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Thursday, October 5, 2006
Sr. Teresa of St. Augustine on the life of St. Therese of Lisieux

This is from St Therese of Lisieux By Those Who Knew Her by Christopher O'Mahony. Testimonies from the process for her beatification. A few excerpts from the testimony of Sr Teresa of St Augustine:
I knew the Servant of God from the time she entered in 1888 till her death in 1897. During that time I lived close to her, and enjoyed a certain amount of intimacy with her. . . .

. . . .Her greatest pleasure was Holy Communion. She was prepared to suffer a lot rather than be deprived of it. All the sisters who lived with her knew that during the last years of her life, when her health was already broken, she used to get up for morning Mass after sleepless nights in pain, even during the worst cold of winter. It pained her deeply to be deprived of daily Communion, which was not customary in our convent at the time. . . .

. . . .Her trust in Providence was unwavering. People used to talk about the persecution of religion, and the consequences this could have for our convent, exile even. "What do you think about it?" I asked her. "I am prepared to go to the other end of the world in order to continue my religous life." she said, "but I'm like a baby: I just let things happen; I will go wherever God wants me to." And during her last illness: "How unhappy I would be now if I were not wholly in God's hands! One day the doctor says I'm finished, the next I'm better. This continual change could be wearisome, but it does not affect my peace of soul; I just take things as they come." When I told her I was worried about how much she was suffering: "Oh! Don't worry about that; God will not give me more than I can bear.". . . .

. . . .She once told me something in confidence, which rather mystified me. "If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into!" she said. "I don't believe in eternal life; I think that after this life there is nothing. Everything has disappeared on me, and I am left with love alone." She spoke of this state of soul as a temptation; yet she seemed always so calm and serene.

Virtue seemed to come so naturally to her that people thought she was inundated with consolations. I heard one sister say: "Sister Therese gets no merit for practising virute; she has never had to struggle for it." I wanted to know from herself if there was any truth in this, so , availing of my intimacy with her, I asked her if she had had to struggle during her religious life. This was two months before she died. "Oh!" she replied, "but didn't I though! I didn't have an easy temperament. It might not have looked like that, but I felt it. I can assure you that not a day has passed without its quota of suffering, not one!" It was above all during her last illness that we were able to admire her courage in the face of suffering. Fearing that her pain would get even worse, I told her that I would ask God to give her some relief. "No, no," she exclaimed, "He must be allowed to do as He pleases." . . . .

. . . .I have never heard that Sister Therese experienced any extraordinary phenomena during her lifetime. . . .

. . . .I have heard different opinions expressed about the Servant of God in this convent during her lifetime. The nuns who knew her best, especially her novices, admired her for her outstanding virtue. She passed unnoticed as far as others were concerned; chiefly I think because of her simplicity. There were some who viewed her unfavourably. Some of these accused her of being cold and proud. As far as I can judge, that was because she did not speak much, and remained recollected and reserved. It may be, too, that the presence of four sisters in the same community aroused some sparks of opposition and jealousy. But I can assure that that since her death, those of her critics who are still alive have completely changed their opinion of her.


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