Friday, 29 May 2015

Sister Saint-Pierre and the work of reparation : a brief history by the Very Rev. P. Janvier ... Translated by Miss Mary Hoffman Chapter 8. Her Last Sickness-Her Death.

THE mission of the Sister was accomplished. According to the designs of God there remained for her but to perfect the sacrifice which she had so often made of herself. Already her health was beginning to fail. At the close of the Lent of 1848 she entered upon those sufferings which, uniting her more and more to Jesus Crucified, were to crown her pure, holy life by an admirable death.

On Good Friday, at three o'clock, when prostrate on the ground adoring Jesus Christ dying on the Cross, it was revealed to her that the divine wrath was about to descend upon men.
Immediately, renewing her act of perfect abandonment, she offered herself to God as a victim to appease his irritated justice. It seemed as if the Lord had awaited this last and generous offering before immolating his courageous victim, for immediately was developed that long and painful sickness which caused her final dissolution. She was consumed by a burning fever; her throat became ulcerated ; her tongue and mouth were as if incessantly pierced by cruel thorns—a noticeable fact, since our Lord had told her she must pray and suffer for blasphemers. Night after night she was unable to take the slightest repose; each change of position on her bed became a new martyrdom; ulcers were formed, which added to her sufferings. This frightful state for human nature she bore without the least injury to her interior disposition; her patience never waned, her union with God was continual, her spirit of sacrifice entire and without reserve, her docility, innocence, and simplicity like that of a child.

Early in June she received the Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction with a fervor and rapture that made it seem that she already had a foretaste of the eternal joys in store for her. On Friday, the 16th of June, they thought her dying, and began the Prayers for the Agonizing. Perfectly conscious, she united with the pious nuns by making frequent aspirations. Suddenly she entered into a supernatural state, the effects of which were very apparent. When, after the recommendations of the departing soul, they pronounced these words, " Maria, mater gratiæ, mater misericordiæ" she impulsively threw up her arms toward heaven with the eagerness of a child at the sight of its mother. She remained a long time in this position, although a few moments before so weak and stiff were her arms that they seemed immovable. Afterwards she extended them in the form of a cross, in order to expire as a victim. When the dear nuns attempted to prevent it she said: " Leave me thus; for me it is a duty." Alternately taking her crucifix and the little statue of the Infant Jesus which never quitted her, she covered them with kisses and pressed them to her heart. Then, holding the little statue as high as possible, she pronounced in a low, solemn tone these words : " Eternal Father ! once more I offer this Adorable Child, thy Divine Son, in expiation of my sins and those of the human race, for the needs of the Holy Church, for France and the Reparation. Amiable Jesus, I abandon this work into thy hands; for it I have lived, for it I shall die." Then, placing the statue on her head, she said: " Divine Child, cover my criminal head with the merits of thy Precious Blood; renew in my soul grace and innocence; clothe me in thy purity and the spirit of thy humility. Oh! hasten unto me! When shall I leave earth? Come, O my Jesus, and delay not! Mary, my tender Mother, come for my soul! "

She said to the Mother-Prioress : " My career is finished, as our Lord has made known to me; for the Work of Reparation which is to save France is established. It was for this God placed me on earth. Now I have but to suffer; it is necessary for the accomplishment of his designs. Ah! how true it is that he has means of satisfying his justice unknown to man."
Her agony was long and painful. As death approached she recollected that our Lord had promised to restore to her soul at the last hour the image of God, and she wished to renew her baptismal vows; as a symbol of the grace she desired to receive, she asked for some holy water, made the sign of the cross upon her head, and pronounced these words: " Child, I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Then, joining her hands, she added: " I renounce Satan and all his works and pomps; I desire to belong for ever to Jesus Christ." After this little ceremony her face assumed such an expression of heavenly beauty that one might readily have imagined her a child just from the waters of Baptism or an angel about to re-ascend to its celestial home. From that moment till her last sigh she never ceased praying. The sweat of death covered her brow, its chill had already benumbed her pain-worn frame, and yet the cold, livid lips continued to murmur: " Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Come, Lord Jesus ! Sit Nomen Domini benedictum! " These were her last words. Soon her eyes closed, and, as a last trait of resemblance to her Divine Master, she uttered a cry, and sweetly expired. It was on Saturday, a day consecrated to Mary. The mortal remains of this admirable daughter of St. Teresa have been, through the care of M. Dupont, deposited within the enclosure of the Carmel of Tours, in the Chapter-Hall where they now repose, which corresponds to that part of the chapel which is on the right of the entrance. A mural stone near the holy-water font bears this simple inscription:

Here rests
Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre of the Holy
A Professed Religious of this Monastery,
Who died July 8th, 1848,
Aged 31 years and 9 months,
Having been a Religious 9 years and 8 months.
Lord, thou wilt conceal her in the secret of thy Face.