Lady of 
Victories on June 5, 1897, in the fervent hope that she 
would once again miraculously raise the drooping 
Little Flower. But her answer was the same as that 
given by the blessed Martyr, Theophane Venard, and 
they were forced to accept with generosity the bitter 
ness of the coming separation. 

At the beginning of July, her state became very 
serious, and she was at last removed to the Infirmary. 
Seeing her empty cell, and knowing she would never 
return to it, Mother Agnes of Jesus said to her: 
" When you are no longer with us, how sad I shall 
feel when I look at this cell ! " 

" For consolation, little Mother, vou can think 
how happy I am up there, and remember that much 
of my happiness was acquired in that little cell ; for," 
she added, raising her beautiful eyes to Heaven, "I 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

have suffered so much there, and I should have been 
happy to die there." 

As she entered the Infirmary she looked towards 
the miraculous statue of Our Lady, which had been 
brought thither. It would be impossible to describe 
that^look. "What is it you see?" said her sister 
Marie, the witness of her miraculous cure as a child. 
And Therese answered : " Never has she seemed to 
me so beautiful . . . but to-day it is the statue, 
whereas that other day, as you well know, it was not 
the statue ! " And from that time she often received 
similar consolations. 

One evening she exclaimed : " Oh, how I love 
Our Blessed Lady! Had I been a Priest, how I 
would have sung her praises ! She is spoken of as 
unapproachable, whereas she should be represented 
as easy of imitation. . . . She is more Mother than 
Queen. I have heard it said that her splendour 
eclipses that of all the Saints as the rising sun makes 
all the stars disappear. It sounds so strange. 
That a Mother should take away the glory of her 
children ! I think quite the reverse. I believe that 
she will greatly increase the splendour of the elect 
._ . . Our Mother Mary ! . . . Oh ! how simple her 
life must have been ! " arid, continuing her dis 
course, she drew such a sweet and delightful picture 
of the Holy Family that all present were lost in 

A very heavy cross awaited her before going to 
join her Spouse. From August 16 to September 30, 
the happy day of her death, she was unable to receive 
Holy Communion, because of her continual sickness. 
Few have hungered for the Bread of Angels like this 
seraph of earth. Again and again during that last 
winter of her life, after nights of intolerable pain, 
she rose at early morn to partake of the Manna of 
Heaven, and she thought no price too heavy to pay 
for the bliss of feeding upon God. Before depriving 


A Victim of Divine Love 

her alto-ether of this Heavenly Food, Our Lord often 
visited her on her bed of pain. Her Communion 
on July 1 6, the least of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 
was specially touching During the previous ni-ht 
she composed some verses which were to he sung 
before Communion. 

Thou know st the baseness of" my soul, O Lord, 

^ Yet fearest not to stoop and enter me. 
Come to my heart, O Sacrament adored 1 

Come to my heart ... it craveth but for Thee ! 
And when Thou comest, straightway let me die 

Of very love for Thee ; this boon impart ! 
Oh, hearken Jesus, to my suppliant cry : 
Come to my heart ! 


In the morning, when the Holy Viaticum was 
:ied to the Infirmary, the cloisters were thickly 
strewn with wild flowers and rose-petals. A young 
Priest, who was about to say his first Mass that day 
in the Chapel of the Carmel, bore the Blessed Sacra 
ment to the dying Sister; and at her desire, Sister 
Mary of the Eucharist whose voice was exception 
ally sweet sang the following couplet : 

Sweet martyrdom ! to die of love s keen fire : 
The martyrdom of which my heart is fain ! 

Hasten, ye Cherubim, to tune your lyre ; 
I shall not linger long in exile s pain ! 

Fulfil my uream, O Jesus, since 1 sigh 
Of love to die ! 

A lew days later Theivse grew worse, and on 
July 30 she received Extreme I nction. Radiant with 
cl light the little Victim of Love said to us : " [ he 
door of my dark prison is ajar. I am steeped in joy, 
especially since our Father Superior has assured me 

209 o 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

that to-day my soul is like unto that of a little child 
after Baptism." 

No doubt she thought she was quickly to join the 
white-robed band of the Holy Innocents. She little 
knew that two long months of martyrdom had still 
to run their course. " Dear Mother," she said, " I 
entreat you, give me leave to die. Let me offer my 
life for such and such an intention " - naming it to 
the Prioress. And when the permission was refused, 
she replied : " Well, I know that just at this moment 
Our Lord has such a longing for a tiny bunch of 
grapes which no one will give Him that He will 
perforce have to come and steal it. ... I do not ask 
anything ; this would be to stray from my path of 
self-surrender. I only beseech Our Lady to remind 
her Jesus of the title of Ihief, which He takes to Him 
self in the Gospels, so that He may not forget to come 
and carry me away." 

One day Sceur Therese took an ear of corn from 
a sheaf they had brought her. It was so laden with 
grain that it bent on its stalk, and after gazing upon it 
for some time she said to the Mother Prioress : 
" Mother, that ear of corn is the image of my soul. 
God has loaded it with graces for me and for many 
others. And it is my dearest wish ever to bend 
beneath the weight of God s gifts, acknowledging 
that all comes from Him." 

She was right. Her soul was indeed laden with 
graces, and it was easy to discern the Spirit of God 
speaking His praises out of the mouth of that innocent 

Had not this Spirit of Truth already dictated these 
words to the great Teresa of Avila : 

"Let those souls who have reached to perfect union with 
God hold themselves in high esteem, with a humble and holy 
presumption. Let them keep unceasingly before their eyes 
the remembrance of the good things they have received, and 


A Victim of Divine Love 

Dcv/arc of the thought that they are practising humility in 
not recognising the gifts ol God. Is it not clear that the 
constant remembrance of gifts bestowed serves to increase 
the love f>r the giver? flow can he who ignores the riches 
he pov^j^es, spend tliem generously upon others?" 

But the above was not the only occasion on \vlii h 
the " little Ther<>e of Li-ieux " gave utterance to 
words that proved prophetic. In the month of 
April. 1895, while she was still in excellent health, 
she said in confidence to one of the older nun. : ; I 
shall die soon. I do not say that it will be in a few 
months, but in two or three years at mo.t ; I know it 
because of what Is taking place in my soul." 

The novices betrayed surprise when ^he read their 
inmost thoughts. " This is my secret," she said to 
them : " I never reprimand you without first invoking 
Our Blessed Lady, and asking her to inspire me as to 
what will be most for your good, and I am often 
astoni-hed myself at the things [ teach you. At such 
times I feel that I make no mistake, and that it is 
Jesus Who speaks by my lips." 

During her illness one of her sifters had experi 
enced some moments of acute distress, amounting 
almost to discouragement, at the thought of the in 
evitable parting. Immediately afterwards she went 
to the Infirmary, but was careful not to let anv sign 
of grief be seen. What was her surprise when Thcrese, 
in a sad and serious tone, thus addressed her : " We 
ought not to weep like those who have no hope." 

1 When aiked before her death how th -y should :>rr\y to her in H-av-n, Sorir 
The rese, with her wonted simplicity, m . T 

" petite Thirt .e." And at (Jaliipoli, on th>- occasion of !.-r ce> 
apj.ariti .n in the C arrnel there, w. v .- | ess. taking to \>- St. Tei 

Avila, addressed h--r as "our holy Mother," t e 
* : " Nay, I am not i:r holy, Mother, I am th< . 

I hrrt e of Li ieux." This, h-r own r.a::.e of. retained in 

th- ; resent edition, unless where it was adv; able to set d * 

ere i of the Child Jesus ami of the Holy Face. I he name of the " Little 
borrowed by her from the Bl ed Ve nai 1, and used so 

- 1 ; - : - the of h^r muni^cri^t, 15 the one by which she is b*^t known 

in Kmj .. : - peaking lands. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

One of the Mothers, having come to visit her, did 
her a trifling service. " How happy I should be," 
thought the Mother, " if this Angel would only say : 
* I will repay you in Heaven ! At that instant Soeur 
Therese, turning to her, said : " Mother, I will repay 
you in Heaven ! J: 

But more surprising than all, was her consciousness 
of the mission for which Our Lord had destined her. 
The veil which hides the future seemed lifted, and 
more than once she revealed to us its secrets, in 
prophecies which have already been realised. 

" I have never given the Good God aught but love ; 
it is with Love He will repay. 


At another time she interrupted a Sister, who was 
speaking to her of the happiness of Heaven, by the 
sublime words : " It is not that which attracts me." 

" And what attracts you ? " asked the other. 
" Oh ! it is Love ! To love, to be beloved, and to 
return to earth to win love for our Love ! " 

One evening, she welcomed Mother Agnes of Jesus 
with an extraordinary expression of joy : " Mother ! " 
she said, " some notes from a concert far away 
have just reached my ears, and have made me 
think that soon I shall be listening to the wondrous 
melodies of Paradise. The thought, however, gave 
me but a moment s joy one hope alone makes my 
heart beat fast : the Love that I shall receive and the 
Love I shall be able to give ! 

" I feel that my mission is soon to begin my 
mission to make others love God as I love Him ... to 
teach souls my little way . . . 


Nor is this impossible, since from the very heart of 


A Victim of Divine Love 

the Beatific Vision, the Angels keep watch over us. 
No, there can be no rest for me until the end of the 
world. But when the Angel shall have said : Time 
is no more ! then I shall rest, then I shall be able to 
rejoice, because the number of the elect will be 

" And what is this little way that you would 
teach to souls ? " 


I want to point out to them the means that I have 
always found so perfectly successful, to tell them that 
there is but one thing to do here below : we must 
offer Jesus the flowers of little sacrifices and win Him by 
a caress. That is how I have won Him, and that is 
why I shall be made so welcome." 

Should I guide you wrongly by my little wav of 
love," she said to a novice, " do not fear that I shall 
allow you to continue therein ; I should soon come 
back to the earth, and tell you to take another road. 
If I do not return, then believe in the truth of these 
my words : We can never have too much confidence 
in the Good God, He is so mighty, so merciful. As 
we hope in Him so shall we receive." 

On the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Mount 
Carmel, a novice said to her : " I think that if you 
were to die to-morrow, after Holv Communion, 1 
should be quite consoled it would be such a beauti 
ful death!" Therese answered quickly: "Die after 
Holy Communion ! Upon a great feast ! Xay, not so. 
/// my " little way every thing is most ordinary ; 
all thai I do, little souls must be able to do likewise." 

And to one of her missionary brothers she wrote : 

k What draws me to my Heavenly Home is the 

summon^ of my Lord, together with the hope that at 

length I shall love Him as my heart desires, and shall 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

be able to make Him loved by a multitude of souls 
who will bless Him throughout eternity." 

And in another letter to China : "I trust fully 
that I shall not remain idle in Heaven ; my desire 
is to continue my work for the Church and for souls. 
I ask this of God, and I am convinced He will hear 
my prayer. You see that if I quit the battle-field so 
soon, it is not from a selfish desire of repose. For a 
long time now, suffering has been my Heaven here 
upon earth, and I can hardly conceive how I shall 
become acclimatised to a land where joy is unmixed 
with sorrow. Jesus will certainly have to work a 
complete change in my soul else I could never 
support the ecstasies of Paradise." 

It was quite true, suffering had become her Heaven 
upon earth she welcomed it as we do happiness. 
" When I suffer much," she would say, " when some 
thing painful or disagreeable happens to me, instead 
of a melancholy look, I answer by a smile. At first 
I did not always succeed, but now it has become a habit 
which I am glad to have acquired." 

A certain Sister entertained doubts concerning 
the patience of Therese. One day, during a visit, 
she remarked that the invalid s face wore an expres 
sion of unearthly joy, and she sought to know the 
reason. " It is because the pain is so acute just now," 
Therese replied ; " I have always forced myself to love 
suffering and to give it a glad welcome." ;c Why 
are you so bright this morning ? " asked Mother 
Agnes of Jesus. " Because of two little crosses. 
Nothing gives me little joys like little crosses. 
And another time : " You have had many trials 
to-day ? " " Yes, but I love them ! . . . I love all 
the Good God sends me ! " " Your sufferings are 
terrible ! " " No they are not terrible : can a little 
Victim of Love find anything terrible that is sent by 
her Spouse ? Each moment He sends me what I 
am able to bear, and nothing more, and if He increase 


A Victim of Divine Love 

the pain, my strength is increased as well. But I 
could never ask for greater sufferings I am too little 
a soul. They would then be of my own choice. I 
should have to bear them all without Him, and I have 
never been able to do anything when left to myself." 

Thus .-poke that wise and prudent Virgin on her 
deathbed, and her lamp, filled to the brim with the 
oil of virtue, burned brightly to the end. If, as the 
Holy Spirit reminds us in the Book of Proverbs : 
" A man s doctrine is proved by his -patience" l those 
who have heard her may well believe in her doctrine, 
for she has proved it by a patience no test could 

At each visit the doctor expressed his admiration. 
" If only you knew what she has to endure ! I have 
never seen any one suffer so intensely with such a look 
of supernatural joy. ... I shall not be able to cure 
her ; she was not made for this earth." In view of 
her extreme weakness, he ordered some strengthening 
remedies. Therese was at first distressed because of 
their cost, but she afterwards admitted : " I am no 
longer troubled at having to take those expensive- 
remedies, for I have read that when they were given 
to St. Gertrude, she w r as gladdened by the thought 
that it would redound to the good of our benefactors, 
since Our Lord Himself has said : Whatever you do 
to the least of My little ones, you do unto Me "I 
am convinced that medicines are powerless to cure 
me," she added, " but I have made a covenant with 
God that the poor missionaries who have neither time 
nor means to take care of themselves may profit 

She was much moved by the constant gifts of 
flowers made to her by her friends outside the Con 
vent, and again by the visits of a sweet little redbreast 
that loved to play about her bed. She saw in these 
things the Hand of God. "Mother, I feel deeply 

1 Cf. Prov. xix. ii. - Matt. xxv. 49. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

the many touching proofs of God s Love for me. I 
am laden with them . . . nevertheless, I continue 
in the deepest gloom ! . . . I suffer much . . . very 
much ! and yet my state is one of profound peace. 
All my longings have been realised ... I am full of 

Shortly afterwards she told me this touching 
little incident : " One evening, during the Great 
Silence, the Infirmarian brought me a hot-water 
bottle for my feet, and put tincture of iodine on my 
chest. I was in a burning fever, and parched with 
thirst, and, whilst submitting to these remedies, I 
could not help saying to Our Lord : 4 My Jesus, Thou 
seest I am already burning, and they have brought 
me more heat and fire. Oh ! if they had brought me 
even half a glass of water, what a comfort it would have 
been ! . . . My Jesus ! Thy little child is so thirsty. 
But she is glad to have this opportunity of resembling 
Thee more closely, and thus helping Thee to save souls. 
The Infirmarian soon left me, and I did not expect to 
see her again until the following morning. What 
was my surprise when she returned a few minutes 
later with a refreshing drink ! i It has just struck 
me that you may be thirsty, she said, so I shall 
bring you something every evening. I looked at her 
astounded, and when I was once more alone, I melted 
into tears. Oh ! how good Jesus is ! how tender 
and loving ! How easy it is to reach His Heart ! " 

On September 6, the little Spouse of Jesus received 
a touching proof of the loving thought of His Sacred 
Heart. She had frequently expressed a wish to 
possess a relic of her special patron, the Venerable 
Theophane Venard, but as her desire was not realised, 
she said no more. She was quite overcome, there 
fore, when Mother Prioress brought her the longed- 
for treasure received that very day. She kissed it 
repeatedly, and would not consent to part with it. 


A Victim of Divine Love 

It may be allied \vliy she was so devoted to thi- 
youm; Martyr. She herself explained the reason in 
an affectionate interview with her own -inters : 
Theophane Venard is a little saint; his life wa- 
not marked by anything extraordinary. He had an 
ardent devotion to Our Immaculate Mother and a 
tender love of his own family." Dwelling on these 
word- she added : " And I, too, love my family with 
a tender love ; I fail to understand those Saints who 
do not share my feelings. As a parting gift I have 
copied for you some passages from his last letters home. 
His soul and mine have many points of resemblance, 
and his words do but re-echo my thoughts." 

We give here a copy of that letter, which one 
might have believed was composed by Theivse herself : 


I can find nothing on earth that can make me truly 
happy ; the desires of my heart are too vast, and nothing of 
what the world calls happiness can satisfy it. Time for me 
will soon be no more, my thoughts are fixed on Eternity. 
My heart is full of peace, like a tranquil lake or a cloudless 
sky. I do not regret this life on earth. I thirst for the waters 
of Life Eternal. 

" Vet a little while and rrp- soul will have quitted this earth, 
will have finished her exile, will have ended her combat. 1 
go to Heaven. I am about to enter the Abode of the Blessed 
to see what the eye hath never seen, to he ir what the car 
hath never heard, to enjoy those things the heart of man hath 
not conceived ... I have reached the hour so coveted bv us 
all. It is indeed true that Our Lord chooses the little ones to 
confound the great ones of this earth. I do not rely upon rnv 
own strength but upon Him Who, on the Cross, vanquished tin- 
powers of hell. 

"I am a spring flower which the Divine Ala-tcr culls for 
His p ea^ire. \Ve are all flowers, planted on this earth, and 
God will gather us in His own good time some sooner, 
some later ... I, little flower of one d: \ , am the first to be 
gathered ! lint we shall meet again in Paradise, where la^tiiii: 
jov will be our portion. 


" vising the v> : " " -K.gc .ic martyr Thtophane Venard." 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Towards the end of September, when something 
was repeated to her that had been said at recreation, 
concerning the responsibility of those who have care 
of souls, she seemed to revive a little and gave utter 
ance to these beautiful words : " 6 To him that is little, 
mercy is granted 1 It is possible to remain little 
even in the most responsible position, and is it not 
written that, at the last day, the Lord will arise to save 
the meek and lowly ones of the earth ? 2 He does not 
say to judge, but to save ! 

As time went on, the tide of suffering rose higher 
and higher, and she became so weak, that she was 
unable to make the slightest movement without 
assistance. Even to hear anyone whisper increased 
her discomfort ; and the fever and oppression were so 
extreme that it was with the greatest difficulty she 
was able to articulate a single word. And yet a sweet 
smile was always on her lips. Her only fear was lest 
she should give her Sisters any extra trouble, and until 
two days before her death she would never allow any 
one to remain with her during the night. However, 
in spite of her entreaties, the Infirmarian would visit 
her from time to time. On one occasion she found 
Therese with hands joined and eyes raised to Heaven. 
" What are you doing ? " she asked ; " you ought to 
try and go to sleep." " I cannot, Sister, I am suffer 
ing too much, so I am praying. . . . u And what 
do you say to Jesus ? " " I say nothing I only 
love Him ! " 

" Oh ! how good God is ! "... she sometimes 
exclaimed. " Truly He must be very good to give 
me strength to bear all I have to suffer." One day 
she said to the Mother Prioress : " Mother, I would 
like to make known to you the state of my soul ; but 
I cannot, I feel too much overcome just now." In 
the evening Therese sent her these lin^s, written in 
pencil with a trembling hand : 

1 Wisdom vi. 7. 2 Cj. Ps. Ixxv. 10, 


A Victim of Divine Love 

" O my God ! how good Thou art to the little 
Victim of Thy Merciful Love ! Now, even when 
Thou joinest these bodily pains to those of my soul, 
I cannot bring myself to say : The anguish of death 
hath encompassed me. 7 l I rather cry out in my 
gratitude : / have gone down into the valley of the 
shadow of death, but I fear no evil, because Thou, O 
Lord, art with me " 2 

Her little Mother said to her : " Some think that 
you are afraid of death." " That may easily come to 
pass," she answered ; "I do not rely on my own 
feelings, for I know how frail I am. It will be time 
enough to bear that cross if it comes, meantime I 
wish to rejoice in my present happiness. When the 
Chaplain asked me if I was resigned to die, I answered : 
Father, I need rather to be resigned to live I feel 
nothing but joy at the thought of death. Do not 
be troubled, dear Mother, if I suffer much and show 
no sign of happiness at the end. Did not Our Lord 
Himself die a Victim of Love, and see how great was 
His Agony ! " 

At last dawned the eternal day. It was Thursday, 
September 30, 1897. In the morning, the sweet 
Victim, her eyes fixed on Our Lady s statue, spoke 
thus of her last night on earth : " Oh ! with what 
fervour I have prayed to her ! . . . And yet it has 
been pure agony, without a ray of consolation. . . . 
Karth s air is failing me : when shall I breathe the air 
of Heaven ? : 

For weeks she had been unable to raise herself in 
bed, but, at half-past two in the afternoon, she sat 
up and exclaimed : " Dear Mother, the chalice is 
tull to overflowing ! I could never have believed that 
it was possible to sutler so intensclv. ... 1 can only 
explain it by my extreme desire to save souls. . . ." 
And a little while alter : u Yes, all that I have written 

1 C/. Ps. xvii. 5. 2 Cf. Ps. xxii. 4. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

about my thirst for suffering is really true ! I do not 
regret having surrendered myself to Love." 

She repeated these last words several times. A 
little later she added : " Mother, prepare me to die 
well." The good Mother Prioress encouraged her 
with these words : " My child, you are quite ready to 
appear before God, for you have always understood 
the virtue of humility." Then, in striking words, 
Therese bore witness to herself : 

" Yes, I feel it ; my soul has ever sought the 
truth. ... I have understood humility of heart ! " 

At half -past four, her agony began the agony of 
this " Victim of Divine Love." When the Commu 
nity gathered round her, she thanked them with the 
sweetest smile, and then, completely given over to 
love and suffering, the Crucifix clasped in her failing 
hands, she entered on the final combat. The sweat 
of death lay heavy on her brow . . . she trembled 
. . . but. as a pilot, when close to harbour, is not dis 
mayed by the fury of the storm, so this soul, strong in 
faith, saw close at hand the beacon-lights of Heaven, 
and valiantly put forth every effort to reach the 

As the convent bells rang the evening Angelus, 
she fixed an inexpressible look upon the statue of the 
Immaculate Virgin, the Star of the Sea. Was it not 
the moment to repeat her beautiful prayer : 

" O thou who earnest to smile on me in the morn 
of my life, come once again and smile, Mother, for now 
it is eventide ! " 1 

A few minutes after seven, turning to the Prioress, 
the poor little Martyr asked : " Mother, is it not the 
agony ? ... am I not going to die ? " " Yes, my 
child, it is the agony, but Jesus perhaps wills that 
it be prolonged for some hours." In a sweet and 

1 From the last poem written by Socur Therese. See page 328. 

A Victim of Divine Love 

plaintive voice she replied : " Ah, very well then . . . 
very well ... I do not wish to suiler less ! " 

Then, looking at her crucifix : 

" Oh / . . . 7 love Him ! ... My God, I . . . 
love . . . Thee. " 

These were her last words. She had scarcely 
uttered them when, to our great surprise, she sank 
down quite suddenly, her head inclined a little to the 
right, in the attitude of the Virgin Martyrs offering 
themselves to the sword ; or rather, as a Victim of 
Love, awaiting from the Divine Archer the fiery shaft, 
by which she longs to die. 

Suddenly she raised herself, as though called by a 
mysterious voice ; and opening her eyes, which shone 
with unutterable happiness and peace, fixed her gaze 
a little above the statue of Our Lady. Thus she 
remained for about the space of a Credo, when her 
blessed soul, now become the prey of the " Divine 
Eagle," was borne away to the heights of Heaven. 

A few days before her death, this little Saint had 
said : " The death of Love which I so much desire 
is that of Jesus upon the Cross." Her prayer was fully 
granted. Darkness enveloped her, and her soul was 
steeped in anguish. And yet, may we not apply to 
her also that sublime prophecy of St. John of the 
Cross, referring to souls consumed by the fire of 
Divine Love : " They die Victims of the onslaughts 
of Love, in raptured ecstasies like the swan, whose 
song grows sweeter as death draws nigh. Wherefore 
the Psalmist declared : Precious in the sight of the 
Lord is the death oj His Saints. 1 For then it is that 
the rivers of love burst forth from the soul and are 
whelmed in the Ocean of Divine Love." 

No sooner had her spotless soul taken its flight 
than the joy of that last rapture imprinted itself on 
her brow, and a radiant smile illumined her face. 

1 Ps. cxv. 15. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

We placed a palm-branch in her hand ; and the 
lilies and roses that adorned her in death were figures 
of her white robe of baptism made red by her Martyr 
dom of Love. 

On the Saturday and Sunday a large crowd passed 
before the grating of the nuns chapel, to gaze on 
the mortal remains of the " Little Flower of Jesus." 
Hundreds of medals and rosaries were brought to 
touch the " Little Queen " as she lay in the trium 
phant beauty of her last sleep. 

On October 4, the day of the funeral, there gathered 
in the Chapel of the Carmel a goodly company of 
Priests. The honour was surely due to one who had 
prayed so earnestly for those called to that sacred 
office. After a last solemn blessing, this grain of 
priceless wheat was cast into the furrow by the hands 
of Holy Mother Church. 

Who shall tell how many ripened ears have sprung 
forth since, how many the sheaves that are yet to come ? 
" Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat, 
falling into the ground, die, itself remaineth alone. But 
if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" l Once more 
the word of the Divine Reaper has been magnificently 


1 John xii. 24, 25. 


Ol SOa R ! ! I : 

< >i [KSl 

All \isri- \ 
liii l.Ii 


MOST of what follows has been gathered 
from the conversations of Soeur Therdse 
with her novices. Her advice cannot 
but prove helpful to souls within the 
cloister, and likewise to many in the world who may be 
attracted by her simple and easy little zvay to God. 

One of the novices, greatly discouraged at the 
thought of her imperfections, tells us that her mistress 
spoke to her as follows : 

u You make me think of a little child that is 
learning to stand but does not yet know how to walk. 
In his desire to reach the top of the stairs to find his 
mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first step. 
It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls. 
\Yell, be like that little child. Always keep lifting 
your foot to climb the ladder of holiness, and do not 
imagine that you can mount even the first step. All 
(jod asks of you is good will. From the top of the 
ladder He looks lovingly upon you, and soon, touched 
by your fruitless efforts, He will Himself come down, 
and, taking you in His Arms, will carry you to His 
Kingdom never again to leave Him. But should you 
cease to raise your foot, you will be left for long on 
the earth." 


" The only way to advance rapidly in the path of 
love is to remain always very little. That is what I 

225 p 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

did, and now I can sing with our holy Father, St. 
John of the Cross : 

c Then I abased myself so low, so very low, 
That I ascended to such heights, such heights indeed, 
That I did overtake the prey I chased ! 

Under a temptation which seemed to me irre 
sistible, I said to her : " This time, I cannot sur 
mount it." She replied : " Why seek to surmount 
it ? Rather pass beneath. It is all well for great 
souls to soar above the clouds when the storm rages ; 
we have simply to suffer the showers. What does it 
matter if we get wet ? We shall dry ourselves in the 
sunshine of love. 

" It recalls a little incident of my childhood. One 
day a horse was standing in front of the garden 
gate, and preventing us from getting through. My 
companions talked to him and tried to make him move 
off, but while they were still talking I quietly slipped 
between his legs . . . Such is the advantage of re 
maining small." 


" Our Lord said to the mother of the sons of 
Zebedee : t To sit on my right or left hand is for them 
for whom it is prepared by my Father? 1 I imagine 
that these chosen places, which have been refused 
alike to great Saints and Martyrs, will be reserved for 
little children ; and did not David foretell it when he 
said, that the little Benjamin will -preside amidst the 
assemblies 2 of the Saints. 


" You are wrong to find fault with this thing and 
with that, or to try and make everyone see things as 
you see them. We desire to be as little children? 
and little children do not know what is best : to 
them all seems right. Let us imitate their ways. 

1 Cf. Matt. xx. 23. 2 Cf. Ps. Ixvii. 28. 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

Besides, there is no merit in doing what reason dic 


" My patrons and my special favourites in Heaven 
are those who, so to speak, stole it, such as the Holy 
Innocents and the Good Thief. The great Saints won 
it by their works ; I wish to be like the thieves and 
to win it by stratagem a stratagem of love which 
will open its gates both to me and to poor sinners. 
In the Book of Proverbs the Holy Ghost encourages 
me, for He says : Come to me, little one, to learn 
subtlety / " 1 


" What would you do if you could begin over 
again your religious life ? " 

" I think I should do as I have already done." 

" Then you do not share the feeling of the hermit 
who said : While a quarter of an hour, or even a 
breath of life still remains to me, I shall fear the fires 
of hell even though I should have spent long years 
in penance ? " 

" No, I do not share that fear ; I am too small. 
Little children are not damned." 

You are ever seeking to be as little children are, 
but tell us what must be done to obtain that childlike 
spirit. c Remaining little what does it mean ? " 

" Remaining little means to recognise one s 
nothingness, to await everything from the Goodness 
of God, to avoid being too much troubled at our 
faults ; finally, not to worry over amassing spiritual 
riches, not to be solicitous about anything. Even 
amongst the poor, while a child is still small, he is 
given what is necessary ; but, once he is grown up, 
his father will no longer feed him, and tells him to 
seek work and support himself. Well, it was to avoid 
hearing this, that I have never wished to grow up, 

1 Cf. Prov. i. 4. 

Sceur Therse of Lisieux 

for I feel incapable of earning my livelihood, which 
is Life Eternal ! " 


In imitation of our saintly Mistress I also wished 
never to grow up ; she called me therefore " the 
little one," and during a retreat she wrote to me 
the following notes : 

" Do not fear to tell Jesus that you love Him, 
even though you may not feel that love. In this way 
you will compel Him to come to your aid, and to 
carry you like a little child who is too weak to walk. 

" It is indeed a great source of trial, when every 
thing looks black, but this does not depend entirely on 
yourself. Do all in your power to detach your heart 
from earthly cares, especially from creatures ; then 
be assured Our Lord will do the rest. He could not 
permit you to fall into the abyss. Be comforted, 
little one ! In Heaven everything will no longer look 
black, but dazzling white. There all will be clothed 
in the Divine radiance of Our Spouse the Lily of the 
Valley. Together we will follow Him whithersoever 
He goeth. Meantime we must make good use of this 
life s brief day. Let us give Our Lord pleasure, let 
us by self-sacrifice give Him souls ! Above all, let us 
be little so little that everyone might tread us under 
foot without our even seeming to suffer pain. 

" I am not surprised at the failures of the little 
one ; she forgets that in her role of missionary and 
warrior she ought to forgo all childish consolations. 
It is wrong to pass one s time in fretting, instead of 
sleeping on the Heart of Jesus. 

" Should the little one fear the dark of the night, 
or complain at not seeing Him who carries her, let 
her shut her eyes. It is the one sacrifice God asks. 
By remaining thus, the dark will cease to terrify, 
because she will not see it, and before long, peace 
if not joy will re-enter her soul." 

* * * * 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

To help me to accept a humiliation she confided 
to me what follows : 

" If I had not been received into the Carmel, I 
would have entered a Refuge, and lived there unknown 
and despised among the poor penitents. My joy 
would have been to pass for one, and I would have 
become an apostle among my companions, telling 
them my thoughts on the Infinite Mercy of God." 

" But how could you have hidden your innocence 
from your Confessor ? " 

" I would have told him that while still in the 
world I made a general confession, and that it was 
forbidden me to repeat it." 


" Oh ! when I think of all I have to acquire ! " 
" Or rather to lose ! It is Jesus Who takes upon 
Himself to fill your soul according as you rid it of 
imperfections. I see clearly that you are mistaking 
the road, and that you will never arrive at the end 
of your journey. You want to climb the mountain, 
whereas God wishes you to descend it. He is awaiting 
you in the fruitful valley of humility." 


" To me it seems that humility is truth. I do not 
know whether I am humble, but I do know that I see 
the truth in all things." 


" Indeed you are a Saint ! " 

" No, I am not a Saint. I have never wrought the 
works of a Saint. / am but a tiny soul whom Almighty 
God has loaded with His Javours. 

" The truth of what I say will be made known to 
you in Heaven." 

u But have you not always been faithful to those 
favour^ ? 

" Yes, from the age oj three I have never refused 
our Good God anything. Still I cannot glorify myself. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

See how this evening the tree-tops are gilded by the 
setting sun. So likewise my soul appears to you all 
shining and golden because it is exposed to the rays 
of Love. But should the Divine Sun no longer shine 
thereon, it would instantly be sunk in gloom." 

" We too would like to become all golden what 
must we do ? " 

" You must practise the little virtues. This is 
sometimes difficult, but God never refuses the first 
grace courage for self-conquest ; and if the soul 
correspond to that grace, she at once finds herself 
in God s sunlight. The praise given to Judith has 
always struck me : Thou hast done manfully, and 
thy heart has keen strengthened? 1 In the onset we 
must act with courage. By this means the heart gains 
strength, and victory follows victory." 


In conformity with the Rule, Soeur Therese never 
raised her eyes in the refectory, and, as I found great 
difficulty in this observance, she composed for me the 
following prayer. It reveals her exceeding humility, 
because in it she asked a grace of which I alone stood 
in need : 

" O Jesus, in honour and in imitation of the example 
Thou gavest in the house of Herod, Thy two little 
Spouses resolve to keep their eyes cast down in the 
refectory. When that impious king scoffed at Thee, 
O Infinite Beauty, no complaint came from Thy 
Lips. Thou didst not even deign to fix on him Thy 
Adorable Eyes. He was not worthy of the favour, but 
we who are Thy Spouses, we desire to draw Thy Divine 
Gaze upon ourselves. As often as we refrain from 
raising our eyes, we beg Thee to reward us by a glance 
of love, and we even dare ask Thee not to refuse 
this sweet glance when we fail in our self-control, for 
we will humble ourselves most sincerely before Thee." 

1 Judith xv. ii. 

Counsels and Reminiscences 

I confided to her that I made no progress, and that 
consequently I had lost heart. 

" Up to the age of fourteen," she said, " I prac 
tised virtue without tasting its sweetness. I desired 
suffering, but I did not think of making it my joy ; 
that grace was vouchsafed me later. My soul was like 
a beautiful tree the flowers of which had scarcely 
opened when they fell. 

" Offer to God the sacrifice of never gathering 
any fruit. If He will that throughout your whole 
life you should feel a repugnance to suffering and 
humiliation if He permit that all the flowers of 
your desires and of your good will should fall to the 
ground without any fruit appearing, do not worry. 
At the hour of death, in the twinkling of an eye, He 
will cause fair fruits to ripen on the tree of your soul. 

" We read in the Book of Ecclesiasticus : There 
is an inactive man that wanteth help, is very weak in 
ability, and full oj poverty : yet the Eye o/ God hath 
looked upon him jor good, and hath lifted him up jrom 
his low estate, and hath exalted his head : and many 
have wondered at him, and have glorified God. . . ^ . 
Trust in God, and stay in thy peace. For it is easy ^ in 
the Eyes oj God, on a sudden, to make the poor man rich. 
The blessing oj God maketh haste to reward the just, and 
in a swijt hour His blessing beareth fruit. 

" But if I fall, I shall always be found imperfect ; 
whereas you are looked upon as holy." 

" That is, perhaps, because I have never desired 
to be considered so. ... But that you should be 
found imperfect is just what is best. Here is your 
harvest. To believe oneself imperfect and others 
perfect this is true happiness. Should earthly 
creatures think you devoid of holiness, they rob you 
of nothing, and you are none the poorer : it is they 
who lose. For is there anything more sweet than the 
inward joy of thinking well of our neighbour ? 

1 Ecclus. xi. i^, i j, 12, -^3, 24. 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

" As for myself I am glad and rejoice, not only 
when I am looked upon as imperfect, but above all 
when I feel that it is true. Compliments, on the 
contrary, do but displease me." 


" God has a special love for you since He entrusts 
souls to your care." 

" That makes no difference, and I am really only 
what I am in His Eyes. It is not because He wills 
me to be His interpreter among you, that He loves 
me more ; rather, He makes me your little hand 
maid. It is for you, and not for myself, that He has 
bestowed upon me those charms and those virtues 
which you see. 

" I often compare myself to a little bowl filled by 
God with good things. All the kittens come to eat 
from it, and they sometimes quarrel as to which will 
have the largest share. But the Holy Child Jesus 
keeps a sharp watch. I am willing you should feed 
from My little bowl, He says, but take heed lest 
you upset and break it. 

" In truth there is no great danger, because I 
am already on the ground. Not so with Prioresses ; 
set, as they are, on tables, they run far more risks. 
Honours are always dangerous. What poisonous food 
is served daily to those in high positions ! What 
deadly fumes of incense ! A soul must be well de 
tached from herself to pass unscathed through it all." 

" It is a consolation for you to do good and to 
procure the Glory of God. I wish I were equally 

" What if God does make use of me, rather than of 
another, to procure His Glory ! Provided His King 
dom be established among souls, the instrument 
matters not. Besides, He has no need of anyone. 

" Some time ago I was watching the flicker, almost 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

invisible, of a tiny night-light, when one of the 
Sisters drew near, and, lighting her candle in the 
dying flame, passed it round to li-ht all those of 
the Community. Who dare glory in his own good 
works ? I reflected. From one faint spark such as 
this, it would be possible to set the whole earth on 
fire. We often think we receive graces and are 
divinely illumined by means of brilliant candles. But 
from whence comes their light ? From the prayers, 
perhaps, of some humble, hidden soul, whose inward 
shining is not apparent to human eyes ; a soul of 
unrecognised virtue and, in her own sight, of little 
value a dying flame. 

" What mysteries will yet be unveiled to us ! I 
have often thought that perhaps I owe all the graces 
with which I am laden, to some little soul whom I 
shall know only in Heaven. 

" It is God s Will that in this world souls shall 
dispense to each other, by prayer, the treasures of 
Heaven, in order that when they reach their Fver- 
lasting Home they may love one another with grateful 
hearts, and with an affection far in excess of that which 
reigns in the most perfect family on earth. 

" There no looks of indifference will meet us, 
because all the Saints will be mutually indebted to 
each other. No envious glances will be cast, for the 
happiness of each one of the Blessed will be the happi 
ness of all. With the Doctors of the Church we shall 
be like unto Doctors; with the Martyrs, like unto 
Martyrs ; with the Virgins, like unto Virgin^ ; and 
just as the members of one familv are proud one of 
the other, so without the least jealousy shall we take 
pride in our brothers and sisters. 

" When we see the glory of the great Saints, and 
know that through the secret working of Providence 
we have contributed to it, who knows whether the 
joy we shall feel will not be as intense, perhaps sweeter, 
than the happiness they themselves possess r 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

" And do you not think that the great Saints, on 
their side, seeing what they owe to all little souls, will 
love them with a love beyond compare ? The friend 
ships of Paradise will be both sweet and full of surprise, 
of this I am certain. The familiar friend of an Apostle, 
or of a great Doctor of the Church, may be a shepherd 
boy, and a simple little child may be united in closest 
intimacy with a Patriarch. ... I long to enter that 
Kingdom of Love ! " 


" Believe me, the writing of pious books, the com 
posing of the sublimest poetry, all that does not 
equal the smallest act of self-denial. When, how 
ever, our inability to do good gives us pain, our only 
resource is to offer up the good works of others, and in 
this lies the benefit of the Communion of Saints. 
Recall to mind that beautiful verse of the canticle of 
our Father, St. John of the Cross : 

4 Return, my dove ! 
See on the height 
The wounded Hart, 
To whom refreshment brings 
The breeze, stirred by thy wings. 

" Thus the Spouse, the wounded Hart, is not 
attracted by the height, but only by the breeze from 
the pinions of the dove a breeze which one single 
stroke of wing is sufficient to create." 


" The one thing which is not open to envy is the 
lowest place. Here alone, therefore, there is neither 
vanity nor affliction of spirit. Yet, the way of a man 
is not bis own] l and sometimes we find ourselves 
wishing for what dazzles. In that hour let us in all 
humility take our place among the imperfect, and 
look upon ourselves as little souls who at every instant 
need to be upheld by the goodness of God. From 

i Jer. x. 23. 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

the moment He sees us fully convinced of our nothing 
ness, and hears us cry out : Aly foot stumbles, Lord, 
but Thy Mercy is my strength } He reaches out His 
Hand to us. But, should we attempt great things, 
even under pretext of zeal, He deserts us. It suffices, 
therefore, to humble ourselves, to bear with meek 
ness our imperfections. Herein lies for us true 


One day I was complaining of being more tired 
than my Sisters, for, besides the ordinary duties, I 
had other work unknown to the rest. Sceur Therese 
replied : 

I would like always to see you a brave soldier, 
never grumbling at hardships, but considering the 
wounds of your companions as most serious, and your 
own as mere scratches. You feel this fatigue so much 
because no one is aware of it. 

" Now the Blessed Margaret Alary, at the time she 
had two whitlows, confessed that she really suffered 
from the hidden one only. The other, which she was 
unable to hide, excited her Sisters pity and made 
her an object of compassion. This is indeed a very 
natural feeling, the desire that people should know of 
our aches and pains, but in giving way to it we play 
the coward." 


" When we are guilt} of a fault we must never 
attribute it to some physical cause, such as illness or 
the weather. We must ascribe it to our own imper- 
iections, without being discouraged thereby. Occa 
sions do not make a man frail, but show what he is. 

" God did not permit that our Mother should tell 
me to write my poems as soon as I had composed 
them, and, fearful of committing a sin against poverty. 

1 Cf. Psalm xciii. i&. 2 Imitation, I, xvi. 4. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I would not ask leave. I had therefore to wait for 
some free time, and at eight o clock in the evening 
I often found it extremely difficult to remember what 
I had composed in the morning. 

" True, these trifles are a species of martyrdom ; 
but we must be careful not to alleviate the pain of the 
martyrdom by permitting ourselves, or securing per 
mission for, a thousand and one things which would 
tend to make the religious life both comfortable and 


One day, as I was in tears, Sceur Therese told 
me to avoid the habit of allowing others to see the 
trifles that worried me, adding that nothing made 
community life more trying than unevenness of 

" You are indeed right," I answered, " such was 
my own thought. Henceforward my tears will be for 
God alone. I shall confide my worries to One Who 
will understand and console me." 

" Tears for God ! " she promptly replied, " that 
must not be. Far less to Him than to creatures 
ought you to show a mournful face. Our Divine 
Master has only our monasteries where He may obtain 
some solace for His Heart. He comes to us in search 
of rest to forget the unceasing complaints of His 
friends in the world, who, instead of appreciating the 
value of the Cross, receive it far more often with 
moans and tears. Would you then be as the mediocre 
souls ? Frankly, this is not disinterested love. . . . It 
is for us to console our Lord, and not for Him to console us. 
His Heart is so tender that if you cry He will dry 
your tears ; but thereafter He will go away sad, since 
you did not suffer Him to repose tranquilly within 
you. Our Lord loves the glad of heart, the children 
that greet Him with a smile. When will you learn 
to hide your troubles from Him, or to tell Him gaily 
that you are happy to suffer for Him ? " 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

" The face is the mirror of the soul," she said 
once, " and yours, like that of a contented little child, 
should always be calm and serene. Even when alone, 
be cheerful, remembering always that you are in the 
sight of the AngeK" 


I was anxious she should congratulate me on what, 
in my eyes, was an heroic act of virtue ; but she said 
to me : 

" Compare this little act of virtue with what our 
Lord has the right to expect of you ! Rather should 
you humble yourself for having lost so many oppor 
tunities of proving your love." 

Little satisfied with this answer, I awaited an 
opportunity of finding out how Sceur Theresc herself 
would act under trial, and the occasion was not long 
in coming. Reverend Mother asked us to do some 
extremely tiring work which bristled with difficulties, 
and, on purpose, I made it still more difficult for 
our Mistress. 

Not for one second, however, could I detect her 
in fault, and, heedless of the fatigue involved, she re 
mained gracious and amiable, eager throughout to 
help others at her own expense. At last I could 
resist no longer, and I confessed to her what my 
thoughts had been. 

" How comes it," I said, " that you can be so 
patient ? You are ever the same calm and full of 
joy." " It was not always the case with me/ she 
replied, " but since I have abandoned all thought of 
self-seeking, I live the happiest life possible." 

Our dear Mistress used to say that during recreation, 
more than at any other time, we should find oppor 
tunities for practising virtue. 

" If your desire be to draw great profit, do not <^o 
with the idea of procuring relaxation, but rather with 

2 37 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

the intention of entertaining others and practising com 
plete detachment from self. Thus, for instance, if you 
are telling one of the Sisters something you think 
entertaining, and she should interrupt to tell you 
something else, show yourself interested, even though 
in reality her story may not interest you in the least. 
Be careful, also, not to try to resume what you were 
saying. In this way you will leave recreation filled 
with a great interior peace and endowed with fresh 
strength for the practice of virtue, because you have 
not sought to please yourself, but others. If only 
we could realise what we gain by self-denial in all 
things ! " 

" You realise it, certainly, for you have always 
practised self-denial." 

" Yes, I have forgotten myself, and I have tried 
not to seek myself in anything." 

" When some one knocks at our door, or when we 
are rung for, we must practise mortification and re 
frain from doing even another stitch before answering. 
I have practised this myself, and I assure you that it 
is a source of peace." 

After this advice, and according as occasion offered, 
I promptly answered every summons. One day, 
during her illness, she was witness of this, and said : 

" At the hour of death you will be very happy to 
find this to your account. You have just done some 
thing more glorious than if, through clever diplomacy, 
you had procured the good-will of the Government 
for all religious communities and had been proclaimed 
throughout France as a second Judith." 


Questioned as to her method of sanctifying meals, 
she answered : 

" In the refectory we have but one thing to 
do : perform a lowly action with lofty thoughts. I 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

confess that the sweetest aspirations of love often 
come to me in the refectory. Sometimes I am 
brought to a standstill by the thought that were Our 
Lord in my place lie would certainly partake of those 
same dishes which are served to me. It is quite 
probable that during His lifetime He tasted of similar 
food He must have eaten bread and fruit. 

" Here are my little rubrics : 

" I imagine myself at Nazareth, in the house of 
the Holy Family. If, for instance, I am served with 
salad, cold fish, wine, or anything pungent in taste, I 
offer it to St. Joseph. To our Blessed Lady I offer hot 
foods and ripe fruit, and to the Infant Jesus our feast- 
day fare, especially broth, rice, and preserves. Lastly, 
when I am served a wretched dinner I say cheer 
fully : c To-day, my little one, it is all for you ! 

Thus in many pretty ways she hid her mortifica 
tions. One fast-day, however, when our Reverend 
Mother ordered her some special food, I found her 
seasoning it with wormwood because it was too much 
to her taste. On another occasion I saw her drink 
ing very slowly a most unpleasant medicine. " Make 
haste," I said, " drink it off at once ! " " Oh, no ! " 
she answered ; " must I not profit of these small 
opportunities for penance since the greater ones arc 
forbidden me ? " 

Towards the end of her life I learned that, during 
her noviciate, one of our Sisters, when fastening the 
scapular for her, ran the large pin through her 
shoulder, and for hours she bore the pain with joy. 
On another occasion she gave me proof of her interior 
mortification. I had received a most interesting 
letter which was read aloud at recreation, during 
her absence. In the evening she expressed the wish 
to read it, and I gave it to her. Later on, when 
she returned it, I begged her to tell me what she 
thought of one of the points of the letter which I 
knew ought to have charmed her. She seemed rather 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

confused, and after a pause she answered : " God 
asked of me the sacrifice of this letter because of the 
eagerness I displayed the other day ... so I have 
not read it." 


When speaking to her of the mortifications of the 
Saints, she remarked : "It was well that Our Lord 
warned us : In My Father s House there are many 
mansions, otherwise I would have told you 1 For, 
if every soul called to perfection were obliged to 
perform these austerities in order to enter Heaven, 
He would have told us, and we should have willingly 
undertaken them. But He has declared that, there 
are many mansions in His House If there are some 
for great souls, for the Fathers of the Desert and for 
Martyrs of penance, there must also be one for little 
children. And in that one a place is kept for us, if 
we but love Him dearly together with Our Father 
and the Spirit of Love." 


" While in the world, I used, on waking, to 
think of all the pleasant or unpleasant things which 
might happen throughout the day, and if I foresaw 
nothing but worries I got up with a heavy heart. 
Now it is quite the reverse. I think of the pains and 
of the sufferings awaiting me, and I rise, feeling all 
the more courageous and light of heart in proportion 
to the opportunities I foresee of proving my love for 
Our Lord, and of gaining mother of souls as I am 
my children s livelihood. Then I kiss my crucifix, 
and, laying it gently on my pillow, I leave it there while 
I dress, and I say : My Jesus, Thou hast toiled and 
wept enough during Thy three-and-thirty years on 
this miserable earth. Rest Thee, to-day ! It is my 
turn to suffer and to fight. 

1 John xiv. 2. 

Counsels and Reminiscences 

One washing-day I was sauntering towards the 
laundry, and looking at the ilowers as I passed. S<Lur 
Therese was following, and quicklv overtook me : * v Is 
that," she said quietlv, " how people hurry them 
selves when they have children, and are obliged to 
work to procure them food ? " 

* * * * 

Do you know which are my Sundays and feast- 
days ? They are the days on which God tries me 

most. 1 

I was distressed at my want of courage, and S<cur 
Therese said to me : " You are complaining of what 
should be your greatest happiness. If you fought 
only when you felt eagerness, where would be your 
merit ? What does it matter, even if you are devoid 
of courage, provided you act as though you possessed 
it ? If you feel too lazy to pick up a bit of thread, 
and yet do so for love of Jesus, you acquire more 
merit than for a much nobler action done in a moment 
of fervour. Instead of grieving, be glad that, by 
allowing you to feel your own weakness, Our Lord is 
furnishing you with an opportunity of saving a greater 
number of souls." 


I asked her whether Our Lord were not displeased 
at the sight of my many failings. This was her 
answer: i4 Be comforted, for He Whom you have 
chosen as your Spouse has every imaginable perfection ; 
but -dare I say it ?- He has one great infirmity too 
lie is blind ! And there is a science about which lie 
knows nothing addition ! These two great delects, 
much to be deplored in an earthlv bride-room, do 
but make ours infinitely more lovable. Were it 
necessary that He should be clear-sighted, and familiar 
with the science ot figures, do you not think that, 
confronted with our many sin-, lie would send us 

241 Q 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

back to our nothingness ? But His Love for us makes 
Him actually blind. 

" If the greatest sinner on earth should repent at 
the moment of his death, and draw his last breath in 
an act of love, neither the many graces he had abused, 
nor the multiplied crimes he had committed, would 
stand in his way. Our Lord would see nothing, count 
nothing, but the sinner s last prayer, and without 
delay He would receive him into the arms of His 

" But, to make Him thus blind and to prevent 
Him doing the smallest sum of addition, we must 
approach Him through His Heart on that side He 
is vulnerable and defenceless." 


I had grieved her, and had gone to ask her pardon : 
" If you but knew what I feel ! " she exclaimed. 
" Never have I more clearly understood the love with 
which Jesus receives us when we seek His forgiveness. 
If I, His poor little creature, feel so tenderly towards 
you when you come back to me, what must pass 
through Our Lord s Divine Heart when we return to 
Him ? Far more quickly than I have just done will 
He blot out our sins from His memory. . . . Nay, He 
will even love us more tenderly than before we fell." 

I had an immense dread of the judgments of God, 
and no argument of Soeur Therese could remove it. 
One day I put to her the following objection : "It 
is often said to us that in God s sight the angels them 
selves are not pure. How, therefore, can you expect 
me to be otherwise than filled with fear ? " 

She replied : " There is but one means of com 
pelling God not to judge us, and it is to appear 
before Him empty-handed." " And how can that 
be done ? " " It is quite simple : lay nothing by, 
spend your treasures as you gain them. Were I to 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

live to be eighty, I should always be poor, because I 
cannot economise. All my earnings are immediately 
spent on the ransom of souls. 

Were I to await the hour of deatli to oiler my 
trifling coins for valuation, Our Lord would not fail 
to discover in them some base metal, and they would 
certainly have to be refined in Purgatory. Is it not 
recorded of certain great Saints that, on appearing 
before the Tribunal of God, their hands laden with 
merit, they have yet been sent to that place of expia 
tion, because in God s Eyes all our justice is unclean ? " 

" But," I replied, " if God docs not judge our 
good actions, He will judge our bad ones." " Do 
not say that ! Our Lord is Justice itself, and if He 
does not judge our good actions, neither will He 
judge our bad ones. It seems to me, that for Victims 
of Love there will be no judgment. God will rather 
hasten to reward with eternal delights His own Love 
which He will behold burning in their hearts." 

"To enjoy such a privilege, would it suffice to 
repeat that Act of Oblation which you have com 
posed ? : " Oh, no ! words do not suffice. To be 
a true Victim of Love we must surrender ourselves 
entirely. . . . Love will consume us only in the measure 
of our self -surrender.^ 

I was grieving bittcrlv over a iauh 1 had com 
mitted. " Take your Crucifix," she said, " and kiss 
it." I kissed the Feet. 

" Is that how a child kisses its father ? Throw 
your arms at once round His Xeck and kiss His Face." 
When 1 had done so, she continued : w * That is not 
sufficient He must return your caress." I had to 
press the Crucifix to both my checks, whereupon she 
added : Xow, all is foriven." 

I told her one day that if I must be reproached 
2 43 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I preferred deserving it to being unjustly accused. 
" For my part," she replied, " I prefer to be charged 
unjustly, because, having nothing to reproach myself 
with, I offer gladly this little injustice to God. Then, 
humbling myself, I think how easily I might have 
deserved the reproach. The more you advance, the 
fewer the combats ; or rather, the more easy the victory, 
because the good side of things will be more visible. 
Then your soul will soar above creatures. As for me, 
I feel utterly indifferent to all accusations because I 
have learned the hollowness of human judgment." 

She added further : " When misunderstood and 
judged unfavourably, what benefit do we derive from 
defending ourselves ? Leave things as they are, and 
say nothing. It is so sweet to allow ourselves to be 
judged anyhow, rightly or wrongly. 

" It is not written in the Gospel that Saint Mary 
Magdalen put forth excuses when charged by her 
sister with sitting idle at Our Lord s Feet. She did 
not say : Martha, if you knew the happiness that is 
mine and if you heard the words that I hear, you 
too would leave everything to share my joy and 
my repose. No, she preferred to keep silent. . . . 
Blessed silence which giveth such peace to the soul ! " 

At a moment of temptation and struggle I re 
ceived this note : " c The just man shall correct me in 
mercy and shall reprove me ; but let not the oil of the 
sinner perjume my head? ] It is only by the just that 
I can be either reproved or corrected, because all my 
Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be 
rebuked by a sinner than by a just man ; but through 
compassion for sinners, to obtain their conversion, I 
beseech Thee, O my God, to permit that I may be 
well rebuked by those just souls who surround me. 
I ask also that the oil of praise, so sweet to our nature, 

1 Cf. Psalm cxl. 5. 

Counsels and Reminiscences 

may not perfume my head, that is to say, my mind, by 
making me believe that I possess virtues when I have 
merely performed a few good actions. 

" Jesus ! Thy Name is as oil poured out, and it 
is into this divine perfume that I desire wholly to 
plunge myself, far from the gaze of mankind." 
* * 

It is not playing the game to argue with a Sister 
that she is in the wrong, even when it is true, because 
we are not answerable for her conduct. We must not 
be Justices of the peace, but Angels of peace only." 


You give yourselves up too much to what you 
are doing," she used to say to us ; " you worry about 
the future as though it were in your hands. Are 
you much concerned at this moment as to what is 
happening in other Carmelite convents, and whether 
the nuns there are busy or otherwise ? Does their 
work prevent you praying or meditating ? Well, just 
in the same way, you ought to detach yourselves from 
your own personal labours, conscientiously spending 
on them the time prescribed, but with perfect freedom 
of heart. We read that the Israelites, while building 
the walls of Jerusalem, worked with one hand and held 
a sword in the other. 2 This is an image of what we 
should do : avoid being wholly absorbed in our work." 

" One Sunday," There sc relates, " I was going 
towards the chestnut avenue, full of rejoicing, for it 
was spring-time, and I wanted to enjoy nature s 
beauties. \Vhat a bitter disappointment ! My dear 
chestnuts had been pruned, and the branches, already 
covered with buds, now lay on the ground. On 
seeing thh havoc, and thinking that three years must 
elapse before it could be repaired, my heart felt verv 
sore. But the grief did not last long. If I were 

1 Cvnt. i. 2. l C/. 2 E.vlras iv. 17. 

2 45 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

in another convent, I reflected, c what would it 
matter to me if the chestnut-trees of the Carmel at 
Lisieux were entirely cut down ? I will not worry 
about things that pass. God shall be my all. I will 
take my walks in the wooded groves of His Love, 
whereon none dare lay hands." 

* * -* # * * 

A novice asked her Sisters to help her shake some 
blankets. As they were somewhat liable to tear 
because of their worn condition, she insisted, rather 
sharply, on their being handled with care. " What 
would you do," said Therese to the impatient one, 
" if it were not your duty to mend these blankets ? 
There would be no thought of self in the matter, and 
if you did call attention to the fact that they are 
easily torn, it would be done in quite an impersonal 
way. In all your actions, you should avoid the least 
trace of self-seeking." 

* *- * * * # 

Seeing one of our Sisters very much fatigued, I 
said to Soeur Therese : " It grieves me to see people 
suffer, especially those who are holy." She instantly 
replied : " I do not feel as you do. Saints who suffer 
never excite my pity. I know they have strength to 
bear their sufferings, and that through them they are 
giving great glory to God. But I compassionate 
greatly those who are not Saints, and who do 
not know how to profit by suffering. They indeed 
awake my pity. I would strain every nerve to help 
and comfort them." 

* * # * * * 

" Were I to live longer, it is the office of Infir- 
marian that would most please me. I would not ask 
for it, but were it imposed through obedience, I 
should consider myself highly favoured. I think I 
should fulfil its duties with much affection, always 
mindful of Our Lord s words : 4 / was sick, and you 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

visited Me. l The infirmary hell should be for you 
as heavenly rnu^ic, and you ought purposely to pass 
by the windows of the sick that it might be easy for 
them to summon you. Consider yourself as a little 
slave whom everyone has the right to command. 
Could you but see the Angels who from the heights 
of Heaven watch your combats in the arena ! They 
are awaiting the end of the fight to crown you and 
cover you with flowers. You know that we claim to 
rank as little Martyrs. . . . but we must win our 

" God docs not despise these hidden struggles with 
ourselves, so much richer in merit because they are 
unseen : The -patient man is better than the valiant, 
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh cities. - 
Through our little acts of charity, practised in the 
dark, as it were, we obtain the conversion of the 
heathen, help the missionaries, and gain for them 
plentiful alms, thus building both spiritual and material 
dwellings for Our Eucharistic God." 

V * 

I had seen Mother Prioress showing, as I thought, 
more confidence and affection to one of our Sisters 
than she extended to me. Expecting to win sym 
pathy, I told my trouble to Sceur Therese^ and great 
was my surprise when she put me the question : u Do 
you think you love our Mother very much ? : " Cer 
tainly ! otherwise I should be indifferent if others 
were preferred to me." 

" Well, I shall prove that you are absolutely mis 
taken, and that it is not our Mother that you love, 
but yourself. When we really love others, we^ rejoice 
at their happiness, and we make every sacrifice ^to 
procure it. Therefore if you had this true, disin 
terested affection, and loved our Mother for her own 
sake, you would be glad to see her find pleasure even 

Matt. xxv. ~t>. l Prov. xvi. 32. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

at your expense ; and since you think she has less 
satisfaction in talking with you than with another 
Sister, you ought not to grieve at being apparently 

* * * * * &- 

I was distressed at my many distractions during 
prayers : " I also have many," she said, " but as soon 
as I am aware of them, I pray for those people the 
thought of whom is diverting my attention, and in 
this way they reap benefit from my distractions. . . . 
I accept all for the love of God, even the wildest 
fancies that cross my mind." 

* # * * #. * 

I was regretting a pin which I had been asked for, 
and which I had found most useful. " How rich you 
are," said Therese, " you will never be happy ! " 

* :J: # * # * 

The grotto of the Holy Child was in her charge, 
and, knowing that one of our Mothers greatly disliked 
perfumes, she never put any sweet-smelling flowers 
there, not even a tiny violet. This cost her many a 
real sacrifice. One day, just as she had placed a 
beautiful artificial rose at the foot of the statue, the 
Mother called her. Soeur Therese, surmising that it 
was to bid her remove the rose, was anxious to spare 
her any humiliation. She therefore took the flower 
to the good Sister, and, forestalling all observations, 
said : " Look, Mother, how well nature is imitated 
nowadays : would you not think this rose had been 
freshly gathered from the garden ? " 

* * *. ss * * 

" There are moments," she told us, " when we 
are so miserable within, that there is nothing for it 
but to get away from ourselves. At those times God 
does not oblige us to remain at home. He even 
permits our own company to become distasteful to us 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

m order that \vc may leave it. Now I know no other 
means of exit save through the doorway of charitable 
works, on a vi^it to Jesus and Alarv." 


4 When I picture the Holy Family, the thought 
that docs me most good is the simplicity of their 
home-life. Our Lady and St. Joseph were well aware 
that Jesus was God, while at the same time great- 
wonders were hidden from them, and like us they 
lived by faith. You have heard those words of the 
Gospel : They understood not the word that He spoke 
unto them ; L and those others no less mysterious : 
6 His Father and Mother were wondering at those things 
which were sicken concerning Him 2 They seemed to 
be learning something new, for this word wondering 
implies a certain amount of surprise." 

* * * * * * 

6 There is a verse in the Divine Office which I 
recite each da}- with reluctance : I have inclined my 
heart to do Thy justifications for ever, because of the 
reward* : I hasten to add in my heart : My Jesus, 
Thou knowcst I do not serve Thee for sake of reward, 
but solely out of love, and a desire to win Thee souls." 

* * * * * 

c In Heaven only shall we be in possession of the 
clear truth. On earth, even in matters of Holy 
Scripture, our vision is dim. It distresses me to see 
the differences in its translations, and had I been a 
Priest I would have learned Hebrew, so as to read 
the Word of God as He deigned to utter it in human 


Sceur ThcriVe often ^poke to me of a well-known 
toy with which she had amused herself when a child. 
This was the kaleidoscope, shaped like a small tele- 

Luk-- 11. so. - Luke ii. 33. 3 I s. cxviii. u;. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

scope, through which, as it is made to revolve, one 
perceives an endless variety of pretty, coloured figures. 

" This toy," she said, " excited my admiration, 
and I wondered what could produce so charming a 
phenomenon, when one day, after a lengthy examina 
tion, I found that it consisted simply of tiny bits of 
paper and cloth scattered inside. A further examina 
tion revealed that there were three mirrors inside the 
tube, and the problem was solved. It became for me 
the illustration of a great truth. 

" So long as our actions, even the most trivial, 
remain within Love s kaleidoscope, so long the Blessed 
Trinity, figured by the three mirrors, imparts to them 
a wonderful brightness and beauty. The eye-piece is 
Jesus Christ, and He, looking from outside through 
Himself into the kaleidoscope, finds perfect all our 
works. But, should we leave that ineffable abode of 
Love, He would see but the rags and chaff of unclean 
and worthless deeds." 

I told Sceur Therese of the strange phenomena 
produced by magnetism on persons who surrender 
their will to the hypnotiser. It seemed to interest 
her greatly, and next day she said to me : " Your 
conversation yesterday did me so much good ! How 
I long to be hypnotised by Our Lord ! It was my 
waking thought, and verily it was sweet to surrender 
Him my will. I want Him to take possession of my 
faculties in such wise that my acts may no more be 
mine, or human, but Divine inspired and guided by 
the Spirit of Love." 


Before my profession I received through rny 
saintly Novice-mistress a very special grace. We had 
been washing all day. I was worn-out with fatigue 
and harassed with spiritual worries. That night, 
before meditation, I wanted to speak to her, but she 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

dismissed me with the remark : " That is the bell for 
meditation, and I have not time to console you ; 
besides, I see plainly that it would be useless trouble. 
For the present, God wishes you to suffer alone." I 
followed her to meditation so discouraged that, for 
the first time, I doubted of my vocation. I should 
never be able to be a Carmelite. The life was too 

I had been kneeling for some minutes when all 
at once, in the midst of this interior struggle without 
having asked or even wished for peace I felt a sudden 
and extraordinary change of soul. I no longer knew 
myself. Aly vocation appeared to me both lovely 
and lovable. I saw the sweetness and priceless value 
of suffering. All the privations and fatigues of the 
religious life appeared to me infinitely preferable to 
worldly pleasures, and I came away from my medita 
tion completely transformed. 

Next day I told my Mistress what had taken place, 
and, seeing she was deeply touched, I begged to know 
the reason. " God is good," she exclaimed. " Last 
evening you inspired me with such profound pity that 
I prayed incessantly for you at the beginning of medi 
tation. I besought Our Lord to bring you comfort, 
to change your dispositions, and show you the value 
of suffering. He has indeed heard my prayers." 

Being somewhat of a child in my ways, the Holy 
Child to help me in the practice of virtue inspired 
me with the thought of amusing myself with Him, 
and I chose the game of ninepins. I imagined them 
of all sizes and colours, representing the souls I wished 
to reach. The ball was love. 

In December, 1896, the novice? received, for the 
benefit of the Foreign Missions various trifles towards 
a Christmas tree, and at the bottom of the box con 
taining them was a top a rare thing in a Carmelite 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

convent. My companions remarked : " What an ugly 
thing ! of what use will it be ? " But I, who knew 
the game, caught hold of it, exclaiming : " Nay, what 
fun ! it will spin a whole day without stopping if it 
be well whipped " ; and thereupon I spun it round 
to their great surprise. 

Sceur Therese was quietly watching us, and on 
Christmas night, after midnight Mass, I found in our 
cell the famous top, with a delightful letter addressed 
as follows : 

To My Beloved Little Spouse 
Player of Ninepins on the Mountain of Carmel 

Christmas Night, 1896. 

MY BELOVED LITTLE SPOUSE, I am well pleased 
with thee ! All the year round thou hast amused Me 
by playing at ninepins. I was so overjoyed that the 
whole court of Angels was surprised and charmed. 
Several little cherubs have asked Me why I did not 
make them children. Others wanted to know if the 
melody of their instruments were not more pleasing 
to Me than thy joyous laugh when a ninepin fell at 
the stroke of thy love-ball. My answer to them was, 
that they must not regret they are not children, since 
one day they would play with thee in the meadows 
of Heaven. I told them also that thy smiles were 
certainly more sweet to Me than their harmonies, 
because these smiles were purchased by suffering and 
for get fulness of self. 

And now, my cherished Spouse, it is my turn to 
ask something of thee. Thou wilt not refuse Me 
thou lovest Me too much. Let us change the game. 
Ninepins amuse me greatly, but at present I should 
like to play at spinning a top, and, if thou dost consent, 
thou shalt be the top. I give thee one as a model. 
Thou seest that it is ugly to look at, and would be 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

kicked aside by whosoever did not know the game. 
But at the sight of it a child would leap for joy 
and shout : u What fun ! it will spin a whole day 
without stopping ! " 

Although thou too art not attractive, I the little 
Jesus love thee, and beg of thee to keep always 
spinning to amuse Ale. True, it needs a whip to make 
a top spin. Then let thy Sisters supply the whip, 
and be thou most grateful to those who shall make 
thee turn fastest. When I shall have had plenty 
of fun, I will bring thee to join Me here, and our 
games shall be full of unalloyed delight. Thv little 
Brother, J LSUS. 

I had uie habit of constantly crying about the 
merest trifles, and this was a source of great pain to 
Sueur Therese. One day a bright idea occurred to 
her : taking a mussel-shell from her painting table, 
and, holding my hands lest I should prevent her. -;-he 
gathered my tears in the shell, and soon they were 
turned into merry laughter. 

c There," she said, " from this onwards I permit 
you to cry as much as you h ke on condition that it is 
into the shell ! " 

A week, however, before her death I spent a whole 
evening in tears at the thought of her fast-approach 
ing end. She knew it, and said: fci You have been 
crying. Was it into the shell ? I was unable to 
tell an untruth, and my answer grieved her. " 1 am 
going to die," she continued, ww and I shall not be at 
rest about you unless you promise to follow lauhi ullv 
my advice. 1 consider it of the utmost importance 
lor the good of vour soul." 

1 promised what -he a -Led, be-Lrin- leave, however, 
as a favour, to be allowed to cry at her death. k * i>ut," 
she answered, "why cry ;u mv death? Tho-e tears 
will certainly be u eler<s. You will be bewailing mv 


Sceur Th6rese of Lisieux 

happiness ! Still I have pity on your weakness, and 
for the first few days you have leave to cry, though 
afterwards you must again take up the shell." 

It has cost me some heroic efforts, but I have been 
faithful. I have kept the shell at hand, and each time 
the wish to cry overcame me, I laid hold of the pitiless 
thing. However urgent the tears, the trouble of 
passing it from one eye to the other so distracted my 
thoughts, that before very long this ingenious method 
entirely cured me of rny sensibility. 

* # # * # # 
Owing to a fault which had caused Soeur Therese 

much pain, but of which I had deeply repented, I 
intended to deprive myself of Holy Communion. I 
wrote to her of my resolution, and this was her reply : 
" Little flower, most dear to Jesus, by this humiliation 
your roots are feeding upon the earth. You must 
now open wide your petals, or rather lift high your 
head, so that the Manna of the Angels may, like a 
divine dew, come down to strengthen you and supply 
all your wants. Good-night, poor little flower ! Ask 
of Jesus that all the prayers offered for my cure may 
serve to increase the fire which ought to consume me." 

* -x= * * # # 

" At the moment of Communion I sometimes 
liken my soul to that of a little child of three or four, 
whose hair has been ruffled and clothes soiled at play. 
This is a picture of what befalls me in my struggling 
with souls. But Our Blessed Lady comes promptly 
to the rescue, takes off my soiled pinafore, and arranges 
my hair, adorning it with a pretty ribbon or a simple 
flower. . . . Then I am quite nice, and able, without 
any shame, to seat myself at the Banquet of Angels." 

* * * * *- * 

In the infirmary we scarcely waited for the end of 
her thanksgiving before seeking her advice. At first, 
this somewhat distressed her, and she would make 
gentle reproaches, but soon she yielded to us, saying : 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

" I must not wish for more rest than Our Lord. 
When He withdrew into the desert after preaching, 
the crowds would come and intrude upon His soli 
tude. Come, then, to me as much as you like ; I must 
die sword in hand the sword of the Spirit, which is 
the Word of God: " 1 


" Advise us," we said to her, " how to profit by 
our spiritual instructions." ^ Go for guidance with 
great simplicity, not counting too much on help which 
may fail you at any moment. You would then have 
to say with the Spouse in the Canticles : The keepers 
took away my cloak and wounded me ; when I had a 
little passed by them, I found Him whom my soul loveth." ~ 
If you ask with humility and with detachment after 
your Beloved, the keepers will tell you. More often, 
you will find Jesus only when you have passed by all 
creatures. Many times have I repeated this verse of 
the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross : 

* Messengers, I pray, no more 
Between us send, who know not how 
To tell me what my spirit longs to know. 
For they Thy charms who read - 
For ever telling ot a thousand more- 
Make all my wounds to bleed, 
While deeper than before 

Doth an I know not what ! mv spirit grieve 
With stammerings vague, and of all lite bereave/ 


" If, supposing the impossible, God Himself could 
not sec my good actions, I would not be troubled. 
i love Him so much 1 would like to give Him joy 
without His knowing who gave. \Yhen lie sees the 
gift being made, He is as it were, obliged to make a 
return. ... I should ui.-h to spare Him the trouble." 

2 ( . < .int. v. 7, iii. 4 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

" Had I been rich, I could never have seen a poor 
person hungry without giving him to eat. This is 
my way also in the spiritual life. There are many 
souls on the brink of hell, and as my earnings come to 
hand they are scattered among these sinners. The 
time has never yet been when I could say : Now I 
am going to work for myself. 


" There are people who make the worst of every 
thing. As for me, I do just the contrary. I always 
see the good side of things, and even if my portion be 
suffering, without a glimmer of solace, well, I make 
it my joy." 


" Whatever has come from God s Hands has 
always pleased me, even those things which have 
seemed to me less good and less beautiful than the 
gifts made to others." 


" When staying with my aunt, while I was still a 
little girl, I was given a certain book to read. In one 
of the stories great praise was bestowed on a school 
mistress who by her tact escaped from every difficulty 
without hurting anyone s feelings. Her method of 
saying to one person : You are right, and to another : 
I 7 ou are not wrong, struck me particularly, and as I 
read I reflected that I would not have acted in that 
way because we should always tell the truth. And 
this I always do, though I grant it is much more 
difficult. It would be far less trouble for us, when 
told of a worry, to cast the blame on the absent. 
Less trouble . . . nevertheless I do just the contrary, 
and if I am disliked it cannot be helped. Let the 
novices not come to me if they do not want to learn 
the truth." 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

" Before a reproof l bear fruit it must cost something 
and be free from the least trace of passion. Kind 
ness must not degenerate into weakness. When we 
have had good reason for finding fault, we mu^t leave 
it, and not allow ourselves to worry over having given 
pain. To seek out the delinquent for the purpose of 
consoling her, is to do more harm than good. Left 
alone, she is compelled to look beyond creatures, and 
to turn to God ; she is forced to see her faults and to 
humble herself. Otherwise she would become accus 
tomed to expect consolation after a merited rebuke, 
and would act like a spoilt child who stamps and 
screams, knowing well that by this means its mother will 
be forced to return and dry its tears." 


" k Let the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of 
God, be ever in your mouth and in your hearts. 2 If we 
find any one particular person disagreeable we should 
never be disheartened, much less cease our endeavour 
to reform that soul. We should wield the sword of 
the Spirit, and so correct her faults. Things should 
never be allowed to pass for the sake of our own ease. 
We must carry on the war even when there is no hope 
of victory. Success matters nothing, and we must 
fight on and never complain : I shall gain nothing 
from that soul, she does not understand, there is 
nothing for it but to abandon her. That would be 
the act of a coward. We must do our duty to the 
ver\ end/ 


" Formerly, if any of my friends were in trouble, 
and I did not succeed in condoling them when thev 
came to see me, I left the parlour quite heart-broken. 
Soon, however, Our Lord made me understand how 

1 In this ami thn following "counsel" it shouM be rc;njinU;ri\l that it is 
Novice-Mistress who i-, s] eakinij. Kt>.J. 

2 Cf. Ephes. vi. 17; [s:\as Ixi. 21. 

257 R 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

incapable I was of bringing comfort to a soul, and from 
that day I no longer grieved when my visitors went 
away downcast. I confided to God the sufferings of 
those so dear to me, and I felt sure that He heard my 
prayer. At their next visit I learned that I was not 
mistaken. After this experience, I no longer worry 
when I have involuntarily given pain. ... I simply 
ask Our Lord to make amends." 

" What do you think of all the graces that have 
been heaped upon you ? : " I think the Spirit oj 
God breathetb where He will " 1 

" Mother," she one day said to the Prioress, " were 
I unfaithful, were I to commit even the smallest 
infidelity, I feel that my soul would be plunged into 
the most terrible anguish, and I should be unable to 
welcome death." 

Mother Prioress evinced surprise at hearing her 
speak in this strain, and she continued : " I am 
speaking of infidelity in the matter of pride. If, for 
example, I were to say : I have acquired such or 
such a virtue and I can practise it ; or again : My 
God, Thou knowest I love Thee too much to dwell 
on one single thought against faith, straightway I 
should be assailed by the most dangerous tempta 
tions and should certainly yield. To prevent this 
misfortune I have but to say humbly and from my 
heart : My God, I beseech Thee not to let me be 

" I understand clearly how St. Peter fell. He 
placed too much reliance on his own ardent nature, 
instead of leaning solely on the Divine strength. Had 
he only said : Lord, give me strength to follow Thee 
unto death ! the grace would not have been refused 

1 Cf. John iii. 8. 


Counsels and Reminiscences 

" How is it, Mother, that Our Lord, knowing what 
was about to happen, did not say to him : Ask of 
Me the strength to do what is in thy mind ? I 
think His purpose was to give us a twofold lesson 
first : that He taught His Apostles nothing by His 
presence which He docs not teach us through the in 
spirations of grace ; and secondly : that, having made 
choice of St. Peter to govern the whole Church, 
wherein there are many sinners, He wished him to 
test in himself what man can do without God s help. 
This is why Jesus said to him before his fall : Thou 
being once converted confirm thy brethren ; 1 that is, 
Tell them the story of thy sin show them by thy own 
experience, how necessary it is for salvation to rely 
solely upon Me. " 

I was much afflicted at seeing her ill, and I often 
exclaimed : " Life is so dreary ! " " Life is not 
dreary " she would immediately say ; " on the con 
trary, it is most gay. Now if you said : Exile is 
drean-, I could understand. It is a mistake to call 
life that which must have an end. Such a word 
should be only used of the joys of Heaven joys that 
are unfading and in this true meaning life is not 
sad but gay most gay. . . ." 

Her own gaiety was a thing of delight. For several 
days she had been much better, and we were saying to 
her : " We do not yet know of what disease you will 
die. . . ." " But," she answered, " I shall die of death ! 
Did not God tell Adam of what he would die when 
He said to him : Thou shall die of death ? " 

" Then death will come to fetch you ? " " Xo, 
not death, but the Good God. Death is not, as 
pictures tell us, a phantom, a horrid spectre. The 
Catechism says that it is the separation of soul and 

1 Lu!:i- xxii. 32. 

Cf. (ifii. ii. 17. A piny 0:1 thn Fn nch : / .. -,v :>;.;, ,;> >n> . . I ED.] 

2 59 

Sceur Thrse of Lisieux 

body no more ! Well, I do not fear a separation 
which will unite me for ever to God." 

" Will the Divine Thief" some one asked, " soon 
come to steal His little bunch of grapes ? j: " I see 
Him in the distance, and I take good care not to cry 
out: Stop thief! 9 Rather, I caU to Him: This 
way, this way ! 


Asked under what name we should pray to her 
in Heaven, she answered humbly : " Call me Little 


I was telling her that the most beautiful angels, 
all robed in white, would bear her soul to Heaven : 
" Fancies like those," she answered, " do not help me, 
and my soul can only feed upon truth. God and His 
Angels are pure spirits. No human eye can see them 
as they really are. That is why I have never asked 
extraordinary favours. I prefer to await the Eternal 

" To console me at your death I have asked God 
to send me a beautiful dream." " That is a thing I 
would never do ... ask for consolations. Since you 
wish to resemble me, you know what are my ideas on 
this : 

* Fear not, O Lord, that I shall waken Thee : 
I shall await in peace the Heavenly Shore. 

" It is so sweet to serve God in the dark night 
and in the midst of trial. After all, we have but this 
life in which to live by faith." 


" I am happy at the thought of going to Heaven, 
but when I reflect on these words of Our Lord : / 
come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to 
every man according to his works * I think that He will 

1 Apoc. xxii. 12. 

Counsels and Reminiscences 

find my case a pu///Je : I have no works. . . . Well, 
He will render unto me according to His own works ! " 


" The chief plenary indulgence, which is within 
reach of even-body, and can be gained without the 
ordinary conditions, is that of charity which covereth 
a multitude of sins? " * 


" Surely you will not even pass through Purga 
tory. If such a thing should happen, then certainly 
nobody goes straight to Heaven."-" That gives me 
little thought. I shall be quite content with the Merci 
ful God s decision. Should I go to Purgatory, I shall 
like the three Hebrew children in the furnace- 
walk amid the flames singing the Canticle of Love." 
# * * * * 

"In Heaven you will be placed among the 

Seraphim." " If so, I shall not imitate them. At 

the sight of God they cover themselves with their wings 2 : 

I shall take good care not to hide myself with mine." 


I showed her a picture which represented Joan of 
Arc being comforted in prison by her Voices, and she 
remarked : " I also am comforted by an interior 
voice. From above, the Saints encourage me, saying : 
So long as thou art a captive in chains, thou canst 
not fulfil thy mission, but later on, after thy death, 
will come thy day of triumph. 


" In Heaven, God will do all I desire, because on 
Earth I have never done my own will." 


" You will look down upon us from Heaven, will 
you not ? r kk Xo, I will come down." 

1 Prov. x. 12. - Cf. Isaus vi. a. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Some months before the death of Sceur Therese, 
The Life of St. Aloysius was being read in the refectory, 
and one of the Mothers was struck by the mutual 
and tender affection which existed between the young 
Saint and the aged Jesuit, Father Corbinelli. 

" You are little Aloysius," she said to Therese, 
" and I am old Father Corbinelli be mindful of me 
when you enter Heaven." " Would you like me to 
fetch you thither soon, dear Mother ? " " No, I have 
not yet suffered enough." " Nay, Mother, I tell you 
that you have suffered quite enough." To which 
Mother Hermance replied : " I dare not say Yes. . . . 
In so grave a matter I must have the sanction of 
authority." So the request was made to Mother 
Prioress, who, without attaching much importance to 
it, gave her sanction. 

Now on one of the last days of her life, Soeur 
Therese, scarcely able to speak owing to her great 
weakness, received through the infirmarian a bouquet 
of flowers. It had been gathered by Mother Her 
mance, and was accompanied by an entreaty for one 
word of affection. The message came back : " Tell 
Mother Hermance of the Heart of Jesus that during 
Mass this morning I saw Father Corbinelli s grave 
close to that of little Aloysius." 

" That is well," replied the good Mother, greatly 
touched ; " tell Soeur Therese that I have under 
stood. . . ." And from that moment she felt con 
vinced her death was near. It took place just one 
year later, and, according to the prediction of the 
" Little Aloysius," the two graves lie side by side. 

The last words penned by the hand of Soeur 
Therese were : " O Mary, were I Queen of Heaven, 
and wert thou Therese, I should wish to be Therese, 
that I might see thee Queen of Heaven ! " 







May 8, i88R. 

DEAREST Cti.iNE, There arc moments when I wonder 
whether I am really and truly in the Carmel ; sometimes I 
can scarcely believe it. What have I done for God that He 
should shower so many graces upon me : 

A whole month has passed since we parted ; hut why do 
I say parted ? Even were the wide ocean between us, our 
souls would remain as one. And vet I know that not to have 
me is real suffering, and if I listened to myself I should ask 
Jesus to let me bear the sat: ness in your stead ! I do not 
listen, as you see ; I should be afraid of being selfish in wishing 
for myself the better part I mean the suffering. You arc- 
right life is often burdensome and bitter. It is painful to 
begin a day of toil, especially when Jesus hides Himself from 
our love. What is this sweet Friend about ? Does He 
not see our anguish and the burden that weighs us down ? 
Why does He not come and comfort us ? 

Be not afraid. . . . He is here at hand. He is watching, 
and it is Fie who begs from us this pain, these tears. . . . He 
needs them for souls, for our souls, and He lories to nive us a 
magnificent reward. I assure you that it costs Him" dear to 
fill us with bitterness, but He knows that it is the only means 
of preparing us to know Him as He knows Himself, and to 
become ourselves Divine! Our soul is indeed great and our 
destiny glorious. Let us lift ourselves above afl things that 
pass, and hold ourselves far from the earth ! Up above, the 
air is so pure . . . Jesus may hide Himself, but we know that 
He is there. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

October 20, 1888. 

MY DEAREST SISTER, Do not let your weakness make 
you unhappy. When, in the morning 5 we feel no courage or 
strength for the practice of virtue, it is really a grace : it is 
the time to " lay the axe to the root of the tree""*- relying upon 
Jesus alone. If we fall, an act of love will set all right, and 
Jesus smiles. He helps us without seeming to do so ; and the 
tears which sinners cause Him to shed are wiped away by our 
poor weak love. Love can do all things. The most impos 
sible tasks seem to it easy and sweet. You know well that 
Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our 
actions, nor even at their difficulty, as at the love with which 
we do them. What, then, have we to fear ? 

You wish to become a Saint, and you ask me if this is not 
attempting too much. Celine, I will not tell you to aim at 
the seraphic holiness of the most privileged souls, but rather to 
be "perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" 2 You see 
that your dream that our dreams and our desires are not 
fancies, since Jesus Himself has laid their realisation upon us 
as a commandment. 


January, 1889. 

MY DEAR LITTLE CELINE, Jesus offers you the cross, a 
very heavy cross, and you are afraid of not being able to carry 
it without giving way. Why ? Our Beloved Himself fell 
three times on the way to Calvary, and why should we not 
imitate our Spouse ? What a favour from Jesus, and how He 
must love us to send us so great a sorrow ! Eternity itself 
will not be long enough to bless Him for it. He heaps his 
favours upon us as upon the greatest Saints. What, then, are 
His loving designs for our souls ? That is a secret which will 
only be revealed to us in our Heavenly Home, on the day 
when " the Lord shall wipe away all our tears" 3 

Now we have nothing more to hope for on earth "the 
cool evenings are passed " 4 for us suffering alone remains ! 
Ours is an enviable lot, and the Seraphim in Heaven are 
jealous of our happiness. 

1 Matt. iii. 10. 2 Matt. v. 48. 

3 Apoc. xxi. 4. 4 St. John of the Cross. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

i he other dav I ranv across tin-, striking pas-age: "To 
he resigned and to he united to the- Will of God arc not th<- 
same; th -re is the same difference between them as thar 
which exists between union and unitv ; in union thcie arc 
still two, in unity there is hut one/ Yes, let us he one with 
God even in this life ; and for this we should he more than 
resigned, we should emma<:e the Cross with jnv. 



MY ni AR I.ITTI.K SISTER, Jesus is " a S/>ouse of/;, 
M< wishes tor Himvlt all the blood of our hearts. You arc 
right it costs us dear to give Him what He asks. Hut what 
a jov that it does cost ! It is happiness to bear our crosses, 
and to feel our weakness in doing so. 

Celine, far from complaining to Our Lord of this cro^s 
which He sends us, I cannot fathom the Infinite Love which 
has led Him to treat us in this wav. Our dear Father must 
indeed be loved bv God to have so much suffering given to 
him. It is a delight for us to he humbled with him. I 
know that by humiliation alone can Saints be made, and I 
also know that our trial is a mine of gold for us to turn to 
account. I, who am but a little grain of sand, wish to set to 
work, though I have neither courage nor strength. Now 
this very want of power will make my task easier, for I wish 
to work for love. Our martyrdom is beginning . . . Let us 
go forth to suffer together, dear sister, and let us offer our 
sufferings to Jesus for the sahation of souls. 

. . . I ;nusi fo^et this world. Here evcrvthing wearies 
me I find only one jov, that of suffering, ami this iov, 
which i-. not one of sense, is above all ]oy. Life is passing, 
and eternitv is drawing near. Soon we shall live the very life 
of God. After we have been filled at the source of all 
bitterness, our thirst will be quenched at the very Fountain of 
all sweetness. 

" Tlif figure of this w.rld passeth awav" 3 soon we shall 
see new sk:es a more radiant sun \vili light with it- splendour 

1 Mme. Sv, ft- line. K.M !;: ;v. 25. * i Cor. vii. 31. 


Sosur Therese of Lisieux 

crystal seas and infinite horizons. We shall no longer be 
prisoners in a land of exile, all will have passed away, and 
with our Heavenly Spouse we shall sail upon boundless seas. 
Now, " our harps are hanging on the willows which grow by the 
rivers of Babylon" l but in the day of our deliverance what 
harmonies will they not give forth, how joyfully shall we 
make all their strings vibrate ! Now, " we shed tears as we 
remember Sion, for how can we sing the songs of the Lord in a land 
of exile ? " 2 The burden of our song is suffering. Jesus 
offers us a chalice of great bitterness. Let us not withdraw 
our lips from it, but suffer in peace. He who says peace does 
not say joy, or at least sensible joy : to suffer in peace it is 
enough to will heartily all that Our Lord wills. Do not 
think we can find love without suffering, for our nature 
remains and must be taken into account ; but it puts great 
treasures within our reach. Suffering is indeed our very liveli 
hood, and is so precious that Jesus came down upon earth on 
purpose to possess it. We should like to suffer generously 
and nobly ; we should like never to fall. What an illusion ! 
What does it matter to me if I fall at every moment ! In 
that way I realise my weakness, and I gain thereby. My 
God, Thou seest how little I am good for, when Thou dost 
carry me in Thy Arms ; and if Thou leavest me alone, well, it 
is because it pleases Thee to see me lie on the ground. Then 
why should I be troubled ? 

If you are willing to bear in peace the trial of not being 
pleased with yourself, you will be offering the Divine Master 
a home in your heart. It is true that you will surfer, because 
you will be like a stranger to your own house ; but do not be 
afraid the poorer you are, the more Jesus will love you. I 
know that He is better pleased to see you stumbling in the 
night upon a stony road, than walking in the full light of day 
upon a path carpeted with flowers, because these flowers might 
hinder your advance. 


July 14, 1889. 

MY DARLING SISTER, I am ever with you in spirit. Yes, 
it is very hard to live upon this earth, but to-morrow, in a 
brief hour, we shall be at rest. O my God, what shall we 
then see ? What is this life which will have no end ? Our 

1 Cf. Ps. cxxxvi. 2. 2 Cf. Ps. cxxxvi. T, 4. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

Lord will be the soul of our soul. () unsearchable mystery ! 
" Eye hath nit seen nor ear ht\ir;i, neither hath it entered int-j the 
heart of man -what things God hath prepared /;r then: that love 
Him. " 1 And all this will conic soon ---very soon- :f we 
love Jesus anlentlv. It seems to me that God ha.-, no need of 
years to perfect His labour of icve in a soul. One ray from 
His Heart can in an instant make His fl.nver blossom forth, 
never to fade. . . . Celine, during the lleetin^ moments that 
remain to us, let us save souls ! I feel that Our Spouse asks 
us for souls above all, for the souls of Priests. ... It is He 
Who bids me tell you this. 

There is but one thing to be done here below : to love- 
Jesus, and to save souls for Him that He may be more loved. 
We must not let slip the smallest opportunity of giving Him 
joy. We must refuse Him nothing. He is in such need of 

We are His chosen lilies. He dwells as a Kim: in our 
midst He lets us share the honours of His Rovaltv His 
Divine Blood bedews our petals and His Thorns as they 
wound us spread abroad the perfume of our lo\ c. 


October 22, i.9?g. 

MY DEAREST CELINE,! send you a picture of the Holy 
Face. The contemplation of this Divine subject seems to me 
to belong in a special way to my little sister, truly the sister of 
my soul. May she be another Veronica, and wipe away all 
the Blood and Tears of Jesus, her only Love ! May she ;ve 
Him souls ! May she force her way through the soldier.-. 
that is, the world to come close to His side. . . . Happy 
will she be when she sees in Heaven the value of that mysteri 
ous draught with which she cpcnched the thir-t of her 
Heavenly Spouse ; when she sees His Lips, once parched with 
burning thirst, speaking to her the one eternal word love, 
and the thanks which shall have no end. . . . 

Good-bye, dear little Veronica ;- to-morrow, no doubt, /our 
Beloved will a-k some p.e\v sacrifice, a ire^h relief tor His 
thirst . . . \s\\t" let us gv and die with Him!" 

1 I < or. 11. y. 

2 It is remark. ib> t!..u Sccui i lied thi ;i.ii 
who, under her in -pir.uio:!, v. is T 

ot" ( >ur Loi 

It ii also a cu.nci .nice thai soon af -r t;. ^c-.ith <; S ru: 1 lu -ri r th .- mystory 

Soeur Th^rese of Lisieux 


July 18, 1890. 

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER, I send you a passage from Isaias 
which will comfort you. Long ago the Prophet s soul was 
filled with the thought of the hidden beauties of the Divine 
Face, as our souls are now. Many a century has passed since 
then. It makes me wonder what is Time. Time is but a 
mirage, a dream. Already God sees us in glory, and rejoices 
in our everlasting bliss. How much good I derive from this 
thought ! I understand now why He allows us to suffer. 

Since Our Beloved has ** trodden the wine-press alone" l the 
wine-press from which He gives us to drink on our side let 
us not refuse to be clothed in blood-stained garments, or to 
tread out for Jesus a new wine which may quench His thirst ! 
When " He looks around Him" He will not be able to say 
now that " He is alone" 2 we shall be there to help Him. 

" His look as it were hidden" 3 Alas ! it is so even to this 
day, and no one understands His Tears. " Open to Me, My 
Sister , My Spouse" he says to us, "for My Head is full of dew 
and My Locks of the drops of the night" 4 Thus Jesus complains 
to our souls when He is deserted and forgotten . . . To be 
forgotten. It is this, I think, which gives Him most pain. 

of this precious relic was explained. Till it was solemnly exposed in 1898, no one 
had seen the Holy Winding Sheet for thirty years. Photography revealed the 
fact that the mysterious imprint of the Body of Jesus, which had hitherto puzzled 
even experts, is in reality a " negative." The " positive" obtained from it shows 
the majestic figure of Christ, but the outlines are somewhat blurred and indis 
tinct. To produce a picture which would appeal to the devotion of the faithful, 
it was necessary to retrace the figure with the greatest care and precision. Celine 
devoted six months to the task, and succeeded in making an admirable and 
touching copy of the photograph. 

Our Holy Father, Pope Pius X., has attached numerous indulgences to this 
representation of the Holy Face, and has expressed his desire that " it should find 
a place in every Catholic household." At the same time he granted an indul 
gence of 300 days, toties quoties, for the recitation of a prayer to the Holy Face 
composed by Soeur The"rese. 

The prayer is given on page 423. If the authenticity of the Holy Winding 
Sheet of Turin be accepted, then this picture of the Holy Face is without doubt 
the most exact likeness of Our Lord which exists. With regard to the authen 
ticity and to the explanation of the figure on the shroud being a negative, the 
reader is referred to two able articles which appeared in the Tablet of April i 
and April 8, 1911, pp. 482 and 522. 

Copies of the picture can be obtained at the Carmel of Lisieux or the 
Orphans Press, Rochdale, England. [ED.] 

1 Isa. Ixiii. 3. * 67. Isa. Ixiii. 5. 3 Isa. liii. 3. Cant. v. <?.. 

Letters to her Sister Celine 

Ami our clear Father ! it is heartrending, hut how can we 
repine since Our Lord Himself was looked upon "<u cue struck 
by Cis.i ar.d afflicted":* In this great sorrow we should 
forget ourselves, and pray tor Priest -, our lives must he entirely 
devoted to them. Our Divine Master makes me feel more 
and more that this is what Me a^ks of you and me. 


AV/ tern bcr 23 , iS^/o. 

O C line, how can I tell you all that is happening within 
me r \\ hat a wound I have received ! And yet I tee! it is 
inflicted by a loving Hand, by a Hand divinely jealous. 

All v/as ready for my espousals;- but do you not think 
that something was still wanting to the feast ? It is true, 
Jesus hail already enriched me with many jewels, but no doubt 
there was one ot incomparable beauty still missing ; this price 
less diamond He has given me to-dav . . . Papa will not be 
here to-morrow ! Celine, I confers that I have cried bitterly. 
... I am still crying so that I can scarcely hold my pen. 

You know how intensely I longed to see our dearest 
Father again ; but now I feel that it is God s Will that he- 
should not be at my feast. God has allowed it simply to try 
our love. Jesus me to be an orphan ... to be alone, 
with Him alone, so that He may unite Himself more closely to 
me. He wishes, too, to give me back in Heaven this joy so 
lawfully desired, but which He has denied me here on earth. 

To-day s trial i^ one of those sorrows that arc diilicult to 
understand : a joy was set before us, one most natural and easy 
of attainment. We stretched forth our hands . . . and the 
coveted joy was withdrawn. But it is not the hand of man 
which has done this thing it is God s work. Celine, under 
stand your Therese, and let us accept cheerfully the thorn 
which is offered us. To-morrow s tea-r will he one ot tears, 
but I feel that je--us will be Lireaiiv consoled. . . . 


O - i:. i ,o. 

MY DARMNC; SISTI-::I, -I know quite well all you are 
sr.fFermg. I know vour anguish, and I share :t. Oh ! if I 
iou:>i but imvai t to vou the pea/e which fesus ha^ put into 

. - :r I : v ~ . < , i S -; ! !:-..; , i , ;. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

my soul amid my most bitter tears. Be comforted all passes 
away. Our life of yesterday is spent ; death too will come 
and go, and then we shall rejoice in life, true life, for count 
less ages, for evermore. Meanwhile let us make of our heart 
a garden of delights where Our sweet Saviour may come and 
take His rest. Let us plant only lilies there, and sing with St. 
John of the Cross : 

" There I remained in deep oblivion, 
My head reposing- upon Him I love, 
Lost to myself and all ! 
I cast my cares away 
And let them, heedless, mid the lilies lie." * 


April 26, 1891. 

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER. Three years ago our hearts had 
not yet been bruised, and life was one glad smile. Then 
Jesus looked down upon us, and all things were changed into 
an ocean of tears . . . but likewise into an ocean of grace and 
of love. God has taken from us him whom we loved so tenderly 
was it not that we might be able to say more truly than 
ever : " Our Father Who art in Heaven " ? How consoling is 
this divine word, and what vast horizons it opens before us ! 

My darling Celine, you who asked me so many questions 
when we were little, I wonder how it was you never asked : 
"Why has God not made me an Angel ? " Well, I am going 
to tell you. Our Lord wishes to have His Court here on earth, 
as He has in Heaven ; He wishes for angel-martyrs and angel- 
apostles ; and if He has not made you an Angel in Heaven, it 
is because He wishes you to be an Angel of earth, so that you 
may be able to suffer for His Love. 

Dearest sister, the shadows will soon disappear, the rays 
of the Eternal Sun will thaw the hoar frost of winter. ... A 
little longer, and we shall be in our true country, and our child 
hood s joys those Sunday evenings, those outpourings of the 
heart will be given back to us for ever ! 


August 15, 1892. 

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER, To write to you to-day I am 
obliged to steal a little time from Our Lord. He will forgive, 

1 St. John of the Cross: The Night of the Soul, 8th stanza. 

Letters to her Sister Celine 

because it is of Him that we arc going to speak together. 
The vast solitudes and enchanting views which untold them 
selves before you ought to uplift your soul. 1 do not see those 
things, and I content myself by saying with St. John of the 
Cross in his Spiritual Canticle : 

In Christ I have the mountains, 
The quiet, wooiied valleys. 

Lately I have been thinking what I could undertake for the 
salvation of souls, and these simple words of the Gospel have 
given me light. Pointing to the fields of ripe corn, Jesus once 
said to His disciples : "Lift up your eyes and see the fields, for 
they are already white with the harvest " ; l and again : " The 
harvest indeed is greut^ but the labourers are few ; pray \e there 
fore the Lord of the harvest that He send forth labourers."* 

Here is a mvstery indeed ! Is not Jesus all-powerful ? 
Do not creatures belong to Him who made them ? Why 
does He deign to sav : " Pray \e the Lord cf the harvest that 
fit- send forth labourers " ? It is because His Love for us is so 
unsearchable, so tender, that Fie wishes us to share in all He 
does. The Creator of the Universe awaits the prayer of a 
poor little soul to save a multitude of other souls, ransomed, 
like her, at the price of His Blood. 

Our vocation is not to go forth and reap in Our Father s 
fields. Jesus does not say to us : a Look down and reap the 
harvest." Our mission is even more sublime. " Lift up \our 
eyes and see" saith our Divine Master, "see how in Heaven 
there are empty thrones. It is for you to fill them. . . . You 
are as Moses praying on the mountain, so ask Me for labourers 
and they shall be sent. I only await a prayer, a sigh ! Is not 
the apostolate of prayer so to speak higher than that of the 
spoken word ? It is for us by praver to train workers who 
will spread the clad tidings of the Gospel and who will save 
countless souls the souls to whom we shall be the spiritual 
Mothers. What, then, have w r e to envy in the Priests ot the 
Lord ? 


MY DARLING SISTER, The affection of our childhood 
davs has changed into a union of mind and heart. 
Jesus has drawn us to Him together, for are you not already 
His ? He has put the world beneath our feet. Like Xacchcus 

1 John iv. 31;. * Matt. \\. 37, 38. 

273 s 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

we have climbed into a tree to behold Him mysterious tree, 
raising us high above all things, from whence we can say : " All 
is mine, all is for me : the Earth and the Heavens are mine, 
God Himself is mine, and the Mother of my God is for me." l 

Speaking of that Blessed Mother, I must tell you of one of 
my simple ways. Sometimes I find myself saying to her : 
" Dearest Mother, it seems to me that I am happier than you. 
I have you for my Mother, and you have no Blessed Virgin to 
love. ... It is true, you are the Mother of Jesus, but you 
have given Him to me ; and He, from the Cross, has given 
you to be our Mother thus we are richer than you ! Long 
ago, in your humility, you wished to become the little hand 
maid of the Mother of God ; and I poor little creature am 
not your handmaid but your child ! You are the Mother of 
Jesus, and you are also mine ! " 

Our greatness in Jesus is verily marvellous, my Celine. He 
has unveiled for us many a mystery by making us climb the 
mystical tree of which I spoke above. And now what science 
is He going to teach ? Have we not learned all things from 

" Make haste to come down, for this day I must abide in thy 
house" 2 Jesus bids us come down. Where, then, must we 
go ? The Jews asked Him : " Master, where dwellest 
Thou ? " 3 And He answered, " The foxes have holes and the 
birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay 
His Head." 4 If we are to be the dwelling-place of Jesus, we 
must come down even to this we must be so poor that we 
have not where to lay our heads. 

This grace of light has been given to me during my 
retreat. Our Lord desires that we should receive Him into 
our hearts, and no doubt they are empty of creatures. Alas ! 
mine is not empty of self; that is why He bids me come 
down. And I shall come down even to the very ground, 
that Jesus may find within my heart a resting-place for His 
Divine Head, and may feel that there at least He is loved and 


April 25, 1893. 

MY LITTLE CELINE, I must come and disclose the desires 
of Jesus with regard to your soul. Remember that He did 

1 St. John of the Cross. a Luke xix. 5. 

3 John i. 38. * Luke ix. 58, 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

not say : " I am the Flower of the gardens, a carefully- 
tended Rose " ; hut, u / am the Slower cf the fields and the 
Lily of the vallt\>" J Well, you must he always as a drop of 
dew hidden in the heart of this beautiful Lily of the valley. 

The dew-drop what could he simpler, what more pure ? 
It is not the child of the clouds ; it is horn beneath the starry 
sky, and survives but a night. When the sun darts forth its 
ardent rays, the delicate pearls adorning each blade of grass 
quickly pass into the lightest of vapour. . . . There is the 
portrait of my little C line ! She is a drop of dew, an off 
spring of Heaven her true Home. Through the niirht of 
this life she must hide herself in the Ficld-fl over s golden cup ; 
no eve must discover her abode. 

Happy dewdrop, known to God alone, think not of the 
rushing torrents of this world ! Envy not even the crvstiil 
stream which winds among the meadows. The ripple of its 
waters is sweet indeed, but it can be heard by creatures. 
Besides, the Field-flower could never contain it in its cup,. 
One must be so little to draw near to Jesus, and few are the 
souls that aspire to be little and unknown. " Are not the 
river and the brook," they urge, " of more use than a dew- 
drop ? Of what avail is it ? Its only purpose is to refresh 
for one moment some poor little field-flower." 

Ah ! they little know the true Flower cf the field. Did 
they know Him they would understand better Our Lord s 
reproach to Martha. Our Beloved needs neither our brilliant 
deeds nor our beautiful thoughts. Were He in search of lofty 
ideas, has He not His Angels, whose knowledge infinitely sur 
passes that of the greatest genius of earth ? Neither intellect 
nor other talents has He come to seek among us. ... He has 
become the Flower of the firld to show how much He loves 

7 AY Lily of the valley asks but a single dewdrop, which fcr 
one night shall rest in its cup, hidden from all human eves. 
But when the shadows shall begin to fade, when the /- . ou er cf 
the field shall have become the Sun of Justice* then the dew- 
drop the humble sharer of His exile will rise up to Him as 
love s vapour. He will shed on her a ray of His light, and 
before the whole court of Heaven she will shine eternally like 
a precious pearl, a dazzling mirror of the Divine Sun. 

1 Cant. ii. i. Maluchias IT. 2. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


August 2, 1893. 

MY DEAR CE LINE, What you write fills me with joy ; 
you are making your way by a royal road. The Spouse in 
the Canticles, unable to find her Beloved in the time of repose, 
went forth to seek Him in the city. But in vain ... it was 
only without the walls she found Him. It is not in the 
sweetness of repose that Jesus would have us discover His 
Adorable Presence. He hides Himself and shrouds Himself in 
darkness. True, this was not His way with the multitude, 
for we read that all the people were carried away as soon as 
He spoke to them. 

The weaker souls He charmed by His divine eloquence 
with the aim of strengthening them against the day of tempta 
tion and trial, but His faithful friends were few that day 
when " He was silent " l in the presence of His judges. Sweet 
melody to my heart is that silence of the Divine Master ! 

He would have us give Him alms as to a poor man, and 
puts Himself so to speak at our mercy. He will take nothing 
that is not cheerfully given, and the veriest trifle is precious 
in His Divine Eyes. He stretches forth His Hand to receive 
a little love, that in the radiant day of the Judgment He may 
speak to us those ineffably sweet words : " Come y ye blessed of 
My Father^for I was hungry and you gave Me to drink, I was a 
stranger and you took Me in, I was sick and you visited Me, I 
was in prison and you came to Me" 2 

Dearest Celine, let us rejoice in the lot that is ours ! Let 
us give and give again, and give royally, never forgetting that 
Our Beloved is a hidden Treasure which few souls know how 
to find. Now to discover that which is hidden we must needs 
hide ourselves in the hiding-place. Let our life, then, be one 
of concealment. The author of the Imitation tells us : 

" If thou would st know and learn something to the purpose, love to 
be unknown, and to be esteemed as nothing . . . 3 Having forsaken 
all things, a man should forsake himself. . . Let this man glory in 
this and another in that, but thou for thy part rejoice neither in this 
nor in that, but in the contempt of thyself." 6 

1 Matt. xxvi. 23. a Matt. xxv. 34-36. 

3 Imit., Bk. I, ch. ii. 3. * 16., Bk. II, ch. xi. 4. 5 /j. f Bk. Ill, ch. xlix. 7. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 


MY DF.AR CKLINE, You tell me that my letters do good to 
you. I am indeed glad, but I assure you that I am under no 
misapprehension : " lirJtss the Lord iuild the house, the\ labour 
in vain who build it." The greatest eloquence cannot call 
forth a single act of love without that grace which toucho 
the heart. 

Think of a beautiful peach with its delicate tint of rose, 
with its flavour so sweet that no human skill could invent 
such nectar. Tell me, Celine, is it for the peach s own sake 
that God created that colour so fair to the eye, that velvety 
covering so soft to the touch ? Is it for itself that He made it 
so sweet ? Nay, it is for us ; the only thing that is all its 
own and is essential to its being, is the stone : it posse^es 
nothing beyond. 

Thus also it pleases Jesus to lavish His gifts on certain 
souls in order to draw yet others to Himself; in His Mercy- 
He humbles them inwardly and gently compels them to 
recognise their nothingness and His Almighty Power. Now 
this sentiment of humility is like a kernel of grace which God 
hastens to develop against that blessed day, when, clothed with 
an imperishable beauty, they will be placed, without danger, on 
the banqueting-table of Paradise. Dear little sister, sweet 
echo of my soul, Therese is far from the heights of fervour at 
this moment ; but when I am in this state of spiritual dryne-s 
unable to pray, or to practise virtue, I look for little opportuni 
ties, for the smallest trifles, to please my Jesus : a smile or a 
kind word, for instance, when I would wish to be silent, or to 
show that I am bored. If no such occasion offer, I trv a: 
least to say over and over again that I love Him. This is not 
hard, and it keeps alive the fire in mv heart. Even should 
the fire of love seem dead, I would still throw my tinv straws 
on the ashes, and I am confident it would linht up again. 

It is true I am not always faithful, but I never lose 
courage. I leave myself in the Arms of Our Lord. He- 
teaches me to draw profit from evcrvthiiu:, from the <rood and 
from the bail which He finds in me. 2 He teaches me to 
speculate in the Bank of Love, or rather it is He Who 
speculates for me, without telling me how He does it that is 
His afhiir, not mine. I have but to surrender myself wholly to 

1 Ps. cxxvi. i. l St. John of the Cross. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Him, to do so without reserve, without even the satisfaction 
of knowing what it is all bringing to me. . . . After all, I am 
not the prodigal child, and Jesus need not trouble about a feast 
for me, because I am always with Him. 1 

I have read in the Gospel that the Good Shepherd leaves 
the faithful ones of His flock in the desert to hasten after the 
lost sheep. This confidence touches me deeply. You see He 
is sure of them. How could they stray away ? They are 
prisoners of Love. In like manner does the Beloved Shepherd 
of our souls deprive us of the sweets of His Presence, to give 
His consolations to sinners ; or if He lead us to Mount Thabor 
it is but for one brief moment . . . the pasture land is nearly 
always in the valleys, " it is there that Pie takes His rest at 
mid-day" 2 


October 20, 1893. 

MY DEAR SISTER, I find in the Canticle of Canticles this 
passage which may be fitly applied to you : " What dost thou 
see in thy beloved but a band of musicians in an armed camp ? " 3 
Through suffering, your life has in truth become a battle-field, 
and there must be a band of musicians, so you shall be the 
little harp of Jesus. But no concert is complete without 
singing, and if Jesus plays, must not Celine make melody with 
her voice ? When the music is plaintive, she will sing the 
songs of exile ; when the music is gay, she will lilt the airs of 
her Heavenly Home. . . . 

Whatever may happen, all earthly events, be they happy 
or sad, will be but distant sounds, unable to awake a vibration 
from the harp of Jesus. He reserves to Himself alone the 
right of lightly touching its strings. 

I cannot think without delight of that sweet saint, Cecilia. 
What an example she gives us ! In the midst of a pagan 
world, in the very heart of danger, at the moment when she 
was to be united to a man whose love was so utterly of earth, 
it seems to me as if she should have wept and trembled with 
fear. But instead, "during the music of the marriage-feast 
Cecilia kept singing in her heart." 4 What perfect resigna 
tion ! No doubt she heard other melodies than those of this 
world ; her Divine Spouse too was singing, and the Angels 

1 Cf. Luke xv. 31. 2 Cant. i. 6. 

8 Cf. Cant. vii. i. * Office of St. Cecilia. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

repeated in chorus the refrain of Bethlehem s blessed night : 
"(r /sry to God in the highest, and on earth peace ts nun oj g-^d- 

The Glory of God ! St. Cecilia understood it well, and 
longed for it with all her heart. She guessed that her Jesus 
was thirsting for souls . . . and that is why her whole desire 
was to bring to Him quickly the soul of the voung Roman, 
whose only thought was of human glory. This wise Virgin 
will make of him a Martyr, and multitudes will follow in his 
footsteps. She knows no fear : the Angels in their song made 
promise of peace. She knows that the Prince of Peace is 
bound to protect her, to guard her virginity, and to make her 
recompense. . . . U 0h y how beautiful is the chaste generation I" 

Dearest sister, I hardly know what I write ; I let my pen 
follow the dictates of my heart. You tell me that you feel 
your weakness, but that is a grace. It is Our Lord Who 
sows the seeds of distrust of self in your soul. Do not be 
afraid ! If you do not fail to give Him pleasure in small things, 
He will be obliged to help you in great ones. 

The Apostles laboured long without Him, they toiled a 
whole night and caught no fish. Their labours were not in- 
acceptable to Him, but He wished to prove that He-is the Giver 
of all things. So an act of humility was asked of the Apostles, 
and Our loving Lord called to them : " Children, have you 
anything to eat}" 3 St. Peter, avowing his helplessness, cried 
out : " Lord, ive have laboured all the night, and have taken 
nothing"* It is enough, the Heart of Jesus is touched. . . . 
Had the Apostle caught some small fish, perhaps our Divine 
Master would not have worked a miracle ; but he had caught 
nothing, and so through the power and goodness of God his 
nets were soon filled with great fishes. Such is Our Lord s 
way. He i^ives as God with divine largesse but He insi.-ts 
on humility of heart. 


July 7, 1834. 

MY DEAR LITTLE SisTiu, I do not know if you arc still 
in the same frame of mind as when you last wrote to me ; 
I presume that you are, and I answer with this passage of the 

1 Lukf ii. 14. * ^ . in iv. i. 

* Luke v. 5. Sueur Ther6se juins in one the two miraculous draught f 
fishes. [Eu.j 

2 79 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Canticle of Canticles, which explains so well the state of a soul 
in utter dryness, a soul which cannot find joy or consolation 
in anything : " / went down into the garden of nut-trees to 
see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard haa 
flourished, and the pomegranates were in bud. I no longer knew 
where I was : my soul was troubled because of the chariots of 
Aminadab" x 

There is the true picture of our souls. Often we go 
down into the fertile valleys where our heart loves to find its 
nourishment ; and the vast fields of Holy Scripture, which 
have so often opened to yield us richest treasures, now seem 
but an arid and waterless waste. We no longer even know 
where we stand. In place of peace and light, all is sorrow and 
darkness. But, like the Spouse in the Canticles, we know the 
cause of this trial : " My soul was troubled because of the 
chariots of Aminadab" We are not as yet in our true country, 
and as gold is tried in the fire so must our souls be purified by 
temptation. We sometimes think we are abandoned. Alas ! 
the chariots that is to say, the idle clamours which beset and 
disturb us are they within the soul or without ? We cannot 
tell, but Jesus knows ; He sees all our grief, and in the night, 
on a sudden, His Voice is heard : " Return, return, 
Sulamitess ; return, return, that we may behold thee" 2 

O gracious call ! We dared no longer even look upon 
ourselves, the sight filled us with horror, and Jesus calls us 
that He may look upon us at leisure. He wills to see us ; He 
comes, and with Him come the other two Persons of the 
Adorable Trinity to take possession of our soul. 

Our Lord had promised this, when, with unspeakable 
tenderness, He had said of old : " If anyone love Me he will keep 
My word, and My Father will love hi?n, and We will come to 
him, and will make Our abode with him" 3 To keep the word 
of Jesus, then, is the one condition of our happiness, the proof 
of our love for Him ; and this word seems to me to be His 
very Self, for He calls Himself the Uncreated Word of the 

In the same Gospel of St. John He makes the sublime 
prayer : " Sanctify them by Thy word, Thy word is truth" 4 
And in another passage Jesus teaches us that He is " the Way 
and the Truth and the Life" 5 We know, then, what is this 
word which must be kept ; we cannot say, like Pilate : 

1 Cf. Cant. vi. 10, n. 2 Cant. vi. 12. 3 John xiv. 23. 

4 Cf. John xvii. 17. 6 John xiv. 6. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

" U hdt is truth ? " l We possess the Truth, for our Beloved 
dwells in our hearts. 

Often this Bflo\fd is to us a bundle of myrrh. 2 We share 
the chalice of His sufferings ; hut how sweet it will he to us 
one day to hear these gentle words : " Yen are thc\ lu r.o have 
continued -with Me in My tcmptu , . ; :>;.f, and I dispose to you^ as My 
Father hath disposed to Me, a kingdom ^ 3 


Au^ .t^t I-",, i " . :. 

This is perhaps the last time that I need have recourse to 
writing in order to talk to you, my dear little sister. God in 
His goodness has granted mv dearest wish. Come, and we 
will suffer together . . . Then Jesus will take one of us, and 
the others will remain in exile vet a little longer. Now, 
listen well to what I am going to say : God will never, never 
separate us ; and if I die before you, do not think that I shall 
be far away never shall we have been more closely united. 
You must not be grieved at mv childish prophecy. I am not 
ill, I have an iron constitution ; but the Lord can break iron 
as if it were clay. 

Our dear Father makes his presence felt in a way which 
touches me deeply. After a death lasting for five loni: years, 
what joy to find him as he used to be, nay, more a father than 
ever ! How well he is going to repay you for the care you so 
generously bestowed on him ! You were his An :el, now he 
will be yours. He has only been one month in Heaven, and 
already, through the power of his intercession, all your plans 
are succeeding. It is easy for him now to arrange matteis for 
us, and he has had less to suffer on Celine s account than he 
had for his poor little Queen. 

I" or a long time you have been askin:: me tor news about 
the noviciate, especially about mv work, and now I am goin -, 
to satisfy you. In my dealings with the novices I am like a 
setter on the scent of game. The r<Me gives me much 
anxiety because it is so very exacting. You shall decide for 
yourself if this be not the case. All (lav lon<_ r , from morn till 
niL ht, I am in pursuit of game. Mother Prioress and the 
Novice Mirtress plav the part of sportsmen but sportsmen 
are too big to he creeping through the cover, whereas a little 
do can push its wav in anywhere . . . and then its scent is 
so keen ! I keep a close watch upon my little rabbits ; I do 

1 Jot.n xv;;i. 38. a Cf. i. ant. i. 12. s Luke xxi.. 28 <i ,. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

not want to do them any harm, but I tell them gently : 
" You must keep your fur glossy, and must not look foolishly 
about as does a rabbit of the warren." In fact, I try to make 
them such as the Hunter of Souls would have them, simple 
little creatures that go on browsing heedless of everything else. 
I laugh now, but seriously I am quite convinced that one 
of these rabbits you know which one I mean is worth a 
hundred times more than the setter ; it has run through many 
a danger, and I own that, had I been in its place, I should have 
long since been lost for ever in the great forest of the world. 


I am so glad, dearest Celine, that you do not feel any 
particular attraction at the thought of entering the Carmel. 
This is really a mark of Our Lord s favour, and shows that 
He looks for a gift from your hands. He knows that it is so 
much sweeter to give than to receive. What happiness to 
suffer for Him Who loves us even unto folly, and to pass for 
fools in the eyes of the world ! We judge others by ourselves, 
and, as the world will not hearken to reason, it calls us 
unreasonable too. 

We may console ourselves, we are not the first. Folly 
was the only crime with which Herod could reproach Our 
Lord . . . and, after all, Herod was right. Yes, indeed, it 
was folly to come and seek the poor hearts of mortal men to 
make them thrones for Him, the King of Glory, Who sitteth 
above the Cherubim ! Was He not supremely happy in the 
company of His Father and the Holy Spirit of Love ? Why, 
then, come down on earth to seek sinners and make of them 
His closest friends ? Nay, our folly could never exceed His, 
and our deeds are quite within the bounds of reason. The 
world may leave us alone. I repeat, it is the world that is 
insane, because it heeds not what Jesus has done and suffered 
to save it from eternal damnation. 

We are neither idlers nor spendthrifts. Our Divine 
Master has taken our defence upon Himself. Remember the 
scene in the house of Lazarus : Martha was serving, while 
Mary had no thought of food but only of how she could please 
her Beloved. And " she broke her alabaster box, and poured 
out upon her Saviour s Head the precious spikenard^ and the house 
was filled with the odour of the ointment" 2 

i Cf. Mark xiv. 3. 2 John xii. 3. 


Letters to her Sister Celine 

The Apostles murmured against Magdalen. This st;! 1 
happens, for so do men murmur auamst us. Lven some 
fervent Catholics who think our ways are exaggerated, and 
that with Martha we oii"Jit to wait upon Jesu>, instead oi 
pouring out on Him the odorous ointment ot our lives. Yet 
what doe.-, it matter if these ointment-jars our lives be 
broken, since Our Lord is consoled, and the world in spite of 
itself is forced to inhale the perfumes thev give forth ? It has 
much need ot these perfumes to puntv the unwholesome air 
it breathes. 

For a while only, good-bye, dearest sister. Your barque 
is near to port. The breezes filling its sails are the zephyrs of 
Love breezes that speed more swiftly than the lightning-flash. 
G )od-bye ! in a few days we shall be together within these 
Carmel walls . . . and in the after days together in Paradise. 
Did not Jesus say during His Passion : " Hcreufttr you shall see 
the Son of VI an sitting on the ngh.t hand of the power of Gjd and 
coming in the clouds of heaven " ? L . . . We shall he there ! 


1 Matt. xxvi. 64. 





(Written in 1887, shortly before Therhc entered the Carmel.) 

MY DARLING LITTLE MOTHER, You are right when you 
tell me that every cup must contain its drop of gall. I find 
that trials are a great help towards detachment from the 
things of earth : they make one look higher than this world. 
Nothing here can satisfy, and we can find rest only in holding 
ourselves ready to do God s will. 

My frail barque has great difficulty in reaching port. I 
sighted it long since, and still I find myself afar off. Yet 
Jesus steers this little barque, and I am sure that on His 
appointed day it will come safely to the blessed haven of the 
Carmel. O Pauline ! when Jesus shall have vouchsafed me 
this grace, I wish to give myself entirely to Him, to suffer 
always for Him, to live for Him alone. I do not fear His rod, 
for even when the smart is keenest we feel that it is His sweet 
Hand which strikes. 

It is such joy to think that for each pain cheerfully borne 
we shall love God more through eternity. Happy should I be 
if at the hour of my death I could offer Jesus a single soul. 
There would be one soul less in hell, and one more to bless 
God in Heaven. 


(Written during her retreat before receiving the habit.) 

January, 1889. 

Dryness and drowsiness such is the state of my soul in its 
intercourse with Jesus ! But since my Beloved wishes to sleep 
I shall not prevent Him. I am only too happy that He does 


Letters to Mother Agnes of Jesus 

not treat me as a stranger, hut rather in a homely way. He 
riddles Mis " little hall " with pin-pricks that hurt indeed, though 
when they come from the Hand of this loving Friend, the 
pain is all sweetness, so gentle in His touch. How different 
the hand of man ! 

Yet I am happy, most happy to suffer ! If Jesus Himself 
does not pierce me, He guides the hand which does. 
Mother ! if you knew how utterly indifferent to earthly things 
I desire to be, and of how little concern to me are all the 
beauties of creation. I should be wretched were I to possess 
them. My heart seems so vast when I think of the goods of 
earth all of them together unable to fill it. But by the side 
of Jesus how small does it appear ! He is full good to me this 
God who soon will be my Spouse. He is divinely lovable for 
not permitting me to be the captive of any passing joy. He 
knows well that if He sent me but a shadow of earthly 
happiness I should cling to it with all the intense ardour of my 
heart, and He refuses even this shadow . . . He prefers to 
leave me in darkness, rather than afford me a false glimmer 
which would not be Himself. 

I do not wish creatures to have one atom of my love. I 
wish to give all to JeMis, since He makes me understand that 
He alone is perfect happiness. All ! all shall be for Him ! 
And even when I have nothing, as is the case to-night, I will 
give Him this nothing . . . 



I have a longing for those heart-wounds, tho^e pin ; ricks 
which inflict so much pain. I know of no ecstasy to which 
I do not prefer sacrifice. There I find happiness, and there 
alone. The slender reed has no fear of being broken, tor 
it is planted beside the waters of Love. When, therefore, it 
bends before the gale, it gather- strength in the refreshing 
stream, and longs for yet another storm to pa^ ami swav its 
head. My very weakness makes me strong. No harm can 
come to me since, in whatever happens, I see only the tender 
Hand of frsus . . . Besides, no suffering is too bi^ a pr:^ 1 
to pay for the glorious palm. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


(W ritten during her retreat before profession.} 

September, 1890. 

MY DEAREST MOTHER, Your little hermit must give you 
an account of her journey. Before starting, my Beloved asked 
me in what land I wished to travel, and what road I wished 
to take. I told him that I had only one desire, that of reaching 
the summit of the Mountain of Love. 

Thereupon roads innumerable spread before my gaze, but 
so many of these were perfect that I felt incapable of choosing 
any of my own free will. Then I said to my Divine Guide : 
c Thou knowest where lies the goal of my desire, and for 
Whose sake I would climb the Mountain. Thou knowest 
Who possesses the love of my heart. For Him only I set 
out on this journey ; lead me therefore by the paths of His 
choosing : my joy shall be full if only He is pleased." 

And Our Lord took me by the hand, and led me through 
an underground passage where it is neither hot nor cold, where 
the sun shines not, and where neither wind nor rain can enter 
a place where I see nothing but a half-veiled light, the light 
that gleams from the downcast Eyes of the Face of Jesus. 

My Spouse speaks not a word, and I say nothing save that 
I love Him more than myself ; and in the depths of my heart 
I know this is true, for I am more His than mine. I cannot 
see that we are advancing towards our journey s goal since we 
travel by a subterranean way ; and yet, without knowing how, 
it seems to me that we are nearing the summit of the 

I give thanks to my Jesus for making me walk in darkness, 
and in this darkness I enjoy profound peace. Willingly do I 
consent to remain through all my religious life in this gloomy 
passage into which He has led me. I desire only that my 
darkness may obtain light for sinners. I am content, nay, full 
of joy, to be without all consolation. I should be ashamed if 
my love were like that of those earthly brides who are ever 
looking for gifts from their bridegrooms, or seeking to catch 
the loving smile which fills them with delight. 

Therese, the little Spouse of Jesus, loves Him for Himself; 
she only looks on the Face of her Beloved to catch a glimpse 
of the Tears which delight her with their secret charm. She 


Letters to Mother Agnes of Jesus 

longs to wipe away those Tears, or to gather them up like 
priceless diamonds with which to adorn her bridal dress. Jesus ! 
. . . Oh ! I ic uhl so love Him ! Love I Urn as He has never 
yet ht-en loved ! . . . 

At all cost I must win the palm of St. Ainies ; if it cannot 
be mine through blood, I must win it by Love. 


Love can take the place of a long life. Jesus does not 
consider time, for He is Eternal. He onlv looks at the love. 
My little Mother, beg Him to bestow it upon me in full 
measure. I do not desire that thrill of love which I can feel ; if 
Jesus feel its thrill, then that is enough for me. It is so sweet 
to love Him, to make Him loved. Ask Him to take me to 
Him on my profession-day, if by living on I should ever 
offend Him, because I wish to bear unsullied to Heaven the 
white robe of my second Baptism. 1 Now Jesus can grant me 
the grace never to offend Him more, or rather never to 
commit any faults but those which do not offend Him or 
give Him pain ; faults which serve but to humble me and 
strengthen my love. There is no one to lean on apart from 
Jesus. He alone faileth not, and it is exceeding joy to think 
that He can never change. 



MY DEAREST LITTLE MOTHER, Your letter has done me 
such good. The sentence : u Let us refrain from saving a 
word which could raise us in the eves of others," has indeed 
enlightened my soul. Yes, we must keep all for fesus with 
jealous care. It is so good to work for Him alone. How 
it fills the heart with joy, and lends wings to the soul ! Ask 
of Je^us that Therese His gruin of sand may save Him a 
multitude of souls in a short space of time, so that she mav 
the sooner behold His Adorable Fare. 



Here is the dream of this " grain of sand " : Love feMis 
alone, ;md naught else beside ! The grain of sand is so small 

1 SijL-ur 1 herese h ve alludes to the |,n> opini ;i <>t" t!i 

in I .ipiiMii all st.iin of sin is rrmovd and ail j:\in; -iun -nt for sin 
remitted, liy the vovvs taken on the d.iy ; t ivli^iou- pri.fe ^;on [Fu J 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

that if it wished to open its heart to any other but Jesus, 
there would no longer be room for this Beloved. 

What happiness to be so entirely hidden that no one gives 
us a thought to be unknown even to those with whom we 
live ! My little Mother, I long to be unknown to everyone 
of God s creatures ! I have never desired glory amongst men, 
and if their contempt used to attract my heart, I have realised 
that even this is too glorious for me, and I thirst to be 

The Glory of Jesus this is my sole ambition. I abandon 
my glory to Him ; and if He seem to forget me, well, He is 
free to do so since I am no longer my own, but His. He 
will weary sooner of making me wait than I shall of waiting. 


[One day when Scsur Therese was suffering acutely from feverish- 
ness, one of the Sisters urged her to help in a difficult piece of 
painting. For a moment Therese s countenance betrayed an inward 
struggle, which did not escape the notice of Mother Agnes of Jesus. 
That same evening Therese wrote her the following letter.] 

May 28, 1897. 

MY DEAREST MOTHER, I have just been shedding sweet 
tears tears of repentance, but still more of thankfulness and 
love. To-day I showed you the treasure of my patience, and 
how virtuous I am I who preach so well to others ! I am 
glad that you have seen my want of perfection. You did 
not scold me, and yet I deserved it. But at all times your 
gentleness speaks to me more forcibly than would severe words. 
To me you are the image of God s Mercy. 

Sister N., on the contrary, is more often the image of God s 
severity. Well, I have just met her, and, instead of passing 
me coldly by, she embraced me and said : " Poor little Sister, 
I am so sorry ... I do not want to tire you ; it was wrong of 
me to ask your help ; leave the work alone." In my heart I felt 
perfect sorrow, and I was much surprised to escape all blame. 
I know she must really deem me imperfect. She spoke in 
this way because she thinks I am soon to die. However that 
may be, I have heard nothing but kind and tender words 
from her ; and so I consider her most kind, and myself an 
unamiable creature. 

When I returned to our cell, I was wondering what Jesus 
thought, when all at once I remembered His words to the 
woman taken in adultery : " Hath no man condemned thee ? " l 

1 John viii. 10. 

Letters to Mother Agnes of Jesus 

With tears in mv eyes, I answered Mini : " No one, Lord, . . . 
neither my little Mother the image of Thy Mercy -nor 
Sister N., the image of Thy Justice. I feel that I can go in 
peace, because neither wilt Thou condemn me." 

I confess I am much happier because of my weakness than 
it" sustained by grace I had been a model of patience. It 
does me so much good to see that [esus is always sweet and 
tender towards me. Truly it is enough to make me die of 
irniteful love. 

My little Mother, you will understand how this evening 
the vessel of Go i s Mercy has overflowed for your child. . . . 
Even now I knsiv it ! ) ?u y nil in\ ho^ s will he fulfilled . . 





febrtiary 21, 1888. 

MY DEAR MARIE, You cannot think what a lovely 
present Papa made me last week ; I believe if I gave you a 
hundred or even a thousand guesses you would never find out 
what it was. Well, my dear Father bought me a new-born 
lamb, all white and fleecy. He said that before I entered the 
Carmel he wanted me to have this pleasure. We were all 
delighted, especially Celine. What touched me more than 
anything was Papa s thoughtfulness. Besides, a lamb is 
symbolic, and it made me think of Pauline. 

So far, so good, but now for the sequel. We were already 
building castles in the air, and expected that in two or three 
days the lamb would be frisking round us. But the pretty 
creature died that same afternoon. Poor little thing, scarcely 
was it born when it suffered and died. It looked so gentle and 
innocent that Celine made a sketch of it, and then we laid it 
in a grave dug by Papa. It appeared to be asleep. I did not 
want the earth to be its covering, so we put snow upon our 
pet, and all was over. 

You do not know, dearest Godmother, how this little 
creature s death has made me reflect. Clearly we must not 
become attached to anything, no matter how innocent, because 
it will slip from our grasp when least expected ; nothing but 
the eternal can content us. 


(Written during her retreat before receiving the habit.) 

January 8, 1889. 

Your little Lamb as you love to call me, dearest sister 
would borrow from you some strength and courage. I cannot 
speak to Our Lord, and He is silent too. Pray that my 


Letters to Sister Mary of the S. Heart 

retreat, mav he pleasing to the Heart of Him Who alone reads 
the secrets of the soul. 

Lite is full of sacrifice, it is true, hut why seek happiness 
here? For life is hut "a night to he spent in a wretched 
inn," as our holy Mother St. Teresa savs. I aspire you my 
heart thirsts ardently for happiness, but I see clearly that no 
creature can quench that thirst. On the contrary, the oftener 
I would drink from these seductive waters the more burning 
will my thirst become. I know a source where "they that 
drink shall yet thirst" 1 but with a delicious thirst, a thirst 
one can always allay. . . . That source is the suffering known 
to Jesus only. 


August 14, 1889. 

You ask for a word from your little Lamb. But what 
shall I say ? Is it not you who have taught me ? Remember 
these days when I sat upon your knee, and you talked to me of 

I can still hear you say: "Look at those who want to 
become rich, and see how they toil to obtain money. Now, 
my little Therese, through every moment of the day and with 
far less trouble, we can lay up riches in Heaven. Diamonds 
are so plentiful, we can gather them together as with a rake, 
and we do this by performing all our actions for the love of 
God." Then I would leave you, my heart overflowing with 
joy, and fully bent on amassing great wealth. 

Time has flown since those happy hours spent together in 
our dear nest. Jesus has visited us, and has found us worthy 
to be tried in the crucible of suffering. God has said that 
on the last day " I If will wipe away all fairs from our eyes" 
and no doubt the more tears there arc to dry, the greater will 
be the happiness. 

Pray to-morrow for the little one who owes you her up 
bringing, and who, without you, might never have come to 
the Carmcl. 

1 Kc j .es. xxiv. 29. = Apoc. xxi. 4. 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 


(During her retreat before profession) 

September 4, 1890. 

The heavenly music falls but faintly on the ear of your 
child, and it has been a dreary journey towards her Bridal Day. 
It is true her Betrothed has led her through fertile lands and 
gorgeous scenery, but the dark night has prevented her admir 
ing, much less revelling in, the beauty all around. Perhaps 
you think this grieved her. Oh, no ! she is happy to follow 
her Betrothed for His own sake, and not for the sake of His 
gifts. He is so ravishingly beautiful, even when silent even 
when concealed. Weary of earthly consolation, your little 
child wishes for her Beloved alone. I believe that the work 
of Jesus during this retreat has been to detach me from 
everything but Himself. My only comfort is the exceeding 
strength and peace that is mine. Besides, I hope to be just 
what He wills I should be, and in this lies all my happiness. 

Did you but know how great is my joy at giving pleasure 
to Jesus through being utterly deprived of all joy ! . . . Truly 
this is the very refinement of all joy joy we do not feel. 


Sept e inter 7, 1890. 

To-morrow I shall be the Spouse of Jesus, of Him Whose 
" look was as It were hidden and despised" l What a future 
this alliance opens up ! How can I thank Him, how render 
myself less unworthy of so great a favour ? 

I thirst after Heaven, that blessed abode where our love for 
Jesus will be without bounds. True, we must pass through 
suffering and tears to reach that home, but I wish to suffer all 
that my Beloved is pleased to send me ; I wish to let Him do 
as He wills with His " little ball." You tell me, dearest God 
mother, that my Holy Child is beautifully adorned for my 
wedding-day ; 2 perhaps, however, you wonder why I have not 
put new rose-coloured candles. The old ones appeal to me 
more because they were lighted for the first time on my 
clothing-day. They were then fresh and of rosy hue. Papa 
had given them to me ; he was there, and all was joyful. But 

1 Isa. liii. 3. 

2 She alludes to the Statue of the Holy Child in the cloister, which was under 
her own special care. [Eo.] 

2 9 2 

Letters to Sister Mary of the S. Heart 

now their tint has faded. Arc there vet any rose-coloured 
jovs on earth for your little Therese ? No, for her there are 
only heavenly joys ; joys where the hollowness of all things 
gives place to the Uncreated Reality. 


MY DEAREST SISTER, I do not find it difficult to answer 
you. . . . How can you ask me if it be possible for you to 
love God as I love Him ! My desire for martyrdom is as 
nothing ; it is not to that I owe the boundless confidence that 
fil s my heart. Such desires might be described as spiritual 
riches, which are the unjust mammon^ when one is compla 
cent in them as in something great. . . . These aspirations 
are a consolation Jesus sometimes grants to weak souls like 
mine and there are many such ! But when He withholds 
this consolation, it is a special grace. Remember these words 
of a holy monk: "The Martyrs suffered with joy, and 
the King of Martyrs in sorrow." Did not Jesus cry out : 
" A/y Father^ remove this chalice from Me" ? 2 Do not think, 
then, that my desires are a proof of my love. Indeed I know 
well that it is certainly not these desires which make God take 
pleasure in my soul. What does please Him is to find me 
love my littleness, my poverty : it is the blind trust which I 
have in His Mercy. . . . There is my sole treasure, clearest 
Godmother, and why should it not be yours ? 

Are you not ready to suffer all that God wills ? Assuredly ; 
and so if you wish to know joy and to love suffering, you arc 
really seeking your own consolation, because once we love, all 
suffering disappears. Verily, if we were to go together to 
martyrdom, you would gain great merit, and I should have 
none, unless it pleased Our Lord to change my dispositions. 

Dear sifter, do you not understand that to love Jesus and 
to be His Victim of Love, the more weak and wretched we arc 
the better material do we make for this consuming and trans 
figuring Love ? . . . The simple desire to be a Victim sufhces, 
but we must also consent to ever remain poor and helpless, 
and here lies the difficulty : i% Where shall we find one that 
is truly poor in spirit r We must seek him atar off," says the 
author of the Imitation. 2 He does not say that we must search 
among great souls, but "afar off" that is to say, in abasement 

1 Luke xvi. ^. - Luke \xi,. 4-^. 3 Cf. Imit., II, xi. 4. 


Soeur Th^rese of Lisieux 

and in nothingness. Let us remain far from all that dazzles, 
loving our littleness, and content to have no jov. Then we 
shall be truly poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to seek us 
however far off we may be, and transform us into flames of 
Love. ... I long to make you understand what I feel. Confi 
dence alone must lead us to Love. . . . Does not fear lead to 
the thought of the strict justice that is threatened to sinners ? 
But that is not the justice Jesus will show to such as love 

God would not vouchsafe you the desire to be the Victim 
of His Merciful Love, were this not a favour in store 
or rather already granted, since you are wholly surrendered 
unto Him and long to be consumed by Him, and God never 
inspires a longing which He cannot fulfil. 

The road lies clear, and along it we must run together. I 
feel that Jesus wishes to bestow on us the same graces ; He 
wishes to grant us both a free entrance into His Heavenly 
Kingdom. Dearest Godmother, you would like to hear still 
more of the secrets which Jesus confides to your child, but 
human speech cannot tell what the human heart itself can 
scarcely conceive. Besides, Jesus confides His secrets to you 
likewise. This I know, for you it was who taught me to 
listen to His Divine teaching. On the day of my Baptism 
you promised in my name that I would serve Him alone. You 
were the Angel who led me and guided me in my days of exile 
and offered me to Our Lord. As a child loves its mother, I 
love you ; in Heaven only will you realise the gratitude with 
which my heart is full to overflowing. 

Your little daughter, 




17, I ,- v 

DEAR LITTLE SISTER, At last your desires arc satisfied. 
Like the dove sent forth from the ark, you have been unable 
to find a spot on earth whereon to rest, and have long 
been on the win LI; seeking to re-enter the blessed abode where 
your heart had for ever fixed its home. fesus has kept vou 
waiting, but at last, touched by the plaintive cry of His < : ove, 
He has put forth His Divine Hand, and, takiirj hold of it, has 
set it in His Heart that sanctuary of His Love. 

It is quite a spiritual joy, this joy of mine. For I shall 
never look upon you again, never hear your voice a> I outpour 
mv heart into yours. Yet I know that earth is but a haitiriL:- 
place to us who journey towards a Heavenlv Home. What 
matter if the routes we follow lie apart ? Our goal is the 
same that Heaven where we shall meet, no more to be 
separated. There we shall taste for ever tin: sweets of our 
earthly home. We shall have much to tell one another when 
this exile is ended. Speech here below is so inadequate, but 
a single glance will be enough for perfect understanding in 
our home beyond ; and I believe that our happiness will be 
greater than if we had ne\er been parted here. 

Meanwhile we must live bv sacrifice. Without it there 
would be no merit in the religious life. As someone told us 
in a conference : u Die reason whv the forest oak raises its 
head so hi^h is because, hemmed in on all sides, it wastes no 
sap in putting forth branches underneath, but towers alott. 
Thus in the religious lite the soul, hedged in all around bv the 
rule and bv the practice of communitv life, of nece.-^itv finds 
there a means of lifting a high head towards Heaven." 

Dearest sister, prav for your little Tlu iv-c that she may 
draw profit from her exi e on earth and from the plentiful 
means granted her of meriting Heaven. 

1 Nr.u-iy all the letti i v Suuui 1 h e to hn si trr I. me .: lost. 

1 fi - .s i . nvei i-il. It will thai entered the 

Convent ot~ ti.c \ . italic :i a.t < ;ici . > :. : ; ,/ iij. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

January, 1895. 

DEAR LITTLE SISTER, How fruitful for Heaven has been 
the year that is gone ! . . . Our dear Father has seen that 
which the eye of man cannot see, he has heard the minstrelsy 
of the angels . . . now his heart understands, and his soul 
enjoys "the things which God hath prepared for those who love 
Him" 1 . . . Our turn will come, and it is full sweet to 
think our sails are set towards the Eternal Shore. 

Do you not find, as I do, that our beloved Father s death 
has drawn us nearer to Heaven ? More than half of our 
loved ones already enjoy the Vision of God, and the five who 
remain in exile will follow soon. This thought of the 
shortness of life gives me courage, and helps me to put up 
with the weariness of the journey. What matters a little 
toil upon earth ? We pass ..." We have not here a lasting 

Think of your Therese during this month consecrated to 
the Infant Jesus, and beg of Him that she may always remain 
a very little child. I will offer the same prayer for you, 
because I know your desires, and that humility is your 
favourite virtue. 

Which Therese will be the more fervent ? . . . She who 
will be the more humble, the more closely united to Jesus, 
and the more faithful in making love the mainspring of every 
action. We must not let slip one single occasion of sacrifice, 
everything has such value in the religious life . . . Pick up a 
pin from a motive of love, and you may thereby convert a 
soul. Jesus alone can make our deeds of such worth, so let 
us love Him with every fibre of our heart. 


July 12, 1896. 

MY DEAR LITTLE LrEONiE, I should have answered your 
letter last Sunday if it had been given to me, but you know 
that, being the youngest, I run the risk of not seeing letters for 
some considerable time after my sisters, and occasionally not 
at all. I only read yours on Friday, so forgive my delay. 

You are right Jesus is content with a tender look or a 
sigh of love. For my part, I find it quite easy to practise 
perfection, now that I realise it only means making Jesus 

1 Cf. i Cor. ii. 9. 2 Heb. xiii. 14. 


Letters to Sister Frances Teresa 

captive through His Heart. Look at a little child who has 
just vexed its mother, cither bv giving way to temper or by 
disobedience. If it hides in a corner and is sulky, or if it cries 
for tear o!" being punished, its mother will certainly not for 
give the fault. Kut should it run to her with its little arms 
outstretched, and sav ; "Kiss nie, Mother; I will not do it 
again ! " what mother would not straightway clasp her child 
lovingly to her heart, and forget all it had done ? . . . She 
knows tjuitc well that her little one will repeat the fault no 
matter, her darling will escape all punishment so long as it 
makes appeal to her heart. 

Kven when the law of fear was in force, before Our Lord s 
coming, the prophet Laias said speaking in the name of the 
King of Hea\ en : " Can a woman forget her babe? . . . An, I 
if she shoul<i forft, \st will I net forget //;<Y." l What a 
touching promise ! \Ve who live under the law of Love, shall 
we not profit bv the loving advances made by our Spouse r 
How can anybody fear Him Who allows Himself to be made 
captive "with one hair of our neck" ? 2 

Let us learn to keep Him prisoner this God, the Divine 
Beggar of love. I>v telling us that a single hair can work this 
wonder, He shows us that the smallest actions done for His 
Love are those which charm His Heart. If it were ncces-ary 
to do great things, we should be deserving of pity, but we 
are happv beyond measure, because fesus lets Himself be led 
captive by the smallest action. . . . With you, dear Lconie, 
little sacrifices arc never lacking. Is not your life made up 
of them ? I re;o:ce to see you in presence of such wealth, 
especially when I remember that you know how to make 
profit thereby, not only for yourself but likewise for poor 
sinners. It is so sweet to help fesus to save the souls which 
He has ransomed at the price of His Precious Blood, and 
which only await our help to keep them from the- ab\ss. 

It seems to me that if our sacrifices take fesus captive, our 
i jvs make Him prisoner too. All that is needful to attain 
this end is, that instead of uivinLT ourselves over to selfish 
happiness, we oirer to our Spouse the httle joys He scatters in 
our path, to charm our hearts and draw them towards Him. 

You ask for news of my health. Well, my cou. .h has 
cmitc disappeared. Does that please you ? It will not prevent 
Our Lord from taking me to Himself whensoe\ er He wishes 
And I need not prepare K.T th.: , idirnev, my whoit 

1 l c ;i. xiix. i -. - ( .int. iv. 9. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

endeavour is to remain as a little child. Jesus Himself must 
pay all its expenses, as well as the price of my admission to 

Good-bye, dearest one, pray to Him without fail for the 
last and least of your sisters. 


July 17, 1897. 

MY DEAR LioNiE, I am so pleased to be able to write to 
you again. Some days ago I thought I should never again 
have this consolation, but it seems God wishes to prolong 
somewhat the time of my exile. This does not trouble me I 
would not enter Heaven one moment sooner through my 
own will. The only real happiness on earth is to strive 
alv/ays to think "how goodly is the chalice" l that Jesus gives us. 
Yours is indeed a goodly one, dear L6onie. If you wish to be 
a Saint and it will not be hard keep only one end in view : 
give pleasure to Jesus, and bind yourself more closely to Him. 

Good-bye, my dear sister, I should wish the thought of 
my entering Heaven to fill you with joy, because I shall then 
be better able to give you proof of my tender love. In the 
Heart of our Heavenly Spouse we shall live His very life, and 
through eternity I shall remain, 

Your very little sister, 


i Ps. xxii. 5. 




i -. 

I)Ciore you confided in me, 1 I felt you were suffering, and 
my heart was one with vours. Since you have the humility 
to ask advice of your little Thcrese, tin s is what she thinks : 
vou have grieved me greatly by abstaining from Holy Com 
munion, because you have grieved Our Lord. The devil mu-t 
be very cunning to deceive a soul in this way. Do you 
not know, dear Marie, that by acting thus you help him to 
accomplish his end ? The treacherous creature knows quite 
well that when a soul is striving to belong wholly to God he 
cannot cause her to sin, so he merely tries to persuade her that 
she has sinned. This is a considerable gain, but not enough 
to satisfy his hatred, so he aims at something more, and 
tries to shut out Jesus from a tabernacle which Jesus covets. 
Unable to enter this sanctuary himself, he wishes that at 
least it remain empty and without its God. Alas, what will 
become of that poor little heart ? When the devil has 
succeeded in keeping a soul from Holy Communion he has 
gained all his ends . . . while fesus weeps ! . . . 

Remember, little Marie, that this sweet Jesus is there in 
the Tabernacle expressly for you and you alone. Remember 
that He burns with the desire to enter your heart. Do not 
listen to satan. Laugh him to scorn, and L T O without fear to 
receive Jesii-, the God of peace and of love. 

" Thercse thinks all this "-you say " because she docs 
not know my difficulties." She does know, and knows them 
well ; she understands everything, and she tells you confidently 
that you can go without fear to re ei\c your only true Friend. 
She, too, has passed through the martyrdom of scruples, but 

1 The alhr : >:: is to t :r sc: from \vhi h N!nrir sullrn-d. I Living KM.. . 

this letter -whii h i<; ;. t: ; !r; fu; l- r - p . r p .-, \ 

declared it " men ofjcnune" Th<-r<^" \s.-.s but Inter:! when <:.e w: tc it. 

Sceur Therse of Lisieux 

Jesus gave her the grace to receive the Blessed Sacrament 
always, even when she imagined she had committed great sins. 
I assure you I have found that this is the only means of 
ridding oneself of the devil. When he sees that he is losing 
his time he leaves us in peace. 

In truth it is impossible that a heart which can only find 
rest in contemplation of the Tabernacle and yours is such, 
you tell me could so far offend Our Lord as not to be able 
to receive Him ... What does offend Jesus, what wounds 
Him to the Heart, is want of confidence. 

Pray much that the best portion of your life may not be 
overshadowed by idle fears. We have only life s brief 
moments to spend for the Glory of God, and well does satan 
know it. This is why he employs every ruse to make us con 
sume them in useless labour. Dear sister, go often to Holy 
Communion, go very often that is your one remedy. 



You are like some little village maiden who, when sought 
in marriage by a mighty king would not dare to accept him, 
on the plea that she is not rich enough, and is strange to the 
ways of a court. But does not her royal lover know better 
than she does, the extent of her poverty and ignorance ? 

Marie, though you are nothing, do not forget that Jesus is 
All. You have only to lose your own nothingness in that 
Infinite All, and thenceforth to think only of that All who 
alone is worthy of your love. 

You tell me you wish to see the fruit of your efforts. 
That is exactly what Jesus would hide from you. He likes 
to contemplate by Himself these little fruits of our virtue. 
They console Him. 

You are quite wrong, Marie, if you think that Threse 
walks eagerly along the way of Sacrifice : her weakness is still 
very great, and every day some new and wholesome experience 
brings this home more clearly. Yet Jesus delights to teach 
her how to glory in her infirmities. 1 It is a great grace, and I 
pray Him to give it to you, for with it come peace and 
tranquillity of heart. When we see our misery we do not like 
to look at ourselves but only upon our Beloved. 

You ask me for a method of attaining perfection. I know 
of Love and Love only ! Our hearts are made for this 

1 2 Cor. xi. 5. 

Letter to her Cousin Jeanne Guerin 

alone. Sometimes I endeavour to find some other word for 
love ; but in a land of exile "words which have a beginning 
and an end " * arc quite unable to render adequate! v the emotion-- 
of" the soul, and so we must keep to the one simple word 

Kut on whom shall our poor hearts lavish this love, and 
who will be worthy of this treasure ? Is there anyone who 
will understand it and above all is there anyone who will 
be able to repay ? Marie, Jesus alone understands love : He- 
alone can give back all yea, infinitely more than the utmo- 
we can give. 



August, 1895. 

It is a very great sacrifice that God has asked of you, mv 
dear Jeanne, in calling your little Marie to the Carmel ; but 
remember that He has promised a hundredfold to anyone who 
for Hfis Love hath left father or mother or sistfr. 2 Now, for 
love of Jesus, you have not hesitated to part with a sister 
dearer to you than words can say, and therefore He is bound 
to keep His promise. I know that the^e words are generally 
applied to those who enter the religious life, but my heart tells 
me they were spoken, too, for those whose generosity is such 
that they will sacrifice to God even the loved ones they hold 
dearer than life itself. 

1 St. Augustine. " Maik x. 30 

3 OI 




Our Divine Lord asks no sacrifice beyond our strength. 
At times, it is true, He makes us taste to the full the bitter 
ness of the chalice He puts to our lips. And when He 
demands the sacrifice of all that is dearest on earth, it is im 
possible without a very special grace not to cry out as He did 
during His Agony in the Garden : " My Father, let this chalice 
pass from Me ! " But we must hasten to add : " Tet not as I 
will, but as Thou wilt." 2 It is so consoling to think that 
Jesus, " the Strong God," 3 has felt all our weaknesses and 
shuddered at the sight of the bitter chalice that very chalice 
He had so ardently desired. 

Your lot is indeed a beautiful one, since Our Lord has 
chosen it for you, and has first touched with His own Lips 
the cup which He holds out to yours. A Saint has said : 
" The greatest honour God can bestow upon a soul is not to 
give to it great things, but to ask of it great things." Jesus 
treats you as a privileged child. It is His wish you should 
begin your mission even now, 4 and save souls through the 
Cross. Was it not by suffering and death that He ransomed 
the world ? I know that you aspire to the happiness of laying 
down your life for Him ; but the martyrdom of the heart is 
not less fruitful than the shedding of blood, and this martyr 
dom is already yours. Have I not, then, good reason to say 
that your lot is a beautiful one worthy an apostle of Christ ? 



Let us work together for the salvation of souls ! We have 
but the one day of this life to save them, and so give to Our 
Lord a proof of our love. To-morrow will be Eternity, then 
Jesus will reward you a hundredfold for the sweet joys you 
have given up for Him. He knows the extent of your sacri- 

1 See page 171. 2 Matt. xxvi. 39. 9 Isa. ix. 6. 

* This letter and the following are addressed to a Seminarist. [Eo.] 

Letters to her Brother Missionaries 

fice He knows that the sufferings of those you hol.l dear 
increase your own ; hut He has suffered this same martyrdom 

stleTv T " r C t0 Cft HiS M """-- r Hc M > M th 
sinless Virgin stand,,,- at the toot of the Cross her heart 
p.crced through with a sword of sorrow, and I hop* He w" 

todo s " 10thL r ---- : bu Hlm most 

Ah ! if the Divine Master would permit those you arc 
about to cave for His Love hut one Jimpse oVthe ^!o v n 
store, and the vast retinue of souls that will escort ou to 

thcy would bc rcpaid lor 

"Merciful Father in the- name of Thy sweet fesus, of the 


, >T-., t> -j cuiisum 

r with Fhy spirit of love, and to grant her the grace to 
make I hce greatly loved." 

I/ Our Lord takes me soon to Himself, I ask vou still to 
continue this prayer, because my longing will he the same m 
Heaven as upon earth : to love Jesus an.l to make Him 


All I desire is God s Holv Will, and if in Heaven I could 
onger work for His glory, I should prefer exile to Home. 


You may well sing of the M r. ies of God ! i 
forth in vou with splendour. Vou love St. Au uvr e ai 
Mary Magdalen, those souls to whom many sins were for : ivcn 
because they loved much. I love them too ; I love "their 
sorrow, and especially their audacious love. When I see 
Mary Magdalen come forth before all Simon s guests to wash 
with her tears her Master s Feet those Feet that tor the first 
time she touches I feel her heart has fathomed that abyss of 
love and mercy, the Heart < f Jesus ; and I feel, too, that not 
only was He willing to forgive, but even liberally to dispense 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

the favours of a Divine and intimate friendship, and to raise 
her to the loftiest heights of prayer. 

My Brother, since I also have been given to understand 
the Love of the Heart of Jesus, I confess that all fear has been 
driven from mine. The remembrance of my faults humbles 
me ; and it helps me never to rely upon my own strength 
which is but weakness but more than all, it speaks to me of 
mercy and of love. When a soul with childlike trust casts her 
faults into Love s all-devouring furnace, how shall they escape 
being utterly consumed ? 

I know that many Saints have passed their lives in the 
practice of amazing penance for the sake of expiating their 
sins. But what of that ? " In My Father s house there are many 
mansions" x These are the words of Jesus, and therefore I 
follow the path He marks out for me ; I try to be nowise 
concerned about myself and what Jesus deigns to accomplish 
in my soul. 



On this earth where everything changes, one thing alone 
does never change our Heavenly King s treatment of His 
friends. From the day He raised the standard of the Cross, in 
its shadow all must fight and win. " The life of every mis 
sionary abounds in crosses," said Theophane Venard. 2 And 
again : "True happiness consists in suffering, and in order to 
live we must die." 

Rejoice, my Brother, that the first efforts of your Apostolate 
are stamped with the seal of the Cross. Far more by suffering 
and by persecution than by eloquent discourses does Jesus 
wish to build up His Kingdom. 

You are still you tell me a little child who cannot 
speak. Neither could Father Mazel, who was ordained with 
you, and yet he has already won the palm . . . Far beyond 
our thoughts are the thoughts of God ! When I learnt that 
this young missionary had died before he had set foot on the 
field of his labours, I felt myself drawn to invoke him. I 
seemed to see him amidst the glorious Martyr choir. No 
doubt, in the eyes of men he does not merit the title of 
Martyr, but in the eyes of God this inglorious death is no less 
precious than the sacrifice of him who lays down his life for 
the Faith. 

1 John xiv. 2. 2 See note, p. 201. 



Letters to her Brother Missionaries 

Though one must he exceeding pure he-lore appeal 
the sight of the All-Holy God, still 1 know that He: is infinitely 
just, and this very Justice which terrifies so manv souls is the 
source of all my confidence and joy. fustice is not only stern 
severity towards the guilty ; it takes account or" the good 
intention, and gives to virtue its reward. Indeed I hope as 
much from the Justice of" God as from His Mercy. It is 
because He is ju>t, that " He is compa:sionate and merciful, long- 
suffering, and plenteous in mercv. For lie knciueih our frame, II, 
remembereth that we are dust. .Is a father hath companion in 
hi, children, so hath the Lord compa^iin on us." 

O my brother, after these beautiful and consoling words 
of the Royal Prophet, how can we doubt God s power to 
open the gates of His Kingdom to His children who have 
loved Him unto perfect sacrifice, who have not only left home 
and country so as to make Him known and loved, but even 
long to lay down their lives for Him ? . . . fcsus said truly 
there is no greater love than this. Nor will He be out 
done in generosity. Plow could He cleanse in the flames of 
Purgatory souls consumed with the fire of Divine Love? 

[ have used many words to express my thought, and vet 
I fear I have failed. What I wish to convey is, that in my 
opinion all missionaries are Martyrs by will and desire, and not 
even one should pass through the purifying flames. 

This, then, is what I think about the fustice of God ; mv 
own way is all confidence and love, and I cannot understand 
those souls who are afraid of so affectionate a Friend. Some 
times, when I read books in which perfection is put before us 
with the goal obstructed by a thousand obstacle-, my poor 
little head is quickly fatigued. I close the learned treatise, 
which tires my brain and dries up my heart, and I turn to the 
Sacred Scriptures. Then all becomes clear and lightsome a 
single word opens out infinite vistas, perfection appears easy, 
and I see that it is enough to acknowledge our nothingness, 
and like children surrender ourselves into the Arms of the Good 
God. Leaving to great and loftv minds the beautiful books 
which I cannot understand, still less put in practice, I rejoice 
in my littleness because "o/;/v little children and those u /:i are 
/ them shall be admitted to the Heavenly />>;>;/:,,/."- Fortu 
nately "there are n>.un\< mansions in ;/.".- Father s House":* if 
there v/cre on !y those to me incomprehensible mansions with 
their baffling roads, I should certainly never enter there 

1 I i. cii. G. i ;. 13. 2 CY. Matt. xix. i ;. 3 J.hnx:-. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


July 13, 1897. 

Your soul is too great to cling to the consolations of earth, 
and even now its abode should be in Heaven, for it is written : 
" Where your treasure is, there will your heart be a ho" 1 Is not 
Jesus your only treasure ? Now that He is in Heaven, it is 
there your heart should dwell. This sweet Saviour has long 
since forgotten your infidelities. He sees only your longing 
after perfection, and the si^ht makes glad His Heart. 

Stay no longer at His Feet, I beseech you, but follow this 
first impulse to throw yourself into His Arms. Your place is 
there, and I see clearly more clearly than in your former 
letters that all other heavenly route is barred to you save the 
way your little sister treads, 

I hold with you when you say that the Heart of Jesus is 
more grieved by the thousand little imperfections of His 
friends than by the faults, even grave, which His enemies 
commit. Yet it seems to me, dear Brother, it is only when 
those who are His own are habitually guilty of want of 
thought, and neglect to seek His pardon, that He can say : 
" These Wcunds which you see in the midst of My Hands, I have 
received in the house of those who love Mc." z But His Heart 
thrills with joy when He has to deal with all those who truly 
love, and who after each little fault come to fling themselves 
into His Arms imploring forgiveness. He says to His Angels 
what the prodigal s father said to his servants : " Put a ring upon 
his finger, and let us rejoice" 3 O Brother ! Verily the Divine 
Heart s Goodness and Merciful Love are little known ! It is 
true that to enjoy these treasures we must humble ourselves, 
must confess our nothingness . . . and here is where many a 
soul draws back. 


i8 97 . 

What attracts me towards our Heavenly Home is the 
Master s call the hope of loving Him at last to the fulfilling 
of all my desire the thought that I shall be able to win 
Him the love of a multitude of souls, who will bless Him 
through all eternity. 

I have never asked God that I might die young that to 
me were a cowardly prayer ; but from my childhood He has 

1 Luke xii. 34. 2 Cf. Zach. xiii. 6. 3 Cf, Luke xv. 22. 


Letters to her Brother Missionaries 

deigned to inspire me with a strung conviction that my lift: 
would be a short one. 

I feel we must tread the same road to Hea\en the rr a : 
of suffering and love. When I myself" have reached the port, 
I will teach you how best to sail the world * tempestuous sea 
with the self-abandonment of a child well aware of a father s 
love, and of his vigilance in the hour of danger. 

I long so much to make you understand the expectant love 
of the Heart of Jesus. Your last letter has made my own 
heart thrill sweetly. I learnt how closely vour sou! is sister to 
mine, since God calls that soul to mount to Himself by the 
lift of /ovfy without climbing the steep stairway of fear. [ am 
not surprised you find it hard to be familiar with [esus one 
cannot become so in a day ; but this I do know, I shall aid vou 
much more to tread this beautiful path when I lay aside the 
burden of this perishable body. p>e long vou will exclaim 
with St. Augustine : " Love is my lode.^tone ! " 


A/v 26, 1 8- ,7. 

When you read these few J .MCS I shall perhaps be no 
more. I know not the future ; yet I can confidently say that 
my Spouse is at the door. It would nee:! a miracle to keep 
me in exile, and I do not thin!: that [esus will work that 
miracle He does nothing that is of no avail. 

Brother, I am so happy to die ! Yes, happy . . . not 
because I shall be free from suffering : on the contrary, 
suffering combined with love seems the one tiling worthy of 
desire in this vale of tears ; but happy to die because far more 
than on earth I .shall help the souls I hold dear. 

Jesus has always treated me as a spoilt child. ... It is 
true that His Cross has been with me from the cradle, but for 
that Cress He has given me a passionate love . . . 


August 14. iS;,7. 

I am about to go before Go.:, ami I under: and now mure 
than ever that one thing only is needful to work for Him 
alone, and do nothing for self or for creatures. Jesus wishes 
to own your heart completely. Uefore this can be, vou will 
have much to sutler . . . ;:ut oh ! what joy when comes the 
happy hour of going II me ! I shall not die I do hut enter 
into Life . . . and whatsoever I cannot tell you here upon earth 
I will make you understand from the heights of Heaven. . . 






This Pra\er was found after the death of Sister Teresa of the Child 
Jesus and of the Holy Face in the copy of the Gsspe/s which 
she carried night and day close to her heart. 

O my God, O Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love 
Thee and to make Thee loved to labour for the glory of 
Holy Church by saving souls here upon earth and by delivering 
those suffering in Purgatory. I desire to fulfil perfectly Thy 
Holy Will, and to reach the degree of glory Thou hast 
prepared for me in Thy Kingdom. In a word, I wish to be 
holy, but, knowing how helpless I am, I beseech Thee, my 
God, to be Thyself my holiness. 

Since Thou hast loved me so much as to give me Thy 
Only-Begotten Son to be my Saviour and my Spouse, the 
infinite treasures of His merits are mine. Gla. .ly do I offer 
them to Thee, and I beg of Thee to behold me only through 
the Eves of Jesus, and in His Heart aflame with love. More 
over, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints both of Heaven 
and of earth, together with their acts of love, and those of the 
holy Angels. Lastly, I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love 
and the merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dearest Mother- 
to her I commit this Oblation, praying her to present it to 


During the days of His life on earth her Divine Son, my 
sweet Spouse, spake these words: "If\ou aik the Father any 
thing in My Name, //,- will give it yeu." Therefore I am 
certain Thou wilt fulfil mv longing. O my Go.i, I know 
that the more Thou wishest to bestow, the more 1 hou dost 
make us desire. In my heart I feel boundless desire-, and 
confidently beseech Thee to take possession of mv soul. I 
cannot receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I should 

I I 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

wish ; but, O Lord, art Thou not all-powerful ? Abide in 
me as Thou dost in the Tabernacle -never abandon Thy 
Little Victim. I long to console Thee for ungrateful sinners, 
and I implore Thee to take from me all liberty to sin. If 
through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from 
Thine Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my 
imperfections as fire transforms all things into itself. 

I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast 
granted me : especially for having purified me in the crucible 
of suffering. At the Day of Judgment I shall gaze on Thee 
with joy, as Thou bearest Thy sceptre of the Cross. And 
since Thou hast deigned to give me this precious Cross as my 
portion, I hope to be like unto Thee in Paradise and to behold 
the Sacred Wounds of Thy Passion shine on my glorified 

After earth s exile I trust to possess Thee in the Home of 
our Father ; but I do not seek to lay up treasures in Heaven. 
I wish to labour for Thy Love alone with the sole aim of 
pleasing Thee, of consoling Thy Sacred Heart, and of saving 
souls W 7 ho will love Thee through eternity. 

When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee 
with empty hands, because I do not ask Thee, my God, to 
take account of my works. All our works of justice are 
blemished in Thine Eyes. I wish therefore to be robed with 
Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the ever 
lasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other Throne, no other 
Crown but Thee, O my Beloved ? 

In Thy sight time is naught " one day is a thousand yean." 
Thou canst in a single instant prepare me to appear before 

In order that my life may be one Act of perfect Love, I 
offer myself as a Victim of Holocaust to Thy Merciful Love, 
imploring Thee to consume me unceasingly, and to allow the 
floods of infinite tenderness gathered up in Thee to overflow 
into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy 
Love, O my God ! May this martyrdom, after having 
prepared me to appear in Thy Presence, free me from this life 
at the last, and may my soul take its flight without delay 
into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love ! 

Ps. xxxix. 4. 

Prayers of Socur Thcrcsc 

() my Beloved, I desire at every beat of mv hcait to renew 
this Oblation an infinite number or" times,"// // tit 
;v//V," and everlastingly I ran tell Thee mv love face to ta< e. 


AND OF THK Ilul Y % A ... 

The iiintl if lunc 
I- c, nl the MM- t Blessed Trinity, 
In :!;c yc.i: of ;.;: ,! cv, 1895. 


O my God ! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for 
the intentions and for the j^lory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
I desire to sanctity every beat of my heart, my every thought, 
mv simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits ; 
and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting their, 
into the furnace ot Its Merciful Love. 

O my God ! I ask of Thee tor myself and for tho^r 
whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfil perfectly Thy Holy 
Will, to accept tor love ot Thee the joy.i and sorrows ot this 
passing lite, so that we may one clay be united together in 
Heaven for all Eternity. Amen. 

1 Cant. iv. 6. 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 




Written for the Novices 

O Adorable Face of Jesus, since Thou hast deigned to 
make special choice of our souls, in order to give Thyself to 
them, we come to consecrate these souls to Thee. We seem, 
O Jesus, to hear Thee say : " Open to Me, My Sisters, My 
Spouses, for My Face is wet with the dew, and My Locks with 
the drops of the night" 1 Our souls understand Thy language 
of love ; we desire to wipe Thy sweet Face, and to console 
Thee for the contempt of the wicked. In their eyes Thou 
art still " as it were hidden . . . they esteem Thee an object of 
reproach." 2 

O Blessed Face, more lovely than the lilies and the roses 
of the spring, Thou art not hidden from us. The tears 
which dim Thine Eyes are as precious pearls which we 
delight to gather, and, through their infinite value, to purchase 
the souls of our brethren. 

From Thy Adorable Lips we have heard Thy loving 
plaint: "/ thirst." Since we know that this thirst which 
consumes Thee is a thirst for love, to quench it we would 
wish to possess an infinite love. 

Dear Spouse of our souls, if \ve could love with the love of 
all hearts, that love would be Thine. . . . Give us, O Lord, 
this love ! Then come to thy Spouses and satisfy Thy Thirst. 

And give to us souls, dear Lord . . . We thirst for 
souls ! Above all for the souls of Apostle-: and Martyrs . . . 
that through them we may inflame all poor sinners with love 
of Thee. 

O Adorable Face, we shall succeed in winning this grace 
from Thee! Unmindful of our exile, "by the rivers of 
Babylon," we will sing in Thine Ears the sweetest of melodies. 

1 Cf. Cant. v. 2. 8 Cj. Isa. liii. 3. 


Prayers of Sa>ur Therese 

Since Thou art the true and nnlv Home of our souls, our 
shall uc! be sung in a strange land} () Beloved Face of Jesus, 
while we await the Eternal Dav when we shall gaze upon 
Thine Infinite Glory, our only desire is to delight Thy Divine 
Eyes by keeping our laces hidden too, so that no one on earth 
may recognise us , . . Dear [esus, Heaven for us is 1 hy 
Hidden Face ! 


" 1; you <nk1h }-\:! i r anything in My A ./wc-, lit- will give it you." JOHN xvi. 23. 

() Eternal Father, Thv Only-Begotten Son, the dear Child 
Jesus, belongs to me since Thou hast given Him. I offer Thee 
the infinite merits of His Divine Childhood, and I beseech 
Thee in His Name to open the gates of Heaven to a countless 
host of little ones who will for ever follow this Divine Lamb. 

"Just as the King s image / f a talisman through -chich anything > : 
be purchased in his Kingdom, through Mv Ad . .bit Face that pric: 
lc,s coin of in} H:imanitv you in I! obtain all y. :t df r ire." 

U .ir Lord to Sister Mary of St. IVtnv 

Eternal Father, since Thou hast given me for my inherit 
ance the Adorable Face of Thv Divine Son, I offer that Fa :c 
to Thee, and I beg Thee, in exchange for this c:in of infinite 
value, to forget the ingratitude of those souls who are con 
secrated to Thee, and to pardon all poor sinners. 


O Jesus, dear Holy Child, my only treasure, I abandon 
myself to Thy every whim. I seek no other joy than that of 
calling forth Thy sweet Smile. Vouchsafe to me the graces 
and the virtues of Thy Holy Childhood, so that on the day of 
my birth into Heaven the Angels and Saints may recognise 
Thv Spouse : Teresa of ti:r Ch:/<! Jesus. 


1 Cf. I 1 -, cxxxvi. ... 

- Sibt r :!ai y ol St. IVtcr irr.terfcl the ( arnu-: f I 

latr; she }, . : tt < first of a s I " Holy 

Face as a inr.uis of rcn;ir.U;on lu: h r. pi: -IMV. . : vj l^on I apin-Duf ent," , ;*-, " The II< Iv Mnn - f Tour: ." 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


O Adorable Face of Jesus, sole beauty which ravish eth my 
heart, vouchsafe to impress on my soul Thy Divine Likeness, 
so that it may not be possible for Thee to look at Thy Spouse 
without beholding Thyself. O my Beloved, for love of Thee 
I am content not to see here on earth the sweetness of Thy 
Glance, nor to feel the ineffable Kiss of Thy Sacred Lips, but 
I beg of Thee to inflame me with Thy Love, so that it may 
consume me quickly, and that soon Teresa of the Holy Face 
may behold Thy glorious Countenance in Heaven. 


Inspired by the sight of a statue of The Blessed Joan of Arc 

O Lord God of Hosts, who hast said in Thy Gospel : " / 
am not come to bring peace but a sword" l arm me for the 
combat. I burn to do battle for Thy Glory, but I pray Thee 
to enliven my courage. . . . Then with holy David I shall be 
able to exclaim : " Thou alone art my shield ; it is Thou, O Lord 
Who tcachest my hands to fight" 2 

O my Beloved, I know the warfare in which I am to 
engage ; it is not on the open field I shall fight. ... I am a 
prisoner held captive by Thy Love ; of my own free will I have 
riveted the fetters which bind me to Thee, and cut me off for 
ever from the world. My sword is Love ! with it like Joan 
of Arc "I will drive the strangers from the land, and I will 
have Thee proclaimed King" over the Kingdom of souls. 

Of a truth Thou hast no need of so weak an instrument 
as I, but Joan, Thy chaste and valiant Spouse, has said : 
"We must do battle before God gives the victory." O my 
Jesus ! I will do battle, then, for Thy love, until the evening 
of my life. As Thou didst not will to enjoy rest upon earth, 
I wish to follow Thy example ; and then this promise which 
came from Thy Sacred Lips will be fulfilled in me : " If any 
man minister to Me, let him follow Me, and where I am there 
also shall My servant be, and . . . him will My Father honour" 3 
To be with Thee, to be in Thee, that is my one desire ; this 
promise of fulfilment, which Thou dost give, helps me to bear 
with my exile as I wait the joyous Eternal Day when 1 shall 
see Thee face to face. 

1 Matt. x. 34. C/. Ps. cxliii. 1,2. 8 John xii. 26. 


Prayers of Sceur Therese 


H ntten for a Novice 

[FSTS ! When Thou wast a wayfarer upon rrrth. Tho.i 

( liij >t s;i\ : " Leurn of Ale, for I am Meek and Humb Heart, 

and you shall find rest to your souls" 1 O Almightv King of 
Heaven ! my soul indeed finds rest in seeing Thee con 
descend to wash the feet of Thy Apostles- 

form of a slave" 2 I recall the words Thou didst utter to 
teach "me the practice of humility: "/ have given you an 
example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. The servant n 
not greater than his Lord . . . If you know these things, you 
he f /fssed if you do them"-* I understand, dear Lord, these 
words which come from Thy Meek and Humble Hear", and 
I wish to put them in practice with the help of Thy gra- 

1 desire to humble myself in all sincerity, and to submit 
my will to that of my Sisters, without ever contradict! 
them, and without questioning whether they have the ; 

to command. No one, O my Beloved ! had that right over 
Thee, and vet Thou didst obey not only the Blessed Vir 
and St. [oseph, but even Thy executioners. And now, in the 
Holy Eucharist, I see Thee complete Thy : 
() Divine Kin- of Glory, with wondrous humility, Thou dost 
submit Thyseff to all Thy Priests, without any distinction 
Between those who love Thee and those who, alas 1 are luk, 
warm or cold in Thy service. They may advance or delay the 
hour of the Holy Sacrifice: Thou art always to - 
down from Heaven at their call. 

O my Beloved, under the white Eueharisti 
dost indeed appear to me Meek and Humble of Heart 
teach me humility, Thou canst not further abase 
so I wish to respond to Thv Love, by putting myst 
lowest place, by sharing Thy humiliations, so ; 
"have part with Thte" * in the Kingdi m of Hea\cn. 

i Matt. xi. 2Q. " 1>hil - 7- 

= John. xiii. >; 17, cy. John.iii. 8. 

3 1 ? 

Sceur Thercse of Lisieux 

I implore Thee, dear Jesus, to send me a humiliation 

whensoever I try to set myself above others. 

And yet, dear Lord, Thou knowest my weakness. Each 
morning I resolve to be humble, and in the evening I recognise 
that I have often been guilty of pride. The sight of these 
faults tempts me to discouragement ; yet I know that dis 
couragement is itself but a form of pride. I wish, therefore, 

my God, to build all my trust upon Thee. As Thou 
canst do all things, deign to implant in my soul this virtue 
v/hich I desire, and to obtain it from Thy Infinite Mercy, 

1 will often say to Thee : < Jesus, Meek and Humble of Hexrt, 
make my heart like unto 

M< ) r io OK nu: LITTLE FLOWER 

From St. John of the Cro.,s 


B : -thday v January 2, 1873 

Baftisrn . . January^ [ ^73 

The Smile of Our Lady May io, 1883 

First Communion . . .Hay 8, 1884 

Confirmation . . . June 14, 1884 

Conversion . . - December 25, 1 886 

Audience with Lee XI H . . . Koverni-er 20. 1887 

Entr\< into the Curmil . . ///>r/7 9, 1888 

Clothhi j .... . January 1C, 1889 

Profession. . Stpttmbfr 8, iSqo 

Taking of ike Veil . Srftemktr 2.4, i8<^0 

/A7 of Dilation . Jut" 9- ^ ( 5 

[ENTRY INTO HKAVKN September 3 ., 1^97] 


SU- ( U TI I i { IK 



On ! how I kne Thee, JVsu> ! my soul aspires to The 

Ami yet for one Jay only my simple pravrr I prav ! 
Come reign within my he-art, smile tenderly on me, 
To-day, dear J,ord, to-day ! 

But it I dare rake thought of" whar the morrow brim s, 

It fills my fickle heart with dreary, dull dismay ; 
1 crave, indeed, my Ciod, the Cro>s and sufterin. S, 
l>ut only tor to-day ! 

O sweeten Star of Heaven ! () Virgin, >i>otless, blest, 
Shining with Jesus light, guiding to Him my wav ! 
Mother ! beneath thy veil let my tired spirit re:-r, 
For this brief passing day ! 

Soon >hall I fly alar amoiv, the holv choir<, 

1 hen -hall he mine the jov that knoweth no derav ; 
And then my lips shall sing, to Heaven s angelic lyres, 
The eternal, <.: ad To-day ! 

Jure, 18,4. 


" I : " my H, love i tlv niountaii , I 

iv>: , t of the \s it -:s the oft whi^pu . 

: the? t| i\\ >, : ..;.... 

VT." .> I. Ji iHN I-!- 1 UK \ K- ISS. 

I HOLD ti .ll su-eet \ our memory, 
My childhood day-, so .> :>< , s . . . 
I " k -f-p mv iiinoci-ncc, dear Lord, lor Tlv-, 
1 hv Love tame to me ni;-ht and da , 
A \\-.i\-. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

I loved the swallows graceful flight, 
The turtle doves low chant at night, 
The pleasant sound of insects gay and bright, 
The grassy vale where doth belong 
Their song. 

I loved the glow-worm on the sod ; 
The countless stars, so near to God, 
But most I loved, in all the sky abroad, 
The shining moon of silver bright, 
At nicrht. 

The grass is withered in its bed ; 
The flowers within my hands are dead. 
Would that my weary feet, Jesu ! might tread 
Thy Heavenly Fields, and I might be 

With Thee ! 

My rainbow in the rain-washed skies 
Horizon where my suns arise 
My isle in far-off seas pearl I most prize 
Sweet spring and butterflies- I see 

In Thee ! 

In Thee I have the springs, the rills, 
The mignonette, the daffodils, 
The eglantine, the harebell on the hills, 
The trembling poplar, sighing low 
And slow. 

The lovely lake, the valley fair 
And lonely in the lambent air, 
The ocean touched with silver everywhere- 
In Thee their treasures, all combined, 
I find. 

I go to chant, with Angel-throngs, 
The homage that to Thee belongs. 
Soon let me fly away, to join their songs ! 
Oh, let me die of love, I pray, 
One dav ! 

Selected Poems of Sonir Thercsc 


I hear, e en I, Thy last rind lcat. 
I he music from Thy Hc:ivcnly Feast ; 
"I here, deign receive me as Thy loving L 
And, to my harp, let me hut sin::, 
My Kin- ! 

Unto the Saints I shall be near, 
To Mary, ami those once treasured here. 
Life is all pa^t, and dried is every tear j 
To me my home again is given 
In Heaven. 


IN wondrous Love, Thou didst come down from Heaven 
To immolate Thyself, O Christ, for me ; 

So, in mv turn, my love to Thee is given - 
I wish to surfer and to die for Thee. 

Thou, Lord, didst speak this truth benign : 

"To die for one loved tenderly, 
Of greatest love on earth is sign " ; 

And now, such love is mine 
Such love for Thee ! 

Do Thou abide with me, O Pilgrim M-.-st ! 

Behind the hill fast sinks the dying dav. 
Helped by Thy Cros^, I mount the rockv crrsf ; 

Oh, come, to guide me on my Heavenwaiu vVay. 

To be like Thee is mv desire ; 

Thy Voice finds echo in mv soul. 
Suffering I crave ! Thy words of hie 

Lift me above earth s mire, 
And sin s control. 

Chanting Thy victories, gloriously sublime, 

The Seraphim all Heaven cry to me, 
That even Thou, to conquer sin and crime, 

Upon this earth a sufferer needs must I.e. 

3 2 5 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

For me upon life s dreary way 

What scorn, what anguish, Thou didst bear ! 
Let me but hide me day by day, 

Be least of all, alway, 
Thy lot to share. 

Ah, Christ ! Thy great example teaches me 
Myself to humble, honours to despise. 

A little one as Thou 1 choose to be, 

Forgetting self, so I may charm Thine Eyes, 

My peace 1 find in solitude, 

Nor ask I more, dear Lord, than this : 

Be Thou my sole beatitude, 
And ever in Thee renewed 
My joy. my bliss ! 

Thou, the great God Whom earth and Heaven adore, 
Thou dwelPst a prisoner for me night and day ; 

And every hour I hear Thy Voice implore : 
" I thirst I thirst I thirst for love aiway ! " 

I. too, Thy prisoner am I ; 

I, too, cry ever unto Thee 
Thine ov/n divine and tender cry ; 

I thirst ! " Oh, let me die 
Of love for Thee. 

For love of Thee I thirst ! fulfil my hope ; 

Augment in me Thine own celestial flame ! 
For love of Thee I thirst ! too scant earth s scope ; 

The glorious Vision of Thy Face I claim ! 

My long, slow martyrdom of fire 
Still more and more consumeth me. 

Thou art my joy, my one desire, 
Jesu ! may I expire 
Of love for Thee. 

April 30, 1896. 


Selected Poems of Scrur Therese 


O [r -r. ! () my Love ! each CM- I c nne :> tliri^ 

Mv springtide roses sweet helore I hy Cross ilnine; 
Bv their plucked petals fair, mv hands so gladly bring, 
1 lon r to dry Thine everv Tear ! 

To scatter flowers ! that means each sacrifice : 

My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours, 
My hopes, my joys, mv pravers I will not count the price 
Behold my flower.^ ! 

With deep untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul, 

Would I might li:iht this love in heart- of all who live ! 
For this, my fairest riowcrs, all things in my control, 
flow fondlv, gladly would I give ! 

To scatter flowers ! behold mv chosen sword 

For saving sinners* soul- and iilling Heaven s bower.-. : 
Flic victory is mine yea, I disarm Thee, Lord, 
With these my flower^ 

The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face ; 

I hey tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone. 
Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in mv pla, e : 
On me Thou smilest from Thy Throne. 

To -cattcr flowers ! that means, to speak of Thee 

Mv onlv pleasure here, where tears fill all the hour- ; 
But soon, with Angel Hosts, my spirit shall be tree 
To scatter flowers. 

June j. , i 


La>> P~ " wriltfn V Sit itr //,v>v 

HFNCFFORTH thv shelter in thy woe wa> John s mot humble 
d well n ^ ; 

The son of /e u dec replaced the Son \Vhom Heaven adored. 
Naiuiht cUe tb.e (jo-pcl> tell us c^f thy lite, in grace excelling ; 

It is the I;;.: tliey say, sweet Motiicr of my Lord 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

But oh ! I think that silence means that, high in Heaven s 

When time is past, and to their House thy children safe are 

The Eternal Word, my Mother dear, Himself will tell thy 


To charm our souls thy children s souls in our Eternal 

Soon I shall hear that harmony, that blissful, wondrous 

singing ; 

Soon, unto Heaven that waits for us, my soul shall 
swiftly fly. 

thou who cam st to smile on me at dawn of life s 

beginning ! 

Come once again to smile on me . . . Mother ! the night 
is nigh. 

1 fear no more thy majesty, so far removed above me, 

For I have suffered sore with thee : now hear me, Mother 

mild ! 

Oh, let me tell thee face to face, dear Mary ! how I love thee; 
And say to thee for evermore : I am Thy little child. 

May 1897. 

NOTE. The above poems are reprinted from the translation of the 
Little Flower s poems made by Susan L. E;nery, of Dorchester , 
Mass., U.S.A., and published by the Carmel of Boston. [ED.] 




ONK by one she plucked the petals 

From the roses whit:: and: red ; 
Plucked them wi;h her dying fingers, 

Kissed and strewed them round iier Dead. 

In her eyes the piteous vision 

Of His foretold Leper Face ; 
In her ears the ruthless jeering 

Round the Fairest of our race. 

Day by dav Therese of Carmcl, 

Like the flowers f Calvary, 
Gave unto the stricken Jesus 

Perfume sweet of sympathy. 

Gnve to Him white innocences, 

Many an unseen sacrifice, 
Love that tain would have oulnvalicd 

All the loves of Paradise. 

Now from Thabor s Hei. hts she tells us 

Each the iittic way to trace, 
And tis Christ Who pluck* the roses 

For the Angel ot His Face. 

Swift our Seraph casts them from her. 
Over Eden s jasper wall ; 

East to West- a myriad blossoms- 
Thick as snow the rose flakes t..!l. 

From her cia-p till falling, fai ing, 
Sott the scented shower descends : 

Petals white for souls of scarlet 
Red love-pctais for her trends. 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

And when little souls are saddest 

Downward comes this gracious Queen, 

Brings herself to earth the roses : 
Earth is Eden then, I ween. 

Thus she keeps her promise daring : 
" I the Floweret shy of yore 

Heaven shall spend in sweet well-doing, 
Rose-queen be till Earth s no more." 

T. N. T. 


? .j 





THESE gracious words of her who is known, wherever 
the English tongue is spoken, as "The Little Flower 
of Jesus," have been well fulfilled during the fifteen 
years that have passed since her death. The graces 
already attributed to her intercession are innumerable. 
The Carmel of Lisieux receives on an average ^ixty 
letters daily containing acknowledgments of favours 
granted, and the confidence in the power of S rur is attested by the two hundred other letter- 
which accompany them. 

It is the wish of " The Little Queen " -as she is 
also named among us that her favours should be 
noised abroad. This she has repeatedly and clearly 
made known to her servants. In her liietime -he 
wrote to one of her missionary iriend> : " I shall 
desire the same thing in Heaven as upon earth, to 
love Jesus and to ivin Him love. ... I conicss that it 
in Heaven 1 could not labour for His Glory I -hould 
prefer exile to Home." But the more her power 
with God is revealed to men, the more will the;/ invoke 
her, and the better will she promote \\< Glory by 


Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

" doing good upon earth." Imitation will follow upon 
invocation, and the perfume of the " Roses " will 
draw hearts along her simple pathway to Heavenly 
Heights. For if Therese heals suffering and soothes 
sorrow, it is always with the aim of " winning more 
love " for her Spouse. 

Before her saintly death, she promised that she 
would not content herself with intercession, but would 
" come down " to her friends. Moreover, she declared 
that to her the lodestone of Heaven was Love : " To 
love to be beloved and to return to earth to win 
love for our Love." Since rejoining her Spouse she 
has told one client : " I wish to be everywhere 
known." To another she said recently : " My power 
is great with God : ask me what you will." A con 
version was sought, and was obtained within two or 
three days. A similar communication was made to a 
third, and the grace asked was immediately granted. 
In 1911 she revealed to a Carmelite nun that " no 
one ever invokes her without some answer being 
vouchsafed," and very soon afterwards a startling 
miracle proved to the nun how true was the statement. 

Not all her answers are, of course, either so prompt 
or so clear. But the writer of these lines has re 
peatedly received letters amongst the hundreds which 
reach him concerning the Little Flower in which 
her clients tell how their every request is heard. 
Doubtless the Carmel from its tens of thousands 
might tell a similar story. One letter speaks of " a 
million tiny miracles " ; another acknowledges twelve 
temporal and eight spiritual favours ; a third returns 
thanks " for the recovery of several friends clerical, 
religious, lay who were seriously ill, and also for the 
averting of several most grave calamities " ; another 
is grateful for " many spiritual and temporal favours, 
amongst them two situations, three postulants, an 
extraordinary conversion " ; while a litany, received, a 
few days ago, from distant Darjeeling, acknowledges 


The Shower of Roses 

" one conversion, two baptisms, a reconciliation, an in 
come fora destitute widow this last a great miracle, 
as there seemed no hope of support." 

In deference to her desire for publicity, and for a 
display of gratitude she was herself the mo-t grateful 
of creatures the " Roses " which follow are presented 
to the reader. Some will prove her power, others 
will merely awaken interest. Thcv have been gathered 
partly from the two " Showers of Roses " published 
by the Carmel, partly from information graciously 
afforded by the Prioress and by Mgr. de Teil, the 
Vice-Postulator, partly from the oral or written nar 
ratives of the happy favourites of Su?ur Therese. Of 
the French selection 250 out of many thousands- 
the writer has said elsewhere : " There is an attractive 
graciousness about these cures, apparitions, conver 
sions, which makes the booklet unique in the annah 
of hagiology. They are, however, merely a handful 
of rosebuds from a spacious garden, the extent of 
which is known only to God and His Angels. They 
are chosen to show that it is over the whole earth 
that Theivse keeps her promise of doing gooJ. % 
China, India, Brazil, Senegal, Dahomey, and Mada 
gascar, figure among the addresses. There are ako 
grateful letters from Great Britain, Canada, and the 
United States." 

The genesis of the devotion in these countries is 
in a large measure traceable to the month of November. 
1908. On the fourth of that month, a young Good 
Shepherd novice in London found her loot suddenly 
cured during the ni^ht. For four months it had 
baffled the doctors, and she was to have returned 
home that very morning to Glasgow. 1 lie circum 
stances of the cure were deeplv interesting, including 
as they did a visit from the Little Flower of Jesus 
and the miracle caused a sensation. It was narrated 
in variou< periodicals and roused a strong public in- 
tere-t in the Servant of God. Not long a Her, there 

5 3 5 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

began in the columns of one of these a series of 
thanksgivings to Soeur Therese, which has continued, 
practically without interruption, until the present 
time, December, 1912. Over 450 favours were ac 
knowledged during the first twelve months. The 
first English leaflets were published in Glasgow, in the 
following September, and now 300,000 of them have 
been scattered over the globe, while the abridged 
life " As Little Children " has attained its looth 
thousand. The devoted work of the Brothers of 
Charity at the Orphans Press, Rochdale, has greatly 
aided the spread of the devotion. 

The tasks allotted to the " Little Queen " are 
multiple. Periodicals abroad and at home are placed 
openly under her patronage her latest client in this 
respect being Father TrebaoPs magazine, which aims 
at the conversion of Wales. The Sodalists of Our 
Lady fostered by the Jesuit Fathers claim her as a 
special patroness. It was but to be expected that the 
splendid missionary association, " The Holy Child 
hood Society, for the rescue of Pagan Children," 
would appeal to her heart ; and indeed, not content 
with restoring it in Great Britain from death to 
vigorous life, when asked to do this, she has also and 
the choice is directly attributed to her procured the 
appointment of the Vice-Postulator of her Cause as 
Director-General of the Society, which baptizes 
annually half-a-million babes and supports another 
half-million of children in heathen lands. 

She is invoked, and successfully, by airmen. She 
is in high favour with those who have to face the 
trying ordeal of examinations as the thanksgivings 
testify. In one case a problem which a candidate 
had prayed she might have, was given her both in 
the oral and written examinations. 

But the pen must be handed on to the fortunate 
clients that they may tell their own tale. On account 
of its extreme importance, the Gallipoli " Rose " is 


The Shower of Roses 

placed first ; not only because it has been wll 
authenticated by the ecclesiastical authorities of that 
diocese, and by Mgr. dc Tcil, but chietly because of 
its message concerning the "little way" to (Yd, 
which is the mission of Sceur Therese to the world. 
With it are grouped a handful of " Roses " of van ing 
shade and perfume. These are followed by a choice 
bouquet from the million " Roses " she has let fall on 
the sick. This again by one of conversions wrought 
through her intercession. The last bouquet is formed 
of those golden " Ro^cs of sweetest perfume- her 
graces of a happy death. 





THE town of Gallipoli lies far down the map of Italy 
just inside the "heel," and across from Otranto. 
Nearly three years ago the inmates of its little Carmel 
were in debt and utter starvation, at times substituting 
for their dinner a visit to the chapel. Several months 
previously the life of Soeur Therese had been publicly 
read in the Community, and now the Prioress decided 
to make a special appeal for three days to the Blessed 
Trinity through the intercession of the " Little Flower 
of Jesus." The triduum ended on January 16, 1910. 
On that day Soeur Therese kept her promise of " doing 
good upon earth " and of " coming down" by bringing 
in person 500 francs to the distressed Prioress. But 
this was only the beginning of a series of prodigies, 
destined to throw into relief a seemingly chance 
remark of the Little Flower to Mother Alary Carmela 
on that occasion : " MY WAY is A SURE ONE." 

The following letters from Gallipoli and elsewhere 
tell their own story. It must be premised that a 
most strict canonical investigation has been made of 
the facts here related, and that the distinguished Jesuit 
who presided over the first Tribunal, after having 
emphatically attributed the whole affair to diabolical 
intervention, was converted, by the overwhelming evi 
dence, into an ardent apostle of Sister Teresa of the 
Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. [D.] 


The Shower of Roses 


Letter from Mother Mary Carmcla, Priorc-s of the 
Carmel of Gallipoli, to Mother Allies of Jesus 
Prioress of the Carincl of Lisieux. 

CAK.MKI. OF (iAi.urou, 

/ r-. V.v.vT -:;, I ,10. 

DEAR REVEREND MOTHER, I semi you the account of 
the miracle wrought on our behalf. But a long docu 
ment signed by the whole Community, by a commission of 
Priests, and by the Bishop himself, lias been forwarded to 

"On the night of the i6th of January, [1910], I was in 
great suffering, and was also worried about certain grave diili- 
culti\>. Three o clock had struck, and, almost worn out, I 
raised myself somewhat in the bed in order to breathe more 
easily. Then I fell asleep, and in a dream, it would seem to 
me, I felt a hand touch me, draw the bed clothes about my 
face, and coyer me up tenderly. I thought one of the Sisters 
had come in to perform this act of charity, and, without open 
ing my eyes, I said to her : c Leave me, for I am all in per 
spiration, and this movement gives me too much air. Then 
a sweet voice, which I had never heard before, replied : No. 
It is a good act that I am doing. Listen ! The Good God 
makes use of the inhabitants of Heaven, as well as of those of 
earth, in order to assist His servants. Here arc 5 .o francs, 1 
with which you will pay the debt of your community. 
Taking them from her hand, I answered that the debt 
amounted to only ^OO francs. \VeII, she replied, the 
rest will be over and above. But as you may not keep this 
money in your cell, come with me. The night was bitterly 
cold. How shall I rise, I thought, all bathed in per 
spiration as I am? The Heavenly Apparition, however, 
divined my thoughts, adding with a smile: Bilocation will 
help us. 

"Suddenly I found myself outside mv cell, in the com 
pany of a voum: Carmelite nun, whose veil and robes shone 
with a brightness irom Paradise that scncd to light up our 

1 *<>. 


Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

" She led me downstairs to the turn-room or parlour, and 
made me open a wooden box wherein was enclosed the bill 
which had to be paid. There she deposited the 500 francs. 
I looked at her lovingly, and threw myself at her feet, crying 
out : < O my holy Mother ! But she raised me up, and, 
caressing me affectionately, replied : No, I am not our holy 
LISIEUX. To-day, in Heaven and on earth, we keep the feast 
of the Holy Name of Jesus. Quivering with emotion, not 
knowing what to say, I cried out again and the words came 
from my heart more than from my lips O my Mother ! 
But I could say no more. Then the angelic Sister, putting 
her hand on my veil as if to adjust it, gave me a sisterly 
embrace and slowly withdrew. Wait! I called to her, 
you might mistake your way. * No, noj she answered with 
a heavenly smile, < MY WAY is SURE, AND I AM NOT MISTAKEN 


" I awoke, and in spite of my exhaustion I rose, went to 
choir, and in due course received Holy Communion. The 
Sisters noticed that something was wrong, and wished to send 
for the doctor. In the sacristy the two sacristans insisted 
strongly on knowing what was the matter with me. They 
also desired that I should go to bed and have the doctor 
summoned. To prevent this, I explained that I was deeply 
moved by the impression of a dream, and in all simplicity I 
told them my story. Both of them urged me to examine the 
box. Finally, as they insisted, I did as they desired. I went 
to the parlour, opened the box, and . . . there I found in reality 
the miraculous sum of 500 francs ! 

"The rest, dear Mother, I leave to your own imagina 
tion. Overwhelmed by such goodness, we are one and all 
praying that our great protectress, little Soeur Th^rese, may 


1 St. Teresa of Jesus, the reformer of the Carmelite Order. 


The Shower of Roses 


Letter from Mother Mary Curmcla to Mother Agne 
of Jesus. 

CARMEI OK (iAi.i.iroi.i, 

DEAR REVERKND MOTHER, It costs me very much to 
confide to you what the dear little Su-ur Therese has done- 
tor us since the month of February. Hut I can no longer 
resist your prayers, or my little Saint who oMigc> in:: to rn.-ke 
manifest the prodigies which God lias wrought through her. 

At the end of the mouth of January, in spite of the care 
with which the Sisters who have charge of the income and 
expenditure kept their books, we found a surplus ot 25 lire. 1 
This we were unable to explain unless on the supposition that 
Sceur Therese had slipped it into our cash-box. The ]$;>!: ip 
therefore desired me to place apart from the money of the 
Community, the two bank notes that still remained ot the ten 
which Heaven had sent. 

At the end of February, March, and April, the same 
strange thing happened, but the amount varied. 

In the month of May I saw my little Therese again. She 
spoke to me at first upon spiritual matters, and then she added : 
"To prove to you that it was indeed I who brought you the 
surplus of money that has been noticed in the settling ot your 
accounts, you will find in the cash-box a bank note of 50 
francs. . . . With God, to say is to do." 

And now, my good Mother, must I confess it to n.y 
shame r This time again I did not dare to examine the box, 
but the Good God, Who wished me to verify the new marvel, 
permitted that on one of the following day^ two of the Sister^ 
should come and ask, out of devotion, to be allowed to MX* th 
two miraculous bank notes. . . . Mother, what shall I av : 
You may understand our emotion. Instead of two notes, there 
were . . . thrt e. 

In the month of June we found 50 lire in the usual way. 

During the night between the I5th and the lOtli of July, 1 

1 /i. A lir.i is th<- I Ml; > :i franc, an<! :< of : : fnpcnce. 

* Literally, " liod v. I e %s . i: ii 

8 July ib is the te.iit :A Our L.idy oi Mount Ca:nv .. 

34 i 

Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

I saw my beloved Th^rese once more ; she promised to bring 
me before long 100 lire. Then she wished me a happy feast 
and offered me a bank note of 5 lire. As I did not dare 
accept it, she placed it at the foot of the little statue of the 
Sacred Heart in our cell, and shortly after, when the bell had 
rung, I found the note where I had seen her put it. 

Some days later the Bishop, in the course of a conversa 
tion, told us he had lost a bank note of 100 lire when making 
up his diocesan accounts, and he expressed the hope that Soeur 
Therese would bring it to us. 

It came on the 6th of August, the eve of the feast of St. 
Cajetan, whose name the Bishop bears. Again I saw my 
dearly loved Therese. In her hand she held a bank note of 
IOO lire, and she said : " The power of God takes away or gives 
with the same ease in matters temporal as in matters spiritual" 
Having found the note of 100 lire in the box, I hastened to 
send it to the Bishop with the good wishes of the Community. 
He, however, returned it to us. 

Since then she has brought us no more money, for our 
distress has become known through these marvels, and alms 
have been sent to our Carmel. 

But on September 5, the eve of the exhumation of her 
remains, I saw her again. After having spoken to me, as she 
always did, of the spiritual welfare of the Community, she 
announced that they would find only her bones in the grave. 
Next, she made me understand something of the prodigies she 
will accomplish in the future. Count it for certain, my dear 
Mother, that her blessed remains will work great miracles and 
will be as mighty weapons against the devil. 

Soeur Therese appeared to me generally at dawn and when 
I was engaged in prayer. Her countenance was radiant and 
extremely beautiful ; her garments glittered with a light as of 
transparent silver ; her words had the sweetness of a heavenly 
melody. She revealed to me the great, though hidden, crosses 
she bore so heroically upon earth. . . . Little Therese has 
indeed suffered deeply. 

What more shall I say ? It is enough, my dear Mother, 
that you know we feel near us the spirit of your angelic child. 
All the Sisters affirm, with tender affection, that, besides the 
temporal favours granted to the Community, each one has been 
the recipient of very great and personal graces. 

34 2 

The Shower of Roses 


A year parsed, ami on the anniversary of the first apparition 
at Gallipoli, the Little Flower herself gave an explanation ot 
her conduct. The reader will remember her words to her 
novices during her lifetime: "Have faith in all I have told 
you about the confidence we should have in God ; have faith 
in the way I have taught you of going to Him through 
self-abandonment and love. I shall come back, and shall tell 
you whether I am mistaken, or if my way is sure. t*nt:l 
then, follow it faithfully." 

Mgr. Giannattasio, Bishop of Nariio, near to Gallipoli, was 
not aware she had spoken thus. Yet he had always regretted 
that more stress had not been laid upon the spiritual meaning 
of her words to Mother M. Carmela : " My w 

u ^ u 

one To his mind these clearly referred to the path of sc,t- 
surrender and of trust in God so warmly recommended by the 

Haunted by this idea, Mgr. Giannattasio determined to 
celebrate the anniversary of their utterance by presenting the 
Carmel with a bank note of 500 lire which someone had 
given him. He enclosed the note accordingly in an open 
envelope, together with his Visiting-card, having first written 
on the latter : 

" My ll iiy is a Sure one : I an: not mistaken" 

"Sifter Teresa of the Child Jesus to Sifter Mary Carmela, 
Gallipoii, January 16, 1910." 

" Pray lor me daily that Go.l may have mercy on me." 

This envelope the Bishop inserted in a larger one of 
stouter paper which he carefully sealed, and on which he 
wrote : "To be placed in the cash-box, and to be opened by 
Mother Prioress on January 1 6, 191 I." It was a simple act ot 
devotion by which "he intended to obtain the blessing ot the 
Servant ot God on himself and his diocese. No miracle was 
asked. His Lordship knew that several of the Community 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

were anxious to have their poverty-stricken chapel decorated. 
Three hundred lire were needed for this, and Mother Carmela 
had opposed the project, but she had finally consented to a 
novena to the Little Flower. His Lordship intended to give 
them a pleasant surprise. 

He forwarded his envelope about the end of December, 
and on January 16 he himself arrived at the Carmel for the 
purpose of giving a retreat. He was informed that his letter 
was still in the cash-box. Mother Carmela now took it out 
and was told to open it, the Bishop watching her narrowly as 
she did so. She passed her finger under the upper flap, thus 
leaving the seal intact, then handed him the envelope with 
the remark : " My Lord, take what belongs to you." His 
Lordship found, to his amazement, that, in addition to the 
smaller envelope he had placed inside, there were four bank 
notes, two of 100 lire and two of 50 lire. His own 
note of 500 lire lay still untouched in the inner envelope. 
"The money is yours, my Lord," said the Mother Prioress, 
" but please count it. If there are 300 lire, miVht it not be 
the sum which the Community has been so confidently asking 
from Sceur Therese r ... If you wish, I shall call the Sisters 
that you may give it to them yourself." 

This was done, but not before His Lordship had exchanged 
one of the new notes which emitted a perfume of roses 
for another of the same value. He also scrutinised closely 
the seal. It was unbroken. Mother Carmela confessed to 
noticing some days previously that the envelope had increased 
in bulk, and told the Bishop of her presentiment that their 
heavenly benefactress had heard the Sisters prayers. He 
replied, however, that he saw a higher purpose in the miracle 
the confirmation, namely, of the Saint s remark : " My 
IV ay is a Sure one" And he showed the astonished Prioress 
the contents of the inner envelope, the note of 500 francs and 
his Visiting-card with its inscription. 

Some time after, Mgr. Miiller of Gallipoli. held a strict 
canonical investigation into the whole matter, the result of 
which was to place beyond question the intervention of the 
Little Flower of Jesus. 

The above account is drawn from the Articles for 
the Cause of Beatification, 2nd edition, July, 1911. 
It may fittingly be supplemented by the following 
narratives from the " Rose Garden." 


The Shower of Roses 

" V O U M U ST M A K 1C M 1C K X O \\" X 

DF.AR RKVF.KKNH MOTHI-K, On July 20, i n, i o, writing to 
a friend, an exiled nun in ]}e!.:iu:n, I had mentioned, as I 
invariably do in my letters, the marvels wrought throughout 
the whole world by our dear little Sister of Lisicux. I Lrave 
an account of the wonderful miracle of the 5;. francs of 
Gallipoli, but, forgetting; the name of the town in Italv where 
it had happened, I left a blank space for it. 

That evening alter Compline, wishing to finish the letter, 
I noticed that, contrary to my intention, I had forjotten to ask 
some one or other of the Sisters a recreation for the name of 
Gallipoli, which during the day I could not remember. Then, 
having recourse to my little Therese, I beg.ied her to recall it 
to my memory : " Little ThertXe, do remind me of that name 
which escapes me ! " Immediately I heard a voice sweet as 
that of an angel sound in mv ear, and I caught perfectly this 
word, "Gallipoli" . . . "Oh!" I whispered to mvself, 
"Thercse is here !" At the same moment 1 felt her near me 
at the window where I was writing. " }Vj," she made- 
answer. Then there were several seconds of a pav-e, and she- 
went on : " That is just what you ?nust do. You ?nu>t niuke nit- 
known everywhere. I desire to do so much , 

With my wonted familiarity I replied : " () mv little 
Therese, how much you have changed since you have ,;one to 
Heaven ! In this world you wished only tor forLietfulness 
and contempt." Then she gave an interior li^ht which made 
me understand that the more we humble ourselves, the more 
God exalts us. Presently I knew that my celestial visitor, 
whom I did not see, but whose presence I coi:!d tee 1 , was 
about to leave me. I said a few words mor. to her, and -he- 
withdrew leaving my soul inundated with a heavenly joy. 
I went to Matins, my heart overflowing w;th Liratitude tor 
the /race just inven to me. All my lite Ion :t will :x- an 
indelible memory. 



Sceur Therese of Lisieux 


Mgr. Giannattasio intended, during the month of October, 
191 1, to make an offering of money for the Cause of Beatifica 
tion. The amount was made up of French notes, and a gold 
twenty-franc piece or napoleon. The offering was delayed, 
and the notes disappeared. No trace of them could be found. 
" Sceur Therese is punishing me for my negligence," con 
cluded the good Bishop. " She has come and taken what I 
should have sent to her sooner. But I have still a napoleon. 
Let me see if my saintly Sister will come and take this also." 
The coin was put in a safe place, and some days later it, too, 
had vanished. Sceur Therese had come for her own. 



May 4, 1910. 

DEAR REVEREND MOTHER, I have something to tell you 
that shows once again the kindly intervention of your little 
Saint. This happened last autumn. 

I was very much inconvenienced, and all the Community 
with me, because of the shortness of water for washing and 
for the garden. There is no lack of it in our grounds, but 
the springs had gradually been diverted, and, in order to put 
this right, extensive repairs would have been necessary. The 
work had continually been put off because of the uncertainty 
of our future. 

Several times we had explained our anxieties to Sceur 
Therese, but to no one else ; and so you may judge of our 
surprise when, last autumn, a lady came bringing with her 
I oo francs for this very purpose. I promised we would make use 
of her alms to meet the first expenses of locating the springs, 
namely, the examination of the ground ; and our intention was 
to have recourse to a Priest, from the south of France, who 
had a remarkable gift for such work. I obtained his address, 
but as there was some doubt as to its being correct, I took 
care to enclose a picture of Sceur Therese in my letter, saying 
confidently to the little wonder-worker : " Sceur Therese, 
please settle this at once." The letter duly arrived, but, as 


The Shower of Roses 

the Father had just left for Austria, it was forwanlt ,1 to the 
monastery where he was ciu a::ed on a similar ta>k. He 
staved three weeks in this monastery, aiul, as we heard 
nothing from, the time seemed Ion/. 

On his return to France the L^ood Piiest asked himself: 
"Oimht I to no to the Carmel or not r \Vhat do they want, 
I wonder? Prohablv nothing important, ami no doubt th n ;- 
have been put riizht dunnn my long delay. 

That ni^ht a bright, maiestic fr. iire appeared to him he 
was quite awake at the time-- and it said : " ^ ou are for^ettmu, 
Father, the Carmelites of O k nm, who need you. Go to th< 
Carmel ; you are expected there." The Priest at once reco; 
nised the figure, tor it was the same v that on thcj>icture I liad 
sent him Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus. You ran quite 
understand, dear Mother, that he did not hesitate any lon-cr, 
but came to us at once. His work was attended with 
wonderful results, for he found the sources of the spring in <>ur 
enclosure. They had deviated from their original course, and 
the consequent dampness had caused ir- a very considerable 
inconvenience in the chapel, in the choir, and in fact all over 

the luuse. 



At recreation one dav, some of the Sisters were ili-cu>sm 
certain small favours received which they attributed to the 
intercession of the "Little Flower of J< 
were rather enthusiastic as to her influence with t 
Heart ; the others listened passively, but as the s 
discourse was kept up for a few recreations they seen 
at the, pivcn to Therese. The Supcriore- side-; with 
the majority, and, to stop the 
vou who have such confidence, ask her to s 

m; the two nes we have are 

lor our lane number ot iaily commui ant then, we 
see whether she is a Saint or n t." 

So it was agreed that I nts of the "Little Flower, 

Sister.-, an . childrc ; Communion^ t : 

diut intention. The n -ve: finished, but no cibc 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

appeared, and great was the triumph of the opposition party. 
Some did not hesitate to say : " You see she is not a Saint." 
"Good enough, of course, but somewhat too self-conscious." 
" After all, what extraordinary things did she do for 
God ? " 

Her supporters still maintained that she was a Saint, and 
felt convinced Therese would send a large ciborium for the 
children, as they were now all daily communicants. They 
immediately began another novena with increased earnest 
ness, asking her to obtain from the Sacred Heart a speedy 

During this second novena, our collecting Sisters were 
staying for a few days at the house of a pious gentleman, who 
usually gave them hospitality. One evening, while conversing 
in presence of their host, the Holy Father s Decree on Daily 
Communion was discussed. The Sisters spoke of the large 
number of our children who were daily communicants. 
Though they had no idea we were making a novena for a 
ciborium, they mentioned that our ciboriums were small. 
They spoke also of our anxiety when watching our poor old 
priest trying to ascend the altar-steps. This he had to do 
more frequently now, on account of the increased numbers for 
Holy Communion. Strange to say, their story received but 
scant sympathy, and the matter seemingly dropped ; but next 
morning, when the Sisters came downstairs, our gracious 
benefactor was standing at the foot with a ciborium in his 
hand. " Oh, what a beauty ! " they exclaimed. " That s for 
you," he replied ; " you may write and tell your Superior about 
it but ask her to kindly return me the small one which 
I gave her." Their surprise and pleasure may be imagined, and 
great was the children s delight on hearing the news. They 
continued their prayers, and made a novena of thanksgiving ; 
but as our benefactor had procured a different ciborium to that 
shown to the Sisters, some little delay was caused. However, 
their desire of seeing Therese s gift was fulfilled on the first 
of December, when the Superioress brought into the class 
room a handsome silver-gilt ciborium. They clapped their 
hands and then knelt down to thank the Sacred Heart and 
His "Little White Flower " for having heard their prayers. 

The opposition party still refused to own themselves 
beaten. "You don t call this an answer to prayer!" they 
said. "If the c Little Flower cannot give without making 
an exchange, she is not much of a saint ! " The objection was 


The Shower of Roses 

presently overcome in quite a startling way. After a Irrter of 
thanks to the pious donor, there came an immediate reply to 
the effect that he had ordered a second large cihorium ; this 
arrived on December n, and proved to be of silver, beautifully 
chased. Our other small ciborium had to be returned to the 
Mother House, and to-day we have two large and lovely ones, 
thanks to Scrur Thcresc. 

Needless to say, all our Sisters are now only too willing to 
acknowledge the great influence she mu-r poises* with the 
Sacred Heart. She has the unbounded love of the children, 
and, as a token of gratitude, they daily say aloud the prayer for 

her Beatification. 




S O T L A N I ) , 


The opening of a branch house usually brings many 
wants, anl among the articles required for our chapel were 
altar candlesticks. I petitioned the Little Flower to provide 
them for us ; and after a f. W days I said to the Sixers that it 
showed a want of confidence not to order them. I did so, 
and that very day I received a bank note from a former pupil 
in America the exact sum required. 

Larger candlesticks have since been given, the gilt of 
another unlocked for donor. 

I was told that until we obtained a monstrance, I> 
could not be given. Placing this difiu ultv in the hands 
S(rur Thercse, I begged her to use her influence on our beh; 
In a few days, the question came from an unexpected quarter 
"what was most required?" I mentioned the monstrance. 
It was ordered forthwith, and is a beautiful one or > 
i^ilt. Thanks to dear Soeur Thcri>e ! 

I can say with truth that a week does not -ass wit 
some favour being granted through her intercession, and as a 
rule I receive more than I dare ask. I am only too pleased to 
do her honour, and I sincerely hope the day is not tar dis 
tant when we shall hear of her Beatification. 

THK Srri-.K 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 



In December, 1910, I was in great difficulty in regard 
to a payment of rates, which amounted to ^68. Having 
heard of Mother Carmela s remark, at Gallipoli, that " Little 
Therese was the joy of the Sacred Heart," I asked her to 
settle my debt. I then wrote a letter to one of our bene 
factors, telling him of our need. A few days later, our good 
friend sent me 3. I went on praying for the remainder, for 
I felt sure it would come. 

The day for payment arrived, however, without its having 
appeared, and, gathering together what I had in the house, 
.25, I took it to the collector, asking to be allowed to pay the 
rest by instalments. I confess to having felt disappointed in 
Soeur Therese. That very afternoon, however, a gentleman 
who was arranging the affairs of his deceased sister brought us 
a legacy from her of ^65. This made up the exact amount 
on the very day on -which it was due. Then, indeed, I knew that 
rny trust had not been in vain, and that Little Therese was 
powerful with the Heart of Jesus. Most gratefully did I ask 
her to be allowed to publish this great favour. 




June 17, 1912. 

Our Community possesses the treasure of holy Poverty, 
and we are obliged, in order to live, to help ourselves by the 
work of our hands. 

A considerable portion of our enclosure consists of meadow- 
land. Every year we make hay on it, which is sold for the 
benefit of the Community. While the hay was being cut 
this year the weather was bad, and it rained in torrents. It 
was still raining when the time came for us to stack it, and 
one of our youngest Sisters said to me: "Mother, will you 
give me leave to put a picture of Soeur Therese in the field, 


The Shower of Roses 

and to beg her to give us some sun at once r " " Very w< II," 
I replied, "and I promise the dear little Sister that at the first 
ray of sunshine we will begin the novena tor her beatification, 
and we wdl also announce the favour to our nuns at Lisieux. 

The picture was carried to the meadow before Mass. 
During the Holy Sacrifice the clouds dispersed, and cheering 
rays of sun began to appear. But the wind still remained in 
the west. Then the Sister who had put the picture in the 
field said to our little Saint : " If it is vou who are giving us 
this fine weather, make the wind change." Immediately the 
weathercock turned to the north, and for five days we had 
magnificent weather in which to finish our hard work. \\ hen 
all the hay was stacked, we took away the picture, and the 
rain began once more. 




On September 2, IQ~8, I was in New Yrk with our 
Reverend Mother, and when returning to the station we ha : 
to cross a very crowded thoroughfare. Imagining, somehow, 
that our Mother had already crowed, I followed, but :t turned 
out that, seeing an electric car approach, she had he d back. 
It was too late to warn me. I received the full b!iw, and was 
of course thrown down. As soon as the conductor could stop 
the car a crowd collected, expecting to find me crushed, but I 
regained my feet absolutely unhurt, without even s< ratch or 
bruise, as testified afterwards by the convent doctor. My 
tacles were not even broken, nor did I feel in any w::y d 

The crowd grew larger every minute, and newspaper 
reporters pressed round to ask my name. To this our Mofher 
answered: "She is an exiled nun from 1* ranee, (\ 
wrought a miracle in her favour." They looked hcv% 
and could scarcely believe that I was no: injured. 1 i 
conductor said that the measure of my body might ha.. 
been taken, so accurately had I fallen between the wheel 
These street cars are much larger and heavier than oui 
have underneath an apparatus ot chains, winch, in the ordinary 
course would be bound at least to cause injury. 

I had been saved bv Su\ir Thcrcse / / 
the accident. In my pocket I carried one ot her little photo- 

35 1 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

graphs, from which I have never since parted. For a few 
moments after the accident it seemed to me as though I were 
in another world, so strong was the sense of the supernatural. 


(Countersigned by the Mother Prioress.) 



December 31, 1911. 

An old man aged seventy-two has for a long while had a 
special devotion to the " Little Flower." He can neither read 
nor write, but his wife read him the life of Soeur Therese, and 
he has always a picture of her with him. One morning, at 
the time when he ought to have set out for work, his wife 
noticed that he was not getting ready, and seeing him look 
somewhat strange she asked him what had happened. " I saw 
the Little Flower," he replied ; " I do not know if I were 
awake or asleep, but I saw her distinctly, and she said to me : 
c Do not go to work in that quarry. " His wife would not 
believe him, but with tears in his eyes he repeated : " I saw 
her ; she was beautiful, and looked just like her picture." 

He did not go to work. 

It happened that on that same day, another man, working 
in the same quarry, met with a serious accident, of which our 
friend might have been a victim had he not been warned by 
Soeur Therese. The stone fell on the spot where he usually 

The good old man has again seen his heavenly benefactress, 
and this time she was accompanied by a lay sister of a certain 
convent, for the repose of whose soul he had prayed fervently. 
He understood that she meant him to know that his prayers 
were granted, and that this soul was in Heaven. 


(Confirmed through the Carmel of Blackrock, Dublin.) 

The Shower of Roses 


The following "Rose" comes from the ho: 
one of England s best-known Cuthnlirs and will have 
a special interest for our younger readers. A-ain and 
again has the Little Flower been succer fully invoked 
for the cure of animal-. She " come-; dwn " even to 
stables in her desire ^ to do good upon earth/ [i.i>-] 

.^t /temcer 18, 1912. 

DEAR FATHER, I have written my storv quite simply 
and with exact details. It would be an impossibility to make 
a list of the favours that dear Child of God has showered upon 
us : millions of" tiny miracles misunderstandings cleared up 
trying complications smoothed out hard hearts touched. 
But I could not begin to tell you what she has done ever 
since, in a sort of miraculous way, I found first knowledge of 

May God bless her, and may we soon have her "on our 
Altars!" All the children pray for her Beatification e\erv 
dav. I have taught them that this is all we can do for her 
who has done so much for us. 


We have a little New Forest pony, and during June, IQII, 
lie had a violent attack of double pneumonia. i he groom 
and the veterinary surgeon staved up with him one whole 
nij;lit. In the morning he wa> no better. About mid-day 
the- groom came, and called me to go and -ee the poor : : rt.<- 
animal. He was trembling and quivering all over, and ^rnan- 
in..: with pain as he stru.: .-led lor his breath. His poor little 
head was han^ni^ quite down between his tore teet. \V hen 
I called him he could not lift his head, but he turned it a 
and ::a/.eu up at me out ot his piteous and ter; ir-stncken eves. 
I ha-, e never seen anything quite so h: 

The Liroom told me that it h - ive way and he lav 

down he would >urclv die. He had neither eaten or drunk 
for about twentv-four hours. I -cut the jroom to b - 
the veterinary surgeon, and a>k the latter to teteh s^nie 
broad strong strap* l "at we ;n;jht put tiiein under the p- iiy 

3 S3 7 - 

Soeur Therse of Lisieux 

and so help to support him. I could have cried. But I went 
out of the stable to where Eleanor and Elizabeth were standing 
in silence and grief and said to them : "The pony is dying, I 
fear ; pray quickly to the Little Flower." I recited some Hail 
Marys, and went in again to the little creature : u Never 
mind, dear old boy," I said, " you are not dead yet." I had 
literally to lift his head up and support his neck on my 
shoulder. I shall never forget the look of love that he 
gave me. 

I kept saying Hail Marys to the Little Flower, and I made 
the Sign of the Cross three times in the name of the Blessed 
Trinity on his face. He lifted up his neck from my shoulder, 
and walked two or three steps and held up his head completely 
changed. I called to Eleanor to run and get a bit of sugar, to 
see if I could tempt him to eat it. There was a pail of water 
for him in the corner, and some ground barley in his box. 
Before Eleanor got back with the sugar he had walked over to 
his pail and taken a long drink, and then walked back to his 
box and began to eat his food. This is the exact truth. He 
was eating and drinking in less than five minutes from the 
moment that I entered the stable, and in less than one since 
I prayed to the Little Flower. 

When the veterinary surgeon and the groom returned 
with the big leathern belts, they could not believe the evidence 
of their own eyes. While coming back they had been dis 
cussing what my judgment would be as to putting the poor 
little creature out of his misery so hopeless was the case and 
so sure were they that he was going to die. He is alive to-day, 
merry and beloved, but he cannot do any carriage work. He 
can only run about the lanes with the children riding on him. 


Aii gust i, 1911. 

This morning about one o clock a fire broke out in a 
small chalet belonging to the hotel where I usually pass the 
summer, and, as it was composed entirely of wood, the whole 
building was in flames in an instant. The larger hotel, two 
or three yards away, is surrounded by a wooden balcony ; it 
also caught fire ; the roof began to burn, and we had only a few 


The Shower of Roses 

jugs of water with which to extinguish the flames. To 
make matters worse, a fir tree close by became enkindled, thus 
endangering the whole forest, and the exceptional dryi^s of 
the place accentuated the peril. 

At this moment I threw into the flames a picture of 
Theresc, with a little piece of her clothing attached to it. 
Instantly the fir tree stopped burning of itself, and the sparks, 
which were literally raining down on the hotel, ceased falling 
and were raised into the shape of a dome over the roof. 

And thus the terrible danger was averted. In the opinion 
of the residents at the hotel, about forty in al , it was a ri-ai 
miracle, and many, who did not even know that we had 
invoked Su-ur Theresc, testified afterwards to the watchful 
care of Divine Providence. 

As for me, from the moment I threw the picture into the 
flames, I had not the least doubt but that the little Saint of 
Lisieux would assist us with her powerful intervention. 

K. G. 


Countless stories are told of the Little Flower s 
influence in matters financial. The Chancellor of a 
diocese in Great Britain has acknowledged a favour of 
this kind in the Catholic press. A Bishop has testified 
to such favours before the Tribunal 1or the Beatifica 
tion. The following graciou- First Communion storv 
is confirmed by the husband of the narrator ; and the 
reliability of both h;i^ been emphatically attested hv 
their parish priest in Dublin, [b.n.] 

/:::. : -T I.:. IQI2. 

Last November I. was in threat difficult :e-. My little b<>v 
was to make his First Communion, and I h.ul no monev to 
buv him new clothe^. \Ve had onlv half-a-crown in the 
house, ami this was wanted for necessaries. 

Shortly before, I had heard of the Little Flower of fcsus 
and of her numerous m;ra< I was especi.i ;v interested in 

tlv miracle of the money r mind in the ca-h-box ["at Gallipoli], 
and I wished the Little Flower would renew it in mv favour. 
The thought pursued me, and I told mv husband ot it. " A 
sovereign would be enough," I ^aui to myself. For some davs 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

I had a strong feeling that the Little Flower was not far 
away. At times I almost expected to see her, especially 
towards nightfall. 

On the evening of November 22, the first day of the retreat 
at the end of which my boy was to make his First Com 
munion, I went to our writing-desk to get the half-crown. 
The drawer was locked, and I had the key in my pocket. I 
unlocked it, and instead of picking up the coin at once, some 
thing induced me to feel by the side of it. My finger touched 
another coin, and ... I took out a sovereign ! 

So great was my amazement that I could not believe what 
I saw. I took the coin to my husband, and my father who 
had just come in to ask them if rny eyes deceived me. 

The occurrence, from a natural point of view, admits of 
no explanation. It might be urged that my husband or I had 
put the coin aside and then forgotten it. This is quite impos 
sible. Our poverty would not allow us to lay by such a 
sum without remembering it, or to lose it without noticing. 



Many stories are likewise told of the methods by 
which Soeur Therese disarms all opposition, and about 
her " coals of fire." The following are two well- 
authenticated cases. Father Raphael Kalinowski died 
in the odour of sanctity in 1907, and the Cause of his 
Beatification has been already submitted to Holy 
Church. In the case of the Spanish Carmelite, she 
was miraculously aided to write in French the sub 
joined letter, as she had been aided to read the French 
autobiography. [D.] 


October 9, 1902. 

DEAR REVEREND MOTHER, The heading of this letter is 
to call attention to my duty of repairing a fault I committed 
against your little Saint, Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus. 


The Shower of Roses 

Two or three years a<^o, when I was presented with the 
manuscript of a Polish translation which had been made <>t 
this Carmelite Flower s Autobiography, I dared to remark that 
our language did not lend itself in any wav to the Myle of the 
original, and that it would only inspire disgust in the reader. 
This was to put, as it were, a check on the apostolate ot God s 
chosen one. She must have taken it to heart, anil, to pav me 
back, she not only arranged that the translation should see the 
light, but moreover revenged herself upon me personally. 

A week ago, I went into my cell, my soul tossed on a 
stormv sea of interior troubles. Where to seek a refuge I 
knew not. At that moment my eves fell on the French life 
of the "avenging Sister" I opened it, and found the poem : 
u To live by Love/ 

Suddenly the storm ceased and calm returned my whole 
being was filled with an indescribable something which 
entirely transformed me. That poem became my lifeboat in 
the storm, and the kind Therese my pilot. I must then 
testify that her promise has been kept to the letter : " 1 will 
spend mv Heaven in doing good upon earth . . . Atter my 
death I will let fall a shower of roses." 

Vicar Provincial. 

April 7, 1909. 

DEAR REVEREND MOTHER, I wish to tell you of a little 
miracle worked by our beloved Scrur Therese. We have 
her short life here in Spanish, but the first time I read it I felt 
very indifferent about her, and I thought : "This little Sister 
is too much of an enthusiast ! " When I was asked one day 
my opinion of Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus, my answer 
was: "Mv opinion? Indeed she does not please me." . . . 
]>ut Therese meant to revenge herself in queenly style. Some 
time after, one of our Postulants brought us a French copy ot 
the autobiography. I did not know a single word ot that 
language, but, obeying an impulse of great curiosity, I a^ked 
permission to read it. (Juite surprised. Mother Prioress 
replied : "Allow you to read that book ? What good can you 
derive from it ? You do not understand French." " Hut an 
interior prompting urges me," I replied, "and bids me read it." 
So the permission was given. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

How can I describe to you, dear Reverend Mother, my 
feelings and the great joy which filled my poor heart to find, 
that on beginning to read the first chapter of this golden book, 
I understood French perfectly. . . . The whole Community 
were in amazement. Jesus alone knows the lights and special 
graces I received in going through those pages embalmed with 
so heavenly a fragrance, and when I am in spiritual dryncss, 
a few of them suffice to inflame my heart with Divine Love. 

A most grateful and deep affection for Therese has re 
placed my former indifference, and often, on my knees, I ask 
her pardon for my fault. May she obtain for me the grace to 
love Jesus as she loved Him, so that I may one day form part 
of "the Legion of Little Victims of Divine Love" and in her 
company sing The Mercies of the Lord. 



January 9, 1902. 

Therese is working wonders here. . . . On Sunday even 
ing I went into one of the Father s rooms and saw on his table 
a well-known book. "So you are reading the Life of Soeur 
The rese. What do you think of it r " " I find the book more 
and more delightful." This religious, without doubt the most 
learned theologian of our Order, deeply versed in the writings of 
the Fathers and of St. Thomas, on whom he lectured in Rome, is 
the implacable enemy of all new devotions ; he is highly distrust 
ful of literary novelties, and, if I may venture to say so, above 
all if they are the work of women. Yet he the unapproach 
able the unimpressionable here he was, like everyone else, 
absolutely conquered by the charm of that little Saint ! As 
for my Secretary, he lives spiritually by Soeur Therese. Under 
her picture he has written : Ravisher of hearts, pray for us. 
(Raptrix Cordium^ or a pro nobis.) 





SCEUR TIIE"KESE possesses in a very marked way the 
power of " healing all manner of diseases." A-ain 
and again she has "come down" when already the 
angel of death stood near, and the dying have been 
restored to fulness of health. To quote from a letter 
of Mgr. de Teil, received on October 26, 1912 : 
" Soeur Therese seems to wi-h to change her ways and 
substitute for the showers a c deluge. The number 
of cures is continually on the increase." The reader s 
attention is drawn particularly to the well-authenti 
cated cures of Mrs. Dorans (1909), Sara Pecquet (1912), 
and the astounding miracle at Chaumont (1912). [Ko.] 


On August 27, 1909, Mrs. Dorans, of the parish of 
Our Ladv and St. Margaret s, Glasgow, was suddenly 
and completely cured of a cancerous tumour. The 
disease had so far progressed that her doctor a Pro 
testant had said on the eve of her cure that she 
would in all probability die on the following day. In 
the morning he iound the cancer gone. * II this i< 
goinu r to be permanent/ he remarked when he had 
recovered from his stupefaction, " it b nothing short 
of a miracle." " It is a good thiivj," he added, " for 
professional men like us to know that the>e things, are 
in a Huher Hand. After all, 1 believe that there is 
a God. LI-.D.] 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

A number of years ago Mrs. Dorans, the widowed mother 
of a large family, began to suffer from continual pain in the 
left side of the abdomen. She persevered, in spite of it, to 
attend her household duties. The suffering was the effect of 
a tumour which gradually increased in size until, for three 
years before its disappearance, she scarcely had a moment s 
respite. Her nights were practically sleepless, as she could not 
rest for mere than seven or eight minutes at a time. By the 
month of April, 1909, the gravity of her state was such that 
her doctor, Dr. Carmichael, advised her to enter one of the 
Glasgow Infirmaries in order to undergo an operation. 
Examination of the tumour by Professor Gemmell and others 
made it clear that any attempt at an operation would be 
certainly fatal, a conclusion which the Professor insisted upon 
with considerable emphasis. Consequently, about the middle 
of May, after a couple of weeks in the Infirmary, she returned 
home to die. 

Gradually the poor sufferer grew weaker. There were 
also dangerous internal complications, and the pain became 
very acute. For ten weeks the stomach was unable to 
retain anything in the form of food even the taking of ice 
or of soda-water resulted in severe vomiting attacks. 

All this time her friends had been storming Heaven for 
her recovery, and novena after novena had been made, particu 
larly to the Sacred Heart and to Our Lady of Lourdes. The 
invalid nevertheless sank rapidly. Finally, on August 22, a 
Sister of Mercy, aware of the dying woman s intense faith, 
proposed a novena to the Little Flower of Jesus . . . " a saint 
not as yet canonized." Mrs. Dorans consented on condition 
that the Sacred Heart and Our Lady were included ; so it 
was arranged between them that the holy Carmelite should 
"ask the Blessed Virgin to take her to the Sacred Heart, and 
that she the Little Flower should ask for the cure from Our 
loving Lord." A beginning was made that day, Sunday. 

For four days she continued to sink and on the Thursday 
the watchers hardly expected her to live till morning. She 
could now see things only very indistinctly, and her agony 
was intense. Her confessor proposed again to administer the 
Last Sacraments, but, confident she would survive a few hours 
longer, she begged to have them on the morrow as an 
immediate preparation for going before God, and they were in 
consequence delayed. 

About 1 1 P.M., the poor creature, having taken a small 

ic Shower of R 


pierc of ice, had another dreadful attack oi vomitsu:- which 
quite exhausted her. After this she- trll a^eep. Her daughter 
watching bv her side, worn out with nursing, soon followed 
her example. The invalid slept on quietly. It was her first 
real repose for several years. About halt-past five on I 4 ruiav 
morning Mrs. Dorans was aroused bv a gentle pressure 0:1 
each shoulder as if some one were leaning over her. At the 
same time she felt a sweet, warm breath upon her tare an, . 
knew that an invisible Presence was beside her bed. ( )pen- 
ine her eves, she found that she could distinguish clearly the 
objects in the room. All pain had left her, and she enjoyed a 
sense of well-being that was an indescribable relief after the 
years of torture. She made a mot fervent act ot thanks 
giving to the Sacred Heart, whose picture hung opposite the 
bed. " Then scarcely realising the favour vouchsafed her, she 
fell asleep once more, this time for the space of twenty 
minutes. On awaking she ventured to feel the tumour, only 
to discover with delight that it had disappeared, together with 
the huge swelling which accompanied it. 

Mrs. Dorans" next awoke her daughter. She assured her 
that she felt refreshed, and, after drinking a tumbler of soda- 
water, slept asrain for half an hour. After this she felt so 
well and hungry that she begged for a roll and^a cup of tea. 
As yet she had not acquainted her family with what had 
happened, and they thought the request a dying person s 
whim. To their amazement their mother thoroughly enjoyed 
the cup of tea, the first for three months. A little later she 
asked that Dr. Carmichael might be sent for immediately, 
The family now feared the worst, and the doctor came in 
haste expecting to find his patient in her death agony or 
al ready dead. 

His astonishment was great on finding the inva 
bright and full of life. Asking what had. happened, he was 
told smilingly "that was for him to find out." After a 
prolonged examination, lie called the eldest daughter int. 
room, and in presence of both declared that -"assuredly the 
patient was better, and every organ of the body was now 
working properly. The swelling had gone and th<- only trace 
of the tumour was a tiny lump less than the si/.c of a marble. 
It may be added that tin s lump had disappeared by the next 


The cancer itself was a hard tumour situated in t 
lumbar region, and was of the si/e of an orange on its an 

3 6l 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

surface, but it did not project above the skin. It was almost 
immobile, and seemed to adhere to the structure below the 
skin. No suppuration had taken place, nor was their any 
evidence of the liver having been affected. The patient was 
very much emaciated. 

The effect upon Dr. Carmichael was one of bewilderment, 
and he begged for an explanation. Mrs. Dorans told him of 
the prayers that had been offered up to the little wonder 
worker of Lisieux. He then asserted that if any other 
physician were brought in and told in what state the patient 
had been a few hours before, he would refuse point-blank to 
credit it. Mrs. Dorans had been beyond the power of medical 
skill, and a Higher Hand had been here. Later on he gave 
a certificate which witnesses to the diagnosis of cancer the 
state of extreme weakness of his patient his intense surprise 
at the change which took place on August 27, 1909 the 
absence of all the old symptoms on the occasion of an exami 
nation made July 10, 1910. About the same time an X-ray 
photograph, by Dr. Riddell, did not reveal anything abnormal. 
The patient gradually recovered her full strength, and was able 
once again to return to her heavy household work, and even 
to devote herself occasionally to the night and day nursing of 
sick friends. 


I hereby certify that I carefully examined Mrs. Dorans, 
June 21, 1910. I found her in excellent health. All her 
organs were sound and free from disease, or any tendency to 
disease. I made a special examination of the abdomen, and 
found it normal. There was not the slightest trace of any 
tumour, or any growth, or any abnormality, to be made out 
either in the left lumbar region, or in the left iliac region, or 
in any region of the abdomen. 

I was asked to carefully and closely examine, as a Catholic 
physician, the evidence in support of the fact that Mrs. 
Dorans had a tumour prior to the 27th August, 1909, and that 
the said tumour disappeared in a miraculous manner on the 
27th August, 1 909, without its having returned up to the present 
time, and without there being the slightest probability of its 


The Shower of 

I examined the proofs without bias. Indci ., I :: 
sceptical attitude towards them, so a-, to tr-t whether .. 
had actually taken place. I dealt with o! 
and took nothing for siramed that could not he proved, 
conclusion I came to was, that it was beyond tin < a 

doubt that a tumour was present in Mrs. Dorans 
prior to the 2;th or" August, KJDQ. It was tdt not only by 
Dr. Carmichael, her medical attendant, but also by Protestor 
Gcmmeil, and doctors. The Protestor s own w nl> are 
that it "was a large, tender, almost immobile tumour." 

It is an equally incontestable fact that the tumour lias dis 
appeared and no longer exists. The reason ot its disa; ; earance 
cannot be accounted for by natural means. The tumour was 
diagnosed a cancerous tumour by Professor Gcmmell, and Dr. 
Carmichael, and all the signs and symptoms pointed in that 
direction. The pain for a Ion- period of time, the chron 
intestinal catarrh, the distension of the abdomen, the swe 
of the le^s and especially of the left leg the side on which 
the tumour was, the passage of blood and the emaciation, the 
sickness and vomiting all confirmed the diagnosis of a cancer 
ous tumour. A cancerous tumour invariably kills the pat 
sooner or later, and why this cancerous tumour did not kdi 
IUr>. Dorans, but on the contrary entirely disappeared, leaving 
no trace uf its existence, is beyond the ken of medical science. 


Doct rof V 

of (ila . . L:Ut- Ke idrnt I :.} 
1, .. : :i II ! . ( ." t I 
tu the (1! ., ,v V, 
I ; u , of 1 fur ihc L it) I 

July 14, 1^1 

O-. Sunday, May 26, 1912, Dr. Colvin read a pa] er 
ai lie Annual Conference of ihc Young Men s 
li:ld at Plymouth. Hi- subject was: 
a modern Glasgow miracle," and he irea:ed ai In 
of he cure of "Mrs. Dorans. T e paper ^ iven ir 
full in the Annual Report oi the S 
following extract brin-s the above narruiivc up to 

Gate, [hu.] 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

"I next asked Professor Gemmell, in whose ward Mrs. 
Dorans was a patient in the Glasgow Western Infirmary, to 
allow me to examine the report in the ward journal. This 
was granted by the Professor, who is the leading medical con 
sultant in the west of Scotland and occupies the Chair of 
Medicine in the University of Glasgow. The diagnosis of 
Mrs. Dorans condition was given as: Carcinoma of the 
sigmoid flexure of the colon. . . . 

" In August of last year Mrs. Dorans was summoned 
before the Ecclesiastical Tribunal convened by His Lordship 
the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux in view of the Beatification 
of Sceur Therese, The Little Flower of Jesus. A searching 
physical examination of Mrs. Dorans was made by Drs. La 
Neele and de Corniere. Both reported that the abdomen was 

"She was again examined on May 17, 1912, by Dr. Alex. 
Rankin, and Dr. Carmichael [both non-catholic], and myself. 
I subjoin our report : 

" c We hereby certify, on soul and conscience, that we have 
carefully examined Mrs. Dorans, and find her in good health, 
and able to go about and perform her household duties. There 
is no evidence of a tumour in her abdomen. Two facts about 
her impressed us. One was the truthfulness and constancy 
of her statements of her illness under cross-examination, and 
the other was that she had the facial expression, or " cancerous 
cachexy," of one who had suffered from a grave, malignant 




March, 1909. 

Soeur Threse seems to show special favour to my family. 
Two years ago she cured me of tubercular disease, and now 
my brother, eleven years of age, has just been suddenly saved 
by her. Here are the facts of the case. 

On Saturday, August 22, 1908, he met with a dreadful 
accident. Falling a height of about twenty feet through a 

The Shower of Roses 

trap door into a cellar, he struck his he-ad :i terrible 
The poor boy was picked up unconscious, and blood was 
streaming from the wound. The doctor dec lared it was a 
matter of two hours ; the skull had been fractured in seve:a 
places, and death was imminent. Nevertheless the : 
passed, and he was still living. The doctor called in a surgeon, 
who, without hesitation confirmed the opinion of his confrere. 
Humanly speaking, there was no chance of lite. I had mvselt 
heard the doctor s verdict, and in the tace of such an opinion 
it would have been tolly to dare hope. 

But I was guilty of this tolly, likewise my parents, and on 
August 24, at my request, Reverend Mother, you began a 
novcna to Scsur Therese. Meanwhile violent and repeated 
attacks caused us much alarm. On four occasions, we thought 
death was at hand, and for eight days the poor child was un 
conscious, and in wild delirium. 

On the ninth day he recognised everyone around him, and 
became quite calm. The cure was complete. It on .y re 
mained for him to regain strength which he did within a very 
short time. He is now at school, without any trace, cither 
physical or mental, of his accident. 




./...;:. . i J. I. ,09. 

For the irlory of God and of His Servant There-e, th<- 
Little Flower of Jesus, I wish to make known a gieat favour 
received through the intercession of this holy Carmelite. 

The irrace obtained is the extraordinary cure <>t my sister, 
who had been fatally injured. She was walking in the streets 
of New York on the morning of July ^0, 1909, when she 
was knocked down by a restive horse and trampled upon. Her 
face was horribly bruised, and her head so injured that she was 
covered with blood. \Vorse still, her rib. weie brokei 
driven into the lun-js ; the heart al-o was injured :n a word 
she was a most pitiable obiect. 

She diil not, however, lose consciou ness even :n her 
intense a-ony, and was able to make her Confession in the 
street to a Priest who had hastened ironi the nearest church. 
The do tor of the ^ew York AmbuLiice did nut th:n!; thai 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

she could possibly reach the hospital alive, and all the hope he 
could hold out was that only one in a thousand would recover 
after such terrible injuries. 

The poor girl hung the whole day between life and death, 
and towards midnight all hope was given up. Every breath 
seemed to be her last. She remained in this agony till August 3, 
and then it was that a nun, who was very devout to Sceur 
Therese, advised us to put our whole confidence in her and 
begin a novena. I gave my Sister a relic of the little Saint, 
which she applied to her mangled body with the greatest 
confidence. At once she began to mend : and on the last 
day of the novena she was saved. Her lung grew perfectly 
strong again, and her health has become as good as before the 



July 20, 1910. 

On January 2, 1910, one of our pupils, aged eleven and of 
frail appearance, became feverish. A fortnight later the little 
girl found, on getting up, that her legs were painful and that 
she could scarcely walk. The doctor, attributing this pain to 
weakness, prescribed a tonic, and ordered that her legs should 
be massaged ; but the little patient would scream when they 
were touched. 

Another doctor w r as consulted, and he insisted on making 
the child walk. She could not take one step without help, 
and it caused her intense suffering, while all massaging became 

The parents rinding these remedies of no avail, and much 
distressed at their child s suffering, consulted a third doctor, 
who treated her for hip-joint disease. At the end of a month, 
far from having yielded to the new treatment, she had grown 
worse. Not only did her legs, now quite useless, cause her 
pain, but her back did so too. The bones became disjointed 
and a hump began to form. A specialist was next consulted, 
and he gave as his opinion that the patient was suffering 
from paralysis of the spinal cord. He proposed having 
recourse to electricity, and said that at the end of a year she 
might walk . . . possibly. 


The Shower of Roses 

Our little pupil was very dowm ast. The First C m- 
rmmion L)av was drawing near, and sir- le t ^he v. 
unable to approach the Altar with her companions. 

Finding all human means unavailing, it occurred to me to 
tell her of Sister Teresa of the Child ICMI-, whose lite I 
then reading, and I advi.-c 1 her to a^k her intercession. 

At this she became quite bright. "The Little F!< .v. 
Jesus will cure me ! " she exclaimed ; " I shall walk for 
First Communion." From tiiat dav she invoiced her con 
stantly : "Little Flower, cure me I Little Flower, pray for 
me ! " Morning and evening the parents joined their prayers 
to hers, and the school children likewise pravcd mo-: earnestly. 
But the "Little Fiowcr" seemc i deaf to our entre: 
Three weeks before the First Communion dav the sufl 
was worse than ever, and all h"pc of curing her was a band 
According to the doctor s advice, she had undergone < 
treatment twice, but all to no purpose, and beside-, had he not 
said : " She na\ be able to walk in a year s time " : 

During the night between Wednesday and Thursday in 
Easter week, the little invalid was Iving as usual in her bed, 
with a light burning in the room because of her sice 
and great timidity. Suddenly, on opening her eyes, she -aw, 
to use her own words, "a prettv little face" smiling at her. 
She was rather frightened, and made the Sign of the Cross. 
The apparition smiled still more, and seemed to come closer. 
"You will soon be able to walk," it said, "... this very day 
even ! " It remained a few minute- Ion :er, smilin : all the 
while on her little friend, now quite reassured. Then it 

In the morning the happv Marie- said to her parent : 
am going to walk to-day, 1 have seen my Little 1- ower 
during the night, and she to!d me so." Marie had never seen 
a photograph "of Soeur Thcrcsc, but her heart told hcr^that this 
angelic vision could be none other than the little >a:nt she- 
had so conlidcntlv invoked.. 

Towards three o clock I . Item- 
on a couch to which she had been carr.c 

the sweet, 

the word tha u rt > 

the sick child ran t IK>I 

mother, who could scarcely credit her eye-, since tor three 
months Marie had not wa kcd < n re] . Tl ree week- 
the voung client of the Rowci t Jesus ir.a^e her ! ir-t 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

Communion, and was confirmed together with her delighted 

When she came to see me, I placed in her hands the 
autobiography of Sceur Therese. On seeing the first picture 
she exclaimed : <{ This is indeed the face that I saw I 
recognise it." Then she added : " She was dressed as a nun, 
but I did not notice her veil ; it is her face alone that is 
stamped on my memory." 

And her own features seem also to bear the imprint . . . 
She has become more thoughtful and serious, and in fact I may 
say that the little Saint has restored her to us quite converted, 
as well as strong of limb. 



July 23, 1910. 

In the spring of 1900 I was then sixty-seven I consulted 
Dr. N. relative to my anaemic condition. Before I left him 
he drew my attention to the fact that I was suffering from 
cataract. I did not quite believe this statement, so when I 
was in Paris the following September, I called to see Dr. 
Abadie, a famous oculist. 

One of his assistants examined my eyes most carefully, and 
confirmed the opinion of Dr. N., but he told me the cataract 
could not be operated upon for perhaps ten years. Since then 
I have consulted neither oculist nor doctor relative to my 
eyes, nor have I used any remedy. What Dr. Abadie s 
assistant foretold gradually came true ; my sight grew weaker 
and even with the help of strong glasses I had great difficulty 
in reading and writing. 

From the beginning of 1908 I could not recognise anyone 
two yards off, and after dusk I dared not venture out. In 
May 1909, an optician, who tested my sight in various ways, 
declared the right eye completely lost and the left one in a 
very bad state. This, however, was a slight exaggeration, 
because I could still distinguish with my right eye a form at a 
distance of a couple of feet ; but so vaguely that I could not 
say if it were that of a human being. 

On Palm Sunday, 1909, I fell down the altar steps, and it 
now became clear to me that within a short while both Mass 


The Shower of Roses 

and Breviary would be impossible. I was dread in: 1 ; the 
prospects of the journey to Paris and the operation, when 
Divine Providence intervened and put me in touch with the 
colleagues of an "oculist" who needs neither ointment nor 
surgeon s knife. 

Last Spring the Reverend Mother of the Carmelites of" 
Bordeaux, in exile at Xarai r/, Spain, sought to make use or 
my skill in bee-keeping. I explained to her that the condition 
of my eyes prevented me from doing as she a^ked, and in reply 
she said she would storm Heaven to obtain the restoration of 
my sight. 

A few days later I was astounded to find I could read with 
comparative ease, and was now able to distinguish the altar 
steps. I went therefore to Zaraii/,, and there I learned that 
the Community had made a novcna tor me through the 
intercession of Soeur Theresc of Lisieux, of whom I had never 
even heard. 

To have obtained this improvement for me, a stranger, 
and without asking, was indeed a gracious act on the part ot 
the dear Saint. I say improvement, because my sight was not 
yet fully restored. 

We agreed to make a second novena, during the course of 
which I was to apply to my eyes daily a relic of my heavenly 
"oculist." Before the end of the novena I could read the 
smallest print, and I could recognise people at a distance of 
IOO paces. This novena was bei^un on May 19, and in [une 
I returned to Spain to reorganise the hives of the Carmelite 

It was then we a third novena, this time in thanks 
giving, and to obtain a more perfect clearness of vision. Once 
more my " oculist " granted our prayers. 

As I had recovered my sight, I resolved to take up bee 
keeping again, and I bought a colony of bees. A couple of davs 
later I went to see mv hive, and found a few cells of queen- 
bees, in sonic of which the eirgs had already hatched. 

The sight of those infinitesimal eggs, iu^t like fine threads 
of a bluish whiteness, rejoiced my heart. For year s I had been 
unable to discern them even with powerful spectacles, and 
now I could see them again with the n<iki\l cyf ! With the 
utmost gratitude I raided my eyes to Heaven, whence my 
celestial u oculist" had fulfilled tor me her promise to do good 
on earth. 

There is therefore no room for doubt the cure ot my 
569 Z A 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

sight is both real and permanent, and clearly I am indebted 
for this wonderful favour, obtained without human help or 
remedy, to the intercession of her whom we had invoked 
Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus, of the Carmelite convent of 





On September 24, 1910, I became a postulant in the 
convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Glasgow. 

One day I went to shut a window, and, in doing so, I lost 
my balance and fell. The sight of my left eye, which for 
some time had been dim, now disappeared entirely, and, after 
a fortnight had elapsed, the pain in my head became so severe 
that I was forced to complain. On January 5 I saw the 
Community doctor, and he told me it was a case of cataract, 
and that I should have to undergo an operation. I was sent 
to bed for a week, and then resumed my duties, but my left 
eye remained sightless. 

Meanwhile all the Sisters joined in a novena to the Little 
Flower. At first she did not seem to heed us. Then I asked 
that she might keep her promise "to spend her Heaven in 
doing good upon Earth." I never lost confidence. 

On February 4, I was sent home in order that I might go 
to the Eye Infirmary. 

Two days later I attended the West Regent Ophthalmic 
Institution : there I was told that the sight had completely 
gone and nothing could be done for me, and I was advised to 
take great care of my right eye, or I should lose it too. After 
this I went to our family doctor in Motherwell, but I did not 
tell him I had been to the Institution. He confirmed the 
opinion of the Professors, but he sent me to the Glasgow Eye 
Infirmary, and here again I was declared incurable not even 
worth an operation. I was given a note for a pair of spectacles, 
which, however, were to have only a plain glass for the left 

I now prayed with renewed fervour to the Little Flower, 
for I knew the Saints of God could do more than any pro- 


The Shower of Roses 

fessors or doctors. I made a no-, ma ot Communions in her 
honour, ami I ofiercd her all my little sacrifices in order that 
she might cure me. The novcna er.dc.l on the Friday, and 
I was still blind. Yet I never abandoned hope in Nrur 
The rise. 

On Saturday mom inn; I rcceiveil Holy Communion, and 
prayed with ^reat fervour. Suddenly, when leav.n.i the 
church, I found I could see with my left eye. I con 1 hardly 
believe I was cured. That was on February 2", 1911, about 
a fortnight after I had been given up by all the professors and 

I shut the good eye continually to find out if my cure was 
a true one. When I returned from church, and told un 
people I was cured, they would not believe it. Mv mother 
put a bandage on the ri:_ht eye in order to test the left oi.e, 
and in this wav I went a /.t.ut the house working tor two days. 

Every one \vanted to test my sight, and when I would tell 
them what the various objects were that they held before me, 
they like myself had difficulty in believing that I really 
saw. I called on Dr. Jones of Motherwell, who was much 
surprised, and wanted to know what had been done for me. 
He declared he had never seen a cure like it, and that a miracle- 
had been wrought. As for mvself, I claim to have recovered 
my sight through the intercession of the Little Flower of Jesus. 




. . / i . . 1911. 

This is to certify that Margaret Malone, in Ionian 
Roa.i, Motlurrwel!, consulted me several times concerning the 
ei ^iit of her left eye, which she found >he h.ul completely lost. 
On testin:: her n ::ht in various wav>, I found she could m.t >ee 
i.t all with the left eye. On examination of her eve I found she 
was suffering from an opacity of the vitreous humour, having 
a glistening greyish white appearance stretching across the 

I hail her under treatment for a short time. \V,ien then- 
was no improvement, I -ent her to the Kve Infirmary to 
if" anything further could be done fr her there. Hut *he was 
told that "nothing more could be done, and they prescribed 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

treatment to preserve and strengthen the sound eye. In my 
opinion the condition or" her left eye had existed from child 
hood, or at least for a very long time. 

I am now informed that she can see perfectly well with 
her left eye, a condition of things I never expected. 




June 30, 1911. 

It is a great honour as well as a great pleasure to me to 
bear witness to the truth of all that Margaret Malone has 
written with such edifying simplicity. I saw her often in her 
home, and daily at Holy Communion, during all the period of 
her trial, and 1 felt sure her great faith would soon be re 
warded. She knew as she says " that the Saints of God 
could do more than any of the professors or doctors could do." 

And it is true ; they often take a short cut after it is seen 
that all human remedies are useless. It was so assuredly in 
her case. Several medical men, speaking zuith the most expert 
authority in the country^ declared her case was hopeless ; and 
of these, it should be noticed, three including him who has 
given his written testimony- -are non-Catholics. 

I well remember the day, or rather the night, when 
Margaret Malone told me, and proved to me, in presence of 
her parents, that she had been cured after making her novena 
of Communions, and using a relic of the Little Flower ; and 
in consequence of this she was readmitted to the Convent of 
the Little Sisters of the Poor. It is but another proof of what 
Soeur Therese will do for those who have faith in her. 



November 5, 1911. 

I am now seventeen years of age, and have lived with my 
aunt, Mile. D., at Laval, since I was two. For some months 
of the year 1910 I had suffered from albumin uria, and was 


Tlrj Shower of Roses 

threatened with pulmonary v rh si lam:arv 24, I Jii, 

I wa:-. xcr/.ed \\ ith cere hi; 1 uremia. The doctor ;:ave no 
of m\ recovery, and wiV , nv to ! tl tal, not 

with any ;!i<>;i;du of curing me, hut that mv suflerin-. s m fit 
he mure cax;!y alleviated hv inje i:onx ol miphia. \\<>\\ 
mv aunt objected, as ^!ic wi-dicd to nui-e me to flic end. 
From January 24 to Fehruai v I, I grew r; On 

that day the doctor - id meningitis had -et in, ami that I ha i 
cnlv a short time to live. 

1 he following account IK S bee ) :"\en me by my aunt, 
my, and a friend, who were pi- *ent. 

All m ^lit I w;^ -lelirious rui l Miflcreii v-rrihly. On the 
morning oi February 2, mv aunt procure a relic ot . 
Fherese a little \ U r , contammi ; wool tiom her jnl!o\v -ani 
brought it to me to k s>. 1 took it in mv hand, and, to our 
grear surprise, I was able to read the inscription uhich \vas i:-. 
very ^ma!l print. I say to our sr.rj : , for I :.,. 
to read, even lar.;e print, h;r two or tlnee \veeks. Tiic relic 
wa> fastened to niv scapular, and I joinc in the prayer a> well 
as I could. 

It was the fir c t time I h; 1 heard oi F(rur Thr resc. I ha 
not read her lite, and knew nothi:: of her apparition r the 
wonderful cure:- wrought through her intcTCssion. L:i < 
the morning the doctor c:ime to see me, and 
in m\" condition ; he proposed a consultation c;:i t ;e foil "A ;n ; 
day, and prescribed a footiiin: 1 ; draught, proni;:-m:: to return in 
the evening, to inject morpdiia. 

I was dozing wh:,:, toward> tnid-day, I snd ienl 1 , aw 
me a wrung nun or heavenly h U ;ty, who ! .i at me with 
t/" sucretest sniile. Unconscious ot what I wax do:n 
ra;xed. myself in bed, and, kneeling down, i joined my : . 
:>r.d stretched them towards the appai::. n in u h w that 
I should ha\e certainly fallen had I not been mirac .ilotixly 
supported.. I am told that mv tacr was ra . ;i , an.: 
present felt that somrthmri sup-crnatura v/a> I .ace; 

they looked at me in amazement, perfectly thim ierstruck. 

f could hear the heavenly vision Baying to me: u You 
will be cured," and at the same time 1 wa-> of a 

dHidoux perfume, wliich c v havi- ccrne from Hi 

Mv angelic visitor ili , a:.. : , -till u: i us ot my 

acti. iis, I lav do .vn in bed. Fhen i I Is my, 

my aim , and Mmc. II., : them pei ; < tly. For the 

last eight days I had not r< -i anycnc. 1 declared th.\: 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Sceur Therese had appeared to me, and when they showed me 
her picture, though I had never seen it before, I recognised 
her at once. My sight had become clear and distinct, and the 
most acute pains had left rne ; the others were to cease in their 
turn at the second visit of our benefactress, of which I am 
now going to tell you. 

I slept peacefully till three o clock in the afternoon, my 
aunt and my mother sitting beside me. Then, all that I have 
already described was repeated exactly, with one additional 
detail. I took my rosary, and twined it round my hands. I 
saw Sceur Therese in the same attitude as before, and with 
the same sweet smile. She admonished me to have a great 
devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and advised me to say the 
Rosary every day. My aunt heard me answer her in distinct 
tones : " Yes, my little Therese, I promise to do as you ask." 

At 6 P.M. the doctor came to give me the injection of 
morphia. Great was his astonishment when, after a minute 
examination, he could find no trace of lung trouble or 
meningitis. Several times he repeated that I was cured, and 
that the consultation arranged for the following day was 
consequently useless. However, for prudence sake because 
of the intense cold he forbade me to go to Church next morn 
ing for Confession and Communion as I earnestly wished to do. 

On Saturday, February 4, at 8 P.M., for the third and last 
time, I saw my Heavenly Benefactress under similar circum 
stances. My aunt and others were present. This time Sceur 
Therese spoke to me of intimate and personal matters which 
I cannot repeat. 

It is more than eight months since she cured me of these 
two diseases, and I have the most lively gratitude and tender 
devotion to my beloved Saint. To prove this, in the company 
of my aunt, I made a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to her tomb 
on August 14.* 

C. D. 


PARIS, March g, 1912. 

Among the crowd of pilgrims who visited Lourcles in the 
year 1900, was a certain poor dressmaker named Sara Pecquet, 
Who was carried to Our Lady s Shrine on a stretcher in a 

1 This statement is based on the narratives of Father G. her confessor and 
of her mother, her aunt, and Madame B. 


The Shower of Roses 

dying condition. The disease from which she was suffering 
was elephantiasis of the leg and scrofula. After one bath in the 
miraculous water she was completely -cured, and was able to re 
sume her ordinary work of dressmaking, which she continued 
for ten years without any return of her former complaint. 

In October, 1910, Mile. Pecquet s mother fell dangerously 
ill, and the doctors gave no hope of her recovery. Thereupon 
the devoted daughter begged God earnestly to spare her 
mother, and, if need be, to give back her own former sufferings 
as the price of the cure. Her prayer was granted. Mme. 
Pccquet recovered, and Mile. Pecquet was attacked with all 
the symptoms of her former disease in a greatly aggravated 
form. In both legs swelling appeared, and erysipelas broke 
out in the right one, from which there was a constant 
discharge. In addition to this, gangrene set in, the swelling 
steadily increased, and at last it became impossible for the poor 
sufferer even to keep the limb in bed. She was obliged to 
leave it hanging out with the foot resting on a high stool, a 
position which caused her excruciating pain, suffering as she- 
was from hip-disease and hernia on the right side. 

In June, 1911, the Pans doctors pronounced the wounds 
in Mile. Pecquet s leg to be incurable, and by December the 
disease had made such rapid progress that the limb presented a 
most terrible appearance. According to the testimony <,t an 
eyewitness, "from the knee to the extremity of the foot was 
a shapeless mass of hard, raw, furrowed flesh, with pus and 
gangrene in the recesses." The discharge became excessive, 
and soaked through everything. 

On January 3, 1912, at the request of a friend, the 
Carmelite nuns be jan a novena to Sirur Therese for M:!e. 
Pecquet, who was wearing a relic of the Little Flower round 
her neck. The invalid at this period did not pray for her own 
cure, but offered up her novena tor two girls -one of whom 
partially obtained the grace asked for, while the other obtained 
it entirely. On the ninth day of the novena, Mile. Sara left 
off wearing her relic, to give it to her mother, who had 
suddenly fallen ill. Once ajain the old mother was cured, 
while the daughter s leg became worse. Then it wa> that 
Mile. Sara made this simple prayer, which must have touched 
the heart of her to whom it was addrc^cd : u Little Scrur 
Th6resc, don t you think you might now attend to me r 
am not verv exacting, and only ask you two t: 
I may be able to stretch my le^z on the bed, and that it may 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

become well enough for my poor mother to be spared the 
trouble of looking after it." 

Another novena was begun at Carmel on January 25, in 
which Mile. Pecquet joined, and on the morning of the 26th 
she applied the relic of Sceur The rese to her leg, placing it 
between the outer cover and the bandages. The leg was 
then in a terrible state swollen to an enormous size, and one 
mass of ulcers, which were most offensive. The pain had 
grown so intense that it seemed as though dogs were gnawing 
through the flesh and bones. Night after night the poor 
sufferer had to hide her head under the bedclothes so that her 
cries of agony might not wake her old mother, who was 
sleeping in the next room. 

Some time after the application of the relic in the region 
of the knee the pain became so intolerable that Mile. Pecquet 
slipped it lower down, whereupon the pain seemed gradually to 
follow it. She then moved the relic still lower, and at once 
felt the pain in the calf of her leg, and so excruciating was it 
that at about 5.30 in the evening she could bear it no longer, 
and undid all the bandages. What was her amazement to 
find all swelling gone, and the flesh from the knee to the calf 
smooth and covered with a soft thin skin. On the foot there 
was a spot where the relic had not been applied, and here there 
was still a slight wound. 

Mile. Pecquet now called her mother, and the two women 
could actually see the edges of the wound coming together, 
and the corroded flesh of the calf of the leg growing smooth 
and fresh. They remained, according to their own expression, 
u like two idiots, crying and laughing together." Then, that 
the nursing Sister might share their surprise, they bound up 
the limb again in bandages, adding enormous quantities of 
cotton wool so that the leg might appear as swollen as before. 
Their little stratagem succeeded perfectly. Next morning the 
astonished Sister, after unwinding fold upon fold of cotton 
wool, came upon the leg perfectly healthy and sound, and 
could only exclaim, " How could you keep it from me ? " 
On the previous morning the circumference of the leg at the 
knee, the calf, and the ankle measured over thirty-six inches : 
it was now only ten inches. 

From that time onward the cure has become more and 
more perfect. Now no trace of the former wounds remain, 
the limb is its normal size, and the skin soft and rosy as that 
of a little child. 


The Shower of Roses 

Human science had again been b;.fHed, and the doctor on 
viewing the marvel could only exclaim : u It is quite impossible 
to understand." Hut it is not impossible to th*e who realise- 
that God is glorious in His Saints ... It is onlv yet one- 
more of the countless miracles wroir-ht thmu. h the inter 
cession of her who owes her greatness in Heaven to her 
littleness on earth. 

This narrative is based on the testimony of Ml! -. 1V> quct 
sixtv-two years of aL e ; on that of her mother ei. hty-n\e 
years of age ; and on mv own observation. 

Signed also by the witnesses of the cure and by the visiting 




JA.-y 10, IQI2. 

A young girl, Antoinette Hcbert by name, was a patient 
in the Hospital of Grandvilliers, where she had been .-ulmitted 
in July, 1908. She was suffering from a discas" of th.c right 
leg, extending from the hip to the extremity of the foot. 

According to the testimony of the nursing Sister who had 
charge of Antoinette from May, KjOQ, she was then unable 
to get up or lie. down unaided, nor could she walk without the 
help of two crutches. Moreover, three or four times a week 
he had attacks of excruciating pain, which lasted for hours and 
left her with severe spasms of the heart. 

In the hope that an operation might still be possible, the 
doctor attached to the Hospital sen; her to Bcamais to be 
examined by the doctor of the Public Hospital in that town. 
He, with nine assistants, having in vain tried to straighten the 
limb, declared the case incurable, and Antoinette returned 
home to Grandvilliers. Here this judgment was further in 
dorsed by two local doctors, who had tried putting the le.; :n 
p asfer of Paris without result. 

The only remedy which human skill could now prescribe 
for poor Antoinette was three miections ot morphia da:lv to 
deaden the terrible pa n. The nursing Sister relates that the 
leg withered and grew visibly shorter, the bones became dis 
jointed, the hip-hone displaced, the toot grew distorted and 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

turned inwards, and the whole limb lost all power of motion. 
The poor sufferer could not bear even to be touched, and 
feeling that her case was indeed hopeless, she was almost in 
a state of despair. Then it was that the Sister suggested 
they should have recourse to heavenly aid and ask the interces 
sion of Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus. Antoinette gladly 
assented. A picture and relic of the Little Flower having 
been obtained, the poor girl began the novena by promising 
a sacrifice to God in the event of obtaining her cure. For 
six days nothing unusual occurred, but on the seventh day, 
May 20, 1912, about 2 A.M., Antoinette was aroused by hear 
ing a sweet, low voice saying to her : " Awake ! Awake ! " 
She thought it was a dream, and tried to go to sleep again, 
when once more the same sweet voice repeated " Awake ! 
Awake ! " Then, opening her eyes, Antoinette heard the 
same words spoken for the third time, though she saw nothing. 
But she soon began to feel strange sensations in her leg, and 
knew that something unusual was happening, for the hitherto 
useless limb moved instinctively of itself. 

In the morning she was able to get out of bed unaided, 
and to the astonishment of the Sister walked several steps, and 
then began literally to jump for joy ! Soon the news spread 
through the whole house, and the amazement of the other 
invalids was great when Antoinette was seen walking down 
the long corridor. To all questions she only replied : " Little 
Soeur Therese has cured me." It was indeed true. A 
" Rose " had fallen on Antoinette. Not only was her foot 
straight, but her hip-bone was in its right position, the knee 
was quite supple, and her leg had regained its normal length. 

Since May 2O, when the miracle took place, the cure has 
been fully maintained. Antoinette has to thank her heavenly 
benefactress not only for her physical health, but also for a 
wonderful transformation which has been wrought in her soul. 



The Shower oi Roses 



IlAfTK MAKNK. ! . AM;E, 
Ah,;: t t (>. 1912. 

DEAR MGR. HE TEII., I gladly comply with your request, 
and am happy to be allowed to talk to you of my benefactress 

Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Eace and 
of the cure which the Good God worked in me throu :h the 
intercession of His little Spouse. 

I was a martyr to suffering, so much so, that human 
remedies had been abandoned as useless. I could take no 
nourishment, not even a drop of milk or water, for everything 
made me sick. While in this state a friend, inspired ^bv God, 
applied to the Carmel of Eisieux for a relic of Scrur Therese, 
begging at the same time that a novena might be made for 
meT Her request was complied with, and on June 15 I 
received the relic and a little note telling me that the novena 
would be-in on the i6th, and that the prayer* to be said were 

the Magnificat^ the prayer for the Beatification of the 
Servant of God, and an invocation to the Holy Child Jesus 
and to Our Eady of Victories. I can assure you all 
prayers were said with the greatest confidence in the inter 
cession of our little Saint. As soon as I received her relic, I 
put it on, and, at the same time, beg-cd her to give me relict 
in my sufferings, for it was impossible to live in such a con 
dition. I did" not dare ask to be cured, but my kind friends 
bc^Lied this favour for me. 

On June 19, therefore, we began the novena. 
ni rht the sickness stopped, but 1 suffered terribly unt 
seventh day ; then the pain grew less, though it was still bad 
enou-h, and I remained in this state till 2 o clock in the 
morning of July I. During the days of the novena 1 had 
corresponded with the friend I have spoken of; she told me 
that she was not in the least surprised at the improvement n 
mv condition; but it was my complete cure she had asked 
from Sii-ur Therese, and therefore >he proposed we 
make a second and still more fervent novena, beginning on 
Saturday, June 2,. 1 readily agreed, and added to the prayers 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

already recommended, the Litany of the Holy Child and the 

The swelling of the liver and spleen had scarcely 
diminished, and, in spite of the abundant excretion of bile and 
gravel, I could lean forward only with the greatest difficulty. 
But during the night of June 30 and July i all this was 
changed. I, who never slept on account of my sufferings, 
had fallen asleep ; I do not know what time it was then, but 
at 2 o clock in the morning I felt something unusual within 
me. I could not remain in bed, and had no pain of any kind. 
Again much bile and gravel came away, but this time without 
the least discomfort. I thought I must be dreaming, it was 
so strange to feel neither pain, nor the enormous swelling of 
the liver and spleen, and, in addition to this, my right hand, 
which had been useless for nine months and unable to hold even 
a pen, was on this same day, July I, restored to its full use. 

The thought of God and of Soeur The>ese filled my mind, 
and to calm my impatience I took out my Rosary and said it 
several times. Then I seemed to hear these words : " Get 
up ; you are cured there is no need for you to stay in bed. 
Go and thank the Good God, and then go and see your 
children, who are so grieved at your long illness. Go and let 
them see your happiness, and rejoice in it." 

I still remained in bed, but it seemed as though I were 
being pushed forward, and so at 4 o clock in the morning of 
July i, 1912, I got up, dressed myself without help, and pre 
pared for my journey to Chaumont. At half-past five I set 
out alone for Mass, in order to thank God and His little 

On the way I met Dr. Vauthrin, who remonstrated with 
me, but I assured him I did not feel any pain. He -.lid not 
examine me ; but on July 2, 1 had a visit from Dr. Malingre, 
who declared that my liver was of normal size. 

At first, after my cure, I occupied myself with housework, 
then my children v/ould not allow me to do any more, but 
now I help them a little. 

I need not tell you that the second novena was finished, 
not for my cure that was already obtained but to thank 
God and Soeur Therese. I had not eaten either meat or bread 
for nineteen years, and had been helpless in bed for five and a 
half, so surely I owed these prayers, and many others since 
promised to the little Saint. Never can I sufficiently thank 
God and His dear Theiese for having restored me to health. 


The Shower of Roses 

I have but very little education, Monsignor, and I do not 
know it" what I have told you is enough ; should you wish tor 
more details I will send them to you, written either by myself 
or at my dictation. My children and I are deeplv touched by 
the kindnos you have shown us. We beg you to a cej t our 
respectful greetings. 

P,S.l forgot to tell you that on the fi;>t day after my 
cure I was able to eat meat. 



I):-AR MGR. DE TEII., In accordance \vith the promise 
I made you, I have looked up the case of Mme. Poirson, and 
now send vou an account of her illness. 

I attended her for the first time in November, lS9i, tor 
.-. severe attack of inflammation of the liver ; and since then 
I have frequently treated her for the same complaint, 
attacks were so violent that she often became delirious ana 
did not recognise those around her. I think that on one- 
occasion she remained twenty-four hours in this semi-conscious 


During the worst paroxysms, I frequently gave her in 
jections of morphia; while at ordinary times the treatment 
consisted of a rigid dietary, together with tincture of ether and 
turpentine, tincture of bolda and capsules of turpentine and 


Other remedies included salicylatc of soda and \ ichv wat 
Twice I sent her to Vichy tor the cure - in IS*;} and m 
I think and while there she was attended by my friend Dr. 
Willemin, who pronounced her case incurable. 

On September 20, 1896, she had a very violent atta k; 
she was then at Aurosav, and as there was no doctor 
place- I had to go over to attend her. \fter she 
Chaumont I visited her once again at Aun say on Marcl 
100". I had not seen Mme. Poirson for a Ion.: time, and 
found her much changed her appearance was cachec . h 
colour dark yellow, ami th<- sickne- continual, while t liver 
was at least twice its normal si/.e and the . ail-bag full ot 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Her state was so serious that I did not think she could live 
more than a fortnight. The liver was irregular and shapeless, 
and I feared a malignant tumour. In a word, I believed her 
beyond hope and likely to die soon. 

I do not know how she lived for the five and a half years 
after my last visit to her. From what I have since learnt, the 
liver must have grown to four or five times its normal size, thus 
displacing the stomach and other internal organs. When I 
saw her again after her cure I found that her liver was 
then perfectly normal, that her complexion was clear, and the 
gall-bag pliant and free from pain. 

In my opinion, neither the improvement, nor the cure, 
could have been effected by medical means, or by the mere 
force of nature. Her appetite and digestion are excellent, and 
I look on it as an absolutely miraculous cure. 

This, Monsignor, is an exact account of the illness of my 
former patient. 

Devotedly and respectfully yours, 



From information kindly supplied by the Vice-Postulator, 
who has visited Chaurnont, the following details may be added 
to the above. 

Madam Poirson is now fifty-five years of age, and was an 
invalid since she was twenty. For a period of nineteen years, 
as she tells us, she was unable to take meat, vegetables, or even 
bread. For over five years she had not left her bed, while 
last year the pain was so extreme from the diseased liver and 
spleen swollen to nearly five times their original size that 
for some weeks she was out of her mind. Her doctor sent his 
medical friends to see this unique case, and her continuing to 
live at all was a mystery to everyone. For many months she 
was kept alive by injections, requiring as much incredible as 
it may seem as a litre of ether each week. 

The startling effect of her appearance at the church on 
the morning of her cure is better imagined than described. 
" You are mad ! " said her parish priest. "No, Father, I am 
cured ! " she answered smilingly. On her return home she 
partook of a hearty breakfast, though previously her stomach 
refused even a drink of water. She had been afoot since four 
in the morning, and now she set out on a long journey of over 


The Shower of Roses 

two hours to visit as she wa^ bidden h I herese her 

daughter and son-in-law at their hotel in Chaumont. 
shock was too much, and the daughter became so unwell, that, 
after four or five days, the mother ordered her to .-o with her 
husband for a week s holiday, while she herself would attend 
to the management of the hotel. This she did without 
any difficulty. The only trace of the disease, indeed, wa- a 
craving tor food, and so well has she improved, that between 
July Tand September 15 she had increased in wei-ht to the 
extraordinary amount of forty-five pounds. 

"Madam Poirson," to quote from a letter of her parish 
priest written in the mi Idle of < . " is in splendi : i.-alth. 

She came to Auroay here, about September 15 ; worked 
a slave ; rose at four o clock in the mornin:: ; retired at ten at 
nisht ; and proved to the pen; le of the town that her cure is 
as & real as ir is inexplicable. Since July I she had n< I 
slightest pain in kidneys or liver. The a; ; etitc and < 
are excellent, and every kind of food is assimilated ea^ 

" It is impossible to imagine," he continues, " wn 
in the side of the anti-clericals of I 

Thev are caunht in a trap, and their di>may : most amu 
indeed only equal to what their joy would be si 
Poirson have a relapse ; . . Hut that is a trick 

is not likely to play us. 

I HI: Km 



IT is needless at this date to insist on the influence of 
Sceur Therese upon souls. She who interceded so 
well for Pranzini has brought numberless sinners to 
make their peace with God ; she who was assailed 
with temptations against Faith until " a very wall 
seemed to arise between herself and Heaven," has won 
for many the grace of light ; she who was so delicately 
faithful to God from her tenderest years has con 
verted many feet from lukewarm ways to the paths of 
perfection. A few instances are given here. What is, 
perhaps, the fairest " Rose " must be left out the 
story of Mother Mary of St. Angelus (Mere Marie 
Ange). Happily, it is already being printed apart. 
All priests who love the Little Flower of Jesus know 
something of her secret power. [D.] 


January, 1907. 

After a novena to Soeur Therese a conversion, which 
seemed hopeless, was granted me. A woman, now old, was 
in a state of grievous sin when she made her First Com 
munion, and her life had been one of the most disorderly full 
of scandal and sacrilege. She happened to contemplate for 
five minutes not more the picture of the Holy Face, as 
reproduced by one of your Sisters, and was filled with such 
repentance that she shed abundant tears, and expressed the 
wish to make without delay a general confession. It would 
be impossible to describe her happiness, and her gratitude to 
Soeur Therese. 



The Shower of Roses 


>>. (i K:.; -i. , r K \ 
M^y 12, 1,08. 

Before going to preach a Mission, I placed its success 
under the protection of Sister Teresa ot the Child Je>us that 
soul who was so faithful to grace during the whole of her life. 
I promised, in return, that should the retreat prove fruitful I 
would attribute the success entirely to her intercc sion, ami 
publish the favour in order to aid her Beatification. I am 
anxious now to inform you, Reverend Mother, that the 
Mission was specially blessed. Sinners were converted in 
great numbers, thanks to the powerful intercession of your 
Sister in Heaven ! 

My fellow-missioner and I were much surprised at the 
thoughts with which the Divine Master inspired us, and the 
words He placed on our lips to arrest and maintain the 
attention of our audience. And assuredly these poor people 
had great merit in listening to us. Some came from a distance 
of six miles, heedless of snow, rain, ami wind, and we kept 
them in church for over two hours. When returning, they 
were obliged to use torches to enable them to keep clear of 
the precipices alongside the frightful road>. May (Jod bless 
your Carmel for having made known this dear Saint, who 
brings back to Him so manv souls ! 

FATH; * C. 



1 (br-~ 

I return vou, with thank--, the account of the mira 
England. 1 That na;rat;vc, howe\er, is as nothing bcsi ie the 
graces which I know have been received through the mediation 
of Soi ur Theresc truiv miraculous graces ot conversion. As 
an exam;\c I quote the following : In less than a vear a 
voung person rose tn-m a s-ate of the lowesi u \ to a 

decree of puritv such as we dee;:; to exist . 

Aft.-r her conversion she lived almost coin t!:e 

2 II 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

presence of God, and this in the midst of intense worldliness 
and frivolity, and surrounded by all that might have led to her 

But, you will readily understand, these graces will be 
known only at the Last Day. Besides the world is not struck 
by them as it is by material, visible miracles. You have good 
reason to say that a " Shower of Roses " has come down upon 
earth since that " little Saint " went to Heaven. 

M. H. D., 
Professor of the University of N. 


May 31, 1910. 

The first time Alfred-Marie L., of the Colonial Infantry 
here, came to the Carmel of Sai gon it was to procure a scapular. 
I gave him one, and, as I felt sure he had something to tell 
me, I tried to put him at his ease by asking a few questions. 
He said he earnestly desired to become a Carmelite when his 
year of military training was ended. Then he told me his 
history. He had lost his saintly mother soon after his First 
Communion. While she was alive he had been a terrible grief 
to her, so wild was he and unwilling to work at school. Her 
death, however, grieved him sorely. As for his father, he did 
not practise his religion. Alfred would not study for his 
examinations, so he enlisted as an ordinary soldier and was sent 
to Saigon. There he was able to give himself up more com 
pletely to a life of dissipation, and when he had finished his 
first term of service he enlisted again for two years, much to 
his father s displeasure. But at length he fell ill, and was sent 
to the hospital, where God, in His goodness, was awaiting him. 

During his convalescence he read the life of Soeur Therese. 
Her face, breathing purity, made a lively impression upon him, 
and the more he read of the life of the little Saint the more 
ardent became his love for her, and the greater his disgust with 
the life he had led. He went back to the barracks a changed 
man, and haunted by the thought of Soeur Therese. Compar 
ing the Sisters who tended him, and their life of devoted self- 
denial, with the dissolute life of those with whom he associated, 
he resolved to put a stop to his evil ways. 

In order to get back to Sceur Therese, the Chaplain, and 


The Shower of Roses 

the Sisters, he feigned illness, and was again sent to the 
hospital. Now he returned to God in earnest, and it was 
shortly after this second dischai >e that he came to ask tor the 
scapular. He visited us many times, and I cannot tell you 
what an impression it made on me to see a soul, which had 
sunk so low, rise so swiftly and to such heights. He came tu 
Mass in our Chapel and to Holy Communion on Sunday, 
whenever it was possible, and also brought his companion-, 
thus drawing them to virtue as he had before drawn them 
into sin. His patience at the taunts of those very soldiers over 
whom he had tyrannised before was quite extraordinary. 

At the beginning oi May, 1900, he wished to make some 
sacrifice in honour of Our Ladv, and chose the greatest he 
could think of to give up smoking. He continued this to 
the end of his life. One day I asked him if he often thought 
about God when he was in barracks. He seemed astonished 
at such a question, and answered : "I am always thinking of 
Him. How could I possibly do otherwise r " Towards the 
end of June his regiment was ordered to China, where war 
was beginning, and he was to leave on Saturday morn 111-. On 
the Thursday he came to see me, and told me he wished very 
much to receive Holy Communion once more before starting, 
but that he feared it would be impossible to come on Fridav 
morning: would I ask the Chaplain to give him Holy Com 
munion at any time he would be able to come r This was 
settled, and on the following day he came, still fasting at ~ 
o clock in the evening, his first free moment. He made his 
confession and received Holy Communion with edifving 

I gave him a relic of our little S. lint s hair : and u.-> he said 
good-bye he added : "Pray that I may die out there, if I am 
not to be a Carmelite on mv return." His wish has been 
granted attended by the ship s Chaplain, he died of sunstroke 
shortlv before reaching Tientsin. 


The following is an extract from a lefer which 
Alfred-Marie h. wro c 10 the Prioiv- during ;lu- 
expedition referred lo above. 

./;. :-f i ,, i 

fu>t now I was turning over the panes of the life of Sirur, and -adlv comparing her canv davs with mine, when 
suddenly a pav-aire caught mv attention. It was where she 

3 " 7 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

relates the interior revelation she had that her glory was to 
consist in becoming a Saint : " This aspiration may very well 
appear rash, seeing how imperfect I was and am, even now, 
after so many years of irreligious life ; yet I still feel the same 
daring confidence that one day I shall become a great Saint. 
I am not trusting in my own merits, for I have none ; but I 
trust in Him Who is virtue and holiness itself." 

This is enough for me, and if I dare say so, considering 
my past life I feel within myself not only the same desire as 
Sceur Therese, but the same confidence. A few hours ago I 
should have looked on such a thought as an insult to Almighty 
God, but is He not All-Powerful, and can He not, in an 
instant, change the greatest sinner into a Saint ? Notwith 
standing my unworthiness I entreat you, dear Sister, to beseech 
our Blessed Lady that I may be wholly given up to the 
love of the Sacred Heart as Sceur Therese understood self- 
surrender to suffer and make reparation for others, to obtain 
for sinners the grace of conversion, to console His Adorable 
Heart and make it loved. Next Friday, in union with my 
Sister in Heaven, I shall recite her "Act of Oblation . . ." 



September 30, 1911. 

Father Bertreux has entrusted Mala to us as well as 
Marau, and Father Coicaud is at present at Malai ta trying to 
establish a Mission. He had already spent four weeks there, 
and on his return he told us he was surprised his head was 
still on his shoulders. But though the people of Malai ta are 
so difficult to deal with, they gave him a hearty welcome. 

The chief of the tribe has many good points : he is intelli 
gent and most energetic. It is true there are some stories 
about him, but who is there at Mala who has not some story 
against him ? 

It would be difficult for the chief to state the number of 
people he has helped to roast and eat, but he knows for certain 
that he has killed twelve people with his own hand. Scarcely 
a year ago he killed one of his daughters to annoy one of his 
wives. But he is a changed man since Sceur Therese worked 
his conversion. "All that is over now," he declared. And 


The Shower of Roses 

when his little Ln rl was bapti/ed- the first bapti m on the 
island- he cabled her Thi rcsc. 

1 hat is net all. His con\er-ion is really sincere, and he 
wMies to be baptized himself. "What name will v< u take r" 
Father Coicaud asked him recently. U I want to be called 
Michael," he said, u because like him I have killed the devil in 
me." Then after a pause : lk May, Father, I will take the 
name of Peter, because, ! : ke St. Peter, I am the foundation of 
the Church at Mala." You see then-fore that the conversion 
of this chief is sincere, and is due to Scrur Then 

Now when Father Coicaud went to Mala tor :! e f;r-t time, 
I gave him t\vo of her relics : one he placed in his hut, and 
the other he cast on the island. Thcrcsc is ;!-e;cfoic in Mala ; 
can we wonder that there arc already fortv Catholics on the 
island ? 

Rev. P. IJKR I Hfcl X. 


s. , ; 

Mrs. A., ancd seventy-five, was n. devout Protestant of the 
old-fashioned tvpe, taking for her sole- guide in faith the 
Scriptures ;is interpreted bv herself. She sccm> 10 have been 
given special linht bv God in answer to her daily invocation 
of the Holy Spirit, for she always believed in Confession and 
in the Real Presence of Our Lord in Holy Communion. 

The proems of !i T conversion was gradual, ami has several 
clearly marked stages. About a year ago her daughter read 
aloud to her the Autobiography of S .rur Thei -<, whi h 
touched her deeply. Shortly aft -rwards she was given a tiny 
picture of the Servant of God, which, strange to say, she took 
and placed under her pillow in a little box. Though refusing 
to admit any belief in the Communion of Saints, -he was 
accustomed each night, before settling to sleep, to take out the 
picture, and, tenderly kissing it, say to herself: u Little Flower, 
take me to Jesus." 

Gradually she became more and more dissatisfied with her 
own form of belief. At Faster time, when the parish priest 
visi ed her husband an invalid and a recent convert to 
give him Holy Communion, she conceived a great longing to 
receive Our Lord from the hands of a (. <;//;;. /i Priest. She 
was told that this was impossible, as she was not a Catholic. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

After this she became more and more unsettled in her mind, 
until one day she surprised her daughter by saying : " At last 
I can say the Hail Mary at least part of it. It is scrip 
tural. Isn t it strange I never noticed that before ? " Sceur 
Th6rese was indeed "bringing her to Jesus" through His 
Holy Mother, but she had not yet reached the end of the 
road. The old lady clung too tenaciously to her old preju 
dices to part with them so easily. 

The chief stumbling-block in her way was Papal Supremacy 
and Infallibility, and she understood that until this was re 
moved she could not realise her longing to receive the Body 
of Our Lord in the Catholic Church. 

All the texts from Scripture in support of the Catholic 
doctrine of Papal Infallibility were put before her, but though 
she listened eagerly the victory was not yet won. She spent 
a restless night, during which old prejudices and private 
opinions strove for mastery. 

Finally, after a hard struggle, grace triumphed, and when 
she was next approached on the subject she declared herself 
ready to accept the teaching of the Church in all submission. 
Her conviction seemed to grow stronger as the Scriptural texts 
were again repeated to her, and she exclaimed : " How is it 
that all do not see it in this light ? " 

" Because," was the answer, " all have not had the graces 
you have received through the intercession of the Little 

The last difficulty was now removed, and Mrs. A. received 
the rest of the Church s teaching with childlike submission 
of mind and heart. Sceur Therese had amply rewarded 
her daily act of love and trust by literally " bringing her to 

M. C. A. 



During the last few days of September, 1911, I resolved, 
with one of my converts, Mrs. H., to ask the Little Flower, 
on the occasion of the anniversary of her death, for the 
conversion of Mrs. L., sister of Mrs. H. Mrs. L., who was a 
Protestant, and very prejudiced towards the Catholic Church, 
had married, some ten years before, a Protestant as hostile to 


The Shower of Roses 

Catholicity as herself, and who, being addicted to drink, made 
her life very unhappy. 

Mrs. H. began to pray fervcntlv, and suc< e- :ed in per 
suading her sister and brother-in-law to follow a Mi ;<>:i 
which was then being given in the town. Not only did thev 
consent to hear several instructions, but they were aKo quit- 
willing to carry with them two little photographs ot Scrur 
Therese, and to read /Is Little Children. 

During the evening sermon of September 29 on Papal 
Supremacy and Infallibility, Air. L. was suddenly touched by 
grace. He received the liLzht of faith, and believed. I he 
devil, however, represented to him that he was too old to 
change his religion he was thirty-three and he remained 
in a state of" painful perplexity until the following dav, 
September 30. On this ble>sed day, the anniversirv of her 
entry into Heaven, Sirur Therese put an end to his un 
certainty. He ventured to tell his wife of his state of mind, 
and then she in her turn told him that the grace of all Braces, 
that of the true faith, had just been granted to her, and that 
she too wished to become a Catholic. 

Mrs. H. was ama/ed to find her praver so quickly answered. 
She has not ceased to thank the Little Flower tor this 
immense favour, and feels she will never be able to do ei,< 
to make her known and loved. 

Mr. L., when he abjured Protestantism, not only re 
nounced the bad habit of drinking which hail cause*; h;m to 
neglect his duties towards his wife and children, but he has 
become a model husband and father, and his sorrow t r his 
past life is most wonderful. His contrition is so perfect that 
his one desire it to serve God out of love. Both he a;M his 
wife have the most tender confidence in the Little Fi--wer, to 
whom they owe all their happiness. Thcv never omit to pray 
to her, and I am ama/ed at her influence upon their -ouU. 
Mr. L. has confided to me that he asked her to enable him to 
think only of God, and that his praver had been heard, for 
from the moment that he opens his eyes in the morning till 
he goes to sleep at ni^ht, the thou- .ht of ( Jod never leaves him. 
But it is not only Mr. and Mrs. L. whose ronquot S.rur 
Therese has effected ; she has a>o brought into the Church 
their four little girls, three of whom received at Baptism one 
of the names of the Little Flower Marie, Franchise, Therese 
and the fourth that of your humble servant, 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 


April 18, 1912. 

An old woman of whom we have charge, having made her 
First Communion at the age of fourteen, had since that time 
a period of sixty years obstinately neglected all practice of 
her religion. Neither prayers nor exhortations had availed to 
bring her to a better frame of mind, and we could only grieve 
over her sad state without being able in any way to remedy it. 

The nun who looked after her, had at last the happy 
inspiration of making a novena to Sceur Therese to interest 
her in the salvation of this poor soul, and to beg her to obtain 
its conversion. The novena however had no result. With 
out being discouraged, the nun began a second, which did not 
seem likely to prove any more successful than the first. 
Suddenly, on the evening of the last day, the poor woman said 
to the nun : " Sister, tell the Priest I want to go to Con 
fession." She kept her word, and yesterday made her Easter 
Communion the second of her life at the age of seventy- 

Thanks be to dear little Sceur Therese, whose powerful 
intervention in this case we gratefully acknowledge. 



Few of the many conversions attributed to the 
influence of Sceur Therese are more striking than that 
of Rev. Mr. Grant, formerly United Free minister of 
Lochranza in Arran. The clergy of the Established 
and Episcopalian Churches of Scotland have already 
contributed their distinguished quota to Rome ; but 
between the Free Church and the Catholic Church 
the gulf is deeper, and no one had dared to cross. It 
was therefore no small triumph for the Little Flower 
that she should open the eyes of a member of the 
United Free ministry. Mr. Grant is far from young, 

39 2 

The Shower of Roses 

aiul i also a scholar, circumstances \vhiili Tihancc h -r 
victory. Hi- letter i- addrc^od to Mother A 
Jc.-us, the Priurc- of the Carmcl of Li-icux. [l-i -j 

WAR;-! si>: K I AKK I . \ , ! 

A r ; , . : , i ,11. 

DEAR REVEREND M >rnrR, It is now some 
month- since I first made the acquaintance if an K:. 
translation of t!:e Aut biographv ot Sister Ter ^a of the Child 
} e-us. I opened t he hook here and t here, and wa- at once arrested 
with, th.c bcautv and originality of the th Mi. hts ; I found tiierc 
had fallen into mv hands the work of a genius as well as of a 
theologian and poet of the first order. R"turn:iu: to the first 
pa^e, 1 read the book from cover to cover. I he impression 
proved as lastir.;: a c it was extraordinary. Although at this 
time and for mor.ths afterwards, I was diligently cxplorin:. the 
fo^-land of rationalism, my mind being steeped in its literature, 
this sweet ami beautiful sou! refused to quit me. She v. 
haii .r lovinL lv about my path, trying to divert me from its ta a! 
swamps, and when I still persisted in pursuing this perilous 
course, she would raise the alarm, saying : "This is the way 
to the Abyss. This wav lea- s to death." Ho\v often during 
those dark and lonely and hop-less davs, in which the super 
natural was fast fading from mv mind, would she plant her-e t 
in my path and remonstrate, while repeatedly thoughts of her 
own "lovely character would flash upon me, and the words 
through my soul : "Can rationalism be true, and a life o; >uch 
beauty and sweetness a lie?" My inmost soul recoiled with 
a nc-jative. I felt that if human life had any meaning and 
purpose, the life of this saintly Carmelite must have its meaning 
and goal. 

This was, I believe, the turning point in what I slowly 
realised to be a most dangerous journev. After tra 1 - > 
months through the quagmire of see: ticism, I began at the 
appealing voice ot the saint of Lisicux to withdraw from its 
unhealthy atmosphere. I gradually lost confidence in its reck 
less conclusions : its doctrines became more and more dis 
tasteful to me, esp -cially after reading the complete trench 
life of the Little Flower. It was while working mv wav 
back to something like solid grounds that a new edition of 

...oire June A^.e had been issued. 

I at once procured a copy, and, as I afterwards learned, 
this turned out to he on the very day a novena to Scrur 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

Therese had been finished by some friends on my behalf. I 
read the book, and found myself as deeply fascinated as when 
I first perused it. Never since my boyhood, when I conversed 
one night with God, did I experience "the powers of the 
world to come," as I did when going through that wonderful 
Autobiography. On one occasion, I well remember, while 
thus occupied, the veil of the Unseen seemed as if suddenly 
drawn aside, and I experienced an indescribable sense as of 
some one very close to me. No language can express the 
consciousness of the moment ; it was so vivid, so delightful, 
and withal so unexpected and mysterious ; but I could as little 
doubt that this was the angelic Saint of Lisieux as I could 
doubt the fact of my existence. I almost worshipped her ; 
she seemed to me so amiable, so beautiful. Then I would 
thrust away from me every thought of her, accusing myself of 
superstition and idolatry. It was in vain ; she would return, 
absolutely refusing to quit me, and saying : Choose my little 
way^for it is sure! "Well, Little Flower," I replied, "I will 
try to follow your counsel, if you help me ; for never, since 
the day I knew you, has my soul ceased to sigh after your 
way, so beautiful and so divine." 

This brief sketch but very imperfectly expresses the im 
pression which your angel produced on my heart. It is 
sufficient however, I hope, to explain why it was that from 
this time the Communion of Saints, as a grand and inspiring 
reality, became with me a settled conviction. From this date, 
I began to ask her intercession on my behalf, though at first, 
being a Protestant minister, I had to battle with my prejudices. 
One day at my morning devotions when about to invoke her, 
she said to me abruptly : " Why do you ask me to pray for you 
while you ignore the Blessed Virgin ? " The words surprised 
me, as I was not at the moment thinking about the Blessed 
Virgin ; but I saw the inconsistency at once, and invoked her 
also. The promptitude of the response astonished me. Instantly 
my soul was flooded with a love for the Mother of God as 
unexpected as it was extraordinary. My prejudices vanished, 
and I no longer doubted it was right to treat Our Lady as a 
child caresses his mother. 

Not yet, however, did I contemplate entering the Catholic 
Church. At this date I think sometime in February of the 
present year such a step was far from my intention, for many 
reasons, and among them this : that I was yet crassly ignorant 
of the teaching of the Catholic Church. Moreover, there was 


The Shower of Roses 

every prospect that but for "The Little Flower of Jesus" 
shouul remain in this ill -informed state of mind ; tor though I 
sometime^ dipped into Catholic books, it was not with the 
object of discovering the exact nature of its teaching, but only 
to find matter tor arguments against it. The influence of 
Scrur Therese, however, awakened in me a genuine intercut in 
the whole question of Catholicism, setting me to the study of 
it with an open mind and with no little seriousness. 1 .he 
result was that at last the light of conviction dawned, and I 
was constrained in the teeth of life-long prejudices ami many 
dislikes to bow to an authority which I telt to be Divine. 

It would be beside the purpose to recount the arguments 
through which this conviction came. It must suffice r.ow to 
say that, after a short period of instruction, I was at length re 
ceived into the Church on April 20, taking for my 
name that of my celestial guide and saviour under Chrisi 
Francis Maria Teresa. 

Meanwhile, how can I ever sufficiently prove my grati 
tude r To her I owe the joy of the faith. Hut 
for her I should still be an unhappy Protestant wandering in 
the ni-ht. But for her I should never have lent an ear to 
Catholic truth, and never have considered it deserving of the 
trouble of inquiry. It was she who won my heart to its study, 
and sustained my interest in it till at last I entered the one 
true fold of the Great Shepherd of the sheep. 

I should esteem it a great favour, dear Rev. Mr- 
would be so good as to publish the immense grace of which I 
have been the recipient, so that the intercessory power of 
Saint of Lisieux mav become still more wideK- known, and tl 
others mav bv her means be led to a knowledge ot the Faith. 
Be so good also, dear Rev,;-.;.: M ither, as t . accept 
grateful thanks for your kind intercut and prayers. Co 
to intercede for me that I mav be able to understand more a 
more the doctrines of my heavenly Guide and follow in 1 
"SURE WAY " to the happv goal. 

F. M. I (iK \NT. 

It <hould be added here, as a hiting conclusion, 
that on Mav 21, 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Grant like 
a convert to the faith- -left Kdmbur-h to settle in 
Alen-;on, in the hou>c where their benefactress 

bom, 42 Rue St. Blaise. 1 [F.D.J 

* Sr- p. 9. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


February 18, 1912. 

I am more than pleased, I am glad, to acknowledge openly 
that "The Little Flower" has been the means of giving me 
the greatest happiness my soul has ever known. When the 
booklet As Little Children reached me, I was in a very 
doubtful state of mind, resulting from my daily association 
with Socialists of the most godless class ; I was a most luke 
warm Catholic. W^hen I had read the little book, I started 
a novena to Sceur Therese ; I now go to Holy Communion 
every week, and I mean to do so every week of my life, with 
the help of God. Our Lord is slowly but surely giving me 
a sense of love for Him which I never felt before ; a love that 
makes me want to pray, pray ! I have much to atone for, I 
have much to ofter Him for His Mercy to me. Each time 
that I receive Him seems quite new ; there is no getting used 
to it, like any of our ordinary duties. I am about thirty years 
of age, and I have never fully realised that Frequent Com 
munion is the best means to remain in a constant state of 
purity. Thank God, you have been the means of converting 
me to my own faith. Now I can be always ready for death ; 
I do not fear it, as I would do if I were in mortal sin. I am 
a thousand times thankful that Our Lord has given me this 
opportunity of again working out my salvation according to 
His Divine Wishes. How good He is ! The remainder of my 
life will be to make amends for my past failings. 

Make any use you wish of this letter. I sincerely hope 
some poor Catholic lad, who is as weak as I was, may cry to 
the Little Flower for aid, because I am sure there is no greater 
pleasure for her than bringing back lost souls to the grace of 



HI-: H >UK i 


POWERFUL in temporal and spiritual lavours, 
wonder-worker of Li.-ieux is especially powcrl ul in her 
intercession for the dying. In this matter also, the 
list of her triumphs i- known only to the A 
(k)d; but of the many deathbeds at which her influ 
ence has been recently felt and that influence recorded, 
a small number are here described. 

Naturally the narratives which find their way to 
the Carmel directly or indirectly - 
deaths that include conversions. And of such narra 
tives several will be told. But the deaths oi those 
who have trodden her "little way," 
or without the cloister wall deaths made sweel 
the Little Flower of Jesus are much more numerous, 
if unrecorded. The story of one such deatli- 
the saintly Sister Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament 
the writer sets down v. ith joy. Her friendship wa>, 
and is, a preciou< -ift. [I -^-J 


Strur Therese loved to repeat that .MC i hcri 
on entering the Carmel was to pray f,.r 1 ri-t-. 
tried to help them hv her prayers and sacrifices, an. 
Jcath she has never ceased to manitot her intci 
On [anuai-v 16, 1911, she proved this hv the lu-lp she ave to 
Canon R(,s"si>ol, an octo I ret, red t 

,,f retreat i . tlu- clcr-y, :ii St.-Martin-iic-Hcaupr ..u, near 
\n rcrs, in France. 

t\, r tw ;;t\ -six vears he ! a . fii d, v\ th remark.. itv, 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

the chairs of Dogmatic and of Moral Theology at the 
Seminary of Lucon, and, after a life of great priestly zeal, his 
intellect was as clear and as vigorous as ever. 

In spite of the extreme rigour with which he treated his 
feeble frame, and in spite of the prayer which was his only 
occupation during the day and through a great part of the 
night, he would tremble at the thought of death and of the 
judgment of God. After his death his director revealed that 
those terrors had secretly haunted Canon Rossignol throughout 
his long, holy, and edifying life. 

He had a great devotion to Soeur Therese, who insisted so 
much upon the way of confidence and abandonment, and who 
loved to say : " I hope as much from the Justice of God as 
from His Mercy : it is because He is just that He is com 
passionate, full of sweetness, slow to punish and rich in mercy, 
for He knows our frailty and He remembers that we are but 
dust. As a father is tender towards his children, so the Lord 
had compassion on us." 

Soeur Therese had no intention of abandoning this saintly 
Priest, and on January 16, 1911, she appeared to him. A 
few hours later he confided what had taken place to Father 
Frappereau, whose account is as follows : 

" On the morning of January 16, after breakfast, we were 
going upstairs to our rooms when knowing how bad were 
his nights I asked Canon Rossignol how he had slept. 

" Thank you, he said, I had a comparatively good rest, 
but the best part was the awakening this morning. I saw 
Soeur Therese ! It was certainly she ; I saw her quite clearly, 
and I recognised her from her photograph. She stood near 
my pillow, and, looking at me with a smile, made me under 
stand by the expression of her face that she had come to tell 
me : "I am seeing to it ... All will come right . . . rest 
assured of that ! " As he left me he looked radiantly happy. 
He charged me not to speak of his vision, but death overtook 
him on the following day, and so I am free to say what, no 
doubt from a spirit of humility, he wished to conceal." 

On the morning of the apparition Canon Rossignol went 
to Confession at the Trappist Monastery of Bellefontaine, to 
Father Arsenius, and told him the same thing ; and, on the 
testimony of this religious, his habitual fear of the Divine 
Justice had given place to unwonted confidence and joy. 

The next day, January 18, in the presence of Father 
Frappereau, his first confidant, he was seized with a violent 


The Shower of Roses 

heart attack, a forerunner of his approaching end. While 
those present were exhorting him to offer his suffering to Our 
Lord, Who perhaps was about to cull him Home, he raised 
himself on the couch, his face all transfigured, and offered up 
with enthusiasm the sacrifice ot his life. A tew hour* later he 
passed to God. 

" Arii. .n for the Came of B 


The Vicc-Postulator, Mgr. de Tcil whose account in the 
"Articles" is given above contributes the following inter 
esting details : 

"Canon Rossignol was deeplv venerated by his pupils. His 
teaching was both solid and brilliant, and Father Jouanmn, of 
St. Sulpice, used to say that he had never met his equal as a 
professor. It was between the age of thirty-five and forty that 
he became a prey to the terrors which continued to haunt him 
for over forty years ; but they were heroically concealed. 

" Every means was resorted to in vain though the walls 
of his room were found well bespattered with blood from the 
scourging he inflicted on himself, prayer and ^mortification 
alike "failed to calm his fears. Then Su-ur Therese -his 
patroness intervened, and the end was peace." 



.UjrvA. I .! I. 

neglected a sacred dutv by delaying so Ion.: in sending you 
word of the death of our angelic Sister Stanislaus, Philadelphia s 
" Little Flower of |esus." 

Althou-h full of energy and courage, she had never 
very strong and she died a most holy death on the i< th of 
month. This dear Sister was one of those priv 
who was -uarded from sin from her earliest childli 
of holy parent^ she, the thirteenth child, seemed specially 
blessed by God. Her family tell me that from her tendered 


Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

childhood the little wild birds nestled on her head and arms. 
All creatures, rational and irrational, were drawn to her. She 
entered the Carmel of Boston in April, 1896, and was then 
in her eighteenth year. 

In July, 1902, she was sent to Philadelphia as one of the 
foundresses of this Carmel, having left behind her in Boston 
the perfume of her innocence and virtue. She spent herself 
for our little Community, and when her brother, Father K., 
asked her during her last illness if she wished to die, she 
answered, that if it were equally pleasing to God she would 
rather live to work for the Community until we were out of 
debt, but that she left all to God, and only desired His Glory 
and the accomplishment of His Holy Will. 

She was in the Infirmary, and confined to bed from the 
beginning of December. On Christmas night she was carried 
to Midnight Mass, for she was unable to walk. We had just 
finished a novena to the " Little Flower," and we thought she 
would obtain our dear Sister s cure from the Infant Jesus. 
This, however, was not to be, and she grew steadily weaker. 
Her illness pernicious anaemia affected the spine, causing 
most intense pain throughout the whole body. She had 
offered herself as a little Victim of Love, and had desired to 
die a Martyr s death a desire which was indeed well fulfilled. 
She received the Last Sacraments on January 26, to the 
edification of the whole Community and the Priest who 
attended her. All those present felt she was more angelic 
than human, and could not ask God to spare her precious life. 
She continued to lose strength gradually, and her powers of 
digestion were also slowly failing. 

On Shrove Tuesday she was seized with a violent spell of 
nausea and retching ; the doctor ordered that all food should 
be stopped, likewise all medicines excepting by hypodermic 
injections. Up to this our dear Sister had received Holy 
Viaticum daily. Our ordinary confessor carne on Ash 
Wednesday, and gave her a tiny particle of the Host, which 
she retained without difficulty. 

From this day until that of her death, included, the Blessed 
Sacrament was the only food which crossed her lips. On one 
of those days she told me that she had said to Our Lord that 
she hoped the day would come when she could live on the 
Blessed Sacrament alone. So this desire was also granted to 
her, and she by name Stanislaus of the Blessed Sacrament 
became, literally, Our Lord s Tabernacle. 


The Shower of R 


On Friday the icth, at half-past nine in the mornin" 
bisters brother, Father K., brou [In her Holy Viaticum. Fiu\ 
time she swallowed the small particle with difficulty, for the 
throat was do-ing and the breathing had become very 
laboured. He and the Community prayed beside her for 
three hours, expecting every moment to see her draw her las 
breath. Each time Father said "My fesus, I love Thee," 
she answered quite audibly : " Yes." 

At half- past twelve Father left the enclosure, and Sister 
slept for a while. On waking she said to the Sister who 



nearest to her: "Sister, love Him tor me." Shortly after 
wards she seemed to lose consciousness, but appeared as thoujh 
asleep. U e remained praying by her side, and whispered an 

act ot love in her ear. Death came as a thief, and ail wu, 
over at 5 I .M. 

In lite Sister was very beautiful, but even alter those iar-e 
blue eyes which revealed something O f the beauty of her soul 
were closed in death, she seemed yet more beautifui. 

Calla l;l:es, her favourite flower, were sent in abundance 
by those who knew and loved her, and she, of all those lilies, 
was the fairest white as wax, and with an angelic smile, 
which seemed even more lovely on the fourth dav, when she 
was buried. All who saw her were uplifted, and many rosaries 
and other objects ot devotion were sent to touch her hanu>. 

She had been herself Portress, or, as we say, Turn-Sister 
and in this way she, the most humble and retiring Carmelite, 
was known and revered as a Saint. 

A good friend had obtained leave tor a vault on our ground, 
and in the meantime permission was given by the city 
authorities for a temporary gra\ e, so we have buried, our dear- 
Sister under the shadow of the file-sed Sacrament and amon- 
the flowers she loved >o well. 

Pardon me, dear Father, the liberty I ha\e taken in 
writing to you, but I know our dear Child and Sister was 
dear to you. I esteem it a great privilege to have been her 
Mother Prioress during the last years of hr-r precious life, 
though it was our Mother Foundress ot Bo-ton who received 
her vows. 

} beg you to pray for the repose of her dear soul, v, 
we ourselves have done laithfuliv, even though we feel that 
Our Lord has granted her that further favour to have had all 
her Purgatory here. 

THE M ii!KR PKI >-K . 

401 2 e 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 


April, 1910. 

REVEREND MOTHER, I am sending you the letter of a 
penitent who was cured during a novcna to Soeur Therese. 


March, 1910. 

I have been cured by Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus. 
I was suffering from influenza, and was troubled with continual 

O * 

sickness ; my lips were black in fact I was at the point of 
death, and the doctor had given up all hope. 

Then our Mother came to me, and said : " Charlotte, if 
you will promise to be faithful to Almighty God, I will pray 
for your cure." I summoned all my strength, and answered : 
" Yes, Mother, I do promise." The companions round 
my bed said : " Charlotte, that is indeed s, sacred promise." 
Our Mother repeated : " Do you promise that if you are 
cured you will live for the glory of God and your own 
salvation r " I answered again : " Yes, Mother, I do promise." 
" Very well," she replied, "we will make a novena to Sister 
Teresa of the Child Jesus, and to-morrow I will bring you a 
relic of the little Saint. 

At that supreme moment, when I could already see the 
grave opening to swallow me, I forgot everything even the 
little austerities of the penitent s life seemed easy, and I 
promised that if I were cured I would end my days in the 
Refuge. Half-an-hour later I felt better ; I went to sleep, 
and when I awoke next morning I was completely cured. 
Everyone in the house was amazed. My first words to our 
Mother were : " I am yours now for ever ! " 

And I am quite strong again. It really is a miracle. I 
can never thank God enough. He wished me to sacrifice my 
liberty to Him, for, when I fell ill, I had made up my mind 
to go back to the world, and there I should doubtless have 
relapsed into the old ways of sin. 

Thus it is to Sister Teresa that I owe the life of my body 
and of my soul. 


The Shower of Roses 



i ii. 

I have already told von, Mother Prior^ ,, of the rcinai 
coincidence between ti;e return of Charlotte s illness :imi her 
\v:nit of faithfulness to her promise tor the poor child hail 
again wished to leave u^. And the miracle which Sister 
1 eresa wrkcd in obtaining for her this short period of" health 
was, I am firmly convinced, to :ive her time to make a ue. iera! 
confession. She ator.evi for her momentarv wcak:.c-, for, 
when her family came to sec her, and wished to take her 
away to die at Q., she acted very generously and r r 
to go. 

She continually invoked the littV Saint till the moment of 
her death, and once she a-^urcd us that she had r n her 

at her side. 

I ms is the account the infirmarian : avc us : "During 
the night Charlotte a.-,ked me to pick up somethin/ >hc had 
dropped. I noticed that her eyes were fixed on ome parti 
thing, and, struck by her manner, I aske i : .Are vou ! ok;:: 
up to Heaven: She answered: I see Sicur Therirse ! 
Th:> frightened me, and to hide my feel in. > I lau :hed at l;er : 
4 Well, reallv, what arc we coming to if vou liave visions? 
I ut, still ga/ing fixedlv, Charlotte repeated: I have 
Soeur Tiu rese, and, wlien 1 tried to find the relic whit h had 
been put on her pillow : I: is here/ si:e said, holding it ti 
in her hand. 

She confided to me what comfort this visit or \-our little 
Angel had given her, and said : " I saw her as plain v a . 

She was !ul!v conscious during her agonv, arid tor the three 
hours preceding her death vhe pra-. ed inces ;mtiv. 

Slie uied on September 2 , ; : . 

Tl!K .V I KRH Rl ! . 


: , IO. 

I found Madame N. in great distrcs , man 

of thim -fi\e, had been ill t" >r seve 
h.;u abandoned all hop,- o; sa\ing h He-:des tins h- 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

from the age of twenty, given up all religion. I advised her 
to read the life of Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus, and to pray 
to her. 

On March 15, after a relic of S^oeur Th6rese had been given 
to the sick man, a novena was begun to her. The patient 
was dying, and his wife prayed no longer for his recovery but 
for his conversion. 

On March 19, the fifth day of the novena, he was at 
death s door. He lay in a state of coma, and the death-rattle 
was audible his body was in a most terrible condition. 

His wife, almost distracted, prayed aloud : " O my God ! 
to think of him dying without making his peace with You ! 
and I have prayed so earnestly ! " 

Suddenly the dying man opened his eyes, and sat up in bed. 
For a moment he seemed in a trance. Then he said : " It is 
she ! Yes, it is she ! ... I am cured ! " He asked for a 
Priest, made his confession, and received Holy Communion in 
a most edifying way. The conversion was complete. 

" Let us make a novena to thank Sceur Therese," he said. 
She has cured me, and my only wish is to live as a good 
Catholic, and to make up for all the years I have spent away 
from God." 

It was a perfect cure, he felt no pain whatever, and all that 
remained of his illness was an excessive weakness. 

But this cure, or rather this return to life, had only been 
granted to him that he might come back to God in full 
consciousness, and with all the strength of his will. A 
fortnight later he had a relapse. His wife, and the Sisters 
who were hastily called back feared lest his faith should waver; 
but if he had been a convert during his fortnight of good 
health, he showed himself a Saint during the six weeks illness 
he now suffered. He gave the most edifying examples of 
patience and resignation, and hesitated before taking remedies 
to alleviate his pain. To quote but one example : " There 
is so much for me to atone for," he said, when the Sister was 
about to make an injection to calm his terrible sufferings, 
" would it not be better to bear the pain ? " 

A month after his relapse, his wife asked him if he had 
seen the little Saint. " No," he replied, " I have not seen her ; 
but she has been here ; I could feel her presence, but I cannot 
explain how." After some hesitation he added : " I have seen 
the Holy Face of Our Lord." Some time later a picture of 
the Holy Face, as painted at the Carmelite Convent of 


The Shouvr of Roses 

Lisicux, was shown to him, ami he said : " I is liow I 
saw It." 

The Sisters told me th;it hi- must have seen the H >ly I 1 .. c 
several tunes. 

A few davs before his death, his last wish -s were v. 
down, and as he perceived sadness on everv face he : 

u Why are you so distressed?" Then he hesitated a 
"There is one thing I must tell vou -I km>w I am going to 
Heaven." He asked tor the relic of Sn-ur There,e to iv- placed 
near him, and begged the Sister to prav out lou : when he 
would be unable to speak, so that he could j"in in spirit. He 
accepted death whole-heartedly, saying that "he had only 
desired to live to make amends." On tiie morning of h.s 
death he still endeavoured to take part in the praveis. 

This conversion produced such an impression that 
members of his family, and his valet, were converted, and 
made their Easter duties. 



I. A PoUVF.niNK, GUKX . FKAN< F. , 

/;, . v 10, I . I I . 

Following the example if so many favoured souis, who 
everv day write to tell yen of the v/omiers done by 
Thcrcse, I must, in mv turn, tell vou of the mam 
version which she wrought here in the course of !a-t year. 

In the month of June, 1910, there was, in the Sanato 
of Ea Pouverine, a young man of twenty-eight in the 
stages of consumption, whose trying character arid bigotry were 
a heavy cross for the nuns. I had just read th- chai 
of your little Sister, and, having great confidence in lv-r 
cession, I addressed myself to her to obtain, on a fix-.: 
the conversion of this unfortunate sinner, 
not disappointed. This c i 
difficult, was effected as th ugh nv magic, and 
after having lived tor thirteen years with ut pr.u 
religion, the poor voung man received Holy Commur.ion with 
sentiments of the most lively piety. 

A few days had sufficed t > bring about a \critabl 
formation. The Imitation ot Christ, the Catcchi m, tl 


Sceur Therese of Lisleux 

Gospels especially, were his only cherished books, and he burnt, 
without delay, certain pamphlets in his possession which now 
filled him with disgust. In his most contrite moments he 
used to cry out in accents one would like to be able to repro 
duce : " Yes, it is indeed true, Jesus lias pardoned me all, and 
without my doing anything to merit it. How I love Him, 
and how I wish I could say all that I feel, when I think of 
His Merciful Love for me." Sometimes he would take his 
crucifix, kiss it tenderly and say, with tears in his eyes : 
" Poor Jesus ! how much Thou hast suffered ! Thou Who 
wert so innocent. As for me, I am the greatest of culprits, 
and I dare sometimes complain. My God, have pity on iny 
weakness, and may I continue to be the child of Thy Love." 

The last day of this prodigal son was one continual prayer, 
and he died in quite an ecstasy, with the name of Jesus on his 
lip?. His death has greatly increased the confidence of every 
one here in the intercession of Sceur Therese. 



FRANCE, March, 1911. 

In March, 1911, a man aged forty, was at death s door, 
but though he had been ill for a year his sufferings had not 
brought him nearer to God. Unwilling to let him know his 
end was approaching, those about him would not allow the 
Priest to visit him, so his soul was on the point of being lost. 

When all efforts to get him a Priest had failed, my family 
and I began a novena to Sceur Therese. 

At the beginning of the novena, my wife succeeded in 
giving the sick man a picture of the little Sister, which he 
gratefully accepted. He looked at it with pleasure, and read 
the prayer several times a day. 

The night before the novena ended, Sceur Therese 
appeared to him. " How beautiful she is," he exclaimed 
" so beautiful that I took her for Our Lady." He recognised 
her afterwards by the resemblance to the picture. She told 
him of his approaching death, and gave him a glimpse of the 
eternal punishment which awaited him if he did not reconcile 
himself to God while he had yet time. He could not express 
the emphasis with which she said to him : " Save your soul ! " 

At seven o clock in the morning he asked for a confessor. 

1 he Shower of Roses 

His Parish Priest came immediatelv, heard !i;s confession, and 

L r ave him Holy Communion, which he received with great 

His conversion was complete, and during the three re 
maining davs of his lif\- he repcate ily said that, if his health 
were restored, he would. begin a new lite ll for now he kr.e.v 
the wav he ought to follow." 



NI KJI N I :,). ::< "I , ! KA. .C K. 

. / , I .II. 

The souvenirs of your dear little Situr Tlu rt>e are work 
ing miracles. 

One of our neighbour*, an old man of c:.:hty, did nut 
practise his religion, and had passed his life estranged from 

\Viien he was ill, nuns were sent to nurse him, so that 
they mi^ht speak to him of the need of seeing a Priest. Lor 
a whole wee ; they tried by every means in t leir power to 
brina; him back to God, but in vain. 

At last, seeing that the Sister was discouraged, I gave her 
a packet containing some of the hair of Scrur Theresc. .// 
afteru .;r<i>, the old man, of his own accord, asked tor the i 
whom he had refused to see only an hour bet-re. He 
his confession, and received Extreme Unction while tully 
conscious, and died the following day. This, Reverend 
Mother, was the beautiful work < f y ur dear little > 



I wish to make k;:owr. a w n lerfu c rranted to a poor 

drunkard who always carried with hii a :ure of Siriii 


He had been drinkirg continuous.)- 1 
evening he bought a copy "t A UttU Children, t 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

life of the Little Flower, and put it into his pocket. Sometimes 
when hopelessly drunk, and almost on the verge of delirium 
tremens, he used to say : " Little Th6rese will save me yet ! " 

One Friday evening about a month ago, he suddenly 
made up his mind to go to the Priest s house and take the 
pledge. He said he felt impelled to do it, though he could not 
imagine how he would be able to pass one night without 
drink. He was ill all that night, but did not take any spirits. 
On Saturday morning he fainted, and was forced to swallow 
some brandy. He could not sleep through the night, and was 
determined that, as soon as morning came, he would have a 
Priest. When his wife got up at six, he told her to send 
without delay and ask the Priest to call. She thought he was 
still under the influence of drink, but nevertheless sent the 
message, which by some mistake was not delivered. 

Later in the morning the Priest in question was cycling 
home after saying Mass in the country, and called at the 
house to know if the man had been to the 1 1 o clock Mass. 
The poor fellow made a general confession, beginning from 
the time when he was six years old. The priest had no stole 
with him, but the man, though apparently not seriously ill, 
insisted so strongly on making his confession that he was 
allowed to do so, and it lasted two hours. On Monday 
morning he received Holy Communion and was anointed. 
He died on Monday night filled with repentance. 

I ascribe his wonderful conversion to Sceur Therese, and 
I am glad it should be made known. Surely God gives her 
many roses to cast upon the earth. 






An Extract from the Diocesan Bulletin c. 
and Lisieux, December 17, 1911 

1L Eccle ia-tical Tribunal convened i 
Lordship the Bi-h< p of Bayeux to examine, 
in hi- name, the Cause of Si ter Teresa of 
the Child Jesu< and of the Holy Face, pro 
fessed nun of the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux, ha 
just concluded its work. 

The inquiry was opened in the 
Mary s College on August 3, 1910, during the cours 
of the second diocesan retreat, by a siti vhich 

each member of the Tribunal took, in presence 
1 ord<hip, the oath demanded by the Ap 
stitutions. It closed on December 12. 
chapel ot the Seminary at Bayeux. 

It seems most fitting that these place 
which arc devoted to the education oi Churc 
students, should have been ch r the 

last session of an inquiry, which, with God s 
terminate in the glorification ot one whos 
and suffering were ottered for the sancti 

Prie t v 

On cither Mde of the BMu>r were gathered the 
members of the Tribunal : Mgr. Quirie Viear-Gc, 
-deputy iudjrc; Canon, I auvcl I., Bm -,, an, 
ri-rou- Rev. Father Cad.elou, Hi l>urcl- 

tssi.ian t judges ; Mgr. Dutn^q, \ .G.. Supcn 

Soeur Th^rese of Lisieux 

Seminary Promoter Fiscal ; T Mgr. de Teil, of the 
Chapter of Notre Dame, Paris Vice-Pos tula tor ; 
Canon Deslandes and Rev. Father Marie ecclesiasti 
cal notaries ; Rev. Fathers Rene Dubosq and Lamy 
messengers ; Mgr. Labutte, V.G., and Canon Hamel, 
Chancellor of the Diocese official witnesses. In the 
benches of the chapel sat the assistant notaries, 
the secretaries, the Cathedral Chapter, the clergy of 
the town, the directors of the seminary, and the 

Bishop Lemonnier declared open the iO9th and 
last sitting of the Episcopal Process. The object of 
this final sitting was to authenticate the copy of the 
minutes of the Process which is to be sent to Rome, 
and to ensure its being safely handed over to the 
Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The 
volumes containing this copy of the Acts were laid on 
the table. They contain no less than 3000 pages of 
close writing the result of 108 sittings lasting from 
five to six hours each. 

Assembled, sometimes at the Carmelite Convent at 
Lisieux, at other times in a room of the Cathedral 
Chapter at Bayeux, the Tribunal has taken the de 
positions of forty-five witnesses, apart from those of 
expert consulting physicians. A voluminous corre 
spondence from every country in Europe, and from 
many other parts of the world, had likewise to be 
studied and classified. 

After due examination, the various documents of 
the Process were declared authentic by the Bishop, 
and Mgr. de Teil was chosen by the judges as " Bearer." 
It is the Bearer s duty to lay the copy of the Acts, 
and other documents, before the Sacred Congrega 
tion of Rites. More formalities followed, after which 
His Lordship gave orders that the original minutes of 
the Process should be deposited in the diocesan 

1 The Promoter Fiscal of the Episcopal Process corresponds to the Promoter 
of the Faith in the Apostolic Process better known as the " devil s advocate." 


The Process of Beatification 

archives. The sitting was then di- ulvcd, and the 
Episcopal Process came to an end. It remains for u- 
to await the decision of Rome, and to pray that God 
may speedily crown this work undertaken fur Hi 

Seniuine Rt liieusc. 


The Episcopal Process, or iiujuirv into the virtue-, 
miracles, and reputation for holiness of one -.\ h > has 
died in the odour of sanctiiv, precede- ih" Vpo lolic 
or Roman Process. On the introduction oi the 
Episcopal Process the person is officially -ulcd the 
" Servant of God/ The title of " \ enerahle " a 
panics the introduction of the Proce-s in Rome. Ten 
years should elapse between the two inquiries, but 
this delay has been suppressed in favour of Snjur 
Therese, and she will be, it is presumed, the 
" Venerable Teresa of the Child Jesu^ and of the Hub, 
Face." It is impossible to say how many years mu-t 
pass before the Apostolic Process itself terminate-. 

The sixteen Carmelites of Compie-ne mart v red 
in 1794 were beatified in K)oS, ten years after Mgr. 
de Teil had brought the documents to Rome, and -ix 
years after the introduction of the Apostolic 1 : 
which Process, however, is simpler in the ca-e of 
martyrs. The Ble-ed Gabriel of the Seven Dolours, 
who died in iS6z at the a^e of twenty-lour, wa> like 
wise beatified in 1908, fourteen years after the de- 
livers of the documents to the Congregation ot Rite- 
and twelve years after he had become Venerable " 
through the introduction of his Cau-e at Rome. 

It is true that these Cau-es made marvellously 
rapid progres-, }-, u t there arc not wanting reasons why 
that of the Little I ; luwer of Jc-u -h-uld be similarh 
rapid. The world-wide devotion, and the incredible 

Sceur Therese of Lisieux 

number of favours ascribed to her that Shower of 
Roses which on the eve of the exhumation of her 
remains she promised would become a torrent point 
to a speedy issue. Many are the Masses and prayers 
offered for that end. 

After the Beatification it is only required that two 
fresh miracles be proved authentic, to the satisfaction 
of the Congregation of Rites and the Holy Father. 
The Canonisation of Sceur Therese of Lisieux could 
then be proceeded with, a consummation devoutly 



September 6, 1910 

During her last illness Sister Teresa of the Child 
Jesus had often asserted that, by her own desire, 
nothing of her would be found again except the bones. 
" You have loved God too much for that to happen," 
said a novice to her shortly before her death. " He 
will work a miracle for you, and we shall find your 
body incorrupt." 

" Oh, no I " she answered, " not that miracle ! 
That would be to stray away from my little path of 
humility, and little souls must not find anything in 
me to be envied." 

On September 6, 1910, the remains of the Servant 
of God were exhumed so as to make sure of their 
being preserved, and without any intention of ex 
posing them to the veneration of the faithful. Efforts 
had been made to keep the matter secret, but in spite 
of the precaution it became known, and hundreds 
made their way to the cemetery. 

Among those present at the exhumation were His 

The Process of Beatification 

Lordship, Mgr. Lemonnh T Hi -hop of Ba\ rux and 
Li-ieux ; Mgr. de IVil -A i e-Postulator of the Can : : 
the \ erv Re\ r . Canon- (Juirie and Ihibo-^ \: 
General; and nian\- P: among v.hom were all 

the members of the Tribunal to \\hich had i 
entrusted the Ordinary Informative IV f Beat! 

fication, also kno\vn a^ the Pro*. r . 

The work of taking up the remain- presented ^rcat 
difficulties, as the cofnn lav at a depth oi over eleven 
fees. and was in a very bad state of decay. The opera 
tions were directed bv an expert in this kind of work. 
He had hoards Clipped beneath the coffin, the botl 
or which threatened to -jive wav. Both c< 
boards were surrounded with strong canva- and lathed 
together with stout leather straps. At len-th, alter 
much delay and anxietv, the- men succeeded in brin. 
u}^ the coftin without anv mi hap. 

\\ hen it came into Fight the Hi-hop intoned in a 
voice full of emotion I)avid% Canticle ii 
the Lord. u irbo raises up the lo:cly from tbf dust . . . 
that lie may place him zcitb ibe - 
And while the priests were chanting the L.:.: 
Purr: D >u:h:u?n* through the loo e boards was 
fresh and green as ever, the palm \\hich had been laui 
upon the chaste remains ot the Servant oi G I 
October 4, 1^97.- \Va> not thi- a ymbol of the 

.ortal palm die had won by her 
self that martyrdom of which >he had written : 
de-ire at all costs to win the palm oi Allies ; it ih 
the shedding of blood, it must be K L 

The coflin was then opened. 1 u 
father and son- one of 1 i had 

made : -were <r clo-e bv a- tin- \\a- *.! 
presently they smelt a sweet strong scent oi vi . 

Cf. Ps. < xi:. 

- o : 

.. . i , 

\\ imai !v ( L- bu; net . 

Sosur Therese of Lisieux 

for which there was no natural explanation, and it 
made a deep impression upon them. 

The garments were found to be not in any way 
disordered. They seemed to have kept well, but on 
closer inspection the veils and the wimple had dis 
appeared ; moreover the coarse thick material of the 
Carmelite dress had become quite flimsy and could 
easily be torn. Finally, as the humble nun had de 
sired, nothing was found of herself save the bones. 
One of the doctors wished to present His Lordship, 
Mgr. LemonDier, with a fragment of the latter, but 
he forbade any of the remains to be taken away, and 
would accept only the little box-wood cross which 
had been placed in the hands of the Servant of God. 

The old coffin was then laid in a shell of lead, and 
this within another of oak. A new robe was placed 
on the sacred remains, while the head was covered 
with a veil and surrounded with roses. These had 
just been gathered from the very rose-trees whose 
blooms the saintly Therese had so often cast at the 
foot of the Calvary in the convent grounds. 

Afterwards, by order of Mgr. Lemonnier, the 
hangings which secluded the small plot of the Car 
melites were thrown back for the benefit of the re 
spectful crowd silently waiting in the cemetery. The 
coffin was placed upon a trestle in front of the iron 
gate that gives entrance to the plot. 

During three-quarters of an hour there was a 
constant succession of people bringing pious objects 
to touch the sacred remains. The Bishop of Bayeux 
had been the first to apply to the bones pieces of 
violet cloth he had brought for that purpose. Work 
men who had nothing else were seen to apply their 
wedding ring. It is estimated that over five hundred 
people paid their tribute of veneration after having 
waited for three hours. 

Those present were seized with an extraordinary 
supernatural feeling, and an emotion they vainly strove 


The Process of Beatification 

? . ri .T r 7 Sa ur riu-nV\ soul hovered, doubtless 
beside the mortal remain,, delight -d I - to her 

Creator the sacrifice of her earthh frame. It was tel" 
that something solemn and sacred v, a taking place 
* hc . l"*rts o t those present were not chilled in their 
iaith and love by the humiliating realities or the 

S^ V n thc contrar y> they ielt an iiu rcasc of fervour 
and devotion. 

When everybody had passed he-tore the coffin an 
authentic minute oi the exhumation, written on parch 
ment bearing the ai Bishop Lemonnier, was en- 

cl< ^ i m a mctal casc and P laccd i" the leaden coffin 
jvhich was then sealed up. ( .- the over a plate had 
been soldered bearing the words : 



USjj [897. 

The same inscription appears on a ci hte 

fixed to thc oak coffin. Two impression^ Jah 

of both Bishop Lcmonnier and M-r. de Teil were 
stamped on the solder at the tour corners of the 
leaden coffin. There was then nothii . but to 

screw down the oaken lid. A new i^rave six feet 
dec;--- had been du- at a short distance from the tir<t. 
and lined with bricks. Mgr. [.emonnier had 
H (> "\^ arrival, and thc precious remains v, hid 

in this vault. 

That evening the boards from the coffin, with a 
few bits of clothing, and the palm, were .ill taken 
t^ convent. The Sister who } u d hern sent i 
gather them together, was on two di-tin 
favoured with a scent of rose . Ai 
[> clothing and of the coffin i . ra-ran. 


Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

Another board, that had been loosened from the 
top of the coffin and had not been found again that 
day, was also brought back to the monastery a weeL 
later. The out-sister or touritre, who had discovered 
it, not feeling sure that it was the actual board, begged 
the Little Flower of Jesus to give her some token of 
its authenticity. Her prayer was granted, for several 
of the nuns, who knew nothing of the matter, noticed 
a wonderful perfume of incense coming from the 
board, and one of them could perceive it from a 
considerable distance. 


The Servant of God was not content with giving 
this token of affection to her loved ones, and saying to 
them, as the angel said to Magdalen : " Why do you 
seek the living among the dead ? " she wished further 
to tell them of the good things in store. 

On September 5, the day before the exhumation, 
she had appeared as our readers have seen to the 
Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Gallipoli, in Italy, 
and told her that on the morrow nothing would be 
found of her but the bones, while she made her 
foresee at the same time something of the wonders 
she would afterwards perform. The Reverend Mother 
sums up her impressions in the words : " These blessed 
remains will work great miracles, and will be as mighty 
weapons against satan." 

A few weeks later a certain University Professor 
heard of the result of the disinterment. A man of 
great intellect and sanctity, he has received all manner 
of graces from the Servant of God, since he came to 
know of her more than ten years before. He was 
grieved at first that the Saint had been made subject 
to the law of nature, and as he dwelt upon these 
gloomy thoughts he heard a voice within him say : 


The Process of I] ( ;>ti 

" // ws the rJ,- ,,f ,, /v wrkin.. ( /.;y, / /, - / 

await the mlc / // v A .vr/w/ > . ], ,. 

cerned .is in ;; ,. . 

"And then." ad 
li.dit consoled inc. and ! undci I 
tin- dissolution the . 

be scattered thn u-h the uorld, o :hat : 
^oul bur somethini. ,il , o j J 1( , 

and r/O , ; ( // .- ;/; 

Indeed, it seems t(j me I 
has really bel< n ed to the body . ; .1 - 
and, ^ if this be so, not only the bom 
invisible molecules of mai 
afar the ^race that accompanies rcli ." 

I not tin an a; 
expressed so poci i allv : 

u ()n Thy dear Altar^ [.. r ! , ; re h n - - fain . 


Tlicy glailly^ivc t hciv- v^. . . ,\i 
mv pctaU tor I . 

I . 


M- .TTKRS OK P1I <S X, c Ak- 

DI NAL A M IT n , \ \ I) 

1 \UDI\A1, MKK( []-K c. ( )\ 
^ IK N INd TH ] I.I TTI.K 
iM)ri.(,j \i I l) 
1 K \ V K K S : KD I TOR I A 1. 

1 K 

.LTTKK ( )K H IS H( >Mi 


A 1 "\J ^ 

"II tO I 


to the full her Lord, and -. 

IY> Our dear d . : i -i, I , 

d I icart , Pr; 

Our !)! 

v to imitate 1. 



(Archbishop of Paris, formerly Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux) 

To the Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux 

BAYEUX, May 24, 1899. 

said : " It is good to hide the secret of a king ; but 
honourable to reveal and confess the works of God" l 

Doubtless you remembered this saying when you 
determined to give to the world Ike Story of a Soul. 2 
Your beloved Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus en 
trusted you with her inmost secrets, and those secrets, 
set in writing for her Mother alone, you deem it a 
duty not to confine to the Carmel. Wise judges have 
agreed with you that to reveal the marvellous workings 
of grace in that heroic and innocent soul would be to 
give glory to Our Divine Lord. 

Your hopes have not been deceived, as the rapid 
sale of the first edition testifies. The perfumes of 
Paradise, which these pages of your Angel breathe, have 
delighted the souls permitted to enjoy them, and 
have, beyond all doubt, drawn more than one to 
follow after her Divine Spouse. I ask Our Lord to 
bless the new edition more abundantly still. . 

Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux. 

1 Tobias xii. 7. 

2 LHistoire d une A me : the title of the French edition of the Life and 
Letters of Soeur 



I " the Prioress oi the Cam J of Floren- e 

Hi \R REVERKND MOTHI R, Y. LI have .1 kcd 
icvv "<>rd< to serve as preface to your Italian trai 
tion ol touching book, The Story of a S uL wri 
bv Sister Tcre a of the Child Jesus ^ 

I () I ^lu e your request would be to i U n e 

/ ^ li -rcproach, .\1\ feeling toward- th * C J O f 
Florence i, one of grateful affection, and it i- al 
pleasure to have my name associated \\itli that of the 
Archbishop ol Florence my esteemed friend 
share with him the privilege of ble in- y< ur work. 
But \\hat can I say of that most lovable c hibi which 
^ [{< nut l^c-n already said, with a delicacv of touch I 
dare not hope to rival, by Cardinal Gotti, Cardinal 
Amette. and manv another? 

J he M>ul \\]io-e tender beaut v you unveil to 
your reader is like the h\ acinth a d oth< i 
blossoms \vho>e Ira^rance make- u- tor-et the \TO of 
winter; and by the shaft- of li-ht wherein they are 
bathed we rise to the resplendent sun that, in a Hi 
uill turn the harve>t to gold. No one can read a 
Life such as thai of Sister Teresa of the Child 1 
without the soul expanding, without a feclii 
and without experiencing more keenlv the attractions 
ol 1 )ivine Love. 

\\herc can \ve better follow the divineh- trii 
phant action > the Spirit of (i.>d : \\\- ee ho\v his 
ent child [ears to wound Cjod - Fatherh llrart, 

Soeur Therese of Lisieux 

how she dedicates herself so completely to His service, 
and becomes a victim for the Church and for souls. 
We note the unerring judgment that discerns the true 
from the false, the good from the bad ; the strength 
of will that leads a girl of fifteen to heroic virtue. 
Verily the Counsellor from on High guided each step 
of this lofty soul all steeped in grace whose every 
thought was illumined by our holy Faith. Always 
and everywhere true wisdom kept her in union with 
God, and love for God was her one source of in 

Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, 
piety, fear of the Lord these gifts abound in the 
heart of Therese, and through their human tabernacle- 
translucent as crystal these marvellous graces shine 

God bless your zealous work, and grant that this 
beautiful Life may be spread far and wide. . . . 

Archbishop of Malines. 




I rom ihe Prayer composed by Sum Th- 

() JESUS, Who in Thy cruel Pa-. ion did<t 
the Reproach of men and the Alan ol - " I 

Thy Divine- Face. Once It shone with 

-> .i .ii 1 1 1 v . in(w 111; 

t i s become as the face of a "leper." Yet in 
thai disfigured Countenance I reco-m .e Th\ [ r j 
1 Ovc, and I am consumed with the desire of 1 
ihee and of making Thee loved by all mankind. The 
I ears that streamed in such abundant e from Thy I 
arc to me as precious pearls which I deli-ht to path cr, 
that with their infinite worth 1 may ransom th<- .<>uls 
ol poor sinner,-. 

O Jesus, \Yh< ^- Fare i the sole beauty that ravishes 
my heart, I may not behold here upon earth the 
sweetness of Tin Glance, nor feel the ineffable tender- 

; of Thy Kiss. Thereto I consent, but I pray 
Thee to imprint in me Thy Divine Likeness, and 1 
implore Thre to so inflame me with Thy Love, that 
it may quickly consume me, and th t I 
the Vi,ion oi J liy glorious Face in [leaven ! Ai icn. 

Pits X. 



O JESUS, Who to confound our pride didst will to be 
born a little Child, and Who later didst speak those 
words sublime : " Unless ye become as little children, 
ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven vouchsafe 
to hear our humble prayer on behalf of her who so 
perfectly lived that life of spiritual childhood, and who 
has so persuasively recalled to us its ways. 

Sweet Babe of Bethlehem, by the winning charms 
of Thy Divine Infancy ; Adorable Face of Jesus, by 
the humiliations of Thy Passion, we beseech Thee, if 
it be for the glory of God and for the sanctification 
of souls, grant that the halo of the Blessed may soon 
adorn the chaste brow of Thy Childlike Spouse, Teresa 
of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. 

100 days indulgence; 
CARDINAL BOURNE, March 19, 1912. 

O GOD, Who didst inflame with Thy Spirit of 
Love the soul of Thy Servant, Therese, grant that we 
also may love Thee, and may make Thee greatly 
loved. Amen. 

Adapted from a prayer of Sceur Therese, and 
enriched by CARDINAL BOURNE -with 
100 days indulgence: August i, 1912. 



1 HE Ldi or di-ires to say his heartfelt thanks to the 
many who have helped in hi< labour of love. Tho e 
who have aided most he may not name here, but he- 
prays that Sceur Therrse may have them in hei keep 
ing her heart knows how to repay. Me tenders an 
expression of cordial gratitude to the Carmel of Lideux, 
and tiie Vice-Postulator ol the Cau>e of Beatification 

-Mgr. de Teil ; to the Benedictines of Ampleiorth 
and Fort-Augustus, and his colleague- the Pro: 
ol S:. Peter - Seminary. New Kilpatrick, Glas-ow ; 
to the Benedictine Nun< of Colwich and Stanbrook ; 
the Good Shepherd Convent, Last Finchlev, London; 
the Convent of the 1 loly Child, Mayiield ; the Carmels 
of Philadelphia and Boston, U.S.A. ; the Si-ter> of 
Mercy and the Sisters of Notre Dame, Glasgow ; to 
Mi-- S. L. Emery, of Dorchester, I .S.A. ; to Pro: 
Dzieuicki, of Austria; and, in grateful acknou lodg 
ment oi help \\ith the proofs, to Profe.-or 
Hilaiie Belloc, and Francis Mevnell. 


at Paul s Work, Ecinhur-h 


H\ 4700 .To \. r )1 3 1 

Th / ti< I i 

Sa i i! t . 1873-1 897 . 

Saint Th / r o T 

L i s i ( ux , the ! i t t I f 

-\K\ r.r.r,? (mcih)