the Carmel

Biography of Sister Stanislas of the Sacred Hearts

Rosalie Gueret 1824-1914

always ready to help

Stanislas sign

Strong Lexovians

All natives of the parish of Saint-Jacques de Lisieux, the Guérets must have had a resistant temperament! Rosalie, our heroine, fifth of six children, born May 4, 1824, rue de la Paix, will die the day after her 90th birthday. Joséphine (1818-1900) was around 82. Of the three boys, Joseph-Stanislas, Pierre-Eugène and Eugène-Alexandre (born in 1820, 1823, 1828), we know nothing. If the eldest, Caroline (1817-1892), is abducted "prematurely" at the age of 75, it may be that she has known years that count double. As for the father, Nicolas-Joseph, he almost crossed the centenary mark (1790-1888). His wife, Rosalie Valle, originally from Fumichon, did not have his robustness: she died at 49 years old. The Guéret-Valles worked as fabric makers, a booming industry in Lexos. The ease of the household is all the same relative since Madame Guéret must resume her job as a laundress.

Rosalie's childhood would have been marked by suffering, according to the jubilee song of 1897 ("From the divine seal of suffering / God marked you from the cradle, / Revered sister, in your childhood / The cross became your torch " ; composition by Mother Agnes of Jesus.) We absolutely do not know what it is about.

Father Pierre-Nicolas Sauvage prepares the child for first communion and never ceases to be interested in her. She didn't know "the world" ("Your pure maiden heart/Knew no vanity,/But the sweet family life/The bliss of charity.") Judging by her handwriting and spelling , she hardly ever went to school. What was the point, one would have thought, since from the age of fourteen she aspired only to follow in Caroline's footsteps in Carmel?

Caroline the founder

The determining role of the Gosselin sisters in the foundation of the Carmel of Lisieux (Annales, January 1983) should not eclipse that of Caroline Guéret. This one was not eighteen when she showed Mr. Sauvage her determination to be a Carmelite. But the Revolution swept away the Carmel of Caen, you have to look outside of Calvados. He therefore presented his postulant to Pont-Audemer (Eure). Disappointing attempt: this Carmel had, to reopen its doors in 1803, to take charge of a boarding school. Now Caroline wants a purely contemplative life; she returns home after a few months. But the Superiors of Pont-Audemer discerned the value of M. Sauvage. So they sent her the Gosselin girls, their former students, when they decided to found a new monastery (1835). The vicar of Saint-Jacques talks about the project to Caroline. In the spring of 1, with the enthusiasm of her twenty years, she joined the two foundresses to go and do her novitiate in Poitiers. Returning to Lisieux with the Poitevin swarm (March 837, 15), she made her profession on September 1. Sister Saint-Jean de la Croix — that is her name — went to Saigon in 838 to replace one of the foundresses struck down by the climate. She served there for five years as sub-prioress. As soon as she returned to Lisieux, she left again in the fall of 1 with the prioress, Mother Marie-Baptiste, and two other sisters, to restore the Carmel of Caen. She will never see her original monastery again and will succumb to influenza on January 6, 1862.

Sister Saint-Stanislas before Thérèse (1845-1888)

Rosalie never left her father. She is "his consolation", especially since the death of the mother (1 7-4-1 844). Yet this great Christian does not refuse God this second daughter. She was received by Mother Geneviève on April 6, 1845. Father Sauvage gave her the habit on January 1, 5. Mr. Guéret then remarried (1-846-9) to Aimée Toutain, a 2-year-old bachelor who lives just opposite the Carmel: she is a cousin of Sister Madeleine du Saint-Sacrement (Annals of March 1).

Sister Saint-Stanislas made her profession on February 8, 1847. For a long time she wanted to “go to distant China”, this Saigon mentioned in 1849. Caroline was preferred to her. But what a sword when she literally fled to Caen on the evening of October 19, 1868, with the prioress and the two sisters, without warning the community, without a farewell kiss to her Rosalie!

After this dramatic departure, elections must be held. Sister Saint-Stanislas was appointed first depositary (or bursar), the prioress being Mother Geneviève, the sub-prioress Sister Marie de Gonzague (34 years old). Maintained in this position until 1874, she then became third councilor and remained so until February 20, 1893.

Assigned to the various jobs in the convent, she fulfilled them “with extraordinary understanding and activity”: the Guérets were great assets! Her charity is proverbial, she never refuses a service:
“Does it occur to us in our office
Some concern, some embarrassment?
Always ready to help,

We find Sister Saint-Stanislas,” the song says.

With Therese (1888-1897)

Mutual esteem and affection sum up the relationship between Sister Saint-Stanislas and Thérèse. And yet what contrasts between the tiny 64-year-old former and the tall 1-year-old postulant! Of the first, “always young at heart” it is true, we admire the “heroic devotion”, source of an “activity which edifies and challenges the youngest” (CG II, 5). Of Sister Thérèse, it is not long in finding that she is “slow and undevoted in her duties” (CJ 1172). An unfailing virtue, on both sides, allowed a peaceful collaboration in the sacristy, from February 13.7.18, 10 to February 1891, 20. Admittedly, Sister Saint-Stanislas sighed a little after the "little sister So be it" who spends a lot of time scratching candles and censer. But she pays tribute to him: “I have always seen her practice virtue in a heroic way and I have never noticed an imperfection. She never made me think about what I was asking her to do; always with great regularity in everything.” (Memorial of 1893).

And again: “At the death of her Father, she suffered a lot but in silence, and in all the painful circumstances I always noticed in this dear sister a great strength of soul. If the "first job" had not been kept in bed in January 1892 by influenza, she could have admired the ease with which her assistant managed alone in the sacristy, to prepare the funerals. , sacred vessels, etc. (Ms A, 79 r°/v°)...

After the disappearance of four Carmelites in five weeks, Sister Saint-Stanislas found herself, in February 1, dean of the community. We celebrate with affection his fifty years of clothing (January 892, 1). Therese goes on with a few verses: “She is loved with all our hearts/Like a very sweet present from Heaven/... Your kindness is well known to us/As well as your tender love. (Poems, II, 5.)

In the 1896 elections, jobs were swapped. Sister Saint-Stanislas became first nurse (a position she had often been given) and Thérèse returned to the sacristy. But soon she fell ill and the dean found her "little girl" to take care of her as best she could, especially from the spring of 1897.

It was for the Golden Jubilee of Sister Saint-Stanislas that Thérèse composed her eighth and last “pious recreation”, Saint-Stanislas Kostka (February 8, 1); short composition, played by novices. To the young Jesuit saint, who died at less than eighteen, the author lends his own feelings: "I have a desire... a desire so great that I cannot be happy in Heaven if it is not not realized... to work (still) for the salvation of souls... in Paradise... to return to earth in order to protect holy souls whose long career here below will complete mine. (RP 897).

When, in April-May 1897, blisters and points of fire lacerated her back, Thérèse was moved by the attentions of Sister Saint-Stanislas: “She heals the wounds with such gentleness! I see her choosing the finest linens, and she applies them with a velvet hand” (Circular). And then 'the nurse is there who makes sure you don't miss anything. Ah! why don't we do the same for the spiritual illnesses of our sisters. (DE, 393). Thérèse is amused by the “snail syrup” (CJ 6.6.6.), is moved to tears for a refreshing drink that the good little old woman brings up for her one feverish evening (DE, 785). Sometimes, if her soul is "fragrant before such devotion" (the nurse, always active, not afraid "to take two thousand steps where twenty would suffice"), she admits that her mind is "a little paralyzed", while she is writing her last manuscript in the alley of the chestnut trees (Ms C, 17r°). In order not to hurt the old woman, now deaf, she supports a heap of blankets in the middle of August (DE, 520). She never fails to thank her with "smiles and caresses... for the slightest service" (CJ 4.9.1.).

Sister Saint-Stanislas will never forget that summer of 1897: “In the illness that led her to the tomb, despite her great suffering, I saw no sign on her face that showed that she was suffering a great deal; never a complaint..."

Last stage (1897-1914)

One last time, the dean was elected third councilor (1899-1902), under a priorate of Mother Marie de Gonzague. But the infirmities of age overcome his resistance. And it was a jubilee (with diamonds) in a little car draped in white that Archbishop Lemonnier himself drove under the cloister on February 8, 1907. Sister Saint-Stanislas offered him a photograph of little Thérèse, telling him "that she was protecting her episcopate”.

Seven more and more painful years in the infirmary, sometimes brightened by posthumous visits from his "little daughter": a ray of light coming off a portrait hanging on the wall, an intense perfume of violets coming to embalm "his wounds whose the smell was terrible”, etc. A few days after his 90th birthday, in May 1914, an influenza epidemic struck Carmel. She is mortally wounded. She is suffocating, they ask her how to relieve her, what she wants. Only answer: "The mercy of the good God!" (She had long ago made the Offering to Merciful Love her own.) On the evening of May 22, she kissed her crucifix again and lost consciousness. Long and very hard agony, and it is finally the entry into Life, at dawn on Saturday, May 23, 1914.

"Her little Thérèse had wanted her close to her for her first triumph", Pius X's agreement to the introduction of the Cause in the court of Rome on June 10, 1914.

Sr Cecile ocd