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

Newsletter No. 60 April 1st, 2013

Dear Friends,

As I write this newsletter for the Work of Infinite Love, our Church has a new Pope, Francis I. This is the first time that a Pope has come from South America. The Holy Spirit blows where He will. Let us pray for our new Supreme Shepherd on earth and for our whole Church.

What better time than this to write to you about the relationship of the Work of Infinite Love, and in particular, of the Priests Union, to the Pope and the whole Church. In November of 1902 Mother Louise Margaret wrote the following in her diary:

“Yesterday Sunday, I went frequently and prostrated myself before the Blessed Sacrament exposed; I asked Jesus several times whether He wished to give me something for the Work; but He said nothing. In the evening, during the Litanies, my soul was sweetly rapt in the Divine Presence and was filled by most sweet, pure lights.

“There were three distinct lights: The first was a view of the Infinite Love of Jesus for souls; Jesus in His solicitude for them forming the priest, an other Self; the priest, an invention of the Heart of Jesus for souls. The priest, being what He is, is only for souls, being the privileged one of Jesus, another Christ, only on account of them; for that, the tender and profound love which the priest should have for souls.

“The second light was on the Work; the thoughts of God, always for souls. The end of the Work: souls saved by Love and Mercy. The means of action of the Work, the priest; but for that, the priest himself must be holy, zealous, filled with love, so as to diffuse it, as it were, naturally in souls.

“Jesus living in the priest and afterwards operating through him. Accordingly, the priest first prepares himself, becomes filled with Jesus; that is the first part of the Work; then the priest-Jesus goes to souls and attracts them by love and mercy. These are the divine artifices of Jesus.

“The third light was on the dangers the Work may encounter, the spirit of the Work, its end, remedies against these dangers. One danger is that it may become national rather than catholic; in order to avoid this, the Work from its beginning must be put in union with the Holy See. The Pope must be asked to bless it, recognize it, and encourage it. I explain myself badly, I do not wish to put any of my own ideas into this Work; if I could speak perhaps I could make myself better understood. My Jesus, I am but an ignorant person, do Thou Thyself tell my Director all that should be said.”

We can see from this quote what Our Lord wanted and wants of the Work of Infinite Love. It is to be a channel of His grace for the renewal of the priesthood in His Church. Let us continue to pray and sacrifice for that intention. Greetings to all. I add here below another portion of the autobiography of Mother Louise Margaret Claret de al Touche, the founder of the Work of Infinite Love:

“‘Not have the Faith,’ said this Père spiritedly, ‘that is not possible. If he was raised as a Christian in his infancy, something ought to have remained with him. I should like to see him.’ ‘Mon Père,’ I said with a smile, ‘it is a bit difficult to see him. If you were sick, he could take care of you because he is a doctor. But otherwise.’ ‘But I am sick,’ the Père interrupted sharply, ‘send him to me!’ I thought at first that we wanted to joke and I said to him, ‘You see, he is a good doctor and he would notice very quickly that you are not sick and that you are mistaken.’ At this the Père said to me seriously that he wanted to see him, and that he was sufficiently sick to justify a doctor’s visit, but that, since he would be leaving the next morning at 6:00, it would be necessary to send him my brother-in-law that same evening. I saw quite a number of impossibilities in this and, in addition, I was afraid that Dr. Clavier, coming to doubt about the matter, would get an unfortunate impression and thus the little influence I had on him would be lost. But the Père remained firm in his desire to see him that same evening and, thinking that God must have inspired him, I gave in to his wishes, while recommending great prudence to him.

“It was 7:00 in the evening. I returned home hastily for supper. I quickly informed my mother and stepfather of what had happened. They saw great difficulties in the matter and tried to dissuade me from this enterprise. Nevertheless I persisted in my desire to obey the Père, sensing interiorly that God willed it. After supper I had myself taxied to my sister’s. I began by speaking of various things. Then, addressing Ireneus, [I said]: ‘Oh! I forgot to tell you that there is a poor Père who needs your help. He has to leave tomorrow very early. I don’t know whether he will be up to it. He was not fit for anything after his sermon yesterday. I saw him for a moment to ask him something. He knows no one here, no doctor. I told him charitably that my brother-in-law was a doctor and that I would send him to him if he wished. He gladly accepted, I can tell you. So, if you wish to render him this service to go this evening to try to get him back on his feet...’ ‘Gladly,’ Ireneus answered me, ‘where is he staying?’ It was agreed that I would bring him to the door around 9:30, the time set by the Père. We left together, followed at a distance by the maid who was to bring me home.

When I got home, I went immediately to my room. I was not without worry about the success of this visit. One imprudent word could compromise everything. So, rather than going to bed, I put out my light and, prostrating myself at the foot of the bed I began to pray with all the fervor I was capable of. For more than an hour I remained with my arms outstretched in the form of a cross. When I was too tired, I rested my outstretched arms for a few seconds on the bed without, however, stopping my prayer. The next morning I went to my sister’s for an errand. I saw my brother-in-law, [who was] the same as always, friendly and good. He did not say anything about the visit in the city. In the afternoon he came to our house. He came to my room and, while fully watching me paint, he said nonchalantly, as if by chance in the conversation, ‘He is very well, this Père whom I saw yesterday evening, very well. We parted as very good friends.’ I answered equally nonchalantly, ‘Yes, he seemed to me quite intelligent.’ That was all. I was wishing, however, to know some more. I dared to write to the Père the next day. From that moment on we began a correspondence. Fr. C. liked to show me the way to follow for the conversion of my brother-in-law, whom he liked and wanted very much to lead back to the Faith. I shall recount later how God blessed his efforts.

“The coolness of the autumn mornings that I faced in order to receive as often as possible the heavenly bread that was so necessary for me, and the utmost battles maternal tenderness waged with me at the sight of the coming hour of sacrifice affected my health. Heart palpations, a painful feeling of suffocation, an almost continual cough and, joined to all this, headaches so violent in the morning that they often made me sick when I got up, reduced me to a sort of physical agony. Although I made efforts to hide a part of my sufferings, it still showed often enough outwardly to increase the pain of my mother and cause her to redouble her pleas and efforts to prevent my departure. Even Miss Plantier, who until then had been supporting and encouraging me, was beseeching me to postpone my entrance, alleging that it was not reasonable to attempt the religious life in such a state of health, for that would compromise my reception, that certainly, once they heard my cough and witnessed my weaknesses, they would send me home on the spot. I was also being told that it was my duty to stay longer with my brother-in-law, that by departing I would destroy the hopes to possibly see his return to the Faith, and that no one else had as much influence on his spirit as I. Finally they told me that God was manifesting His will by this redoubling of sufferings and that, if I persisted in leaving, it would be unreasonable stubbornness. For my part, on the contrary, I seemed to sense at the bottom of my soul the will of God pushing me to leave and O. L. [i.e. Our Lord] made me understand that my sacrifice and the sufferings that I would find in the religious life would be more efficacious for Ireneaus’ soul than all the action that I could exercise on him.

“I had asked my stepfather to take me to the monastery on November 20th. He did not say, ‘No,’ but several days before, he indicated his intention to go stay a few days with his son. He assured me that he would be back by the 20th. Nevertheless, on the day of his departure I knelt down before him and asked pardon of him for all the pains that I may have caused him in the 13½ years since I had become his daughter. Very moved, he helped me up, embraced me tenderly, and hastily left. On the 19th he wrote me that he could not come back on the following day. He begged me to wait for him, and not to leave before his return. I did not believe that I had to accede to his desire. God’s hour had come. No human consideration should hold me back any more.

“I shall not go back over these last days spent with my family and the heartbreak of the last good-byes. I believe that I have written about all these things in the notebooks that Father[1] already has. My suffering of soul and heart were indescribable, but the grace of Jesus strengthened me to such a degree that not a hesitation, not a doubt, came to shake my courage. Nevertheless, I had very good reason to doubt about my acceptance into religious life. My health at that time was so poor! But what I knew, what I could not doubt, was that God wanted me to present myself for the sacrifice, even if it meant being rejected by Him!

“On November 20, 1890, at 7:00 PM I entered the house of God. What happened during the first hours I don’t know. I did what they told me to do, undoubtedly. Later, when I retired to the cell that had been prepared for me, I knelt down before the crucifix and cried unrestrainedly for a long time. These tears, poured out in peace at the feet of Jesus, comforted me. It was not regret, nor fear, nor uncertainty about the future that caused me to spill them. It was my heart, bruised and wounded by the separation from all that I had loved on earth, which bled slowly through my eyes.

“The next day the Community received me affectionately, although with a certain mistrust on the part of some. I suffered under this. I was not surprised. How could it be otherwise? I was entering, preceded by a reputation that was anything but favorable. When they had spoken to Canon Claudon, Grand Vicar and spiritual director of the monastery, about the request I had made to enter the monastery, he just laughed and did not seem at all to have believed in my vocation. Someone had questioned a pious lady of Valence, a relative of one of our Sisters, about my family and about me, and when she was told that I had asked for admission, she had laughed and answered our Mother: ‘If you have need of a subject who acts well in comedies, that is indeed your affair. Miss de la Touche does that very well!’ Charitably she did not say more.

“The sentiment of distrust that I discovered in several, also among the authorities, and the thought that I could be a misfit and displaced object in the monastic environment threw me into an extreme timidity, so contrary to my character. I had hoped to enter the novitiate after a few days, but was it because they did not bank on my vocation? Were they afraid that I would laugh at and mock what I had seen practiced in the novitiate? Did they want to see whether my health would adapt to the winter cold? I don’t know. They did not hurry to admit me.

“Nevertheless, it pleased the good Master to end on the very day after my arrival the headaches and the weaknesses that I had suffered until then. The emphysema remained and often caused a cough, but that was an infirmity, not a sickness and, as our Hl. Order was open to the infirm, I could hope, in spite of this, to be accepted. I remained thus for two months as a stranger in the house. How long those two months were!” (To be continued.) Happy Easter!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Vergil Heier, C.M.M.

[1] Rev. Alfred Charrier, S.J., her spiritual director

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