Newsletter No. 54 April 1, 2011

Dear Friends,

Greetings to all of you! May your Lent be profitable and happy! May it bring you to a greater awareness of God’s loving closeness to us, as Mother Louise Margaret understood it. She wrote about this closeness of God in her “Intimate Notes” on May 1, 1903: “God, Infinite Love, has placed in each soul at its creation a principle of eternal life, a little spark of love, and it is this spark of love which has gone out from Infinite Love that always attracts God towards souls. There is, as it were, a need in God to go to souls in order to rejoin this spark of life gone out from him, which is in them. When a soul is pure, there is a mutual attraction; God goes towards the soul and the soul also feels itself drawn towards God. When the soul is not pure, it does not feel the impulse of attraction, it is insensible.

“God, the infinitely Pure [One], feels always this divine impulse. However, he cannot penetrate into souls that are not pure; they have become in a certain way materialized; successive sins, material cares, and especially the cooling of the heart have hardened them and petrified them; Infinite Love cannot enter into them in order to unite with this little spark which is the principle of their eternal life” (“The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,” pp 170f).

Mother Louise Margaret received this communication while she was before the Blessed Sacrament. She tells us that God has a plan, however, to win all men back to Him by means of His priests: “Then the Word, our eternal and divine Mediator, presented Himself to His Father and said: ‘I have found a means to make Love penetrate into the world and thus purify it and warm it again. I will go to those whom I have instituted to participate in My eternal Priesthood, and who continue it on earth; I will go to My priests. Their souls are purer and more disentangled from earthly solicitude; I will draw them to My heart, I will fill them with love and through them Infinite Love will flow into souls” (ibid, p 171; cf. article “Il mistero del sacerdote illuminato dall’Amore Infinito,” Fr. Pierre Vignon, in “Betania-Ut Sint Unum,” Nov-Dec. 2010, pp 3-7). Pray for us priests that we may live up to this call with the help of God’s grace!

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the publication of the book, “The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood.” Mother Louise Margaret wrote it at the wish of her confessor and superiors. It is the central book of the Work of Infinite Love. She wrote it in a few months’ time, after here spiritual director returned the notes she had given to him to write the book. The original edition of the book listed no author. Mother Louise Margaret did not want to be known as its author. She always said the Lord was the author. Copies of the book can be had from Tan Books and Publishers, P.O. Box 424, Rockford IL 61105, or from me. It makes a great gift for priests.

Let us now read a few more lines from Mother Louise Margaret's autobiography:

“It was during this stay in the Jura Mountains that we came in contact with the man who several months later would be my brother-in-law. Mr. Clavier was a doctor in Arlay and, since he had taken care of Madame de la B. with great dedication during her last illness, he had been invited to our home to be thanked. He was an orphan child, intelligent, very well mannered, and he had something melancholic and gentle about him that pleased my sister. Mutual friends saw the marriage coming, but my sister, who was now twenty-eight and had her own ideas, wanted to get to know him better before making up her mind. A pretext had to be found to see him again soon. My mother said: ‘I cannot go to see him myself. I am perfectly healthy. He will catch on. What if we go to see him about you?’ she said to my sister. ‘Oh no,’ Mathilde spoke up, ‘that would embarrass me too much. Ask for an appointment for Margaret and, while he is taking care of her, I shall examine him.’ I sacrificed myself to submit to a consultation and he was asked to come for Mademoiselle Margaret who was having headaches. “He came, serious as ever. My mother told him that I suffered from severe headaches, and I said about the same thing. He questioned me and finally asked to examine me with the stethoscope. I had not foreseen this, but I complied with good grace. After examining me for a moment he raised his head and with a very serious, even disturbed look, he said, ‘But you are sick, Mademoiselle, seriously sick!’ He had such a comical look, with his big frightened blue eyes that I burst out laughing. ‘It’s nothing,’ I told him, ‘I am often like this!’ He turned to my mother and saw how very calm she was. Then he turned to me: ‘Mademoiselle, you have diseased bronchial tubes and congested lungs. Your headaches are a small matter, but you’ll have to do something about your chest, absolutely!’ ‘Okay,’ I answered, ‘I shall do something about it because you say so, but I assure you that there is nothing to worry about. It’s more than three months that I am this way and, as you see, I am still alive.’ He seemed completely nonplused by my cheerfulness and the tranquility with which I bore a state of suffering which he knew to be very painful. To go along with him, my dear mother made me drink some Eau de Mont-Dore for a time and I forced myself to take a boiling footbath every day for my headaches.

“This first consultation opened the door to more frequent visits of Mr. Clavier to our house, and he had the gift of pleasing Mathilde more and more. Doubtlessly I was happy to see my sister finally get attached to something that seemed reasonable. Nevertheless, for me there was one dark spot in this union. Monsieur Clavier did not practice any religion. He was not at all hostile to religion. He had even been raised as a Christian when he was young. When he was seventeen, at a moment of crisis that young people often go through at the end of adolescence, he was handled badly by a priest without prudence and he had given up the practice of religion since then. Then he had gone to Paris to do his studies in medicine. The chairs of the School at that time were occupied by professors renowned for their talent, but materialistic and irreligious. Formed by his teachers and carried along by his fellow students, he saw the last remains of his Faith give way before the swell of false doctrines and teachings of an atheistic science.

When he had finished his studies he had decided to stay in Paris where he could look forward to a brilliant future, when a letter called him to his dying father. Before dying his father entrusted to him his two youngest sons who were from a second marriage and were still practically infants. He asked him to watch over their property and to provide for their education. The young doctor did not shrink from doing his duty. He generously broke off his dreams of legitimate ambition. He left Paris and came to establish himself as a humble country doctor in the village of Arlay, from where he could easily watch over his own properties and those of his half-brothers.

“He did not stop at sacrificing his future, but went on to provide generously for the cost of their education. As a reward for his care, the elder of the two entered St. Cyr [military academy] and the younger, after finishing his studies, went to live with his mother in the paternal home. In the meantime Monsieur Clavier, to take a break from the monotony of his life, had undertaken long trips. He had first visited Egypt, then Cochin-China, Japan, the island of Java, etc.

“Nothing had been decided by my sister when during the month of September great floods occurred on all sides and especially in the part of the Jura Mountains where we were. The Seille River overflowed in Arlay. For the first Sunday of October we thought we could still go to R. to attend Mass. We set out, but we soon found ourselves in a completely flooded countryside. We went more than a league through the water and the horses were nearly to their chests in water. My mother was not very happy with this kind of travel and several days later when the floodwaters kept rising and there was danger that we could actually be surrounded by them in Proby, my mother decided to go to Lons-le-Saunier to the winter apartment that Madam de L. used to live in, and await the outcome of affairs there with us.

Our departure was decided suddenly. We left by coach toward 5:00 in the evening. We went part of the way on flooded roads and arrived at Lons toward 7:30 in the evening. Just as we entered the city the alarm sounded all over. The Valière River, already overflowing its banks and suddenly swelled by the rain coming down in torrents, washed away the bridge of St…. It was turning out very badly for us, but our misfortunes were not yet over. The house where we were going to live was not in a flooded area, but the roof was being repaired when the rains came. The workers, believing they had reason to complain about the owner, had taken malicious pleasure in very poorly placing the canvases that were supposed to provisionally take the place of the slate shingles. As soon as we entered the apartment we found ourselves completely flooded, not by waters coming up from below but by waters coming down from above. We had brought only one servant with us, who was supposed to serve as cook and valet. With his help we moved the furniture most exposed to the rain as best we could and we moved into the rooms that seemed the safest. But we were barely in bed before the ceilings of our rooms were leaking in their turn, and we had no choice but to open large umbrellas over our heads in order to protect at least our faces from drops of chalky water that were coming down everywhere. The next day, to please my mother, I made a little comic strip of six pictures that retraced the scenes of the day before, the last one of which showed us sleeping peacefully in our beds under the protective shade of our umbrellas.

“We passed a good month at Lons. Arrangements for Mathilde’s marriage were completed. My health improved noticeably during this time. For All Saints I went to Holy Communion in the Franciscan Church, now a parish, and from that time on the violence of my temptations lessened. A few days later we left for Valence. We stayed there for only a few days, during which I went to see Msgr. Raymond. I told him about my six months of sufferings and struggles, I talked of the torments that the devil put me through, and the way I repulsed his attacks. He encouraged me and comforted me. He told me that the series of my tests were far from over, but that Our Lord would not leave me without help if I were courageous and faithful. He blessed me and, seeing me still so firm in my vocation, he told me that, after my sister’s wedding, which was to take place in January, he would tell me the convent where he had decided that I should enter. He did not tell me any more this time.

Monsieur Clavier came to join us at Valence. Since he was no longer of any use to his half-brothers and my mother had not consented to let my sister stay in the Juras, he had decided to leave Arlay and move to Valence. This was a sacrifice for him, for he loved his home country and had become attached to his small country clientele, to whom he devoted himself without counting the cost. During the few days he passed at our house one morning I entered the dining room where he was alone. He wished me a good day, asked what was new and took my pulse, as he often did, to see how I was doing. We talked for a moment and then I said to him: ‘Do you think it is possible that I could die suddenly? What are the chances of this?’ He seemed very surprised by my question, looked at me for a moment without answering and then said to me, ‘Why do you ask me that? Would that upset you? Would that cause you pain?’ ‘Oh no,’ I answered very calmly, ‘I would get ready. That’s all.’ He remained quite a long time without answering, looked at me as if he wanted to search his soul and then, seriously and moved, said, ‘That probably won’t happen but, yes, it is possible.’ I gave him my hand. ‘Thank you,’ I said to him, ‘I am happy to know that.’ Later he told me that he had been greatly surprised by my question and that the calm and tranquil assurance with which I had talked of my death had impressed him profoundly and had made him think.

“The next day we set out for Paris, my mother, my sister, Mr. Clavier and I, to buy the personal things, bedding and furniture necessary for the future young household, and to have the contract drawn up by the family notary living in Versailles. We arrived in Paris just the day after the closing of the great 1889 Exposition. (to be continued).


Yours sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Vergil Heier, C.M.M.

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Lady of Grace Monastery,
23715 Ann Arbor Trail,
Dearborn Heights,
MI 48127
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