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

Newsletter No. 69 April 1st, 2016

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter to all of you! Seldom is this April issue of the newsletter due after Easter, which this year is on one of the earliest days possible in our calendar.

Happy Easter to all of you! Seldom is this April issue of the newsletter due after Easter, which this year is on one of the earliest days possible in our calendar.

Besides a planned General Assembly of the Missionaries of Infinite Love later this year, there is nothing to report from the headquarters of the Work of Infinite Love. The last issue of the Work’s Italian magazine, “Betania-Ut Sint Unum,” that I have received (Nov-Dec, 2015) is still filled with news and articles about the big celebration of the centennial of Mother Louise Margaret’s death on May 14, 2015 in Vische, Italy.

In this Year of Mercy, however, we can bring to the attention of our readers some of the words that Mother Louise wrote about mercy. For example, this section from her intimate notes: “God would wish to purify and renew the world by a deluge of love. He cannot; not that He has not always the power to execute all His designs, but His justice opposes itself to His goodness, and it is necessary that His mercy come and contend against His justice in order to make Love triumph.

“And while in heaven Mercy wrestles for the cause of love, on earth souls who have surrendered themselves to Love must give aid to Mercy. This is why God wants such souls, for He passionately desires to make His Mercy triumph.

“Oh! How well Jesus does His work in a heart that has surrendered itself to Love; all that comes forth from that heart is almost divine and does the work of Jesus” (“The Love and Service of God Infinite Love,” p. 141).

And there is this pieces from a letter of January 18, 1908, to Fr. Charrier: “But truly, Father, why should you be so sad over your miseries? When we know that God is love, and that Jesus God incarnate, is Mercy, can we be sad? I believe that this state of interior sadness is willed by the good Master for your greater merit; however, it must not last too long for in the end it would ruin your strength. You tell me, Father, that you will never arrive at the degree of sanctity which Jesus wished for you. And how do you know what this degree is? It seems to me that God has never said to anyone: ‘You are to arrive at this degree which I shall show you.’ No, He shows Himself to us and then He says to us: ‘Endeavour to reach Me:’ this involves labour. And when it is God’s will to take us by death, if He finds us always at work, He is satisfied, and His mercy perfects in us what is till wanting. Is this not so, Father? Then let us speak no more of your miseries; I place them all in the furnace of the Heart of Jesus and I see no more trace of them. Do you think that the fire of Infinite Love is not strong enough to burn out all that” (“The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,” p. 43)?

In other places, too, where Mother Louise Margaret uses the word “love,” she is often really speaking about God’s mercy.

Now let us return to Mother Louise’s autobiography:

“Our German lessons did not start again in autumn. At the end of the holidays Fr. XXX had come to bid us farewell; he was leaving for Paris, where he was going to establish himself definitively. He had nevertheless strongly insisted with our Mother that we send him essays and letters every fifteen days, promising to correct them. We did this during the winter, but I soon noticed that Our Mother had gotten wind of the troubles of my companion. On the other hand deplorable rumors had come to the attention of our Mother regarding Fr. XXX so that, taking me aside, she told me to delay sending our essays and letters as much as possible, and several times she gave me letters from our professor, telling me not to show them to my companion.

“The day even came when our Mother called me to her office and, giving me a letter from Paris, told me to read it and to answer it in such a way that Fr. XXX would understand that we wanted to break off contact. I admit that it cost me to write that letter. I did it nevertheless. It was respectful, full of appreciation for the care given and the devotedness lavished, but I proffered as excuse pressing work, and new jobs. Finally I made it clear that it was no longer possible for us to continue. Our good Mother approved the letter and sent it. Its meaning was understood and Fr. XXX did not give us any signs of life after that.

“In the spring I was given as helper to my Sister the Assistant T. de Chantal, who had long ago started a long work and who, given her great age, was not able to finish it alone anymore. She had undertaken to write the history of the new foundations of the Institute in America, Spain, etc., by using the documents contained in circular letters sent by the monasteries, and in the lives of the Sisters employed at the foundations. Till then I had not read works of that kind, even less had I ever written in that style. Nevertheless, I set to work and in several months I wrote the history of the foundations of Buenos-Aires, Santiago, Valencia, Barcelona, Vittoria, etc. I loved this work that enabled me to know well the affairs of our Institute and my love for our dear Visitation increased even more.

“Our dear novitiate was as numerous and joyful as before. Two new novices had come and joined it, and our Mistress M. Aloysia, who believed she was only temporary until the complete recovery of Sister M. Emmnanuel, whose convalescence was long, did not change anything in the ways of doing things of the one she was replacing. I was open and very simple with this dear Sister. She was good and maternal with me, all the while correcting and instructing me as needed. Everything went on in the peace and tranquility of hearts.

“Soon things changed. On St. Michael’s Day Sister M. Aloysia had been definitively left as Directress. From then on she began to adopt a new behavior. God permitted it so.

“I made my first annual retreat at the beginning of November. Jesus, who had gone before me with his graces the whole year, filled me with them particularly during this holy retreat. He made himself present to my soul almost continually and attracted me to himself through the attraction of his sufferings. It was also during this retreat, if I remember correctly, that I heard the voice of the divine Master speaking distinctly to my soul and that I recognized it as the voice that had spoken to me before in the days of my infancy. The graces and lights that I received then have been written down, I believe, in the same notebook as that of my profession retreat.

“The good Master, in manifesting himself to me, usually instructed me either about divine things or about virtues proper to our vocation and he demanded of me a great faithfulness to these movements. I gave account of all that went on in my soul to Mother F. Mathilde and to our Mistress with the complete simplicity that I ordinarily practiced. Our mother, without being surprised at anything, listened to me, encouraged me to be very faithful, very humble and lovingly dependent on the movements of grace. Our Mistress seemed surprised, half angry, and her way of dealing with me, already notably changed since the end of September, became more severe.

“This was good for me and I did not take back any of my confidence and my affection for her. I thought afterwards that at that time this dear Sister’s health had probably begun to change, for her behavior in several points changed completely for all in the Novitiate. This, too, without doubt was a permission of God. Nevertheless, the professed of the novitiate were surprised sometimes at what happened and one of them believed, as I did, that she ought to tell our Mother how things were.

“I don’t know whether what we had said got back to our Mistress, but from that moment on all the professed of the novitiate, especially I, had much to suffer. We later forgot all about it, and personally I do not believe I ever held any resentment about what I was made to suffer at that time, but that year 93-94[1] has remained in my spirit as a painful remembrance. It was the first link in a long chain of moral sufferings that I had to go through for still a long time.

“During the winter of 94[2] one of our Sisters had very insistently recommended to my prayers her only brother who for the last twenty years had given up all religious practice and all the coaxing of his wife and daughter had not been able to overcome this. He was getting older and they ardently desired his return to God. During Lent I prayed much for this soul and on Tuesday of Holy Week, being in prayer and thinking of the Easter communions that so many poor souls would not be making, and this one included with the others.

“A strong inspiration came to me suddenly to say to Our Lord: ‘My Jesus, give me this soul, whom I ask for only for you. Give him a powerful grace and I promise you to ask for permission to make a Communion of thanksgiving every Friday for one year.’ On Easter our dear Sister M. Laurence came in, all happy to tell me at recreation that she had just received a letter from her niece. Without anyone being able to foresee such a sudden change, the father of this young lady had all of a sudden felt touched by grace. Wednesday of Holy Week he had gone to confession and received Holy Communion.

“I blessed God for this grace along with our good Sister, but I did not tell her of the promise I had made to Our Lord. I was thinking of keeping it, however, and before asking our Mother for permission to make these Friday Communions I believed that I should submit the matter to Fr. Toupin and take his advice. The first time, therefore, I went to confession after Easter I told Fr. Confessor about the inspiration that had come to me, the promise I had made, and the result that had been obtained.

“Really, I was not thinking at all of lacking in obedience and even less of entering into revolt against the authority of superiors. I knew well that by myself I could not promise to make an extra Communion, so I had only promised Our Lord to ask for this grace. But without noticing it and by an excess of innocence, I had committed in this matter anů. I don’t know what to call it. Well, it was, it seemed, an unpardonable fault. Fr. Toupin approved my promise. He told me I had done well and that he was very happy to permit me to keep it.

“The next day I told our mistress everything, but when she saw that I had talked to Fr. Toupin before speaking to her and our Mother, she told me I had made a big mistake and Our Mother would certainly be very unhappy. In fact, the following morning Our Mother had me called in. She was extremely angry and for one hour she told me all that you can imagine. I, who had not had any difficulty until then with the decrees of ’90, would not have thought at all that matters would come to this. Our Mistress and our Mother remained convinced that I had acted with duplicity and that I had spoken to Fr. Toupin first in order to force their hand and oblige them in some way not to refuse me that Communion. All this had been far from my thoughts.

“Our Mother, whom I had always seen very firm but calm and self-possessed, was in a state of really extraordinary anger. I broke down in tears and, prostrate, received the deluge of reproaches that good Mother let fall on me. Certainly just one Communion is of such great value that it could never be bought at too high a price. I declared, however, very gently to Mother that, since this communion displeased her, I would not do it; it made no difference. After an hour I begged her at least to forgive my mistakes and give me her blessing. She did not want that at all and just chased me, all in tears, out of the room.

“Good dear Mother, if she found me far too unworthy of that Communion or if she thought that it would give scandal, it would have been so easy for her to point this out gently to the chaplain and give her reasons. He is so good as to bring about a perfect understanding and not put souls in the painful alternative of failing in obedience either to their confessor or their Superior. And if such reasons did not exist, why would this good mother want to deprive me of this heavenly good? Several days later, however, things fell into order; our mother told me to make the Communion for this year. She never mentioned again what had happened, nor did I certainly, and her very maternal ways resumed as before.” (To be continued, God willing.)

Yours in Jesus and Mary,

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

1 1893-94.

2 1893. Cf. X 3 - R.V. page 28-29.

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