the Carmel

Preparatory notes by Sister Marie-Philomène of Jesus

I never knew my Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus intimately; however, when she entered the Carmel, I found myself in contact with her, I still had a year of novitiate to do.
And despite our age difference (I entered Carmel at 45) despite our difference in everything, I found her charmingly kind, simple and affable.
I was one of those souls of whom she speaks in her life, less well endowed by nature, and that for everything: for intelligence, education, finally for everything that ordinarily attracts, and with my age this is not was hardly appealing. My Sr Thérèse of the EJ, far from letting me think anything of it, with such kind delicacy, without putting into it the familiarity of novices of her age, was so good to me that she did me a lot of good. . She knew so well how to conceal her devotion by a gentle delicacy, above all by such pure charity, that her little attentions did my soul real good.
 I have never been in a working relationship with her, but in the common works, when I found myself near her in recreation, finally in any meeting where I had the good fortune to see her, it was impossible for me not to recognize a soul well privileged by God, and constantly in everything faithful to grace. Only once did I see her a little moved, breaking out of her usual calm, as a result of the pain caused to her by a novice who, in a circumstance, lacked the virtue she wanted them to see.
Nothing makes me happier than to hear the good that the reading of his life does to so many souls and especially for a very large number, to souls already all embalmed with the love of the Good Lord. And what 'she says of her life, we see it as a very ordinary thing on her part: reading this life so beautiful, it never occurred to me that there was exaggeration, illusion, yes, my conviction is that it is her and really her.

I don't believe with our nature that it is possible to have less self-seeking than it seemed to have; I have never noticed in her, whether following a compliment or a reproach, a success or a failure, that we take care of her or that we do not care. Don't worry about it, the slightest change of tone, of air, not a word, nothing in short that could allow the slightest feeling of nature to be perceived. Sometimes I would have liked to see her a little more eager for the jobs, but I am convinced that it was me who was wrong, and that with her composure she was doing more and better.
When I saw her in license, we spoke about only the Good Lord, and very often, she told me her desire and her hope to die young! And I always told her that I did not understand her for desiring death so much, while living a long time, she could work so much for the Good Lord: ordinarily, she was content to laugh at my reflections, but, once, we We were at recreation with each other, and in such a way as to be able to talk nicely. At that time, she was not yet very ill, however she was seriously affected, she spoke to me with a radiant air of her hope of going soon with the Good Lord. I said to her, and very seriously, because I saw her death as a very great trial for our Cté: "My Sr Thérèse of the EJ, I do not understand your desire to die so much, if you lived as long as our good Mother Geneviève (she died at 87) think what you could do for the glory of God! So she turned in front of me and said: "Ah! my Sr Marie-Philomène, how mistaken you are, here is St Louis de Gonzague, he had not been dead for two years, that he had already does wonders for the glory of God and the good of souls! If he had died in old age, he would have been a great Saint, but he would not have done the good that he did." And she said this to me with a tone, an accent that I will never forget, and it never occurred to me to say to myself, "but my Sr Thérèse of the EJ compares herself to St Louis de Gonzague.... !

The numerous proofs that we have, that she was not deceived in her hope, that when she would be in heaven she would make God loved on earth, proves that it is part of the designs of the Good God to use her for her glory and the good of souls.
How at this moment she hopes to do so, I don't know, because I believe that she had then written nothing, or almost nothing, of herself. But I cannot doubt that the Good Lord would have given him the feeling of it.
Since the encyclical of the Holy Father was read to us, I had great difficulty in thinking that there exists such great madness, such great impiety towards the Good Lord, I found that dreadful, especially coming from from Catholics and even from priests. But on the day of St Thérèse, hearing Monsignor tell us that he wanted to take care of my Sr Thérèse of the EJ on the same day, that he asked us to give him in writing our impressions of her, I saw that, like permission from God. And I say to myself that it was perhaps the time to have the Holy Church recognize its little way, because it seems to me to be the counterweight to today's error, it which wanted to expect everything from the Good God, to hope for everything with the most filial confidence of his infinite goodness, to see him in everything as the most tender of fathers, to relate everything to him, .. finally, everything that she said herself makes her known much better that's all i can say.
But what I can affirm is that my conviction is that it is not possible to love the Good Lord more than she loved him, and outwardly, without extraordinary graces, which makes one believe that it is really glorifying God to make this beautiful and holy soul more and more known, because it is all the more encouraging for souls.
As for me, I have the greatest confidence in the protection of our dear little Saint; it seems to me impossible to implore it in vain. She doesn't always get me what I want, however, but I try to ask with her for whatever pleases God the most, so if the opposite of what I want happens, I try to to think that what happened is the best for me, or for those for whom I prayed it, and that, even for my faults which I would so very much like not to have any more....

In all circumstances, I like to interest him in what I want, either for me, or for the company, or for my family, and then afterwards, I'm calm no matter what. But when she gives me proof of her protection like this, for example, I'm very happy. I have a little soul in my family who is very dear to me. This 10-year-old child had not yet received any religious instruction, I was very sorry.
I learned last July that an excellent religious boarding school was offering to take this poor child, and that her parents had not decided to accept. However, I wanted to hope for this grace from God. It occurred to me to have recourse to Saint Anne, patroness of the boarding school
I love St Anne very much, however it never occurred to me to pray to her, but I said to our dear little saint: please go find St Anne, and tell her that she must take this child to her boarding school, and let her protect her, and if you obtain this grace for me, I promise you a novena of communions in your intentions. On St. Anne's Day itself, the Father wrote that everything was decided, that he was happy and grateful for the good that we wanted to do for his child.
Several times also, several members of my family told me after having prayed to her, having obtained proofs of her protection. For me, she won me many graces especially once I felt her protection in a very sensitive and very consoling way, I think it would be difficult for me to write it in such a way as to make myself understood. , but I believe that if I said so, people would easily understand me. This grace, I will never forget in my life, and I believe it to be quite supernatural. Six years ago, I was in great anxiety. I felt a great need of the good Lord, it occurred to me to ask our Reverend Mother for permission to make the offering to the merciful love of my Sr Thérèse of the EJ She allows me, and without me to have it explained, without really understanding it, I made this offering; I did it without enthusiasm, but with a very sincere desire to fully enter into the intentions of my Sr Thérèse of the EJ, and despite my misery, I cannot doubt that she was accepted by the good Lord, because for almost a months later, I experienced happiness, an ease in finding God, I had never felt anything like it, it didn't last long, but I wasn't surprised, it wasn't of the earth. Finally, I will end by affirming again that my conviction is that one cannot say too much of the virtue of my Sr Th de L'EJ, and hope too much of her protection.
Sr Marie-Philomene of Jesus

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We were in Lent, as soon as I woke up, I was going to start the loaves. I resumed my prayer in the morning, but often it was not long! One day, taking this little moment of prayer in choir, I wondered if the good Lord could be pleased. I was neither troubled nor annoyed, but a little worried, if the good Lord could be happy with a life so irregular as mine was.
I said to my Sr Thérèse of the EJ: "my dear little Sister, you do so much good to so many souls, you often give so many consolations, that I would be happy if, even in a dream, you made me feel something of what the good Lord thinks of me."
I asked him very sincerely, but without thinking about it too much, nor expecting anything (because the good Lord is not in the habit of spoiling me) and during the day I didn't think about it at all.
That day, I worked a lot...in the evening, during Matins, it was the feast of the Holy Shroud, I would have liked so much to think of Our Lord, to enter into the spirit of the feast... .it was impossible for me, I was thinking only of my fatigue...finally, the Office finished, I went to bed, and without my thinking about the request I had made to our little saint.

When I woke up around two o'clock, I felt a feeling that seized me with so much sweetness, I seemed to feel the good Lord very close to me, I also seemed to feel our dear little saint there, and for a moment, I keep repeating: "My God, how good you are! My little sister, how good you are!" I was happy, I tasted a happiness, something that I had never experienced before; it occurred to me - but as if someone had told me, I was thinking of nothing but my happiness - "the Breads are a shroud." (She does not say out of humility that she heard like a voice).

Then a sad feeling came to me at having felt or thought nothing of the Blessed Virgin, and so much of my little sister, like a feeling of fear of having caused her pain, and immediately it came to my mind: a Mother is never happier than when she sees two of her children getting along well. This moment of happiness remained as present in my mind as on the first day. I took this consolation as a grace from my Sr Thérèse of the EJ who found me too fearful with the Good Lord, she told me so many times, she would have liked so much to make me feel like her, how much the good God is good.
Ah! I never doubted it either, but, because of the great graces that we have, the great responsibility always gives me a certain fear, and when in license I was with her, we always talked about it, and so often she told me. said: "It pains me, you are too afraid of the good Lord."
When one thinks and acts like her, in fact, there is nothing to fear from the justice of God. Once she said to me, but with an air that said a lot, I still seem to see her and hear her: "Ah! my Sr Marie-Philomène, how it pains me to think that you will do purgatory, because you really want to do it! There is only one thing to do not to have to fear it, it is to refuse nothing to the good God, to hope not to do it, and then we are sure not to do it!

[Sr Marie-Philomène, out of humility, does not say that at the moment of this sensitive grace she saw a light in her cell, but that is how she told it to me, she said it again to Sr Marie du Sacré-Coeur and to Sr Geneviève / Sr Agnès de Jesus prioress August 9, 1910]

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JESUS! For several days I had felt bad nature a great deal and I suffered from it. It seemed to me that I had much to fear from having no merit before God, from acting in everything only out of self-love, self-seeking. On the 21st at prayer, I was really unhappy; however, without trouble or discouragement. but I kept repeating, yes, my God, I have only a shadow of virtues, then finally, all sorts of consoling thoughts came to me which put me in great peace. I understood that of ourselves we can only have a shadow of virtue since of ourselves we cannot have a single good thought, but that our life should be the shadow of the virtues of our good Jesus, only for to reproduce it we had to be where he wants us, and as much as possible with our poor nature, in the feelings where he wants us, and do everything out of pure love.
At the beginning of the Hours, when I was still in this feeling of peace and confidence, twice for a few minutes, I smelled such a sweet perfume that I immediately thought of the consolation that have had many of our Mothers and Sisters, attributing it to the gracious presence and protection of our dear little Saint.
I was quite led to believe that she had thereby given me a mark of her protection, and above all what confirms me in this conviction is that the thoughts which had come to me during prayer corresponded well to this that several times in our licenses, speaking intimately with her, she had told me, she found that I was too afraid of the good Lord, it pains me, she said to me, you are too afraid of the good God.
I did not need this proof to have great confidence in the protection of our beloved little Saint, I had never asked her, however I am very happy, I thank the good God and she too
Sr. Marie-Philomène of Jesus, May 21, 1909

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JMJT My God come to my aid, it is on your grace that I count to express some feelings of my deep gratitude, towards your infinite mercy, for the good that you have done so freely for my poor soul. I ask you this through the intercession of Mary, my good and tender Mother, and that of my darling little saint
First of all, thank you, my God, for having me born in a Christian country and of eminently Christian parents; Thank you for naturally giving me a taste for simplicity and virtue. I would have been happy to have had a nature more ardent for good, more capable for everything, but O my God, I adore your designs and love them as much as I can, in submission to your good pleasure. I admit that I have sometimes and without reason compared myself to the worker who had received only one talent and had buried it, yes, I could have done better in many things, especially in the gift of everything me to the good Lord! But I throw everything into the mercy of this gentle master, who has been infinitely patient with me, and who has watched over my poor little soul with such great care.
From a very young age, He gave me a taste for great simplicity in everything, for the toilet for example. I had more of an old maid's taste than of my age, it wasn't out of virtue, It was the good Lord who allowed it, I felt rather better: thank you God.
The first time I tasted something of the happiness of the cloister, it was at the faithful Virgin: we had gone there, my two sisters, a companion and I, one Sunday, to attend Vespers. I tasted there a happiness that I have never forgotten, I said to myself when I left: "How sad it is to leave here, how good it is, I was 14 or 15 , but the thought of religious life never occurred to me, it would have seemed impossible to hope for such a beautiful vocation for me.
It was only when I retired for the first time at 21 that the desire came to me. I said a word about it to my confessor, but not in such a way as to convince him of a very obvious vocation; he's like, "Well, think about it this year, we'll talk about it next year." For several years I talked about it with him, but neither did he feel the direct call of God.
I wanted religious life, but didn't see where I could go. What seemed to my director to suit me best was a hospice, but I felt in no way attracted to it, what I dreamed of was a house where there were neither patients nor pupils, and few in number: it Carmel was indeed, but I did not know it, and my confessor, nor my brother to whom I also spoke about it, could not think of it for me; at that time, I was not even allowed to fast on the days ordained by the church. So I ended up dropping my desires for religious life, and contented myself with serving the good God, the best that I could.
When my director died, at my brother's request, the good Father V(?). he. After having told him everything, he said to me: "My child, if the good Lord wanted you, he still wants you, and according to what you have told me, I am inclined to believe him". I was very happy with this word, but he too did not see my vocation clearly, he made me wait a long time. I had too many natural ties to the family, the reasons I gave him on this subject made him fear a lack of true vocation.

Ah! what I especially lacked was a rather ardent love for the good Lord; what a difference, alas, with the faith and love of our dear little Saint! However, I did not yet despair, the religious life made me want so much, but without feeling any more attraction for one than for the other of those I knew. I was doing my retreat at the Holy Family; I had the greatest esteem for this small community, the R. Mother Superior was a real Mother for my soul, I saw her as often as I felt the need
I went into retirement with happiness, then I left without regret: it was not there that the good Lord wanted me. Finally one day, I had been lent a book entitled "the spirit of Ste Thérèse". I had been doing my spiritual reading of it for some time. Suddenly, I say to myself “if I am a nun, I will be a daughter of Se Thérèse” ah! this time, the good Lord had spoken, I no longer had a moment's hesitation. When I said this to the Father ..... he said nothing to me, he of course found this desire well elevated for my poor little soul, and he left me for a long time without saying either yes or no, I spoke to him about it each time, finally one day he said to me: "my child, talk to your parents about it and if they consent, I do not ask for anything else as proof that it is the will of God: talk to them today. "I was very happy. However, when I came back, I said to myself: 'How can I do this? It was a Sunday; it was the habit that day every night
my sister came with the whole family to have supper with us. They went away late, often my good Father had already gone up to bed, but the good God, so good, allowed that that day, someone came to them whom they were not expecting. They made him supper, so, having the evening alone with my good parents, I made my request, and with their faith, they answered me: "It is a very great sacrifice that you are asking of us, but if the good God wills it , we will not refuse him".

Yes, their sacrifice was great, I had heard my good mother say when the three of us were with her, “I would be very happy if the good Lord took one of you to Himself”. But when I reached the age I was, soon to be 37, she hoped to keep me to assist them both until their death... Their sacrifice was even more meritorious to them than if I had left them young.

So I came to introduce myself; they had the charity to accept me, and 6 weeks later, on October 13, I entered very happy; the life of the Carmel pleased me very much, but unfortunately, I did not have the necessary detachment for this holy vocation, the thought of the family made me suffer...I remember that sometimes I said to myself: "if I were sure to have here, even in 15 years, one of my dear little nieces, it would help me get used to it... "and despite the affection with which I was surrounded, I felt alone, finally I didn't I did not have the necessary virtue for this sublime vocation, so when the ordeal came, I could not carry it: on learning that my good Mother was seized with an inflammation of the chest and very ill, I was convinced that I had to leave, and nothing could stop me, and I only understood my misfortune when I got out, it was too late! Did I suffer All my parents suffered too, while being happy to have me back, they understood that nature had gotten the better of my love for God. My good Mother herself, when my brother went to tell her that I was there, answered: "It is still not me who made her come back!" And he, my very dear brother, to whom I had immediately told my temptation and who had replied to me with a letter that has never been forgotten here, so beautiful, representing to me the duty of a soul that the good Lord is calling.... but I didn't have the patience to wait for him, he suffered! Yet what a discharge for him that my return, my good Father could not remain alone what would have become of him?
I have no excuse for my great weakness, and I have always been happy that none of my people had anything to do with it; I abandon myself to the Mercy of the good God, and they have had all the merit of their sacrifice. At the Carmel, they also took pity on me, and they were good enough to preserve a real sympathy for me. I sometimes expressed my desire and my hope to return one day ... I was not told yes or no, they were kind to me, that the good God alone could allow

I stayed for 7 years, while suffering I was at peace, because I didn't have to ask myself "what should I do? but as soon as I had the possibility of being replaced with Dad by my sister , I quickly went to ask her if she wanted to, and, full of faith and love of the good Lord, she replied "Ah yes, I am ready to help you find your vocation if you can". The RPV was also happy about it, but as I only wanted God's will, I told him that I had never been told in Carmel that I did not have to hope, only once, the good Mother Geneviève had told me that she had sometimes wondered if I had had a true vocation, if I had lived so long in such great peace in the world. He replied: "My child, you have lived in peace because you lived by obedience, and I only ask for proof of God's will if we are willing to take you back." And again this time we wanted, ah! that the good God is good, and so is Carmel.
When I made my request to my good Father, he replied: "Ah yes, go if you want, I don't have so long to live." My brother was also happy, however, out of caution, he made me wait until my sister was settled in with us.

Finally, the day arrived when I was able to enter the blessed ark, where since then I have tasted so much happiness. I was so happy to be entirely in the good Lord. Then I found so much charity and affection in our good Mothers, so much kindness in my companions in the novitiate, and in all our sisters, that I had no trouble getting used to it, despite my age and such a large lifestyle change.
From the family, many sorrows have come to me, very painful deaths, real, very sensitive sorrows, but the conviction that they were permitted by the good God to obtain the salvation of all, that while suffering a lot, I do not couldn't call myself unhappy, at times I even thought I was too happy. Especially when thinking of my offering as a victim to merciful love, I said to myself: what do I have to give to the good God, what a sad victim! ; It is in this disposition that I began this year my great retreat from Ascension to Pentecost; one day, immersed in these thoughts during a prayer, I said to our good Jesus: "I am not worthy of it, but how happy I would be if you, in your great kindness, gave me a drop from the ocean of bitterness that you have caused the loss of so many souls who, despite what you have done for their salvation, will not be saved! I would so much like to contribute to the salvation of some ", I did not expect to be answered so quickly, but death of our poor sinner is not a drop of bitterness for my soul, but an abyss!
Despite the state of his soul and so close to his end, I wanted to hope that he would not die without conversion, and without sincere regret for his ingratitude towards God; and this grace, I only expected from a miracle of mercy from this good Master, and I hoped for it with so much confidence that I did not even feel much mistrust. I prayed, but perhaps not enough, it was above all in my trust that I rested, and in the sacrifices that the good Lord for so long has asked of his poor parents, and of him too, because it seems to me that he suffered well and in many ways. Ah my God, those were graces from you, he didn't take advantage of them to come back to You. But You, O my sweet master, ah I want to hope, at the last moment, in an infinite surge of Your merciful love, You were able to draw him to You, wound his heart with a feeling of deep regret, of trust and love, yes, I want to hope you took pity on him. I am convinced that our dear little Saint in my place would not doubt it, well my Jesus, that is how I want to think of her, she was there of course, our dear little sister and powerful protector, I entrust her with care with so much confidence! Mary, our good and so tender Mother too, I cannot doubt it. I had always asked her with such confidence for the preservation of the faith for all my loved ones, that I hoped that she would not allow it to die out completely in the soul of this poor sinner, and that one day , were only the last, she would rekindle her, and make her open her eyes. Our good Paul, it seems to me, must have been there too. Finally, oh my God, I love your designs. Thanks to you, I do not complain about my sufferings: our good Jesus suffered infinitely more than me; for this soul. I would be sure that this poor wretch did not have a thought of repentance, I would not abandon myself with less love as a victim to your merciful love, because the more I suffer the more I feel the desire to do something for to obtain the salvation of a few souls, all of them are so loved by You, O my God, and our good Jesus gave so much to obtain the salvation of all!

Ah thank you my God for having put me in a vocation entirely occupied with this goal, you could not give me a greater grace, But alas, how I acquit myself of it! My Jesus, teach me, guide me, I cannot do better than by imitating our dear little saint, relying solely on her merits. My dear Jesus, I beseech you, do me to immerse myself more and more in this way of trust and abandonment, you have long given me the attraction of it, but give me the practice of it in everything and always. .
Our dear little Thérèse, while she was with us, would have liked to help me to enter entirely into this path of total abandonment and she is still looking for it I believe, the more I feel inclined to it and the more I believe her close to me. ; I would like so much like her, to console your Heart, my Jesus, and to contribute to the salvation of souls, not only of a few but of a multitude. It's so awful the thought of a lost soul, an eternity without love, an eternity of hatred, an eternal torture...yes it's awful and as long as you don't think about it! Oh my Jesus
what a martyrdom this sight is for your divine Heart Ah I beseech you give it to mine as much as it can bear; to know you so good and so offended, how sad it is!
Thank you, my God, for having given me your love, for having led me with such gentleness!
You are infinitely good for all souls. I am sure that all, if they were sincere, would recognize it, but you have privileged people and with the deepest gratitude, I dare say to myself of the number: be forever blessed, my God. !
One day, I asked Sr Thérèse of the EJ what she thought of our two vocations: She entered Carmel at 15, I at 45, she answered me so kindly, "I think that the good Lord has fruits of all seasons.
My God you are good! I love you! but I conjure you that I love you much more!

VERY LATE NOTES by Sister Marie-Philomene

JMJ My good Mother March 10, 1919


What I'm about to write, I'll hear it said to another, I'll think the good Lord gave her a sweet moment of consolation, that's just what I think for myself
However, the day of the death of Sr St Raphaël, at the very hour I believe, brought me to many reflections. Our poor Sister had had so much confidence in our dear little Saint who would have liked so much that the good Lord did not have to make purgatory for souls who really love him! Several times, she told me when I spoke to her about Purgatory for us, because of the graces of Advent, of so many others, if we did not take advantage of them as much as possible. But there is only one thing to do not to have Purgatory, she told me:
avoid all voluntary faults not because of the pain, but to please God. Not involuntary, He erases them as they go.
My Mother, therefore, that day, when I woke up in the morning, I had such a vivid feeling of the happiness of heaven, not only the thought of heaven, but something that I had never experienced...I even saw a entrance from which you could see a light that I could only see outside, and I had the feeling that it was the sky. Finally, I was very happy, and without stopping there precisely, led me to say to myself that perhaps our dear little Sr Thérèse, whom Sr Raphaël prayed with so much confidence, obtained for her not to make mistakes. volunteers, and help him not to hurt God?
She so often edified me, I found a grace for her that you, my dear Mother and especially the nurse, did not listen to her quirks, but take them as she took them, she was helped and perhaps by there does his Purgatory. However, I pray for her, if she doesn't need it, so much the better!

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24th November 1921       
The good Lord will take us as we are. He alone is capable of giving, and he will give us all that we lack.

Sr Marie-Philomène

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One year, the Father who gave us the retreat told us: "a Carmelite must win at least six souls for God every day". I said to my Sr Thérèse of the EJ "here is a Father who gives us work, to win 6 souls a day!" She answered me with such a confident tone  
"Ah, I hope to earn many more!"

Once in license, speaking kindly with my Sr Thérèse of the EJ, I said to her: "my attraction is above all to pray for poor sinners, they make me feel so great pity!" She replied: "I don't! Mine is to pray for priests, praying for priests seems to me to be doing a wholesale business!!
Sr Marie-Philomene of Jesus