BILOCATION is a not infrequent phenomenon in the history of the saints. Several instances are recorded in the life of the Ven. Father Dominic, who so often carried Teresa in his arms as a little child, and her friends bear witness on more than one occasion to Teresa's own presence in two places at a given time. But besides these attested incidents Teresa had other experiences of a like nature, but so startling and remarkable that the letters relating them cannot be omitted. They record facts which are apparently unexampled in the lives of the saints — facts, moreover, for which no confirmatory evidence can be offered, for they rest on her own testimony alone. At the same time it may be noted that, even though they could be proved to be due to a mere hallucination, this need cast no shadow on the truth of her revelations. She herself bases no claim upon them and never brings them forward as proof of her veracity. Rather she owns to being completely mystified and attempts no explanation. At first she tried to persuade herself that she was being deluded and never spoke of her strange experiences, but at last their reality impressed itself so deeply on her mind that she felt bound by her obedience to relate them to her director.

The following are her letters to Father Powell:—

"Feast of the Circumcision 1882.


"In the Holy Name of Jesus and in obedience I will relate that which you desire me concerning Africa (at least so I suppose it to be, but I am not certain). Well, for some length of time I have from time to time found myself among the negroes, but how I am transported thither I really cannot say — I mean that I do not feel myself going (just as a person might close their eyes and when they opened them again they found themselves in a different place) not in spirit but personally present. I find myself with them whom it pleases our dear Divine Lord I shall assist, and yet I am able to continue where I was and go on with the duties I was performing here. I have all along tried to persuade myself that I was deceived and yet I feel so positive of what I did, for our Divine Lord would instruct me very clearly about all He wishes me to perform in each mission of this kind, and He impresses on me that I must not take of the productions of this soil nor of their industry. It is not always the same place that I visit nor the same people, though I have (been) most of all with a tribe whose chief is lately deceased, and whose name is Jaampooda. He and his people were savages and lived by hunting I should imagine, by the furs and ivory which they possessed in great abundance. It is now over four years since I first visited these people and they were stricken down by a sickness which turned their bodies purple and black and of which many of them died; then I did all I could to relieve their bodily suffering, and I was instructed to gather some bark off a tree which grew commonly there and make a beverage for them and which I understand they call bitter waters and waters of life.

"This has astonished me a little, that I perfectly understand all that they wish to communicate to me and they comprehend all that I say to them of the dear good God. I have told them all the necessary truths and they were very much moved at the history of the Incarnation and Death of our Divine Lord, and most of them I have baptised (though they were not in danger of death) they besought me so imploringly and they and their dear good angel guardians have raised hymns of praise, thanksgiving and admiration of that infinite wisdom, power and love which arranges and directs all things, to give glory to the adorable Three in One and the salvation of souls.

"At times when I know of scandals and slights and neglects shown to our dear divine Spouse Jesus, I conjure Him to allow me to do and suffer something in reparation and atonement. Then it seems to me that the holy angels (to whom I have a special devotion for I think God wishes the angels to be man's helpmates and man to help the angels in the care and salvation of souls) implore me to ask Him and Mary our dear Mother and their Queen that I may help these souls (of the negroes), redeemed by His most precious Blood and fashioned by the creative power of the most High. Then that burning flame of desire for souls seems to consume my whole being. I have learnt something of that ineffable beauty, that divine Image impressed on the soul of each child of Adam, and oh how I long to see the Sun of Justice, this Light of divine wisdom, faith, knowledge, and charity shine in upon these souls and expel the mist or cloud of sin which as a veil encompasses them, that so the Triune God may behold as in a mirror Their divine Image reflected therein, that so these people may know God; then they must of necessity love and serve Him, and when we consider the way in which they try to serve Him we may bow our heads in shame and confusion.

"It is about three weeks since the chief of whom I have before spoken, died, and I felt that he needed help and I asked my dear good angel to comfort him in my name, and on the Monday evening I said a special prayer for him, for I felt that he was dying or in great need, and I presently found myself by his side. I heard him distinctly call me and beg of God through that infinite Wisdom enshrined in His adorable Head to guide me to his side; and when I took out the Crucifix, he took hold of it and pressed it with reverential love to his heart and then with tears streaming down his cheeks he devoutly kissed the seven Wounds which caused Jesus such agonising torture, and I begged of God to forgive him all his sins he had committed by the different senses of his body, and I tried to comfort his people and console him and he asked me to leave him the sign for man's redemption till he should stand before that Jesus whom it represents dying in ignominy and shame. And then I hardly knew what to do, I mean I did not like to refuse him and still I felt that I had only the use of it and I should ask of you before I did so.1 Then the thought came that this would be some sort of a proof to me whether it was a reality or if I was being deceived, for although things that happened seemed to me to be so strange yet I could not but believe them to be realities. So I left him the crucifix and on Wednesday I again found myself with Jaampooda and I stayed with him till he died.

"I found too that nearly all the holy water was used out of the bottle I had and I had to refill it. These people burn the bodies of their dead, and after the Wednesday I had the crucifix the same as usual, but from Monday night till Wednesday I was without. Then I thought I should ask about whether persons could be in two or more places at the same time or not. Blessed be His Name who is all wise and powerful yet chooses the weakest and the most wretched worms to do His Holy Will. I will write or tell you about the other places I have found myself in, and what God has done for these various people. Have I done wrong in not telling you of this sooner? I really don't know why I have never mentioned it. I know I have been determined to tell you several times and when I would have told you it was taken completely out of my mind. I mean I have forgotten it. I know two or three times I have said to you in the confessional that I wanted to ask you about something very particular, but I could not think of it then, and yet I never troubled myself in any way about it. I have often told our dear Lord about these things over and over again, and I always felt that He ruled all things and that I was but as a little feather or even less in a great wind, I mean that I am as powerless and wish to be as willing to be governed by Him as the feather is blown hither and thither according to the direction of the wind.

"Begging your prayers and blessing. "I remain dear Rev. Father "Your obedient and devoted child "in the S. Head and S. Heart. "TERESA HIGGINSON, Enfant de Marie."


AMDG et in hon BVM et ST. J. "Jan. 2nd 1882.


"In the holy Name of Jesus and in obedience I will continue about the little missions on which it has pleased our dear good God to send me.

"The people of whom I have already written are certainly the darkest in complexion but by no means the lowest in intelligence. I have been five or six times among a people who make beds for themselves in the low brushwood (almost like birds' nests) and they climb up the rocky crags and leap from one projection to another like animals. These are certainly the most degraded people I have ever been among and could never imagine human nature to be able to sink so low, for they live upon insects and crawling reptiles, and in form they are very diminutive and in features the least beautiful (I should imagine) of any of the nations of the earth. These people have not that brave and noble spirit of self-sacrifice which struck me very much in the people of whom I have written. These appear indolent and self-indulgent, though confiding and friendly, and they lay much store upon bright and shining and useless baubles which they will fasten in the hair, ears, and around their necks and arms, and they paint themselves with different coloured dyes on different occasions. They are not black like negroes; I hardly know what colour they are and rather fancy that they do not wear any clothing; at least if they do I have not noticed it. They also dig up a kind of earth nut of which they are very fond with their long claw-like fingers. They are timid and very slave-like in their service of anyone in power. I have noticed when I have spoken to them they have crawled towards me, many times rolling their heads in the dust so as to prove to me that they were as slaves waiting to do whatever I should wish them. And I have baptised many young children here, and have tried to instruct the older ones, but I do not think as yet they have at all a proper idea of God though they are anxious to learn, yet they are not naturally bright and intellectual and everything I have to explain by comparisons; they have no idea of anything spiritual, though they have an idol to which they offer human sacrifice and in whom they place all their hope and trust. I really believe that at first they would almost have worshipped me though through a sense of fear. They fancied I had some magic power over them for they brought a number of children whom they had decorated beautifully with flowers (different kinds of cactus and primulas) and holding in their hands some of the earthnuts I have before mentioned, and I saw them wind round these children a garland of flowers and this bound them very closely together, and I saw them place a quantity of beautiful blossoming bushes and arranged the children upon it. Three or four young girls followed and I noticed in the hand of one a small cross made of twisted twigs and I noticed she held it up in her hand — I hoped for an instant that she knew something of the love and wisdom of our dear Blessed Lord, but I was mistaken. Taking out the crucifix to my use I held it up and said three times, 'In the name of the Father etc.' and all the people again rolled their heads in the dust and I hardly understood what to do. Then I heard a most unearthly noise which they made with their voices, and I saw them carrying an old man whom it turned out was their chief and he was covered all over with fearful holes and ulcers, poor thing. He tried too to crawl upon the ground but he was not strong enough to do as he would wish and his brother crawled behind him. The old chief too was to be sacrificed, at least as soon as this brushwood was burning. Amid the cries of the dying children and clapping and singing and shouting of the whole tribe he was to throw himself upon his own funeral pile, and his brother would succeed him as chief. It pleased our dear divine Lord that I should see these things that so I might understand in what way to deal with them, and so as to make these people see and know that I was their friend, God allowed the cure of the chief, as soon as the shadow of the crucifix fell upon him, making the sign of the cross over him. And then I asked him in the name of the most Holy Trinity what all these things meant, and I told him also to rise and be healed, and he was cured at once and rose and explained all to me. Then I told him I was one of the least of the servants of that great Almighty God who gave life, maintained life in the body, and when this poor body died He took us to live with Him forever in His Kingdom. Then I told them of that One True and living God in Three, of all His love, mercy, and goodness to us and of that unspeakable wisdom which directs all things, and Who had said, 'Thou shalt not kill', and 'I am the Lord thy God', etc. This they seemed to understand for they asked me to take them to this great King, and I told them as yet they could not come, they must do many things and leave off many practices which they then followed, before they could come to Him. The sun at the time shone out with more magnificent splendour than I have ever before or since observed, and pointing to it I told them how the soul of man was created far brighter and more beautiful than that radiant sun, for it had impressed upon it the image of the eternal Three in One. It had a knowledge too within it to which the light of the sun was a darkness, for it knew that God whose holy image was sealed therein. Then as a fearfully dark cloud passed over the sun, I told them, so sin hid the glorious light of that Image — man did not see or know God because he could not remove the great cloud or stain of sin from off his soul, and when God looked down into the souls of men He saw that beautiful image covered all over with this dark, ugly cloud (sin). I instructed them in all that is really necessary. I baptised a number of children and a few very aged. I taught them to make the holy sign of the Cross (the next time I saw them I found that they mixed up a great many pagan practices with the truth, and I visited them four times closely after each other), the mysteries of religion and short prayers. I have taught them to sing for I find all these heathen people learn much better and remember them longer when they are sung, they are attracted by music. The last time I was with them, which was about four months since, during September, I found a number whom I had baptised were gone. I showed them how to baptise and tried to make them see the necessity of baptism so I trust that all may now be baptised before they die.

"Another people I have been among are copper-coloured, they are quick and intelligent, brave and noble-spirited, and I found that two of the very oldest could make the sign of the Cross and I knew at once they had been baptised and by the hands of a priest. They knew many truths and had partly instructed their people. These too had prayed and asked God to send someone to instruct and baptise their people, and they seemed to expect my arrival. I raised the crucifix and told them in short the great mysteries of our holy religion. I taught them the short acts of Faith, Hope, Charity and Contrition, the Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed, etc. and little prayers to S. Head and S. Heart. The elders of the tribe brought me water from a neighbouring stream and I baptised nearly all, for they seemed to have a wonderful faith. These people paint their bodies and wear clothing of skins and wear long feathers in their hair standing straight up, and I think they live by hunting principally. I have many times been with them and they can sing many hymns and prayers and they unite in spirit at holy Mass, and some of these men promise to go out in the name of God and under the protection of our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph, and in honour of the S. Head and love of the S. Heart, to find a priest of whom the two old men have told them. And the last time I was with them, they asked me and I blessed them in their undertaking in the name of the most holy Trinity, for they have a great and longing desire to receive Him into their hearts and souls in the holy Communion and they long also to be really present at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

"I have on several occasions taken the most holy Sacrament to the dying, twice to nuns and once to a poor priest who communicated himself, and twice to young people. I have taken the ciborium from churches where the sacred particles were consecrated by sacrilegious hands (I think in Germany) and taken it where I have been instructed. I don't know how the others received, I mean by whose hands, but in each case I stayed with them till they died, and I have always been careful about replacing the sacred vessel. I have been often at death-beds and joined with the good angel in helping the struggling soul to defeat its arch-enemy. And God sent me once by night into a prison to a young man who was praying that his innocence might be proved and that he might be restored to his friends, and God told me to tell him that He had heard his prayer, and would graciously grant his petition.

"I think now I have told you about the different missions on which the all-powerful God has sent me, and I know you will return thanks with me for the souls whom He has chosen for His service, and who before were adoring idols, but now praising, believing in and blessing that all wise Creator who spared not His own most beloved Son to redeem them and us, and gave us His Holy Spirit to make us holy.

"Begging your prayers and blessings,
    "I remain, dear Father,
        "Your obedient and devoted child
            "In the S. Head and S. Heart

      "E de M."

Father Powell evidently asked for further particulars about the tribe whom Teresa thus visited, for at the end of her next letter she says:

[116] "I asked our dear Lord after Holy Communion about the people you told me. I don't know where you said, but I thought you said Polynesia, but I understand that they are Africans of that race which we call Hottentots, and I feel that those others are North American Indians as you say, but I am by no means certain."

1. This crucifix belonged to Father Wells who wished to make a gift of it to her, but she would only borrow it. She always wore it in her belt and would often cure the children's little ailments by applying it to them. Miss Catterall recalls how one Wednesday, at the dinner hour, Teresa came to her with a radiant expression and whispered, "I have got back my crucifix." Miss Catterall was completely mystified as to her meaning at the time and only learnt later on what she meant.