II

THE CONVENT SCHOOL AT NOTTINGHAM

IT must have been with heavy hearts that these good parents made up their minds to the parting with their children, more especially with their little Teresa over whom they had watched so anxiously. However, acting on Dr. Roskell's advice, they decided to send the three eldest girls to school at Nottingham, where the Sisters of Mercy had a fine convent. It was built by Pugin and had a sheltered garden overlooked by a wide cloister, round which the children used to walk, singing their hymns, during the month of May. There was a beautiful chapel where Teresa spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament, and where too she made her first confession and communion and was confirmed. She was ten years old when she arrived with her two elder sisters, on the 3rd of March 1854, and she ever remembered the impressions of that day. It was Friday in Lent and [269] "The Stations of the Cross was the first devotional exercise I performed in the convent, and I had never heard them said before. Oh my Crucified Jesus when I think of the innumerable ways you sought after me and drew me in Thy wondrous love to compassionate Thee in Thy sorrow, and Oh my God no one will ever know until the last great day all you gave your poor weak child on the first day I followed Thee on Thy way of the Cross."

Sensitive and tender-hearted, the little girl felt keenly this first parting from her mother and, try as she would, she could not help being terribly homesick; [269] "Though I tried to bind myself very closely to Him and tried to love and serve Him better, yet at this time I seemed to forget everything and fret very much to go home again. Then the beautiful month of May came which was kept with very great devotion and then I began to settle and really love the convent, for I remember one of the dear nuns telling me that when our Blessed Lady was taken to the Temple at three years old, she never cried for Saints Anne or Joachim nor wished to go home again, and then I began to feel how ungrateful I was and self seeking and made acts of contrition and told our dear Lord since He had loved and thought so much for me, I could never love or think of anything out of Him and begged of Him to give me some little suffering as proof of His love."

Teresa remained at Nottingham on and off for about eleven years though her education was much interrupted by illness, for her health, always delicate, was permanently injured by the severe mortifications she secretly practised. All who knew her during her school life are now dead and very little is remembered of her in the convent, but her own story, written for Father Snow, throws much light on those early days. She speaks of course chiefly of her spiritual life, but we can none the less fill in a good deal between the lines. In the picture thus presented to us she stands out as a highly sensitive, intelligent child, brimming with life, quick to see and enjoy the surprise of the good nuns at her wild spirits and love of play, differing so widely from the proper conduct for which they looked. Her personality quickly made itself felt and she soon became the leading spirit among her schoolfellows, as she had always been with her brothers and sisters at home. But following her usual practice she made use of this as a further means of self-denial. [56] "As I grew older I thought I would never say what game I wished to play at, for everyone of the children used to consult my wishes in nearly everything and I was a great romp at play time and I know the nuns were often astonished at me for they expected me to be quiet at all times and I was a real tomboy."

But her most striking qualities were her force of character and her amazing strength of will. Young as she was, she had deliberately chosen her part in life and given herself without reserve to God, and she now set out to conquer self and subject nature by practising the most severe austerities and mortifying herself in every way. Some People would appear to think that saints are ready born, that they are made of different clay from common men and rise almost without effort to the heights of sanctity. But rather is it true that those who walk upon a loftier plane and are endowed with greater light must gird themselves for a sterner fight, for their warfare will be waged upon a wider scale. What heroic courage is required utterly to conquer self, only the Saints can tell. "God gave him a strong conflict that he might overcome" is written of the just man, and it is "he who could have transgressed and hath not transgressed, and could do evil things and hath not done them" who shall have glory everlasting.

And so with Teresa the battle was fierce and unremitting, and the child at first was often disheartened and tempted to give up. But her courage never failed, for day by day her love grew stronger and she rejoiced in everything that brought her nearer to the holy Cross. This strange passion for suffering, which she shared with her great patron and so many of the saints, arose from no mere morbid craving for the pain itself, but from the feeling that by this alone could she assuage the agonising fires of love which were burning up her very soul. She was often left in darkness; we find her kneeling for hours before the Blessed Sacrament, her soul steeped m desolation, and when her prayer was hard and dry she did but kneel the longer And far from making a display of sanctity, her one endeavour was to hide the little secrets she loved to share only with Our Lord. Among the features that stand out most clearly in her narrative are the sober sense and balanced judgment which marked her even as a little child. Though she realised that Our Lord was favouring her beyond her fellows and that others held her in such high esteem, she calmly went her way. She saw all things through the sure perspective of humility, knowing that he very weakness was her strength, for it made her cling to Him and feel that "I was truly His and that nothing in myself was my own, only my sins and wickedness."

The simple story of her convent days — so like in many ways to that of the little Saint of Lisieux — must be given in her own words that the reader may form for himself his own picture of her character.

[269] "On the feast of Corpus Christi all the cloisters and every place through which the Blessed Sacrament was carried was beautifully decorated, and archways were left till morning when fresh lilac, laburnum etc. were gathered and I climbed up the tree to bend the branches for Sister to break off small branches and I fell and hurt myself. Though Sister was much alarmed, I persisted in saying it was not much, for I thought our dear Lord had allowed it to happen that so I might have some little thing to offer Him. It went on increasing in pain till at last I could not get out of bed, and the doctor was sent for and he was very angry and said he should have been sent for before, that inflammation of a very serious kind had been doing its work for some days and he was afraid he had no chance to do anything effectively, it was too late and they must telegraph home at once. So you see how early I began to get others into trouble, and though I was sorry for the dear nuns and poor Papa and Mama, yet I felt so happy and thought I would soon really possess my dear Jesus and see His Blessed Mother and mine and I felt quite disappointed when I got better. I was ill for six or seven weeks at the Convent in bed and when I got up the doctors said I was in a decline and I was taken home for some time. I had had a fall previous to that at home in a sawpit that was made when they were enlarging the house and building new warehouses."

She tells the story of this fall more fully in another letter: [56] "A few weeks before I went to the convent I threw myself down into a sawpit which hurt me severely and through this fall, when I got to the convent, I had inflammation in my left side and as soon as I was able I was taken home again. (They were enlarging the house and a number of men were busy there and they had to saw up a quantity of wood so they made this pit.) I did not say anything about it and my sisters dare not, until the doctor said I had been severely bruised. I was questioned and I said I did fall down in the pit but I had done it purposely. I thought about the dreadful agony Our Blessed Lord must have felt when His Cross was fixed on Mount Calvary and I longed for a chance to feel that dread shake and I thought I could then easily stumble as if by accident and so I did.

[269] "I don't know exactly how long I remained at home, but I think I did not go back for a year, but my sisters remained. I have never been strong since, however I got stronger and begged so hard to go back that at last I was taken, but I did not have regular lessons, I had to be out in the open air as much as possible, and dear Reverend Mother (Sister M. Aloysius Perry) had had her leg cut off and had to be out in the garden also, so I was very much with her, and as she was so holy everyone looked upon her as a saint. She used to tell me beautiful things about the love of God and teach and question me about Him and what I did for Him, and, seeing her suffer so patiently, I began to have a very great thirst for suffering and felt it so sweet, and I begged of Our Dear Lord never to leave me without and ever to give me more and more. I think the reason dear Rev. Mother liked me to be with her was because I hurt her most, for I used to jump into her chair and sit down at the side without the leg to thread daisies and jump in and out. I never was still and then I used to say I was our Blessed Lord crowning her for being so good and suffering so much, and she would caress me, I think now, because I caused her greater pain when I stood up, perhaps kicking or knocking against the stump, for she used to smile so sweetly and often kiss her crucifix and let me do the same."

It was a close friendship which sprang up between the patient, saintly nun and the restless little girl who played beside her chair; and who can tell what influence the prayers and example of her old friend may have had upon the child whose mind was even then so fixed upon the things of God? She continues: "While I was out with her these times she prepared me for the Sacrament of Penance and Oh with what tender love she spoke of the Passion of our dear B. Lord, and the great love of His sacred Heart in forgiving His little children etc. and I was very much moved to sorrow and made many resolutions to try and serve Him better, and prove my love for Him. And I began to set myself certain time for meditation of which I often grew very weary and I was not much improved. And all this time I was a very self-willed child, though our dear Lord hid my many faults, and others had a high esteem of me, yet I knew my own misery and often wondered how God and others could put up with me and how it was that they could be so really good and kind to me. But I think now it was because I was very delicate and they knew I suffered a good deal, so in charity they looked over all my faults, and though by His grace He kept me from mortal sin, yet all I did was most imperfect and I used to beg of my dear good angel to help me to do at least one action really well, and yet I do not remember once succeeding and so I had nothing ever to offer Our dear Lord and His Blessed Mother but imperfections. At last I made my confession and the Precious Blood of my dear Jesus was poured out upon my poor soul and new light and strength were given to me. Oh wondrous love of the Sacred Heart, Thou who in death didst pray for thy executioners, art ever renewing it in this great Sacrament and raising the dead to life and making the blind to see and the lame to walk, and oh my God how can I ever thank Thee for Thy mercy and love to me the least and most ungrateful of Thy children?

"When I saw myself so self-seeking and having such little thought for others and on the other hand Jesus so forgetful of Himself and so loving and generous to all (for He made me see and feel very plainly His great love and gentleness and kindness to others) and how I was always studying myself, and others giving up their will and pleasure to me, and I taking it all as a matter of course, for I have often since considered over their generosity and kindness, for they always were, or very often would be, guided by me as to what game we should play at, and gave up their wills in many things so cheerfully.

"I think it was at or about this time, that I made the resolution of rising in the night for the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and half an hour's meditation and then go back to bed. This was very hard for me, and I was often tempted to give it up, especially when our dear Lord tried me with dryness which He frequently did and sometimes for months, but when I felt this very much I would prolong instead of shortening the time and looked carefully after opportunities of denying and mortifying myself, for I wanted to try and prepare well for my first Holy Communion. On one occasion we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and I went with the rest to make a visit, and I had been very full of desolation and could not form a single prayer, which was a great trial to me; but I tried to adore and love Him and kept my eyes upon Him in the sacred Host, but I had no satisfaction in my prayer. And after we went out of chapel dear Rev. Mother asked me what I saw and if our dear Lord had told me anything, so then I told her how I had not been able to say my prayers etc. for a long time; that I had not seen anything, not even the angels which I frequently did, but that I had promised our dear Blessed Lord that I would not move or take my eye off Him. I was only therefore keeping my promise for so well I remember how I felt — that I could not make one act of love nor feel sorry about it. I was so indifferent that of course I took it as a sign that He had left me on account of my wickedness and sin, and as I could not adore Him in very truth I would so far as outward acts went. And Rev. Mother told me that I had pleased Our Lord more, and perhaps adored and loved as well as any of the nuns, and she said I was a good little girl and did love God very much and that I was very dear to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This was I think the only time I ever told anyone about my soul, for I thought Our dear Lord liked to have secrets and I therefore tried to hide things, instead of asking advice and getting permission to do things... Oh my God how can I write of the great things Thou hast done for me — when the prophet's mouth was burnt to cleanse it, I the poorest and most wretched worm of the earth. Oh if it were not in holy obedience how I would shrink away from it, knowing how unworthy I am and how I marvel at the wondrous love of the Sacred Heart in Its patience and condescension to this vile and ungrateful wretch, for it seems to me that I have always been the same sneaking coward, taking everything and giving nothing but empty words and desires even to the present, only that now I have all His own riches and infinite perfections to offer Him as my own. Oh what depths of love and generosity on the part of the most High."

[56] "I did not undertake any regular corporal punishment until I was preparing for my first holy Communion. Then I began to rise and lay under the bed (after Sister had put out the gas and gone down) till the bell rang at five m the morning for the nuns to rise — then I used to get into bed. Then I managed to get a piece of sacking and I pushed in bits of old knitting needles, little tacks, etc. I used to put it under me on the floor, but I did not do this long for fear of being found out. I was so often sick and the nuns took such great care of me that they seemed to notice every little scratch or mark, but I had an opportunity one day of getting some red hot cinders from the fire and I only just had time to pick them from the grate when Sister entered. I put them down my breast and they set my things on fire, but when I made the holy sign of the cross on the flames they went quite out, but Sister scolded me very much and told me never to do such a thing again. I begged her not to say anything so as she gave me her word I feel sure she never did."

Teresa tells how Father Faber once visited the school while she was there:

[54] "When I was at the convent I don't know what year, but Fr. Faber came round and asked the children their birthdays and as mine was on St. Philip's feast he said, 'You should be called Philippa. What is your name?' And when I told him Teresa he said: 'See that you are a Teresa.' And I wondered much what he meant and I was greatly afraid and thought it a great pity that I had a name of such an extraordinary saint, and I asked our b. Lord to make me love Him, not only with the love of St. Teresa but with that of the Holy Ghost and our b. Lady. And I began to think I had been guilty of great presumption in calling myself Teresa of Jesus when I had done nothing to prove my love, and from that time I have said instead, 'Lord I am Thine; do with me what Thou wilt.'"

[269] "Then I was preparing to make my first Holy Communion and several times I was put back on account of my age, and I shall never forget how I longed to receive Him and begged of Holy Simeon to intercede for me, for I thought he would understand my feelings knowing how he yearned with desire to see Him, and Mary too; oh how I begged of her to give Him to me. And it was this that made Dr. Roskell (r.i.p.) say that I should make my first Communion, for my prayer was heard and I was promised to make it on Easter Sunday April 12, 1857. Oh my God how I lived those days I hardly know, that week seemed as though it would never come to an end. Though I was so unworthy (though I know He preserved me from mortal sin) I seemed to forget all but Him, and in spite of my many miseries I received Him over and over again in spirit and adored and entertained Him with all the court of Heaven. I felt nothing but His love and saw nothing but His beauty and goodness. He let me suffer too, for I remember being very ill and the doctor said I had low fever, but as I wished so much to be up he said it would do me more harm to stop in bed. He was a good Catholic and perhaps he had felt the same desire himself. Well the dear nuns allowed me to be the nearest our dear Lord on Maundy Thursday though Rev. Mother would not let me kneel or stay very long, though I told her it did not tire me. I am sure you will think I prayed well and made many good resolutions, but oh my Father, how all my misery stands out at this time. Neither then or after my first Communion did I, although Rev. Mother and all the Sisters asked me to pray for them, I don't think I asked anything, my heart seemed too full, all I could say as far as I remember was: 'Jesus my love, my Jesus I am all Thine, even as Thou art all mine, do with me now and always as Thou willest.' I had so much to say, so much to ask and I said not one word more, but I felt He knew all — all I wanted for others and all the graces I needed for myself. And yet how much He did for me and how He gave to others the things they wished me to ask for. I know now how He read all my desires and knew what I would say; how from the centre of my soul I wished to give and consecrate my whole being to Him, to be His and His only in thought, word and deed, for time and eternity: and though I was not able to renew my vows in words, yet from that day I felt that I was really His and that nothing in myself was my own, only my sins and wickedness. All the good resolutions I had wished to make I felt that they were sealed as it were with His most Precious Blood, and I tried to check my will and tried to empty myself of myself to live a life of self-denial, and as I was so self-seeking and so full of self-love oh my dear Father, you cannot understand what a battle I had to fight, how often I felt disheartened and tempted to give up; for things that others would have esteemed and been glad of the opportunity of doing, I shrank from in my cowardice and would often have really given in but for my promise to Him. And then I would thank Him even for my weakness for I felt it made me cling to Him whereas if I had been like others, generous and strong, noble and self-sacrificing, I might have done more in act for Him, yet as it was I had to get Him always to do it for me and so He made me feel that He was ever near and taught me how I could not do one thing good. And my weakness has been my greatest gift, for it has taught me to know Him and myself, to see that I was emptiness, and it was on that account that He has done what He has, for He said: 'Because thou art empty —— '"

[110] "I knew not what saint to take as my patron when I was to be confirmed, so the right Rev. Dr. Roskell gave me the name of Agnes and I remember telling our dear Lord how much I loved His Holy cousin Saint John the Baptist and the great Saint Joseph and I did not know which I should choose. And I excused myself as it were for taking (Mary) Agnes, saying the Bishop gave me that name. And He then made me understand that Agnes meant lamb, and how the little lamb gave its wool to clothe its master, gave its life and shed its blood to give its flesh as food to its master, how it loved and followed its master and how its shepherd loved it, and I thanked Him and felt to love Him more for allowing me to be called His lamb. And on another occasion our dear Lord showed me that He wished to offer me in sacrifice as it were as His little lamb, and now I think it was after these things that I began to suffer for Him. I think it would be about 1859 or 60."

[269] "Ah dear Jesus even after Thou hadst given Thyself to me in Holy Communion and made me the living Temple of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, yet I remained the same vile, empty good-for-nothing as ever. Though you kindled within me the fire and opened wide my eyes to the light, and I professed and made great promises and told You again and again how much I loved Thee and would rather die than offend Thee. Yet when I remembered the words: 'By their fruits ye shall know them,' I found that I was just as empty-handed as ever, that I was as a hollow vessel making much sound and really doing nothing; and though if I had looked far into myself I should have been too disheartened, I used to try and hide myself with all my faults in His Sacred Wounds, and even thank Him for my weakness and offer Him the hatred He has, and the pain occasioned, and the Precious Blood shed from those Sacred Wounds, and beg of Him to pardon and pity His poor blind child. Oh how often I thought it is no use crying over spilt milk — try and live this hour as if it were the only one I had. My weakness, etc. was so deeply impressed upon my soul that I tried to shut my eyes to myself and open them wide in God and would say: 'Oh my dear God, You know how much I wish to love You and all I wish to do for You. I am weak but You are the Holy and strong God, help me to live this hour for Thee alone. I am all Thine, do with me what Thou wilt Oh my Lord and my God, my Father, my Jesus, my Emmanuel. Dear Jesus grant that I may never betray Thee. Out of the depths of my nothingness I have cried to Thee oh my Lord, and Thy Name is magnified in Thy works. I am needy and poor. Oh God help.

"On the 17th of May of the same year, 1857, that I made my first Communion, our dear Rev. Mother (Sister M. Aloysius Perry) died and this was a great trial to me, for she had been such a great help and so excessively kind to me, and the dear Mother who succeeded her thought I had been too much made of and tried me in very many ways for my good; and when I felt things very hard (for you know being cowardly many things proved hard to me that would not have been noticed by a generous soul), I used to say to Our Lord: 'I know Thee and I love Thee Lord and yearn to shed my blood for Thee.' telling myself it was only Our Lord in disguise, for I always tried to look on everyone as Jesus Christ Himself. I was obliged to do these things to keep myself at all within bounds, so from these little instances you may form some idea how weak and wretched I was. Oh my Love, when I look back I marvel more and more how Thou hast borne with me. Have mercy on me dear Jesus and forgive me through Thy precious Blood.

"In the year of my first Holy Communion, towards the close, a great feeling of indifferentism came upon me and lasted for many months and what I went through then, our dear Lord only knows. I felt as if I had no power to do anything for God, that I really did not love Him, and I seemed to care very little about whether I did love Him or not, I used to think, 'Oh if I could only be sorry for not loving Him that would be a consolation m itself, but I was too cold and callous for anything good, my prayer was hard to make and dry, and so far as I could see without fruit. I was sick too in myself and I know I felt weary and worn, tired of everything and seemed to have no power to exert my will to act or heart to love I was too afraid to look either before or behind. Instead of being open with my Confessor I hid everything concerning my soul from him and told him only my sins of thoughts, words, deeds and omissions, but not one word of struggle or temptation or of things which it is wise to get permission for And whatever I felt was hard to my self-love or that I shrank from doing, anything that disgusted me I used to take upon myself to promise our dear Lord I would seek every opportunity of overcoming myself, and this was really necessary for me because I was always so self-seeking, so mean, that I was obliged to pledge myself to do this and not to do that and then I felt I should be less likely to offend Him mortally. For I would not break my word no matter what it cost me if I could help it, and if it were not that He had given me this little good I fear that today I should have been in Hell. He made me realise when I was very young that He was Truth as He confirmed in me some years after. I felt that everything that was not Truth was the Devil and I hated anything that bore the appearance of a lie, and when I would take blame for others if not actually telling a lie, I used to act one and I was so blinded with self-love etc. that I did not consider it a lie. Oh my dear Jesus forgive me and save me and all poor sinners. For instance I remember once Sister having to speak about something that was very disagreeable, and I felt what a pain it must be for her to have to do so, and so sorry for the poor child who had done it. I felt all her confusion and prayed that she might own it at once, and when she did not Sister said she was very sorry to have to put the whole school in penance but she felt obliged to do so. For an instant I struggled with myself and then I stood up as if I had done it, but I was so filled with shame that I reeled over, and when I came to myself I found that the poor child had owned, and Sister said, 'How could you stand up and own to doing what someone else had done?' But mind, it was not sin that had been committed. I would not say I did not do it for I was trusting she would think I did. — From all these evils in me Our dear Lord drew and impressed a lesson on my soul. I thought thus: If we are so confused when thought guilty of a fault before man, how terrible will be the anguish of a soul who appears before the God of Infinite Purity with mortal sin upon it. How I dreaded to be a castaway; how I prayed for poor sinners in words at least, for I was too dry to pray with heart and mind, so I thought. And these things and the like gave me a great insight of myself and urged me to undertake little acts of mortification and charity, for Our dear Lord impressed the words: 'In this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that ye have a love for one another.' And when I hardly knew which would be more perfect of two actions, I used to try and chose that that appeared to me to be the act of charity to my neighbour, and in this you see selfishness again, for naturally I took pleasure in these things, so I always was very suspicious of these seeming kindnesses to others, for I doubt not that in many cases it was a greater kindness to myself.

"As for my prayer, it was made without order or method. I used many vocal prayers which were said without any sentiment (except of disgust) and with few affections. My meditation was hard and irksome. I tried to follow the prescribed rules in order and method and tried to force myself to do so, and for many years I used to accuse myself of not making my meditation every time I went to confession. And yet I never seemed to mend though I was really in earnest, at least so I thought. Yet all this time how close our dear Lord must have been to me or I should certainly have perished. I feel certain too that different things that then happened in the convent were done by the Devil, for sometimes the whole building seemed to have fallen in by the noise that was made, and the place shaken to its foundations, and on more than one occasion all the nuns as well as all the children were so afraid that they got up and dressed. The nun who is Rev. Mother there now, was a boarder at the time. She, I am sure will remember it well (she is my Godmother in confirmation). Her name was Eliza Cowlam, in religion Sister M. Xavier. For it was always worse when I made an especial offering of myself in reparation or for the conversion of sinners, and I noticed how enraged the Devil was in after years when I really saw and felt him, and so I connect the two facts, though I really don't know.

"When I look back it seems to me that in spite of the ungenerous manner in which I did everything, yet our dear Lord seemed waiting to lavish His favours upon me. To show how pleasing little acts of kindness are though done most ungraciously, I will relate a little instance.

"There was a child who sat near me in class, I think she was No. 4, who hated sewing and did it very badly. She had very hot hands poor child, and on this occasion, a very bad hand — we were making things to give to Rev. Mother on her feast and this child had done the whole of the top of a nightdress and she was delighted when it was finished. But when Sister saw it she said she was so disappointed, it was so badly done, it must all be unpicked and stitched over again. Poor child she cried so bitterly and commenced to unpick, but she could not see very well and she was making a terrible mess of it. I thought I would take it and do it for her and give her mine, but we were going to Robin Hood's Cave that afternoon, and I thought, 'No, I won't, it serves her right for not taking more pains', and though I felt very sorry for her you see I thought more of myself though I now had a great chance to overcome myself. Without saying a word to anyone this struggle went on within me for a while, then I took my name off my work and stitched it on hers, took her work and said I wanted to stop in so she might let me have her work as an excuse, for Sister wanted it all finished that evening. She poor girl was overjoyed and said: 'How can you do it for me when I am always so unkind to you?' (She really was not unkind though I often did things that provoked her.) Then M. M. Walburga came in to see if we were all ready and right for going out, and when she saw me sitting sewing she came up to me and looked at the sewing and said she was ashamed of me, it was disgraceful for a child who had been so long at school to produce such work, and she said I must have tried how badly I could do it, and she scolded me very much and said I was not to go out the whole week for a walk (as a penance) nor go to the playground but stay in and learn to sew. They all went off and I was left by myself and when they had all gone I began to cry, for I was much disappointed at being deprived of the walk and play, for I was a great romp and loved play. But I looked up at the statue of our dear Blessed Lady and the Holy Child, and I said: 'I unite every stitch with those you took when making the seamless garment, and the little disappointment as an act of atonement for sins against charity committed by children in this school, especially my own self-love.' I looked at our dear Lord and a thrill of pleasure passed through me that I had never experienced since the day of my first Communion, and I felt (although I did not see or feel anything outwardly), I felt that Jesus was really and truly by my side both God and Man, I mean in His sacred Humanity, that He watched every stitch I took and searched into the very depth of my heart. This was the first time I experienced this kind of vision for I often had afterwards though I never felt able to express it to myself in words, for I saw without seeing and heard without hearing, but I was most certain that He was there and my whole soul lay prostrate in adoration at His Sacred Feet. And He made me feel that as I chose to remain in and do this little act of kindness for Him He would stay and keep me company. For I really did for Him and He amply repayed me for my little nothing. It seems that Sister knew all about it, that the other nun had told her, but she wanted to see if I was really doing it for Our Lord, and if so she would give something else to offer, for she told the Bishop about it though they never spoke to me, but good Dr. Roskell, when I was at Sabden mentioned it to me and said I never should know how much the good God had given me through this little act, for he said Sister told him of it at the time and that Our Dear Lord was sure to bless me for it.

"It may seem strange to you, dear Rev. Father, for me to say or think that our dear Lord was actually by my side in the manner I have described, particularly as the Church teaches our dear Lord is only in Heaven and in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar m this manner. Yet I have felt His real bodily presence, present with me, going with me where I went, and watching with His sacred human Eye everything I did — not by His presence in my soul, but standing by my side and listening to every word and counting every notion of my whole being. I don't know that I have mentioned this before, but it has very frequently happened to me, though I could not see or hear yet being more certain than if I really saw or heard.

"Things went on much the same always, I doing little or nothing and our dear Lord loading me with favours on every side till the end of the years 1859 or 60, when I was taken very ill and given up by the doctors. I was in bed, I think, for nearly nine months, I was anointed and received all the rites of our Holy Church, and the nuns were waiting for me to die. I was consecrated a child of Mary and then became unconscious and remained so for some days. On the 13th of December the Bishop and Rev. Edward Smith who was in Rome with Father Powell both said a votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin for me. They all thought I must die and told me their little secrets that they wished me to ask our dear Lady to grant them when I died, but on the octave of the Immaculate Conception I came to myself again and began to get better. I consecrated myself again most solemnly to our dear Lord and His blessed Mother, promising to live and die for them, and begging them to let me work and suffer for the salvation of souls.

"I am sure dear Rev. Father, you will smile and think I have always been beginning and am doing so still. It seems to me that I am ever empty handed, always going to do, but never doing anything. It is a very true saying that empty vessels make much sound, for I am always saying and never doing.

"Oh pray hard for me dear Rev. Father, that in the end I may not be a castaway."

Whether there was anything miraculous in Teresa's recovery from her severe illness, as in the case of her little namesake, we cannot tell. She remained on at the convent for several years, but we have no further details of her life there, for her own story here comes to an end.

It was written by wish of Father Snow in 1888, when she was at Saint Catherine's Convent in Edinburgh, but finding how much it cost her, he thought that perhaps Our Lord did not wish her to continue it and told her she need carry it no further.