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

Newsletter No. 74 December 1st, 2017

Dear Friends,

Many and happy greetings to all of you in this beautiful season of Advent! For your edification and enjoyment I send you another section of Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins’ article, “The Venerable Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche,” on Mother Louise Margaret’s Marian teaching, and a further part of Mother Louise’s autobiography.

Our credit union account for the Work of Infinite Love is below US $100. We have nearly finished translating and sending you Mother Louise’s autobiography. God willing, we can finish that soon and then go on to translating for you other writings of Mother. Is anyone willing to contribute financially to this? If so, please send your donation to me at the address on the letterhead. Checks should be made out in my name. Our credit union is unwilling to cash checks made out in any other way. Thank you very much in advance!

We continue with Msgr. Calkins’ article:

3. Mother Louise’s Marian Teaching

All of this serves as a necessary prelude to presenting Mother Louise’s teaching about Mary, Marian consecration and Marian mediation. Let us listen first to a conference that she gave to her sisters in religion on 8 October 1909:

Since God decided to create the world for Christ in order that it might be the kingdom of the Word, who was to become incarnate, we can easily understand how, in the thoughts of God, our heavenly Mother, the Virgin Mary, had preceded the creation of the world. It is for that reason that the Church applies these words to Mary: “From the beginning, and before the world, was I created” (Sirach 24:14) [NAB Sir. 24:9 -ed.]. It is indeed true that, in the order of time, she was not the first of creatures, since she was born many centuries after the creation of the world, but she may be said to have been created before the beginning of time, if not in fact, at least in the intention of God.

In the above text she shows herself to be fully in line with the teaching of Blessed Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus and with the Franciscan school of theology. Here is another of her sketches of Mary:

For her faithful cooperation with the loving designs of God, the Blessed Virgin, all pure and without stain, was inundated with grace. Jesus living in her, enriched her with his divine gifts; as Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, she surpasses all creatures in dignity, but she is, nevertheless, only one among them; every man can call her mother and cherish her as a sister; one same nature brings them together; one same love unites them in Jesus.

Louise Marguerite understood intuitively that in God’s perfect plan Jesus is our Mediator with the Father and Mary is our Mediatrix with Jesus. She began a conference to her sisters on 29 April 1910 with these words: “Since Jesus, our sweet Saviour has been given to us by means of Mary, it is also by means of Mary that we must go to Jesus.” Likewise she had already written on the Vigil of Christmas 1894:

On the eve of the feast of our holy Founder [St. Francis de Sales], the most amiable Father of my soul in a communication with which he favoured me, has, it seems to me, spoken these words to me: “My daughters should always approach the Divinity through the sacred humanity of Jesus; they should approach Jesus through Mary, and Mary through the faithful imitation of her virtues.”

She relates a similar experience that she had the following year on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady:

Yesterday, the fifteenth of August, during the High Mass, I tasted ineffable delights while suffering. Without allowing myself to stop at the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ, God made me see the Divine Word in the bosom of the Divinity, which, like a luminous fluid flowed from this bosom into that of the Virgin and renewed again this divine flowing onto the altar.

As Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces, the distributor of the graces flowing from the pierced Heart of Jesus, so in a similar way Louise Marguerite explains the analogy between Mary and the priest as a genuine mediator of grace:

The priest has not, it is true, the ideal whiteness of the Immaculate; his heart has not the sublime purity of the heart of the Virgin Mother; but he has only to draw from the graces of his priesthood; he will find there fountains of virginal tenderness and heroic devotedness ...
The mystery of the Visitation was not of a day. Like all the mysteries of Christ, it was to be prolonged to the end of the ages; it was to be reproduced for the profit of all generations; to be continued always vivified by Christ eternally living. As the Virgin on the day of the Incarnation had received in her womb the Word of God, so the priest, on the day of his ordination receives in his soul the same sacred deposit. And immediately that he has received it, he feels himself, like the Virgin, urged to communicate it, he cannot enjoy it egotistically; a new activity takes possession of him, makes him go out of himself and carries him towards the souls with whom he wishes to share his treasure.

(To be continued, God willing.)

Now, a few more lines from Mother Louise’s autobiography:

Fr. Eydoux had been given to us as Chaplain in the month of August. My first confession had been that of my yearly retreat. I freely admit that, still not knowing him at all I had some pain and a certain fright at uncovering my soul to him. At the moment of kneeling down in the confessional to make my annual general confession, before having said a word, I had a very strong impression of the presence of Our Lord and this divine Master told me interiorly that He Himself had chosen Fr. Eydoux for our souls and that his direction would not in any way hinder His operation in my soul. I made my general confession in all simplicity and confidence.

During the summer and autumn our job in the novitiate had been particularly laborious. Three aspirants without a vocation or with one not fit for our manner of life had come in succession and had to be turned away. The fourth one, accepted by our too trusting Mother, was an adventuress of the worst kind. I would not know how to say how much I suffered the First Friday of November to see her go to Holy Communion hypocritically. I had discovered the malice of this soul the evening before.

Neither our good Mother nor the other sisters wanted to believe it. Two days later, however, a telegram coming from one of our monasteries telling us to send her away immediately opened our Mother’s eyes. Some time later we saw in the newspaper that this person was a swindler by profession; that she had tried to hoodwink several religious houses and commercial enterprises and that the police were searching for her.

At the end of November a fifth aspirant came. Dear little soul, I had to suffer much for her and because of her. Ten months later I had to take the holy habit and the novice veil off her with my own hands and be myself the instrument of crucifying designs of Jesus for her!

In December Sister M. Aloysia, sick and prematurely relieved of her job in Valence, returned to us. God permitted that the sickness turned her completely against me. During Lent a penciled note announced to us Father’s stopping by. He arrived, in fact, to spend several hours. When our Mother saw him in the parlor, she had me called and brought me to him.

I still had never seen Father; to please Jesus and to show him my love, I made the small sacrifice of not raising my eyes a single time. This good Master, in exchange for this small act, filled my soul with a peace, a very sweet joy and a new power. This joy, however, did not fail to be sorrowful, for Father told me that in July, at the end of his third year, he would be sent to Beirut. Therefore, when he stopped by again after Easter, I thought I was talking to him for the last time.

In June, during the novena to the Sacred Heart, my divine Master revealed himself to me for several days, as I have indicated. All the details of these graces are in Father’s hands. I will not go back over this. Afterwards I suffered greatly. I sensed that what Our Lord said should be communicated, but to whom? I did not dare speak to Fr. Chaplain about it and, moreover, I did not receive the urging to do so. And Father? Perhaps I would never see him again.

The weight of divine communications was crushing me and I awaited help and light from God alone. At the end of July Father was sent back to France. He came to the monastery in September. I told him everything and turned over to him all my papers. I felt relieved of this weight that was suffocating me and Jesus let me know that all these things had been said to me so that I could pass them on to Father.

A great sorrow that I had at that time was to see the frame of mind in which our good Mother found herself to secularize the community, already quite endangered. She had an extreme apprehension of the idea of exile and the possibility of the transfer of the Community out of the country. What afflicted me very much was to see the inclination of several of our Sisters to return to their families or live in the world. Our Lord made me understand that this was not his will for us and that this would be a great spiritual loss for souls.

Our good Mother wanted absolutely to bring me to her ideas on this point and I could not do it. Not gaining anything with her on the point regarding the general view of the Community, I told her that for me at least I would not accept to return to my family and that I would go to a monastery in Germany. I had many battles to put up with on this point both on the part of our Mother as also of my family, which naturally wished to see me again.

A little later, when Our Lord had changed the attitude of our Mother and our Sisters saw that our transfer to another country was decided, those inclined to secularization, thinking that my influence had something to do with the new decision, began to show me their discontent in words and certain ways of behavior a bit painful to nature. The divine Master permitted it so.

In July 1903 we had to send away our dear little novice[1]. I had to put up with quite some storms on this occasion both from the side of the family of the little sister as well as from herself, who all at once turned against me and made all possible reproaches to me. I was so assured of the will of God that I did not let up remaining firm in the middle of the storm. The intimate sufferings of this epoch gave me violent stomach troubles.

During my retreat in September I did not do anything except suffer at the feet of Jesus. During most of the day I had such acute stomach pains that I could not apply myself to anything. Our Lord cured me, however, and he continued to give me many interior lights about his priesthood.

In December 1903 I sent Father the small prayer to Jesus-Priest. Our mother had told me to write to Father for her at Christmas. Having finished the letter, I brought it to her and, when she had finished reading it, I said to her: “Would Your Charity[2] permit me to add a little prayer to this letter?” “A prayer! What prayer?” “Mother, it is a prayer that I have here,” and I took the small sheet from the folds of our[3] robe. “It is from you?” our Mother asked me. “Oh, from me, that is... well... it is, mother, more or less the encyclical of the Holy Father.” (The prayer had been written before I had heard the Encyclical read, but I found the same thoughts there.) “Let me see it,” our Mother said. I handed her the paper. “Well, do you think I can read fly scratching like this?” I offered to read it to her.

When I had finished, our Mother said: “What do you want Father to do with that?” “Mother, if Your Charity does not think it appropriate, I shall not send it.” “I don’t see what it could accomplish.” “Mother,” I replied sweetly, “it could possibly be a small match to light his lamp.” “It could be,” our Mother, to whom this idea seemed practical, answered, “Send it then.” That’s what I did.

)To be continued, God willing.)

Yours in Jesus and Mary,

Rev. Vergil Heier, C.M.M.

1 Later, Sr. Margaret Reynaud, co-founder of the Sisters of Bethany of the Sacred Heart

2 A title of honor for Mother Superior

3 My robe. By her vow of poverty she owns nothing herself.

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