the Carmel

Circular of Sister Marie-Madeleine of the Blessed Sacrament

Mélanie Lebon 1869-1916, converse sister

Peace and most humble greetings to Our Lord, who has just called back to Him our very dear Sister MELANIE-FRANCOISE-MARIE-MADELEINE DU SAINT-SACREMENT. She was 46 years, 4 months old, and had spent 23 years, 5 months and 20 days in religion.

Our dear sister was born in Plouguenast, a small town in the Côtes-du-Nord, to a family of eleven children, of whom she was the eighth. In their childhood, she and her brothers and sisters knew not only poverty, but misery; we have learned heartbreaking details. However, Mélanie had a deep soul that this destitution encouraged to seek the goods of a better country of which her mother had spoken to her. When, from the age of five, she was tending the cattle on a farm, in the solitary countryside, the child contemplated the sky, invoked the Blessed Virgin, and said vaguely to herself that, later, she would go to a forest to hide all his life to better pray to God.

At 14, she was placed as a servant in Saint-Brieuc; there, she no longer lacked bread, but she knew dangers far greater than that of dying of hunger! However, the Blessed Virgin who, two years earlier, had cured her of a fatal illness, after a vow from her mother to "Our Lady of All Helpers", never ceased to surround her with admirable protection. Allow us, my Reverend Mother, to give you a shining example:

One day when the young servant was in her small room and thought she was alone at home, she heard the stairs coming up and recognized the footsteps of a wretch. had neither bolt nor lock, but impossible, because this window was only a simple opening made in the roof. Finding no way out of her terrible situation, the virtuous child knelt down and had recourse to the Queen of Virgins: “O good Mother! she cried, have pity on me! save me !

And, gazing with anguish at the latch of her door, she could see it rise and fall twenty times, under the effort of a brutal but impotent hand...

Mélanie was beginning her twenty-second year when, walking one Sunday with one of her friends, she said to her, opposite the Carmel: “This is the prison, isn't it? »

The friend, better informed, informed her about this prison and about the life of the prisoners who were confined there; then our young girl immediately felt a strong desire to go and hide within its austere walls. She soon spoke to her confessor, who took the necessary steps for her admission to this Carmel of Saint-Brieuc; but there was no more room, and the Reverend Mother Prioress, knowing the need we had for a sister of the white veil, proposed her to our monastery with the best information.

Her entry took place on July 22, 1892, the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, whose name she took. She was 22 years old.

The qualities, as well as the faults of the new postulant, appeared from the beginning of her life. religious life. She was very intelligent, capable and active, but, we have always attributed it to the moral and physical sufferings she had endured in the world, she was so withdrawn and had something so restless about her countenance, that this whole unfortunate, added to the just fears caused by a rather precarious health, almost took him away from us forever.

It was on the occasion of her vows that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus composed the poetry of the occasion, sung at recess “Story of a shepherdess who became queen. But no more than her Mother Prioresses, the Servant of God won her absolute confidence: "I avoided even her gaze for fear of being guessed at," our poor child told us lately, with humility. However, through the prayers of her holy mistress, to whom she attributes this grace, she recovered, after several years, a visible serenity, much needed in Carmel, not only for herself, but also to dilate the hearts around her. Alas! as for this gentle radiance of a suave soul, it must be confessed that our dear daughter, however very good, never had much of it, although she lived happily in her vocation and even obtained permission to do the act of offering of Sister Thérèse to the merciful love of God.

Seven and a half years ago, she was stricken with furunculosis in one leg, a long illness which wreaked profound havoc on her already very depressed organism. She came to walk only on crutches and we thought her crippled for the rest of her life.

Mother Marie-Ange, prioress at the time, had the thought of asking St Thérèse of the Child Jesus for her healing, in the following manner: It seemed to us, without being certain that the Servant of God had a certain veil, which it cost us to put on the common. Now, as proof of the authenticity of this relic, the Mother Prioress prayed with faith for the immediate healing of the sick member and obtained it entirely in contact with this veil.

Five years ago, Sister Marie-Madeleine, one of the witnesses in the Cause, told the story to the diocesan court, which included it in the trial.

Once cured, she bravely returned to the kitchen, where she constantly filled the office that had been so tiring until July of last year. At that time, she was taken very violently. influenza, which no longer allowed her to leave the infirmary and led her slowly to the tomb.

It was she who, immediately after the death of our most honored Mother Thérèse of the Eucharist, was favored with the perfume of laurel mentioned in her circular.

Throughout the course of her illness, my Reverend Mother, our dear daughter, showed herself to be constantly patient, resigned to the will of God, grateful to the Community and very affectionate towards us, of which she is the first professed.

She wanted to have the image of Sr Thérèse of the Child Jesus constantly before her eyes and said to us: care for my soul, and how it has changed me! It's incredible ! I am completely peaceful and confident; I do not recognize myself anymore. »

It was on January 11, at 8 o'clock in the evening, that our pious child gave up his soul to God. She had received Extreme Unction three weeks before; Holy Viaticum, that very morning, and, in feelings of the liveliest piety and humility, the grace of a final absolution, an hour before his death.

During her agony, which began at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and was very painful at times, she did not cease doing acts of love for God, tenderly kissed her crucifix, and, placing it upright on the bed, she leaned on it to the end, saying, "I lean on Jesus. »

She lost consciousness, apparently, a few minutes before expiring, but until then she had had a smile on her lips and gave us, despite her suffering, touching signs of self-forgetfulness, worrying about fatigue. from the nurse, from ours, and promising to get us all to heaven. Finally, his death seemed to us to fully realize this word, from a privileged soul: “The little victims of love will all be holy at death; the good Lord will make them holy at that time.

We humbly beg you, my Reverend Mother, to have the suffrages of our Holy Order returned as soon as possible to our very dear Sr Marie-Madeleine du Saint-Sacrement, adding to it, by grace, a communion of your fervent Community, the of the Way of the Cross and the six Paters, some invocations to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Madeleine, her patroness. She will be very grateful to you, as we who have the grace to tell us, in Our Lord, Your humble sister and servant,

thank you
From our Monastery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception,
of the Carmelites of Lisieux, January 14, 1916.