Mectilde de Bar: A Precursor of Saint Thérèse

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I am reading the Letters of Mother Mectilde de Bar in an Italian translation entitled Non Date Tregua a Dio, Lettere alle monache 1641-1697. How I wish that this great teacher of the interior life and, especially, of confidence in love of God, were better known. Here, in my own translation, is one of the letters I just read. She is writing to the Prioress at Toul. Mother Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement, once again, is a precursor of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. Confidence, she maintains, is the sure way of avoiding the Divine Justice.

Madre Mectilde.jpg

20 May 1665

May Jesus be for you strength, life, and consummation!

My dear Mother, I pray Him that He bring about in you unity with those gifts of the Holy Spirit whom I desire [to have] in the depths of your heart even as I would wish to have Him in mine. If we had this spirit of love, this spirit of peace, this spirit of strength and of wisdom, truly we would be privileged. I ask it for you, my only Mother, with all the capacity of my heart, that is full of compassion for yours.

The [Regular] Visitation was carried out with much gentleness and all in the greatest calm. As for me, I am in [a period of] solitude, which I savour all the more intimately in that it has been a while since I last had one. It already seems to me that I am half out of it. Only three or four days remain and they will fly by like the wind, and afterwards I will have to return into the turmoil. Blessed be God.

It seems to me that He is showing me a very great mercy when He keeps peace in the depths of my soul. Just so long as I do not offend Him! As for the rest, He can do as He pleases. I want to say this from the heart. We must believe by faith that He loves us as His children, and that this is an infallible truth; we must therefore abandon ourselves to His care and to His maternal goodness.

Oh, how a little grain of faith would do us great good and would liberate us from so many troubles by a total confidence in Him. This is what He wants from us, all the more in that He shows us grace and mercy by His pure goodness and not by reason of our merits. I prefer that He save me by His charity and by His divine goodness rather than by my works.

It is an immense felicity to depend on that essential goodness and see oneself as a debtor in all things. My God, Mother so dear, let us keep ourselves mightily attached to this reality; Divine Justice will never tear us away from it, on the contrary confidence is the sure way of avoiding it.


Thank you, Father, for Mother Mechtilde's words to keep the soul in peace and bring joy to the heart!

Yes, what beautiful advice that goes straight to my heart and explains why I am constantly dissatisfied with my works. When I start to think of my works I shall look to God's loving care and Maternal heart first!
F.R. Maich

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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