the Carmel

Circular from Sister Marie-Dosithée

of our Monastery of the Visitation of Le Mans

Summary of the life and virtues of our dear sister
Marie Dosithée GUERIN 1829-1877

In around ten instances, we have replaced the expression “Her Charity”, designating a person, by the word “she”.

Died in this Monastery of the Visitation of Sainte-Marie in Le Mans, on February 24, 1877, aged 48, including 17 by profession, in the rank of Associate Sisters.

“The fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom. »

Proverbs I, 7

This profound word, dictated by the Holy Spirit, had a striking realization in the fervent and holy life of our late deceased. The fear of God was, from the beginning of his existence, the dominant feeling of his soul, he never left it; and, if later, love took so much the upper hand that it absorbed everything else, it was always based on a filial fear, the precious fruit of which was, according to the oracle of our holy Books, the possession of Wisdom.

Our dear Sister was born on May 31, 1829, in Saint Denis-sur-Sarthon, a small town in Normandy not far from Alençon, where her honorable and virtuous parents lived. They lived there in modest ease, possessing general esteem and affection, justly deserved by their probity and good principles. Louise was the eldest of the three children that God granted to Monsieur and Madame Guérin. From her earliest years, she constituted herself as the guardian angel of her sister, and later of her brother, who, much younger, was raised by her care and under her almost maternal guidance. Madame Guérin was a strong woman, of unusual energy, of courage that nothing frightened, simple and somewhat rustic, but of robust faith and very upright judgment. The education given by such a mother could only be very serious; indeed it was. Reason, duty, observance of divine law and the precepts of the Church without any dispensation, work and solid Christian virtues, these were the principles that she strove to instill in her children and above all to make them practice. The nature of our dear Sister was completely disposed to this austere regime, by her own inclinations. She was born serious, and felt an instinctive need to follow her duty in all matters and to use her life well. She barely had a few glimmers of reason when the fear of sin grew so strong in this innocent soul that its very name froze her with fear. Very active and petulant, the little girl had pronounced desires, she would have been voluntary if the rigid, although good, hand of her worthy mother had not made her get into the habit of obeying in everything. This single word: "it's a sin", stopped the poor child in her strongest inclinations, and immediately cut short all desire, all recreation, almost all thoughts. Madame Guérin, who saw in her daughter this excessive fear of offending God, used a little too much the ascendancy of the powerful phrase: it's a sin! to repress its slightest imperfections. Louise worked a lot, and had very little fun.

Eager to safeguard the innocence of her dear little one, Madame Guérin kept her away from the other children, and gave her lessons in this regard, the austerity of which made our Louise fearful beyond measure. On the rare occasions when she was with children of her age, if games were organized, such as rounds or similar exercises, the poor little girl would have thought it was a great sin to be near a little boy; she escaped trembling and as adroitly as possible, sometimes attracting mischievous jokes about what was called her wild humor. A line will prove the power that the voice of conscience had over this child warned of grace. It happened that one day Madame Guérin took her two daughters to a country house, where Louise saw one of those colored cardboard heads that fashion merchants use, which excited her most ardent desires; it seemed to him that nothing could give him more pleasure than to possess this object. In her desire, she constantly said to her younger sister: “Oh! How happy I would be if someone gave me this big head! » She, loving her eldest very much, communicated to the lady owner of the treasure in question the wishes of our Louise, then aged 7 or 8 years old. This lady, who knew the little girl's more than timid conscience, said to her, laughing, to test her: “I will gladly give her to you on one condition. " " Oh ! replied Louise, with a hundred conditions if you want, Madam, I will give you everything I have to have it!” — “It’s not a question of giving me anything, but of doing something very simple and very easy. » — “I will do whatever you want,” replied the child. " - " Well ! If you want to kiss my little boy, you’ll get it.” At this unexpected word, Louise experiences a violent struggle within herself, her sister urges and torments her to quickly fulfill this easy condition: but Louise fears disobeying her Mother and offending God, that is enough. to stifle his ardent desire. She becomes indifferent and cold, and responds seriously to the good lady: “Oh! I don't want it anymore, Madam, thank you, keep it, I will never think of it again. »

The faults so common in childhood were truly unknown to our beloved Sister; by her own admission, she did not remember ever having told the smallest lie, nor turned her head in church, nor committed any disobedience. As soon as she was able to understand what God was towards her, her greatest happiness was to pray to him and to be near the holy altars. When her mother took her to parish services, Louise stood in such deep contemplation that she saw no one, and did not even know who was next to her. As soon as she knew how to read, what she learned in the Apocalypse, she no longer raised her eyes from her book, and, during high mass, followed the ordinary of the Holy Sacrifice three or four times, not believing to be able to stay a moment without praying. Faith, the fear of God, innocence shone most brightly in this soul; but, as we have already suspected, a certain atmosphere of rigorism, constraint and scruple surrounded it on all sides, hindering its expansion, and preparing for it many sufferings. The education that Louise received, as much as her natural tendencies, nourished this unfortunate disposition, which a few years later was to cause her real martyrdom.

It seems that the lily of virginity was implanted in her soul with the grace of holy Baptism: this child never had any other thought than to consecrate herself to God, and the very idea of ​​marriage caused her repugnance and inexpressible distance. This revulsion was known not only to his family, but to friends who frequented the house. We liked to tease her in this regard; the mothers said to Madame Guérin in her presence: “Oh! you will give me Louise to be my son's wife. » Immediately the child burst into cries and sobs, protesting that she would never marry. Her sister then, full of compassion for the pain of her dear eldest, and not experiencing the same feeling, said out loud with very candid frankness: “Oh! don't make her cry, you'll take me in her place! »Scenes of this kind were not rare. One day, among others, it was in the octave of Epiphany, a respectable friend of the family brought the children a king's cake; it unfortunately happened that the bean fell into the piece given to Louise, immediately the good gentleman said that he is delighted that she is the queen, and that he being naturally the king, since he gave the cake, the little daughter will be his wife. Louise, indignant, throws her cake on the ground, begins to cry, exclaiming: “No, no, I will be neither your wife nor your queen!” And from that moment on, she found it difficult to bear the sight of the good old man. The study had a lot of attraction for our dear child; she would have given herself over to it with ardor if her mother had allowed it; but Madame Guérin preferred that her daughters knew how to work with a needle, and it was towards this type of occupation that she actively pushed them. Our dear Sister therefore acquired, from her young years, this habit of manual work of which she later gave us such a persevering example.

Long before her first communion, Louise followed the catechism classes of her parish with zeal and piety; religious instruction had the sweetest charms for her, the truth captivated her mind and delighted her heart; she would have liked to always hear about God and the great mysteries of our holy religion. His desire to approach the Banquet of Angels was ardent; and when the year came which was to bring her this happiness, the innocent child watched over her even more to avoid the slightest faults, and redoubled her fervor in her exercises of piety. At ten years old, Louise was finally able to receive her God for the first time; she had seriously prepared for this ineffable visit, and reaped abundant graces and lasting fruits from it. The religious vocation, which seemed to have been born with her, grew noticeably stronger from this great day; it was her only thought, and she would have liked to be able to follow it immediately. The life of the cloister or the life of a hermit excited his continual aspirations; the latter even had her preference, and, following the example of Saint Teresa [of Avila], she made a long-term plan to flee her father's house to retire to some silent Thebaïde, where she was to live only in prayer. But like our Blessed Sister Marguerite Marie, the fear of meeting men in her desert prevented her from carrying out her escape plans.

Mrs. Guérin, seeing her eldest daughter grow up, understood that it was necessary to give her at least the first elements of instruction necessary in all situations of life. She therefore placed her in Alençon in a small secular boarding house, where the child behaved perfectly, and studied with ardor; but she withdrew her after a few months, preferring to entrust her, as well as her younger sister, to the wise direction of the Religious of Perpetual Adoration. For this, Madame Guérin convinced her husband to sell the small land they owned in Saint-Denis, and to buy a house in Alençon, in order to be closer to her two daughters, from whom she could not bear the separation. As a leading woman, the worthy mother activated the sale and acquisition, set about carrying out considerable repairs in the new home, and carried out everything with unusual energy. But it turned out that the expenses incurred by this work greatly exceeded the forecasts of Mrs. Guérin, who had taken all responsibility for the business from her husband. The modest fortune of this respectable family was quite seriously compromised, which caused our dear Sister's mother worry and sadness that nothing could dissipate. In this ordeal, she did not have the courage to separate from her dear Louise, her comforting angel, and put her youngest daughter alone in the convent. Although our good Sister was only twelve years old at the time, she knew how to support her mother in this tribulation, raise her dejected spirit with the thoughts of faith and trust that she suggested to him, and thus spent a difficult and very meritorious year, revealing himself in any case to relieve Madame Guérin, and avoid expenses which were not absolutely necessary. The financial difficulties having dissipated a little, Louise went to join her sister at the Ladies of Adoration; it was the realization of his ardent desires.

To be in a religious house, surrounded by spouses of Our Lord, to have examples of virtue before her eyes, to be able to pray and study at her ease, it was almost paradise for the dear child. Never before had she found herself so happy, and the two years she spent in the convent passed too quickly as her heart pleased. In her faith and her innocence, she looked at all her Mistresses as Saints, whose traces and clothes she would have liked to kiss; her veneration for them almost equaled the honor she had for the Blessed in Heaven, she never saw in them the shadow of an imperfection, so deep were her esteem and respect. Louise was an impeccable student, she worked with a diligence and an ardor that it was rather necessary to moderate than to excite, and her conduct was truly exemplary. At fifteen years old Mademoiselle Guérin was called back to her family, and left the Boarding School with keenly felt pain; but she knew how to make the sacrifice to God, and began a life more virtuous than ever, with a devotion to her loved ones, a forgetfulness of herself and a piety which attracted her many graces. At this time, a third child came, increasing the concerns of Madame Guérin, who, entirely concerned with the care of her house, believed she could entrust her little Benjamin to her dear eldest daughter. Louise therefore acted as maid, mother and teacher to her dear little brother, whom she surrounded with all the care and delicate attention that her heart suggested. It was she who initiated him into his first knowledge, taught him to pray, and directed, until his first communion, the mind and heart of this child, who later was to provide his consolation and repay his devotion with gratitude. the most vivid. Until the age of nineteen, Mademoiselle Louise gently led this family life in the exercise of all Christian virtues. The world never had the slightest attraction for her heart, she ignored it and was ignored by it; his spirit and his customs aroused his contempt; and, at this age where illusion is so easy and so common, our dear Sister already tasted and possessed this celestial Wisdom of which the fear of God gives the first fruits.

But, because this soul was pleasing to the Lord, it was necessary, as the Angel said to Tobit, that it should be tested by temptation; this came and was as painful and prolonged as it was meritorious. The demon, no doubt jealous and worried about her rapid march in the path of the Saints, set up his most skillful and perfidious batteries against her. As he does with all souls, he attacked the sensitive point of this nature, and made a powerful lever of this feeling of fear and this disposition of rigorism which dominated his consciousness, without however enslave until then. God, who wanted to purify his love and strengthen his fidelity, made this innocent and generous soul pass through the crucible of suffering, from which it was to emerge even purer and richer with the many merits of its resignation. Terrible interior pains came upon our beloved Sister. Terrors, doubts, perplexities of all kinds, constantly resurgent scruples, general obscurity on everything related to spirituality, enveloped his soul as in a garment of pain and anguish. Life became torture for her: her only desire was to love her God, to serve him, to do everything for his glory, and it seemed to her at every moment to offend him, and all the paths that were to lead her to him, seemed closed or filled with insurmountable obstacles... The only souls who have passed this type of ordeal know how cruel it is, and that all other suffering pales in comparison to this torture. Our Sister sector suffered all the more because she had no help, no direction around her. She then confessed to a respectable, very elderly priest, who, not understanding the situation of his penitent, further increased her anxieties, and complicated, through his advice, the inextricable embarrassments that the enemy was piling up in her mind.

When the soul suffers, it is rare that the body does not experience its painful influence; Mademoiselle Guérin's health, until then very flourishing and even vigorous, gradually deteriorated seriously. The lack of sleep and appetite caused by his internal sufferings led to excessive thinness, an unhealthy complexion and a general weakness which worried his respectable parents. They could not discover the cause, and their dear daughter was careful not to communicate anything about this martyrdom of the heart, which would not have been understood. This ordeal lasted five or six years, and what is admirable is that the fidelity and love of our virtuous Sister seemed to grow in proportion to the difficulties. Although piety, the reception of the sacraments and the fulfillment of all her duties offered her only thorns and tortures, she embraced them with the ardor and generosity of martyrs welcoming the instruments of their torture. In these long and painful years, there was only one month during which the courageous athlete weakened in this bitter fight, and allowed the enemy to gain some advantage. Dejected and discouraged, believing that, despite her hatred of sin and her ardent desire to love God, she could not do otherwise than to offend him, the poor soul laid down her arms, and said to herself: “I can no longer live. so, come what may! "Virtue was too deeply rooted in this heart for great faults to be possible, as sometimes happens, in similar trials, to less strong souls. But character and nature took the upper hand a little, and, under the double influence of the temptations of impatience and discouragement, combined with suffering, produced some less delicate processes in the relations of our dear Sister with her family. This was the only reported time of infidelity in his life; and his most serious failings were limited to a few abrupt words, to fleeting vivacities, and to less generosity in all of his duties. God who loved this soul dearly, and knew how much he was loved by it, took pity on its momentary weakness, caused by weariness. Suddenly, during prayer, our beloved Sister felt that her sorrows, her darkness, her fears were taken away from her. A dazzling light replaced the darkness, the sweetest certainties destroyed the painful doubts; peace, calm flooded him with celestial happiness: his interior was transformed. But this intimate and precious grace was a temporary help, similar to this mysterious bread that the Angel brought to the prophet Elijah to give him the strength to continue his journey.

Mademoiselle Guérin lived for some time in the midst of the most felt consolations, and in an interior light that no cloud seemed likely to obscure; then we had to take the road to Calvary again. Without any apparent cause, the state of anguish and perplexity returned, and moral suffering enveloped, for years to come, the soul and life of our fervent Sister. In the midst of her afflictions, she did not lose sight of the holy vocation that she had always felt deep in her heart. She discovered to her confessor, who was then a very enlightened and zealous priest, her desire to enter the Reverend Poor Clare Mothers. The latter, seeing the health of his penitent shaken, told her to wait a few years, in order to experience in her family if she could support the austerity of the Rule. Mademoiselle Louise put herself to the test of her strength: during three Lents, she fasted as rigidly as the generous daughters of Saint Clare; the result was the ruin of his stomach, which never completely recovered from these pious excesses. His health was too profoundly impaired to leave him with any hope of ever being able to sustain such a penitent type of life. She understood this, and, although admitting deep regrets, she renounced this vocation which responded to all her attractions. God allowed that, in the meantime, the Life of our Holy Founder [François de Sales] fell into his hands; she read it with delight, and soon she enjoyed his spirit so much that she conceived an ardent desire to become one of his daughters. But several years still separated her from her entry into the Holy Ark, and a work of dedication was offered to her generosity, before the happy port of religious life opened up for this fervent soul.

Her young sister had reached the age when, in a position of modest wealth, one must think of providing for the future, she came one day to find her dear eldest, and begged her to join her for a novena to the Blessed Virgin, which was to end on the day of her great feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mesdemoiselles Guérin prayed together fervently, and, the novena finished, the sister of our dear deceased went to declare to her mother that she wanted to put herself at the head of a lace workshop. The Alençon point occupies a number of young girls in the town; it is, as we know, the industrial wealth of the country. Madame Guérin approved this project, but on the condition that her eldest daughter would have the upper hand and take responsibility for the company. It was a chain that was formed to keep Mademoiselle Louise in the world, whose heart only longed to leave it. Nevertheless believing that Our Lord was asking him, for a while at least, the sacrifice of those dearest to him? desires, she accepted the task that divine Providence imposed on her, and devoted herself completely to it. Mesdemoiselles Guérin chose their workers, put them to work, and soon found themselves in possession of an important piece of work which had to be put up for sale. Therein lay the difficulty: a small provincial town offers few fortunes considerable enough to frequently purchase high-priced lace; these young ladies had few connections, and consequently no chance of success. Our dear Sister, despite her excessive shyness, decided to leave for Paris, where she knew neither a person nor a street, in order to offer to some trading house to buy her lace. It is easy to judge the extreme trouble she gave herself, having no understanding of business. She had little success in this first journey; but, without being discouraged, she returned to Alençon, hoping to find an easier commercial organization for young girls. In fact, some time later, a large house in Paris undertook to deal with Mesdemoiselles Guérin, placing orders at a fixed price for them, and things were established on a reassuring footing for the future. Our good Sister blessed God, hoping to soon be able to leave the interests of earth in the hands of her dear younger sister, to only concern herself with those of heaven and eternity!

But an unexpected obstacle would still arise before her. Her health significantly impaired, as we know, by her interior trials and austerities, having recovered sufficiently to allow her to follow our way of life, she saw no difficulty in this regard, when a cold, completely neglected, suddenly compromised the condition of her chest, and gave her the germ of consumption which would later slowly consume our dear Sister. Spitting blood and a violent fever occurred, soon Marie-Louise's life was in danger, she was condemned by the doctor who declared the illness without cure. For six weeks, she fought against death, which seemed imminent. Deep in her heart, Miss Guérin remained confident of finally achieving the goal of her desires, and, in this hope, began a novena to Our Lord. de la Salette, asking him for enough health to devote himself to God. On the last day, a very noticeable improvement appeared; it continued to increase, and at the end of two months, our dear Sister had regained a weight that she had not had for many years. The divine will declared itself evident, the strength was restored to her so that she could follow the call she had heard for so long. But out of prudence, she thought it necessary to postpone her entry into religion in order to ensure that she had fully recovered. A harsh winter was faced without the slightest cough, two others followed it going just as well; our dear aspirant believed the time had come to enter the Holy Ark. She prayed to her pious director to obtain a place for her in our Monastery. The abbot therefore wrote to our Most Honored Mother Thérèse de Gonzague de Freslon, proposing his penitent, whose virtues and solid vocation he made known. The praise he gave of it spoke in his favor, and a favorable response was given.
At the height of her wishes, Mademoiselle Louise hastened to write in her turn to our Venerated Mother asking permission to come immediately for a retreat, and, if possible, then begin religious life. She was then 29 years old. It was on Easter Wednesday, April 7, 1858, that the doors of the House of God opened for this soul, who for so long had aspired to pass through them. Her first impressions were as sweet and consoling as possible; she thought she was almost in heaven. The sight of the nuns, the Choir exercises, all the places in the monastery responded to her most intimate attractions, she sang in her soul like the Prophet-King: “This is the place of my rest!”

Our dear Sister Marie-Dosithée appeared, from the first, what she has always been since, a soul of duty, full of fervor in the service of God and devotion to neighbor. But our good Mothers wanted to have information about his health, which then seemed quite satisfactory. When questioned, Mademoiselle Louise revealed the chest illness she had had two years previously; she was shown to the doctor who noted that the lungs were currently in good condition, but that phthisis could and would reappear in a more or less distant time. This consultation led to the decision to leave the dear retreatant: the Community then had a good number of infirm people and those in very delicate health, our Most Honored Mother did not believe she could accept new ones. This decision was love at first sight for our poor Sister, who experienced extreme pain; she made the strongest entreaties to make her change, begging that we at least try her strength, but God allowed our Superiors to appear inflexible, no doubt to further excite the faith and confidence of this generous soul. In vain did she evoke the goodness and gentleness of our Blessed Father towards those in poor health, it was decided that she would leave the Holy Ark. In the midst of the abundant tears shed by Mademoiselle Louise, an intimate voice assured her internally that, even if God were to perform a miracle, she would never leave this blessed asylum. The day of her departure not having been fixed, the virtuous aspirant, instead of inquiring about it, began with touching fervor to follow our holy exercises from morning to evening, and in the time that they left her free. , she worked harder than any officer in the House. Having prayed to be given work, and the Roberie then lacking help, Mademoiselle Louise took the place of two or three, devouring, so to speak, the work, to the point of making an entire dress per day. Three weeks passed like this; the Community could only be edified by such constancy, humility and fervor. One evening, our dear Sister saw our Venerated Mother Thérèse de Gonzague enter her cell with an expression as consoling as it was satisfied, and Her Charity said to her with her kind smile: “My child, your trust has touched us, Our Lord does not want not that we will make you leave; not only will you stay, but tomorrow you will enter the Novitiate. » Perhaps never had the soul of our poor Sister experienced such profound joy. She overflowed with gratitude; living in the house of God, for her it was almost bliss! also what thanksgiving towards Our Lord, what warm thanks towards our good Mother escaped from his heart!

Since she had entered the Visitation, Mademoiselle Louise had not given any news to her family, who, worried by such a prolonged silence, were preparing to come and look for her, suspecting that she was not at will. his desires. They wrote to her to this effect, she immediately replied that she was at the height of happiness, but that there had been many difficulties for her admission, which motivated her silence. Madame Guérin, not reassured, arrives, and tells her dear daughter that she wants to take her away at all costs, for fear that the first difficulties will arise. But the energetic Sister Louise, affirming that her foot would never cross the closing gate, put an end to the maternal fight, and the happy postulant continued her trial, which had begun eight days ago. It was truly a time of trial for our generous Sister. On the health side, nothing was spared to explore its strengths and resources. The Rule was proposed to him without any consideration; she followed it from point to point, eating only two meals a day, receiving Communion Mass, fasting throughout Lent, and following the general routine from morning to evening. Our beloved Sister, having no voice, and her chest being compromised, was placed among the associated Sisters; which did not prevent her from training, in the Novitiate, in all the rubrics and ceremonies of the Holy Office, as if she had been in the choir. It would be difficult to see a more exemplary applicant in every respect. An accomplished model of regularity, of fidelity to the slightest observances and to the recommendations of obedience, as soon as the duty was known to her, she carried herself to it with a fervor, a generosity which overthrew any obstacle. Upon entering the House of God, Mademoiselle Guérin said to herself with all the energy of her nature and the ardor of her faith: “I come here to be a Saint! » This goal was always before her eyes, and she tended towards it with a perseverance which assured her conquest.

At the beginning of her religious life, and even for several years, the fidelity and virtue of our dear Sister had something too rigid, and which smacked of constraint and embarrassment; she suffered first, and, consequently, her example was less appreciated and less profitable than if the holy freedom of the spirit of our Holy Founder had accompanied this great exactitude. Extremely shy, our good Sister had difficulty opening up to her Superiors, and leadership was a painful ordeal for her for a long time. She would have liked to make herself known, and words did not come to her lips, not even to express the ardent desire she felt to advance in her religious career, and to arrive at the consummation of her sacrifice. The Director of the Novitiate was then Our Most Honored Sister Marie Victoire Doney, whose kindness, openness and simplicity naturally encouraged trust. Seeing her postulant so withdrawn, so fearful, although very fervent, she formed an unfavorable judgment on her, and feared that she would never be able to take on the true spirit of our holy vocation. We therefore extended the ordeal well beyond ordinary time, and it was only after eleven months of postulancy that Sister Louise donned our holy liveries, on February 24, 1859.
This day brought ineffable consolations to his soul: being the Bride of Our Lord, wearing the habit of his Brides caused him inexpressible joy. She received the name of Marie Dosithée, and it seems that she was the faithful image of the saint and so obedient religious who became her Patron. The Novice was even more exemplary than the postulant had been; our holy liveries were truly, for our dear Sister, what our Blessed Father declares that they really are in themselves: “weapons of light. » She then understood the defective point, although involuntary, in her conduct, and resolved at all costs to overcome her shyness, her overly austere seriousness, the lack of openness with her Superiors and of expansion towards her neighbor. Her year of probation was rich in victories over these natural tendencies, and our beloved Sister showed herself even better what she was all her life: a model of regularity, obedience and exactitude in all her duties. She was then employed in the refectory, in the student linen room and as a supervisor at the boarding school. This last office caused him extreme repugnance, which his timidity further increased. By going near the children, it seemed to her that she was going to torture, and she was obliged to call upon the most striking thoughts of faith to draw from them the courage to overcome herself. There, as in everything she did, she acted only on one principle, duty: accomplishing it herself, having it observed by those around her was her only concern.

Beneath a somewhat cold exterior, our dear Sister hid a sensitive and excellent heart. During her Novitiate, touched by the kindness and devotion of her worthy Mistress, she conceived for her an affection full of gratitude, but which could have become a little too exclusive. Our Lord, who wanted this soul completely detached and dead from humanity, used a slight circumstance to break the thread which was beginning to paralyze its flight. Sister Marie Dosithée one day had an indisposition which kept her lying in her cell; It happened that her good Mistress, usually so attentive to her Novices, especially when they were ill, completely forgot to go and visit her, and the next day, seeing her again in the Novitiate following the ordinary exercises, did not inquire at all about her news. This apparent indifference was very noticeable to our dear Sister who had suffered from abandonment the day before; it was enough to free his heart forever from the search for all-too-natural consolations. From that moment on, her detachment was complete, and, while remaining full of respectful affection and filial confidence towards her Superiors, she saw only God in them, obeying all the better to the creature as she did not considered the Creator. The year of probation completed, the Community was happy to admit to holy profession our dear Sister Marie Dosithée. March 12, 1860 consummated the union of this faithful soul with the Bridegroom whom she had only desired and sought since the dawn of her life. She understood the full extent of the perfection encompassed in our three wishes, as well as in the spirit of our Institute, and devoted herself to it with a generosity of love that never wavered. The day of his profession was the height of his happiness, while opening to the eyes of his soul a career of sacrifices. The first that Our Lord asked him was that of his good Mother. Madame Guérin fell asleep in the Lord in the arms of her second daughter, whom a union as happy as it was Christian had fixed close to her. Sister Marie Dosithée loved her family tenderly, but in a very supernatural way, as it will be easy to see later. This painful event was therefore very sensitive to her, but she resigned herself to it with her usual generosity.

Hard on herself, our dear Sister did not readily accept relief, and her mortification sometimes overrode her prudence. Thus, towards the time of her profession, she again neglected a cold which brought on a slow fever and some spitting of blood; it was the old illness returning, as it did repeatedly for seventeen years. To achieve sainthood was, as we have said, the sole goal of this soul; she did not achieve it without effort, without struggles, or suffering. God allowed, in order to perfect her virtue and increase her love, that she felt almost all the time of her religious life, with the exception of the last two years, a set of repugnances, difficulties, fears which stopped her, or , at least, seemed to hinder his progress at all times. The spirit of rigor, which in the world caused so much interior pain to our dear Sister, was almost always her martyrdom. The obedient one turned her efforts towards this point, with a constancy that all her management papers reveal to us. We read these lines traced by the different hands of the Superiors and Directors of our late deceased: “Take by obedience the spirit of breadth in everything, for the interior and exterior. » “Avoid fear and constriction, relying on obedience. » Peace, humility, great expansion in the service of God, total abandonment; not to fear mistakes so much. Be careful to always expand.

This painful tendency therefore remained in the depths of his soul for a long time, causing him a thousand intimate sufferings. But our good Sister Marie Dosithée worked generously to defeat this enemy of her perfection as well as her happiness; and we can say that she completely defeated him at the end of her life, as we will soon see. The virtues and perfect regularity of this true nun made her a model for beginners; also at the time when she had to leave the Novitiate, she was retained there as an Assistant. She held this office for six years, and it would be difficult to fulfill it with more zeal, dedication and punctuality than she did. Our dear Sister spared neither her time nor her effort to train postulants and novices in our holy observances. Possessing herself perfectly, and fulfilling with exemplary fidelity everything related to the Rule, customs and recommendations, her actions, as much as her words, were a perpetual teaching. Not only did she teach the young Sisters what to do, but she demonstrated and helped them do it well. Many of us remember with gratitude the numerous visits made to their cell by our vigilant Sister Marie Dosithée, to train them in the order of which today's youth are so often deprived. She strove to instill in the pretenders a great love and respect for Superiors, the Rule and duty. Perhaps there was mingled with these precious teachings something harsh and rigorous which was due to his nature and the painful dispositions of his soul; but if she was a little frightening, everyone always gave her deep esteem and true gratitude. Our beloved Sister added to the position of Assistant of the Novitiate those of Second Doorkeeper, Supervisor of the Boarding School, Assistant of the parlors and Supervisor of the Community. She was also an assistant in the dress department, in the lingerie department and responsible for taking care of the stockings. In everything and everywhere, she was the faithful servant of the Lord, doing with the most complete devotion what holy obedience entrusted to her.

His serious and essentially practical mind had, as we have said, on the day of his profession, understood our sacred commitments in all their extent. We believe we can say that she fulfills them with a fidelity that is quite rare, even among fervent souls. The white lily which had embalmed his childhood and his life in the family with its celestial perfumes, took root even more strongly in his soul, when, to virtue, the wish was added. Our dear Sister lived, breathed and aspired only for the divine Spouse: her detachment from creatures was complete. His affections had no other principle, nor other end, than the glory of God and the order of his holy will. Two of his nieces were raised in our Boarding School; Sister Marie Dosithée, under the sanction of obedience, took care of these dear children with a concern and wisdom which only tended to make them serious Christians, instilling in them the spirit of sacrifice, self-denial, love of work and duty as she herself was imbued with it. These dear children benefited from such virtuous lessons, and devoted to their aunt a tenderness full of veneration and gratitude. Her loss caused deep pain to them, as well as to the whole family, to whom she was truly their advice and consolation. In her relationships with her parents, as with her neighbor, whoever he was, Sister Marie Dosithée always maintained this attitude of reserve and mortification which leads to respect and prevents any familiarity; perhaps we could even have wished him more abandonment and fulfillment. These traits were the last which were added as a crown to her virtue, and made her, towards the end of her life, full of kindness and charity.

The poverty of our dear Sister was truly poor and destitute. She preferred clothing and objects that were vile and worn, as long as they were clean; his industries for the practice of this virtue were as ingenious as they were touching. She asked permission to mend her shoes herself, and had them used until they were gone; his retirement resolutions and his little devotional notes were always written on scraps of paper found here and there; getting up and going to bed without light was his usual practice. Being in charge of an altar, which she decorated with as much zeal as piety, her bouquets of artificial flowers offered the Queen of Heaven the perfume of holy poverty, in the absence of any other merit. We do not believe that she ever used new supplies to make them. Time was taken advantage of by this true nun as the price of the blood of Jesus, and with what holy avarice! She never lost a minute, and her natural activity put at the service of her virtue, made her work tirelessly at the work entrusted to her, with an ardor that obedience often had to moderate. In the last weeks of her illness, she was still seen mending stockings the morning after Prime, only inserting the needle when coughing fits or extreme weakness no longer allowed her to hold it.

The obedience of our dear deceased was perfect. Holy slave of our blessed rules and observances, she fulfilled them with scrupulous punctuality and accuracy. We can say in this respect that she accomplished everything down to one iota. The importance she attached to it led her to learn about it with the greatest care: we therefore resorted to her with complete confidence, when any doubt or embarrassment arose concerning our slightest uses. Her spirit of faith made her see Our Lord in the person of her Superiors; she always showed them a respect full of affection and complete confidence and submission. She blindly relied on their direction for the guidance of her soul, and reported on her interior with great openness, overcoming her natural timidity. A word from our Most Honored Mother was a sacred order for our fervent Sister, who would not have allowed herself a reflection that could be even slightly contrary to it. If sometimes the eagerness of her nature and her pronounced desires led her to manifest a personal will to her Superior, she promptly asked forgiveness, humbling herself with these small productions of her own spirit. The words of our Holy Books were verified in our good Sister Marie Dosithée in a striking way, and this true obedient was truly able to recount her victories. This virtue, so fruitful in the fruits of holiness, transformed the interior and exterior of our dear deceased. His fears gave way to perfect abandonment, to absolute peace, to a childlike trust in Our Lord. His somewhat cold reserve, and what was less cordial in his relations with his neighbors changed into an amiable ease, into a gentle and entirely devoted charity. Mortification, a distinctive feature of his life, shone all the better when it was accompanied by the amiable virtues which increased its value. Until the end, Sister Marie Dosithée was an enemy of natural pursuits and satisfactions; she carried the cross of suffering and illness with rare courage and energy, which earned her exceptional graces and consolations, as we will say presently.

Extremely faithful to prayer, his path was often painful. For a long time she believed she had to practice it herself through a personal action, which oppressed her instead of uniting her peacefully with God. In her last years, she understood that the soul must rather give itself over to divine action, and abandon reasoning to remain passive under the influence of the spirit of grace. Then her heart expanding, she entered into the prayer of simple gaze so recommended by our Holy Founder, and reaped the most abundant fruits: a total surrender of herself to Our Lord, and the holy freedom of spirit.

On various occasions during her religious career, our beloved Sister expressed more or less serious concerns about the state of her chest; Almost every winter saw the reappearance of a persistent cough, often accompanied by fever and spitting of blood. Two years before her death, the malignant humour, instead of affecting the lungs, attacked one foot, producing considerable swelling there to make it difficult for our poor Sister to walk. Our Doctor, while treating this illness, looked at it like a condom for the chest. But the hour of reward was approaching for this faithful and generous soul. Our Lord would, like a skillful sculptor, put the final touches to this living statue, so that it would achieve the most perfect conformity with its divine Model. In January 1876, the excellent triduum that Monsignor our worthy Bishop was kind enough to preach to us, was a solemn and decisive moment for our dear Sister. Having had, like most of us, the advantage of serving Her Majesty in particular, Sister Marie-Dosithée received words so luminous and so penetrating about God's views towards her, that from that day she entered a new path. Our worthy Prelate, with the grace characteristic of him, immediately understood the needs of this ardent but anxious soul. With a single word, he put an end to her anxieties, and fixed her in the peaceful abandonment which she preserved until her death. His gratitude for this inestimable benefit was often expressed in a touching manner. How many times since then has she said to our Venerated Mother: “Monsignor has performed a true miracle, I am completely transformed. Oh ! my Mother, what grace! I no longer know how to love, confide and abandon myself! help me to thank the good Lord! » We find in his papers these few lines which seem to date from this period: “Abandonment! but abandonment in the smallest details! Prayer of simple gaze into God; remember these words: Do nothing, and receive much. In the dryness of prayer, keep myself under the gaze of Our Lord without resorting to considerations. Surrender for preparation for Holy Communion and thanksgiving; let Our Lord act himself. When I have something to do, instead of thinking about doing it well, abandon myself to Our Lord. » This spiritual program was punctually followed by our dear deceased, who truly managed to lose herself in God, to let him alone operate and live in her soul.

In the fall of that same year, our dear Sister who, for several months, had been fighting against a cough, fever and a series of ailments which foreshadowed an imminent end, had to stop despite herself in her laborious life. and regular. Without positively keeping her in the infirmary, because it seemed that community life was her indispensable element, our Most Honored Mother wanted her to stay there at least during the moments when she was most oppressed and dejected; but when an exercise sounded, we saw her dragging herself with her stick to the refectory, to recess, to assemblies, happy to be able, at least by her presence, to testify to her love for our Holy Rules. We suffered to see the generous efforts of our sick beloved to draw strength from her weakness, and still follow the common train, but at the end of November, the extreme swelling of the legs, the suffocations and the burning fever stopped our courageous Sister. For several weeks, she had obtained from our Venerated Mother a permission which brought happiness and support to her life, and which she benefited from, we can say, until her last breath. Her condition never guaranteeing her a future, our excellent Mother had authorized her to make Holy Communion every day she could get up. The faith and love of her soul then worked a sort of miracle on her poor body, and we admired with emotion the dear cripple getting up every morning when she woke up, even though she could barely make a few movements to put on her clothes. ; and with the help of our good Nursing Sisters and her inseparable stick, drag herself to the choir despite the enormous swelling in her legs and feet, which, at any moment, seemed to give way. Thanks to this indomitable energy, of which divine love above all was the powerful lever, this fervent soul was able until four days before her death to seek the good God, according to her expression, and He Himself came when this faithful Wife had to stay on the Cross.

“Never,” she told us in her humility, “I would have dared to claim daily communion, and now Our Lord has arranged all things so well that I can enjoy this immense cleansing: the little strength that remains to me are all for the good Lord, so that I can receive him every morning. Oh! what graces our Sisters! said the dear sick person, I am inundated with them! "Indeed, her peace was heavenly; she spoke of the progress of her illness, of death, of eternity with admirable calm and serenity. One could not visit her without reaping real spiritual benefit, her conversation was so edifying and exuded grace. A few weeks before his death, a word escaped him capable of causing as much admiration as astonishment. Close to appearing before the Sovereign Judge, his conscience, so fearful and so delicate yet, allowed him to make this beautiful revelation: “Thanks to the good Lord, it seems to me that I have never committed a completely voluntary fault!” Often, while she was Assistant to the Novitiate, she had, without her knowledge, let us intuit this beautiful secret of her fidelity; when some young Sister, being warned by Her Charity of any breach, sought to excuse herself by alleging that it was not voluntary. " Oh ! replied Sister Marie Dosithée, certainly, my Sister, I think so! How can we suppose that a religious soul can make voluntary mistakes! » A touching exclamation which sometimes confused the less faithful hearts which received it, and which revealed to us the purity and generosity of that of our fervent Sister. It would have been difficult, in the last months of this virtuous existence, to find any trace of this sort of harshness and constrained rigidity which, formerly, seemed to harm the suavity of his virtue. Our dear Sister Marie Dosithée was nothing but gentleness, kindness, abandonment; his approach was always gracious, his words full of benevolence and holy joy. She expressed her gratitude to our beloved Mother in the most touching terms, and assured her that when she was in heaven, she would pray a lot for her and for our entire house, so that all souls there would become holy. She added, one day, delicately: “I will also ask Our Lord, my Mother, that he spare your heart, and prevent death from coming to take your daughters from you, at least for a good space of time. » This prayer was answered, because we were two years without death after the loss of this dear deceased, which is quite rare in our family, and we really had the feeling that it was to her charitable intervention that we owed this favor.

A Sister telling her one day that she should pray for her healing: “Oh! replied our virtuous patient, “I will take good care of it; Does not our Lord know better than me what I need? I trust in Him, that He does what He wishes, I have no trouble. » Another time, she said to our good Mother: “I am surprised to feel so at peace! I don't even worry about the last sufferings, nor my agony, I am so convinced that the good God will give me his grace, that I have no worries about it. »

The condition of our edifying patient worsened every day, our Doctor advised to have her administered in fear of a sudden accident. Nothing was easier than announcing this news to Sister Marie Dosithée. She welcomed him with joy, without a shadow of emotion. It was decided that the ceremony would take place in the evening after the prayer. The Community, informed by the bell, meets in the infirmary. Our Confessor entered, everyone was at the agreed place, except the dear sick woman. We soon saw her, arriving from her cell quietly, with a stick in one hand and her little lantern in the other, telling us with a smile: "I think the ceremony won't take place without me!" in an armchair and received with his ordinary faith and serenity the holy anointings which arm one for the last battle. It was the Christmas holidays; our excellent cripple continued to get up every day when he woke up to go to the Choir and perform the holy Communion, until February 20; she died on the 21st. We can say that she used the forces of nature until extinction. When it was impossible for her to move her poor legs, she submitted with resignation to keep the bed, hoping that it would be for a short time. In fact, only three days separated her from her entry into the Homeland. Our dear Sister spent them in the most edifying moods; her abandonment was so complete and her peace so perfect, that One evening our beloved Mother suggested that she bring in our worthy Confessor, the dear sick person replied: “My Mother, I really have nothing to say to her”; and, after a moment’s rest: “Oh! yes, I have two sins; I can well accuse myself of this in front of our Nursing Sisters, because our holy Founder says that we should not say mortal sins, but that we can say venial sins: well, I want to die too much, then I asks questions to find out if I'm not far from there. » Our good Sister Marie Dosithée, who was not naturally very cheerful, became so on the threshold of eternity; she smiled at death, letting out pleasant and naive words that amazed us.

Holy Viaticum was given to her twice in the three days she was bedridden. On the 23rd, the oppression increasing as well as the weakness, our Venerated Mother, who lavished her visits on the virtuous sick woman, suggested that the Community come and recite the words near her. soul commendation prayers. Sister Marie Dosithée welcomed this help with happiness, and united her heart and lips to these holy formulas; Our Confessor having entered, she was abundantly provided with all the indulgences. In the evening, our good Mother, after having stayed with her for several hours, strengthening and encouraging her, told her, as always, to place herself entirely in the care of the Heart of Jesus, which would know how to proportion its help and its graces to the sufferings and difficulties. anxieties of the last passage. " Oh ! I trust in it, my Mother, replied our pious Sister, so I am not afraid of anything. Our Lord supports me! I have the grace of the moment, I will have it until the end! » Around two o'clock in the night, a painful agony began. The Sister who was looking after our dear patient went to warn our Venerated Mother and the nurse, who arrived in all haste. This energetic and strong nature fought violently against its destruction, but the serenity of the soul was not denied for an instant. Sister Marie Dosithée had her full knowledge, murmured in a low voice the aspirations that our beloved Mother suggested to her, and renewed her vows, the sacrifice of her life, with admirable fervor. Our good Mother told her that she rested on the Heart of Jesus: “Yes, very beautifully,” she replied. » As he was offered a little drink: “Oh! no, she said, I don't want anything more... - Only Our Lord? said our Mother. —Ah! Yes ! » continued the dear dying woman, smiling. Having inquired about the time, and realizing that the twenty-fourth day of February had begun, she said to our good Mother: “Ah! It’s beautiful to die on the anniversary of my taking Habit! » — Yes, our Mother replied, Our Lord will change for you the garment of holy religion into that of eternal glory. The pious dying woman smiled at this thought. Finally, around 7:XNUMX a.m., on a Saturday, this generous soul left her earthly envelope to join the choir of these faithful Virgins, whose lamp was always abundantly provided with the oil of charity. His features took on an air of beatitude which struck us. Near this virtuous Deceased, we breathed a heavenly peace and consolation, which seemed to us an indication of the happiness she already enjoyed. The little niece of our dear Sister Marie Dosithée, still a student at the Boarding School, having made requests to see one last time the beloved remains of her good aunt, never tired of saying while contemplating her: “Oh! How beautiful my aunt is! She sure looks like a saint! » This appreciation was shared by the entire Community, which misses our beloved Sister as one of the most fervent souls we have had among us. Please Our Lord give us the grace to imitate his religious virtues, and make our end similar to his!