the Carmel

Last year of Thérèse's life - continuation and end

June 1897

June 2, it is the sail catch of Sister Marie of the Eucharist, in a public ceremony in the chapel, after his private profession on March 25. It is the last big Martin/Guérin family celebration: the whole family at Carmel joins Mr. and Mrs. Guérin and Léonie, who lives with them. The next day will be the 34e Leonie's birthday.

But let's go back three days in time to return to the May 30, which is a capital day for understanding the genesis of the Manuscript C. Thérèse had asked the prioress Marie de Gonzague for permission to entrust her first hemoptysis in April 1896 to Mother Agnès, she did so on May 30.


Mother Agnes (photo opposite) listening to her concludes that the disease is very advanced, much more than she thought, and that Thérèse is dying. Tuberculosis did not start just a few months ago, but it is already very old, and Mother Agnès knows that it is a disease of duration, generally no more than two years. She misses the family celebration of May 30 around the taking of the veil of her cousin Marie.

But on June 2 around midnight, she will ask Marie de Gonzague to order Thérèse to continue writing about her religious life.

June 3 Marie de Gonzague summons Thérèse and asks her to continue writing. Mother Agnès provides the black notebook and she reacts in this letter from 4 June 1897 - which perhaps accompanied the notebook. Let us read a few excerpts because it depicts well the attitude of Mother Agnès until Thérèse's death. The bold is from the archives.

“My poor little angel, it makes me very sorry to have made you undertake what you know, yet if you knew how this to me pleases !... You know well that the Saints in Heaven can still receive glory until the end of the world and that they favor those who honor them... Well I will be your little herald, I I will proclaim your feats of arms, I will try to make the good God loved and served by all the lights he has given you and which will never be extinguished. So you will favor me with your gentle caresses, won't you, my little Angel? you will come to sow around from me the little golden dust of your golden wings, I must feel you everywhere. This morning we sang the Sts Innocents [the poetry of Thérèse PN-44]. Sister Thérèse of St Augustine left crying when we sang the verse: "Like them, I also want kiss your sweet Face, O my Jesus. I blushed, more from pride than pain. To tell the truth, I love you so much that I can only cry with one eye. Knowing that my little angel will leave this sad prison to enter infinite glory, what happiness for a mother's heart. Here, I really believe that later it's I who will console the girls. They come in turn to express their sympathy for you and make me hear various lamentations which really touch me. (...) Basically I see that you are famously loved, yes but not as much as me, because if you saw what is going on in my heart you would not get over it, so strong and limitless is the ebb and flow of tenderness that I feel there for my darling angel like the ocean. One more thing I wanted to tell you. You know very well my little girl that it is not ordinary for my character to have taken the test of recent times so well, this morning I was surprised and the good Lord said to me: "But it is your little girl who prayed for you, this is the secret of your strength.” So I come to thank you and press you to my little heart. If you are already so powerful on earth, what will we see, what will we feel when you are up there... Mother SP (Marie des Anges) says that you you won't go for a second to purgatory, alas who can doubt that... However, my little angel, count on many little gifts from me. As soon as you die, I will have you go to purgatory to relieve the little souls who are there with my little prayers. So you will ask the Blessed Virgin to go down there with her, carrying my little glasses of refreshment, I will have more than one kind to offer you, you will see, it will be my turn to give you little joys. . » 

Mother Agnès of Jesus to Thérèse, June 4, 1897

And so from 4 June Thérèse stops sewing for a bit to Sister Marie of St Joseph and she begins to write her "little homework", according to the expression reported in the Yellow Book (JC 25.6.2). She sits outside in the invalid's chair that the pharmacist uncle Isidore Guérin had bought for Mr. Martin when he left Bon Sauveur - photo opposite in the alley of the chestnut trees. She will do this often throughout the month.

June 5 but it does not go well for Thérèse. Dr. de Cornière comes to visit her and fills out a prescription that testifies to this, with morphine again, this time in hydrochloride, combined with cocaine. As seen below, the word morphine was found to be inappropriate and a bit muddled.

Marie de Gonzague, she, cares differently by asking for a novena of masses at Notre-Dame des Victoires in Paris, with which the Guérins and La Néele join. Thérèse expects nothing from it for herself, as she will write to Abbé Bellière in four days in to Latvia

"How happy I am to die!... Our good Mother would like to keep me on earth; at the moment they are saying a novena of masses for me at ND des Victoires, it has already healed me in my childhood but I believe that the miracle she will do will be none other than to console the Mother who loves me so tenderly."

Thérèse to Abbé Bellière, LT 224

That same day she reread her play RP 3 about Joan of Arc, and finds that her feelings about death are all expressed there.

The 7 June the effect of the drugs must lessen because it is the day that Thérèse gives up simply marcher in the garden, and it is also that of taking three pictures of her by Céline: n° 41, 42 and 43. A demanding Céline, who insists on taking her photos even though she knows the state of health of her little sister. The gardener heard her say: "Hurry up, I feel exhausted".

pictures 41-2-3

Céline apologized to her, which is worth to Latvia, where Thérèse pulls his ears at the level of the arts:

Solomon, the wisest king that ever was on earth, having considered the different labors which occupy men under the sun, painting, sculpture, all the arts, [which includes photography] understood that all these things were subject to envy, he exclaimed that they are only vanity and affliction of spirit!...

Thérèse to Sister Geneviève, June 7, 1897 (LT 243)

June 9. This beautiful anniversary. is also that of the promise of a "rain of roses", as Marie du Sacré-Cœur bears witness to in folio 314 of the Trial of the Ordinary. To Sr. Marie who said to Thérèse: “What pain we will have when you leave us! - Oh ! no, she replied, you will see, it will be like a shower of roses! ". As we have seen, Thérèse has worked since February on her work on earth after her death to save souls. Now it continues and deepens. The origin of this elaboration of Thérèse on the way of doing things after her death comes from a book that we had been reading in the refectory for some time: History of St Louis de Gonzague, by JMS Daurignac, 1864. Thérèse did not find it terrible. She commented on it thus: “St Louis de Gonzague was serious, even in recreation, but Théophane Vénard, he was always cheerful. The week when Marie du Sacré-Coeur was a reader in the refectory, we were in the book about the story of a patient who asked for his cure. He saw a shower of roses falling on his bed, as a symbol of the grace that was to be granted to him. Thérèse was inflamed by the image: "Me too, after my death I will make it rain roses!" »

This same 9 June, she writes a date in pencil on the black notebook where she writes in ink for the moment the Manuscript C, it is the only date of the manuscript, in folio 7 verso.

MsC June 9

In her account, she has just finished describing her trial of faith – she lists her June 9 as an antidote to that night. For this terrible night of Thérèse, the chaplain of the monastery Father Youf couldn't be of any help, too scared himself. Mother Marie de Gonzague, who has been informed of this for a long time, had contacted the Father Godefroid Madelaine to Mondaye Abbey to ask who could help Thérèse. He thought of Dom Abric, then abbot of Aiguebelle, the Cistercian abbey (he will be from 1882 to 1923). The latter, after talking to the Attorney General of the Order, declined the offer – he was overwhelmed by the way. Thérèse remains in her night without the help of "professionals".

June 14, it is the end of the novena of masses at Notre-Dame des Victoires. Thérèse realizes that she is not cured!

June 21 Thérèse grants herself a leave from writing Manuscript C, on this feast day of Saint Louis de Gonzague. A day off (without work) and a day of license (we can talk), because of Mother Prioress Marie de Gonzague whose feast it is! Thérèse offers the magnificent gift of the photo album prepared in secret for Marie de Gonzague. This very original gift for the time gives us his vision of Carmel.

She takes advantage of this day off to write to Bellière, which hardly rests her from her writings. LT 247 :

Ah! my dear little Brother, since it was given to me to also understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I confess to you that it has banished all fear from my heart. The memory of my faults humbles me, leads me never to lean on my strength which is only weakness, but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love.

Thérèse to Abbé Bellière, June 21, 1897 (LT 247)

It was probably on that day, because of the licenses authorizing speech, that the poignant photo no. 44 (detail opposite). We know that it is taken after June 2 because Marie Guérin wears the black veil. Was Thérèse the one who had the idea of ​​throwing flowers at the crucifix in the courtyard? She can't keep her head still for the necessary 9 seconds and the expression of the sisters is serious: everyone knows that Therese is at the end of her tether. Did they sing the poetry of Thérèse Throw flowers? PN 34. Did they then share in his profound message?

In this state, it is not surprising that June 29, Thérèse is upset to hear a disparaging comment from Sister St John of the Cross on his state of health: "You look very good – you wouldn't believe you were sick!" This will happen again on August 25.While the seriously ill need the compassion of their loved ones so much, Thérèse comments: "I can see that people don't think I'm sick, but it's the good thing God who allows this". (CJ June 29, 3rd word).

June 30 will be the last parlor with Uncle Isidore Guérin, and the same day or the day before, a visit with Léonie before they all leave for la muse which Mr. Guérin inherited at the end of August 1888 from Auguste David, cousin of his wife's mother. He stayed there every summer until 1899.

Thérèse must have been upset by this family meeting because after her parlor she could no longer control herself, she scolds a novice a lot, and she even abandons the pen to continue Manuscript C in pencil, shortly after the middle of the folio 36 front.

July 1897

The 2 July, Thérèse goes for the last time to the oratory, a place of prayer for sick sisters where she had painted a fresco in June 1893, representing herself as a small child leaning on the tabernacle while dozing (opposite right).

July 6, his condition is so dilapidated that the doctor comes, and will come every day. Dr. de Cornière diagnoses an injury to the right lung and forbids moving it, even to lower it to the infirmary. High fever. The day after July 7, Mother Agnès asks her to be nice to the doctor, and to say an edifying word to him: Thérèse sends him for a walk.


July 8 it is the installation in the infirmary of the Holy Face. This very rare photo (on the left) shows the canopy of the bed: the bed is enclosed in a kind of box of homespun fabric to keep the heat around the patient at night. We distinguish the sides but also the top of the bed. This also means that Thérèse lying down will always see this dark canopy overhanging her.

It's quite a ceremony to go down to the infirmary. THE Spiritual Direction Manual recommended :  If a sister is sent to the Infirmary and she can get down on her knees, she will... and offer herself to God as a victim entirely devoted to his holy will, for life or for death, for sickness or health, for as long as the Lord pleases.

We know that the sisters go down there to die. It is desolation in the community. But when she went down to the infirmary, Thérèse said to Thérèse of St Augustin: “May your dream come true! » (Memories of a Holy Friendship, No. 12)

The Virgin of the Smile who was in the antechamber of Thérèse's last cell on the first floor came down with her. Place it in front of the bed.

This same July 8, 1897 Marie Guérin writes to her father that she finds that Thérèse “is admirably cared for, we also applied dry cupping glasses to her.” The order carries 6 to 8 suction cup glasses. The suction cups used for Thérèse have been kept (photo on the right). The suction cup is like a poultice, but express: 12 seconds instead of 12 hours to lift the skin. We ignite the piece of cotton wool with a match, we hold it under the 4 cm diameter glass which fills with hot air and is immediately placed on the skin, which immediately rises.

Marie Guérin wrote very often to her family and almost always gave news of Thérèse during her last months of life. It is very enlightening to read this correspondence continuously.

Thérèse's move entails small changes. Sister Marie of the Trinity is removed from employment in the infirmary. Sister Genevieve sleeps in the next cell: the family gets closer to Thérèse.

July 9 Thérèse is visited by Canon Maupas. He is the superior of the Carmel – Father Youf is the chaplain. Thérèse asks her for extreme unction, whereas Dr. de Cornière during his visit of the day had said: “She is not there yet! And Maupas, seeing Thérèse so joyful, also finds that she is not there yet. Thérèse is very disappointed, as Marie Guérin wrote to her father: 

When he left, the little patient was angry and she said: "Another time I won't bother I ask him! Another time I will use pretense... I will barely answer him by telling him that I am dying. »

Sister Marie of the Eucharist to her father, July 9, 1897

To the July 10 Thérèse finishes writing what will become Manuscript C in her black notebook by starting her last page, folio 37 of the notebook.


Le July 11, she asks that the story of the converted sinner, who died of love, be told at the end of this notebook.

Shortly before July 16, during a night of insomnia Thérèse composes her last verses very easily. It will be the very beautiful PS 8 :

You who know my extreme smallness
You are not afraid to stoop to me!
Come into my heart, O white Host that I love,
Come into my heart, it longs for you!
Ah! I would like your goodness to leave me
To die of love after this favor.
Jesus! hear the cry of my tenderness.
Come into my heart!

This day is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the greatest festivity of the Order. Sister Marie of the Eucharist sings at communion stanza 14 of Live on love and this very last poem by Thérèse, PS 8.


This same day is also the birthday of his dear Sister Marthe (photo on the left), who is 32 years old. Thérèse writes him a kind note to Latvia, sorry to have not yet been able to finish for her her Prayer for Humility :

I know it, O my God, you lower the proud soul but to the one who humbles herself you give an eternity of glory, so I want to put myself in the last row, share your humiliations in order "to have part with you" in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayer for Humility

After that, she leaves us her last letter to Roulland to Latvia on July 14, where she reaffirms her desire to care for others after her death: Soon I will sit at the celestial banquet, I will quench my thirst with the waters of eternal life! When you receive this letter no doubt I will have left the earth. The Lord, in his infinite mercy, will have opened his kingdom to me and I will be able to draw from his treasures to lavish them on the souls who are dear to me... It is also his last letter to the Guérins: I will only tell you in Heaven my affection, as long as I drag on, my pencil will not be able to translate it to youto Latvia  It's almost the end of all writing and yet on July 18, she writes the long to Latvia to Abbé Bellière grieving at having learned of his approaching death. She slips him in the middle of sweet words of consolation this little sentence: Ah! if for a few moments you could read my soul, how surprised you would be! The thought of heavenly happiness not only causes me no joy, but I sometimes wonder how it will be possible for me to be happy... And she continues on the suffering.

The days that followed were only great suffering for Thérèse, faced with all that was going on around her and the misunderstandings of her sisters who harassed her with questions.


July 24 or 25 a note from her to the Guérins accompanies a poor bouquet of flowers, perhaps picked by Thérèse herself or more likely gently deposited in the infirmary. The word and the flowers are entrusted to the sacristan, Auguste Acard who leads theFather Youf at the Musse for a health stay. He is very ill and will die a few days after Thérèse on October 7 at the age of 54. The moved Guérins kept the flowers (photo above).

July 26, Thérèse is forbidden to write but she courageously writes, probably in secret, another letter to Bellière, to Latviawhere she tells the story of her family, but above all where she assures him of the continuity of their relationship: "I who am not for nothing your little sister, I promise to make you taste after my departure for eternal life what one can find of happiness in feeling close to one a friendly soul. It will not be this correspondence more or less distant, always very incomplete, which you seem to regret, but a fraternal conversation which will charm the angels."

July 29 a slander on Thérèse pains her a great deal. One of her sisters had reported to her in the infirmary this reflection made during recess: “Why then do we speak of my Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus as a saint? She practiced virtue, it is true, but it was not a virtue acquired by humiliations and especially by suffering. And now Thérèse collapses: "And I who suffered so much from my earliest childhood! Ah! how good it does me to see the opinion of creatures at the moment of death!"  And all this on a terrible day when Thérèse was very oppressed.


The 30 July, she finally receives the much-desired extreme unction, and communion. A wash of life in pictures illustrates the scene in the infirmary - photo opposite. Marie Guérin tells her dad the next day: It was very touching, I assure you, to see our little patient still looking calm and pure; when she asked for forgiveness from the whole Community, more than one burst into tears (letter of July 31, 1897).

And she continues:

Last night she spat blood again; that night too, the night was not good but not as bad as one might have expected from the day. The morning was passable; no spitting of blood until 3 o'clock this afternoon when there was one. She is still burning with fever and suffers from tightness and pain in her side; anyway, she's very very ill and I think it's best that you delay your trip to Vichy, because she can't be well on many days like this, especially if she has days like yesterday. It is impossible to imagine his happiness at dying!

Sister Marie of the Eucharist to her father, July 31, 1897

August 1897

" Those days " Without further details, Thérèse writes all his soul  in his last letter to Father Pichon. Marie du Sacré-Coeur attached this letter to hers in a letter for Canada and cast an indiscreet eye over the lines of her sister and goddaughter. Touched, she decides a posteriori to copy it but the envelope turns (who would like to add a word to the good Father? in the same envelope it costs less) and the envelope leaves before Marie can copy Thérèse's letter.

But on August 3, Thérèse also says herself entirely in the letter to Latvia to Céline, poignant in writing and content. O my God, how gentle you are for the little victim of your Merciful Love! Now that You join external suffering to the trials of my soul, I cannot say: "The anguish of death has surrounded me" but I cry out in my gratitude: "I have descended into the valley of the shadow of death, yet I fear no evil: because you are with me, Lord!”


This same August 3, the La Néele return to Caen and in three days - August 6 - it will be the turn of the Guérins but Isidore wants to go to Vichy for treatment and he consults Dr De Cornière who surprisingly tells him that he can leave without fear, - even going to Plombières. The stationary state of Thérèse, from August 5, therefore did not allow to foresee immediate complications? Before going on vacation, Dr. de Cornière simply recommended some treatments and indicated a Lexovian colleague, who was not called upon, because Dr. La Néele, although practicing in Caen, often came to Lisieux. But De Cornière will be the first amazed at Thérèse's condition when he sees her again on September 10, perhaps with remorse.

August 6 on the occasion of the Feast of the Transfiguration, the representation of the Holy Face is moved the day before, which is in the choir in the infirmary, adorned with flowers and lights. "Oh that this Holy Face has done me good in my life!" exclaims Therese, who talks a bit. (Yellow Book of August 5 - 7th word). Which will also cause the day after the party 7 August an exclamation: "How little the good God is loved on earth!"


August 10 Thérèse writes the last letter to Abbé Bellière to Latvia where she tells him that she has received her passport to heaven and that the doctor is amazed at the progress of her illness. She details the legacy she will leave him, including the much-kissed little crucifix"that he is not handsome, the figure of Christ has almost disappeared... Looking at him I think with joy that after having received my kisses, he will go and ask for those of my little brother." (left picture).

August 12 she takes the trouble to write a little trembling note to Sr Marie de la Trinité for her 23rd birthday (to Latvia).

August 17, constant worsening of Thérèse's physical condition: oppression, suffocation, great pain on the left side; swelling of the legs. What to do ? In the absence of De Cornière, it is Francis who comes to his aid. He traveled from Caen to see his wife Jeanne's grandmother, Madame Fournet, and he naturally comes to see Marie Guérin in the visiting room. He asks to see Therese. And he finds that she only has 15 days left. The second lung is taken, he said. Marie Guérin quotes him in a letter to her father from August 17, 1897 : " La TB has reached the last degree ". The word is spoken for the first time. Francis himself wrote to Isidore his father-in-law on Aug 26, 1897 :

As soon as I was introduced... It was moved to tears that I spoke to him, holding his diaphanous hands all burning with fever. After examining her, I made her sit down on her pillows. Am I going to go see the Good Lord soon, she said to me. – Not yet, my dear little sister, the good Lord wants you to wait a few more weeks so that your crown will be more beautiful in heaven. - Oh! no, I'm not thinking about it, it's to save souls that I still want to suffer. – Yes, that's true, but by saving souls, you will climb higher in the sky, closer to God. The answer was a smile that lit up his face as if the sky opened before his eyes and flooded him with its divine light. – In how many days will I go to heaven? – In your illness, my little sister, it is very difficult to say. In a few weeks, a month, maybe more, barring an accident, unless you're in a hurry to go see God. – As he wishes, I'll wait... I stayed with her for a good half hour with Céline and Mother Prioress. I kissed her again as I left and she walked me to the door with her smile that I will never forget.

The right lung is absolutely lost, filled with softening tubercles. The left is caught in its lower third. She is very thin but her face still does her credit. She suffers a great deal from intercostal neuralgia, which is what gave me the joy of seeing her. I went back the following Wednesday, hoping to enter again, but Marie and the little prioress did not dare to ask Mother Marie de Gonzague for permission to enter for me a second time. I gave her a prescription to ease her pain because she was in a lot of pain that day and I asked Céline to give her some advice.

Francis La Néele to Isidore Guérin, August 26, 1897

August 19, it is the last communion possible of Thérèse, which she offers for the Carmelite ex-father Hyacinthe Loyson (1827-1912) whose feast it is. He is 70 years old. Very opposed to the teachings of Pope Pius IX, he broke with the Church even before the birth of Thérèse in 1869 and became the promoter of the church of the free spirit and married the American Protestant widow Mrs. Merriman.

It so happens that this same day is the national pilgrimage to Lourdes, and Abbé Bellière is going there with his mother; and Jeanne, Francis and Léonie also take part. Which means that Thérèse will therefore be 13 days without a doctor.

The August 22, severe bedsores – the disease affects the intestines. Indeed, the tubercles of tuberculosis can also develop in other organs. Thérèse suffers "to lose her mind", she says. A prescription will be sent by De Cornière by post on August 25th. However, in the prescription book, two pages have been torn out: missing from July 30, 1897 (roughly from the departure of De Cornière) to July 15, 1898. Céline comments in a text on an undated loose sheet: The tranquilizers that have since passed through the doors of the that time were prohibited as a shame.  Is this the cause of the torn pages?

August 25 it is the return of the pilgrims from Lourdes. As soon as she arrives, Léonie rushes to Carmel, with her carboy of Lourdes water.

The August 26, big celebration in town at the Benedictines of Lisieux with the consecration of the altar of their chapel, an event covered by The Norman. Many of Thérèse's former students will see their mistresses of yesteryear there, in a whirlwind of stories and confidences. Will we talk about the Martin sisters, one of whom is dying in Carmel?

August 28 to help Thérèse, her bed is placed in the center of the infirmary to see the garden, a bit like in this late photo taken at the beginning of the 20e century. So that Thérèse can watch the garden, leaning on her pillows. " Oh ! how happy I am! she exclaims.


Around noon, she contemplates the vines that cover the little hermitage of the Holy Face, at the end of the meadow, directly opposite her window. The vines were very dense that year and Thérèse commented: "Do you see the black hole over there where you can no longer distinguish anything? It is in a hole like that that I am for the soul and for the body. Ah yes, what darkness! but I am there in peace."

August 30 is the day of the last photo of Thérèse No. 45 lying under the cloister.

Sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux 45

During the whole hoopla for taking the photo, Thérèse watches the courtyard. Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, gardener of the courtyard, being near her, said to her: "Here is a dying rhododendron offshoot, I am going to pull it out".

- Oh! my Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart answered Therese in a plaintive and pleading tone of voice, I don't understand you. For me who is about to die, I beg you, let this poor rhododendron live."

He had to insist again, but his wish was respected.


Now, this poor offspring was the only survivor of the magnificent rhododendrons that had been given away. In a short time all were dead, except Thérèse's rhododendron! We saw it come back to life, says Sister Marie des Anges who was there, sprouting branches, extending them, taking on a graceful form that it had never had, so much so that today it is one of the most preau (see opposite on the left a recent photo).

To know how Thérèse is doing, it is enough to realize that on the day of her last living photo, she revealed to Mother Agnes her thoughts of suicide, recommending not to leave poisonous medicines with the sick. When we suffer like this, she says, we would poison ourselves very well !

Very alarmed, Mother Agnès asked Mother Marie de Gonzague to send a telegram to Francis, who had returned from Lourdes on August 25. Below on the right is the photo of these three people who take care of Thérèse the most. Francis arrived on the 19 p.m. train and went straight to Carmel. He couldn't have come earlier. The telegram reached him too late for him to take a morning train. Once in Carmel, he found that the disease had been progressing for 15 days. The second lung, which was then only taken at the base, is taken halfway. She still has her beautiful blue eyes, Francis told Madame Guérin, and she smiled when I told her she would be going up there soon.


The next day August 31, another visit from Francis, despite a small altercation the day before with Marie de Gonzague, who basically would have preferred the old man from Cornière, closer to her than Francis at the generational level. Francis had been rough with her, as he explained to Ms. Guérin: "I'm sure they don't do all my prescriptions." Marie de Gonzague wept, sent her the last photo of Therese as if to apologize. Francis will come back to see Thérèse one last time on September 5.

September 1897

Early September Thérèse is hungry! This revolutionizes all the little people who stir around her. Marie de Gonzague orders her to ask for anything she wants: roast, mashed potatoes, chocolate éclair, etc. The Guérins provide stewardship and offer Thérèse an image to comfort her “Smile to suffering”.

September 3 Mme Guérin, who writes to Jeanne that Thérèse is so sensitive to small gifts, to small attentions, suggests offering her a small basket with delicacies. She suggests it to Jeanne, but it is Léonie who will do it, with this little basket, 34 cm long, with its very special wickerwork that her sisters had brought her from Italy. She offers it to Thérèse filled with sweets.


Léonie can only pray and offer for the patient these small gifts through which her tenderness is expressed.

September 6  Thérèse cries of joy when she is offered a relic of Théophane Vénard. This relic is a small gift from Sister Aimee, who did not particularly like Thérèse, or rather the Martin clan. She had been a nurse until about 1896, so that one day when the bed in the infirmary had to be changed, Thérèse had proposed to her: "I believe that my sister Aimée-de-Jésus would easily take me in her arms ; she is tall and strong, and very gentle around the sick. » Ten years later, Sister Aimée still remembered the heavenly gaze so full of gratitude and affection that Thérèse gave her then. Sr Aimée was in charge of the relics at the end of 1897, she knew what relics circulated in Lisieux, and she knew that the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (who had a school in Lisieux) had one of Théophane Vénard. She borrows the relic from them, and returns it after Thérèse's death.

September 8 Nativity of the Virgin and 7th anniversary of Thérèse's profession. On that day a wax statuette of the Bambina was exhibited on the altar of the choir. On the evening of September 8, 1890, Thérèse had placed her crown at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. It was the little Blessed Virgin for a day who presented her little flower to little Jesus... (Ms A 77r).

That day, Léonie gave her a music box (photo on the right), whose tunes were so sweet that Thérèse listened to them with tenderness. Seeing herself so pampered, she wept with gratitude. outside, I am filled with it, and yet, inside, I am still in the test... but also in peace! »


And that same September 8, Thérèse asked to see again the image of Our Lady of Victories, on which she had pasted the little saxifrage flower offered by her dad when she had asked him to enter Carmel. With a trembling hand, she traces her last autograph, which will become her last prayer (PRI 21):

O Mary, if I were the Queen of Heaven and you were Thérèse, I would like to be Thérèse so that you could be the Queen of Heaven!!!.............

8 September 1897

Price 21

This is the last text written by Thérèse.

September 10 De Cornière, back from vacation, is dismayed by the state of the young Carmelite. He suggests morphine shots but the prioress suggests that we stick to morphine syrup. The day after September 11st Thérèse wonders about death: what is this separation of soul and body? The psychoanalyst Claude Bourreille writes that faith is an experience to be taken seriously. The answer to faith, she writes, is in maintaining her question until death.

September 14 a rose was brought to her, which she plucked with great piety and love from her crucifix. The petals slide from her bed onto the floor and her sisters pick them up... The next day will she think about it, saying: I am like a tired, exhausted traveler who falls when he reaches the end of his journey.


September 17 Dr. Cornière finds that the swelling of the feet is increasing and that is a bad sign: "She cannot live more than 15 days."


The 18,  it happens to be the Ordination of Abbé Denis (Joseph Denis de Maroy) who celebrates the next day, so the September 19, a first mass at the Carmel. As a seminarian, he had already met the Martin sisters in the parlor. Thérèse asks to see her chalice after the celebration. The chalice will return to Carmel, with the date engraved under its base. Thérèse is reflected in the bottom of the chalice! Céline explains in her Tips and Souvenirs that she often did this as sacristan while preparing the sacred vessels: it seemed to her that the gold having reflected her image, it was on her that the divine species would rest.

September 20 De Cornière speaks of his heroic patience through suffering which, in an impressively thin body, is a real martyrdom. Thérèse herself returned to the suicide two days later: “If I hadn't had faith, I would have killed myself without hesitating for a moment! » (JC September 22, 6th word)Le September 25, she declares: It's very easy to write beautiful things about suffering, but writing is nothing!  She knows very well what she is talking about, she who has written a lot about suffering.

Three days before her death, Sister Marie de la Trinité recounts that she saw her in such a state of suffering that she herself was quite troubled. Thérèse made an effort to smile at him and in a voice broken by suffocation, she said to him: “Ah! if I didn't have faith, I could never bear so much suffering! I'm surprised there aren't more atheists who kill themselves. » (testimony at the Trial of the Ordinary - folio 1096 r). That day she asked to drink Lourdes water.

September 29 Therese goes into agony. The Community recites around it the Soul Commendation Prayers, which was recited for the dying sisters. Thérèse asks to confess, she will have the Canon Falcon, because the usual chaplain, Father Youf, is himself dying. Faucon was confessor of the Carmelites a few times each year from 1886 to 1891 when he was vicar of St Jacques and he is therefore familiar with the Carmel. The same day that Abbé Bellière embarked in Marseilles for Algiers.

The September 30, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, who had been watching over the night with Céline, was so upset by Thérèse's condition that she hesitated to return to the infirmary. Mother Agnès for her part prays in front of the statue of the Sacred Heart and of Marguerite-Marie Alacoque on the floor of the dormitory so that Thérèse does not despair in her last moments.

Thérèse expires at the end of this very long day. Mr. and Mrs. Guérin are praying at this time in the Carmel chapel, with Léonie. Immediately after Thérèse's death, Mother Agnès passed them a note:

Sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux 46

My beloved parents, my darling Léonie,

Our Angel is in Heaven. She breathed her last at 7 a.m. pressing his crucifix to his heart and saying, “Oh! I love you! She had just rolled her eyes, what did she see...


On October 3, Céline took another shot, the last one on the left (photo no. 47).

Thérèse was buried on October 4 in the cemetery of Lisieux, where the Carmelites had been buried since 1887. She was the first Carmelite buried in the second enclosure of the community in the cemetery of the city. The Carmelites had been buried there since 1887, when land was purchased. Ten years later, this small piece of land was filled and Mr. Guérin, foreseeing the imminent death of his niece, bought a second piece of land for the community. On October 4, 1897, Thérèse was the first to be buried there.

The family immediately announced the death, as did the Carmel. The newspaper Le Normand publish an obituary note. Here are the photos below, they are clickable for easier reading.

Family announcement

Carmel announcement

obituary in Le Normand

Here is a photo of Thérèse's tomb taken the following year, shortly after the death of Mother Hermance.

On the amount we can read Thérèse's future as she had foreseen it.

I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth!


When Thérèse died, Mother Agnès hesitated between two sentences to inscribe something on the cross overhanging the tomb.  I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth, this project that Thérèse so often evoked in her last months, tempts her a lot, but even more an extract from poetry PN 24, in stanza 17:

That I want, oh my God
Carry away your fire
Reminds you.

She opted for poetry, but a worker having left his sleeve dragging on the still fresh paint and thus making the text illegible, Mother Agnès read a sign on it and had her first idea written down instead.