by Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustin
The "Memories of a Holy Friendship" are transcribed on a small notebook 17,5 x 11,3 cm, with a blue paper cover, containing 15 handwritten pages. Dating: the indication "Made a few months after his death" following the signature. However, as we encounter here and there reminiscences of Histoire d'une Âme, it is likely that this notebook is the clean-up of earlier notes, which would explain the borrowings from HA. The "posthumous messages" recorded after the signature obviously date from after September 6, 1910. To facilitate reading, numbered subtitles have been introduced.
1. Our Union
It is very sweet to me, dear sister, to keep the memory of our union here below. More than ever we are sisters and Jesus our divine Spouse has tightened the ties that united us. Continue your fraternal affection for me, obtain for me the grace to reach, like you, the highest degree of love. Repeat in my favor to the One you loved so much: “O my adored Eagle, that where I am the one I loved be with me. »
Near the fragrant flower that Jesus was soon to pick the divine Master had placed a small daisy. His Heart was the sun of these two cherished flowers. The rustic flower, image of my poor little soul, was alone to profit from this blessed union. It is with real happiness that I attribute to my beloved Sister the graces that I have received for several years and those that her powerful protection obtains for me every day.
2. Divine Dew
As soon as we met we felt an irresistible attraction for each other. The bond of our souls was the devotion to the Holy Childhood. We loved the Child Jesus in his abasements, in the Crib, in the arms of his Mother; we especially loved him taking the feast of his first months of exile from his Mother's womb. Our souls immersed themselves in this delicious mystery hidden from the greatest number but which Jesus and his divine Mother discovered in our hearts. We loved to receive the virginal dew together, to breathe the perfume of this fragrant lily.
One day I asked him to compose a hymn on our favorite subject.
- It's impossible, she replied, I don't know poetry at all.
- What does it matter, there is no question of sending him to the Academy, it is only a question of pleasing me and satisfying a desire of my soul.
- I'm still hesitating a bit because I don't know if it's God's will.
- Oh ! For this I will give you some advice. Before you begin, you are going to say to Our Lord: “My God, if it is not your will, I ask you for the grace of not being able to succeed, but if this should procure your glory, come to my aid. »
I believe that after that, you can be without anxiety.
3. Painting of the Virgin Mother
[visible in the community photo TH n°16 and n°17, of April 20, 1895]
For many years, I had a great desire that I knew was shared by my dear sister, that of having a painting representing the Blessed Virgin breastfeeding the Child Jesus. I begged her to ask her dear little sister to use her talent to reproduce this delightful mystery on canvas. One day coming back from the parlor she said to me:
- I have just seen Céline, I spoke to her about your desire. It is also his great devotion and this work smiles on him a lot. But she finds it very difficult, having no role model, however she will try.
- That you make me happy, on Saturday I will make Holy Communion for this intention. To please me, there must be something divine.
I made the promised Communion asking the Blessed Virgin to inspire her child and guide her brush. What I asked above all of our Heavenly Mother was that by looking at her the soul should experience a supernatural effect, a grace, like a divine vision.
A few months later my darling little sister approached me, presenting me with a photograph with a triumphant air. "Look," she said to me, "it's a reproduction of Celine's little painting, are you happy?" Is it virginal enough!... »
Our souls thus melted into the same thoughts; despite this intimacy, were we saying a lot? Oh ! no, a word, usually a look and everything was understood. This silence sometimes gave us joyful recreations. "Well," we said, "has it been long enough since we've spoken intimately?" Is it possible to love each other so much, to understand each other so well and to speak so little? »
But why such long speeches when two hearts beat in unison? Sometimes we happened to state the same thought together.
In an intimate outpouring she said to me:
- There is a way to achieve holiness without having too much trouble, finally there is a trick, do you know it?
- I don't know, I answered him, if I know this stuff, I'll tell you what I understand. I understand that you should not rely on yourself, but trust in God and abandon yourself to Him. I think that for souls who remain small, the good Lord spares them difficulties and shortens their path.
- It's very good, you have the trick. There are souls who have ideas of perfection as far as the eye can see, who turn in a labyrinth from which they cannot escape and which leads to nothing. For us, we are two privileged souls.
As I pointed out to her that all Carmelites are privileged souls, she added:
— That's true, but among the privileged there are the privileged and we are one of them.
5. Make her crown?
At the end of this interview, she asked me if I was thinking of making my crown.
- No, I said, it's not the usual subject of my thoughts, sometimes it comes to mind, but it's rare, and you?
- Oh ! there's no danger of me doing it, I much prefer to leave it to the good Lord. If I got involved she wouldn't be pretty enough.
6. We don't like to be humiliated
- Would it hurt you, she said to me, another day, if someone told you that you were proud?
- Yes, a lot, I couldn't help thinking that we're right, because it's true, but coming to tell me to my face is something else.
- How rare it is to speak like this, we always say: you can say anything you want about me, I think I'm even more miserable. We don't want to agree that we don't like to be humiliated.
7. A Little Comedy
My darling little sister sometimes wanted to put my weak virtue to the test. One day when I had just finished my long retreat, she sat down next to me at recess and there began a series of little teasing which did not resemble her. I accepted everything without saying a word, with a patience that was unusual for me. Towards the end, she said to me:
“I wanted to see if you had a good retirement and I see that it has been very good because since I have been with you, I have done everything in my power to make you impatient and I cannot succeed. »
I was far from suspecting what could be the reason for this little comedy. I was just a little amazed at the way he acted. When I met her, I thought that she understood perfectly how to test her world.
8. A bit of moss
I was telling her about the glory she would have in Heaven.
- No, she said to me, it won't be what you think, the good Lord has always granted my wishes and I asked him to be a little nothing. When a gardener makes a bouquet, there is always a small empty space between the magnificent flowers that compose it; to fill it and give it a graceful shape he puts moss in it. This is what I will be in Heaven, a little sprig of moss among the beautiful flowers of God.
- Oh ! my little sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, you will be very surprised at what awaits you but I assure you that you will not be a bit of foam.
Hey! Well, you'll see in heaven that I'm telling you the truth.
Unable to convince her, I left her in her opinion, taking care not to share it, for on this subject I was as incredulous as Saint Thomas.
[La Rose mousse, romance by Scudo chosen by Thérèse as the melodic support for the poems PN-44 et PN-51, develops a similar comparison. To enhance the beauty of a rose, an angel has no other resource than to frame it with a collar of moss: "Only the grass of the woods could still adorn / So much beauty!]
9. My Blood Will Spill
I met her during a license, having a most joyful air and in a transport of love she said to me:
- I know now what my death will be.
- And me too, I said to him, you are very certain to die of the chest.
- Oh ! it's not that. What happiness my blood will flow.
There was a lot of talk at that time of events, of massacres. And his countenance breathed a supernatural happiness.
10. Heart of the Saints
About the union of our souls, I showed him a passage from The Christian Virtues of Monsignor Gay.
"In Heaven, in full glory, where all is order, harmony, fixity, holiness, because God is everything there, but God author of nature as well as of grace, it will happen that those we have loved here below with particular titles of nature and grace, we will still love them incomparably more than here of all the special loves united and these kinds of love will not be felt for others, even if they are holy like Seraphim and beautiful as Archangels. Holy causes of love will never cease to exist in the souls of the blessed. »
I cannot express the expression of happiness spread over his features. " Oh ! How beautiful,” she would say to me, and her soul would plunge with rapture into the prospect that throughout eternity our mutual affection would not cease to exist with a special character.
This is indeed the heart of the Saints giving everything to God without any reserve, but loving in Him the souls who are united to them, with a strength, a tenderness, a delicacy that only divine love can give.
O my God, I thank you for having made me meet a privileged soul, a saint, for having enjoyed her friendship and for having given her mine. I thank you above all for not measuring by the limits of time this pure affection begun in your love, but for promising it eternity where nothing can end.
11. I will die soon
In the month of April 1895 she confided to me this confidence: "I shall die soon, I am not telling you that it will be in a few months, but in two or three years." I feel from everything that is happening in my soul that my exile is about to end. »
On September 30, 1897, the divine Eagle took his little bird to the hearth of Love.
12. The Black Door (dream)
On January 8, 1897, I was alone in the dormitory, around half-past eleven in the morning, when above my head I heard the cracking of beams being demolished. I understood immediately that the noise was supernatural and that death would come to visit us within the year. But who would be his victim? This is the secret which remained hidden from me and which I did not wish to penetrate. The rest of the day I thought no more about it and in the evening I fell asleep without having the slightest memory. During the night I found myself in a dream in a very large and dark apartment. I was alone. I distinctly heard these words: “Monsieur Martin asks for Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. I don't know who was speaking, I saw no one. At that moment I had the impression that in a darker place than the one where I was, the little Queen was being prepared to join her beloved Father. What were we doing to him? I don't know, but I heard a voice say: "She must be very beautiful to go with Monsieur Martin." Meanwhile, I saw in front of me an open door and although it was open it was extremely dark, not the smallest ray of light. In this darkness was Monsieur Martin whom I could not distinguish, I saw only red gauze and gold from the shoulders to the waist. I then found myself on the other side of this very dark door, but there everything was luminous. It was a bright sun. I passed without noticing him in front of Mr. Martin who was seated with his little Queen beside him whom I did not see, I could make out very well a part of her white dress. Then it all faded away. What struck me a lot in this dream is that there was no gap between the black door and the luminous place.
The next day when I woke up I understood everything. That was the explanation for the noise I had heard the night before. Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was to die within a year. It was a terrible blow to my heart. As soon as I could speak to him, I said to him:
- I have good news for you, for you, because for us it is not cheerful.
- Oh ! what is it, tell me, is it about my death.
- Yes, I believe you will die this year.
- Is it possible that I have such great happiness! But how do you know, is it for sure?
- As certain as these things can be.
I told him about the noise I had heard.
- But that doesn't say it's for me.
- Yes, it's good for you, and the proof is that in my dream you were named.
- What happiness! my name has been spoken.
I cannot return the expression of joy which shone in his eyes; she ardently wanted to know everything and I, to please her, wanted to tell her, but in order to mortify both of us we resolved to wait for a day of license and three weeks passed without saying a single word. At last the longed-for day arrived, she came to our cell, the snow was falling in flakes; after admiring her for a few moments we thought we had more interesting things to say than to rave about her, I began my story.
While she listened to me, I noticed an extraordinary happiness on her countenance; when I had finished, she said to me:
- How beautiful ! It's not a dream, it's a dream and it's for me that you had it, it's not for you. I prefer that you had it in preference to me, I believe in it more.
- But why, I said to him, do you look so happy?
- If you only knew the good you do me; did I not speak to you of the state of my soul?
- No, I don't know anything.
- How come I didn't tell you anything? But I see God's permission in it and now I prefer that you didn't know it, what you tell me does me more good. Since the good Lord made it known to you, I am also going to tell you about it. I don't believe in eternal life, it seems to me that after this mortal life there is nothing. I cannot express to you the darkness in which I am plunged. What you have just told me is exactly the state of my soul. The preparation that I am made and especially the black door is so well the image of what is happening in me. You have only seen red in this door so dark, that is to say, everything has disappeared for me and all I have left is love.
When I saw the sufferings of my darling sister, I thought that this red and the gold that accompanied it could well signify also the great pains that awaited her and the glory that would be the reward.
When she went down to the infirmary she told me "may your dream come true".
When I went to see her I asked her:
And the "black door" we knew what that meant.
" Oh ! she replied, growing darker and darker. Your dream is my only ray of light, I have no other. I know it by heart down to the smallest details. »
13. Therese? Not even a good nun
On a visit I found her with a most radiant countenance. As I asked her what could make her so happy, she said to me:
“I have just had a great happiness, I will confide it to you. I received a visit from one of our sisters. If you only knew, she told me, how little you are loved and appreciated here; I heard a sister say to another a few days ago: "I don't know why so much is said about Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, she does nothing remarkable, we do not see her practicing virtue, one cannot even say that she is a good nun.” To hear it said on my deathbed that I am not a good nun, what a joy, nothing could give me more pleasure. »
14. An Inconvenient Nature
- Tell me if you had any fights.
- Oh ! if I had any. I had an uncomfortable nature, it didn't appear, but I felt it well, I can assure you that I haven't been a single day without suffering, not a single one.
- But they say you didn't.
- Oh! judgments of creatures. Because they don't see, they don't believe. »
15. "Is she happy to see her!" »
A few days after her arrival at the infirmary, I went to see her. As soon as she saw me she held out her arms to me and exclaimed with an accent of inexpressible tenderness: “Oh! it is my sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustin. » Then addressing the young sisters who were present: « Please, leave me alone with her, I see her so little. When we were alone she told me again how happy she was to see me. Each of my visits was for her a new source of joy. One time, among others, a sister who was near her was so struck by it that she could not help saying: “What a look, she is happy to see it. »
During a recess our dear little patient had had a visit from the Community. When the latter left, she said to one of her sisters: “I particularly noticed my sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustin. As we can clearly see that she loves me. »
17. Not for His Reward
Another day I said to him:
- You suffer a lot, but you will be well rewarded.
- No, not for the reward, to please Him. How unhappy I would be if I were not abandoned to the will of God. Today the Doctor says I'm lost, tomorrow I'm better, he even seems to hint that I might be here in April. That this alternative would be tiring; but all that does not touch my soul and does not disturb its peace. I surrender.
- You are right not to worry. I know more than him and I assure you that you are lost, that most certainly you will not be here in April. But I'm afraid you're in a lot of pain.
- Oh ! don't worry about that. The good Lord won't give me more than I can bear, I have to let him. »
- There are sisters who believe that you will have the fear of death.
- They haven't arrived yet. If they come I will bear them, but if I have them they will not be enough to purify me, it will only be bleach. It is the fire of love that I need.
19. Knowing you as you are
- My darling little sister, I ask you for a favor, it is to come and assist me at the time of my death.
- Oh ! yes I will come.
- And don't let me go to Purgatory. But get me a perfect act of love.
- In purgatory, but you won't go. Souls as regular as you don't go. You are extremely faithful, you carry it on you. If you only knew how meritorious I find your life. You will be surprised when you see the good you have done and the souls you have saved. Your eyes speak the good Lord. What happiness I will soon see all the beauties of your soul, know you as you are and I rejoice, because on earth I do not know you.
20. The Dream
Two days before her death, she said to one of her sisters: "You can't imagine how many times I think of the dream of my sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustin." If we knew the good he did me and what consolations he gave me during my illness, he helped me to bear it. »
21. Last Moments
The hour of the reward was about to strike, the agony was beginning and what agony!... What cruel sufferings! The first day, I went to see her, she welcomed me with her angelic smile. My heart broke at the thought that it would soon be over. I left the infirmary to hide tears from her that I couldn't hold back anymore. On September 30, around 4:1 p.m., the shadows of death spread more and more over the angelic face of our saint. It was the approach of the Beloved. Around 2 o'clock she gazed at me for a few moments with her eyes, half extinguished but still showing the most tender affection. It was her farewell look: for the last time in this land of exile the corolla of the two small flowers so closely united turned towards each other... This last look reminded me of her promise to think of me and all the memories of tenderness that the pen is powerless to describe. Soon, she seemed to say to me, you will come with me, life is only one day, how sweet this eternal goodbye will be for our hearts!...
At 7:1 a.m., Jesus came to pick his beloved flower. The last moments had something solemn about them. His shining gaze contemplated the Invisible... Under this impression, I lowered my eyes, when I raised them this exiled Angel returned to the Homeland leaving us perfumed with the perfume of his virtues and his ardent love. I approached to give him a last kiss. It was all over...
22. A perpetual smile
But can we say that she left us? Every moment we feel her presence, she lives with us. His memory is a perpetual smile.
Sr Therese of St Augustine
Made a few months after his death.
23. Posthumous Messages
On October 4, 1897, the day of the burial of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, I entered the choir during the first antiphon of Lauds which was sung at that time before Mass. I had often heard it without it making any impression on me, but at that moment it was otherwise. I understood in a very vivid light the nothingness of the creature before the divine majesty and that it is above all the destruction of ourselves that glorifies the good. God. This impression lasted most of the Mass. During the elevation, I felt my dear sister beside me and I heard these words inside: "Oh! my little sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustin, if you only knew how what you think is true... I don't forget you."
A few days later, I wondered if Sister Thérèse had really gone straight to Heaven. While I was reciting this verse at the Office: “Benedictus Dominus”, I again had the impression of his presence near me and these words: “Oh! yes, let us bless the Lord” heard inwardly gave me the firm assurance that it had been so.
I asked my dear little sister to obtain for me the strength to control my imagination, which diverted me by its continual importunities from attention to the presence of God and made me spend the time devoted to prayer in a perpetual fight. Seeing that I was not getting any improvement, I blamed him. Immediately I heard in the bottom of my heart: "I cannot take away a subject of merit from you." »
On September 6, 1910, the day of the exhumation, I reproached my darling sister with the fraternal little reproach of always maintaining the most profound silence with me; at the same time I reminded him of the promise to come and tell me if the good Lord was not pleased with me. At the same moment, I understood: "Since I'm not coming, you must think that the good Lord is very happy." »