May 8, 1888.

DEAREST CELINE,–There are moments when I wonder whether I am really
and truly in the Carmel; sometimes I can scarcely believe it. What have
I done for God that He should shower so many graces upon me?

A whole month has passed since we parted; but why do I say parted? Even
were the wide ocean between us, our souls would remain as one. And yet
I know that not to have me is real suffering, and if I listened to
myself I should ask Jesus to let me bear the sadness in your stead! I
do not listen, as you see; I should be afraid of being selfish in
wishing for myself the better part–I mean the suffering. You are
right–life is often burdensome and bitter. It is painful to begin a
day of toil, especially when Jesus hides Himself from our love. What is
this sweet Friend about? Does He not see our anguish and the burden
that weighs us down? Why does He not come and comfort us?

Be not afraid. . . . He is here at hand. He is watching, and it is He
who begs from us this pain, these tears. . . . He needs them for souls,
for our souls, and He longs to give us a magnificent reward. I assure
you that it costs Him dear to fill us with bitterness, but He knows
that it is the only means of preparing us to know Him as He knows
Himself, and to become ourselves Divine! Our soul is indeed great and
our destiny glorious. Let us lift ourselves above all things that pass,
and hold ourselves far from the earth! Up above, the air is so pure. .
. . Jesus may hide Himself, but we know that He is there.


October 20, 1888.

MY DEAREST SISTER,–Do not let your weakness make you unhappy. When, in
the morning, we feel no courage or strength for the practice of virtue,
it is really a grace: it is the time to ”lay the axe to the root of the
tree,” [194] relying upon Jesus alone. If we fall, an act of love will
set all right, and Jesus smiles. He helps us without seeming to do so;
and the tears which sinners cause Him to shed are wiped away by our
poor weak love. Love can do all things. The most impossible tasks seem
to it easy and sweet. You know well that Our Lord does not look so much
at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, as at
the love with which we do them. What, then, have we to fear?

You wish to become a Saint, and you ask me if this is not attempting
too much. Celine, I will not tell you to aim at the seraphic holiness
of the most privileged souls, but rather to be ”perfect as your
Heavenly Father is perfect.” [195] You see that your dream–that our
dreams and our desires–are not fancies, since Jesus Himself has laid
their realisation upon us as a commandment.

[194] Matt. 3:10.

[195] Matt. 5:48.


January, 1889.

MY DEAR LITTLE CELINE,–Jesus offers you the cross, a very heavy cross,
and you are afraid of not being able to carry it without giving way.
Why? Our Beloved Himself fell three times on the way to Calvary, and
why should we not imitate our Spouse? What a favour from Jesus, and how
He must love us to send us so great a sorrow! Eternity itself will not
be long enough to bless Him for it. He heaps his favours upon us as
upon the greatest Saints. What, then, are His loving designs for our
souls? That is a secret which will only be revealed to us in our
Heavenly Home, on the day when ”the Lord shall wipe away all our
tears.” [196]

Now we have nothing more to hope for on earth–”the cool evenings are
passed” [197] –for us suffering alone remains! Ours is an enviable
lot, and the Seraphim in Heaven are jealous of our happiness.

The other day I came across this striking passage: ”To be resigned and
to be united to the will of God are not the same; there is the same
difference between them as that which exists between union and unity;
in union there are still two, in unity there is but one.” [198] Yes,
let us be one with God even in this life; and for this we should be
more than resigned, we should embrace the Cross with joy.

[196] Apoc. 21:4.

[197] St. John of the Cross.

[198] Mme. Swetchine.


February 28, 1889.

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–Jesus is ”a Spouse of blood.” [199] He wishes
for Himself all the blood of our hearts. You are right–it costs us
dear to give Him what He asks. But what a joy that it does cost! It is
happiness to bear our crosses, and to feel our weakness in doing so.

Celine, far from complaining to Our Lord of this cross which He sends
us, I cannot fathom the Infinite Love which had led Him to treat us in
this way. Our dear Father must indeed be loved by God to have so much
suffering given to him. I know that by humiliation alone can Saints be
made, and I also know that our trial is a mine of gold for us to turn
to account. I, who am but a little grain of sand, wish to set to work,
though I have neither courage nor strength. Now this very want of power
will make my task easier, for I wish to work for love. Our martyrdom is
beginning . . . Let us go forth to suffer together, dear sister, and
let us offer our sufferings to Jesus for the salvation of souls.

[199] Exodus 4:25.


March 12, 1899.

. . . I must forget this world. Here everything wearies me–I find only
one joy, that of suffering, and this joy, which is not one of sense, is
above all joy. Life is passing, and eternity is drawing near. Soon we
shall live the very life of God. After we have been filled at the
source of all bitterness, our thirst will be quenched at the very
Fountain of all sweetness.

”The figure of this world passeth away” [200] –soon we shall see new
skies–a more radiant sun will light with its splendour crystal seas
and infinite horizons. We shall no longer be prisoners in a land of
exile, all will have passed away, and with our Heavenly Spouse we shall
sail upon boundless seas. Now, ”our harps are hanging on the willows
which grow by the rivers of Babylon,” [201] but in the day of our
deliverance what harmonies will they not give forth, how joyfully shall
we make all their strings vibrate! Now, ”we shed tears as we remember
Sion, for how can we sing the songs of the Lord in a land of exile?”
[202] The burden of our song is suffering. Jesus offers us a chalice of
great bitterness. Let us not withdraw our lips from it, but suffer in
peace. He who says peace does not say joy, or at least sensible joy: to
suffer in peace it is enough to will heartily all that Our Lord wills.
Do not think we can find love without suffering, for our nature remains
and must be taken into account; but it puts great treasures within our
reach. Suffering is indeed our very livelihood, and is so precious that
Jesus came down upon earth on purpose to possess it. We should like to
suffer generously and nobly; we should like never to fall. What an
illusion! What does it matter to me if I fall at every moment! In that
way I realise my weakness, and I gain thereby. My God, Thou seest how
little I am good for, when Thou dost carry me in Thy Arms; and if Thou
leavest me alone, well, it is because it pleases Thee to see me lie on
the ground. Then why should I be troubled?

If you are willing to bear in peace the trial of not being pleased with
yourself, you will be offering the Divine Master a home in your heart.
It is true that you will suffer, because you will be like a stranger to
your own house; but do not be afraid–the poorer you are, the more
Jesus will love you. I know that He is better pleased to see you
stumbling in the night upon a stony road, than walking in the full
light of day upon a path carpeted with flowers, because these flowers
might hinder your advance.

[200] I Cor. 7:31.

[201] Cf. Ps. 136:2.

[202] Cf. Ps. 136:1, 4.


July 14, 1889.

MY DARLING SISTER,–I am ever with you in spirit. Yes, it is very hard
to live upon this earth, but to-morrow, in a brief hour, we shall be at
rest. O my God, what shall we then see? What is this life which will
have no end? Our Lord will be the soul of our soul. O unsearchable
mystery! ”Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into
the heart of man what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
[203] And all this will come soon–very soon–if we love Jesus
ardently. It seems to me that God has no need of years to perfect His
labour of love in a soul. One ray from His Heart can in an instant make
His flower blossom forth, never to fade. . . . Celine, during the
fleeting moments that remain to us, let us save souls! I feel that Our
Spouse asks us for souls–above all, for the souls of Priests. . . . It
is He Who bids me tell you this.

There is but one thing to be done here below: to love Jesus, and to
save souls for Him that He may be more loved. We must not let slip the
smallest opportunity of giving Him joy. We must refuse Him nothing. He
is in such need of love.

We are His chosen lilies. He dwells as a King in our midst–He lets us
share the honours of His Royalty–His Divine Blood bedews our
petals–and His Thorns as they wound us spread abroad the perfume of
our love.

[203] I Cor. 2:9.


October 22, 1889.

MY DEAREST CELINE,–I send you a picture of the Holy Face. The
contemplation of this Divine subject seems to me to belong in a special
way to my little sister, truly the sister of my soul. May she be
another Veronica, and wipe away all the Blood and Tears of Jesus, her
only Love! May she give Him souls! May she force her way through the
soldiers–that is, the world–to come close to His side. . . . Happy
will she be when she sees in Heaven the value of that mysterious
draught with which she quenched the thirst of her Heavenly Spouse; when
she sees His Lips, once parched with burning thirst, speaking to her
the one eternal word–love, and the thanks which shall have no end. . .

Good-bye, dear little Veronica; [204] to-morrow, no doubt, your Beloved
will ask some new sacrifice, a fresh relief for His thirst . . . but
”let us go and die with Him!”

[204] It is remarkable that Soeur Therese applied this name to her
sister Celine, who, under her inspiration, was later to reproduce so
faithfully the true likeness of Our Lord, from the Holy Winding Sheet
of Turin. [Ed.] [Remainder of long footnote, discussing this likeness,
its reproduction, and related matters, omitted from this electronic


July 18, 1890.

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–I send you a passage from Isaias which will
comfort you. Long ago the Prophet’s soul was filled with the thought of
the hidden beauties of the Divine Face, as our souls are now. Many a
century has passed since then. It makes me wonder what is Time. Time is
but a mirage, a dream. Already God sees us in glory, and rejoices in
our everlasting bliss. How much good I derive from this thought! I
understand now why He allows us to suffer.

Since Our Beloved has ”trodden the wine-press alone,” [205] the
wine-press from which He gives us to drink–on our side let us not
refuse to be clothed in blood-stained garments, or to tread out for
Jesus a new wine which may quench His thirst! When ”He looks around
Him,” He will not be able to say now that ”He is alone” [206] –we
shall be there to help Him.

”His look as it were hidden.” [207] Alas! it is so even to this day,
and no one understands His Tears. ”Open to Me, My Sister, My Spouse,”
he says to us, ”for My Head is full of dew and My Locks of the drops of
the night.” [208] Thus Jesus complains to our souls when He is deserted
and forgotten . . . To be forgotten. It is this, I think, which gives
Him most pain.

And our dear Father!–it is heartrending, but how can we repine since
Our Lord Himself was looked upon ”as one struck by God and afflicted”?
[209] In this great sorrow we should forget ourselves, and pray for
Priests–our lives must be entirely devoted to them. Our Divine Master
makes me feel more and more that this is what He asks of you and me.

[205] Isa. 63:3.

[206] Cf. Isa. 63:5.

[207] Isa. 53:3.

[208] Cant. 5:2.

[209] Is. 53:4.


September 23, 1890.

O Celine, how can I tell you all that is happening within me? What a
wound I have received! And yet I feel it is inflicted by a loving Hand,
by a Hand divinely jealous.

All was ready for my espousals; [210] but do you not think that
something was still wanting to the feast? It is true, Jesus had already
enriched me with many jewels, but no doubt there was one of
incomparable beauty still missing; this priceless diamond He has given
me to-day . . . Papa will not be here to-morrow! Celine, I confess that
I have cried bitterly. . . . I am still crying so that I can scarcely
hold my pen.

You know how intensely I longed to see our dearest Father again; but
now I feel that it is God’s Will that he should not be at my feast. God
has allowed it simply to try our love. Jesus wishes me to be an orphan
. . . to be alone, with Him alone, so that He may unite Himself more
closely to me. He wishes, too, to give me back in Heaven this joy so
lawfully desired, but which He has denied me here on earth.

To-day’s trial is one of those sorrows that are difficult to
understand: a joy was set before us, one most natural and easy of
attainment. We stretched forth our hands . . . and the coveted joy was
withdrawn. But it is not the hand of man which has done this thing–it
is God’s work. Celine, understand your Therese, and let us accept
cheerfully the thorn which is offered us. To-morrow’s feast will be one
of tears, but I feel that Jesus will be greatly consoled. . . .

[210] Soeur Therese received the veil on September 24, 1890.


October 14, 1890.

MY DARLING SISTER,–I know quite well all you are suffering. I know
your anguish, and I share it. Oh! If I could but impart to you the
peace which Jesus has put into my soul amid my most bitter tears. Be
comforted–all passes away. Our life of yesterday is spent; death too
will come and go, and then we shall rejoice in life, true life, for
countless ages, for evermore. Meanwhile let us make of our heart a
garden of delights where Our sweet Saviour may come and take His rest.
Let us plant only lilies there, and sing with St. John of the Cross:

”There I remained in deep oblivion, My head reposing upon Him I love,
Lost to myself and all! I cast my cares away And let them, heedless,
mid the lilies lie.” [211]

[211] St. John of the Cross: The Night of the Soul, 8th stanza.


April 26, 1891.

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–Three years ago our hearts had not yet been
bruised, and life was one glad smile. Then Jesus looked down upon us,
and all things were changed into an ocean of tears . . . but likewise
into an ocean of grace and of love. God has taken from us him whom we
loved so tenderly–was it not that we might be able to say more truly
than ever: ”Our Father Who art in heaven”? How consoling is this divine
word, and what vast horizons it opens before us!

My darling Celine, you who asked me so many questions when we were
little, I wonder how it was you never asked: ”Why has God not made me
an Angel?” Well, I am going to tell you. Our Lord wishes to have His
Court here on earth, as He has in Heaven; He wishes for angel-martyrs
and angel-apostles; and if He has not made you an Angel in Heaven, it
is because He wishes you to be an Angel of earth, so that you may be
able to suffer for His Love.

Dearest sister, the shadows will soon disappear, the rays of the
Eternal Sun will thaw the hoar frost of winter. . . . A little longer,
and we shall be in our true country, and our childhood’s joys–those
Sunday evenings, those outpourings of the heart–will be given back to
us for ever!


August 15, 1892.

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–To write to you to-day I am obliged to steal a
little time from Our Lord. He will forgive, because it is of Him that
we are going to speak together. The vast solitudes and enchanting views
which unfold themselves before you ought to uplift your soul. I do not
see those things, and I content myself by saying with St. John of the
Cross in his Spiritual Canticle:

In Christ I have the mountains, The quiet, wooded valleys.

Lately I have been thinking what I could undertake for the salvation of
souls, and these simple words of the Gospel have given me light.
Pointing to the fields of ripe corn, Jesus once said to His disciples:
”Lift up your eyes and see the fields, for they are already white with
the harvest”; [212] and again: ”The harvest indeed is great, but the
labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He
send forth labourers.” [213]

Here is a mystery indeed! Is not Jesus all-powerful? Do not creatures
belong to Him who hade them? Why does He deign to say: ”Pray ye the
Lord of the harvest that He send forth labourers”? It is because His
Love for us is so unsearchable, so tender, that He wishes us to share
in all He does. The Creator of the Universe awaits the prayer of a poor
little soul to save a multitude of other souls, ransomed, like her, at
the price of His Blood.

Our vocation is not to go forth and reap in Our Father’s fields. Jesus
does not say to us: ”Look down and reap the harvest.” Our mission is
even more sublime. ”Lift up your eyes and see,” saith our Divine
Master, ”see how in Heaven there are empty thrones. It is for you to
fill them. . . . You are as Moses praying on the mountain, so ask Me
for labourers and they shall be sent. I only await a prayer, a sigh! Is
not the apostolate of prayer–so to speak–higher than that of the
spoken word? It is for us by prayer to train workers who will spread
the glad tidings of the Gospel and who will save countless souls–the
souls to whom we shall be the spiritual Mothers. What, then, have we to
envy in the Priests of the Lord?

[212] John 4:35.

[213] Matt. 9:37, 38.


MY DARLING SISTER,–The affection of our childhood days has changed
into a closest union of mind and heart. Jesus has drawn us to Him
together, for are you not already His? He has put the world beneath our
feet. Like Zaccheus we have climbed into a tree to behold
Him–mysterious tree, raising us high above all things, from whence we
can say: ”All is mine, all is for me: the Earth and the Heavens are
mine, God Himself is mine, and the Mother of my God is for me.” [214]

Speaking of that Blessed Mother, I must tell you of one of my simple
ways. Sometimes I find myself saying to her: ”Dearest Mother, it seems
to me that I am happier than you. I have you for my Mother, and you
have no Blessed Virgin to love. . . . It is true, you are the Mother of
Jesus, but you have given Him to me; and He, from the Cross, has given
you to be our Mother–thus we are richer than you! Long ago, in your
humility, you wished to become the little handmaid of the Mother of
God; and I–poor little creature–am not your handmaid but your child!
You are the Mother of Jesus, and you are also mine!”

Our greatness in Jesus is verily marvellous, my Celine. He has unveiled
for us many a mystery by making us climb the mystical tree of which I
spoke above. And now what science is He going to teach? Have we not
learned all things from Him?

”Make haste to come down, for this day I must abide in thy house.”
[215] Jesus bids us come down. Where, then, must we go? The Jews asked
Him: ”Master, where dwellest thou?” [216] And He answered, ”The foxes
have holes and the birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man hath not
where to lay His Head.” [217] If we are to be the dwelling-place of
Jesus, we must come down even to this–we must be so poor that we have
not where to lay our heads.

This grace of light has been given to me during my retreat. Our Lord
desires that we should receive Him into our hearts, and no doubt they
are empty of creatures. Alas! mine is not empty of self; that is why He
bids me come down. And I shall come down even to the very ground, that
Jesus may find within my heart a resting-place for His Divine Head, and
may feel that there at least He is loved and understood.

[214] St. John of the Cross.

[215] Luke 19:5.

[216] John 1:38.

[217] Luke 9:58.


April 25, 1893.

MY LITTLE CELINE,–I must come and disclose the desires of Jesus with
regard to your soul. Remember that He did not say: ”I am the flower of
the gardens, a carefully-tended Rose”; but, ”I am the Flower of the
fields and the Lily of the valleys.” [218] Well, you must be always as
a drop of dew hidden in the heart of this beautiful Lily of the valley.

The dew-drop–what could be simpler, what more pure? It is not the
child of the clouds; it is born beneath the starry sky, and survives
but a night. When the sun darts forth its ardent rays, the delicate
pearls adorning each blade of grass quickly pass into the lightest of
vapour. . . . There is the portrait of my little Celine! She is a drop
of dew, an offspring of Heaven–her true Home. Through the night of
this life she must hide herself in the Field-flower’s golden cup; no
eye must discover her abode.

Happy dewdrop, known to God alone, think not of the rushing torrents of
this world! Envy not even the crystal stream which winds among the
meadows. The ripple of its waters is sweet indeed, but it can be heard
by creatures. Besides, the Field-flower could never contain it in its
cup. One must be so little to draw near to Jesus, and few are the souls
that aspire to be little and unknown. ”Are not the river and the
brook,” they urge, ”of more use than a dewdrop? Of what avail is it?
Its only purpose is to refresh for one moment some poor little

Ah! They little know the true Flower of the field. Did they know Him
they would understand better Our Lord’s reproach to Martha. Our Beloved
needs neither our brilliant deeds nor our beautiful thoughts. Were He
in search of lofty ideas, has He not His Angels, whose knowledge
infinitely surpasses that of the greatest genius of earth? Neither
intellect nor other talents has He come to seek among us. . . . He has
become the Flower of the field to show how much He loves simplicity.

The Lily of the valley asks but a single dewdrop, which for one night
shall rest in its cup, hidden from all human eyes. But when the shadows
shall begin to fade, when the Flower of the field shall have become the
Sun of Justice, [219] then the dewdrop–the humble sharer of His
exile–will rise up to Him as love’s vapour. He will shed on her a ray
of His light, and before the whole court of Heaven she will shine
eternally like a precious pearl, a dazzling mirror of the Divine Sun.

[218] Cant. 2:1.

[219] Malachias 4:2.


August 2, 1893.

MY DEAR CELINE,–What you write fills me with joy; you are making your
way by a royal road. The Spouse in the Canticles, unable to find her
Beloved in the time of repose, went forth to seek Him in the city. But
in vain . . . it was only without the walls she found Him. It is not in
the sweetness of repose that Jesus would have us discover His Adorable
Presence. He hides Himself and shrouds Himself in darkness. True, this
was not His way with the multitude, for we read that all the people
were carried away as soon as He spoke to them.

The weaker souls He charmed by His divine eloquence with the aim of
strengthening them against the day of temptation and trial, but His
faithful friends were few that day when ”He was silent” [220] in the
presence of His judges. Sweet melody to my heart is that silence of the
Divine Master!

He would have us give Him alms as to a poor man, and puts Himself–so
to speak–at our mercy. He will take nothing that is not cheerfully
given, and the veriest trifle is precious in His Divine Eyes. He
stretches forth His Hand to receive a little love, that in the radiant
day of the Judgment He may speak to us those ineffably sweet words:
”Come, ye blessed of My Father, for I was hungry and you gave Me to
drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was sick and you visited
Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” [221]

Dearest Celine, let us rejoice in the lot that is ours! Let us give and
give again, and give royally, never forgetting that Our Beloved is a
hidden Treasure which few souls know how to find. Now to discover that
which is hidden we must needs hide ourselves in the hiding-place. Let
our life, then, be one of concealment. The author of the Imitation
tells us:

”If thou would’st know and learn something to the purpose, love to be
unknown, and to be esteemed as nothing . . . [222] Having forsaken all
things, a man should forsake himself. . . [223] Let this man glory in
this and another in that, but thou for thy part rejoice neither in this
nor in that, but in the contempt of thyself.” [224]

[220] Matt. 26:23.

[221] Matt. 25:34-36.

[222] Imit., Bk. I, ch. ii. 3.

[223] Ib., Bk. II, ch. xi. 4.

[224] Ib., Bk. III, ch. xlix. 7.


MY DEAR CELINE,–You tell me that my letters do good to you. I am
indeed glad, but I assure you that I am under no misapprehension:
”Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.”
[225] The greatest eloquence cannot call forth a single act of love
without that grace which touches the heart.

Think of a beautiful peach with its delicate tint of rose, with its
flavour so sweet that no human skill could invent such nectar. Tell me,
Celine, is it for the peach’s own sake that God created that colour so
fair to the eye, that velvety covering so soft to the touch? Is it for
itself that He made it so sweet? Nay, it is for us; the only thing that
is all its own and is essential to its being, is the stone; it
possesses nothing beyond.

Thus also it pleases Jesus to lavish His gifts on certain souls in
order to draw yet others to Himself; in His Mercy He humbles them
inwardly and gently compels them to recognise their nothingness and His
Almighty Power. Now this sentiment of humility is like a kernel of
grace which God hastens to develop against that blessed day, when,
clothed with an imperishable beauty, they will be placed, without
danger, on the banqueting-table of Paradise. Dear little sister, sweet
echo of my soul, Therese is far from the heights of fervour at this
moment; but when I am in this state of spiritual dryness, unable to
pray, or to practise virtue, I look for little opportunities, for the
smallest trifles, to please my Jesus: a smile or a kind word, for
instance, when I would wish to be silent, or to show that I am bored.
If no such occasion offer, I try at least to say over and over again
that I love Him. This is not hard, and it keeps alive the fire in my
heart. Even should the fire of love seem dead, I would still throw my
tiny straws on the ashes, and I am confident it would light up again.

It is true I am not always faithful, but I never lose courage. I leave
myself in the Arms of Our Lord. He teaches me to draw profit from
everything, from the good and from the bad which He finds in me. [226]
He teaches me to speculate in the Bank of Love, or rather it is He Who
speculates for me, without telling me how He does it–that is His
affair, not mine. I have but to surrender myself wholly to Him, to do
so without reserve, without even the satisfaction of knowing what it is
all bringing to me. . . . After all, I am not the prodigal child, and
Jesus need not trouble about a feast for me, because I am always with
Him. [227]

I have read in the Gospel that the Good Shepherd leaves the faithful
ones of His flock in the desert to hasten after the lost sheep. This
confidence touches me deeply. You see He is sure of them. How could
they stray away? They are prisoners of Love. In like manner does the
Beloved Shepherd of our souls deprive us of the sweets of His Presence,
to give His consolations to sinners; or if He lead us to Mount Thabor
it is but for one brief moment . . . the pasture land is nearly always
in the valleys, ”it is there that He takes His rest at mid-day.” [228]

[225] Ps. 126[127]:1.

[226] St. John of the Cross.

[227] Cf. Luke 15:31.

[228] Cant. 1:6.


October 20, 1893.

MY DEAR SISTER,–I find in the Canticle of Canticles this passage which
may be fitly applied to you: ”What dost thou see in thy beloved but a
band of musicians in an armed camp?” [229] Through suffering, your life
has in truth become a battle-field, and there must be a band of
musicians, so you shall be the little harp of Jesus. But no concert is
complete without singing, and if Jesus plays, must not Celine make
melody with her voice? When the music is plaintive, she will sing the
songs of exile; when the music is gay, she will lilt the airs of her
Heavenly Home. . . .

Whatever may happen, all earthly events, be they happy or sad, will be
but distant sounds, unable to awake a vibration from the harp of Jesus.
He reserves to Himself alone the right of lightly touching its strings.

I cannot think without delight of that sweet saint, Cecilia. What an
example she gives us! In the midst of a pagan world, in the very heart
of danger, at the moment when she was to be united to a man whose love
was so utterly of earth, it seems to me as if she should have wept and
trembled with fear. But instead, ”during the music of the
marriage-feast Cecilia kept singing in her heart.” [230] What perfect
resignation! No doubt she heard other melodies than those of this
world; her Divine Spouse too was singing, and the Angels repeated in
chorus the refrain of Bethlehem’s blessed night: ”Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.” [231]

The Glory of God! St. Cecilia understood it well, and longed for it
with all her heart. She guessed that her Jesus was thirsting for souls
. . . and that is why her whole desire was to bring to Him quickly the
soul of the young Roman, whose only thought was of human glory. This
wise Virgin will make of him a Martyr, and multitudes will follow in
his footsteps. She knows no fear: the Angels in their song made promise
of peace. She knows that the Prince of Peace is bound to protect her,
to guard her virginity, and to make her recompense. . . . ”Oh, how
beautiful is the chaste generation!” [232]

Dearest sister, I hardly know what I write; I let my pen follow the
dictates of my heart. You tell me that you feel your weakness, but that
is a grace. It is Our Lord Who sows the seeds of distrust of self in
your soul. Do not be afraid! If you do not fail to give Him pleasure in
small things, he will be obliged to help you in great ones.

The Apostles laboured long without Him, they toiled a whole night and
caught no fish. Their labours were not inacceptable to him, but He
wished to prove that He is the Giver of all things. So an act of
humility was asked of the Apostles, and Our loving Lord called to them:
”Children, have you anything to eat?” [233] St. Peter, avowing his
helplessness, cried out: ”Lord, we have laboured all the night, and
have taken nothing.” [234] It is enough, the Heart of Jesus is touched.
. . . Had the Apostle caught some small fish, perhaps our Divine Master
would not have worked a miracle; but he had caught nothing, and so
through the power and goodness of God his nets were soon filled with
great fishes. Such is Our Lord’s way. He gives as God–with divine
largesse–but He insists on humility of heart.

[229] Cf. Cant. 7:1.

[230] Office of St. Cecilia.

[231] Luke 2:14.

[232] Wisdom 4:1.

[233] John 21:5.

[234] Luke 5:5. Soeur Therese joins in one the two miraculous draughts
of fishes. [Ed.]


July 7, 1894.

MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–I do not know if you are still in the same
frame of mind as when you last wrote to me; I presume that you are, and
I answer with this passage of the Canticle of Canticles, which explains
so well the state of a soul in utter dryness, a soul which cannot find
joy or consolation in anything: ”I went down into the garden of
nut-trees to see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard
had flourished, and the pomegranates were in bud. I no longer knew
where I was: my soul was troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab.”

There is the true picture of our souls. Often we go down in the fertile
valleys where our heart loves to find its nourishment; and the vast
fields of Holy Scripture, which have so often opened to yield us
richest treasures, now seem but an arid and waterless waste. We no
longer even know where we stand. In place of peace and light, all is
sorrow and darkness. But, like the Spouse in the Canticles, we know the
cause of this trial: ”My soul was troubled because of the chariots of
Aminadab.” We are not as yet in our true country, and as gold is tired
in the fire so must our souls be purified by temptation. We sometimes
think we are abandoned. Alas! the chariots–that is to say, the idle
clamours which beset and disturb us–are they within the soul or
without? We cannot tell, but Jesus knows; He sees all our grief, and in
the night, on a sudden, His Voice is heard: ”Return, return, O
Sulamitess: return, return, that we may behold thee.” [236]

O gracious call! We dared no longer even look upon ourselves, the sight
filled us with horror, and Jesus calls us that He may look upon us at
leisure. He wills to see us; He comes, and with Him come the other two
Persons of the Adorable Trinity to take possession of our soul.

Our Lord had promised this, when, with unspeakable tenderness, He had
said of old: ”If anyone love Me he will keep My word, and My Father
will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with
him.” [237] To keep the word of Jesus, then, is one condition of our
happiness, the proof of our love for Him; and this word seems to me to
be His very Self, for He calls Himself the Uncreated Word of the

In the same Gospel of St. John He makes the sublime prayer: ”Sanctify
them by Thy word, Thy word is truth.” [238] And in another passage
Jesus teaches us that He is ”the Way and the Truth and the Life.” [239]
We know, then, what is this word which must be kept; we cannot say,
like Pilate: ”What is truth?” [240] We possess the Truth, for our
Beloved dwells in our hearts.

Often this Beloved is to us a bundle of myrrh. [241] We share the
chalice of His sufferings; but how sweet it will be to us one day to
hear these gentle words: ”You are they who have continued with Me in My
temptations, and I dispose to you, as My Father hath disposed to Me, a
kingdom.” [242]

[235] Cf. Cant. 6:10, 11.

[236] Cant. 6:12.

[237] John 14:23.

[238] Cf. John 17:17.

[239] John 14:6.

[240] John 18:38.

[241] Cf. Cant. 1:12.

[242] Luke 22:28, 29.


August 19, 1894.

This is perhaps the last time that I need have recourse to writing in
order to talk to you, my dear little sister. God in His goodness has
granted my dearest wish. Come, and we will suffer together . . . Then
Jesus will take one of us, and the others will remain in exile yet a
little longer. Now, listen well to what I am going to say: God will
never, never separate us; and if I die before you, do not think that I
shall be far away–never shall we have been more closely united. You
must not be grieved at my childish prophecy. I am not ill, I have an
iron constitution; but the Lord can break iron as if it were clay.

Our dear Father makes his presence felt in a way which touches me
deeply. After a death lasting for five long years, what joy to find him
as he used to be, nay, more a father than ever! How well he is going to
repay you for the care you so generously bestowed on him! You were his
Angel, now he will be yours. He has only been one month in heaven, and
already, through the power of his intercession, all your plans are
succeeding. It is easy for him now to arrange matters for us, and he
has had less to suffer on Celine’s account than he had for his poor
little Queen.

For a long time you have been asking me for news about the noviciate,
especially about my work, and now I am going to satisfy you. In my
dealings with the novices I am like a setter on the scent of game. The
role gives me much anxiety because it so very exacting. You shall
decide for yourself if this be not the case. All day long, from morn
till night, I am in pursuit of game. Mother Prioress and the Novice
Mistress play the part of sportsmen–but sportsmen are too big to be
creeping through the cover, whereas a little dog can push its way in
anywhere . . . and then its scent is so keen! I keep a close watch upon
my little rabbits; I do not want to do them any harm, but I tell them
gently: ”You must keep your fur glossy, and must not look foolishly
about as does a rabbit of the warren.” In fact, I try to make them such
as the Hunter of Souls would have them, simple little creatures that go
on browsing heedless of everything else.

I laugh now, but seriously I am quite convinced that one of these
rabbits–you know which one I mean–is worth a hundred times more than
the setter; it has run through many a danger, and I own that, had I
been in its place, I should have long since been lost for ever in the
great forest of the world.


I am so glad, dearest Celine, that you do not feel any particular
attraction at the thought of entering the Carmel. This is really a mark
of Our Lord’s favour, and shows that He looks for a gift from your
hands. He knows that it is so much sweeter to give than to receive.
What happiness to suffer for Him Who loves us even unto folly, and to
pass for fools in the eyes of the world! We judge others by ourselves,
and, as the world will not hearken to reason, it calls us unreasonable

We may console ourselves, we are not the first. Folly was the only
crime with which Herod could reproach Our Lord . . . and, after all,
Herod was right. Yes, indeed, it was folly to come and seek the poor
hearts of mortal men to make them thrones for Him, the King of Glory,
Who sitteth above the Cherubim! Was He not supremely happy in the
company of His Father and the Holy Spirit of Love? Why, then, come down
on earth to seek sinners and make of them His closest friends? Nay, our
folly could never exceed His, and our deeds are quite within the bounds
of reason. The world may leave us alone. I repeat, it is the world that
is insane, because it heeds not what Jesus has done and suffered to
save it from eternal damnation.

We are neither idlers nor spendthrifts. Our Divine Master has taken our
defence upon Himself. Remember the scene in the house of Lazarus:
Martha was serving, while Mary had no thought of food but only of how
she could please her Beloved. And ”she broke her alabaster box, and
poured out upon her Saviour’s Head the precious spikenard, [243] and
the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” [244]

The Apostles murmured against Magdalen. This still happens, for so do
men murmur against us. Even some fervent Catholics think our ways are
exaggerated, and that–with Martha–we ought to wait upon Jesus,
instead of pouring out on Him the odorous ointment of our lives. Yet
what does it matter if these ointment-jars–our lives–be broken, since
Our Lord is consoled, and the world in spite of itself is forced to
inhale the perfumes they give forth? It has much need of these perfumes
to purify the unwholesome air it breathes.

For a while only, good-bye, dearest sister. Your barque is near to
port. The breezes filling its sails are the zephyrs of Love–breezes
that speed more swiftly than the lightning-flash. Good-bye! in a few
days we shall be together within these Carmel walls . . . and in the
after days together in Paradise. Did not Jesus say during His Passion:
”Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of
the power of God and coming in the clouds of heaven”? [245] . . . We
shall be there!


[243] Cf. Mark 14:3.

[244] John 12:3.

[245] Matt. 26:64.




(Written in 1887, shortly before Therese entered the Carmel.)

MY DARLING LITTLE MOTHER,–You are right when you tell me that every
cup must contain its drop of gall. I find that trials are a great help
towards detachment from the things of earth: they make one look higher
than this world. Nothing here can satisfy, and we can find rest only in
holding ourselves ready to do God’s will.

My frail barque has great difficulty in reaching port. I sighted it
long since, and still I find myself afar off. Yet Jesus steers this
little barque, and I am sure that on His appointed day it will come
safely to the blessed haven of the Carmel. O Pauline! when Jesus shall
have vouchsafed me this grace, I wish to give myself entirely to Him,
to suffer always for Him, to live for Him alone. I do not fear His rod,
for even when the smart is keenest we feel that it is His sweet Hand
which strikes.

It is such joy to think that for each pain cheerfully borne we shall
love God more through eternity. Happy should I be if at the hour of my
death I could offer Jesus a single soul. There would be one soul less
in hell, and one more to bless God in Heaven.


(Written during her retreat before receiving the habit.)

January, 1889.

Dryness and drowsiness–such is the state of my soul in its intercourse
with Jesus! But since my Beloved wishes to sleep I shall not prevent
Him. I am only too happy that He does not treat me as a stranger, but
rather in a homely way. He riddles his ”little ball” with pin-pricks
that hurt indeed, though when they come from the Hand of this loving
Friend, the pain is all sweetness, so gentle in His touch. How
different the hand of man!

Yet I am happy, most happy to suffer! If Jesus Himself does not pierce
me, He guides the hand which does. Mother! If you knew how utterly
indifferent to earthly things I desire to be, and of how little concern
to me are all the beauties of creation. I should be wretched were I to
possess them. My heart seems so vast when I think of the goods of
earth–all of them together unable to fill it. But by the side of Jesus
how small does it appear! He is full good to me–this God who soon will
be my Spouse. He is divinely lovable for not permitting me to be the
captive of any passing joy. He knows well that if He sent me but a
shadow of earthly happiness I should cling to it with all the intense
ardour of my heart, and He refuses even this shadow . . . He prefers to
leave me in darkness, rather than afford me a false glimmer which would
not be Himself.

I do not wish creatures to have one atom of my love. I wish to give all
to Jesus, since He makes me understand that He alone is perfect
happiness. All!–all shall be for Him! And even when I have nothing, as
is the case to-night, I will give Him this nothing . . .



. . . . . .

I have a longing for those heart-wounds, those pin-pricks which inflict
so much pain. I know of no ecstasy to which I do not prefer sacrifice.
There I find happiness, and there alone. The slender reed has no fear
of being broken, for it is planted beside the waters of Love. When,
therefore, it bends before the gale, it gathers strength in the
refreshing stream, and longs for yet another storm to pass and sway its
head. My very weakness makes me strong. No harm can come to me since,
in whatever happens, I see only the tender Hand of Jesus . . . Besides,
no suffering is too big a price to pay for the glorious palm.


(Written during her retreat before profession.)

September, 1890.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,–Your little hermit must give you an account of her
journey. Before starting, my Beloved asked me in what land I wished to
travel, and what road I wished to take. I told him that I had only one
desire, that of reaching the summit of the Mountain of Love.

Thereupon roads innumerable spread before my gaze, but so many of these
were perfect that I felt incapable of choosing any of my own free will.
Then I said to my Divine Guide: ”Thou knowest where lies the goal of my
desire, and for Whose sake I would climb the Mountain. Thou knowest Who
possesses the love of my heart. For Him only I set out on this journey;
lead me therefore by the paths of His choosing: my joy shall be full if
only He is pleased.”

And Our Lord took me by the hand, and led me through an underground
passage where it is neither hot nor cold, where the sun shines not, and
where neither wind nor rain can enter–a place where I see nothing but
a half-veiled light, the light that gleams from the downcast Eyes of
the Face of Jesus.

My Spouse speaks not a word, and I say nothing save that I love Him
more than myself; and in the depths of my heart I know this is true,
for I am more His than mine. I cannot see that we are advancing toward
our journey’s goal since we travel by a subterranean way; and yet,
without knowing how, it seems to me that we are nearing the summit of
the Mountain.

I give thanks to my Jesus for making me walk in darkness, and in this
darkness I enjoy profound peace. Willingly do I consent to remain
through all my religious life in this gloomy passage into which He has
led me. I desire only that my darkness may obtain light for sinners. I
am content, nay, full of joy, to be without all consolation. I should
be ashamed if my love were like that of those earthly brides who are
ever looking for gifts from their bridegrooms, or seeking to catch the
loving smile which fills them with delight.

Therese, the little Spouse of Jesus, loves Him for Himself; she only
looks on the Face of her Beloved to catch a glimpse of the Tears which
delight her with their secret charm. She longs to wipe away those
Tears, or to gather them up like priceless diamonds with which to adorn
her bridal dress. Jesus! . . . Oh! I would so love Him! Love Him as He
has never yet been loved! . . .

At all cost I must win the palm of St. Agnes; if it cannot be mine
through blood, I must win it by Love.



Love can take the place of a long life. Jesus does not consider time,
for He is Eternal. He only looks at the love. My little Mother, beg Him
to bestow it upon me in full measure. I do not desire that thrill of
love which I can feel; if Jesus feel its thrill, then that is enough
for me. It is so sweet to love Him, to make Him loved. Ask Him to take
me to Him on my profession-day, if by living on I should ever offend
Him, because I wish to bear unsullied to Heaven the white robe of my
second Baptism. [246] Now Jesus can grant me the grace never to offend
Him more, or rather never to commit any faults but those which do not
offend Him or give Him pain; faults which serve but to humble me and
strengthen my love. There is no one to lean on apart from Jesus. He
alone faileth not, and it is exceeding joy to think that He can never

[246] Soeur Therese here alludes to the probable opinion of theologians
that–as in Baptism–all stain of sin is removed and all temporal
punishment for sin remitted, by the vows taken on the day of religious
profession. [Ed.]



MY DEAREST LITTLE MOTHER,–Your letter has done me such good. The
sentence: ”Let us refrain from saying a word which could raise us in
the eyes of others,” has indeed enlightened my soul. Yes, we must keep
all for Jesus with jealous care. It is so good to work for Him alone.
How it fills the heart with joy, and lends wings to the soul! Ask of
Jesus that Therese–His grain of sand–may save Him a multitude of
souls in a short space of time, so that she may the sooner behold His
Adorable Face.



Here is the dream of this ”grain of sand”: Love Jesus alone, and naught
else beside! The grain of sand is so small that if it wished to open
its heart to any other but Jesus, there would no longer be room for
this Beloved.

What happiness to be so entirely hidden that no one gives us a
thought–to be unknown even to those with whom we live! My little
Mother, I long to be unknown to everyone of God’s creatures! I have
never desired glory amongst men, and if their contempt used to attract
my heart, I have realized that even this is too glorious for me, and I
thirst to be forgotten.

The Glory of Jesus–this is my sole ambition. I abandon my glory to
Him; and if He seem to forget me, well, He is free to do so since I am
no longer my own, but His. He will weary sooner of making me wait than
I shall of waiting.


[One day when Soeur Therese was suffering acutely from feverishness,
one of the Sisters urged her to help in a difficult piece of painting.
For a moment Therese’s countenance betrayed an inward struggle, which
did not escape the notice of Mother Agnes of Jesus. That same evening
Therese wrote her the following letter.]

May 28, 1897.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,–I have just been shedding sweet tears–tears of
repentance, but still more of thankfulness and love. To-day I showed
you the treasure of my patience, and how virtuous I am–I who preach so
well to others! I am glad that you have seen my want of perfection. You
did not scold me, and yet I deserved it. But at all times your
gentleness speaks to me more forcibly than would severe words. To me
you are the image of God’s Mercy.

Sister N., on the contrary, is more often the image of God’s severity.
Well, I have just met her, and, instead of passing me coldly by, she
embraced me and said: ”Poor little Sister, I am so sorry . . . I do not
want to tire you; it was wrong of me to ask your help; leave the work
alone.” In my heart I felt perfect sorrow, and I was much surprised to
escape all blame. I know she must really deem me imperfect. She spoke
in this way because she thinks I am soon to die. However that may be, I
have heard nothing but kind and tender words from her; and so I
consider her most kind, and myself an unamiable creatures.

When I returned to our cell, I was wondering what Jesus thought, when
all at once I remembered His words to the woman taken in adultery:
”Hath no man condemned thee?” [247] With tears in my eyes, I answered
Him: ”No one, Lord, . . . neither my little Mother–the image of Thy
Mercy–nor Sister N., the image of Thy Justice. I feel that I can go in
peace, because neither wilt Thou condemn me.”

I confess I am much happier because of my weakness than if–sustained
by grace–I had been a model of patience. It does me so much good to
see that Jesus is always sweet and tender towards me. Truly it is
enough to make me die of grateful love.

My little Mother, you will understand how this evening the vessel of
God’s Mercy has overflowed for your child. . . . Even now I know it!
Yea, all my hopes will be fulfilled . . .


[247] John 8:10.


February 21, 1888.

MY DEAR MARIE,–You cannot think what a lovely present Papa made me
last week; I believe if I gave you a hundred or even a thousand guesses
you would never find out what it was. Well, my dear Father bought me a
new-born lamb, all white and fleecy. He said that before I entered the
Carmel he wanted me to have this pleasure. We were all delighted,
especially Celine. What touched me more than anything was Papa’s
thoughtfulness. Besides, a lamb is symbolic, and it made me think of

So far, so good, but now for the sequel. We were already building
castles in the air, and expected that in two or three days the lamb
would be frisking round us. But the pretty creature died that same
afternoon. Poor little thing, scarcely was it born when it suffered and
died. It looked so gentle and innocent that Celine made a sketch of it,
and then we laid it in a grave dug by Papa. It appeared to be asleep. I
did not want the earth to be its covering, so we put snow upon our pet,
and all was over.

You do not know, dearest Godmother, how this little creature’s death
has made me reflect. Clearly we must not become attached to anything,
no matter how innocent, because it will slip from our grasp when least
expected; nothing but the eternal can content us.

(Written during her retreat before receiving the habit.)
January 8, 1889.

Your little Lamb–as you love to call me, dearest sister–would borrow
from you some strength and courage. I cannot speak to Our Lord, and He
is silent too. Pray that my retreat may be pleasing to the Heart of Him
Who alone reads the secrets of the soul.

Life is full of sacrifice, it is true, but why seek happiness here? For
life is but ”a night to be spent in a wretched inn,” as our holy Mother
St. Teresa says. I assure you my heart thirsts ardently for happiness,
but I see clearly that no creature can quench that thirst. On the
contrary, the oftener I would drink from these seductive waters the
more burning will my thirst become. I know a source where ”they that
drink shall yet thirst,” [248] but with a delicious thirst, a thirst
one can always allay. . . . That source is the suffering known to Jesus

[248] Eccles. 24:29.

August 14, 1889.

You ask for a word from your little Lamb. But what shall I say? Is it
not you who have taught me? Remember those days when I sat upon your
knee, and you talked to me of Heaven.

I can still hear you say: ”Look at those who want to become rich, and
see how they toil to obtain money. Now, my little Therese, through
every moment of the day and with far less trouble, we can lay up riches
in Heaven. Diamonds are so plentiful, we can gather them together as
with a rake, and we do this by performing all our actions for the love
of God.” Then I would leave you, my heart overflowing with joy, and
fully bent on amassing great wealth.

Time has flown since those happy hours spent together in our dear nest.
Jesus has visited us, and has found us worthy to be tried in the
crucible of suffering. God has said that on the last day ”He will wipe
away all tears from our eyes,” [249] and no doubt the more tears there
are to dry, the greater will be the happiness.

Pray to-morrow for the little one who owes you her upbringing, and who,
without you, might never have come to the Carmel.

[249] Apoc. 21:4.

(During her retreat before profession)
September 4, 1890.

The heavenly music falls but faintly on the ear of your child, and it
has been a dreary journey towards her Bridal Day. It is true her
Betrothed has led her through fertile lands and gorgeous scenery, but
the dark night has prevented her admiring, much less revelling in, the
beauty all around. Perhaps you think this grieved her. Oh, no! she is
happy to follow her Betrothed for His own sake, and not for the sake of
His gifts. He is so ravishingly beautiful, even when silent–even when
concealed. Weary of earthly consolation, your little child wishes for
her Beloved alone. I believe that the work of Jesus during this retreat
has been to detach me from everything but Himself. My only comfort is
the exceeding strength and peace that is mine. Besides, I hope to be
just what He wills I should be, and in this lies all my happiness.

Did you but know how great is my joy at giving pleasure to Jesus
through being utterly deprived of all joy! . . . . Truly this is the
very refinement of all joy–joy we do not feel.

September 7, 1890.

To-morrow I shall be the Spouse of Jesus, of Him Whose ”look was as it
were hidden and despised.” [250] What a future this alliance opens up!
How can I thank Him, how render myself less unworthy of so great a

I thirst after Heaven, that blessed abode where our love for Jesus will
be without bounds. True, we must pass through suffering and tears to
reach that home, but I wish to suffer all that my Beloved is pleased to
send me; I wish to let Him do as He wills with His ”little ball.” You
tell me, dearest Godmother, that my Holy Child is beautifully adorned
for my wedding-day; [251] perhaps, however, you wonder why I have not
put new rose-coloured candles. The old ones appeal to me more because
they were lighted for the first time on my clothing-day. They were then
fresh and of rosy hue. Papa had given them to me; he was there, and all
was joyful. But now their tint has faded. Are there yet any
rose-coloured joys on earth for your little Therese? No, for her there
are only heavenly joys; joys where the hollowness of all things gives
place to the Uncreated Reality.

[250] Isa. 53:3.

[251] She alludes to the Statue of the Holy Child in the cloister,
which was under her own special care. [Ed.]


MY DEAREST SISTER,–I do not find it difficult to answer you. . . . How
can you ask me if it be possible for you to love God as I love Him! My
desire for martyrdom is as nothing; it is not to that I owe the
boundless confidence that fills my heart. Such desires might be
described as spiritual riches, which are the unjust mammon, [252] when
one is complacent in them as in something great. . . . These
aspirations are a consolation Jesus sometimes grants to weak souls like
mine–and there are many such! But when He withholds this consolation,
it is a special grace. Remember these words of a holy monk: ”The
martyrs suffered with joy, and the King of Martyrs in sorrow.” Did not
Jesus cry out: ”My father, remove this chalice from Me”? [253] Do not
think, then, that my desires are a proof of my love. Indeed I know well
that it is certainly not these desires which make God take pleasure in
my soul. What does please Him is to find me love my littleness, my
poverty: it is the blind trust which I have in His Mercy. . . . There
is my sole treasure, dearest Godmother, and why should it not be yours?

Are you not ready to suffer all that God wills? Assuredly; and so if
you wish to know joy and to love suffering, you are really seeking your
own consolation, because once we love, all suffering disappears.
Verily, if we were to go together to martyrdom, you would gain great
merit, and I should have none, unless it pleased Our Lord to change my

Dear sister, do you not understand that to love Jesus and to be His
Victim of Love, the more weak and wretched we are the better material
do we make for this consuming and transfiguring Love? . . . The simple
desire to be a Victim suffices, but we must also consent to ever remain
poor and helpless, and here lies the difficulty: ”Where shall we find
one that is truly poor in spirit? We must seek him afar off,” says the
author of the Imitation. [254] He does not say that we must search
among great souls, but ”afar off”–that is to say, in abasement and in
nothingness. Let us remain far from all that dazzles, loving our
littleness, and content to have no joy. Then we shall be truly poor in
spirit, and Jesus will come to seek us however far off we may be, and
transform us into flames of Love. . . . I long to make you understand
what I feel. Confidence alone must lead us to Love. . . . Does not fear
lead to the thought of the strict justice that is threatened to
sinners? But that is not the justice Jesus will show to such as love

God would not vouchsafe you the desire to be the Victim of His Merciful
Love, were this not a favour in store–or rather already granted, since
you are wholly surrendered unto Him and long to be consumed by Him, and
God never inspires a longing which He cannot fulfill.

The road lies clear, and along it we must run together. I feel that
Jesus wishes to bestow on us the same graces; He wishes to grant us
both a free entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom. Dearest Godmother, you
would like to hear still more of the secrets which Jesus confides to
your child, but human speech cannot tell what the human heart itself
can scarcely conceive. Besides, Jesus confides His secrets to you
likewise. This I know, for you it was who taught me to listen to His
Divine teaching. On the day of my Baptism you promised in my name that
I would serve Him alone. You were the Angel who led me and guided me in
my days of exile and offered me to Our Lord. As a child loves its
mother, I love you; in Heaven only will you realise the gratitude with
which my heart is full to overflowing.

Your little daughter,

Teresa of the Child Jesus.

[252] Luke 16:2.

[253] Luke 22:42.

[254] Cf. Imit., II, xi. 4.


August 13, 1893.

DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–At last your desires are satisfied. Like the dove
sent forth from the ark, you have been unable to find a spot on earth
whereon to rest, and have long been on the wing seeking to re-enter the
blessed abode where your heart had for ever fixed its home. Jesus has
kept you waiting, but at last, touched by the plaintive cry of His
dove, He has put forth His Divine Hand, and, taking hold of it, has set
it in His Heart–that sanctuary of His Love.

It is quite a spiritual joy, this joy of mine. For I shall never look
upon you again, never hear your voice as I outpour my heart into yours.
Yet I know that earth is but a halting-place to us who journey towards
a Heavenly Home. What matter if the routes we follow lie apart? Our
goal is the same–that Heaven where we shall meet, no more to be
separated. There we shall taste for ever the sweets of our earthly
home. We shall have much to tell one another when this exile is ended.
Speech here below is so inadequate, but a single glance will be enough
for perfect understanding in our home beyond; and I believe that our
happiness will be greater than if we had never been parted here.

Meanwhile we must live by sacrifice. Without it there would be no merit
in the religious life. As someone told us in a conference: ”The reason
why the forest oak raises its head so high is because, hemmed in on all
sides, it wastes no sap in putting forth branches underneath, but
towers aloft. Thus in the religious life the soul, hedged in all around
by the rule and by the practice of community life, of necessity finds
there a means of lifting a high head towards Heaven.”

Dearest sister, pray for your little Therese that she may draw profit
from her exile on earth and from the plentiful means granted her of
meriting Heaven.

January, 1895.

DEAR LITTLE SISTER,–How fruitful for Heaven has been the year that is
gone! . . . Our dear Father has seen that which the eye of man cannot
see, he has heard the minstrelsy of the angels . . . now his heart
understands, and his soul enjoys ”the things which God hath prepared
for those who love Him.” [256] . . . Our turn will come, and it is full
sweet to think our sails are set towards the Eternal Shore.

Do you not find, as I do, that our beloved Father’s death has drawn us
nearer to Heaven? More than half of our loved ones already enjoy the
Vision of God, and the five who remain in exile will follow soon. This
thought of the shortness of life gives me courage, and helps me to put
up with the weariness of the journey. What matters a little toil upon
earth? We pass . . . ”We have not here a lasting city.” [257]

Think of your Therese during this month consecrated to the Infant
Jesus, and beg of Him that she may always remain a very little child. I
will offer the same prayer for you, because I know your desires, and
that humility is your favourite virtue.

Which Therese will be the more fervent? . . . She who will be the more
humble, the more closely united to Jesus, and the more faithful in
making love the mainspring of every action. We must not let slip one
single occasion of sacrifice, everything has such value in the
religious life . . . Pick up a pin from a motive of love, and you may
thereby convert a soul. Jesus alone can make our deeds of such worth,
so let us love Him with every fibre of our heart.

[256] Cf. I Cor. 2:9.

[257] Heb. 13:14.

July 12, 1896.

MY DEAR LITTLE LEONIE,–I should have answered your letter last Sunday
if it had been given to me, but you know that, being the youngest, I
run the risk of not seeing letters for some considerable time after my
sisters, and occasionally not at all. I only read yours on Friday, so
forgive my delay.

You are right–Jesus is content with a tender look or a sigh of love.
For my part, I find it quite easy to practise perfection, now that I
realise it only means making Jesus captive through His Heart. Look at a
little child who has just vexed its mother, either by giving way to
temper or by disobedience. If it hides in a corner and is sulky, or if
it cries for fear of being punished, its mother will certainly not
forgive the fault. But should it run to her with its little arms
outstreteched, and say; ”Kiss me, Mother; I will not do it again!” what
mother would not straightway clasp her child lovingly to her heart, and
forget all it had done? . . . She knows quite well that her little one
will repeat the fault–no matter, her darling will escape all
punishment so long as it makes appeal to her heart.

Even when the law of fear was in force, before Our Lord’s coming, the
prophet Isaias said–speaking in the name of the King of Heaven: ”Can a
woman forget her babe? . . . And if she should forget, yet will I not
forget thee.” [258] What a touching promise! We who live under the law
of Love, shall we not profit by the loving advances made by our Spouse?
How can anybody fear Him Who allows Himself to be made captive ”with
one hair of our neck”? [259]

Let us learn to keep Him prisoner–this God, the Divine Beggar of love.
By telling us that a single hair can work this wonder, He shows us that
the smallest actions done for His Love are those which charm His Heart.
If it were necessary to do great things, we should be deserving of
pity, but we are happy beyond measure, because Jesus lets Himself be
led captive by the smallest action. . . . With you, dear Leonie, little
sacrifices are never lacking. Is not your life made up of them? I
rejoice to see you in presence of such wealth, especially when I
remember that you know how to make profit thereby, not only for
yourself but likewise for poor sinners. It is so sweet to help Jesus to
save the souls which He has ransomed at the price of His Precious
Blood, and which only await our help to keep them from the abyss.

It seems to me that if our sacrifices take Jesus captive, our joys make
Him prisoner too. All that is needful to attain this end is, that
instead of giving ourselves over to selfish happiness, we offer to our
Spouse the little joys He scatters in our path, to charm our hearts and
draw them towards Him.

You ask for news of my health. Well, my cough has quite disappeared.
Does that please you? It will not prevent Our Lord from taking me to
Himself whensoever He wishes. And I need not prepare for that journey,
since my whole endeavour is to remain as a little child. Jesus Himself
must pay all its expenses, as well as the price of my admission to

Good-bye, dearest one, pray to Him without fail for the last and least
of your sisters.

[258] Isa. 49:15.

[259] Cant. 4:9.

July 17, 1897.

MY DEAR LEONIE,–I am so pleased to be able to write to you again. Some
days ago I thought I should never again have this consolation, but it
seems God wishes to prolong somewhat the time of my exile. This does
not trouble me–I would not enter Heaven one moment sooner through my
own will. The only real happiness on earth is to strive always to think
”how goodly is the chalice” [260] that Jesus give us. Yours is indeed a
goodly one, dear Leonie. If you wish to be a Saint–and it will not be
hard–keep only one end in view: give pleasure to Jesus, and bind
yourself more closely to Him.

Good-bye, my dear sister, I should wish the thought of my entering
Heaven to fill you with joy, because I shall then be better able to
give you proof of my tender love. In the Heart of our Heavenly Spouse
we shall live His very life, and through eternity I shall remain,

Your very little sister,


[260] Ps. 22[23]:5.

[255] Nearly all the letters written by Soeur Therese to her sister
Leonie are lost. These few have been recovered. It will be remembered
that Leonie entered the Convent of the Visitation at Caen. See note,
page 113.



Before you confided in me, [261] I felt you were suffering, and my
heart was one with yours. Since you have the humility to ask advice of
your little Therese, this is what she thinks: you have grieved me
greatly by abstaining from Holy Communion, because you have grieved Our
Lord. The devil must be very cunning to deceive a soul in this way. Do
you not know, dear Marie, that by acting thus you help him to
accomplish his end? The treacherous creature knows quite well that when
a soul is striving to belong wholly to God he cannot cause her to sin,
so he merely tries to persuade her that she has sinned. This is a
considerable gain, but not enough to satisfy his hatred, so he aims at
something more, and tries to shut out Jesus from a tabernacle which
Jesus covets. Unable to enter this sanctuary himself, he wishes that at
least it remain empty and without its God. Alas, what will become of
that poor little heart? When the devil has succeeded in keeping a soul
from Holy Communion he has gained all his ends . . . while Jesus weeps!
. . .

Remember, little Marie, that this sweet Jesus is there in the
Tabernacle expressly for you and you alone. Remember that He burns with
the desire to enter your heart. Do not listen to satan. Laugh him to
scorn, and go without fear to receive Jesus, the God of peace and of

”Therese thinks all this”–you say–”because she does not know my
difficulties.” She does know, and knows them well; she understands
everything, and she tells you confidently that you can go without fear
to receive your only true Friend. She, too, has passed through the
martyrdom of scruples, but Jesus gave her the grace to receive the
Blessed Sacrament always, even when she imagined she had committed
great sins. I assure you I have found that this is the only means of
ridding oneself of the devil. When he sees that he is losing his time
he leaves us in peace.

In truth it is impossible that a heart which can only find rest in
contemplation of the Tabernacle–and yours is such, you tell me–could
so far offend Our Lord as not to be able to receive Him . . . What does
offend Jesus, what wounds Him to the Heart, is want of confidence.

Pray much that the best portion of your life may not be overshadowed by
idle fears. We have only life’s brief moments to spend for the Glory of
God, and well does satan know it. This is why he employs every ruse to
make us consume them in useless labour. Dear sister, go often to Holy
Communion, go very often–that is your one remedy.

[261] The allusion is to the scruples from which Marie suffered. Having
read this letter–which is a strong plea for Frequent Communion–Pope
Pius X declared it ”most opportune.” Therese was but fifteen when she
wrote it. [Ed.]


You are like some little village maiden who, when sought in marriage by
a mighty king would not dare to accept him, on the plea that she is not
rich enough, and is strange to the ways of a court. But does not her
royal lover know better than she does, the extent of her poverty and

Marie, though you are nothing, do not forget that Jesus is All. You
have only to lose your own nothingness in that Infinite All, and
thenceforth to think only of that All who alone is worthy of your love.

You tell me you wish to see the fruit of your efforts. That is exactly
what Jesus would hide from you. He likes to contemplate by Himself
these little fruits of our virtue. They console Him.

You are quite wrong, Marie, if you think that Therese walks eagerly
along the way of Sacrifice: her weakness is still very great, and every
day some new and wholesome experience brings this home more clearly.
Yet Jesus delights to teach her how to glory in her infirmities. [262]
It is a great grace, and I pray Him to give it to you, for with it come
peace and tranquillity of heart. When we see our misery we do not like
to look at ourselves but only upon our Beloved.

You ask me for a method of obtaining perfection. I know of Love–and
Love only! Our hearts are made for this alone. Sometimes I endeavour to
find some other word for love; but in a land of exile ”words which have
a beginning and an end” [263] are quite unable to render adequately the
emotions of the soul, and so we must keep to the one simple word–LOVE.

But on whom shall our poor hearts lavish this love, and who will be
worthy of this treasure? Is there anyone who will understand it
and–above all–is there anyone who will be able to repay? Marie, Jesus
alone understands love: He alone can give back all–yea, infinitely
more than the utmost we can give.

[262] 2 Cor. 11:5.

[263] St. Augustine.


August, 1895.

It is a very great sacrifice that God has asked of you, my dear Jeanne,
in calling your little Marie to the Carmel; but remember that He has
promised a hundredfold to anyone who for His Love hath left father or
mother or sister. [264] Now, for love of Jesus, you have not hesitated
to part with a sister dearer to you than words can say, and therefore
He is bound to keep His promise. I know that these words are generally
applied to those who enter the religious life, but my heart tells me
they were spoken, too, for those whose generosity is such that they
will sacrifice to God even the loved ones they hold dearer than life

[264] Mark 10:30.



Our Divine Lord asks no sacrifice beyond our strength. At times, it is
true, He makes us taste to the full the bitterness of the chalice He
puts to our lips. And when He demands the sacrifice of all that is
dearest on earth, it is impossible without a very special grace not to
cry out as He did during His Agony in the Garden: ”My Father, let this
chalice pass from me!” But we must hasten to add: ”Yet not as I will,
but as Thou wilt.” [265] It is so consoling to think that Jesus, ”the
Strong God,” [266] has felt all our weaknesses and shuddered at the
sight of the bitter chalice–that very chalice He had so ardently

Your lot is indeed a beautiful one, since Our Lord has chosen it for
you, and has first touched with His own Lips the cup which He holds out
to yours. A Saint has said: ”The greatest honour God can bestow upon a
soul is not to give to it great things, but to ask of it great things.”
Jesus treats you as a privileged child. It is His wish you should begin
your mission even now, [267] and save souls through the Cross. Was it
not by suffering and death that He ransomed the world? I know that you
aspire to the happiness of laying down your life for Him; but the
martyrdom of the heart is not less fruitful than the shedding of blood,
and this martyrdom is already yours. Have I not, then, good reason to
say that your lot is a beautiful one–worthy an apostle of Christ?

[265] Matt. 26:39.

[266] Isa. 9:6.

[267] This letter and the following are addressed to a Seminarist.


Let us work together for the salvation of souls! We have but the one
day of this life to save them, and so give to Our Lord a proof of our
love. To-morrow will be Eternity, then Jesus will reward you a
hundredfold for the sweet joys you have given up for Him. He knows the
extent of your sacrifice. He knows that the sufferings of those you
hold dear increase your own; but He has suffered this same martyrdom
for our salvation. He, too, left His Mother; He beheld that sinless
Virgin standing at the foot of the Cross, her heart pierced through
with a sword of sorrow, and I hope he will console your own dear
mother. . . . I beg Him most earnestly to do so.

Ah! If the Divine Master would permit those you are about to leave for
His Love but one glimpse of the glory in store, and the vast retinue of
souls that will escort you to Heaven, already they would be repaid for
the great sacrifice that is at hand.

February 24, 1896.

Please say this little prayer for me each day; it sums up all my

”Merciful Father, in the name of Thy sweet Jesus, of the Blessed
Virgin, and all the Saints, I beg Thee to consume my sister with Thy
spirit of love, and to grant her the grace to make Thee greatly loved.”

If Our Lord takes me soon to Himself, I ask you still to continue this
prayer, because my longing will be the same in Heaven as upon earth: to
love Jesus and to make Him loved.


. . . . . .

All I desire is God’s Holy Will, and if in Heaven I could no longer
work for His glory, I should prefer exile to Home.

June 21, 1897

You may well sing of the Mercies of God! They shine forth in you with
splendour. You love St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalen, those souls to
whom many sins were forgiven because they loved much. I love them too;
I love their sorrow, and especially their audacious love. When I see
Mary Magdalen come forth before all Simon’s guests to wash with her
tears her Master’s Feet–those Feet that for the first time she
touches–I feel her heart has fathomed that abyss of love and mercy,
the Heart of Jesus; and I feel, too, that not only was He willing to
forgive, but even liberally to dispense the favours of a Divine and
intimate friendship, and to raise her to the loftiest heights of

My Brother, since I also have been given to understand the Love of the
Heart of Jesus, I confess that all fear has been driven from mine. The
remembrance of my faults humbles me; and it helps me never to rely upon
my own strength–which is but weakness–but more than all, it speaks to
me of mercy and of love. When a soul with childlike trust casts her
faults into Love’s all-devouring furnace, how shall they escape being
utterly consumed?

I know that many Saints have passed their lives in the practice of
amazing penance for the sake of expiating their sins. But what of that?
”In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” [268] These are the
words of Jesus, and therefore I follow the path He marks out for me; I
try to be nowise concerned about myself and what Jesus deigns to
accomplish in my soul.

[268] John 14:2.


On this earth where everything changes, one thing alone does never
change–our Heavenly King’s treatment of His friends. From the day He
raised the standard of the Cross, in its shadow all must fight and win.
”The life of every missionary abounds in crosses,” said Theophane
Venard. And again: ”True happiness consists in suffering, and in order
to live we must die.”

Rejoice, my Brother, that the first efforts of your Apostolate are
stamped with the seal of the Cross. Far more by suffering and by
persecution than by eloquent discourses does Jesus wish to build up His

You are still–you tell me–a little child who cannot speak. Neither
could Father Mazel, who was ordained with you, and yet he has already
won the palm . . . Far beyond our thoughts are the thoughts of God!
When I learnt that this young missionary had died before he had set
foot on the field of his labours, I felt myself drawn to invoke him. I
seemed to see him amidst the glorious Martyr choir. No doubt, in the
eyes of men he does not merit the title of Martyr, but in the eyes of
God this inglorious death is no less precious than the sacrifice of him
who lays down his life for the Faith.

Though one must be exceeding pure before appearing in the sight of the
All-Holy God, still I know that He is infinitely just, and this very
Justice which terrifies so many souls is the source of all my
confidence and joy. Justice is not only stern severity towards the
guilty; it takes account of the good intention, and gives to virtue its
reward. Indeed I hope as much from the Justice of God as from His
Mercy. It is because He is just, that ”He is compassionate and
merciful, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy. For He knoweth our
frame, He remembereth that we are dust. As a father hath compassion on
his children, so hath the Lord compassion on us.” [269]

O my Brother, after these beautiful and consoling words of the Royal
Prophet, how can we doubt God’s power to open the gates of His Kingdom
to His children who have loved Him unto perfect sacrifice, who have not
only left home and country so as to make Him known and loved, but even
long to lay down their lives for Him? . . . Jesus said truly there is
no greater love than this. Nor will He be outdone in generosity. How
could He cleanse in the flames of Purgatory souls consumed with the
fire of Divine Love?

I have used many words to express my thought, and yet I fear I have
failed. What I wish to convey is, that in my opinion all missionaries
are Martyrs by will and desire, and not even one should pass through
the purifying flames.

This, then, is what I think about the Justice of God; my own way is all
confidence and love, and I cannot understand those souls who are afraid
of so affectionate a Friend. Sometimes, when I read books in which
perfection is put before us with the goal obstructed by a thousand
obstacles, my poor little head is quickly fatigued. I close the learned
treatise, which tires my brain and dries up my heart, and I turn to the
Sacred Scriptures. Then all becomes clear and lightsome–a single word
opens out infinite vistas, perfection appears easy, and I see that it
is enough to acknowledge our nothingness, and like children surrender
ourselves into the Arms of the Good God. Leaving to great and lofty
minds the beautiful books which I cannot understand, still less put in
practice, I rejoice in my littleness because ”only little children and
those who are like them shall be admitted to the Heavenly banquet.”
[270] Fortunately–”there are many mansions in my Father’s House”:
[271] if there were only those–to me–incomprehensible mansions with
their baffling roads, I should certainly never enter there . . .

[269] Ps. 102[103]:8, 14, 13.

[270] Cf. Matt. 19:14.

[271] John 14:2.

July 13, 1897.

Your soul is too great to cling to the consolations of earth, and even
now its abode should be in Heaven, for it is written: ”Where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [272] Is not Jesus your
only treasure? Now that He is in Heaven, it is there your heart should
dwell. This sweet Saviour has long since forgotten your infidelities.
He sees only your longing after perfection, and the sight makes glad
His Heart.

Stay no longer at His Feet, I beseech you, but follow this first
impulse to throw yourself into His Arms. Your place is there, and I see
clearly–more clearly than in your former letters–that all other
heavenly route is barred to you save the way your little sister treads.

I hold with you when you say that the Heart of Jesus is more grieved by
the thousand little imperfections of His friends than by the faults,
even grave, which His enemies commit. Yet it seems to me, dear Brother,
it is only when those who are His own are habitually guilty of want of
thought, and neglect to seek His pardon, that He can say: ”These Wounds
which you see in the midst of My Hands, I have received in the house of
those who love Me.” [273] But His Heart thrills with you when He had to
deal with all those who truly love, and who after each little fault
come to fling themseleves into His Arms imploring forgiveness. He says
to His Angels what the prodigal’s father said to his servants: ”Put a
ring upon his finger, and let us rejoice.” [274] O Brother! Verily the
Divine Heart’s Goodness and Merciful Love are little known! It is true
that to enjoy these treasures we must humble ourselves, must confess
our nothingness . . . and here is where many a soul draws back.

[272] Luke 12:34.

[273] Cf. Zach. 13:6.

[274] Cf. Luke 15:22.


What attracts me towards our Heavenly Home is the Master’s call–the
hope of loving Him at last to the fulfilling of all my desire–the
thought that I shall be able to win Him the love of a multitude of
souls, who will bless Him through all eternity.

I have never asked God that I might die young–that to me were a
cowardly prayer; but from my childhood He has deigned to inspire me
with a strong conviction that my life would be a short one.

I feel we must tread the same road to Heaven–the road of suffering and
love. When I myself have reached the port, I will teach you how best to
sail the world’s tempestuous sea–with the self-abandonment of a child
well aware of a father’s love, and of his vigilance in the hour of

I long so much to make you understand the expectant love of the Heart
of Jesus. Your last letter has made my own heart thrill sweetly. I
learnt how closely your soul is sister to mine, since God calls that
soul to mount to Himself by the lift of love, without climbing the
steep stairway of fear. I am not surprised you find it hard to be
familiar with Jesus–one cannot become so in a day; but this I do know,
I shall aid you much more to tread this beautiful path when I lay aside
the burden of this perishable body. Ere long you will exclaim with St.
Augustine: ”Love is my lodestone!”

July 26, 1897.

When you read these few lines I shall perhaps be no more. I know not
the future; yet I can confidently say that my Spouse is at the door. It
would need a miracle to keep me in exile, and I do not think that Jesus
will work that miracle–He does nothing that is of no avail.

Brother, I am so happy to die! Yes, happy . . . not because I shall be
free from suffering: on the contrary, suffering combined with love
seems the one thing worthy of desire in this vale of tears; but happy
to die because far more than on earth I shall help the souls I hold

Jesus has always treated me as a spoilt child. . . . It is true that
His Cross has been with me from the cradle, but for that Cross He has
given me a passionate love . . .

August 14, 1897.

I am about to go before God, and I understand now more than ever that
one thing only is needful–to work for Him alone, and do nothing for
self or creatures. Jesus wishes to own your heart completely. Before
this can be, you will have much to suffer . . . but oh! what joy when
comes the happy hour of going Home! I shall not die–I do but enter
into Life . . . and whatsoever I cannot tell you here upon earth I will
make you understand from the heights of Heaven. . . .



This Prayer was found after the death of Sister Teresa of the Child
Jesus and of the Holy Face in the copy of the Gospels which she carried
night and day close to her heart.

O my God, O Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love Thee and to make
Thee loved–to labour for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls here
upon earth and by delivering those suffering in Purgatory. I desire to
fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, and to reach the degree of glory Thou
hast prepared for me in Thy Kingdom. In a word, I wish to be holy, but,
knowing how helpless I am, I beseech Thee, my God, to be Thyself my

Since Thou hast loved me so much as to give me Thy Only-Begotten Son to
be my Saviour and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are
mine. Gladly do I offer them to Thee, and I beg of Thee to behold me
only through the Eyes of Jesus, and in His Heart aflame with love.
Moreover, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints both of Heaven and
of earth, together with their acts of love, and those of the holy
Angels. Lastly, I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love and the
merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dearest Mother–to her I commit this
Oblation, praying her to present it to Thee.

During the days of His life on earth her Divine Son, my sweet Spouse,
spake these words: ”If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will
give it you.” [275] Therefore I am certain Thou wilt fulfill my
longing. O my God, I know that the more Thou wishest to bestow, the
more Thou dost make us desire. In my heart I feel boundless desires,
and I confidently beseech Thee to take possession of my soul. I cannot
receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I should wish; but, O Lord,
art Thou not all-powerful? Abide in me as Thou dost in the
Tabernacle–never abandon Thy Little Victim. I long to console Thee for
ungrateful sinners, and I implore Thee to take from me all liberty to
sin. If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from
Thine Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my
imperfections–as fire transforms all things into itself.

I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast granted me:
especially for having purified me in the crucible of suffering. At the
Day of Judgment I shall gaze on Thee with joy, as Thou bearest Thy
sceptre of the Cross. And since Thou hast deigned to give me this
precious Cross as my portion, I hope to be like unto Thee in Paradise
and to behold the Sacred Wounds of Thy Passion shine on my glorified

After earth’s exile I trust to possess Thee in the Home of our Father;
but I do not seek to lay up treasures in Heaven. I wish to labour for
Thy Love alone–with the sole aim of pleasing Thee, of consoling Thy
Sacred Heart, and of saving souls who will love Thee through eternity.

When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee with empty
hands, because I do not ask Thee, my God, to take account of my works.
All our works of justice are blemished in Thine Eyes. I wish therefore
to be robed with Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the
everlasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other Throne, no other Crown
but Thee, O my Beloved!

In Thy sight time is naught–”one day is a thousand years.” [276] Thou
canst in a single instant prepare me to appear before Thee.

* * * * * * *

In order that my life may be one Act of perfect Love, I offer myself as
a Victim of Holocaust to Thy Merciful Love, imploring Thee to consume
me unceasingly, and to allow the floods of infinite tenderness gathered
up in Thee to overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr
of Thy Love, O my God! May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to
appear in Thy Presence, free me from this life at the last, and may my
soul take its flight–without delay–into the eternal embrace of Thy
Merciful Love!

* * * * * * *

O my Beloved, I desire at every beat of my heart to renew this Oblation
an infinite number of times, ”till the shadows retire,” [277] and
everlastingly I can tell Thee my love face to face.


The ninth of June, Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity, In the year of
grace, 1895.

[275] John 16:23.

[276] Ps. 39[40]:4.

[277] Cant. 4:6.


O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions
and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify
every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting
them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins
by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the
grace to fulfil perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the
joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united
together in Heaven for all Eternity. Amen.


Written for the Novices

O Adorable Face of Jesus, since Thou hast deigned to make special
choice of our souls, in order to give Thyself to them, we come to
consecrate these souls to Thee. We seem, O Jesus, to hear Thee say:
”Open to Me, My Sisters, My Spouses, for My Face is wet with the dew,
and My Locks with the drops of the night.” [278] Our souls understand
Thy language of love; we desire to wipe Thy sweet Face, and to console
Thee for the contempt of the wicked. In their eyes Thou art still ”as
it were hidden . . . they esteem Thee an object of reproach.” [279]

O Blessed Face, more lovely than the lilies and the roses of the
spring, Thou art not hidden from us. The tears which dim Thine Eyes are
as precious pearls which we delight to gather, and, through their
infinite value, to purchase the souls of our brethren.

From Thy Adorable Lips we have heard Thy loving plaint: ”I thirst.”
Since we know that this thirst which consumes Thee is a thirst for
love, to quench it we would wish to possess an infinite love.

Dear Spouse of our souls, if we could love with the love of all hearts,
that love would be Thine. . . . Give us, O Lord, this love! Then come
to thy Spouses and satisfy Thy Thirst.

And give to us souls, dear Lord . . . We thirst for souls!–Above all
for the souls of Apostles and Martyrs . . . that through them we may
inflame all poor sinners with love of Thee.

O Adorable Face, we shall succeed in winning this grace from Thee!
Unmindful of our exile, ”by the rivers of Babylon,” we will sing in
Thine Ears the sweetest of melodies. Since Thou art the true and only
Home of our souls, our songs shall not be sung in a strange land. [280]
O Beloved Face of Jesus, while we await the Eternal Day when we shall
gaze upon Thine Infinite Glory, our only desire is to delight Thy
Divine Eyes by keeping our faces hidden too, so that no one on earth
may recognize us . . . Dear Jesus, Heaven for us is Thy Hidden Face!

[278] Cf. Cant. 5:2.

[279] Cf. Isa. 53:3.

[280] Cf. Ps. 136[137]:4.


”If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it you.”–John

O Eternal Father, Thy Only-Begotten Son, the dear Child Jesus, belongs
to me since Thou hast given Him. I offer Thee the infinite merits of
His Divine Childhood, and I beseech Thee in His Name to open the gates
of Heaven to a countless host of little ones who will for ever follow
this Divine Lamb.

”Just as the King’s image is a talisman through which anything may be
purchased in his Kingdom, so through My Adorable Face–that priceless
coin of my Humanity–you will obtain all you desire.” Our Lord to
Sister Mary of St. Peter. [281]

Eternal Father, since Thou hast given me for my inheritance the
Adorable Face of Thy Divine Son, I offer that Face to Thee, and I beg
Thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the
ingratitude of those souls who are consecrated to Thee, and to pardon
all poor sinners.

[281] Sister Mary of St. Peter entered the Carmel of Tours in 1840.
Three years later she had the first of a series of revelations
concerning devotion to the Holy Face as a means of reparation for
blasphemy. See Life of Leon Papin-Dupont, known as ”The Holy Man of


O Jesus, dear Holy Child, my only treasure, I abandon myself to Thy
every whim. I seek no other joy than that of calling forth Thy sweet
Smile. Vouchsafe to me the graces and the virtues of Thy Holy
Childhood, so that on the day of my birth into Heaven the Angels and
Saints may recognise in Thy Spouse: Teresa of the Child Jesus.


O Adorable Face of Jesus, sole beauty which ravisheth my heart,
vouchsafe to impress on my soul Thy Divine Likeness, so that it may not
be possible for Thee to look at Thy Spouse without beholding Thyself. O
my Beloved, for love of Thee I am content not to see here on earth the
sweetness of Thy Glance, nor to feel the ineffable Kiss of Thy Sacred
Lips, but I beg of Thee to inflame me with Thy Love, so that it may
consume me quickly, and that soon Teresa of the Holy Face may behold
Thy glorious Countenance in Heaven.


Inspired by the sight of a statue of The Blessed Joan of Arc

O Lord God of Hosts, who hast said in Thy Gospel: ”I am not come to
bring peace but a sword,” [282] arm me for the combat. I burn to do
battle for Thy Glory, but I pray Thee to enliven my courage. . . . Then
with holy David I shall be able to exclaim: ”Thou alone art my shield;
it is Thou, O Lord Who teachest my hands to fight.” [283]

O my Beloved, I know the warfare in which I am to engage; it is not on
the open field I shall fight. . . . I am a prisoner held captive by Thy
Love; of my own free will I have riveted the fetters which bind me to
Thee, and cut me off for ever from the world. My sword is Love! with
it–like Joan of Arc–”I will drive the strangers from the land, and I
will have Thee proclaimed King”–over the Kingdom of souls.

Of a truth Thou hast no need of so weak an instrument as I, but Joan,
thy chaste and valiant Spouse, has said: ”We must do battle before God
gives the victory.” O my Jesus! I will do battle, then, for Thy love,
until the evening of my life. As Thou didst not will to enjoy rest upon
earth, I wish to follow Thy example; and then this promise which came
from thy Sacred Lips will be fulfilled in me: ”If any man minister to
me, let him follow Me, and where I am there also shall My servant be,
and . . . him will My Father honour.” [284] To be with Thee, to be in
Thee, that is my one desire; this promise of fulfilment, which Thou
dost give, helps me to bear with my exile as I wait the joyous Eternal
Day when I shall see Thee face to face.

[282] Matt. 10:34.

[283] Cf. Ps. 143[144]:1, 2.

[284] John 12:26.


Written for a Novice

O JESUS! When Thou wast a wayfarer upon earth, Thou didst say:–”Learn
of Me, for I am Meek and Humble of Heart, and you shall find rest to
your souls.” [285] O Almighty King of Heaven! my soul indeed finds rest
in seeing Thee condescend to wash the feet of Thy Apostles–”having
taken the form of a slave.” [286] I recall the words Thou didst utter
to teach me the practice of humility: ”I have given you an example,
that as I have done to you, so you do also. The servant is not greater
than his Lord . . . If you know these things, you shall be blessed if
you do them.” [287] I understand, dear Lord, these words which come
from Thy Meek and Humble Heart, and I wish to put them in practice with
the help of Thy grace.

I desire to humble myself in all sincerity, and to submit my will to
that of my Sisters, without ever contradicting them, and without
questioning whether they have the right to command. No one, O my
Beloved! had that right over Thee, and yet Thou didst obey not only the
Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, but even Thy executioners. And now, in
the Holy Eucharist, I see Thee complete Thy self-abasement. O Divine
King of Glory, with wondrous humility, Thou dost submit Thyself to all
Thy Priests, without any distinction between those who love Thee and
those who, alas! are lukewarm or cold in Thy service. They may advance
or delay the hour of the Holy Sacrifice: Thou art always ready to come
down from Heaven at their call.

O my Beloved, under the white Eucharistic Veil Thou dost indeed appear
to me Meek and Humble of Heart! To teach me humility, Thou canst not
further abase Thyself, and so I wish to respond to Thy Love, by putting
myself in the lowest place, by sharing Thy humiliations, so that I may
”have part with Thee” [288] in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I implore Thee, dear Jesus, to send me a humiliation whensoever I try
to set myself above others.

And yet, dear Lord, Thou knowest my weakness. Each morning I resolve to
be humble, and in the evening I recognise that I have often been guilty
of pride. The sight of these faults tempts me to discouragement; yet I
know that discouragement is itself but a form of pride. I wish,
therefore, O my God, to build all my trust upon Thee. As Thou canst do
all things, deign to implant in my soul this virtue which I desire, and
to obtain it from Thy Infinite Mercy, I will often say to Thee: ”Jesus,
Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.”

[285] Matt. 11:29.

[286] Phil. 2:7.

[287] John 13:15-17.

[288] Cf. John 13:8.


From St. John of the Cross



Birthday January 2, 1873
Baptism January 4, 1873
The Smile of Our Lady May 10, 1883
First Communion May 8, 1884
Confirmation June 14, 1884
Conversion December 25, 1886
Audience with Leo XIII November 20, 1887
Entry into the Carmel April 9, 1888
Clothing January 10, 1889
Profession September 8, 1890
Taking of the Veil September 24, 1890
Act of Oblation June 9, 1895
[ENTRY INTO HEAVEN–September 30, 1897]



Oh! how I love Thee, Jesus! my soul aspires to Thee–

And yet for one day only my simple prayer I pray!

Come reign within my heart, smile tenderly on me,

To-day, dear Lord, to-day!

But if I dare take thought of what the morrow brings,

It fills my fickle heart with dreary, dull dismay;

I crave, indeed, my God, the Cross and sufferings,

But only for to-day!

O sweetest Star of Heaven! O Virgin, spotless, blest,

Shining with Jesus’ light, guiding to Him my way!

Mother! beneath thy veil let my tired spirit rest,

For this brief passing day!

Soon shall I fly afar among the holy choirs,

Then shall be mine the joy that knoweth no decay;

And then my lips shall sing, to Heaven’s angelic lyres,

The eternal, glad To-day!

June, 1894.


Selected Stanzas

”I find in my Beloved the mountains, the lonely and wooded vales,
the distant isles, the murmur of the waters, the soft whisper of the
zephyrs . . . the quiet night with its sister the dawn, the perfect
solitude–all that delights and all that fires our love.”–St. John
of the Cross.

I hold full sweet your memory,

My childhood days, so glad, so free.

To keep my innocence, dear Lord, for Thee,

Thy Love came to me night and day,


. . . . . .

I loved the swallows’ graceful flight,

The turtle doves’ low chant at night,

The pleasant sound of insects gay and bright,

The grassy vale where doth belong

Their song.

. . . . . .

I loved the glow-worm on the sod;

The countless stars, so near to God,

But most I loved, in all the sky abroad,

The shining moon of silver bright,

At night.

. . . . . .

The grass is withered in its bed;

The flowers within my hands are dead.

Would that my weary feet, Jesu! might tread

Thy Heavenly Fields, and I might be

With Thee!

. . . . . .

My rainbow in the rain-washed skies–

Horizon where my suns arise–

My isle in far-off seas–pearl I most prize–

Sweet spring and butterflies–I see

In Thee!

. . . . . .

In Thee I have the springs, the rills,

The mignonette, the daffodils,

The Eglantine, the harebell on the hills,

The trembling poplar, sighing low

And slow.

. . . . . .

The lovely lake, the valley fair

And lonely in the lambent air,

The ocean touched with silver everywhere–

In Thee their treasures, all combined,

I find.

. . . . . .

I go to chant, with Angel-throngs,

The homage that to Thee belongs.

Soon let me fly away, to join their songs!

Oh, let me die of love, I pray,

One day!

. . . . . .

I hear, e’en I, Thy last and least,

The music from Thy Heavenly Feast;

There, deign receive me as Thy loving guest

And, to my harp, let me but sing,

My King!

. . . . . .

Unto the Saints I shall be near,

To Mary, and those once treasured here.

Life is all past, and dried is every tear;

To me my home again is given–

In Heaven.

April 28, 1895.


In wondrous Love, Thou didst come down from Heaven

To immolate Thyself, O Christ, for me;

So, in my turn, my love to Thee is given–

I wish to suffer and to die for Thee.

Thou, Lord, didst speak this truth benign:

”To die for one loved tenderly,

Of greatest love on earth is sign”;

And now, such love is mine–

Such love for Thee!

Do Thou abide with me, O Pilgrim blest!

Behind the hill fast sinks the dying day.

Helped by Thy Cross, I mount the rocky crest;

Oh, come, to guide me on my Heavenward Way.

To be like Thee is my desire;

Thy Voice finds echo in my soul.

Suffering I crave! Thy words of fire

Lift me above earth’s mire,

And sin’s control.

Chanting Thy victories, gloriously sublime,

The Seraphim–all Heaven–cry to me,

That even Thou, to conquer sin and crime,

Upon this earth a sufferer needs must be.

For me upon life’s dreary way

What scorn, what anguish, Thou didst bear!

Let me but hide me day by day,

Be least of all, alway,

Thy lot to share.

Ah, Christ! Thy great example teaches me

Myself to humble, honours to despise.

A little one–as Thou–I choose to be,

Forgetting self, so I may charm Thine Eyes.

My peace I find in solitude,

Nor ask I more, dear Lord, than this:

Be Thou my sole beatitude,

And ever–in Thee–renewed

My joy, my bliss!

Thou, the great God Whom earth and Heaven adore,

Thou dwell’st a prisoner for me night and day;

And every hour I hear Thy Voice implore:

”I thirst–I thirst–I thirst–for love alway!”

I, too, Thy prisoner am I;

I, too, cry ever unto Thee

Thine own divine and tender cry:

”I thirst!” Oh, let me die

Of love for Thee.

For love of Thee I thirst! fulfil my hope;

Augment in me Thine own celestial flame!

For love of Thee I thirst! too scant earth’s scope:

The glorious Vision of Thy Face I claim!

My long, slow martyrdom of fire

Still more and more consumeth me.

Thou art my joy, my one desire,

Jesu! may I expire

Of love for Thee.

April 30, 1896.


O Jesus! O my Love! each eve I come to fling

My springtide roses sweet before Thy Cross divine;

By their plucked petals fair, my hands so gladly bring,

I long to dry Thine every tear!

To scatter flowers!–that means each sacrifice:

My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours,

My hopes, my joys, my prayers–I will not count the price–

Behold my flowers!

With deep untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul,

Would I might light this love in hearts of all who live!

For this, my fairest flowers, all things in my control,

How fondly, gladly would I give!

To scatter flowers!–behold my chosen sword

For saving sinners’ souls and filling Heaven’s bowers:

The victory is mine–yea, I disarm Thee, Lord,

With these my flowers!

The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face;

They tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone.

Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in my place:

On me Thou smilest from Thy Throne.

To scatter flowers!–that means, to speak of Thee–

My only pleasure here, where tears fill all the hours;

But soon, with Angel Hosts, my spirit shall be free

To scatter flowers.

June 28, 1896.


Last Poem written by Soeur Therese

Concluding Stanzas

Henceforth thy shelter in thy woe was John’s most humble dwelling;

The son of Zebedee replaced the Son Whom Heaven adored.

Naught else the Gospels tell us of thy life, in grace excelling;

It is the last they say of thee, sweet Mother of my Lord!

But oh! I think that silence means that, high in Heaven’s Glory,

When time is past, and to their House thy children safe are come,

The Eternal Word, my Mother dear, Himself will tell thy story,

To charm our souls–thy children’s souls–in our Eternal Home.

Soon I shall hear that harmony, that blissful, wondrous singing;

Soon, unto Heaven that waits for us, my soul shall swiftly fly.

O thou who cam’st to smile on me at dawn of life’s beginning!

Come once again to smile on me . . . Mother! the night is nigh.

I fear no more thy majesty, so far removed above me,

For I have suffered sore with thee: now hear me, Mother mild!

Oh, let me tell thee face to face, dear Mary! how I love thee;

And say to thee for evermore: I am Thy little child.

May 1897.

NOTE.–The above poems are reprinted from the translation of the Little
Flower’s poems made by Susan L. Emery, of Dorchester, Mass., U.S.A.,
and published by the Carmel of Boston. [Ed.]


Index of Scripture References




[2]4:25 [3]9:16 [4]33:19

1 Kings


2 Kings





[8]18:5 [9]19:5 [10]23:1-4 [11]23:1-4 [12]23:4 [13]23:5
[14]34:6 [15]36:6 [16]40:4 [17]50:9-14 [18]55:7 [19]68:28
[20]71:17-18 [21]76:10 [22]89:1 [23]90:15 [24]92:5
[25]94:18 [26]103:8 [27]103:8 [28]103:13 [29]103:14
[30]103:14 [31]104:1 [32]112:4 [33]112:5 [34]116:15
[35]119:32 [36]119:100 [37]119:105 [38]119:106 [39]119:112
[40]119:141 [41]127:1 [42]133:1 [43]136:1 [44]136:2
[45]136:4 [46]137:4 [47]144:1-2 [48]144:1-2


[49]1:4 [50]1:27 [51]9:4 [52]10:12 [53]10:12 [54]16:32
[55]18:19 [56]19:11


[57]1:14 [58]2:11 [59]24:29

Song of Solomon

[60]1:2 [61]1:3 [62]1:6 [63]1:12 [64]2:1 [65]2:1 [66]2:3
[67]2:11 [68]4:6 [69]4:9 [70]5:2 [71]5:2 [72]5:3 [73]5:7
[74]6:10 [75]6:11 [76]6:12 [77]7:1 [78]7:1 [79]8:1 [80]8:7


[81]9:6 [82]38:14 [83]49:15 [84]53:3 [85]53:3 [86]53:3
[87]53:3 [88]53:4 [89]63:3 [90]63:5 [91]65:15 [92]66:12






[96]3:10 [97]5:13 [98]5:40 [99]5:41 [100]5:42 [101]5:43
[102]5:44 [103]5:48 [104]6:3 [105]7:21 [106]8:10 [107]9:15
[108]9:37 [109]9:38 [110]10:34 [111]11:29 [112]11:30
[113]18:6 [114]19:14 [115]20:22 [116]20:23 [117]22:39
[118]25:34-36 [119]25:36 [120]25:40 [121]25:49 [122]26:23
[123]26:39 [124]26:64


[125]3:13 [126]7:28 [127]10:30 [128]14:3


[129]1:49 [130]2:14 [131]2:19 [132]2:33 [133]2:50 [134]5:5
[135]5:5 [136]5:32 [137]6:30 [138]6:32 [139]6:34 [140]6:35
[141]6:37 [142]7:47 [143]9:58 [144]10:21 [145]11:33
[146]12:32 [147]12:34 [148]14:12 [149]14:13 [150]14:14
[151]15:22 [152]15:31 [153]15:31 [154]15:31 [155]16:2
[156]16:8 [157]16:9 [158]17:21 [159]18:13 [160]19:5
[161]19:26 [162]22:28 [163]22:29 [164]22:29 [165]22:32
[166]22:42 [167]24:26


[168]1:5 [169]1:38 [170]3:8 [171]3:34 [172]4:7 [173]4:7
[174]4:35 [175]6:44 [176]8:10 [177]10:12 [178]11:4
[179]12:3 [180]12:24 [181]12:25 [182]12:26 [183]13:8
[184]13:15-17 [185]13:34 [186]14:2 [187]14:2 [188]14:2
[189]14:6 [190]14:23 [191]15:12 [192]15:12 [193]16:23
[194]16:23 [195]17 [196]17:17 [197]18:36 [198]18:38 [199]21:5


[200]8:15 [201]9:16

1 Corinthians

[202]2:9 [203]2:9 [204]4:3 [205]4:4 [206]4:5 [207]7:31

2 Corinthians

[209]9:7 [210]11:5




[212]6:17 [213]6:17


[214]2:7 [215]4:7






[218]2:17 [219]21:4 [220]21:4 [221]22:12





Wisdom of Solomon

[224]3:5 [225]3:6 [226]4:1 [227]4:11 [228]4:12 [229]5:10

2 Esdras



[232]11:12 [233]11:13 [234]11:22 [235]11:23 [236]11:24