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

Newsletter No. 58 August 1st, 2012

Dear Friends,

This year the Work of Infinite Love is once again holding a convention for all four branches of the Work. This time plans have been made to hold it in a place called Cassano delle Murge, not far from the city of Bari (near the heel of Italy). The convention will be from September 12 to 14, 2012, and will feature speakers from France, Argentina and the Federal Republic of Congo, besides those from Italy. The theme for the convention is: “The Spirituality of Infinite Love and Young People.”

We have been meeting here in the USA, too, in as far as that is possible. Officially there is only one group of “Friends of Bethany” in the USA, as far as I know, and it has only two regular members. But those two meet faithfully every month to read from the writings of Mother Louise Margaret and pray for priests. Last month, on the last Friday of the month, I went to join them in their meeting. They are very dedicated in their love and concern for priests and priestly vocations. They are not many, but then Jesus told Mother Louis Margaret that it is not numbers that count, but dedication. If He was able to conquer most of the known world at that time with just twelve dedicated men, the Apostles, what will He not be able to do with two dedicated women?

Nevertheless, a few more groups of “Friends of Bethany,” i.e. lay men and women sacrificing and praying for priests, would be welcome in the USA, and everywhere else, too. I have just recently re-translated the Statutes of the “Friends of Bethany,” and would be happy to send a copy of them to anyone who wants to start a group.

The same holds true for priests who want to start a group. The statutes for groups of priests who want to be part of the “Priests’ Union” are also now in English and can be used to set up groups of the Union among priests. I can send a copy of the “Statutes of the Priests Union” to anyone who is interested.

A long-time leader in the Work of Infinite Love died recently. Her name was Sister Magdalene Munier, one of the Sisters of Bethany of the Sacred Heart. Sr. Magdalene was born in France on May 17, 1922. She joined the Sisters of Bethany in France, when they still had a house in Saint-Jean le Blanc (Orlèans). In 1955 she volunteered for the new foundation in Argentina. She was called back in 1960. After that, she held many different offices in her community, culminating in her being elected superior general at the time of the Second Vatican Council. On October 18, 2011, she passed away. I knew Sr. Magdalene. She always impressed me as a person fully on fire for the Work of Infinite Love. The Sisters of Bethany asked me to inform all readers of this Newsletter about Sr. Magdalene’s death. May she rest in peace. Pray for her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.
Let us now return to the Autobiography of Mother Louise Margaret:

“Soon an opportunity to speak presented itself. A small cup that I was holding in my hand hampered me. I asked him to hold it for an instant as I removed my glove. He did so willingly, and we began to talk. We certainly did not say anything bad, for all these gentlemen were around us and joined in our conversation. A little later they began playing a waltz in the living room and everyone told me I had enough time to dance, since my mother was still sitting down. Laughing, I showed them my big slippers, and right away everyone offered to pull them off. I said no, it wasn’t worth it. Besides, I could dance with them on. Everyone said that was not possible. Then, turning to Mr. P., I said to him, ‘Should we try?’ He accepted, put his arm around my waste and we started to waltz in the anteroom. They formed a circle to see me move about with my slippers.

“During this time I had mischievousness in my heart thinking, ‘What would the young Mrs. P. say if, from the other side of the living room, she saw her husband waltzing with me?’ I was really wrong on this occasion for, besides perhaps causing Mr. P. to break a promise he had made, I could have uselessly rekindled in his spirit sentiments that I should on the contrary have been trying to extinguish. My God, how thoughtless and imprudent I still was, although you had done so much for me!

“The next week I left for Romans with my mother and we both entered the monastery. Poor dear mother! She had wanted to come here for three days to see whether everything inside the monastery was not too sepulchral, as she said, to see whether it was not an anticipated coffin for me. She saw then that there was still air and light and that, all in all, one could live there. But that was not enough to keep her tears from flowing endlessly during her short stay. Good Mother Françoise Mathilde was all kindness and goodness towards her. The Sisters also tried to console her. Nothing helped. After three days she left, leaving me to make my little retreat.

“I undertook the Holy Exercises not to seek light about my vocation. I had no doubt about that. Rather I made them to come a little closer to God, from whom I still felt very far removed, and to get to know Him better. They gave me my dear “Manresa”1 and I remember having had a particular taste for, and having received several lights specially during the opening meditations about, the three words: ‘I come from God, I am meant for God, I belong to God.’ Almost all my retreat revolved around these thoughts. It was Mother F.M. who gave me the retreat and I quickly came to appreciate her profound intelligence, her upright judgment, and that straightforward, energetic, strong something that characterized her. At that time I did not have any close relationship with the Mistress of Novices, our present M. Emmanuel.

“At the end of the retreat I caught cold in that big house full of drafts and always open to all the winds. Good Mother made me stay in bed for a whole morning and came to see me in my cell, for they had honored me with a little cell of a religious, where they had added, no doubt as a sign of honor, an extra chair and an old moquette bedside rug (a rug that I carefully rolled up every evening and hid under my bed for, being still very un-mortified, I did not want for anything in the world to put my feet on this rug where so many other feet had probably already been, preferring by far the floor to this moquette filled with microbes).

“After two days I was cured and I obtained permission to prolong my stay a little in order to take advantage of the students’ First Communion retreat, which was about to begin. It was Fr. H., S.J., who preached it. Good Mother thought that I would do well to take advantage of the occasion to make a good general confession. I accepted and prepared for it as best I could, but I had so little light. In the end, I think I did as well as I could. The good Father heard my confession, encouraged me in my vocation, and showed all fatherly goodness to me.

“Seeing Mother F. M. sometime later, I told her that I had made my confession, that Father had shown me all goodness, but that I remembered that I had forgotten to mention one of my faults. Mother said to me that if it were a sin, maybe I would do well to go back to confession. I answered that I, since I had already confessed it in the world, I did not have any scruple about it and that, besides, I could tell her what it was. It was that at one time I had worn men’s clothes!

“My Lord, the good Mother choked up a bit and said that, because I had gone so far as to undertake a general confession, I would do better to return to Father and tell him this fault. I declare that, since I had already confessed this several times already, I did not believe it necessary to trouble Father with this. Nevertheless, I did it in order to obey Mother. I returned to the confessional therefore that evening. I said that I was the one who had made a general confession that morning, that I had forgotten to mention one fault and that good Mother, finding out about it, had advised me to return. Then I told it as it was.

“The good Father, on hearing such a novel and strange fault, was seized with uncontrollable laughter. He laughed, but so heartedly, in repeating my fault, that, even if I had had sincere contrition at the time, I in turn was seized with a desire to laugh. Finally, having recovered from his fit of laughter, he asked me whether I wanted to start wearing these clothes again. I denied it emphatically and protested that all I desired was the holy habit of a religious. After that he gave me his blessing and dismissed me.

“After the First Communion celebration my sister, too, came to pass three days at the monastery. Poor dear sister! From her side I had not had to bear any resistance to my vocation. Right after the wedding the sentiments that she had been harboring in her heart for a long time in my regard came out brusquely and in a profoundly painful way. She suddenly took offense at the fraternal affection that her husband was showing me. From that moment on, the biting words, the painful allusions never stopped. She also never did anything to keep me in the world.

“I returned to Valence with her, determined to return to the monastery definitively as soon as I was free. I did not try very hard to get to know the Rule and the way of life of the Visitation. I knew that God wanted me for Himself. I felt the need for a hidden life completely separated from the world. Fr. Raymond had told me in the name of God: “Go to Romans. That is where you should enter.” Not looking at anything else but the will of God, I was counting on His grace and was accepting in advance in a general way all the possible sacrifices of religious life there.

“Although I had taken all the precautions possible to hide my voyage and my stay at Romans, soon the news spread all over Valence. Moreover, my mother’s tears began to undermine my plans. Two weeks after my return a notary public who was a friend came to ask us to spend the evening at his home entirely within the family. During the day my mother had told me: ‘Since you are causing me so much pain, at least do me a small favor and put on this dress tonight and dress up well, I beg you. Give me still this satisfaction.’ Dear good mother, I did as she wished only to please her, for the more I did this the more my distaste for the things of the world and its vanities grew.

“That evening on entering the friend’s living room I saw, besides the family that he had promised, three other persons: the Baroness du B., her daughter, and her son, the young Baron Raoul. We were not friends of Madame du B., but several times I had met Baron Raoul in the world and I noticed that he paid great attention to what I did and how I acted. I saw the trap, but did not let it show.

“The game tables were set up and Mr. Raoul was put across from me. It was a big mortification, which I gladly offered to Our Lord, to be stared at for the whole evening by the big round eyes of the baron. Because it was an interview, he felt he had permission not only to examine and look at me, but also to devour me with his eyes. And I had to submit to this torture until we left. Back home again and in my room, as I let my hair down for going to bed, I said to myself: ‘Mr du B. was doubtlessly thinking that the bunn of a baroness would not look bad on my curly head, but could I wear a crown of pearls when Jesus Christ my Master wears a crown of thorns?’ I fell asleep with this thought on my mind and the baron’s shadow did not trouble my slumber.

“My dear mother saw that nothing was shaking my will to belong to God. She ardently desired to have a portrait of her daughter and, to please her, I agreed to have a painting made of myself. We found a painter in Valence who, without being an artist, painted rather good portraits. Since we were already in the month of June and we did not want to postpone our departure to the country, it was agreed that I pose two hours every day from 9:00 – 11:00AM. I would go to early Mass, receive Our Lord whenever headaches or chest pains permitted, and return home for breakfast. Then around 8:30 I would go to the painter, accompanied by a maid or my stepfather.” (To be continued)

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Vergil Heier, C.M.M.

1 The “Exercises” of St. Ignatius Loyola. Manresa, Spain, was where he wrote the book.

To sign up for this Newsletter please write to;Fr Vergil Heier
Lady of Grace Monastery,
23715 Ann Arbor Trail,
Dearborn Heights,
MI 48127
Alternatively please use contact form on this page and we will forward your contact details.



Comments or questions  

Spam prevention code

Please enter this spam prevention code here below:

Copyright © InfiniteLove.ie

tumblr visitor

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional   Valid CSS!