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PRAYER OF THE CHILD OF A SAINT33SISTER TERESA was the youngest of nine children, four of whom died in infancy, four became Carmelite nuns, and one a Visitation nun. These are the “nine lilies bright,” referred to in the poem here as forming their saintly father’s coronet in Heaven. He used to call Teresa his “little queen,” Marie his “diamond,” Pauline his “pearl.” He died of paralysis, after months of helplessness, tended by Celine. These remarks serve to explain the poem. . . .

TO HER GOOD FATHER, CALLED HOME TO GOD,

July 29, 1894.

Remember thou how once upon this earth

Thy joy was found in caring for us all!

Hear now the prayer of those who owe their birth

To thee, dear father; bless us when we call!

A little while ago, in Heaven, our home above,

Thou to our mother’s side hast come with saintly love.

Together now ye reign,

in Heaven made one again.

O’er us keep guard!

Remember thy first-born, thy bright Marie,

She who was dearest ever in thy sight;

Remember how her charm, her gaiety,

Her love, her goodness, filled thee with delight,

That daily source of joy thou didst renounce — for God;

And thou didst bless the band, that made thee feel His rod.

Thy “diamond” bright and fair,

Thy rarest of the rare,

Remember thou!

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 to-day:

Then come to guide even now thy darling on her way!

This Carmel of Thine own

Remember at Heaven’s throne,­

Remember thou!

Remember now thy strong and ardent prayer

Made here for thy third child, thy Leonie!

God heard thee; for to her this earth so fair

But banishment and exile seems to be.

She, too, from this gay world, to God would turn aside;

She loves Him only, and becomes His bride.

Her ardent, burning sighs,

Her Heaven-sent ecstasies,

Remember thou!

Remember thou thy faithful child, Celine,

Who was to thee like angel from the skies,

When close to thine the Face of Christ was seen,

Testing thy virtue by great sacrifice!

In Heaven thou reignest now; her task is past and gone;

Now unto Jesus Christ she gives her life alone.

Protect her future days,

Who very often says:

Remember thou!

And, oh! remember thou thy “little queen,” —

The tender love with which her heart o’erflowed;

Remember where at first her steps have been,

And whose hand guided her along her road.

Papa, remember now, that in her infancy

Her innocence was given into God’s care by thee.

Even her curling hair

To thee was dear and fair!

Remember thou!

Remember thou that on the terrace green

Her place was often on thy saintly knees;

And murmuring a prayer for her, “thy queen,”

Thou didst sing softly on the Sunday breeze,

And she, upon thy heart, saw in thy holy face

A shining of Heaven’s light, a strange unearthly grace.

The beauty, sung by thee,

Was of eternity!

Remember thou!

Remember now that Sunday ever blest,

When thou a pure white flower to her didst give,

And to thy child, dose to thy bosom pressed,

Didst grant the grace on Carmel’s hill to live.

Oh, father dear, recall that in her trial-hour

Sincerest proofs were given of all thy loving power,

At Bayeux and at Rome

Showing her Heaven as home!

Remember thou!

Remember that the Holy Father’s hand

Within the Vatican was laid on thee.

The mystery, then, thou couldst not understand,

The mystic sign of suffering to be.

But now thy children here to thee uplift their prayer;

They bless thy bitter cross, that won thy coronet rare.

Upon thy brow, — fair sight! —

There shine, in Heaven’s own light,

Nine lilies bright!

August, 1894.


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