As the beginning of the Mectildian Jubilee Year (1614–2014) draws near, I decided to translate these passages from a confidential text of Mother Mectilde written in or around 1671. This text was not published until 1992, when it appeared in Mother Marie–Véronique Andral’s “Itinéraire spirituel de Mère Mectilde”. These texts reveal Mother Mectilde’s acute sensitivity, her intelligence, her gift of empathy, and her zeal. I, for one, find them very moving.
When all seems overturned, to the point of my feeling almost overwhelmed; when I don’t know where I stand; and when I meet with opposition everywhere, in the minds of others, and in my dealings, I withdraw to the Most Holy Sacrament, or into my own interior, and I remain there for some time like a person who doesn’t even exist, and while I am plunged deep into my own nothingness, God works His own operations and attends to His doings, and I see, afterwards, that all [that He does] succeeds. In truth, one must abandon oneself to God.
I bear within myself a disposition that makes everything crucifying for me. Being superior [prioress] would be an intolerable weight for me if God were not sustaining me. I don’t know how others manage, but as for me, I carry the burdens of all of my sisters’ inner selves. I perceive them more clearly than the daylight by which I see. The weaknesses of their minds, their infidelities, all of this weighs upon me before God. Would you believe that even their affection for me crucifies me? Everything that satisfies others is only bitterness for me. Henceforth I shall have nothing else. God did not send me forth to string pearls [a colloquial expression meaning “to have an easy time of it].
God has given me a tenderness and I don’t know what else for souls who are afflicted and in travail, which makes them always present in my mind; I am incapable of not caring for them so long as their sufferings last. It seems to me that God made me for such souls. Ah! If only they knew their good fortune! I am certain that more will be saved by that way than by consolations. This [way of consolations] is a snare into which many fall because a great humility and much fidelity are needed to receive these gifts without claiming anything for or attributing anything to oneself. I esteem souls that are so consoled, but I do not envy them. I should like to do what is recounted of a woman who, having in one hand a lighted torch, and in the other a pitcher of water, went about the city: upon being questioned on what she intended to do, she replied that she wanted to set fire to Paradise and drown hell, in order that men should have God alone in view, doing good for pure love of Him, and avoiding evil for fear only of displeasing Him.