As the days of July were coming to a close, so was Louis’s
soul ascending closer to heaven. On July 28, 1894, early in the
morning, Louis breathes his last breath while he was staying at
the Château of La Musse.  
Céline was there to witness his
ascent. Immediately, she sent a note to her sisters about their
father’s death.  On August 2, 1894, Louis’s funeral was held at
the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre in Lisieux. His body was laid to
rest at the local cemetery. Afterwards, a memorial service was
conducted at the Carmelite chapel reuniting the family once
more. Weeks later, the remains of Azélie and their belated
children were brought to Lisieux and were laid to rest beside
Louis’s grave. The rest of the family was once again reunited.

In August of 1894, a prayer was written to honor the memory
of their beloved father. It was titled: ‘Prayer of the Child of a
Saint’. Each part to the prayer represented each daughter that
truly loved him and sought his spiritual guidance before and
after his death. A description of their father’s guidance in
Pauline’s section, gives precise insight into the bond between
her and her father as it was written: “Remember thou thy
beautiful ‘pure pearl’, the timid lamb once to thy tendence
given! Trusting in God, behold thy lovely girl. Guide Carmel’s
flock along the road to Heaven. Of thy beloved ones, “Mother”
is she today: Then come guide even now thy darling on her way!
This Carmel of Thine own, Remember at Heaven’s throne.
Remember thou!” (FL)  

Céline entered the Carmelite monastery on September 14, 1894.
Her sisters were pleased to greet her lovingly once more.
Céline’s entrance was met with some opposition
prior to her entering. But with the intercession of prayers, on
behalf of her sister
Thérèse, things changed dramatically for the
better, allowing her entrance to commence.

One night during the month of January 1895,
Marie, Pauline,
Céline and Thérèse were warming up against the fireplace before
returning to their cells for the night.
Thérèse was reminiscing with
her sisters over their childhood memories.  When it was time for
them to retire,
Marie approached Pauline and suggested that
Thérèse write down all of her childhood memories. Pauline
agreed with
Marie and asked Thérèse to do so.

Pauline celebrated her thirty-fourth birthday on September 7,
1895. In honor of this event,
Thérèse composed a poem for her
Thérèse reflected back to the time of her childhood when
Pauline took care of her and the longing that both of them had to
be “hermits in the desert”. It was Carmel that was to be their
desert. In
Thérèse’s poem to Pauline, she told Pauline that if she
died before her that she would in turn be Pauline’s angel as
Pauline was to her:

“To My Dear Mother, the Fair Angel of My Childhood” (PL)

Though so far from beautiful Heaven, my Homeland,
I’m not alone on earth
For in this life’s exile
A fair Angel guides my steps.

This fair Angel, O dear Mother!
Sang by my cradle,
And the sound of her melody
Still seems so new.

She sang of the charms of Jesus,
She sang of the joy of a pure heart.
Drying my tears with her wing,
She sang of beautiful blue Heaven…

O deep mystery! This fair Angel
Called me her baby sister…
She had a Mother’s features,
And I would rest on her heart! …

But alas! Instead of taking me to Heaven,
One day the fair Angel,
Seeking the Virgins’ procession,
Took her flight to Carmel! …

Ah! How I wanted to follow her
To contemplate her virtues up close
Like her, I wanted to live,
And like her, to unite myself to Jesus…

But without leaving the Heavenly Court,
I’ll come down to this foreign shore,
Close by my Mother,
To take my turn as her angel…

Throughout her life Pauline cherished this beloved
poem from her sister. She pulled it out from time to
time and reread it and reflected on the meaning
of the words, especially when difficult obstacles
were placed in her path. It was a source of hope
and inspiration for her to continue her exile on earth.

In January of 1896,
Thérèse completed her
notebook listing her childhood memories and handed
it to Pauline for her to review her manuscript.
Unfortunately, Pauline was too preoccupied with the
campaigning for a prioress as well as governing the
monastery. She was not able to read it until after the elections were

Leading up to the new elections of the prioress in March of 1896,
Mother Marie de Gonzague campaigned among her sisters for the
position. The campaign was brought on by the dissatisfaction that Mother Marie had against Pauline
and her governing. She knew that she could not manipulate her as she thought she could as prioress.
Mother Marie purposely used every opportunity to undermine Pauline’s authority in front of the
other sisters. This was so that she could show the other sisters that she was the one best suited for
the position. As
Thérèse and Sister Magellan sat and witnessed one of these episodes, Thérèse said
to Sister Magellan: “I rejoice; the more I see Mother Agnes suffer, the happier I am. You do not know
the value of suffering. If you only knew the good it does her soul.”  (TH)    

On March 21, 1896, the election for prioress was held. By one vote, Mother Marie de Gonzague
was re-elected prioress once again. Immediately, it was a devastating blow for Pauline and her
sisters. However, Pauline used this whole experience as an act of humility, adding one more pearl
in her crown for Jesus.

After the elections were over, Pauline had the opportunity to read the manuscript that
Thérèse wrote.
Pauline was astonished at how far
Thérèse had advanced in her way of perfection. All that was taught
Thérèse by Pauline had mirrored itself to her in the manuscript. Pauline later apologized to Thérèse
for taking so long to review her manuscript.

The Carmelite nuns of Lisieux established, in 1861, a monastery in Saigon, Vietnam. In August of
1896, the Carmelite nuns of Saigon requested help for more nuns to come and join them. There was
serious consideration by the newly re-elected prioress; Mother Marie de Gonzague that Pauline would
be one of the nuns sent to Saigon. Weeks later,
Céline and her cousin Marie Guérin were also added
to the list for consideration. But as divine intervention should have it, neither of the Martin sisters or
their cousin was sent to Saigon.

On December 4, 1896,
Thérèse wrote Pauline a small note expressing to her how much she loved her
and commending her on her valiant acts of humility.
Thérèse would periodically study Pauline’s
sacrifices during several incidents, which were known to be discomforting.
Thérèse took every
opportunity to continue to learn from Pauline through these incidents without ever having to say a
word to each other.  In another note,
Thérèse expressed words of encouragement to Pauline as she
was enduring minor difficulties in her job as Depositrix. Pauline took on the responsibilities for
taking care of the administration part of the monastery.
Thérèse reminded her that all that she endures
is for Jesus and after her exile here on earth is over, Jesus has created a special place for her in
Heaven. He, in turn, will return the sacrifices she made for Him and administer to her needs.

In a letter, dated January 9, 1897,
Thérèse wrote to remind Pauline of how blessed she was to have a
sister like her.
Thérèse emphasized how much Pauline had given of herself to meet her needs both as
a child and as an adult.
Thérèse felt she was not able to repay her in full for all that she had done in
this life, but promised Pauline that in Heaven she would give back double of what she received from
her here on earth.  
Thérèse saw Pauline’s way, of remaining hidden, similar to that of Jesus when
He lived His life here on earth. She again thanked Pauline for being the one chosen in their family to
guide her sisters out from the darkness of the earth and into the light of heaven.

Several months prior to
Thérèse’s January 9th letter, she had already seen the first signs of her
impending death after she had coughed up blood while she was in her cell in April of 1896. But Pauline
was never told of this event, which was kept hidden from her by both
Thérèse and Mother Marie de
Thérèse, knowing that tuberculosis was a fatal disease, made several indirect attempts
through her notes to prepare Pauline for her impending death.
Thérèse did not want Pauline to know
because she did not want her to worry about it because Pauline, herself, was physically suffering off
and on during this same period.

On January 21, 1897, in honor of Pauline’s feast day,
Thérèse wrote a poem titled: “My Joy”.  In her
poem to Pauline, she described parts of the ‘Little Way’ to her. She gave several examples of her life,
which ‘her "joy" could not escape her. One example was when people search for joy in all things
material to fill their hearts, the opposite occurs for her because joy cannot escape her when it’s always
treasured in her heart. When suffering has taken root in her soul, she accepted it even though she may
have been crying over it. When her joy may seem that it is abandoned in her soul, she hides herself and
uses humility as her defense. Her joy is to be little in all things so that when there were times that she
failed it would not be far for her to get up again. During her struggles, her joy is to lead more people to

In a note, dated on March 19, 1897,
Thérèse knew that Jesus had proven his love to Pauline several
times before in her life. However,
Thérèse knew that she had not been able to always show her that
same love. So, she reminded Pauline yet again of how much she loved her.
Thérèse told her she would
give proof of that same love that Pauline showed her and which Jesus willed for her through testimonies
from other people around the world after her death.  

During the second week of May, Pauline wrote
Thérèse a short note to simply ask her for an
opportunity to speak with her.
Thérèse had been showing signs of her illness to everyone but the severity
of her illness was not to the extent that indicated to Pauline that she was suffering from tuberculosis.
Pauline started to worry about her because
Thérèse had been keeping her distance from her sister.  
Pauline asked her instead of taking your walks, “Why don’t you spend a little time talking to me?” But
unknown to Pauline,
Thérèse was using this time to walk with missionaries.  Even though it was difficult
Thérèse to walk without suffering, she used her suffering as a means of sacrifice for those
missionaries who themselves were suffering.

Pauline witnessed
Thérèse become irritated with another sister when she was asked to help her paint a
statue, earlier in the morning of May 28th. When
Thérèse looked at Pauline she understood immediately
that the way she acted was wrong.  Pauline did not have to say anything to her about it, however, later
Thérèse sent her a small note apologizing for her actions concerning the incident. She revealed to Pauline
that she has always been “the angel charged to guide me and announce the Lord’s mercies to me.” (CL)

By the 30th of May the time had come where the severity of
Thérèse’s illness could no longer be hidden.
Pauline was worried because
Thérèse’s health was declining at a fast rate. She approached Thérèse and
found out discreetly from her that she had coughed up blood in April of last year. Pauline realized then
that she was severely ill.  Pauline was not aware that it was tuberculosis that was going to take her sister’s
life. Pauline was hurt by realization that
Thérèse was going to die! She was devastated by the news.
She could not understand why
Thérèse never told her.  Thérèse was never given permission from Mother
Marie de Gonzague to tell her herself.
Thérèse tried to comfort Pauline by saying: “Please do not be sad
that my illness was hidden from you.  For you still know all that possesses in my soul. Will you not be
pleased that God will see all that you yourself cultivated in my soul? I know God will see firsthand the
power of your love for Him through me forever in Heaven.”                                    

In a note written on May 30th,
Thérèse again tried to comfort Pauline by stating; “That when I leave this
earth and reach Heaven, I will still be at your side because your soul will ascend to mine in Heaven. You
are the angel that Jesus sent before me to prepare the way for me, the way that leads to Heaven, the
elevator to raise me without fatigue to the infinite regions of love.” (CL)  There are no words in any
language on this earth that can be expressed to show you the love that I have for you and the
thankfulness that I possess in my heart for all that you have done for me.

That same day, Pauline responded to
Thérèse’s note. She asked Thérèse to ask God to give her the
graces that she, herself, possessed in letting her go. Even though, “I will shed many tears of your
absence here on earth, happiness will possess at the bottom of my heart knowing that you have
reached Heaven. My "white dove" God is calling you back to our Homeland. He must not be
deprived of His beloved child’s companionship any longer. For His glory in receiving you, “I am
willing to suffer on this earth as long as God wills, I am willing to mourn in my turn like a plaintive
dove exiled in this valley of tears.” (LCM)  I am blessed that you will be in the presence of God
before me, for you will “prepare a place for me and make me into a saint from up above.”  (LCM)

Thérèse received Pauline’s response, Thérèse wrote her a second note on the same day.
Thérèse desired only to be a blessing to Pauline and not a burden. She did not want Pauline to
worry about her at all. She apologized to Pauline for keeping her illness hidden. As far as
could remember, there was nothing else that she had hidden from her. Thérèse asked Pauline that
after her death please do not believe anything that will be said about her and her illness, which would
contradict what she has said to her now.

After a brief conversation on June 2, 1897, Mother Marie de Gonzague gave Pauline permission to
stay with
Thérèse at night in her cell. Pauline also suggested to Mother Marie to have Thérèse to
write the second manuscript about her life as a Carmelite nun so that they would have something
for her obituary letter after her death. The same day, Pauline approached
Thérèse and told her that
she was not allowed to die. Pauline’s heart was still pierced by the fact that she was severely ill.
Thérèse explained to Pauline that it's not that she wanted to leave her "little mother" but it was God
who was calling her home.

Pauline started writing down all of her conversations with
Thérèse in her yellow notebook. In her
notebook, she added in the months of April and May from previous conversations that both of them
had before she started to stay with
Thérèse. It was an effort on Pauline’s part to record and cherish
later the beautiful memories she had of her sister. There was also a need to relay the same information
to her sister
Léonie, who already left the Visitation monastery, as well as her uncle and aunt which
all of them were very concern for her health. During this period of time,
Léonie had gone with her
uncle and aunt on vacation so they were not able to see any of them in person.

On June 4, 1897,
Thérèse started to write her second manuscript. But the first week of June was
very traumatic for
Thérèse because her health depleted rapidly. Pauline was upset and felt guilty for
having her start her second manuscript.  But on the contrary, she was joyous at knowing the second
half of her life would be written. Pauline stated to her: “I shall be your herald; I shall proclaim your
deeds of valor; I shall try to make the world love and serve God by all the lights He has given you,
lights that never go out.” (LCM)  After all that I will do for you, will I be blessed by you for it? Will
your angel dust fall upon me from your wings in Heaven? Your presence will be needed everywhere
in my life after your death. When I woke up this morning,
Thérèse's attitude towards your impending
death is changing. God spoke to me: “Your little sister has been praying for you.
Thérèse, that is the
secret of where I get my strength. So, I thank you and press you close to my heart.” (LCM)  My
‘little mother’, the one that I love so much, the one who laid out for me the preparations for my First
Holy Communion when I was but a child now my "little mother" I ask you to prepare me for my
journey to our homeland.

Even though, Pauline’s attitude towards
Thérèse’s illness was changing, she sought out the protection
of Our Lady of Victories. A novena of masses was said in
Thérèse’s name for a cure of her illness.
But on the 9th of June,
Thérèse felt otherwise, 'Our Lady', the one who cured me once when I was
a child is not going to cure me again in the same way. The only consoling 'Our Lady' will give is that
to Pauline, who grieves more of my future passing than I. On the 14th of June when the novena
Thérèse’s condition improved slightly. Pauline also took it upon herself to seek out other
medicinal remedies from her uncle Isidore as well as from her cousin Dr. La Neele. It pained Pauline
so much to see her sister receive a vesicatory, she cried more at seeing her sister receiving it than
Thérèse herself. After Pauline had escorted Thérèse back to her cell, she knelt down beside her and
asked her for her forgiveness for causing her to suffer more for not being able to receive the Holy
Eucharist. But
Thérèse turned and looked at her and in a soft voice and said there is not much for me
to suffer in receiving the Holy Eucharist.

As a loving gesture towards consoling her sisters
Marie, Pauline, Léonie and Céline, Thérèse gave
them a picture with a poem. In the poem, she described to them her future journey home to be with
Jesus forever. The most important thing she told her sisters is that they should always remember the
importance of Love above all other things. She also reiterated to them her unending commitment to
loving and serving Jesus fully. She was at peace.

Late in the evening, on June 15, 1897, Pauline sat down beside
Thérèse and asked her: "Will I be
forgotten by you when you have reached heaven?" But on the contrary, responded
Thérèse, I will
never forget you. Then, she looked at Pauline and recited a verse from John 14:3 “And if I shall go,
and prepare a place for you. I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you
also may be.” (B)

Pauline had painted miniature pictures of Our Lady holding the baby Jesus for the prioress, Mother
Marie de Gonzague, on her feast day. She took them over to show
Thérèse, on the 20th of June,
before she gave them to Mother Marie as a present. Lovingly,
Thérèse gazed over the pictures and
placed each one of her fingers on each of the heads of the baby Jesus’s.  She looked at Pauline and
said: “I am holding them all under my dominion.” (LC)

Pauline had finished her duties for the day and went to
Thérèse’s cell to check up on her, on the
3rd of July. During their conversation the topic of her death was being discussed. Pauline relayed
to her the Carmelite tradition of placing a palm in the deceased nun’s hand while she lay in her
coffin. But
Thérèse looked at her lovingly and stated, “I will at times release the palm from my
hands so that I can be at your side whenever you are in need of graces.”

Several days later,
Thérèse’s deteriorated physical condition was becoming more evident when she
started to vomit blood again. Pauline, at the mercy of Our Lady, prayed before her statue asking for
Thérèse’s vomiting of blood to stop. She held a vigil in her honor and lit a candle. By the end of the
Thérèse’s vomiting had stopped for the rest of the night.                                           

Thérèse was moved down from her cell into the infirmary permanently on July 8th. There was great
consideration over the thought of giving her the Last Rites. Pauline sat beside her bed in the
infirmary as she tried to console
Thérèse. Thérèse’s eyes glossed over with tears because she felt
overwhelmed by the care given to her by Pauline. She reflected back to the memories of when she
was a child and now in a frail state of health as an adult. She said to Pauline, “You have always taken
care of me very well throughout my entire life. When I enter heaven, I will take the opportunity to
give back the graces that you have showered upon me while we have been here in exile. Not only
will I return all of the graces that you yourself have given me but I will multiply them beyond measure.”  

Pauline was always in the habit of looking up at the window of
Thérèse’s cell when she passed through
the courtyard. It was always Pauline’s way of keeping an eye on her. After
Thérèse was moved to the
infirmary, it became more evident to Pauline that she would not be returning back to her cell. Pauline
remarked to
Thérèse : “Now when I look up at the window of your cell, it will be very painful for me to
see it because I know you will no longer be there.”
Thérèse responded back to Pauline and said, “Every
time you look up at the window of my cell, it will remind you that I am very happy in Heaven, even
though there will be many memories which will surface in your heart of the place where I fought so many
battles against my illness.”  Pauline has been there to comfort her through her illness, filling her last days
with nothing but pure love.

On the 14th of July, the doctor came and visited
Thérèse. The doctor told Pauline that she seemed to
be getting better and she might be able to conquer her illness. However,
Thérèse thought otherwise.  
She knew that God was calling her home to Heaven.
Thérèse wanted her illness to end soon so that
she could spare Pauline and her sisters any more grief over her suffering. She looked up at Pauline
and expressed to her how much she loved her. You will know how much I love you soon, real soon.

Thérèse had responded to Father Bellière’s letter on July 18th. In her letter, she tried to comfort him
over her impending death. Previously, she had asked him to pray for Pauline so that she would view
her impending death not with great bitterness but as a blessing. Both Father Bellière and Pauline were
Thérèse’s death as a great loss. But Thérèse’s prayers were slowly being answered; Pauline’s
attitude towards her arrival in Heaven was going to be met with celebration. Pauline was realizing that
even though she would lose her sister here on earth, she would always be with her in Heaven.
asked Father Bellière to continue to pray for Pauline that both of them will seek consolation in her
passing. Please pray for my intentions because I love my sister Pauline “even more because she is
Jesus visibly present to me.” (CL)

On July 21st, Pauline went to the infirmary to see how her sister was doing and she would always do
little things to comfort her. Each day,
Thérèse looked forward to seeing Pauline and commented to
her what it really meant to her that she was there. When she appeared before her each day her spirit
was filled with great joy.
Thérèse knew she did not have to spend a lot of her time giving to Pauline
for she was the one that always gave so much to her.

The anguish of seeing
Thérèse suffer added to the physical suffering Pauline was already facing. On
July 27th,
Thérèse, seeing evidence of this when Pauline entered the infirmary commented to her on
her ill health.
Thérèse reversed her role of a patient and insisted to Pauline that she not forget to take
her medication that was prescribed to her by the doctor.  

The spiritual union between Pauline and
Thérèse was very strong. They had that special bond between
the both of them. Without having to say a word to each other, everything was revealed in their souls.
On the 27th of July, when Pauline arrived in the infirmary to check up on
Thérèse, she remarked to
Pauline about their strong spiritual bond. She said: “Little mother is my telephone; I have only to
cock my ear when she comes, and I know everything.” (LC)

Thérèse leaned forward in her bed and took the fan that was given to her by one of her Carmelite
sisters from Saigon on July 30th.  As her sisters
Marie, Pauline, and Céline were sitting at her bedside,
Thérèse took the fan and started to fan them instead.  She looked at them lovingly while she was
fanning them and said: “I am fanning the saints instead of myself; I am fanning you to do you some
good because you are saints!” (LC)

On August 1st, Pauline brought in
Thérèse’s manuscript for her to review it. Thérèse reread it and
was overwhelmed with emotion by what she had written.
Thérèse then turned to Pauline and gave
her a warning. She told Pauline: “Please do not let anyone know that I have written this manuscript
until after it has been published but with the exception of Mother Marie de Gonzague.
“Little mother”, if you were to tell anyone about this manuscript, the devil will place several
obstacles in your path and your ability to have it published will be extremely difficult.” Little did
Pauline know at this time what lay ahead of her in the future in regards to
Thérèse’s manuscript.

Pauline came into the infirmary on the 5th of August to comfort
Thérèse and see how she was
coping with her illness. During their conversation, Pauline had confided in her over a certain incident
that she was suffering from.
Thérèse looked at her and told her that as a mother, the one who is a
representative of Christ to her sisters should not let anyone know that she, too, is suffering. It is
more comforting to a sister when she is able to confide in her mother the sufferings that she is facing
without her mother comparing her own sufferings to the sister that is confiding in her. Thus,
echoing to Pauline what she had already taught her during her childhood.

At times when
Thérèse was suffering enormously, whether it was vomiting blood or when she was
choking, Pauline would pray reverently to Our Lady and ask her to relieve her sister’s dire symptoms.
Thérèse, on the other hand, asked her not to bother asking Our Lady to relieve her symptoms. On
the 17th of August,
Thérèse made reference to this to her sister Céline. In a joking manner, Thérèse
said to Céline, after Pauline earlier had told her she was going to pray for her said: “She (Pauline)
prayed to Mary, and I am no longer hiccupping.” (LC)     

Thérèse’s condition continued to worsen in September. Upon the anniversary of her profession and
a few days afterwards, the symptoms of her tuberculosis hid themselves very well. The doctors
were somewhat baffled by this after they came in and examined her.  On September 11th, Pauline
came in to see how she was doing. As Pauline sat at her bedside speaking to her,
Thérèse made a
prophetic announcement to Pauline. Out of all of the sisters,
Marie, Léonie, and Céline, Pauline
was to be the last of the sisters to leave this earth and enter the kingdom of Heaven. It would not
be her time until Pauline was to complete the work that
Thérèse was to bring forth to her from
Heaven. Unless of course, there are those souls that are in need of her guidance after which time
God will send for her. It was true out of all of
Thérèse’s sisters, Pauline lived the longest in age but
Céline on the other hand would be the last sister to reach the gates of Heaven eight years after Pauline.

Written by: R. Hann


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Helmuth Nils Loose, Pierre Descouvemont. Thérèse and Lisieux (TOL)
Trans: Salvatore Sciurba, O.C.D. and Louise Pambrun, Grand Rapids, Michigan Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996
Gibbons, James Cardinal. Holy Bible (Douay-Rheims) 1899 Edition. (B)
Baronius Press Unlimited, London, United Kingdom, 2005    
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Venerated at:                   

First Holy

into the monastery:            

September 7, 1861
Lower Normandy

July 28, 1951
Lower Normandy

Carmelite Monastery
in Lisieux

July 2, 1874
The Visitation Chapel at
the Visitation monastery
in Le Mans

October 2, 1882
Carmelite Monastery in

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