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

Newsletter No. 72 May 13th, 2017

Dear Friends,

Easter greetings to all of you! Christ has risen! We can still celebrate. Although the day of His Resurrection was some weeks ago, its effects are still with us today! Alleluia!

A bit of news from the Missionaries of Infinite Love, the secular institute of the Work of Infinite Love: last fall they had a general chapter at which Silvana Bartezzaghi, their superior general, was re-elected for a third term and, for the first time, two from Madagascar, Egyptienne Soamaroroka and Arphine, were elected into the general council of the institute. Congratulations to all!

Let us continue with the article by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins entitled, “The Venerable Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche:”

2. The Special Mission of the Venerable Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche

The life of the Venerable Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche (1868-1915), a French woman who became a Visitandine nun is fascinating and filled with upheavals. Superior of the monastery in Romans from which the community was forcefully ejected because of the French anti-clerical laws of 1903, she led her community to the Piedmont area of northern Italy. Then there were subsequent moves, long waits and malicious undermining within the Visitation community because of her special “call within a call” to be a spiritual mother of priests and to receive a message for them. All of this is outlined in the most recent edition of her classic work, The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood, which was originally published anonymously. In her Diary she recorded these striking words:

Yesterday, on June 6th 1902, the Feast of the Sacred Heart I was alone before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I was in that weary and painful state of mind in which I had been for some weeks, when Jesus made His presence felt. I adored Him, being sweetly consoled by His presence, and praying to Him for our little novitiate, I asked Him to give me some souls I might form for Him. He replied: “I will give you souls of men.” Being profoundly astonished by these words, the sense of which I did not understand, I remained silent, endeavouring to find an explanation, till Jesus said: “I will give you souls of priests.” Still more astonished I asked Him: “My Jesus how will you do that?” He replied, “It is for My priests that you will immolate yourself; I wish to instruct you during this Octave. Write down all that I shall tell you.”

“I did not wish to write any more, but I obeyed Jesus. Yesterday evening He said to me: “My priest is My other self, I love him, but he must be holy. Nineteen centuries ago, twelve men changed the world, they were not men merely, but they were priests. Now, once more twelve men could change the world.”

On June 7th He said: “Margaret Mary has shown My heart to the world, do you show it to My priests and draw them all to My Heart.”

On June 8th He showed me the greatness of the priest. Chosen from among men he reaches even up to God; he is placed between man and God, a mediator like Jesus, and with Jesus. He has been, so to speak, transubstantiated into Jesus, and he enters thus into His divine offices and His divine prerogatives. With Jesus he is sacrifice, expiation, victim. From this state of special union with Jesus all the acts of the priests acquire an incomprehensible excellence.”

On June 10th she wrote: “After Communion I said to Jesus, ‘My Saviour, when our Blessed Sister (Margaret Mary) showed Thy divine Heart to the world, did not Thy priests see It? Does not that suffice?’ Jesus replied: ‘I wish now to make a special manifestation to them.’ Then He showed me that He has a special work to do, which is to enkindle the fire of love again in the world, and that He wished to make use of His priests to accomplish it. He said this with such a touching and tender expression that tears came to my eyes. ‘I have need of them,’ He said, ‘to do My work, to extend the reign of love; they must be full of it themselves and it is to My Heart that they must come to draw it.’ And He added: ‘If anyone has the right, the duty to drink out of My Heart, is it not My priests who each day bring the chalice of the altar to their lips? Let them come to My Heart and let them drink there’.”

All of the words that the Lord had given her about priests she dutifully consigned to her French Jesuit spiritual director for his discernment and that he might arrange them in the form of a book. Unfortunately he never accomplished the task. After seemingly endless delays, she finally managed to put the book together herself and it has been a classic from its publication in1910 to the present. Beyond the book itself everything that she wrote is the work of a genuine mystic and often related to her mission. On 6 June 1903 she wrote in her Diary:

Jesus said, if I remember aright, that there are in His Heart parts still unexplored which He has kept for His priests, and that it was a domain reserved for them.

There are dwellings of love into which priests alone will enter, and in which they will find all that they have need of to be faithful representatives of Jesus Christ, and then, when they shall have entered them they will go out clothed with a certain unction which will act on souls. (To be continued, God willing.)

Now let us continue with Mother Louise’s autobiography:

“On the next day, the 27th, as there was no improvement and my weakness kept growing, it was resolved to have me make a vow to the Sacred Heart and at the same time our Mistress Emmanuel would do the same, with the permission of our Mother, to obtain my cure. She promised to have a novena of Masses celebrated in honor of the divine Heart at Paray-le-Monial. I was fully conscious and when they proposed to me to receive Extreme Unction I was happy. First I had our Mother called and, as I wanted to show my acknowledgement to the Community for the charity they had shown to me in accepting me, I expressed the wish I had to add something to my testament. Our Mother approved and wrote what I dictated. After that, without thought of anything on earth, I prepared for the final passage.

“When Fr. Toupin arrived in the sacristy to pick up the Holy Oils he told Sr. Sacristan that, since I was fully conscious, he was going to give me again the grace of Holy Viaticum. Our Mother, on being advised of this, was opposed and told Fr. Chaplain that she did not want this, that it was contrary to the rule, which said that Holy Communion be given to the sick only every eight days, etc. Poor good Mother! When it had to do with me, she always had a very particular way of interpreting the rule. For it is certain that, when the rule speaks this way, it does not intend to speak of Holy Viaticum or of the dying.

“Fr. Chaplain insisted. Our mother resisted. Finally, exasperated, Fr. Toupin finished by saying: ‘The rule, the rule! But the rule for me is to give Holy Viaticum to the dying when there is nothing to prevent them from receiving it!” Then turning to the Sacristan he told her: ‘Prepare what is necessary. I am going to bring the Blessed Sacrament.’ - Our Mother did not dare to say anything more, but there was a new reproach against me in her spirit. Nevertheless, I had nothing at all to do with it. Jesus permitted it so.

“At 2:00 in the afternoon the Community gathered around my cell. Fr. Toupin arrived with Our Lord. He gave me this Bread of life, supreme help to those who are going into Eternity. Then he did the holy anointings. I would not know how to express the extreme sweetness that I then felt. I seemed to feel the divine hand of Jesus that touched my senses and my members to purify them, sanctify them, and consecrate them more particularly to his service. It was like a new total taking possession that the good Master made of the least parts of my being, so that everything in me would be for his use.

“Fr. Toupin was very moved during the ceremony. I saw big tears fall from his eyes. As for me, I was happy. A joy and a peace, all heavenly, filled my soul. In the evening Fr. Chaplain, who knew all my miseries and who, in his charity, did not want me to lack any grace, sent me his rosary, to which a cross, enriched with great indulgences for the sick, was attached.

“On the next day the doctors noticed a great change in my state. Not only had the sickness stopped its progress, but also there was a general improvement, really not expected. Was it the effect of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, instituted to heal bodies as well as purify souls? Was it the answer of the Sacred Heart to the vow made by our Mistress? I don’t know. It was definitely Infinite Love that restored life to me so that I could suffer still more on earth and perhaps serve as a light straw to feed the divine fire with which He wants to consume souls.

“On All Saints Day, which was a Friday, Fr. Toupin favored me again with the grace of Holy Communion and my recovery was so quick that on the following Friday I was up and I could receive Communion at the infirmary grille.

“Several days later when Dr. B. came to see another patient, he asked about me. They told him I was doing very well. As he did not seem to believe it, they brought him to my room. Doubtlessly he expected to find me still in bed. When he found me up and coming to meet him, he was dumbfounded. He could not believe his eyes. Not saying a word until he was seated, he approached me and applied the stethoscope all over me and finally grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me toward the window. He was looking at me with such an astonished look while repeating, ‘It is unbelievable, she is better than before!’ that I could not help but laugh wholeheartedly. Our Mother and the infirmarian did the same. On leaving our room, the doctor began to say: ‘For Madame, it is never like for others!’ After a few days I took up my usual occupations.

“In the month of the previous August I had been made novitiate assistant by our Mistress. The position was not easy. At that time the novitiate consisted of several professed sisters older than me, of one novice without a real vocation whom the community very rightly was hesitating to admit, of a widow aspirant more than fifty years old with fixed and not very malleable ideas, and of two little excessively timid aspirants who were paralyzed by the fear that their majestic and venerable companion inspired in them. I had indeed asked our Lord for his grace on entering upon this difficult job. The Good Master had not refused it to me and, after this sickness during which he had been so merciful and so good to me, he continued to favor me with the help of his divine presence and many interior lights.

“I spoke at sufficient length in the notebook of temptations about those temptations that came to attack me in winter and during Lent, the great sorrows and sufferings that tormented my soul at that time when I found myself at times flooded with Jesus’ graces and at times tormented by the most humiliating of temptations. Not finding help from Fr. Chaplain who kept silent, nor from Our Mother who rather troubled me, nor from our Mistress who seemed not to understand, I felt the imperious need of council, of support, of a light to direct me and sustain me on this way of suffering and combat.

“My character does not incline me to believe easily in the supernatural and, in spite of the numerous graces that I had already received from Jesus, my nature was still resisting and my spirit, by nature an enemy of the uncertain and the mysterious, fought against this invasion of supernatural and divine action. I told how the Blessed Virgin, answering the suppliant cries that I had launched toward her during the whole month of May, sent me in her motherly goodness the help I so needed. Since all this has been put down in detail in the other notebook, I won’t go into it again.” (To be continued, God willing.)

Yours in Jesus and Mary,

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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