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

Newsletter No. 66 April 24th, 2015

Dear Friends,

Greetings and a belated Happy Easter! I am sorry that this letter is coming to you so far behind schedule. But maybe it is better so. April 1st is not a good date for publishing our letter, since we claim that it always tells the truth. ☺

This year the Work of Infinite Love is celebrating the centenary of Mother Louise Margaret’s death. She died on May 14, 1915. Here are a few paragraphs about Mother Louise Margaret, written by a Friend of Bethany in the Jan.-Feb. 2015 issue of the Work’s Italian magazine, “Betania Ut Sint Unum:”

“The preparations to celebrate the centennial of the heavenly birth of Venerable Mother Louise Margaret lead us to consider the good that her call has brought to our history, that of humanity and that of the Church. This good, which is the revelation of God Love, is like a beneficial current giving life to whomever it comes in contact with, if the person is awake in his desire for happiness.

“The consideration of the last earthly moments of Mother Louise Margaret always amazes me. It seems that her last words before entering into God’s embrace were, ‘Look, they are coming….’ They sound like one of the wisest legacies that a Christian mother could leave to her children, i.e. the invitation to live in expectation of the coming of God, to seek or recognize his features in the faces of those we meet every day and in the things that happen, besides in his Word and sacraments.

“The second consideration is about the gift of femininity, of her experience as a woman and a woman dedicated to the following of the Lord Jesus, a following that finds its maximum exaltation when placed next to that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“In fact, it was just in France in 1830 that the Mother of God began to show her merciful presence, to offer her help to Christians and show her universal motherhood in the apparitions in Rue de Bac in Paris, an event that has marked the European Community even to its symbol[1] and which fills with hope all who let ‘the eyes of their mind’ be illumined, as St. Paul says (cf. Eph. 1:18). As she received and prepared the Incarnation of the eternal Word, followed her divine Son in his earthly mission, and cooperated with the apostles in the first Christian community, so the Woman clothed with the sun is cooperating in an extraordinary way with redemption in these sad times of secularization and apostasy.

“In this regard it seems to me that Venerable Mother’s life can shine forth in a new light. She prayed the following in 1891 at the beginning of her life as a religious:

“‘Heart all lovable and so maternal of my sweet Mother, be my help and my strength. Oh Mary, the purest of the purest virgins, purify my soul of its filth and preserve me from every stain in the future. Mother of grace, I take refuge in your arms. Grant me to find Jesus, my only love, there.’”

Now let us go on with Mother’s Autobiography:

“I was told that, after the usual prayers, Fr.Toupin wanted to recite five Our Father’s and five Hail Mary’s for me with the community. I had not been aware of this. I was cared for that very night by our Sr. Marie Thérèse, the first Mistress of the boarding school, whom at that time I did not know at all. Around three o’clock in the morning she approached my bed to give me something to drink. I said to her, ‘My Sister, Our Lord does not want me now. I shall get well.’ I was certain of this.

“After the ineffable visit of the divine Master I had felt life return to me, and the sickness retreat. Without thinking that we were in the middle of the night and that it was the time of the grand silence, all in appreciation of Jesus who, it seemed, had led me to the threshold of death only in order to bind me more closely to Himself through the Holy Vows, I began talking to my Sr. Marie Thérèse of the goodness of the divine Master and of his mercies toward me with a confidence and simplicity whose memory later caused me confusion.

“The next day the doctors found me much better and on the way to recovery, and they were astonished at the rapid change that had occurred. When Mr. B., who was very irreligious at the time, had left I said to my brother-in-law, who had remained at my bedside, ‘It was the Holy Viaticum that cured me.’ He did not deny it.

“My recovery was very swift. Mr. B. was amazed at this. This was only the beginning of his surprises. How many times during the serious sicknesses that I often had later did he not say on leaving my room, ‘Here nothing happens as elsewhere!’ I remember that I had already by that time felt the intimate and penetrating sweetness that the visit of the divine Master brought to me. As I have reported in an earlier notebook, it was when I was six years old that the miraculous water of Lourdes had cured me when I had arrived at my last moments.

“Fifteen days later I was on my feet and I took up again the course of my novitiate. I felt more united to Jesus and more his and my soul, shaking off the excessive timidity that was oppressing it, expanded more freely in a warmer atmosphere. I knew that the community could send me away; several times indeed I believed the moment had arrived. I seemed to myself so full of miseries and so useless! But at this hour I belonged to Jesus and He to me. What else mattered to me?

“As soon as I had recovered, Our Mother decided to have me take German lessons in order to get me ready to teach it in the boarding school. I had an extreme repugnance for teaching. I obeyed nonetheless without a word, wanting above all to render service to the Community. As companion I was given one of our Sisters who, like me, possessed the first elements of the German language. She was about forty years old and was to serve as my mentor.

“The professor was a very young priest of 28 or 29 years of age. The first time I saw him in the parlor I was, I confess, a bit surprised at his bearing. He appeared intelligent and very cheerful, but he had in his behavior something that was not priestly. His attire was singular and very careless; he had a full beard, no collar, and a big white scarf tied carelessly around his neck. He appeared very much at ease with my companion, laughed easily and teased a bit. On leaving this first meeting I was resolved to keep very much my reserve. For my companion, who was ten years older than he, there was not much danger, but with me I would not have wanted him to get familiar. I had come to know the world very well and I had passed through painful trials of the heart. Now I belonged totally to Jesus, my adorable spouse. I felt so unchangeably tied to his love that I really didn’t fear anything from Fr. XXX in regard to myself, but it seemed to me that I needed, for his sake, to take prudent cautions.

“In my own little novice judgment, I did indeed think our good Mother a little imprudent to put this very young professor of familiar ways and sensual nature in daily contact and in the intimacy that can come from such lessons with a little twenty-two year old novice of ardent heart and with quite a frivolous reputation. I was surprised interiorly at the great scruples shown in the monastery over nothings, where there was no danger and no appearance of evil, and the excess of innocence with which persons threw themselves into certain, really much more serious, danger.

“I had nothing to say but, because I was not so innocent and I saw the danger, I had to be prudent. Besides the good Master was there who was guiding me as by the hand. I forced myself to keep my veil lowered all during the lessons. This was a good mortification for me, especially when summer came, the parlor was stifling, and our lessons were at 11:00AM! My companion found me too reserved with our professor and made war on me. She told me that I ought to raise my veil or at least not put it down so low. I was content to answer her, ‘My Sister, it’s written that way in the rule.’ She responded, “So I don’t lower it enough. Should I lower it more?” To relax her I told her that for her it was enough; that she had no need to do more.

“The truth was that with her masculine features and her forty years the spirit of the rule was more than sufficiently preserved, although she hardly lowered her veil at all. It never entered her mind that it could be more necessary for me than for her to have the veil lowered. Nevertheless, I saw that after several months the intimacy with Fr. Richard was not favorable to my companion. She admired everything about him, heaped attentions on him, thought of him continually, and took on something of uneasiness, agitation, and trouble that revealed a certain state, still unconscious no doubt, but not without danger.

“I found myself in a real fix. No one else took part in our classes, so we were mutually responsible for each other’s protection, but I was only a novice and could not say anything. I began by showing our Mother a little distaste for the lessons and I expressed to her my desire to see the lessons ended soon. The good Mother who, seeing my soul calm and peaceful, did not see any drawback for me in them and did not suppose any for the other Sister, accused me of laziness and recommended, on the contrary, that I take advantage of them. I waited and I prayed for my companion with all my heart.

“Fr. XXX made fun a bit of the tender and exaggerated attentions of the Sister and sometimes, while she was reading in a loud poetic voice the romance of Mignon or some other German poetry, the look of the young professor, all sparkling with malice, went looking for mine, even under the veil, to associate me with his humor. For the rest, there was nothing evil in itself in the manners and words of Fr. XXX and I would have very well overlooked them in a young man of the world dealing with women of the world. But in a priest this carelessness shocked me and, without being fully conscious of it, a sort of supernatural instinct kept me on guard against this soul still poorly at home in his divine vocation. I appreciated on the other hand his goodness, his dedication to us and his great patience. Nevertheless my companion, basically a good soul, began to suffer. She admitted to me that she sometimes had violent temptations and truly the agitated state in which I saw her made me feel compassion.

“Fortunately vacation time was near. Fr. XXX was going to leave. I still said nothing, but I resolved, if the lessons started again, at the beginning to say enough to our Mother that things would be arranged in such a way that my companion could find peace again. All this served for my instruction. I understood that the heart, in spite of age, remains young for a long time and that it is good to always watch over its movements; that there are no dangers greater than those one doesn’t recognize and that it is necessary to deal with those souls so completely innocent and so ignorant of the things of the world with infinitely more precaution and holy prudence than with those who, more instructed in evil, are so much more easily on guard against its attacks.

“One day on leaving one of our German lessons our Mother met me with my notebook under my arm. She took me to her room and asked me what we had done and how the lesson had gone. ‘Oh,’ I answered our Mother, ‘I don’t know whether I was lacking a little in charity. All the time while watching my companion, these verses of Gresset [2] came to mind: ‘The little worries, the fine attentions were born, they say, among the Visitandines!’ ‘Oh, ho!’ our Mother said to me laughing, ‘You know, ‘Vert-Vert?’’ ‘Yes, my mother,’ I responded, a bit confused. ‘And you came anyway?’ ‘Of course, my Mother, as you see.’ At that, our good Mother, who had an admirable memory, started to recite a whole tirade from ‘Vert-Vert,’ and admittedly it was not one most to our honor. When she had finished she gave me a friendly little tap on the cheek and said, ‘Come now, little novice, always love our Lord well and be very faithful.’” (To be continued.)

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Vergil Heier, C.M.M.
English-language Representative
Work of Infinite Love

1 The twelve stars on the reverse of the Miraculous Medal were the inspiration for the twelve stars on its flag..

2 A French author 1709-1777.

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