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First Amerfcan DBoitfon. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, !n the year 1888, 
By D. & J. Sapien & Co., 

im the Clerk's Office of the United States District Court, for the 
Southern District of New York. 


Tr volume which we now offer to the pub’ uuu. 
the title of “ The Admirable Life of the Glorious Patriarch 
St. Joseph,” is a faithful extract, without change, modifi- 
cation, or alteration, taken verbatim et literatim from the 
celebrated production, “ The Cité Mystique,”* of Mary of 
Jesus of Agreda. Hence, all the approbations conferred on 
the latter work are applicable to this. We subjoin a sketch 
of these various approbations, of which we guarantee the 
authenticity, having copied them from the acts of the pro- 
cess for the beatification and canonization of the servant of 
God, Maria d’ Agreda. 

1. Approbation of the bishop of the place where this 
’ servant of God died in the odor of sanctity, and also of that 
where the work was published. Bishops, (as every one 
knows) are the judges, in the first instance, of the doctrine 
of the books which are published in places under their 

2. Approbation of the inquisition of Spain, who ex- 
amined it, word for word, and authorized its publication 
and diffusion. 

3. Approbation of all the religious bodies appointed fo 
examine this work. They have bestowed unbounded 
praises upon it, and recommend it as a fruit of the Holy 
Spirit of God. 

*The Mystical City of God 


4. Approbation of the most celebrated universities, who, 
' after a minute examination, have declared that this book 
contains nothing contrary to faith or morals, and wha 
have exalted it beyond measure, as the Sovereign Pontiff 
Benedict XIV., attests in his decree of 1748. The univer- 
sity of Paris alone offers an exception, because, at that 
epoch, it was controlled by the influences of Jansenism. 

5. Finally, the Roman Church, after having placed this 
work on the Index, August 4th, 1681, on account of the 
controversy which it excited, withdrew it on the 9th of 
November of the same year. This last decree is of such 
force, that in 1713, a bishop having prohibited the reading 
of it, the Holy Office declared this prohibition to be of no 
effect, and obliged the bishop to retract it, as being con- 
trary to the decree of the 9th of November, 1681, of 
Innocent XI., which decree, said the Holy Congregation, 
has the force of an obligatory law throughout the Universal 
Church. Qui habit aures, audiendi, audiat. 

Alexander VIII. authorized the reading of it oraculo vive 
vocis. Clement IX., in 1704, prohibited its being placed 
on the Index. And last of all, in 1729, under Pope Bene- 
dict XIII., of holy memory, the Sacred Congregation of 
Rites promulgated an ample and unanimous decree, which 
allows this book to be read and retained without any fur- 
ther examination. Hence, he who, by whatever rank, 
dignity, or honor he may be invested, presumes to forbid the 
reading of this work, which has been approved by the 
Holy See, will be obliged, if required, to make a public 

Thus, pious reader, the cause is ended. Read the book, 
and study it without hesitation ; for Rome, who cannot err 
has spoken. , 

Tue Asse J. A. BOULLAN. 


s Ol ily s 
Se he 


On, Jesus! Son of the Eternal Father! Divine Re- 
deemer of our souls, whom Thou hast redeemed by the 
effusion of Thy precious blood! Thou hast deigned, during 
Thy mortal life, to call by the sweet name of father, the 
glorious St. Joseph, and Thou hast chosen to be named by 

men the son of Joseph. Word of God! Master of eternal 
wisdom ! to whom, unless it be to Thy Sacred Heart, can I 
more worthily make the offering of this little book, in 
honor of the incomparable Patriarch? Deign, I implore 
Thee, to bless it, and its author. All unworthy and 
miserable as I am, I beseech Thee that this life of Thine 
adopted father may bear fruits of grace to many souls— 
that it may become a blessing to the dwellings which 
receive it—that the sinner may be converted, and the 
just encouraged to become holy, by meditating upon it. 
Oh, Sacred Heart of Jesus! vouchsafe to grant that 
grace, and these favors, in memory of Thy complaisance 


in the fidelity and love of Thy glorious servant, Saint 
Joseph ! 

Mother of Jesus! Immaculate Virgin! Spouse of St. 
Joseph, thou who hast deigned to communicate to us by 
means of thy beloved daughter, Mary of Agreda, all that 
forms the subject of this volume, disdain not, Queen of 
Mercy, to bless it. I place it inthy hands. Thou knowest, 
that, overwhelmed by the weight of my miseries, I have 
had recourse to thy glorious spouse, whom thou hast per- 
mitted me to call my father; and that in acknowledgment 
of his miraculous benefits I have applied myself, by thy 
consent, to this work. May this Zife serve as an instru- 
ment to augment the devotion to St. Joseph among the 
children of the Church. Thou hast warned us, O Mother 
of Pity, that the damned will weep bitterly for not having 
known this means, so powerful and so efficacious, for their 
salvation, and for not having availed themselves of it. 
(Book V., ch. XVI). May those who yet live on earth, 
know and profit by it, to forsake the ways of sin, and to 
recover the grace of the just. 

Worthy father of the Queen of Heaven, St. Joachim, 
you whom the blessed Mother, and the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, have given me for my patron in the new vocation 
to which I have been so freely predestined and called, deign 
to present the humble offering of my book to the great 
Patriarch St. Joseph, and obtain for me, by your efficacious 
intercession, that I may be worthy to persevere to the end 
in the way which his mediation with Jesus and Mary has 
opened for me. 

Jesus! Mary! Joseph! all hail! 

Tue Asse J. A. BOULLAN, 

Paris, November, 1856. 


INPOUORATIONS (9-0. ca aac basen ees kece he ceas 8 

To tue Divive Heart or Jesus, AND TO Mary IMmacuLaTE 5 
INTRODUCTION....~ eeees OG 0.0070 0,016, 6 0:6 (0100 68) 0 2.00 0.0; % 0, 01? See 138 
Sentiments oF M. Oxrer oN THE DEVOTION TO St. JOSEPH 29 

DEVOTION or St, THERESA FOR ST, JOSEPH.... 00. ceee000 45 


Espousals of the Chaste St. Joseph with the Blessed 
Virgin.—Various Circumstances which accompanied 
this mysterious Marriage......ceesssesccceccesee AT 


The glorious St. Joseph, considered in all the Cireum- 
stances that concern the Mystery of the Visitation 
of the Blessed Virgin, his Wife........ceccccceee 59 


St. Joseph discovers that Mary is about to become a 
Mother, without being able to penetrate the Mys- 
tery.—He endures great Suffering on this Account. 73 



The Suspicions of St. Joseph increase, and he resolves 

to leave his Spouse.—The Angel of the Lord de- 
clares to him the Mystery of the Incarnation...... 84 


St. Joseph asks Pardon of the Holy Mary his Spouse.— 
He resolves to serve her i in all Things with Profound 
Respect ...cecees eeeeeeeeoeeeeeee es eeeseeeee ees eee 96 


Mode of Life of the August Mary and St. Joseph.—Con- 
versations between them, and other remarkable 
EAM UDASTAUOOE irae 6 as ok ca accadeccsss ces tse IDS 


Preparations for the Birth of the Infant Jesus—Edict of 
Augustus,—The Blessed Mary and St, Joseph go to 
RET ee a i a, 116 


Arrival at Bethlehem.—Birth of Jesus in a Grotto.—St. 
Joseph is present at this Mystery........eeeeeseee 127 


Sentiments of the August Mother and St. Joseph for the 
Infant God.—The Circumceision,—The Spouses give 
Him the Name of Jesus......sseesesseseseeesees 187 




The royal Magi come to adore the Infant God in the 
Grotto of the Nativity.—St. Joseph is present at this 
Mystery. .sccesescceecees $uSccs eve sychveas uns 


Our Lady and St. Joseph leave the Grotto of the Nativ- 
ity, and remain at Bethlehem until the Presentation 
of the Infant Jesus in the Temple.......e.-seseee 


The Lord prepares our Blessed Lady for the Flight into 
Egypt.—The Angel reveals it to St. Joseph.—Jesus, 
Mary, and Joseph commence the Journey......... 


The Holy Family arrive at Heliopolis—They fix their 
Residence in that City... .ss.ceeeeeseeees A es 


The Infant Jesus speaks to St. Joseph a Year after His 
Birth.—According to the Will of the Most High, 
the Holy Family return from Egypt to Nazareth... 


Sojourn at Nazareth.—The Blessed Mary and St. Joseph 
go every Year to Jerusalem. —At the Age of twelve, 
Jesus remains at the Temple, without the knowl- 
edge of His Parents.....csssesccccevesceccccces 








The August Mary and St. Joseph discover the Infant in 

the Temple among the Doctors—Return to Naza- 
WO SANs Rea has Chea nace es cock aan 203 


St. Joseph is no longer able to work.—Conduct of the 
August Mary and the Divine Jesus, during more 
than eight Years that the holy Patriarch lived in 
Sickness and Infirmities...........cccececcceeces 210 


Of the Care which the August Mary and the Divine Jesus 
bestowed upon St. Joseph in the Infirmities of his 
latter Days..... pees ib pO 6508465 Om coos oecevensas” BLE 


Precious Death of the glorious St. Joseph, caused prin- 
cipally by Divine Love,—He expires in the Arms of 
the Divine Jesus, assisted by his blessed Spouse, the 
ORL AE SECA oer a a cue an P90 


Privileges granted to St. Joseph.—His Birth accompanied 
by Miracles.—His admirable Virtues.—The Virtues 
which the Most High has promised to those devoted 
to Him.—Jesus resuscitates St, Joseph after His - 
Passion.—Our Blessed Lady celebrates the Festival 
OF HOt BODO, Five need cshapinces ececsrens BAT 




OF AGREDAS Oca eee eooeeeaserecoaee te eeee eeeseee 0 


Her Birth.—The first spiritual Lights which God commu- 
nicates to her.—lInstructions she receives from her 
Parents.—Her Conduct, to the age of twelve Years, 


The House of her Parents is changed into a Monastery. 
—Her Conflicts—-Sensible Favors which she re- 
ceived,—Assaults of the Demon.—Trials caused by 
the Religieuses of the Community. ......+esseeeee 


She receives signal Graces—Her Superiors scrutinize 
her Eestasies—Her Punctuality in the Community 
Life.Her great Austerities and the Rules she fol- 
lowed in themss...cesseccceesenetsecesorescees 


Miracles which God wrought by her in America,—The 
Manifestation of transcendent Graces ceases.——Her 
hidden Life,--Her Sutferings.—Her Communications 
with the Angels and Saints....ssssssseseeseeees 










She is elected Superior.—Government of the Queen of 
Heaven for her.—First Commandment to write the 
History of the Mother of God.—-New Affections.— 
Her infused Science.—The Laws she receives as 
POU 4rd kod aia sid cdd de oud vob a on jegiewy eu 279 


She writes, for the first time, the History of the Mother 
of God.—Fruits that she gains from this Ilistory. 
—New Order of Life.—Elevation of her State..... 285 


The Services she renders to the Church.—Her Interview 
and Correspondence with the King of Spain.—Con- 
solations, Spiritual and Corporeal, which the Faith- 
ful receive from it.—Her Solicitude for her Daugh- 
ters,—She burns her Writings.—Her Mystic Death. 294 


Degrees of her highest Perfection—She writes anew 
the History of the Mother of God.—Her last State, 
—Gratuitous Gifts of the Holy Spirit.—Her Prepa- 
ration for Death, and Predictions concerning it.... 303 


Death of the Servant of Aci ein ons ds 0 csc nae 

Historica Novice or toe Mysticat Crry or Gop cvhwa Ole 



« “a6 VY 26 

Ayos HO, among the faithful, feels not a holy 
MMO desire to know the admirable life of the 
‘glorious Patriarch whom the divine Providence 
gave to be the spouse of the august Queen of 
Heaven, and whom the Son of God called 
Father? It seems to us that the souls conse- 
crated to God, who all have St. Joseph for their 
patron and protector, will rejoice to read the 
life of him towards whom they have so particn- 
lar a devotion. Has not the seraphic St. Teresa 
made known to the world that St. Joseph is so 
powerful and so merciful that “‘he helps us wn all 
things?” What a heartfelt joy it is to instruct 
ourselves in all that constitutes the glory and 
the grandeur of our incomparable Patriarch! 

God, in the wise designs of His Providence, 
chose to conceal much of what related to this 
saint, “who has no equal, and will never be equal- 


led,” from the primitive Church, because it was 
of the first necessity to establish the law of grace, 
and to publish the Gospel. Doubtless, these were 
not incompatible; but the human mind, ignorant 
as it was, might have been in some degree dis- 
turbed at that time, when the faith in the incar- 
nation was still feeble, and the precepts of the 
‘New Law were yet, so to speak, in their infancy. 
But at length the happy times have come when 
God is pleased to manifest the grandeur of the 
glorious spouse of Mary, and the reputed father 
of our Lord. (Cité Mystique, vol. viii, p. 277.) 
The devotion to the glorious St. J oseph 
had its birth, like that of the Sacred Heart, in 
France. It went forth, at least to the West, 
from the bosom of Provence, originating in a 
confraternity at Avignon. The land which the 
contemplative Magdalen, Martha, and her school 
of virgins, had consecrated, and where Lazarus 
had borne a mitre in place of the winding-sheet, 
witnessed the first honors paid to our saint, 
From thence the devotion to St. Joseph was 
afterwards extended to the universal Church, 
Gerson was the theologian of this devotion; St. 
Teresa was its saint; and St. Francis de Sales 
spread it among the people. The religious 
bodies of the Carmelites and Jesuits welcomed 
it with holy joy. Contemplative souls found in 



*¢ their nourishment; the .laboring classes be 
éame attached to it; young people and old 
adopted it. St. Sulpice, in accepting it, intro 
duced it among the secular clergy. | Thus the 
beautiful devotion to St. Joseph attracted in 
these latter ages innumerable religious orders 
and congregations, — great and small, young 
and old, ecclesiastics and laics, schools and con- 
fraternities, hospitals, asylums, and houses of pen- 
‘tence. At this time it is universal: 1t extends 
over the whole of Europe and America, and it 
prevails in the most remote regions where our 
intrepid missionaries disseminate and make it 
dear to millions of savages. (Le S. Sacrament, 
vol. i. p. 218.) 

We forewarn the reader that the admirable 
life of the glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, which he 
is about to read, is marvellous in the details 
that form its ground-work, and in the manner 
by which it was given to the world. Let it be - 
understood that it is not a product of science, 
nor of the human mind, but entirely of the gift 
of infused science. The venerable Maria de 
Jesus d@’Agreda wrote, under the dictation of 
the Mother of God, the history of the Queen of 
Heaven; and in this book, the most extraordin- 
ary, and the most astonishing that ever came from 
the hand of a human being, as it has been justly 


termed by the Rev. P. Laurent, in the intro- 
duction to the life of this servant of God, there 
were many things appertaining to the glorious 
St. Joseph. Influenced by the advice of men— 
whose counsels we regard as commands, we 
have extracted, neither altering nor modifying 
any thing, all that is contained in the Crrk Mys- 
TIQUE regarding St. Joseph, and have formed 
from it the volume which we,now publish, add- 
ing nothing to the text of the servant of God, 
that the book may not be deprived of the ap- 
probations with which it is invested, nor of the 
grace that was attached to the words written 
under the dictation of the august Mary. 

To this admirable life we have subjoined, in 
an Appendix, the life of the venerable Maria of 
Jesus d’Agreda, from her biography, written by 
a learned and pious cotemporary, the Franciscan 
father, Samaniego; and we ourselves have ren- 
dered this biography complete by adding thereto 
details which we are persuaded our readers will 
peruse with interest, because they contain the 
approbations which the Cité Mystique has re- 
ceived from the supreme authority of the holy 
Apostolic See. They will also find there fruits 
of grace and salvation which this book is des- 
tined to produce in the souls who seek to 
edify themselves by its perusal. The Life is 


preceded by an introduction extracted from the 
manuscripts of M. Olier, of holy memory. 

These pages, inspired by the gift of divine illu- 
mination, contain, in one view, all that has been 
published of the most sublime and profound upon 
the incomparable St. Joseph. We offer thein 
for the meditation of contemplative minds and 
pious Christians, and especially for the priest- 
hood, who will rejoice to be made acquainted 
with them. We think that the gift of infused 
science has never reached a higher degree of 
elevation, nor produced pages more worthy of 

It might be thought incumbent upon us now 
to present a treatise on the gift of infused science, 
to serve as a ground-work for this volume; but 
the reader will permit us to refer him to the 
lives of all our saints. All the theologians, 
without exception, admit these supernatural 
gifts; and the Church, which cannot err, in the 
canonization of saints, recognizes special revela- 
tions, without, however, even in her approba- 
tion, giving them the value or authority of 
divine faith. The Church, in approving, per- 
mits, but does not oblige them to be believed. 
That which is of obligation is, that those who 
believe in them from motives which claim their 
adherence, are not to be troubled on this account 



To avoid repetitions, we refer such as may desire 
more detailed information to the last pages of 
this volume, : 

It would, doubtless, be easy to prove the com- 
plete accord of all that will be found most extra- 
ordinary and marvellous in the admirable life of 
the glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, with the con- 
clusions and instructions of theologians. Thus, 
the servant of God declares that Joseph was 
sanctified in the bosom of his mother, and Suarez 
(in whose writings are comprised those of all the 
doctors, since, according to Collet, he has read 
all and includes all), teaches that he was sancti- 
fied before his birth. Maria of Jesus declares 
that St. Joseph is in heaven in body and soul. 
Suarez makes the same assertion—and the same 
may be said of all the others; yet in this work 
only there are to be found such precise and ad- 
mirable details as will be sought for in vain 

But is it really established that the Blessed 
Virgin herself dictated the “ Cité Mystique,” from 
which our volume is an extract, to the vener- 
able Maria of Jesus d’Agreda? The proofs of 
this fact are numerous, and we request the reader 
to turn to the life of the servant of God, where 
he may convince himself of this truth, which we; 
eannot undertake to establish in this place. 


We do not pretend to deny that this book 
will encounter obstinate and ardent adversaries 
to discredit it; but it will also find, as we trust, 
friends who will zealously promote its propaga- 
tion. Hell will neglect nothing to injure the 
work, and we already know that this enemy 
will find coadjutors even among good people; 
nevertheless, reason, truth, and right will tri- 
umph in spite of the rage of the demon, and all 
the obstacles that he can bring to bear against 
it. Two years since we published an abridg- 
ment of the Cité Mystique, under the title of The 
Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. Itis 
impossible to recount the trouble. which this 
work has cost us, nor the difficulties interposed 
by the demon to prevent its propagation; never- 
theless, we have had the consolation to find that 
six thousand copies have been disposed of within 
a short time. If others will aid us, many more 
will yet be spread abroad of that as well as of 
this admirable life of St. Joseph. We are able 
here to affirm that we have been filled with 
graces and benedictions in consequence of the 
publication of the Divine Infe of the Most Holy 
Virgin, and we are far from complaining of all | 
that we have had to suffer in regard to it. We 
pray the reader to pardon the introduction of 
these particulars, 


Shall we venture to open our mind fully? 
Why should we detain the truth captive, when 
the good of souls demands that we fear not to 
publish it? But to give more weight to our 
words, we will invoke a great authority, and cite 
on this subject a passage which is a veritable pro- 
phecy made by one to whom God deigned to re- 
veal himself, and communicated to a great servant 
of God, St. Vincent Ferrier, who reports it in his 
writings. Another servant of God has, in his 
turn, adopted and inserted it in the excellent 
work which he has left us, entitled, “ Zieatise on 
the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. By the 
venerable Grignon de Montfort.’ We quote the 
remarkable passage from this work, which is a 
book most precious for souls who are able to 
penetrate its meaning: “I have said that the 
Most High, with His holy Mother, will form great 
saints, who will surpass in sanctity the greater part 
of the other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon 
surpass small shrubs, as it has been revealed to a 
holy soul.” (Page 29.) 

But to return to Maria d’Agreda, I think it 
is not hazarding too much to affirm, that from 
the doctrine of the works of this servant of God 
will be formed the great saints announced in the 
preceding lines. Let us hear the response of 
the venerable author already quoted. “It will 


come, and quickly, this happy time, this age of 
Mary, when souls, losing themselves in the abyss 
of her interior, will become the living copies of 
Mary, to love and glorify Jesus Christ. UW 
adveniat regnum tuum, adveniat regrnum Maria. 
May the reign of Mary come, so that the King- 
dom of Christ may come.” 

We have, happily in favor of the opinion ad- 
vanced here, an authority powerful and decisive 
for a large number of our readers, that of the 
pious and learned M. Emery. At the close of 
his long career, he said, while speaking of the 
works of Maria of Jesus d’Agreda: ‘It is only 
after having read and re-read them that I have 
understood the wise recommendation of our 
founder, M. Olier, ‘study the interior of Jesus in 
Mary.” Now, it is by this means that the great 
saints of whom we speak must form themselves. 

We might add much more, for God, in the 
mysterious designs of His merciful providence, 
has given to us also to know, by many proofs, 
that in these times He will shed abroad abun- 
dant treasures of grace; but this will suffice for 
those who éan understand. | 

The title alone of our book will be sufficient 
tc attract to it one class of readers, while, for the 
sane reason, it will be rejected by others; for there 
are among the faithful, we mean even the good, 


two classes very different from each other in the 
dispositions that actuate them respecting heaven- 
ly things. ‘There is a class of persons even 
numerous,” says the learned Bishop of Birming: 
ham, “to whom the annunciation of a miracle, 
or a voice from heaven, brings more pain than 
satisfaction, and who find in these a subject of 
disquietude rather than of joy or consolation. 
For these the supernatural has no charm—the 
world of spirits is very far from their thoughts 
and their hearts; their souls have no place of 
abode, no friends in these invisible countries ; 
their belief in miraculous manifestations is only 
a general idea, and remote from their faith, and 
they feel no desire to witness them.” Our rea: 
ders will not be of this class. 

Our book is not intended for persons such as 
those of whom we have just spoken. We do 
not ask them to read it, but we beseech them to 
be careful to remember that they have no right 
to blame, nor criticize; nor censure those who 
love to turn an attentive ear to miracles, to in- 
structions which come from on high, when, on 
the other part, the wise precaution has been ob- 
served to wait until the Church bas approved 
that which they are happy to believe. No doubt; 
and we know it well, too great credulity should 
be avoided. We must not hasten to seize with 


ardor upon every rumor whick is said to come 
from heaven, for this would be simplicity and 
folly, unless we had examined sufficiently the 
reasons for credibility. “ But if,” as St. Teresa has 
so excellently well said, “If it be simplicity to 
believe every thing, to wish to believe nothing 
is TeMERITY.” The truth lies between these ex- 

For ourselves, in regard to supernatural things, 
as soon as we have heard of any, our disposi- 
tion incline us to joy and happiness—the smile 
mounts to our lip. Is it not thus with the mo- 
ther, when she hears that her son has just per- 
formed some brilliant action? Even before she 
has acquired the certainty of it she rejoices in 
advance. ‘Thus we think we ourselves should 
feel. A contrary disposition seems to us—we will 
not say a sin or a crime, God only judges the 
heart and penetrates the conscience, and we do 
not assume this right—but we will say that to 
us it seems a bad symptom, and may be the root 
of a secret affiliation with the sentiments of the 
enemies of our faith in regard to divine things. 

We conclude this introduction with the in- 
struction—which we would wish to see graven in 
letters of gold, to be read by the whole world— 
that the august Queen of Ileaven gave to her 
beloved daughter, Maria of Jesus d’Agreda, when 


she had terminated all that related to the glori- 
ous Patriarch, St. Joseph. Would that these 
words might resound from pole to pole, and that 
our readers might never forget them! 

“My daughter, although you have written 
that my spouse Joseph was one of the greatest 
saints and most noble princes of the celestial 
Jerusalem, you cannot now declare his eminent 
sanctity. Mortals can never know it until they 
enjoy the vision of God, in which they will 

with admiration discover the mystery, and they — 

will praise the Lord for it. In the last day 
when all men will be judged, the unhappy 
damned will weep bitterly for not having 
known, because of their sins, this powerful 
and efficacious means for their salvation, and 
for not having availed themselves of it, as 
they could have done, to recover the grace of 
_ the just Judge. The world has been greatly 
ignorant of the magnitude of the prerogatives 
which the supreme Lord has accorded to my 
holy spouse, and how powerful is his interces- 
sion with His Divine Majesty; for be assured 
that he is one of the greatest favorites of God, 
and one of the most capable of appeasing His 
justice against sinners. I desire you to be most 

grateful to the goodness of the Lord for the | 

favor which I have granted to you on this occa. 




sion, and that you will render to Him continual 
thanks for the illumination that you have re- 
ceived touching this mystery. Endeavor also, 
in future, to augment your devotion for my 
holy spouse, and bless the Lord for that He 
has favored him with so much liberality, and 
also for the consolation that I enjoyed in bear- 
ing him company and knowing his perfections. 

“You must avail yourself of his intercession 
in all your necessities, and so act as to multiply 
the numbers of his votaries. Recommend to 
your daughters to distinguish themselves in 
this devotion, since the Most High grants on 
earth that which my spouse requests in heaven, 
and He will unite to these requests extraordi- 
nary favors for men, provided they do not ren- 
der themselves unworthy to receive them. 

‘All these privileges respond to the perfec- 
tion, the innocence, and to the eminent virtues 
of this admirable saint, because they have at- 
tracted the complaisance of the Lord, who des- 
tines for him inconceivable largesses, and who 
desires to show great mercy to those who will 
have recourse to his intercession.” 

We touch upon the great age of the Church— 
that is to say, the age of Mary, and already we: 
have entered it. The proofs of this fact abound, 
and seem to us decisive and irrefutable. When 



we call this age great, because it is the age of 
the august Mary, we have evidently nothing in 
_ view of the material grandeurs of modern times 
—neither the application of steam, nor the dis- 
coveries in electricity, nor those modern inven- 
tions admired and vaunted without measure. 
In our view, the true grandeurs of the times 
which begin is not found in these. This age 
will be great because it will produce eminent 
saints—-saints superior to those we have had, and 
destined in heaven to a more brilliant crown. It 
is in this sense that the age on which we enter 
will be great by Mary, because of Mary—in 

None among Christians will dispute that the 
age in which the divine Saviour came into the 
world—when the great queen of angels and 
men lived—was evidently the greatest. Never- 
theless, the Redeemer and His holy Mother did 
nothing more than practice holiness and glorify 
God. They invented nothing material—taught 
nothing with a view to material progress. After 
the same manner, there will be great men who 
are about to appear on earth, or, rather, who are, 
as yet, unknown, for they live already. 

Oh! let us say, in conclusion, shall we not 
preserve during all the days of our lives a ten- 
der devotion for this glorious saint who made a 


part of that which we denominate the TRINITY 
OF THE EartH—/or this saint, who has no equal, 
and never can be equalled—whose grandeur and 
glory we can never know until at shall be given 
to us to see God face to face without fear of losing 
him! “The unhappy damned,” the Holy 
Virgin herself instructs us, “will weep bitterly 
for not having known, because of their sins, this 
means—so powerful and so efficacious for their 
salvation—the intercession of St. Joseph.” May 
it not be so with us! Let us love, let us vener- 
ate the great and glorious spouse of Mary; let 
us confide in his protection, and praise God for 
having made him so powerful—for having en- 
dowed him with so many merits and privileges, 
and we shall have the joy to receive, by his in- 
tercession, an hundredfold for the little that, by 
the help of grace, we shall have done in honor 
of him who is seated in heaven on a glorious 
throne at the side of Jesus and Mary. Glory to 
God alone! 
Tue AsBé J. A. BOULLAN. 

Paris, Christmas, 1856. 






Tuer admirable St. Joseph was given to the world to 
represent, in a sensible manner, the adorable perfections of 
God the Father. In his person, alone, were enclosed His 
beauty, His purity, His love, His wisdom and His pru- 
dence, His mercy and His compassion. One saint only is 

* We have thought that we could not better commence the Lire oF 
rHE Hoty Parriarcu, “who had no egual, nor ever will have one on 
earth; of him whose merits and glory will never be known to men, 
until they enjoy the vision of God,” (words of Mary of Jesus 
d’Agreda,) than by prefixing these pages, which a great servant of God has 
left us. The pious and seraphic founder of the company of St. Sulpice, 
M. Olier, has written, (as may be seen in His Life, by ore of his 
worthy children,) through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, admi- 
rable things, the autographs of which have been found after a lapse of 
nearly 200 years. The article which we now offer to our well-beloved 
readers, is an extract from one of those autograph manuscripts, con- 
taining the sentiments entertained by this illustrious servant of God, 
through the gift of infused science, regarding the glorious spouse of 
Mary. After having sought for and read all that has been written 
in favor of the glorious St. Joseph, we aver, in all sincerity, that 
‘ we have never met with any thing, in our opinion, so sublime, so 
yeautiful, so admirable, as these. few pages. From this point of 



destined to represent God the Father, while an infinitude 
of creatures, a multitude of souls represent Jesus Christ; 
for the whole Church labors to manifest to the world the 
virtues and perfections of her adorable Head. All the 
angels together are created to represent God and His 
perfections; one single man represents all His grandeur. 
Thus we must regard the august St. Joseph as sur- 
passing all: as the grandest, the most celebrated, the 
most incomprehensible, and, by proportion, like God the 
Father, invisible in his person and incomprehensible 
in his perfections. And is there not here wherewith 
to confound, to frighten our ignorance and our misery, 
seeing that whatever is purest, and holiest, is least ca- 
pable of being known and understood by us? If St. Jo- 
seph, under this point of view, seems to us incomparable, 
and placed in a class, apart, it is because he, alone, is 
the universal image of God the Father on earth. Hence 
it is, that, having chosen this saint to represent His im- 
age, He gave him a resemblance to Himself in His 
invisible snd hidden nature, and, to my mind, this 
saint is not in a condition to be comprehended by the 
minds of men: so that faith must serve for us as the sup- 

view, it is easy to comprehend what the illustrious St. Theresa de- 
clares: “I know by experience that St. Joseph helps us in every 
way.” At a later period the Ven. M. Olier writes: “* The Eternal 
Futher clothed Himself in the person of St. Joseph, and, veiled under 
the humanity of this great saint, He is become merciful—Sull of ten 
derness and sensibility for hwman miseries.” May this great servant 
of God who has had communications so sublime respecting the glori- 
ous St. Joseph, render him favorable to us, and intercede for us 
before the throne of God, where, we doubt not, he occupies a distin- 
guished place. It is not, however, our intention here to forestal in 
any thing, the supreme judgment of the Holy Church in this matter, 
‘or we are, and will always remain, her docile and devoted son, 
J. A. Bz 


plement whereby to venerate in him what we are unable , 
to understand. 

How God the Father honored the great St. Joseph. 

St. Joseph having been chosen to be the image of God 
the Father, the virtues and perfections of this holy person. 
offer admirable subjects for study. What wisdom! what 
strength! what prudence! what simplicity! Surely there 
was never any thing like them in the world: for it is 
easy to understand that, if God the Father chose this saint 
to be the idea and image of His perfections, if He rendered 
visible in him what He had from all eternity hidden in the 
secret of His being, the excellence of this great man must 
be incomparable. 

1. He is the image of the beauty of the Eternal Father. 
—Without doubt he preserved a grave and modest exterior— 
he was of an admirable constitution—of beauty unparalleled, 
because of Him of whom he was the representation, to the 
Son of God Himself; for if the heavens, the earth, the ele- 
ments—if, in a word, the whole structure of the world i is SO 
beautiful, so rare, so wonderful, and ordained with such due 
proportion of weight and number, and measure, because it 
must assist us to admire the perfections of God, and to repre- 
sent to us His beauty, what ought not to be the beauty of 
this great saint—of this saint whom God the Father formed 
expressly to represent Himself to His only Son, to place 
rontinually before His eyes His true portrait and image, as 
a compensation in the time of His absence, and a sort of 
consolation during the years of His pilgrimage! And 
what is yet more worthy of consideration, is, that this 
world, so beautiful and so perfect, which every where 


publishes the beauty of its author, represents to men only 
the admirable greatness of God, considered as a sovereign 
Being, and a perfect Essence, that is, as great, good, 
wise, and infinite; but it does not represent Him with the 
attraction and charms of a father ; it manifests Him only as 
a sovereign, and as the First Cause; while St. Joseph, 
formed on the idea of the Eternal Father, to represent Him 
to His Son, exhibits Him in the character of a father, and 
contains in himself all the attractive features, all the charms 
and sweetness of the Divine paternity. 

2. He is the image of the holiness of the Eternal Father. 
—What must not be the sanctity of St. Jaseph, chosen 
to be the image of God the Father? This great saint 
lived in perfect holiness, separated from all worldly goods 
and from all creatures, and the Gospel introduces him to us 

-as filled with this incomparable sanctity, saying, Cwm esset 
justus, “‘ because he was just,” that is, holy. He is, be- 
sides, established in this unique character of sanctity, 
since he is destined to be the guardian of the creature 
who is the most holy and precious in the world. In fact 
our Lord chose a saint, and one of the greatest saints of 
the world to be the guardian of the most holy Virgin after 
His death ; a saint who was in some sort the same as Him- 
self, in short, a virgin man, to be the protector and guar- 
dian of His Mother. Here, God the Father chose a man 
whom He made the image of His holiness, so that he 
should be the guardian and protector not only of the 
Blessed Virgin, but also of His Son, whom He ieee ie 
eternally, 77 sanctitate et justitid coram ipso. 

3. He is the character and the image of the fuouslatey 
of the Eternal Father.—The Church presents St. Joseph 
for our veneration eight days before the holy mystery of 
the Incarnation, in order that in St. Joseph we shall adore 


God the Father, preparing and bearing within his bosom 
the designs of the holy mystery of His Son; this mystery. 
being hidden throughout ages, the adorable mind of the 
Father is given to us to venerate in St. Joseph. It is for 
this reason that this saint is represented bearing in 
his arms, and on his bosom, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the 
Father engendered Him in Himself from all eternity. The 
angels, who do not characterize the fecundity of God, are 
never termed fathers, the one of another; but St. Joseph, 
image of this Divine fecundity, is called the father of Jesus 
Christ. He personated the Eternal Father as a mystery, 
which God has borne, and engendered His Word Incarnate 
in Mary, and under whom He inspired the Divine substance. 
In this great saint God the Father appeared in His fecun- 
dity, yet separated from flesh and blood, which rank as 
nothing in the generation of the Son, gui non ex sanguint- 
bus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed 
ex Deo natus est. 

4, He is the image of the love of the Eternal Father 
Jor His Son.—-God the Father, in choosing St. Joseph as 
His image in regard to His Son, lived in the bosom of St. 
Joseph, where He loved His Son with an immense and in- 
finite love, proclaiming continually of this only Son, Hie 
est Filius meus dilectus in quo mihi bene complacui. 
The Father, in Himself, loves His Son as His Eternal Word; 
and in St. Joseph, He loves the same Son as the Incarnate 
Word. He abode in the soul of this great saint, and ren- 
dered him participant not only in His virtues, but also in 
His life and in His paternal love, and thus the blessed St. 
Joseph entered into the love of the Eternal Father for His 
Son, and loved Him to the extent, the ardor, the purity, 
and holiness of that love. 

5. St. Joseph is the exterior character of the compas 


sion and tenderness of the Eternal Father for the mis. 
eries of men.—The Eternal Father, having chosen St. Jo- 
seph to be the image of His paternity, assumed in him a 
spirit of compassion and tenderness for the miseries of 

men, and made Himself, in him, the Father of mercies. 
Before His incarnation, the Word was full of rigor, Vox 
tonitrui tui in rota, vox confringentis cedros. But after 
He had become man, and made Himself sensible to our 
evils, He is full of meekness and tenderness; Mitis et hu- 
milis corde: He is moved with compassion for our wretch- 
edness, and so has the Eternal Father done in communi- 
cating Himself to the great St. Joseph His image. From 
all eternity God the Father was separated from the flesh, 
elevated in holiness, infinitely above our condition ; He was 
insensible to our evils, and full of severity towards. 
men; but from the moment that He was clothed in the 
person of St. Joseph, and that He was veiled under the 
humanity of this great saint, He became merciful, full of 
tenderness and sensibility for human miseries. In him He 
is the Father of mercies, and, for this reason, St. Paul, 

after saying ‘Blessed be God,” adds, “the Father of 
Jesus Christ, Father of mercies,” meaning, that in mak- 
ing Himself the Father of Jesus Christ in St. Joseph, He 
became the Father of mercies, while formerly He was, in 
His being of God, just and impassible. 

6. St. Joseph is the image of the wisdom and geile 
of the Eternal Futher.—Since God the Father willed to 
appear in the person of St. Joseph, He communicated 
abundantly to him His spirit of paternity, ex guo omnis 
paternitas ; and, to guide the Eternal Wisdom, He endowed 
him with a wonderful intelligence and wisdom; for if 
God confides the guidance and protection of Lingo to 
puissant angels, and even to the mightiest of these great 


and sublime intelligences—if He charges these pure spirits 
with the conduct of the celestial spheres, and of those im 
mense bodies, what should not be the grandeur of tha 
saint to whom God confided the direction of His Son, mor 
precious than a hundred millions of worlds, and a hun. 
dred millions of kingdoms! What illumination was ne- 
cessary to conduct and direct in all things this Son, whose 
every step and movement were so precious and so dear! 
Ah! it is said, that the most Blessed Virgin had the per- 
petual view of God, and sometimes even the beatific vision, 
because of her Son. It is certain that her Divine Son had 
this clear and distinct view of the Divinity, in order that 
He should at every instant, do the will of His Father. 
Que placita sunt te facio semper ; and He did continually 
that which He saw Him do, facio gue video Patrem fa- 
cientem ; either never to disobey Him, and to satisfy the 
adorable designs which God the Father had upon all His 
steps and all his movements, or because of all their 
importance to the human race. Now, the same rea- 
sons oblige us to believe that the great St. Joseph, 
charged with the conduct of Jesus, whom he was to 
lead forward to the accomplishment of the adorable 
designs of God, His Father, designs of such immense im- 
portance for the salvation of men, was himself enlight- 
ened with this Divine illumination, to do all things ac- 
cording to the spirit of God, and further, I venture to 
_ give utterance to a thought which comes into my mind, 
and which I dare not warrant, only because it seems 
novel. It is, that the light which was imparted to St. 
Joseph for the direction of the Son of God, was of the 
nature of that of the Blessed Virgin, which the holy doc- 
tors declare to have been glorious—God having bestowed 
upon her all the graces which His omnipotence can accord 


to a mere creature. If, then, the light of St. Joseph was 
a glorious light, it must have been always infallible, to 
guide the Son of God, who could not err; for, otherwise, 
we should expose the Son of God, in His obedience to St. 
Joseph, to fail in the designs of God and in His duty, or 
to disobey him who held for Him the place of father, and 
of whom it is expressly said: ‘‘ He was obedient to them 
in all things,” e¢ erat subditus illis Having been given 
by God to all men as the model of obedience, if He had dis- 
obeyed St. Joseph, each individual would have found in 
His disobedience a pretext to excuse his own, and to pre- 
tend that it is admissible to fail in obedience: that supe- 
riors are not possessed of all the requisite qualities to di- 
rect with certainty ; and would not this be to make God 
deficient in His promises and in His providence, if He re- 
fused to superiors the intelligence which is necessary to 
direct us? No, never can we mistake, in obedience! God 
renders Himself guarantee for the persons who direct 
others. Jesus Christ, our Lord, would otherwise be in a 
worse condition than the rest of men, who cannot err in 
obeying. He would be in a worse condition than the in- 
ferior angels, for these are submissive to their superiors 
with an entire confidence, and receive from them assured and 
infallible light for all their conduct, although it is so much 
less important than that of the Son of God. Now, if the 
angels, because they are glorious, have superiors who are 
gifted with a light of glory, what ought not to be that of 
St. Joseph, destined by God the Father to guide Jesus 
Christ as His inferior, and to govern the Blessed, Virgin 
His Mother! And what shame to expose the Son of God 
to contest with His father, and against him who is filled 
with the spirit of God Himself. What! could God the 
Father have exposed our Lord to this unscemliness, by re 


fusing to our saint a grace so proper and so necessary to 
his position? Our great saint is then filled with admir- 
able wisdom, since God commits to him the conduct of the 
Incarnate Wisdom, Christum, Dei Sapientiam ; and if 
God is accustomed to bestow graces in proportion to the 
eminence of the employments that He confides to us, 
what, then, has not been the illumination, the wisdom, to. 
which Wisdom itself has been submitted ? 

St. Joseph was for Jesus Christ what Moses was, for- 
merly, for the people of God. As this people, who were a: 
figure of the Saviour, were withdrawn from Egypt by 
Moses, so our Lord was also brought out of it by St. Jo- 
seph; for we see in this passage from St. Matthew, taken: 
from Osea, Lx Ayypto vocavi jfilium meum—that the 
people of Israel, in Egypt, are called the Son of God, because 
they were the figure of Jesus Christ. St, Joseph was, in 
fact, the protector of the life of Jesus Christ in His flight 
into Egypt—Protector salvationum Christi sui—and he 
was His safeguard during the course of his life. 

O Eternal Wisdom! if Moses enjoyed such intimate: 
communication with Thee that he saw Thee face to face,. 
what was not that of St. Jcseph? The first, who was to. 
conduct Thy Son under a figure, saw Thee face to face - 
and the second, who was to direct Thy Son Himself, was. 
he not crowned with still greater favors? If he who 
brought the law of death was in such glory—even in this: 
life—that the children of Israel could not support the 
brilliancy that shone from His face, how was it, adds St. 
Paul, with him who bore in his arms the Law of Life,, 
and of the Holy Spirit? Without doubt, he enjoyed the 
adorable contemplation, and the beatific vision of God. 

I give utterance to this thought, and draw these conse- 
quences from it, as those of my own mind, enlightened, 



nevertheless, as it seems to me, by the light of faith, being 
sensible of no activity, nor labor of my understanding, to 
produce them. I leave them to the judgment of my spirit- 
ual director. 

§ IL 
How much Jesus Christ has honored the great St. Joseph. 

The Son of God, having made Himself visible, in taking 
human flesh, conversed and communed visibly with God His 
Father, veiled under the person of St. Joseph, by whom 
‘His Father rendered Himself visible to Him. The most 
Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, together, represented one 
‘single and same person, that of God the Father. They 
were two sensible representatives of God—two images, 
ander which He adored the plenitude of His Father, either 
in His eternal fecundity, or in His temporal Providence, 
or in His love for this Son himself, and His Church. They 
‘were, so to speak, a holy oratory for Jesus Christ, and the 
‘sensible object of all His devotion. Without doubt, the tem- 
ple was, for Him, a religious place, since He saw, in this 
edifice, a dead and material figure of God His Father. But 
here He saw a figure—living, spiritual and divine—of all 
His grandeur and perfections, templo hic major est. 
He saw in him the secrets of His Father, and by the mouth 
of this great saint, He heard the word of His Father, of 
whom St. Joseph was the visible organ. He was the ora- 
cle of Jesus Christ, who caused Him to know all the will 
of His heavenly Father. He was His dial, who indicated 
all the moments, marked in the decrees of God. It was 
before this oratory, that, addressing His Father, He said 
Pater noster, and that He invoked Him in behalf of the 
whole Church, What an object of love for Jesus Christ ! 


What a subject for complaisance, and for the exercise 
of His love! What caresses and sentiments of loving 
tenderness! Great saint! thou wast happy in being the 
object of the love of Jesus! Oh, God! what exchanges 
of love and complaisance! Goodness of my Jesus, how 
Thou art pleased to have before Thine eyes where- 
withal to satisfy Thy love! Happy Joseph! Happy Je- 
sus! Happy Joseph, to furnish to Jesus the most worthy 
subject for His delight! Most blessed art Thou, O Jesus, 
to find in Joseph the object of Thy holy complaisance ! 
The eyes of Thy spirit see in him the spirit of Thy Father, 
and the eyes of Thy body see in him a visible image of 
His beauty, so that in him alone Thou dost find perfect 

It is an admirable life—that of God the Father in 
Eternity, loving His Son, and the Son, reciprocally, lov- 
ing the Holy Spirit. That, too, was an admirable life 
of Joseph and Mary, images of God the Father for Jesus 
Christ His Son. What was not their love for Jesus, and 
the love of Jesus for them! Our Lord saw in both the 
presence, the life, the substance, the person, and the per- 
fections of God His Father; and, beholding these beauties, 
what love! what joy! what consolation He experienced! 
The Holy Virgin and St. Joseph, seeing, on their side, the 
person of God in Jesus, with all that He is—Son of God, 
Word of the Father, the ‘splendor of His glory, and the 
figure of His substance.” What reverence! what re- 
spect! what absorbing love! what profound adoration 
they manifested! It was a heaven—a paradise on earth. 
Delights without end were there, even in this vale of 
tears-—an abundance of all good things in the bosom of 
poverty: glory was already begun in the midst of the low- 
ness, the abjection, the littleness of their life. 


O, Jesus! I cease to be astonished that Thou didst re- 
main thirty entire years in this happy abode, without 
quitting St. Joseph. It surprises me not that Thou wert 
inseparable from his person. His house alone was a para- 
dise for Thee, and his bosom the bosom of Thy Father, 
from whom Thou art inseparable, and in whom Thou 
possessest eternal bliss. Out of this abode Thou didst 
find nought but subjects of ruin—sinners, and the fatal 
causes of Thy death. But in the dwelling of Joseph, 
which was also that of Mary, Thou didst ever find the cher- 
ished objects of Thy delights, the holy sources of Thy life. 
Thou wentest forth from this blessed place only to visit 
the temple, and the world mocked at Thy solitude and 
this retired life. But they knew not that the temple was 
but a dead figure of the bosom of Thy Father, and that St. 
Joseph, His living image, was the place of Thy pleasure 
and repose. 

Who, then, can declare the excellence of our saint—the 
great respect which our Lord bore to him, and the devoted 
love of the Holy Virgin; Jesus Christ regarding in him the 
Eternal Father as His Father, and the Blessed Virgin re- 
vering in His person the same Eternal Father as her 
spouse ? 

§ IIL. 
St. Joseph, Patron of Hidden and Perfect Souls, 

St. Joseph, having been chosen by God to be His i image 
towards His only Son, was not marked out for any public 
function in the Church of God, but merely to be the ex- 
pression of His purity and the incomparable sanctity which 
separates Him from every visible creature; and hence he is 
the patron of hidden and unknown souls. Far different 


are the functions of St. Peter in the Church, from the 
operations of St. Joseph within it. St. Peter is established 
to control its exterior in its government and administra- 
tions, to preserve its doctrines, and to direct its prelates 
and ministers, St. Joseph, on the contrary, who is a 
saint hidden, and without external functions, is ap- 
pointed to communicate interiorly the super-eminent life 
which he receives from the Father, and which after- 
wards flows through Jesus Christ upon us. The in- 
fluence of St. Joseph is a participation of that of God the 
Father in His Son; while that of St. Peter and the other 
saints is a participation of the grace of Jesus Christ descend- 
ing on men, and distributing itself by measure among His 
members. That of St. Joseph is a participation, without 
measure, of the source which flows from God the Father 
into His Son; and God the Father, who loves us with the 
same love with which He loves this only Son, permits us 
to draw, to taste, to relish in St. Joseph the grace and the 
love with which He loves this Son. In the other saints, it 
is in part and by measure that He communicates it; here 
it is, without bounds or measure, because of what St. 
Joseph is, and because of that which God the Father be- 
stows on him as His universal image. This saint is the 
patron of sublime souls who are elevated to the purity and 
the sanctity of God, as well as of those who are intimately 
united to Jesus Christ, and to whom he communicates his 
tenderness for this loving Saviour; and, also, of such as 
are devoted to God the Father, of whom St. Joseph is a 
figure. He is a hidden saint whom God willed to hold in 
secret during his life, and for whom alone He has reserved 
the interior occupations, without partaking in the exterior 
_ cares of the Church; a saint whom God manifests in the 
depths of hearts, and whom He has Himself stamped for 


veneration in the interior of souls. And as St. Joseph de 
voted himself to God alone during his life, God reserves it 
to Himself to make him known, and to establish for him 
esteem, devotion, and veneration. As the image of the 
Eternal Father, who is the end of all prayer, and the 
object and end of all our religion, St. Joseph should 
be the universal tabernacle of the Church; and, for 
this reason, the soul interiorly united to Jesus Christ, 
and who enters into His ways and His dispositions, 
as long as it remains on earth, will be filled with love, with 
respect, and tenderness for St. Joseph, in imitation of Jesus 
Christ living upon earth; for such were the inclinations 
and dispositions of Jesus Christ. He went to love God 
the Father with tenderness in St. Joseph, and to adore 
Him under this living image, where He really abode. It 
is for us to follow this conduct, and to seek our Father in 
this saint. It is in him that we should go to see, to con- 
template, to adore, all the divine perfections, the assem- 
blage of which will make us perfect, even as our Father in 
heaven is perfect. We learn from this saint that we can 
resemble God the Father, and be perfect on earth as He is 
in heaven. - And because that, in God the Father, St 
Joseph is the source of all good and of all mercy, it is said 
of this saint, that we can ask nothing from him that we 
shall not obtain. 

§ IV. 
St. Joseph, Patron of Priests. 

It is especially for priests, in whom God abides in His 
plenitude and in His pure and virginal fecundity, to con- 
duct themselves after the model of the great St. Joseph, 
with regard to the children whom they spiritually em 


gender. This great saint conducted and directed the infant 
Jesus in the spirit of His Father, imitating His meekness, 
His wisdom, His prudence; and thus should we act towards 
all the members of Jesus Christ who are confided to us, 
and who are other Christs; we should, therefore, treat 
them with the same reverence as that of St. Joseph 
towards the Infant Jesus. Let us be superiors in God in 
regard to them, but inferiors in our persons like St. Joseph, 
who felt himself infinitely below Jesus Christ, although 
he had the direction of Him, and was set above Him, in 
*he name and place of the Eternal Father. Hence, we 
have chosen St. Joseph for one of the patrons of the sem- 
inary of St. Sulpice, as the saint whom our Lord has 
charged in heaven with the express care of priests, as He, 
in His goodness, has made known to me. The Blessed 
Virgin also gave me this great saint for my patron, assur- 
ing me that he was the patron of hidden souls, adding 
these words concerning him: “ J have nothing dearer, in. 
heaven or on earth, after my Son.” One day, while bear- 
ing our Lord to a sick person, I repeated to myself these 
words which came into my mind: “ Dux justi fuisti?— 
which reminded me that St. Joseph, having been the con- 
ductor of the Just, who is our Lord, I should represent 
him, in bearing the Son of God, with the same sentiments 
with which he had so often borne Him during his life.— 
From. the Autograph Manuscripts of the Ven. M. Olier. 


* st = * -* Ycxose for patron and intercessor 
the glorious St. Joseph, and recommended myself earnestly 
to him; and I acknowledge that at, and from that time, 
and on many occasions which concerned even my honor 
and my salvation, this great saint has afforded me more 
important and prompt assistance than I could have dared 
to ask of him. I do not remember, even to the present 
moment, ever having prayed him to grant me any favor 
which I have not obtained, neither can I think, without 
astonishment, of the graces which God has bestowed on 
me by his intercession, nor of the perils from which he 
has delivered me, both in soul and body. It seems that 
God accords to other saints the grace to succor us in cer- 
tain cases; but I know, by experience, that St. Joseph 
helps us in all things, as if our Lord would show to us, 
that as He was submissive to him. on earth, because he 
held for Him the place, and bore the name of His Father, 
He can refuse him nothing in heaven. 

Other persons, whom I have counselled to have recourse 
to him, have had a similar experience—many now have a 
great devotion for him, and I perceive every day more 
and more the truth of what Ihave just said. * * *- 
_*  * * My experience of the graces which God ac- 


cords through the intercession of this eminent saint, makes 
me wish to be able to persuade all the world to have a 
great devotion for him, for I never have known any one 
who had the true devotion, and who gave proof of it in his 
actions, who was not advanced by it in virtue. During 
many years, I do not remember having ever asked any 
thing on his festival which I have not obtained; and 
if there happened to be some imperfection in the aid which 
I implored of him, he repaired the fault, and caused it to 
succeed to my advantagess** * * * * * TI will, 
therefore, in these present circumstances, do no more 
than, in the name of God, entreat those who do not 
believe what I say to put it to the proof, and they will 
learn, by experience, how advantageous it is to recommend 
themselves to this great patriarch with a particular devo. 
tion. Persons given to mental prayer ought, it seems to 
me, to be warmly affectioned towards him; for I cannot 
comprehend how we can think of all the time that the Holy 
Virgin lived with Jesus Christ Infant, without gratitude to 
St. Joseph for the assistance which he rendered them; 
and those who have need of a director to instruct them in 
meditation need only take this admirable saint for their 
guide to avoid being led astray. May God grant that I 
am not misled myself in this my boldness, which I have 
indulged, thus to speak of, and publish the respect which I 
entertain for him, after having so often failed to serve and 
imitate him! My restoration to health was an effort of 
his power; I rose from my bed—I wa]ked—I ceased to 
be helpless:—and the bad use that I made of such a bless- 
ing was an effect of my little virtue—Zvtract from the 
Life of St.. Teresa by Herself. 








Z HE Blessed Virgin Mary, after her entrance 

into the temple, had made, in the presence 
of all the angelic hosts, a vow of chastity. This 
most chaste dove had renounced earthly attach- 
ments, and the love of all creatures, that she might 
yave no other spouse than God himself; but at 
he age of thirteen years and a half, it was mar. 1- 
fested to our sweet Lady in a vision, that she 
should enter into the marriage estate. “ The 
Lord tempted Abraham,” said “Moses, —and also 


the Lord tempted our august Mistress ; in wiich 
we discover the truth of these words: “The 
judgments of the Lord are incomprehensible, 
and His ways are above our ways.” The 
thoughts of the pure Mary were far removed 
from.those of the Most High, for she had desired 
and resolved to have no husband, so far as it de- 
pended upon her own will. 7 

The Lord spoke in a dream to the high-priest, 
who was St. Simeon, and commanded him to 
make preparations for the marriage of Mary, 
daughter of Joachim and Anna of Nazareth, 
and to convoke an assemblage of the other 
priests to deliberate upon the subject. St. 
Simeon obeyed the divine behest, and the as- 
sembled doctors, inspired by a celestial impulse, 
resolved, that in an affair upon which the Lord 
had declared His good pleasure, they ought to 
consult His holy will by praying, that He would 
manifest, by a sign, him who should be.the hus- 
band of Mary, and that he should be of the 
house and lineage of David, that the law might 
be fulfilled. They therefore resolved to appoint 
a day when all the young men of this family, 
present in Jerusalem, should be invited to as- 
semble in the temple. It was’ precisely the day 
on which our,blessed Lady had attained her 
fourteenth year. 


he resolved anew to observe it, resigning him- 
self to the divine will even to the end of his 
life. But this did not prevent him from enter- 
taining for the virtuous maiden veneration and 
esteem beyond any of his compeers. 

All were engaged in prayer, when they 
saw blossoms burst forth from the rod borne 
by Joseph, and at the same instant a beautiful 
dove was seen to descend, which alighted on 
the head of the saint. The Lord, at the same 
moment, spoke to him interiorly, and said: 
“Joseph, my servant, Mary shall become your 
spouse, receive her with assiduity and respect, 
for she is very agreeable in my eyes; she is 
good and most pure in body and mind, and 
you will do all that she will tell you.” The 
priests, upon this sign from heaven, determined 
to give St.. Joseph to Mary for her husband. 
They then called for her, who was more excel- 
lent than the sun, more beautiful than the 
moon, and she appeared with a majesty more 
than angelic; with a loveliness, modesty, and 
grace incomparable; and the priests espoused 
her to Joseph, the most chaste and the most 
holy of men. The august Mary, with mingled 
modesty and tenderness, took leave of the 
priests and of her mistress,—asking pardon of 
her companions, and expressing her grateful 


sense of all the kindness she had received from 
them; then, accompanied by many of the 
most distinguished ministers of the temple, she 
departed with her saintly spouse for Nazareth, 
the country of the newly-married pair, where 
lay the possessions of the blessed parents of 
our sweet Lady. 

On their arrival, they were received and vis- 
ited by all their relatives and friends, with the 
usual rejoicings on similar occasions; and hay- 
ing religiously acquitted themselves of all those 
duties which custom commanded in their inter- 
course with the world, our holy spouses at length 
found themselves alone in their house. It was 
a custom among the Jews, that the newly es- 
poused, during the first days of their union, 
should study together their natural inclinations, 
in order to promote their future peace. 

On one of these days, St. Joseph said to his 
spouse Mary: “TI give thanks to the Most High 
God for having granted me the favor to elisa 
me for your husband, when I did not in the 
least merit this honor, and when I believed 
myself unworthy to bear you company. But 
His Divine Majesty, who can, when He will, 
uplift the poor, has showed His mercy towards 
me. I desire that you will aid me with your 
_ goodness and your virtues in offering Him my 


thanksgivings. In all that regards His serv- 
ice, I will be your servant. I pray you to 
supply my deficiencies in those qualities which 
I have not, but which, as your husband, I ought 
to possess. Only make me know your wishes, 
that I may fulfil them.” 

His most holy consort replied to the saint: 
“T am well pleased, that the Most High, having 
destined me for marriage, has had the good- 
ness to choose you for my husband and my 
master, and, with your permission, I will now 
express the thoughts and intentions which I 
wish to impart to you on this subject.” 

The prevenient grace of the Most High in- 
flamed anew the heart of St. Joseph with His 
divine love. “Speak,” he said, “for thy serv- 
ant heareth.” The Queen of the universe was 
attended by her thousand angels; for the most 
pure Mary comprehended the respect and atten- 
tion to be observed in conversation with her 
spouse; and that she might have more abund- 
ant grace and merits, the Lord had continued in 
her the reserve and fear that she had in speak- 
ing alone with a man, which had never before 
happened to her, except, it might be in some 
casual encounter with the chief-priest. The 
august Virgin then said to St. Joseph: “ It is 
just that we offer thanks, and give glory and 



praise to our God and Creator, who has made 
His mercy to shine upon us, in choosing us for 
His service. In my most tender youth, I con- 
secrated myself to God by a vow which I made, 
to be, during all my life, chaste in body and 
mind, and my desire to preserve my faith to 
Him is unchangeable. I trust that you will 
help me to fulfil this vow, and in all things 
else I will be your servant. Accept, my hus- 
band, this holy resolution, and confirm it by 
your own, so that we may obtain the eternal 
joys for which we aspire.” 

The chaste Joseph, filled with joy, replied: 
“In declaring to me your chaste thoughts and 
holy resolutions, you have penetrated and 
opened my heart, which, until you had revealed 
your own, I was unwilling to uncover. The 
Lord called me, also, at an early age, that I 
should love Him with an upright mind. Know, 
then, that in my twelfth year I, too, made a 
promise to serve God in perpetual chastity. I 
now renew this vow, and, with His grace, I will 
be your faithful servant, and I pray you to 
receive my chaste affections, and to regard me 
as your brother,” 

During this conversation the Most High con- 
firmed anew in the heart of St. J oseph the vir-l 
tue of chastity, and the pure and holy love 


which he should bear to the blessed Virgin, his 
spouse. Thus he was possessed by this love in 
an eminent degree, and our august Queen aug- 
mented it, and enraptured his heart by her con- 
versation. By this divine assistance the holy 
spouses enjoyed inexpressible consolation. The | 
august Queen promised to second the desires of 
St. Joseph, and the Most High imbued him with 
such an exalted purity, and such an absolute 
control of his passions, that he served his con- 
sort without obstacle, and with a grace as admi- 
rable as it was extraordinary. In serving her, 
he followed the will and the good pleasure of 
the Lord. 

They made a division of the effects which 
St. Joachim and St. Anna had left to their bless- 
ed child. One part was offered to the temple, 
where she had been educated; the second was 
devoted to the service of the poor, and the 
third was placed at the disposal of St. Joseph. 
For herself, our Queen reserved only thie care to 
serve and employ herself within the house, for 
she dispensed herself always from the affairs of 
buying and selling. 

In his youth St. Joseph had learned the car- 
penter’s trade, as being one of the most useful 
to gain a livelihood, for he was without proper- 
ty. He inquired of his saintly spouse if she 


would consent that he should practise this trade 
to gain something for the poor, and also as a 
means to avoid idleness. The most prudent 
Virgin consented, and reminded St. Joseph that 
it was not the will of God they should be rich, 
but poor, and protectors of the poor, so far as 
their abilities permitted. After this, the two 
holy spouses had an humble dispute, in which 
each wished to obey the other as superior. But 
the most humble Mary, who was the humblest 
of the humble, was victorious in her humility, 
_and the man being the head, she would not per- 
mit the order of nature to be reversed. She 
therefore obtained the consent of her husband 
to receive her obedience in all things. She 
asked only permission to give alms to the poor, 
to which the saint consented. 

During these first days, St. Joseph, by a new 
light from above, had penetrated the character 
of his spouse. Her rare prudence, her pro- 
found humility, her incomparable purity, and 
her possession of every virtue beyond all 
that he could have hoped, enraptured him with 
admiration. With g spirit full of joy, and his 
heart inflamed with ardent affection, he ceased 
not to praise the Lord, and to offer Him thanks 
for having bestowed on him so unmerited a 
treasure. ‘The Lord had also so ordered, 


that the Queen of Heaven, by her mien and by 
her presence, inspired her spouse with such 
mingled sentiments of reverence and respect, 
that we find no terms to express them. To the 
eyes of St. Joseph a radiant splendor shone 
from the lineaments of our Lady, like that of 
Moses when he descended from the mount. 

Afterwards, in a vision, the blessed Virgin 
heard these words: ‘You perceive how faith- 
ful I am in my promises: the companionship of 
my servant Joseph will aid you to preserve the 
laws of my spouse; obey him as you ought, 
and be careful of his happiness.” She replied: 
‘With the divine favor and help, I will obey 
Thy servant Joseph, and serve him.” 

Their marriage had been celebrated on the 
8th of September, and until the 25th of March, 
when the Word became Incarnate, the two 
spouses had lived in such wise that the Most 
High prepared them for the work for which 
they had been chosen. ) 

But let us pause to express our joy on wit 
nessing the fortunate destiny of the happiest 
among mortals, St. Joseph. Whence comes to 
thee, O man of God, so eminent a benediction, 
that among all the children of Adam it can be 
said of thee alone that God has been so encirely 
thine that He was taken for thy Son? The 


eternal Father gives thee His daughter; the Son — 
places His own Mother in thy charge; the Holy 
Spirit confides to thee His Spouse, and places 
thee in His stead, and the Holy Trinity gives 
thee His elect, His only one, fer thy lawful 
spouse. Great saint, dost thou then comprehend 
all thy dignity? dost thou fathom all thy great- 
ness? Dost thou know that she whom thou 
hast just received as thy wife is Queen and Mis- 
tress of heaven and earth, and that thou art the 
depositary of the inestimable treasures of God 
himself? Behold, O man of God, the precious 
pledge thou hast, and know that if thou dost 
not render the Angels and the Seraphim envious, 
thy happiness, and the wonderful mystery of 
thine espousals excite their wondering admira- 
tion. For such joys and favors receive congratu- 
lations in the name of the whole human race. 
For thou art the spouse of her who has only 
God above her. Thou shalt be powerful and 
happy among men and angels. Be mindful of 
our poverty and wretchedness, and of me, mis- 
erable worm of the earth, for I desire to be thy 
faithful servant, and to be enriched and favored 
by thy powerful protection, 


The Priest Simeon summoned the chaste 
Mary, in order to make known to her this reso- 
 Jution. It was nime days before that on which 
their designs were to be put in execution. Du- 
ring this time the most blessed Virgin redoubled 
her prayers, her tears, and sighs, for the accom- 
plishment of the will of God in an event which 
caused her the greatest pain. The Lord con- 
soled her, saying: ‘‘ I will give you a spouse who 
will not oppose your holy desires, but who will 
rather, by the help of my grace, confirm them. 
I will choose him for you perfect, and according 
to my own heart, and I will elect him for you 
from among my servants.” The holy angels 
also consoled her, saying: “The Most High 
will guide you in the way which is the best, the 
most perfect, the most holy.” 
Joseph was born at Nazareth ; nevertheless, 
by the disposition of the Most High, he had 
come to dwell in Jerusalem, because of certain 
reverses of fortune, which resulted so favorably 
for bim that he had the happiness to become 
the spouse of her whom God had chosen to 
be His own Mother, under the circumstances . 
that we are about to relate. 
The day appointed by the priests arrived. 
Our blessed Lady had completed the fourteenth 
* year of her age. The young men of the tribe cf 
te 5 

woes Ping act 

v get 
ri BM g 


Judah, and of the family of David, from whom 
the august Mary was descended, who were in the 
City of Jerusalem, were assembled. Joseph, ori- 
ginally of Nazareth, but now an inhabitant of 
the holy city, was invited to be with them, 
because he, too, was of that royal race. He 
was then thirty-three years of age, well made, 
and possessed of an agreeable physiognomy, 
which expressed an incomparable modesty. 
He was indeed as chaste in his thoughts and 
deeds, as in his inclinations; and having made 
a vow of chastity when but twelve years old, 
his life was pure and irreproachable before 
God and man. He was related to the Virgin 
Mary in the third degree. | 
Inspired by the Most High, the chief-priest 
placed in the hands of each of these young 
men a dry rod, in order that by this means the 
Lord should manifest him whom he had chosen 
to be the husband of Mary. All united their 
prayers to those of the priests, for none were 
ignorant of the virtues and modesty of this 
holy maiden, nor of the reputation of her 
beauty, and her possessions, as an only child; 
and each desired to make her his wife. Joseph 
alone, the most humble, the most pious among 
them, deemed himself unworthy of so great a 
boon; and, calling to mind his vow of chastity, 


pany and serve you. Determine, then, the 
day of departure.” 

The blessed Virgin thanked her prudent 
spouse for the affection which he manifested 
for her, and they decided to set out imme- 
diately for the house of Elizabeth. St. Joseph 
prepared provisions for the journey,—some 
fruit, bread, and a few small fishes, which he 
purchased. He had also a little beast of bur- 
den, which was lent him to carry his provi- 
sions, and his spouse, the Queen of all that is 
created. With this equipage they set out for 
Judea. They had scarcely left their house, when 
our Queen, kneeling before St. Joseph, asked 
his blessing, in order to begin the day in the 
name of the Lord. The saint hesitated, for, by 
long experience, he knew the excellence of his 
spouse, but the holy and sweet importunities 
of the august Mary conquered, and he blessed 
her in the name of the Most High.» 

“At that time,” saith the sacred text, “ Mary, 
rising up, went into the hill country with haste, 
into a city of Judea.” Now the chaste spouses, 
Mary and Joseph, having left their father’s 
house, and forgotten their people, took their 
way towards the house of Zachariah, among 
the hills of Judea, distant twenty-seven leagues 
from Nazareth. The roads were rough, and 


they possessed no means of transport except 
such as were afforded by their little animal; 
nevertheless the most humble and modest of 
creatures, Mary, prayed St. Joseph to use it for 
himself. . The discreet spouse would not, by 
any means, consent to this; but in complais- 
ance, he allowed her from time to time to go on 
foot with him, requesting her with great respect 
not to refuse him this gratification; and the 
Queen of heaven obeyed. 

They continued their journey in these hum- 
ble debates, and thus they so well employed 
their time, that there was not a moment which 
was not filled by some act of virtue. They 
walked alone, but the angels assisted them in 
all things; yet they were visible only to the 
august Mary. Occasionally she conversed with 
these angels, and the most pure heart of our 
sweet Lady was kindled anew with divine love. 
St. Joseph contributed to all this by his discreet 
silence, concentrating his thoughts within, and 
yielding himself to sublime contemplations.. 
At other times the spouses conversed together 
upon many things regarding the salvation of 
their souls, the coming of the Messiah, the pro- 
phecies which the ancient fathers had received 
on this point, and other mysteries and secrets of 
the Most High. 


During this journey there happened to St. 
Joseph something which excited his wonder. 
Inspired by a special grace, he bore to his 
spouse a most tender and holy love, and the 
saint, being of a noble nature, amiable, agreea- 
ble and obliging, was inclined to an ever watch- 
ful care for her. Now, as the Queen of 
heaven carried in her virginal bosom the Incar- 
nate Word, the saint was sensible that, through 
the words and conversation of his spouse, new 
impressions were made upon his soul, but of 
the cause he was ignorant. He found himself 
more and more inflamed by divine love, and in 
a higher knowledge of those mysteries which 
formed the subjects of their conversation; and 
the further they advanced on their way and in 
their discussions, the more these favors were 
augmented. He felt also that the words of his 
spouse served as the organ, by means of which 
these favors were communicated to him. It 
was not possible that the discreet St. Joseph 
should not reflect upon this new and wonderful 
influence. But although it would have afforded 
him, filled as he was with wonder, the greatest 
gratification, without curiosity, to have been 
informed of the cause of it, his modesty was 
such that he could not venture to ask to be en- 
lightened. . 



Our blessed Lady penetrated the thought of 
her spouse, but, ignorant of the way by which 
God would conduct this mystery, her great 
prudence and her own discretion taught her, 
although she had no command from the Lord to 
conceal it, how good it was to guard the secret 
of the most sublime of all mysteries. She 
therefore concealed it, without making it known 
to her spouse either on this occasion, or after- 
wards, during the interior pains which St, 
Joseph suffered on this account. What admira- 
ble prudence! Our sweet Lady prayed to God 
for the saint, imploring the divine assistance, of 
which she forsaw he would have need, and of 
which we shall treat in the following chapter. 

This was the first journey which the Incarnate 
Word made in this world, four days after his 
entrance into it. Our blessed Lady thus served 
as a car for the true Solomon (Cant. iii. 9). 
This journey lasted four days, during which our 
holy travellers, besides those interior virtues 
which have God for their object, performed 
many acts of charity towards their neighbors, 
The blessed Virgin cured, among others, a poor 
sick girl, in a village through which she passed, 
on the first day of her departure. 

At length the august Mary and her spouse 
Joseph arrived at the city of Judea, which was 


then inhabited by Elizabeth and Zachariah. 
This city was distant, as I have said, twenty- 
seven leagues from Nazareth, and about two 
leagues from Jerusalem, near the spot where the 
torrent of Sorec has its source. It was after. 
wards entirely ruined, but the Lord does not 
permit the memory of places so venerable to be 
altogether lost. The Visitation was made at 
the same place where these divine mysteries are 
now honored by the faithful who dwell in Pal- 
estine, and by pilgrims who go there to offer 
their devotions. 

St. Joseph went on before to give notice to 
the inmates of the house, and, having knocked 
_at the door, he saluted them, saying: ‘“ May the 
Lord be with you, and fill your souls with His 
divine grace.” St. Elizabeth had been already 
warned of their coming, for the same Lord had 
. revealed to her that her cousin Mary of Naza- 
reth was on her way to visit her. Now, having 
heard of her arrival, she came forth quickly, 
with others of her family, to receive the holy 
Virgin, who saluted her first, saying: “ The 
Lord be with you, my dear cousin.” ‘“ And may 
the same Lord,” replied Elizabeth, “reward you 
for having taken the trouble to give me this conso- 

The two cousins having retired together, it 



was then that the great mystery of the sanctifi- 
cation of Jolin Baptist was operated ; but those 
facts do not belong to this history. Coming out 
of their retreat, ‘in the dusk of the evening, St. 
Elizabeth, who was informed of the happiness 
of the chaste St. Joseph, of which he was him- 
self ignorant, bestowed upon him every mark — 
of esteem and veneration. 

After the saint had passed three days in the 
house of Zachariah, he asked permission of his 
blessed spouse to return to Nazareth. He took 
ieave, with the promise to return and reconduct 
our sweet Lady when she should express her 
wishes, St. Elizabeth offered him presents 
praying him to accept them, but he received 
only a few things, because this man of God was 
not only a lover of poverty, but he had also a 
magnanimous and generous heart. He then 
took the road to Nazareth with the little beast 
that he had borrowed. Having arrived at his 
house, he was served there, in the absence of his 
spouse, by a relative who lived near,—the same 
who had been accustomed to bring them sup- 
plies from without, when the holy Lady was 

After having passed three months, less two 
days,* in the house of Zachariah, in the midst 

* In counting' eight days after the Word was incarnate, the 


of events and prodigies which do not belong to 
this history,* the august Mary thought of de- 
parture. St. Joseph, having been notified by 
St. Elizabeth, left Nazareth to recondict his 
spouse to her home. On his arrival at the house 
of Zachariah, he was received with the highest 
marks of respect, for the holy priest already 
knew that the great patriarch was the deposi- 
tary of the mysteries and the treasures of 
heaven. The blessed Virgin received him with 
discreet demonstrations of joy, and having 
placed herself on her knees before him, accord- 
ing to her custom, she asked his benediction. 
After he had taken some repose, they fixed on 
the day of departure. Their adieux being 
made, the happy patriarch, joyous again to pos- 
sess his treasure, although he knew not as yet 
its full value, set out for Nazareth. The blessed 
Virgin, as usual, asked his blessing, and, pur- 
suing their way, in four days they reached their 
place of destination. During their route, the 
same effects attended their divine colloquies as 
those which have been already indicated. 

holy Virgin and St. Joseph arrived the second of April, towards 
evening, at the house of Zachariah. If we add three months, 
less two days, which should commence the third of April, we 
come to the first of July inclusively, which is the eighth day 
after the birth of John Baptist, and that of his circumcision. 

* All these details will be found in the Cité Mystique of Maria 


The discreet Mary perceived that she could 
not long conceal her condition from her chaste 
and faithful spouse. But the Lord guided all 
by means the most conducive to His glory, and 
0 obtain merits for St. Joseph and the Virgin 
Mother. For this reason He did not make 
known to them His good pleasure. On their 
journey, the august Queen met with a woman 
who had once been virtuous, but who, tempted 
by the devil, was led into sin, and afterwards 
possessed by him. As soon as our blessed Lady 
saw her, she discovered her malady, and, using 
her queenly power, commanded the evil spirit 
to depart from the woman, and, having deliver- 
ed her from the consequences of her sin, she 
obtained for her the gift of perseverance. 

Our holy travellers arrived one day at a hos- 
_ telry, the master of which was of a vicious dis- 
position, and led a disorderly life. The Lord or- 
dained, as the preparation for his coming happi- 
ness, that he should receive the august Mary and 
St. Joseph with marks of benevolence and con- 
sideration. He bestowed attentions and rendered 
them services beyond those he was accustomed 
to offer to other strangers. Our Queen, who 
knew the depraved state of his conscience, offer- 
ed prayers for her host, and procured the justifi- 
cation of his soul, and the amendment of his life, 



At length they reached Nazareth, when the 
Queen of heaven, assisted by the holy angels 
put her house in order. St. Joseph occupiec 
himself as usual, for the subsistence of our Lady, 
and she did nothing to damp the hopes of her 
spouse. After her return home, Lucifer tempt- 
ed the august Mary in every way, but he was 
vanquished with all his infernal legions, and 
precipitated into the depths of hell. While the 
Lord had permitted Lucifer to show himself, 
this enemy had contrived to sow discord among 
the neighbors of St. Joseph. They came to- 
gether, aud, having called for the innocent Mary, 
they accused her in the presence of her hus- 
band, and in the bitterest terms, of troubling 
the peace of their families. This reproach was 
keenly felt by our queen, because of the pain 
which it caused to her spouse, for he had be- 
gun to remark something of her condition; and 
already suffered anxiety and trouble on this 
account, as we shall see in the following chap- 
ter. Now, the demon, ignorant of the real 
cause of this trouble, strove to plant the seeds 
of discontent within the bosom of St. Joseph, so 
as to make him impatient of his poverty; rep- 
resenting to him at the same time that his spouse 
Mary remained too long in her retreat and devo- 
tions, and that she was idle. But St. Joseph 


being of an upright and magnanimous heart, 
and of great perfection, despised these diabvli- 
cal inventions, and utterly rejected them. Be- 
sides, his internal suffering regarding the state 
of his spouse occupied him so exclusively, that 
it obliged him to forget every other. The Lord 
delivered him from this temptation by the inter- 
cession of the Holy Virgin, leaving only that of 
which we are about to speak in the following 





T’ was about five months since the eternal 
Word had become incarnate in the chaste 
bosom of the Virgin Mary, when St. Joseph be- 
gan to observe indications of it, and to entertain 
suspicions. It was the more apparent, because 
_ the proportions of her pure form were so perfect,. 
that the least change was perceptible. Deeply 
concerned and anxious, St. Joseph, as he one 
day observed her.coming forth from her oratory, 
perceived that it was no longer possible to 
doubt the testimony of his own eyes. The heart 
of the man of God was penetrated with profound 
sorrow, and he was unable to resist the harrow- 
ing reflections that tormented his spirit. 

It may not be without utility or interest. to 
notice some of these reflections, which increased 
the violence of his great affliction. In the first 



place, he entertained a most chaste and sincere 
love for his faithful spouse, to whom, since the 
commencement of their union, he had devoted 
all the tenderness of his heart. Besides, his de- 
sire to serve her was augmented from day to 
day by the unequalled holiness and attractive 
manners of our blessed Lady. Our saint, there- 
fore, was impelled, by a desire natural to his 
love, to find a response to it on her part. The 
Lord so ordered it, that, from this same desire, 
the holy Joseph was still more careful to serve 
and respect our blessed Mistress. 

Thus St. Joseph fulfilled with great zeal his 
obligations as a most faithful husband and guard- 
ian of the mystery which, as yet, was hidden 
from him. But the more assiduous he was to 
serve, to honor his spouse while bearing for her 
a love, so pure, chaste, holy, and just, the more 
eager was his desire that she should reciprocate 
his affection. Nevertheless he did not disclose 
this internal conflict; either because of the re- 
spect produced by the humble majesty of his 
spouse, or because in witnessing the discreet de- 
portment of Mary—her sweet converse, and her 
more than angelic purity—the revelation would 
have been too painful. 

At the view of what was become so evident, 
he was lost in amazement. Still, though con: ~ 


vinced, he would not allow his imagination tc 
go beyond appearances. Being a just and holy 
man, and seeing the fact, he suspended his judg- 
ment without entering into the cause. What an 
example for us! It is most probable that if he 
had been convinced of the culpability of his 
wife, the violence of his grief would have put 
an end to his existence. In the second place, 
his reflections reminded him that he had had no 
agency in this condition which was but too 
apparent. Dishonor was inevitable when it 
should become known; and, as St. Joseph was 
of a generous and noble heart, this apprehen- 
sion gave him great pain. Besides, he considered, 
with rare prudence, the affliction that their own 
infamy would bring upon them if the matter 
came to be divulged. 

But that which caused the greatest grief of 
all to the holy spouse, was the fear that his wife 
would be stoned, according to the law which 
ordered this punishment; for he could not make 
himself an accomplice to hide the crime, if it 
existed. All these considerations pierced the 
heart of St. Joseph with the deepest grief, in 
which he found no consolation except in the ir- 
reproachable conduct of his spouse. Still, on the 
other hand, though appearances convinced him, 
he could neither find means of excuse, nor even 


dare to communicate the subject of his grief to 
any human being. Our saint was then like one 
environed by the sorrows of death, and he felt 
the force of the words ‘Jealousy is as cruel as hell.” 

He would have sought some alleviation for his 
pains in spiritual consolation, but grief suspend- 
ed the powers of his soul. If his reason in- 
clined to follow the suspicions suggested by his 
senses, the reflections that he made on the tried 
holiness of his most wise and prudent spouse 
caused them to vanish like ice in the heat of the 
sun, or smoke before the wind. If he strove to 
_check the affections of his chaste love, it was im- 
possible, since he found his spouse always more 
worthy of being loved. And although the truth 
was concealed from him, she had more power to 
attract, than the seeming deception of her infi- 
delity to repel him. The sacred ties of love 
could not be rent asunder, because they reposed 
on the solid foundations of truth, reason, and 

Our saint did not then judge it expedient to 
declare his grief to his blessed spouse: added 
to this, the gravity, ever equal and divinely 
humble, which he saw in her, did not permit 
him to take this hberty; for, although he saw 
marks s>? unequivocal, a conduct so pure and 
holy as hers could ill accord with infidelity, 


Such a fault could not in any manner he compat- 
ible with so much purity, holiness and discre- 
tion; nor with that assemblage of graces whose 
growth was each day more visible in the august 

In these perplexities the saintly husband ad- 
dressed himself to God in prayer. Placing him- 
self in His presence, ‘Eternal God and my 
Lord,” he said, “my desires and my groanings 
are not hidden from Thy divine Majesty. I find 
myself struggling with violent agitations, I have 
given my heart to the spouse which I received 
from Thy hands, I have trusted in her purity, 
but the strange appearances which I discover in 
her cast me into the most afflicting perplexity. 
It would be rash to think that she had been un- 
faithful and had offended Thee, seeing in her 
such great purity and so eminent a holiness. It 
is, nevertheless, impossible to deny the evidence 
of my senses, and sorrow must destroy me un- 
less there be here some mystery that I have not 
discovered. Reason exculpates, but the senses 
condemn her. I see plainly that she conceals 
from me the cause of her condition. What shall 
Ido? Isuspend my judgment, ignorant of the 
cause of what I see. Receive, O God of Abra- 
ham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, my sighs and my 
tears, as an acceptable sacrifice. I cannot believe 



that Mary has offended Thee; but, also, being 
her husband, I cannot presume the existence of 
any mystery of which I can be unworthy.” 

Saint Joseph persevered in his suyplications 
and united with them many other affections and 
prayers. He thought there must be in all this 
some mystery, but his humility hindered him 
from being assured on this point. All the rea: 
sons that presented themselves in favor of the ho- 
liness of our most sweet Lady, contributed only 
to persuade him that she had committed no fault. 
At the same time the saint never thought of her 
being the mother of the Messiah, for he could not 
have believed himself worthy to be her spouse. 

Sometimes he suspended his suspicions, at 
others appearances augmented them. Some- 
times he was overwhelmed by agitation; some- 
times in an aching calm, without power to resolve 
or to believe any thing. He could neither van- 
quish his doubts nor appease his heart, nor find 
that certitude of which he had so much need, to 
regulate his conduct and to calm his mind. And 
thus it was that the sufferings of the Holy Patri- 
arch were so cruel. They serve as evident proofs 
of his incomparable prudence and sanctity, and 
they gained him such merits before God as to 
render him worthy of the favors he was uw 
to receive. 


Through the knowledge and iafused light 
which she possessed, our blessed Lady saw all . 
that passed in the breast of St. Joseph. But, 
though filled with tenderness and compassion for 
the sufferings of her spouse, she spoke not on 
the subject of his pain, but contented herself to 
serve him with submission and exactitude, be- 
cause it was not proper to disclose the secret of 
the great King, without an express command 
from the Lord. 

During this period, while he was in ignorance 
of the mystery of his spouse, St. Joseph thought 
it his duty to maintain his superiority, yet with 
great moderation. In this he imitated the an- 
cient Patriarchs, from whom he would not de- 
generate, whose wives were very submissive, 
Although just and good, he therefore allowed 
himself to be served and honored by the blessed 
Virgin after their espousals, preserving in all 
things his authority as chief, which he sweet: 
ened by his rare humility and great prudence. 
And he would have had cause for this if our 
Lady had been like other women. On her part, 
the august Mary was most submissive ard obe- 
dient to her husband, and, although she was 
above all, none ever equalled her in these. She 
served her spouse with an incomparable respect 
and promptitude, and thus she gave oppor: 


tunities to our saint, while she served him at 
the table, or occupied herself in other domes- 
tic affairs, to observe her closely, and, to the 
great affliction of his soul, assure himself more 
positively of the truth. It was impossible that 
in her actions the signs of her condition should 
not be more evident, but this did not hinder her 
in hertasks. She desired neither to excuse nor to 
justify herself, because this would not have ac- 
corded with the truth, nor with her angelical can- 
dor, nor with the grandeur and generosity of her 
most noble heart; and the pains of St. Joseph 
found no alleviation. The queen of heaven 
could easily have alleged the truth of her irre- 
proachable innocence—have exculpated herself, 
and relieved St. Joseph of his pain by disclosing 
the mystery, but she would not hazard the jus- | 
tification of so mysterious a truth upon her own 
testimony, and, with great wisdom, she aban- 
doned herself to the Divine Providence. She 
strove to console and please him in all things, 
often asking what he would have her to do. 
Many times she served him on her knees, and 
although these loving ways might in some sort 
console the saintly spouse, they gave him, a!so, 
additional causes of affliction in considering the 
many motives to love and esteem her who 
plunged him in such perplexity. 


St. Joseph could not entirely conceal his 
grief: thus he often found himself pensive, 
sad, and in reverie. Pre-occupied by his sor- 
rows, he sometimes spoke to his spouse with more 
harshness than formerly. But this was neither 
from indignation nor vengeance, for he had no 
such thought—it was merely the effect insepara- 
ble from a wounded heart. Our most prudent 
Lady, on her part, changed nothing in her sweet 
- manners; on the contrary, she took greater pains 
than ever to comfort her spouse. She served 
him at table, or offered him a seat. Without 
doubt, this painful season was one of those which 
most exercised not only St. Joseph but our 
blessed Lady. Our incomparable queen offered 
continual supplications for her spouse to the 
Most High, that He would vouchsafe to regard 
and console him. In order better to understand 
the profound humility and the sublime wisdom 
of the august Mary in these circumstances, it 
should be understood that the Lord had not 
commanded her to keep the secret of the mys- 
tery of the incarnation. He did not even dis- 
close His will on this point with as much clear- 
ness as in other matters. It seemed that the 
Lord left all to the wisdom and to the divine 
virtues of His Elected one. 

Thus the divine Providence gave caccasion to 


the most pure Mary, and to her most faithful 
spouse, to exercise by heroic actions, each ac- 
cording to their capacity, the virtues and gifts 
which He had allotted them. He was pleased, 
thus to say, to witness the faith, the hope, the 
love, the humility of these upright hearts in 
the midst of so poignant an affliction. The 
Lord seemed deaf, according to our manner of 
speaking, for His greater glory, in order to give 
to the world this example of sanctity and pru- 
dence. He waited until the proper time to 
speak wascome. Let us understand from this the 
designs of God and His secret ways with the 
souls whom He cherishes, and whom He would 
render capable to receive His favors and His 
gifts. We ought to use every effort, and employ 
all our care to acquire efficaciously a true resigna- 
tion to this divine Providence. If men only 
knew the loving care of this Father of mercy, 
they would be happy to forget themselves, 
and cease to plunge into cares at once burden- 
some, useless, and dangerous. It is of the utmost 
importance to the creature to let himself be 
guided by the hand of the Lord, because men 
are ignorant of His operations, and the ends to 
which they are to be led by them. 

If God were susceptible of being touched like 
men, by pain or jealousy, He would suffer, in 


perceiving that His own creatures desire to seek 
the least thing in any other than himself. The 
Lord regards the actions of men; He corrects 
their faults with love; He foresees their desires ; 
He protects them in danger; He fortifies them in 
their trials; He assists them in afflictions. None 
can resist Him, or hinder His will. Ile executes 
what He can; He can execute all that He wills, 
and He will give himself entirely to the just 
who is in His grace and confides in Him alone. 
Who can conceive the greatness and the nature 
of the gifts which He pours into hearts disposed 
to receive them! 

Let us leave all to His providence, for the Most 
High will give us whatever is most sure and ne- 
eessary for our salvation. Except the pains which 
the august Mary endured from those which 
were suffered by her most Holy Son, the most 
severe of all her life were caused by the afflic- 
tions and perplexities of St. Joseph in the cir- 
cumstances which we have just related. 




Gr JOSEPH endeavored to calm the painful 
agitations of his heart by doing his utmost - 
remove the conviction of his mind respecting 
the condition of his wife. But the indications 
which became every day more visible in her 
holy person served only to confirm it. The 
further our Lady advanced, the more amiable, 
vigorous, active and heansiful she became; and 
ba sryineii charms attracted his chaste de | 
without entirely allaying these conflicting c. 
sions. At length all hesitation was at an end ; 
he could no longer entertain a doubt of the 
evidence. His ee was conformed to the will 
of God; nevertheless, through the weakness of 
.the dosh, his spirit was exceedingly sorrowful, 
and nothing remained to dissipate his sadness, 
He felt his bodily strength diminish—and, al- 


though no particular malady manifested itself, 
he grew thin, and his countenance bore the 
marks of deep affliction. And as he preserved 
silence, not seeking consolation elsewhere, (as 
men usually do,) the sufferings of the saint were 
naturally more intense. 

The heart of the gentle Mary was penetrated 
by a sorrow not less profound; but she resolved 
to redouble her cares for the health of her 
spouse. She continued to conceal the mystery 
which she had no command to disclose, in order 
to honor and to preserve the secret of the celes- 
tial King. So far as regarded herself, she left 
nothing undone to promote his comfort—en- 
treating him to remind her of any thing which 
might contribute to restore his declining health. 
She besought him to repose himself, and to 
partake of some little refreshment; for it was 
but right to supply the wants of the body, in 
order to obtain strength to labor for the Lord. 

St. Joseph, attentive to every movement of 
his spouse, and sensible of the holy effects of 
her conversation and presence, said within him- 
“self: “Is it possible that a woman so holy, in 
whom the grace of God is so perceptible, can 
cast me into such perplexity? What can I 
find to equal her, if [ leave her? Where find 
censolation, if she fail me? Dut all these 



trouble me even less than the infamy that may 
result from this unhappy affair; or that I should 
give cause to believe that I have been the 
accomplice of acrime. If I make myself the 
author of her condition, it will be a falsehood 
unworthy of an honorable man, and opposed to 
my conscience and my reputation. In such a 
state of embarrassment what shall Ido? The 
least evil that can happen is to absent myself— 
to leave the house.” | 

Our blessed Lady, being sincerely afflicted 
by the resolution which her spouse’ had just 
taken, addressed herself to the angels of her 
guard, “You,” she said, “who obey with 
promptitude all the commands of the Lord, 
listen now to my prayers. Prevent my spouse, 
I conjure you, from executing this intention 
which he has made to absent himself from me.” 
The angels obeyed their queen, and silently con- 
veyed many holy inspirations to the heart of 
St. Joseph. They persuaded him anew of the 
sanctity and perfection of his spouse—that God 
was incomprehensible in His works, and im- 
penetrable in His judgments, and that He was 
inost faithful to those who trust in Him. 

The agitated spirit of St. Joseph was some- 
what soothed by these inspirations, although he 
knew not from whence they came, nor by what 


order he received them. Yet as the cause of 
his grief remained, he always sank again into 
sadness, and returned to his first resolution to 
desert his spouse. Then our blessed Lady ad- 
dressed herself directly to her Son whom she 
bore in her virginal bosom. “It would not be 
becoming,” said she, “ that thy servant should be 
without a husband who assists and shelters her 
from calumnies: do not permit him to execute 
his design to abandon me.” The Most High 
replied: ‘I will speedily console my servant 
Joseph, and after I shall have declared to him, 
through my angel, the mystery of which he is 
ignorant, you may speak with him concerning 
it. I will fill him with my spirit, and enable 
him to accomplish all that he should do in these 
mysteries. He shall aid and assist you under 
all circumstances.” 

The august Mary comprehended how im- 
portant it was that St. Joseph should have to 
endure this affliction, by which his spirit was 
exercised and prepared for the great charge that 
was to be confided to him. He had now passed 
two months of suffering, and, overcome by his 
apprehensions, he exclaimed: ‘I find no remedy 
for my grief but absence. I acknowledge that 
my spouse is perfect, but it is not possible for 
me to penetrate the mystery of her conditicn, 


and I will not insult her virtue by subjecting 
her to the penalties-of the law. I will depart 
forthwith.” The saint resolved to set out during 
the night. He therefore prepared a small packet 
of clothing. Having received a trifling sum of 
money which was due to him for work, he deter- 
mined to leave the house after midnight. But as 
he was accustomed to meditate, he reflected on 
the importance of the undertaking. “Great 
God,” he exclaimed, “of our fathers Abraham, 
Isaac and Jacob, the sorrow which breaks my 
heart is not hidden from Thy divine clemency. 
Thou knowest, besides, O Lord, (though in other 
things I am not free from sin,) my innocence 
touching the subject of my grief. I choose the 
lesser evil in quitting my spouse, and go to end 
my days in some desert, there to abandon myself 
entirely to the care of Thy providence. Forsake 
me not, for I desire only what is for Thy glory.” 

St. Joseph prostrated himself, and made a 
vow to offer at the temple of Jerusalem a part 
of the small sum which he had reserved for his 
journey, praying the Lord to defend his spouse 
from calumny, and preserve her from all evil. 
Such was the great rectitude of this man of 
God, and such the esteem which he preserved 
for our blessed Lady. After this prayer, he took 
a little repose, intending to depart without seeing 


her. Our blessed Lady, from her oratory, ob- 
served all that St. Joseph did, er proposed to 
do; for the Most High revealed it to her. 

The Divine Majesty permitted that the Blessed 
Virgin and her holy spouse should endure 
these interior sufferings, in order that, besides the 
merits which so long a martyrdom would pro- 
cure for them, the succor of the divine consola- 
tions should be to them more adinirable and 
more remarkable. The august Mary practised 
many virtues during this period, whereby she 
teaches us to hope for relief from the Most 
High in the greatest afflictions. And what an 
example is not that of St. Joseph! No one had 
ever stronger grounds.of suspicion, nor more of 
discretion to control his judgment than he. 

The passion of jealousy produces sharp wounds 
in him who is attacked by it, and no one ever 
felt its effects so sensibly as St. Joseph, though, 
in fact, there was no foundation for it, if he had 
but known the truth. He was endowed with a 
singular intelligence to penetrate the sanctity 
and the lovely character of his spouse. But 
this, in augmenting his esteem for her whom he 
was about to lose, augmented his sorrow to find 
himself necessitated to abandon her. 

St. Joseph was not subject to the disorders of 
common jealousy, in which the passions of con- 



cupiscence are engaged, which neither reason 
nor prudence can vanquish. The jealousy of 
the saint arose only from the depth of his love 
and a conditional suspicion, viz.: whether his 
chaste spouse reciprocated his affection; for a 
pledge so dear as the affection of a wife must 
not be shared by any other. When love is so 
well founded, the chains that cement it are very 
strong, and the more so because there are fewer 
imperfections to weaken them. There was nothing 
in our sweet Lady which could diminish the love 
of her spouse. On the contrary, all that she 
had received from grace and from nattrre gave 
him new subjects every day to strengthen his 

After the saint had offered the prayer, of 
which we have already made mention, he fell 
asleep in this sadness, which had sunk into 
dejection. He was sure that he should awake 
in time to depart at midnight, without being 
seen, as he thought, by his spouse. Our Lady, 
on her part, awaited the remedy, and earnestly 
sought it by her humble prayers. She was con- 
soled by her assurance that the pains of her 
spouse had now reached their highest degree— 
the hour of merey and consolation for that sor- 
rowing heart could not long tarry, and her desires 
would soon be accomplished. And now the 


Lord sent the archangel Gabriel, to disclose, by 
a divine revelation to St. Joseph while he slept, 
the mystery which was to bé accomplished in 
his spouse. The archangel acquitted himself of 
this embassy, appeared in a dream, as related by 
St. Matthew, and declared to him, in the terms 
quoted by that evangelist, the whole mystery 
of the incarnation and redemption. 

There are various reasons why the archangel 
spoke to St. Joseph in a dream, and not in his 
waking hours, although the mystery had been 
manifested to others when awake. In the first 
place, St. Joseph was so prudent and so filled 
with esteem for the blessed Virgin, that stronger 
proofs were unnecessary to convince him of the 
dignity of Mary, and of the mystery of the in- 
carnation; for the divine inspiration penetrates 
easily into well-disposed hearts. In the second 
place, his trouble had begun with his senses, 
and it was but just that they should be morti- 
fied and deprived of the angelic vision, since 
they had permitted the entrance of illusions and 
“suspicions; therefore the truth ought not to en- 
ter by their means, The third reason is, that 
although St. Joseph committed no sin in these 
circumstances, yet his senses had undoubtedly 
contracted a species of stain, and it was not pro- 
per that the angel should fulfil his embassy at a 


time when these senses, which had been scandal- 
ized, were interdicted by the suspension of their 
operations. Besides these, there was the reason 
which should overrule all others, that such was 
the will of the Lord, who is just and holy, and 
perfect in all His works. 

St. Joseph saw not the angel through any im- 
age or form—he heard only the internal voice, 
and understood the mystery. He heard what 
St. Gabriel said, “ that he should not fear to re- 
main with Mary his wife, because her condition 
was the work of the Holy Ghost. That she 
should bring forth a son, whom he should call 
Jesus; that He should deliver His people from 
their sins; and that in this mystery would be 
accomplished the prophecy of Isaiah —‘A 
Virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, 
who shall be called Emmanuel, which means, 
God with us.’” We perceive from the words 
of the celestial ambassador, that the saint had 
separated from the pure Mary in intention, 
since he was commanded to receive her without 
fear. ! : 
St. Joseph awoke, informed of the mystery 
which had been revealed to him, and instructed 
that his spouse was the Mother of God. He 
found himself divided between the joy of his 
happiness, and his unhoped for dignity, and sor 


row for what he had been about todo. He pros- 
trated himself instantly on the ground, and 
made, with humble fear and inconceivable con- 
tentment, heroic acts of humility and gratitude. 
He gave thanks to God for the mystery which 
had been disclosed to him, and for having made 
him the spouse of her whom He had chosen to 
be His mother—him, who did not deserve to be 
her servant. The doubts and uncertainty which 
St. Joseph had suffered, laid in him the founda- 
tions of the most profound humility, necessary 
for him to whom was confided the dispensation 
of the most holy counsels of the Lord. The re- 
_ membrance of what had passed served as a les- 
son for his future life. 

Having rendered thanks to the divine Majesty, 
the holy man began to reproach himself. ‘“‘O my 
divine spouse,” said he, ‘most sweet dove, chosen 
by the Most High to be His own mother, how hast 
thy unworthy servant dared to call in question 
thy fidelity! How could he, who is only dust 
and ashes, suffer her who is Queen of Heaven 
to serve him? Why have I not kissed the 
earth thy steps have trod, and served thee 
kneeling? How shall I dare to raise my eyes 
in thy presence, or open my lips to speak with 
thee! Lord, give me grace, grant me strength 
to pray for pardon! Inspire her to show me 


mercy, so that she will not reject her unworthy 
servant as he deserves. Alas! how clearly she 
must have penetrated all my thoughts: how can 
I have the boldness to appear in her presence? 
I see now the grossness of my conduct, and my 
stupid mistake; and if Thy justice for my chas- 
tisement had permitted me to execute my im- 
prudent intention, what would not be now 
my wretchedness! Thanks to Thee, my God, 
throughout eternity, for so great a blessing, I 
will present myself to my Princess, my spouse, 
confiding in the sweetness of her clemency, and, 
prostrate at her feet, I will beseech her pardon, 
so that for her sake, Lord, Thou wilt regard me 
with pity, and pardon my fault.” 

Saint Joseph went forth from his humble 
chamber very unlike what he was before his re- 
cent slumber. Now he was happy; yet he dared 
not disturb our blessed Lady, who was still em- 
ployed in the sweets of her contemplation. 
While awaiting the favorable moment, the man 
of God with tearful eyes unbound the little 
packet that he had prepared—-but with senti- 
ments far different from those which had pre- 
viously occupied him. Having learned the 
honor due to our blessed Lady, our saint water- 
ed the house with his tears; he swept it and 
prepared other little household work, which, 


while ignorant of her dignity, he had intrusted 
to the care of his blessed spouse. 

He now resolved to change his deportment 
towards her, by appropriating to himself the 
office of servant, reserving that of mistress for 
her majesty. Further on we shall relate the 
loving disputes which he had with our queen to 
decide which of the two should serve and take 
the humbler place. At the proper time the 
saint presented himself at the chamber of our 
blessed Lady, who awaited his coming with the 
sweetness and complacency which we shall 
recount in the following chapter. Let us take 
an example from St. Joseph, who believed, with- 
out delay and without doubting, that which the 
angel revealed to him, in such wise that he 
merited to be elevated to a great recompense, 
and to a sublime dignity. And if he abased 
himself with so much humility, not having com- 
mitted any sin in what he did, but only in having 
been greatly troubled under circumstances which 
seemed to give so much occasion for anxiety, 
consider how much we ought to humiliate our- 
selves—we who are nothing but miserable 
worms of the dust—by weeping over our negli- 
gences and our sins, so that the Most High may 
regard us as father and spouse. 




T. JOSEPH, after the discovery of his error, 

waited until our blessed Lady should come 
forth from her retreat. As soon as he thought 
it was time, he opened the door of the little 
chamber occupied by the mother of the heav- 
enly King, and, throwing himself at her feet, he 
exclaimed, with humility and profound venera- 
tion, ‘ My spouse, Mother of the Eternal Word, 
behold your servant prostrate before you. By the 
same Lord whom you bear in your most chaste 
bosom, I pray you to pardon my presumption. 
Sure I am that none of my thoughts can be 
hidden from your wisdom, nor from the divine 
light which you have received. Great was my 
blindness to think of deserting you; but you 
know that I did it in ignorance, because neither 
the secret of the great King had been revealed 


to me, nor the greatness of your dignity. Forget, 
I entreat you, the many deficiencies of a vile 
creature who offers his heart and his life in your 
service ; I will not rise from your feet until you 
have pardoned my folly—until I shall have re- 

ceived your forgiveness and your benediction.” 
The august Mary listened with mingled feel- 
ings to the humble words of her spouse. She 
rejoiced in the Lord to learn that St. Joseph 
was informed of the mysteries of the incarnation, 
and that he revered them with such profound 
faith and humility. But she was troubled by 
the resolution he had taken to change his con- 
duct towards her, and with the respect and sub- 
mission with which he addressed her. Knowing 
‘how much she ought to esteem humility, she 
was disturbed by the apprehension that St. 
Joseph, recognizing in her the mother of the 
Lord, would deport himself in all things as her 
inferior. Insisting that he should rise, she pros- 
trated herself at his feet, although he made 
every effort to hinder this, but it was not pos- 
sible; for in humility she was invincible. Then 
she said to the saint: “It is I, my spouse, who 
7ought to beseech your pardon for the pain and 
sorrow that you have had to endure on my 
account, therefore I beg you will forget them.” 
Our blessed Lady, for the consolation of her 




nasband, continued: “I could not reveal to you 
tne hidden mystery which the Most High had 
enclosed within me, because it was my duty to 
await the expression of the will of the Lord. 
Thus my silence should not be considered as 
arising from any want of esteem for you, for in 
all things I regard you as my master and my 
husband. I am, and I always shall be, your faith- 
ful servant; but do not make any change in the 
demeanor which you have always preserved 
towards me. The Lord has not elevated me to 
the dignity of being His own mother to be 
served, but to be the servant of all, and of you 
especially. This is my office: it is but just 
that you should leave it to me, since the Most 
High has so ordained in giving me your protec- 

St. Joseph, by these reasons and many others 
which were of a sweet efficacy, found his spirit 
enlightened in a singular manner. He received, 
through this purest of creatures, extraordinary 
divine influences, and, entirely renewed in heart, 
he replied: “You are blessed among women; 
you are blessed among all nations. May the 
creator of heaven and earth be glorified by 
eternal praises, for that He has chosen you for 
His dwelling. In you alone He has accomplished 
the promises that He made to our fathers and to 


the prophets. Let all generations bless Him that 
He has not exalted himself in any creature as 
in you, and that, being the vilest of men, He has 
chosen me to be your servant.” The saint was en- 
lightened by the divine Spirit after the manner of 
St. Elizabeth; but the light and knowledge which 
St. Joseph received were, in a certain sense, more 
admirable, because of his dignity and ministry. 

The august Mary replied by the Magnificat 
and other new canticles; and while chanting 
them, inflamed by the divine fire, she was rapt 
in a sublime ecstasy, and, lifted up from the 
earth in a globe of brilliant light which en- 
circled her, she was transformed as in a glory. 
St. Joseph was filled with admiration and Joy 
inconceivable at this view of his holy spousr 
for he had never yet seen her surrounded with 
such glory and excellence. She appeared to 
him quite transparent, and, at the same time, he 
discovered the integrity and virginal purity of 
our queen and the mystery of her dignity. He 
saw, also, and recognized in the chaste bosom of 
Mary the holy humanity of the Infant God and 
the union of the two natures in the person of 
the Word. He adored the Infant God with 
profound humility, acknowledged his true Re- 
deemer, and offered himself to His service with 
fervent acts of divine love. 


The Lord regarded him with great favor, and 
distinguished him among all men, for He ac- 
cepted him as His reputed father and gave him 
the title. And to render him conformable to 
this new and honorable name, He imparted to 
him all the knowledge and divine gifts to which 
Christian purity can or ought to aspire. 

If it were a proof of the magnanimity of the 
glorious St. Joseph that he did not die of jeal- 
ousy, it is also a subject of admiraticn that he 
was not overwhelmed by the joy which he felt 
on this occasion. In the first case his holiness 
appears, but ‘in the second he received such 
augmentations of graces and gifts from the Lord, 
that, if His divine Majesty had not dilated his 
heart, he could not have been able to receive 
them. He was entirely renewed and enlightened 
so as to converse worthily with her who was the 
Mother of God, and, conjointly with her, to dis- 
pense all that concerned the incarnation and the 
charge of the Word made man. It was also . 
manifested to him, in order that he should recog- 
nize the obligation imposed on him to serve his 
holy spouse, that all the gifts he had received 
from the Most High were received through her — 
and for her. He knew that the gifts he had re- 
ceived before his espousals were bestowed because 
the Lord had chosen him for this office, and that 


those which he now received were because she 

had merited them for him. And as our blessed 
Lady had been the instrument by which the 

Lord had wrought the sanctification of John the | 
Baptist, and his mother, St. Elizabeth, she was | 
the organ, also, by whom St. Joseph received 

the plenitude of grace. This most happy spouse 

knew all this, and he responded to it like a faith- 

ful and grateful servant. 

The holy evangelists made no mention of these 
ereat mysteries, nor of many others which were 
known to our blessed Lady and St. Joseph, be- 
cause, for many reasons, they were not suitable 
to be made known to the Gentiles on their first 
conversion. These things were reserved, by the 
impenetrable judgments of Providence, for times 
which the divine wisdom judged more suitable,* 
or when the Church should have need of the 
intercession and support of our holy Queen. 
The faithful St. Joseph, after having been made 
aware of the dignity of his spouse, and the 
mystery of the incarnation, conceived so lofty 
an esteem for her, that, although he had been al- 
ways pure and perfect in his life, he now became 
as a new man. He resolved henceforth to 
change his conduct, and to redouble his ven- 

* Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you: but you 

cannot bear them now.”—St. John, xvi. 12. 



eration towards our blessed Lady. This was in 
comformity with the wisdom of the saint, and 
due to the excellence of his spouse, for he was 
servant, and she mistress of the universe. St 
Joseph knew all this by divine illumination. 
Now, to satisfy the desire he had to honor het 
in whom he recognized the Mother of God, 
when he spoke to her, or passed before her, if 
alone together, he bent the knee. He would not 
suffer her to wait on him, nor that she should 
occupy herself in other humble offices, such as 
sweeping the house, cleansing the vessels, and 
many other things which he thought derogatory 
from the dignity of our queen. 

But our saintly Lady, who was the humblest 
of the humble, and whose humility was not to 
be overcome, prayed St. Joseph not to pay her 
such honors as to bow the knee to her. This 
veneration, she said, was doubtless due to the 
Lord, whom she bore in her bosom; but while 
He remained there, the person of Christ could 
not be distinguished from her own. The saint, 
yielding to her humble desires, rendered this 
worship to the Lord, who was in the bosom of 
Mary, and to her as His mother, only when un- 
perceived by her. 

They had also humble disputes respecting! 
their servile employments. St. Joseph could 


not consent to allow our amiable Mistress to 
perform them, and strove to prevent it On her 
part, she did what she could, but waile she was 
retired in her oratory the saint found time to do 
many things, and thus our sweet Lady was frus- 
trated in her desires to be the servant. At these 
times she addressed her meek complaints to the 
Lord, and prayed him to oblige her spouse not 
to hinder her in the exercise of humility. 

This virtue is so agreeable at the tribunal of 
God, that we ask for no common grace whea 
we pray for it; for humility imparts a cer 
tain greatness to all things, and inclines God to 
clemency. The Divine Majesty hearkened to 
the request of our blessed Lady, and his guar- 
dian angel said, interiorly, to the blessed St 
Joseph, “ Do not frustrate the humble desires of © 
her who is above all creatures in heaven or on 
earth. Permit her to serve you in external 
things, and preserve for her in your interior the 
greatest reverence. Render to the Word made 
man, in all times and in all places, the homage 
that is due to Him. You can, meanwhile, assist 
his Mother, and honor ee the Lord of the 
universe who is within her.” 

Having received these orders from ‘the Most 
High, St. Joseph no longer refused her humble 
exercises to our sweet Lady. Thus both offered 


to God the sacrifice of their will. The most 
pure Mary, in practising her profound humility, 
and faithful obedience to her spouse; and St. 
Joseph, by obedience to the Most High, with a 
holy confusion to see himself served by her 
whom he recognized as mistress of the universe 
and mother of the Creator, 

Thus our saint was compensated for the hu- 
mility which he could not exervise; for to see 
himself served as he was humiliated him far 
more, and obliged him to abase himself still 
more profoundly in contempt of himself. In 
these dispositions St. Joseph meditated upon the 
Lord, whom the august Mary bore in her chaste 
bosom, adoring and rendering to Him honor and 
glory. Then, in recompense for his sanctity 
. and his respect, mingled with fear, the Infant 
God, made man, sometimes manifested himself - 
in an admirable manner. He saw Him in the 
bosom of His most pure Mother, as through a 
luminous crystal. Afterwards, our incomparable 
Lady conversed more familiarly with her blessed 
spouse upon the mysteries of the incarnation, 
for she knew that he was now informed of the 
secrets of the hypostatic union of the two natures, 
divine and human, within her virginal bosom. 

No tongue can relate the celestial discourses 
that were held between the blessed Virgin and 


St. Joseph.- And who can describe the effects 
produced on the gentle and pious heart of this 
holy man, on finding himself the spouse of her 
who was the veritable motber of his Creator, 
and to see her performing for him the duties 
of a simple servant ? 

If the Almighty enriched the house and the 
person of Obed-Edom with such plenteous bene- 
dictions for having received the ark of the Old 
Testament, what benedictions would He not 
bestow upon St. Joseph, to whom He had eon- 
fided the true ark, and the Legislator himself 
who was enclosed within it? 

The happiness and the fidelity of this saint 
were incomparable, not only because the living 
Ark of the New Testament abode in his house, 
but because he guarded it like a faithful and 
prudent servant. The Lord placed him over 
His family, also, that he should provide for it 
according to its necessities as a faithful admin- 
istrator. Let all nations acknowledge him, 
bless him, and publish his praises, since the 
Most High has never done for any other what 
He has done for this incomparable saint. In 
view of mysteries so august, I will glorify this 
adorable Lord, and confess Him as holy, just, 
merciful, wise and admirable in all His won. 
drous works. 




KPSHE humble house of Joseph, which our 

XM saints made their dwelling-place, consist- 
ed of three chambers only. St. Joseph slept 
in one of these, and used another as a work- 
shop, where the tools were deposited which 
served for use in his trade of carpenter. The 
third, which contained a small bed, the work of 
our saint, was appropriated to the Queen of 
Heaven, who slept there, and made it her or- 
dinary abode. This order was established from 
the date of their marriage. 

Before he was inflitmed of her dignity, the 
saintly husband rarely, except when some affair 
obliged him to ask her advice, visited his wife, 
Behe he was engaged with his work, and Ane 
remained in her retreat. But after his hap- 
piness was made known to him, the holy man 
became more assiduous, and went very often ta 


seek our blessed Lady, to renew the offer of his 
services. Yet he never approached her but with 
great humility and reverent respect. Befors 
speaking to her he was careful to observe how 
she was occupied. Thus, many times he saw 
her rapt in ecstasy, and inclosed within a ra- 
diant light; at others, he found her discoursing 
with angels. Often she was prostrate, in the 
form of a cross, and speaking with the Lord. — 
In these circumstances our saint contented him- 
self with the liberty of gazing upon her with 
the most profound reverence. It was granted 
to his merits to hear the harmony of the angelic 
chants, and to inhale a delicious fragrance that 
strengthened him and filled his whole being 
with spiritual joy and consolation. 

The holy spouses were alone in their house, 
for they kept no servant—not only because of 
their great humility, but also that they found it 
most convenient to have no witnesses of the 
prodigies that were of such frequent occurrence 
with them. 

Our Lady never left the house, unless obliged 
by some pressing circumstance; but a woman, 
their neighbor and relative, she who had served 
St. Joseph during the sojourn of the Blessed 
Virgin at the house of Zachariah, took charge 
of their external affairs. She was abundantly 


recompensed for these services, not only in her 
own advancement in perfection, but her family 
also felt the beneficent effects of the protection 
of the holy family. The august Mary many 
times healed their maladies, and filled them with 
heavenly benedictions. 

Their nourishment was very frugal; but they 
partook of it every day, and together. St. 
Joseph sometimes ate flesh meat, but the holy 
Virgin never, although she prepared it for her 
spouse. Their ordinary diet consisted of fruits, 
fish, bread, and cooked vegetables. But this 
was always taken with great moderation, and 
only so much as was needful, but the quality 
varied according to circumstances. 

St. Joseph never saw his holy spouse asleep. 
He did not know, from his own experience, 
whether she slept at all. Her place of rest 
was the little bed made by the saint. It had 
. two coverings, between which she was accus- 
tomed to place herself to take a brief and light 
repose. ‘I'he under garment of the august Mary 
was a tunic or chemise, but little softer than 
woolen stuff. She never left it off, except when 
it was worn, nor soiled it, and no one in the 
world saw it, not even St. Joseph. In all her 
works, and in whatever she did for St. J oseph, 
the greatest cleanliness was observed. | 


~ Before St. Joseph was informed of the mys- 

tery of the Incarnation, our blessed Lady, at 
certain times when he was not occupied, used 
to read to him from the Holy Scriptures, par- 
ticularly from David and the Prophets. She 
explained them like an experienced instructress, 
and her holy spouse questioned her on many 
_ points, her replies to which gave him such cause: 
for admiration, that both united in praising and 
blessing the Lord. But after the saint had dis- 
covered the grand secret, our Lady addressed 
him as the elected of God, to be the coadjutor 
of the works and mysteries of the Redemption. 
_ They discoursed then openly together, and with 
amore clear understanding, of the prophecies 
which referred to the conception of the Word 
by a Virgin Mother, His birth, and His most 
holy life. 

Our august Lady explained all; and then 
they spoke of what they should do when the 
day, so much desired, should come—when the 
Child should be born, when He would be in 
her arms, and she should nourish Him from her 
virginal breast, and when, alone among mortals, 
her holy spouse would be the only one who 
would participate in this inconceivable happi- 
ness! But she said little of the death and the 



passion, for she was unwilling to afflict the ten. 
der heart of her spouse, 

The faithful and happy St. Joseph was all 
enkindled by divine love in these gracious cons 
versations, and, shedding tears of joy, he cried 
out: “Is it indeed possible that I shall see my 
God and Redeemer within you chaste arms ?— 
that I shall adore Him there ?—that I shall hear 
His sweet voice ?—that I shall touch Him ?— 
that my eyes shall see His divine face ?—that 
the sweat of my brow shall be employed in His 
service, and for His support ?—that we shall 
speak and converse with Him? Whence comes 
to me such bliss as none could ever have de- 
served? Why have I not rich treasures, that I 
might lay them at His feet ?” 

Our august Lady replied: ‘‘The great God 
comes not into the world to find riches, for He 
needs them not; for them would He not de- 
scend from heaven. He comes on earth only to 
repair the disorders of the world, and by sure 
ways to conduct it to eternal life; and these 
ways are none other than humility and poverty. 
For this He has chosen our poor habitation. 
He wills not that we be rich in worldly goods, 
which are but vanity and vexation of spirit.” 

The saint often besought the holy Virgin to 
instruct him in the character of the virtues, 


especially that of the divine love, in order that 
he might understand how to conduct himself 
in a suitable manner towards the God-man, 
so as not to be rejected as an unprofitable ser- 
vant. The Mistress of the Virtues condescended 
to his request, and explained to her spouse the 
properties of the virtues, and the manner of 
practising them with all possible perfection. 
Nevertheless she deported herself in these in- 
structions with such great discretion, that she 
appeared in no wise the mistress of her spouse, 
for she interrogated the saint and instructed him 
by her questions. 

They mingled these conversations, or readings 
from the Scriptures, sometimes with manual 
labor, when the saint was obliged to continue 
at his work. Our most amiable Lady added to 
them the consolations of the celestial doctrines ; 
and thus the happy husband made greater ad- 
vancement in virtue than with the work of his 
hands. She showed to Him the great fruit that 
may be drawn from labor. Believing herself 
unworthy to be maintained by her spouse, she 
was humbled, in thinking how much she was 
indebted to him. She felt herself as much 
obliged as if she had been the most useless of 
creatures, and, being unable to assist our saint, 
she served him whenever it was possible. About 


this tirne St. Joseph saw, one day, a great 
number of birds come to recreate the queen of 
creatures. ‘They fluttered around her, as if to 
form a choir, and sang with a delicious melody. 
St. Joseph had not before witnessed this marvel, 
and, overflowing with joy and wonder, he ex- 
claimed: “Ts it possible that unreasoning crea- 
tures acquit themselves of their abligations better 
than I? It is just that if they recognize, serve, 
and honor you, so far as they are capable, that 
you should permit me also, to acquit myself of 
what is justly your right.” But the most pru- 
dent Virgin replied: “I am but a simple creature, 
yet I ought to induce all creatures to praise the 
Most High.” / | 
It often happened that they found them- 
selves in want of necessaries, for they were 
very liberal to the poor, nor were they careful, 
hke worldly people, to provide for their wants 
in advance. Now the Lord so ordered it, that 
the faith and patience of His holy Mother and 
St. Joseph should not be idle. These privations 
were an inexpressible consolation to the august 
Mary, not only because of her love of poverty, 
but also of her humility, through which she 
considered herself undeserving of the neces- 
sary aliments of life. She prayed the Most 
Hich only to supply the wants of St. Joseph. 
The All-Powerful forgot not His poor, and, 


while giving them occasion to augment their 
merits and to exercise their virtues, He gave 
them also food in season, Sometimes He in- 
spired their neighbors or acquaintances to assist 
them by a gift. Oftener St. Elizabeth sent them 
succors from her own house; for, since the visit 
of the Queen of Heaven, she had resolved w help 
them, and our sweet. Lady sent in return some 
work of her own hands. Our Holy Mistress 
sometimes exercised the power with which she 
was endowed over creatures, and the birds 
brought fruits or bread. Her happy spouse was 
frequently a witness of these events. 

They were also sometimes assisted, in a won- 
derful manner, by the ministry of angels. But 
before recounting these, it is well to remark that 
the nobleness of heart, the faith, and the gene- 
rosity of the saint were so exalted, that his soul 
was free from every taint of avarice, or sordid 
care for the future. And although the holy 
spouses devoted themselves to labor, they never 
demanded the price of their work, nor would 
they enter into bargains, for they did not labor 
from motives of interest, but to exercise charity 
towards those who had need of it, leaving the 
acknowledgment of it to their discretion, 

When some payment was made to them, they 

received it not as a price or recompense, but as 


analms. It often happened that no recompense 
was Offered for their work, and that they found 
themselves entirely destitute of food, and then 
the Lord provided it. One day, when their usual 
dinner hour was past, and no morsel of food 
was to be found in the house, they remained a 
long time in prayer and thanksgiving to the 
divine Majesty, for this affliction. During this 
time the holy angels prepared a repast. They 
arranged the table and placed thereon fruits, 
bread of a very delicate kind, fish, and a sort 
of conserve of wonderful sweetness and excel- 
lence; and thet some of these blessed spir- 
its went to call their Queen—others, St. Joseph. 
Kach of them recognized the heavenly gifts, 
and, with holy tears of joy, renewed their 
thanksgivings to the Most High. At length 
they partook of the repast, which, being fin- 
ished, they united in chanting praises, truly sub- 
lime, to the beneficent giver of every good gift. 
The august Mary and her spouse often ex- 
perienced wonders of this character, for there 
were no witnesses from whom it was necessary 
they sbcald be concealed. The Lord was very 
hiberal towards them, whom He had appointed 
admin*strators of the most wonderful prodigies 
which had ever been wrought. It is necessary 
to remark, that when our blessed Lady composed 
eanticles of praise, either alone, or with St 


Joseph or the angels, we are to understand that 
they were always new, like those composed by 
St. Hannah, mother of Samuel; Moses; Heze- 
kiah, and other prophets. If they had been writ- 
ten, they would form a large volume, which 
would have been the admiration of the world. 

The providence of the Most High declares 
himself Protector of the humble who confide in 
Him, because the Divine Majesty regards them 
with love. He is pleased with them—He bears 
them in His bosom—He is attentive to all their 
desires and all their pains. The august Mary 
and St. Joseph were very poor, and often found 
themselves in great want, but never did they 
allow the poison of avarice or cupidity to enter 
their hearts. They sought the glory of God 
alone, abandoning themselves entirely to His 
most loving care. 

We ought to be content with what is neces- 
sary, and to be convinced that the providence of 
our Creator can never fail. If He be slow some- 
times to send us His help, we should not be af- 
flicted nor lose hope. He who has abundance 
ought not to fix his hopes upon it. We should 
attribute to God both abundance and poverty, 
and make a holy use of both. Let us practise 
this doctrine, and abandon ourselves to Provi- 
dence, and nothing that is needful for us can 
ever be wanting. 




Sa Mother of the eternal Word, the holy 
Mary, seeing the period of the birth of the 
Infant God approach, would not undertake to 
make the necessary preparations for it, with- 
out the commands of her husband, and the will 
of God. Although she was able to decide for 
herself in whatever concerned the maternal of- 
fice, she preferred to practice the duties of an 
obedient and most faithful servant. She there- 
fore consulted her holy spouse, St. Joseph. “ It 
is time,” she said, “ to begin the preparations for 
the birth of my most blessed Son. With your 
permission I will provide the swaddling clothes 
to receive Him. I have some linen, spun by my- 
self, which will serve for a part, if you will seek 
for the finest and softest that can be found for 
the rest. And that all may be well done, 
let us offer a special prayer to His Divine 


Majesty that we may do whatever is most agree- 
able to Him.” 

St. Joseph replied: “If it were necessary to 
give the purest of my blood to testify my readi- 
ness to render service to my God, and to do 
what you request, I should esteem myself happy 
tc pour it out in the cruellest torments. Order 
all as it seems best, for I desire to obey you as 
your servant.” While they were engaged in 
prayer, the Most High replied to each in parti- 
cular by the same voice. “I have descended 
from heaven to earth to elevate humility, and 
to debase pride—to honor poverty, and to 
make riches contemptible. For this reason, it is 
my will that you treat me in the humanity 
which I have assumed, in all things exterior, as 
if I were the child of both of you—and interi- 
orly you will recognize in me the Son of my 
eternal Father, and true God, with the venera- 
tion and love due to Me, being man and God at 
the same time.” 

The august Mary and St. Joseph were con- 
firmed by this divine voice in the wisdom that 
should guide their actions in all the services 
which they were to render to the Infant God. 
They resolved to practise the most sublime and 
perfect mode of honoring their true God, and 
never among mere creatures was He so perfectly 


honored. But before the eyes of the world 
they treated Him as if they were conjointly His 
parents, because it was the Lord’s will that men 
should so believe. The celestial inhabitants 
were in admiration of the conduct of the holy: 
spouses as we shall relate further on. They re- 
solved also to devote to the Infant God all the 
services which their condition admitted, with- 
out attracting observation, so that the secret of 
the great King should be concealed; neither 
should he want for any thing, for, in ministering 
to Him, they could manifest their ardent love so 
far as it was possible. 

St. Joseph, having received payment for some- 
of his work, purchased, according to the wishes 
of his spouse, two pieces of cloth, one white, 

and the other nearer violet than gray—the best 
that could be found. Our lovely Lady made of 
them swaddling clothes for her most holy child. 
She made little shirts of the linen that she 
had spun during the early period of her mar-_ 
riage, with the intention of offering it at, the 
temple. Happily her intention was changed; 
nevertheless she made an offering of what was 
left. The blessed Virgin had woven this linen 
on her knees, with tears of an inexpressible de- 
votion. St. Joseph also purchased flowers and 
aromatics, from which the holy Mother com: 


posed the most delicious perfume that ever was 
made. With this she sprinkled the swaddling 
clothes consecrated to the Victim, and, folding 
them, she placed them in a case which she and 
3st. Joseph carried with them to Bethlehem, as 
we shall see. | 

It is hardly necessary to remark, that all these 
works recounted here ought not to be regarded 
simply as facts. Their objects, and the inten 
tions which inspired them, redolent of sanctity, 
‘and enriched with the highest perfection, must 
be taken into view. The divine Mother, her 
heart all glowing with love, offered all the sacri- 
fices which the ancient law contained in figure. 
She realized, in truth, the ancient figures, by the 
exercise of virtues and acts both interior and ex- 
terior. Her happy spouse, on his part, accom- 
panied her in many of them. 

If the smallest portion of grace that a crea- 
ture, whoever he may be, receives, by means of 
a virtue that he has practised, is worth more 
than all the universe, who can estimate its great- 
ness in her who surpassed the merits of the 
highest Seraphim? Our holy Lady saw the 
‘sumanity united to the Divinity in the person 
of the Word, saw all the interior acts of the most 
holy soul of her divine Son, and the prayers 
that He offered for her, for St. Joseph, for all 


the human race, and especially for the predes- | 

The Most High had determined, by His im- 
mutable will, that the only Son of the Father — 
should be born at Bethlehem. The ancient 
prophets had long since announced it. The 
Lord disposed all things for the accomplishment 
of His divine decree; and it was by an edict of 
Cesar Augustus, who commanded, as it is re- 
corded by St. Luke, a census to be made of the 
whole world. It consisted in acknowledging 
the authority of the Emperor of Rome, and 
paying a certain tribute. To effect this, every 
one was obliged to inscribe himself on the reg- 
ister of his native city. 

This edict being published at Nazareth, St. 
Joseph was infornied of it. Returning home, 
in much trouble, he related to his blessed 
spouse what had happened. The most prudent 
Virgin replied: “The edict of an earthly po- 
tentate ought not to disturb you in this manner, 
since the Sovereign of heaven and earth takes 
eare of all things that belong to us. His Provi- 
dence will assist us. Let us abandon ourselves 
with confidence to His guidance.” 

The holy Virgin was instructed in all the 
mysteries of her divine Son, and she knew that 
He was to be born in Bethlehem, poor, and a 


stranger; but she said nothing of this to St. 
Joseph. They conferred together upon what 
they ought to do, for the period of the birth of 
the Infant God approached. At length St. Jo- 
 seph said to his spouse: “It seems to me that I 
cannot be dispensed from executing this edict 
of the emperor. And although it would suffice 
to go alone, I dare not leave you, for I should 
not have a moment of repose—my heart would 
be in perpetual alarm. It would be risking too 
much to propose to you to accompany me to 
Bethlehem ; it would expose you, too evidently, 
to danger. This apprehension gives me great 
pain. Present, I entreat you, my supplications 
to the Most High, that He may not separate me 
from you.” 

The humble Mary obeyed the request of ‘St. 
Joseph only to prove her obedience, for she was 
not ignorant of the Divine will. She therefore 
laid the desires of her faithful spouse before the 
Lord, who replied to her: ‘‘ Obey my servant Jo- 
seph in what he has proposed and desires. Bear 
him company in this journey. I will be with you, 
for it is my will that you should go.” The Lord 
ordered nine thousand angels to join the thou- 
sand who formed her guard. 

Our blessed Lady confided to St. Joseph this 
response, and declared that it was the will of 



the Most High that she should accompany him 
to Bethlehem. The saintly man was full of joy, 
and expressed his humble gratitude for this 
favor. He said to his spouse: “I have no 
other anxiety in this journey except the pain 
which it will cause to you. But I hope to find 
relations and friends who will receive us with 
kindness.” The kind heart of the good man 
induced him to believe this, but the Lord had 
disposed otherwise. The saint was mistaken in 
his expectations, and suffered much from the 
disappointment. 7 

Our sweet Lady forebore to reveal to St. Jo- 
seph what was already known to her touching 
the event to be accomplished. They appointed 
the day of departure, and St. Joseph went to 
engage a beast of burden. It was very difficult 
to find one, because of the great number of 
persons who were going to their different cities 
to be enrolled, in obedience to the imperial 
edict. At length he found a little ass, which, 
if he could have known it, was the happiest 
of all his race, since he carried the Queen 
of the Universe, and the King of kings, and 
was present at: the birth of the Infant God. 
During five days the august Mary and St. Jo- 
seph were engaged in preparations for the jour 
ney. ‘Their provisions consisted of bread, fruits, 


and fish, as in going to the house of Zachariah. 
And as the most prudent Virgin knew that she 
would be long absent from the house, she se- 
cretly arranged her affairs according to the will 
of God. Finally they recommended it to a per- 
son who was to take charge of it until their 

The hour of departure arrived. The blessed 
Joseph, who treated his beloved spouse with 
reviewed respect, sought, like a vigilant and faith- 
ful servant, to find reasons to serve and please 
her. He entreated her, with much affection, to 
make known to him all that she desired for her 
comfort, and for the good pleasure of the Lord 
whom she bore in her virginal bosom. Our 
Queen meekly accepted the holy affection of 
her spouse: she even consoled and animated 
him to endure the fatigue of the roads, for His 
Divine Majesty willed that they should accept 
the inconveniences of the journey with an 
equable and joyous heart. 

Before setting out, our blessed Lady knelt to 
ask the benediction of St. Joseph. The man of 
God excused himself because of her dignity, 
_ but the always invincible humility of the august 

Virgin conquered, and obliged him to give it. 
She then prayed him to offer himself anew to 
her most holy Son, and to obtain for her His 


divine grace. After these holy, preparations | 
they set out for Bethlehem, in the depths of 
winter, which made the journey more painful 
and more inconvenient. 

The august Mary and the glorious St. Joseph 
left Nazareth to go to Bethlehem! Poor and 
humble travellers they were, in the eyes of the 
world, which had no more esteem for them than 
it had for humility and poverty. But, O! won- 
derful secrets of the Most High! hidden from 
the proud, and impenetrable to the wisdom of 
the flesh, our travellers were not alone, nor poor, 
nor despised. They had a magnificent suite, 
inestimable riches, and a glory unparalleled. 
They were the highest objects of the care of the 
eternal Father, and of Hisimmense love. They 
bore with them the treasures of Heaven, and 
the Divinity itself. 

All the celestial court revered them. ‘The in- 
sensible creatures recognized the living ark of the 
Testament far better than the waters of the Jor- 
dan recognized that which was only the type of 
her. With them were the ten thousand angels, 
appointed for His Divine Majesty and His holy 
Mother. The incomparable Mary and her saintly 
spouse marched with this regal train, unseen by 
the eyes of mortals. The angels chanted canti- 
cles to the Lord, and to His blessed Mother, 


acknowledging her sometimes as a car, incor- 
ruptible and living—sometimes as the fertile 
ear, which contains the living wheat—some- 
times as a richly freighted vessel. 

The holy travellers were five days on the way; 
for the careful husband would not make long 
journeys. There was no night for our Queen 
during this time, for the angels threw so bright 
a radiance around her that the light was equal 
to the most serene day. St. Joseph enjoyed 
this favor, and also the view of the angels. 
They formed a celestial choir, in which our au- 
gust Lady and her spouse responded to the 
blessed spirits by canticles and hymns of praise. 

The Lord united to these favors some suf- 
ferings. The great numbers of persons who 
thronged the hostelries to obey the imperial 
edict, were causes of much pain to the modesty 
of the saintly Mary and her spouse. They were 
thrust aside as sordid poor, and received less 
attention than others who seemed richer. Thus 
our holy travellers, weary and worn, were often 
received with harsh words at these hostelries. 
Sometimes they were even sent away as trouble- 
some, and unworthy of consideration, at others, 
the Mistress of heaven and earth was put into a 
corner of the vestibule—and even this could not 
always be secured, and she and St. Joseph 

5 ae 


retired to places still less proper or decent in the 
world’s estimation. 

The troop of angels followed them every 
where, so that the couch of the true Solomon 
was guarded from the alarms or surprises of the 
night. The faithful spouse, seeing the mistress 
of the universe so well cared for, reposed in 
peace so as to recover a little from the fatigues 
of the day; for it frequently happened that, 
being in the most rigorous season of the year, 
and arriving at the hostelries half frozen by the 
snow and rain, they were obliged to take refuge © 
among the animals, because men gave them no- 
things more potihindions: 

The Mistress of creatures might easily have 
commanded the winds and snows, but she fore- 
bore, that she might imitate her divine Son in 
His sufferings. The faithful St. Joseph, never- 
theless, took great care to put her under shelter, 
and also the holy angels; in particular the 
prince St. Michael, who always assisted on the 
right of the Queen. Knowing that it was the 
will of the Lord, they sometimes protected her 
from the rigor of the weather, and rendered 
other services to our sweet Lady and to the 
blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus. 




(ys holy travellers, the blessed Mary and 

St. Joseph, reached Bethlehem on the 
fifth day of their journey, on Saturday, about 
four o’clock in the afternoon—the hour when, at 
the winter solstice, the sun is near his setting, 
and the night approaches. They entered the 
town to seek a shelter, and having made in- 
quiries, not only at the inns, but among their re- 
lations and friends, they were refused with rude- 
ness and contempt. Our august Lady followed 
her spouse, who went from house to house— 
from door to door, in the midst of the crowds 
who arrived. And, although she knew that the 
houses of men, like their hearts, were closed 
against them, she willingly endured all this mor- 
tification in obedience to St. Joseph. At the 
same time it was more painful to find herself in 
the midst of such a crowd, than to be disap- 


pointed in finding a lodging. In wandering 
about the city, they found the house where the 
register was kept, and, to avoid the necessity of 
returning there, they inserted their names, and 
paid the tribute. Then, pursuing their way to 
find a place of refuge, they applied at more than 
fifty houses, and were every where refused, The 
holy angels admired the wonderful mysteries of 
the Lord, the patience and sweetness of the 
Virgin Mother, and the insensibility of men. 

It was nearly nine o’clock in the evening 
when the faithful St. Joseph, deeply grieved, 
turning towards his prudent spouse, ‘‘ My cour- | 
age fails me,” he said, ‘‘ to find not only that I 
cannot lodge you according to your merits, but 
that I cannot even secure for you such a shelter 
as is rarely or never refused to the poorest and 
most contemptible applicant. Doubtless some 
mystery underlies this. I remember to have seen, 
without the city walls, a grotto where the shep- 
herds are accustomed to fold their flocks. Let 
us go there, for if the place is not occupied, you 
will there receive sie SEAT AD the hospitality 

which men refuse to us.’ 

The most prudent Virgin replied: “ Do not 
afflict yourself, my spouse. The place you speak 
of is quite conformable to my desires. Change 
your tears into joy, for we love and we possess 


poverty, which is the inestimable treasure 
of my holy Son. He comes from heaven 
to seek it. Let us go with pleasure whither 
the Lord conducts us.” Immediately the holy 
angels guided the saintly pair towards this place ; 
they found it unoccupied, and, full of celestial 
joy, they praised the Lord. 

The palace which the King of kings and 
Lord of lords had prepared in this world to re- 
ceive His only Son, incarnate for men, was the 
lowly and humble grotto where the most pure 
Mary and St. Joseph had retired, after having 
been repulsed by all, as it has been related. 
This place was so unpromising, that, in spite of 
the extraordinary affluence of strangers at Beth- 
 Jehem, no one had deigned to occupy it. Beat 
fact, it was suitable only to the masters of hu- 
mility and poverty, and the wisdom of the 
eternal Father had reserved it for them. 

The august Mary and Joseph entered the 
place, and, by the radiance of the angels, they 
saw that it was as poor and solitary as they 
could have wished. They then fell upon their 
knees, praising the Lord with thanksgivings for 
this blessing. The grotto was formed out of the 
natural rock, and was so unequal and rough, that 
it was fitted only for the lodging of animals. 

The angelic spirits assumed a corporeal and 

130 _ LIFE OF St. JOSEPH. 

human form. St. Joseph saw them, for it was 
proper that, on this occasion, he should enjoy this 
favor, either to diminish his pain, or to animate 
his spirit and elevate it for the events which the 
Lord had prepared for this same night. Our 
blessed Lady, informed of the mystery which 
was about to be accomplished, resolved herself 
to cleanse the grotto. The holy Joseph, atten- 
tive to the dignity of his admirable spouse, en- 
treated her to leave this care to him. He there- 
fore began to sweep and purify every part of it, 
and our humble Lady seconded him to the best 
of her power. The angels also assisted them, 
until inashort time the grotto was brought into 
a decent condition, and they filled it with a 
- delightful perfume. 

St. Joseph kindled a fire, of which say was 
much need, for the weather was very cold. They 
_ afterwards supped from the remains of food still 
left; but our sweet Lady ate only on the press- 
ing solicitations of her spouse, whom sne desired 
to obey in all things. At the close of their re- 
past, they returned thanks to God as was their 
custom, and afterwards discoursed together con- 
cerning the mystery of the incarnate Word. 

The most prudent Virgin knew that the hour 
approached, She entreated St. Joseph to seek 
repose, for the night was far advanced. The 


man of God yielded to her solicitations, praying 
her to follow his example. In order to provide 
for her the means of rest, he arranged their lug- 
gage in such a way as to make up a species of 
erib, on the floor of the grotto, and, leaving to 
the august Mary this sort of bed, he withdrew 
into an angle at the entrance to engage in medi- 
tation and prayer. The Holy Spirit came to 
visit him, and he felt himself drawn by a gentle 
force that rapt him in ecstasy, during which the 
events of this night were manifested to him. 
‘He remained in this ecstasy until called by 
his holy spouse. This mysterious slumber of 
Joseph was more sublime and more fortunate 
than that of Adam in paradise. 

[This would be the place to speak of the won- 
derful birth of the Infant God, and to admire 
the prodigies of every kind that accompanied it; 
but ‘since it is impossible to relate all, we prefer 
to confine ourselves to what regards St. Joseph 
exclusively. The reader who desires to be in- 
formed of all these circumstances, is referred to 
the great work of Maria d’Agreda. It is not 
without lively regret that we omit here the nar- 
ration of those facts which have commanded 
the admiration of heaven and earth.] 

The evangelist St. Luke relates that the Vir- 
gin Mother, having brought forth her first born 


Son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid 
Him in a manger. He does not mention who 
placed Him in her arms. But the two princes, 
St. Michael and St. Gabriel, were the ministers 
on this occasion, and they presented Him to her 
with as great a reverence as when the priest ex- 
poses the holy host. The holy Mother received 
the Infant God into her arms from these two ce- 
lestial princes. She served as the altar and 
sanctuary, which the angels of her guard ap- 
proached to adore their Creator, and venerate 
that youthful virgin of fifteen, so worthy to dis- 
pense these great mysteries. It was time for the 
prudent Lady to call her faithful spouse, then in 
a state of divine ecstasy, where he knew, by 
revelation, all the mysteries of the sacred birth 
of this night. It was but just, that, before any 
other mortal, he should enjoy the honor to see, 
and the consolation to adore, by means of his 
senses, the Word made man, since he had been 
chosen to be the faithful guardian of this sublime 

The saint returned from his ecstasy, and, 
having recovered the use of his senses, the first 
object that met his view was the Infant God, in 
the arms of His Virgin Mother, and leaning upon 
her sacred face and chaste bosom. He adored 
Him, on this living altar, with the most pro 


found humility, and with warm tears of tender- 
ness. He kissed His feet with new joy, and 
with such rapturous affection that, but for the 
divine assistance, he could not have survived 
it. Certainly, but for the help of God, he must 
have lost his senses upon this occasion. 

After St. Joseph had adored the Infant, the 
most discreet Mother asked permission of her 
Son to seat herself, for she had, until then, re- 
mained kneeling. The saint gave her the swad- 
dling clothes, which they had brought, and she 
wrapped the Infant in them with the highest 
possible reverence, devotion, and neatness, 
Afterwards, as it is recorded by St. Luke, the 
evangelist, she laid Him in the manger, carefully 
placing therein a little straw and hay, to serve 
for the first bed of the Incarnate Word on earth. 
It was then that, guided by the Divine will, an 
ox came from the field, and joining the ass, 
which they had brought with them, they warmed, 
by their breath, the Infant God whom men had 
refused to receive. And thus was miraculously 
accomplished the prophecy of Isaiah: “ 7’he oe 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s erib, but 
Israel hath not known me: Is. 1. 3. 

The heavenly courtiers, having celebrated, in 
the grotto of Bethlehem, the birth of their In- 
carnate God, and our Redeemer, many of them 



were sent to different places to announce the 
happy tidings. to those who were prepared to 
hear them. The prince St. Michael was di- 
rected to the fathers in Limbo, to inform them 
that the only Son of the Hternal Father, who 
was made man, had just been born. He bore 
messages, on the part of the blessed Mother, to 
St. Joachim and St. Anna. For this numer- 
ous assembly of the just it was the day of 
great consolation. 

Another angel was sent to St. Elizabeth and 
her son John, who adored their Incarnate God. 
As soon as St. Elizabeth heard of it, she in- 
stantly despatched a messenger to Bethlehem 
with presents to the Mother of the Infant God, 
consisting of a small sum of money, linen, and 
other things, to supply the wants of the poor 
Mother and her saintly spouse. But the messen- 
ger had no orders but to visit her cousin and 
St. Joseph, to leave her gifts, to inform himself 
of their necessities, and quickly to bring her 
news of them. On his return, he recounted to 
St. Klizabeth the poverty of her relative, of 
the Child and Joseph, and the strange feelings 
taat he had experienced while with them. 

Other angels also went to announce the same 
glad tidings to Zachariah, to Simeon, and to Anna, 
the prophetess, because the Lord found each pre- 


pared to receive them with advantage. All the 
just then living on the earth, although unac- 
quainted with this mystery, were, nevertheless, 
sensible of its divine effects when the Saviour 
was born. To some, indeed, the Lord revealed 
it, and of this number were the Magi, who were 
inspired with renewed desires to seek Him. 

The neighboring shepherds were blest above 
all others. They were of those who waited for 
and desired the coming of the Messiah; and, 
humble and poor, they were engaged in watching 
their flocks at the time of the birth. Hence 
they were in a state of holy preparation: they 
merited to be the first-called. The archangel 
St. Gabriel was sent to them. They were 
troubled at seeing him, but the celestial prince 
reassured them. Illuminated by the Divine wis- 
dom, they set off for Bethlehem, to witness the 
miracle of which they had just heard. On en- 
tering the grotto, they found, as it is said by St. 
Luke, Mary and Joseph, and the Infant laid in 
a manger. 

The divine Infant looked upon them, and, 
prostrate, they adored the incarnate Word. The 
blessed Mother was attentive to all. She spoke 
with the shepherds, and instructed them. They 
made, afterwards, several other visits, during 
the sojourn of the holy family in the grotto, 


and brought them presents proportioned to their 
poverty. They did not speak of what they had 
seen until after the blessed Mary, the Infant, 
and St. Joseph had departed from Bethlehem. 
heir testimony was not believed by all; but 
Herod believed, only not with a holy faith. 
They were, nevertheless, saints, and filled with 
divine science, even to their death. 

The coming of the incarnate Word was terri- 
ble only for hell. Many things were concealed 
from Lucifer and his agents, which he might 
naturally have known; but he considered it an 
idle fancy to Lelieve that the Word would come 
and establish His power in so obscure and hum- 
ble a manner. The Mother of wisdom pene- 
trated all the deceit of Lucifer. She glorified 
the Lord, and offered prayers for all of the hu- 
man race, who, by their sins, had made them- 
selves unworthy to recognize the Light who had 
just been born to redeem them. 




URING the time that our august Lady 
QP abode in the grotto, which was an incom- 
@idiguc place, and exposed to the inclemency 
of the weather, she took the greatest care to pro- 
tect her tender and sweet Child. She had 
brought coverings with her for this purpose, and 
she held Him almost constantly in her arms, 
except when she left Him in those of St. Joseph. 
She wished to afford him the gratification to aid 
her in this service, and that he should serve the 
Incarnate God in the office of father. 

The first time the saint received the In- 
fant God, our blessed Lady said to him, “ Re- 
ceive within your arms, my spouse, the Creator 
of heaven and earth. Enjoy His sweet com- 
panionship, so that oo Lord and my God may 

take delight in you.” And speaking interiorly 


with the divine Infant she said, ‘Rest in the 
arms of your servant and friend Joseph, my 
spouse. It pains me to be without you for a 
single instant, but I wish to share my blessing 
with him who is worthy of it.” The faithful 
St. Joseph, conscious of this new happiness, 
humbled himself profoundly. ‘Queen of the 
universe,” he replied, ‘‘how can I dare, I who 
am so unworthy, to hold in my arms the same 
God in whose presence the pillars of heaven 
tremble. Supply my deficiencies, my baseness, 
and pray His divine Majesty to regard me with 
clemency.” The holy man, hesitating between 
his desire to receive the Infant God and the re- 
spectful fear that held him back, offered to Him 
acts of love, faith, humility and respect. He 
fell on his knees, and received Him with a holy 
trembling and inconceivable veneration from 
the hands of His blessed mother, shedding gen- 
tle tears of joy. The: Infant God bigarded him 
with a caressing air; and at the same time reno- 
vated his soul by His divine influence. The 
faithful Joseph, finding himself enriched by so 
many and such magnificent benefits, gave utter- 
ance to new canticles of praise. After enjoying 
for a time the ineffable delight of folding the 
Lord in his arms, he restored Him to His blessed! 
mother. They both placed themselves on their 


knees to give or to receive Him, and at all times 
with the same veneration. They made three 
genuflexions before approaching His divine 
Majesty, kissing the earth with the greatest 
humility and adoration. | 

Much more might be said of the veneration © 
observed by the blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and 
the angelic spirits towards the Infant God. 
When the saint was occupied, St. Michael or 
St. Gabriel bore Him in their arms. No tongue 
can do justice to the canticles of praise and glory 
which the Queen of Heaven chanted with the 
angels and St. Joseph, who, of all mortals, was 
most happy and most favored in this respect. 
Besides these favors, he received another, most 
precious to his soul. His most gentle spouse, 
in speaking with him of the Infant, called Him 
often, your son, not that He was really the son 
of St. Joseph, for He was the Son only of the 
Eternal Father, and of His Virgin Mother. 
This favor was an unspeakable joy to the Saint, 
and his spouse often renewed it. 

In regard to the circumcision of her Son, the 
wise Mary had no express order from the Eternal 
Father. She considered, on the one hand, that her 
holy Son came to confirm the law in fulfilling it 
himself, and more than this, to suffer for mankind: 

ihence He would not refuse the pain of circumcision, 

140 —_siLIFE OF ST. JOSEPH. 

But, on the other hand, maternal love and com- 
passion led her to desire the exemption of her 
beloved Son from the sufferings consequent upon 
it. She confided her sentiments regarding this 
_ mystery to her chaste spouse, who so tenderly 
sympathized in these mingled feelings, that he 
was moved to tears. 

Before the eight days after His birth 4 were ac- 
complished, the , Qiteah of Heaven addressed her- 
self in prayer to the Divine Majesty, who thus 
responded: ‘ You know well that you must of- 
fer Me your son and Mine to endure this, and 
other far greater sufferings. Let Him then shed 
His blood, and give me the first fruits of the 
eternal salvation of men.” 

The august Mary then explained to St. Joseph, 
with rare prudence, the reasons why he should 
prepare himself for the circumcision of the In- 
fant God. She reminded him that the time pre- 
scribed by the law approached, and that they 
must submit to it, having no order to the con- 
trary. Her saintly spouse replied: “That he 
would conform himself to the Divine Rematp 
in all things made manifest by the common law.” 
He then inuited how the circumcision should 
be performed. 

The Blessed Virgin said, that, in fulfilling the 
law, she would not be separated from the Infant, 


nor place Him in charge of any other person, 
but that she would support Him in her own 
arms. Yet since, from His temperament, His 
pain would be greater than that of ordinary 
children, it would be necessary to be prepared 
with remedies for the wound. ‘The careful mo- 
ther prayed St. Joseph also to seek a vial of 
crystal in which to gather the precious blood, 
which she wished to preserve; and she had lin- 
en cloths also ready, so that not a drop should 
fall on the ground. St. Joseph then went to call 
a priest, whom he begged to come to the grotto 
to perform the rite of circumcision, as being the 
legitimate minister for this office. 

The august Mary and St. Joseph discoursed 
together respecting the name which they should 
give to the Infant God in the circumcision. 
“When the angel,” said St. Joseph, “ declared 
to me the great mystery of the incarnation, he 
commanded me to call your divine Son Jesus,” 
The Virgin Mother replied: ‘‘ He made the same 
declaration to me when the Word was made 
flesh in my bosom. Therefore we will request 
the priest to give Him this name on the register 
of circumcised children.” 

While the Queen of Heaven and St. Joseph 
held this discourse, innumerable troops of angels 
descended from heaven in human form, and 


of incomparable beauty. They bore a device; 
upon which was engraved the name of Jesus, 
The two archangels, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, 
xach held in their hands a luminous globe of 
wondrous beauty and splendor, within which was 
written the most holy name of Jesus. They 
thus addressed their Queen: “ This name which 
you see is that of your Son. The most Holy 
Trinity have given it to your only Son our Lord, 
with power to save the human race. He will 
chastise His enemies, and reduce them to serve’ 
ds His foot-stool. He will exalt His friends, and 
place them in glory at His right hand. But all 
this must be purchased by His sufferings and 
His blood.” 

The most happy St. Joseph saw and heard 
all. He was unable to penetrate the mysteries 
of the redemption like the mother of wisdom, but 
he discovered some of them. The holy spouses, 
were filled with joy and admiration—in brief, 
there passed between them, or in their presence, 
at various times, so many wonderful things, that 
it would be impossible to convey any just idea 
of them. 

‘There was at Bethlehem a synagogue, not for 
offering sacrifices, which could be offered only 
at Jerusalem, but to read there the Law of 
Moses. The priest, who was minister of the law, 


was also.of the rite of circumcision. Neverthe- 
less, any one could circumcise. Qur augus’ 
Mother desired, because of the dignity of the 
Infant, that the priest should be the minister, 
and for this reason it was that the happy St. 
Joseph summoned him. The priest came to the 
grotto. At the view of the Mother and the 
Child his heart was sensibly touched with sin- 
gular devotion and tenderness. ‘The happiness 
which he enjoyed in touching the flesh of the 
Infant.God renewed him by a secret power, and 
rendered him holy and agreeable to the supreme 
Lord of the universe. 

In order to perform the circumcision with all 
the respect that was possible in such a place, St. 
Joseph lighted candles. The priest requested 
the Virgin Mother to withdraw for a little space, 
to avoid the pain of witnessing the sacrifice, but 
she prayed the minister of God to permit her to 
assist at the sacrament. The priest then con- 
sented that she should support the Infant in her 
arms. Thus she was the consecrated altar upon 
which the verities represented by the ancient sa- 
crifices began to be accomplished. 

The blessed Mother unswathed her divine 
child, and, drawing from her bosom a linen cloth, 
she placed it under the Infant, so that it should 
receive the blood and the relics of the circum: 


cision. The priest accomplished his office, and 
the Infant God offered to the Eternal Father 
three things of such infinite value, that each 
would suffice for the redemption of a thous- 
and worlds: the first was the form of a sinner; 
the second, the pain He suffered as man; the 
third, His most ardent love, with which He be- 
gan to shed His blood for the redemption of 
men. The tender and affectionate Mother 
gathered the sacred relics and the blood shed 
upon the linen, and placed the whole in the care 
of St. Joseph. : , 
The priest inquired of the holy spouses what 
name they intended to give to the circumcised 
child. Our sweet Lady, always attentive to the 
respect which she bore to St. Joseph, requested 
him to declare it. The Saint, turning towards 
her with veneration, intimated that so sweet a 
name should be pronounced by her lips—when, 
by a divine disposition, Mary and Joseph said : 
at the same moment, “Jesus is His name.” The 
priest replied, ‘‘ You are of one mind in this, 
the name you give to the Infant is great.” 
In writing it he was touched by a great interior 
tenderness, saying to them, “I assure you that 
I believe this child will be a great prophet of 
the Lord.” The august spouses replied to the 
priest by an humble acknowledgment, and, hav- 





ing given him the wax lights, and some other 
trifles as offerings, he departed. 

The holy Virgin and her spouse remained 
alone with the Infant. They celebrated anew 
the mystery of the circumcision by canticles, 
which they composed in honor of the most sweet 
name of Jesus. The careful Mother dressed the 
wound of the Infant God with the usual reme- 
dies. She invited the angels to sing. The min- 
isters of the Most High obeyed their Queen, and 
with heavenly melody they chanted the same 
canticles which she and St. Joseph had composed 
in praise of the most sweet name of Jesus. 





UR blessed Lady knew, by infused science 
from the Holy Scriptures, that the Magi 
would come from the East, to acknowledge 
and adore her most holy Son. She had been in- 
formed of this approaching mystery by the 
angel who had been sent to these kings to an- 
nounce the birth of the incarnate Word. St. 
Joseph had received no intelligence of this mys- 
tery, because it had not been revealed to him: 
therefore, the circumcision having been celebra- 
ted, the holy man proposed to our sweet Lady to 
‘quit their poor abode, for now they could easily 
find some hostelry in Bethlehem to which they 
could retire, until the time should come to pre- 
sent the Infant in the temple of Jerusalem. 
This most faithful and careful spouse was in 
continual distress at not being able to procure for 
the Son and His mother the comforts which 


they had need of, yet he referred all to the 
wishes of his spouse. The humble Mary re- 
plied, without revealing the mystery: “I am 
ready to do all that you command; do whatever 
you judge to be best.” This virtuous indiffer- 
ence threw St. Joseph into greater perplexity, 
for he had hoped that his spouse would decide 
what should be done. 

While they conferred together, the Lord an- 
swered by the ministry of the princes, St. 
Michael and St. Gabriel: “The Divine will or- 
dains that the three kings who come from the 
East to seek the King of Heaven shall adore in 
this same place the Word made man. It is ten 
days since they began their journey, and they 
will very soon be here.” By this new informa- 
tion, St. Joseph was consoled and informed of 
the will of the Lord. The blessed Virgin re- 
marked that, “ Although this place may be poor 
and uncomfortable to the eyes of the world, it is, 
nevertheless, precious, since the Lord is content 
with it.” These words of our prudent Lady 
afforded asensible joy to St. Joseph, who replied, 
“That they could, perhaps, remain in this holy 
place until the day of the presentation in the 
temple, without returning first to Nazareth, be- 
cause of the distance and the severity of the 
season; and if they should be obliged by stress 


of weather to leave it, they might easily find a 
shelter in Jerusalem, since it was distant only 
two leagues from Bethlehem, 

The august Mary conformed in all things to 
the wishes of her husband. She prepared the 
grotto for the reception of the Magi, as well as 
the: poverty of the place admitted, and used 
her power over creatures to protect her Son 
from the rigor of the winter. Neither the wind, 
the snow, nor the rain dared to approach Him, 
but paused at a safe distance. The Mother, 
nevertheless, suffered from the cold; while St. 
Joseph enjoyed, with the Infant God, the be- 
nign effects of that privilege; but he knew not 
that this exemption was owing to the command- 
ment of his blessed spouse, 

It often happened that while our sweet Lady 
held the Infant God in her arms, she knelt to 
adore Ilim. She entrusted Him to St. Joseph 
with the respect which we have already men- 
tioned, She embraced His feet, and when she 
desired to kiss Him on the face, she requested, 
in an interior yoice, His consent, In all she was 
most prudent, most perfect, without deficiency 
or excess, But there were between the Infant 
God anJ His Virgin Mother, other caresses far 
more sublune, She was made acquainted with 
the interior acts of the most holy soul of her Son, 


His humanity was manifested to her as in a lu- 
minous crystal, and the blessed Virgin beheld 
the hypostatic union, the soul of the Divine Child 
and all its operations. Then our humble Lady 
imitated Him in His works, and in Ilis prayers. 

The most happy St. Joseph enjoyed not only 
the favors and caresses of the Infant God, as an 
ocular witness of those which passed between 
the Son and the Mother, but he was found wor- 
thy to receive them from Jesus himself. When 
our blessed Lady was engaged in preparing their 
food, or in other household occupations, she 
placed the Infant God in his hands. While St. 
Joseph held Him, his pious soul thrilled with 
divine emotions, for the Infant Jesus regarded 
him with satisfaction; He reclined on his bosom, 
and bestowed on him marks of infantine affection. 

Whenever the august Mary separated herself 
from the Infant God, she took with her the 
relics of the circumcision, which St. Joseph 
usually carried about him for his own consola- 
tion. Thus the two spouses were always en- 
riched—the sacred Virgin by her divine Son, and 
the happy Joseph by the precious blood that 
had been shed, and the Deified flesh. They pre- 
served these holy relics in the little vial of crystal, 
which the saint had purchased. Our blessed 
Lady placed in it the flesh that was removed, 



and the blood that was shed in the circumcision, 
for she had cut out all those places of the line. 
which had received it. She afterwards placed. 
this precious deposit in charge of the Apostles, 
and left it to them as the property of the holy 

The Magi kings, who came to seek the new- 
born Infant God, were natives of a country east 
of Palestine. David, and Balaam, also, had pro- 
phesied their coming. They were very learned 
in the natural sciences, and in the Scriptures 
of the people of God. They had some be- 
lief in the advent of the Messiah. For the rest, 
they were men of great probity, loving truth 
and practising justice. They were neighbors, 
and lived in intimate friendship and faithful 
correspondence. They had noble, great, and 
generous souls, free from the avarice which 
too frequently degrades the hearts of princes, 
They were warned, by the ministry of angels, of 
the birth of the incarnate Word. With clear 
and abundant instructions, the guardian ange} 
of each declared to them in a dream, and at the 
same time, the mystery of the incarnation and 
the birth of the Redeemer. They knew that 
this new-born Infant was true God and true 
man, whom they ought to adore as their Creator 
and Redeemer, and that the star, which Balaam 



had predicted, would be given as their guide to 
conduct them to the Cua where He would be 
found. , 

The Magi kings awoke, and in spirit they 
adored the immutable being of God, and glori- 
fied His mercy for that the Word had taken hu- 
man flesh in the bosom of a Virgin, to redeem 
the world, and they prepared to depart, that 
they might. find Him. At the same time, the 
holy angel formed a star which was suspended 
in the air, to conduct the kings to the grotto. 
In leaving their homes they saw it, and fol- 
lowed the route which it indicated. Thus guided, 
they arrived at Jerusalem, when it disappeared. 
They then inquired where was the King of the 
Jews, who had just been born. 

Herod, as it is recorded by St. Matthew, as- 
sembled the chief priests and scribes, who re- 
plied: “ According to the prophecy of Micah, 
the Messiah is to be born at Bethlehem.” 
Herod called the Magi, and inquired of them 
the time when they had first observed the ap: 
pearance of the star. He then said to them: 
“When you shall have found this Child, inform 
me of it, so that I, too, may go and adore Him.” 
On passing out of Jerusalem, the Magi again 
saw the star, which stood over the grotto of the 
. nativity. 


The Lord had made known to the august 
Mother the coming of the Magi, and when 
she heard they were near the grotto, she men- 
tioned it to St. Joseph, in order that he might 
remain at her side, which he did. Although 
the Evangelists make no mention of it, it is 
nevertheless certain that St. Joseph was present — 
when the kings adored the Infant Jesus. The 
Magi already knew that St. Joseph, was not His 
real father, and that His mother was a Virgin. 
The admirable Mother awaited these pious 
kings with the Infant God in her arms, An ex- 
traordinary splendor shone ‘forth from the In- 
fant, and our sweet Lady was exceedingly beau- 
tiful. They were lost in admiration, adoring 
the Infant, and acknowledging Him as true God 
and true man. Then rising up, they bent the 
knee before the Mother in testimony of their 
veneration, and offered their felicitations on the 
happiness that she enjoyed in being the Mother 
of the Son of the Eternal Father. ) 

The three kings prostrated themselves anew, 
and adored the Infant Jesus. Afterwards they 
addressed themselves to St. Joseph, and con- 
gratulated him on his happiness in being the 
spouse of the Mother of God. Having passed 
three hours in the grotto, the kings aledel 
permission to go and seek a lodging i in the city, 


to sojourn there. Several persons accompanied 
the Magi, but they, alone, participated in the 
effects of grace and knowledge. The holy 
Marv and Joseph remained with God, and glori- 
fied the Divine Majesty in new canticles of 
praise, because His holy name began to be 
known and adored among the nations. 

The three kings left the grotto to seek repose 

in a hostelry of Bethlehem. They passed a 
great part of the night in discourse, intermingled 
_ with many tears and sighs, respecting what they 
had seen in the Infant God and His holy Mo- 
ther. They ceased not to admire the splendor 
that shone from the Infant Jesus, the modesty 
of the blessed Mother, the holiness of the happy 
St. Joseph. 
- During this conference, the Magi were not 
unmindful of the great destitution of Jesus, 
Mary, and St. Joseph, in the grotto, and they 
therefore sent to them, by their servants, liberal 
supplies of provisions. The august Mary and 
Joseph received them with gratitude, nor did 
they reply by empty thanks, but by efficacious 
benedictions. The Magi disposed themselves 
to sleep, and the angel warned them of the way 
in which they should proceed. _ 

As soon as it was day they returned to 
the grotto of the nativity, to offer the gifts 


they had brought. They prostrated themselves 
before the celestial King, and adored Him with 
profound humility: afterwards, opening their 
treasures, as it is related in the Gospels, they 
offered to Him gold and frankincense and myrrh. 
Our blessed Mother received these gifts of 
the kings, and presented them to the Infant 
Jesus in their name. They also offered to 
the sweet Mother their services, their resources, 
and all that they possessed. Our prudent Lady 
thanked them for all these offers, but she would 
accept nothing. The kings then besought her 
not to forget them, which she promised. They 
asked the same of St. Joseph. Having re- 
ceived the benediction of Jesus, Mary, and 
Joseph, they took leave, with such 4n effusion 
of tenderness and affection, that it seemed their 
hearts would melt. To avoid meeting Herod, 
they resolved not to pass through Jerusalem. 
All the remaining lives of these blessed kings 
were in harmony with their divine vocation. 

After their departure, our Lady and St. Joseph 
chanted new canticles of praise. They com- 
pared these wonderful incidents with the Holy 
Scriptures, and with the prophecies of the Pro- 
phets and Patriarchs, and they saw, with un- 
speakable jov, that their predictions began to be 
accomplished in the Infant Jesus. 




a (FTER the adoration of the Infant Jesus 
HM by the Magi, our saints resolved to quit . 
the grotto, since nothing more was expected 
there. The prudent Mother said to St. Joseph: 
“My spouse, these presents, which the Magi have 
left for our God, ought not to be useless. I must 
not occupy myself with temporalities, therefore 
I pray you dispose of all as belonging to my Son 
and to you.” 

The faithful spouse replied, with his accus- 
tomed humility and meekness, “That it was 
but right she should distribute them herself.” 
The blessed Virgin persisted, saying: “ You 

tught to do it, to exercise charity towards the 
poor, who claim the part that belongs to them.” 
After this humble contestation, the august Mary 
and St. Joseph decided to divide the gifts inte 


three parts; one for the temple at Jerusalem, 
another for the priest who had circumcised the 
Infant, the remainder for the poor. 

The Almighty, to induce them to leave the 
‘grotto, inspired a poor woman, who was honest 
and charitable, to visit our Queen. She lived in 
a house that stood against the wall of the city, 
quite near the holy place. Having heard of 
the coming of the Magi, she inquired of the 
blessed Virgin if she knew that certain wise 
men, who were said to be three kings, were come 
to seek for the Messiah. Our Princess took oc- 
easion from this, to instruct her, without declar- 
ing the mystery of her Son; whereupon this 
woman offered them her house, pressing her 
strongly to accept the invitation, seeing the in- 
commodities of the grotto for our Lady, her 
spouse, and the Child. 

Our Queen did not refuse the offer. <A little 
time afterwards she spoke of it to St. Joseph, 
and they determined to make their abode in 
that house until the time should come for the 
purification and the presentation in the temple. 
That which decided them was, that a crowd of 
people began to come to the grotto. Our sweet 
Lady, St. Joseph and the Infant, left it with 
much regret, because of their veneration for it, 
and directed their steps to the house of the poor 


woman, who recvived them with the greatest 
cordiality. After they had quitted it, the Lord 
sent an angel to guard the grotto, and this angel 
» still guards it with a flaming sword, so that no 
animal has entered it since that time. If he 
does not hinder the entrance of the enemies of 
the faith, it is by the secret judgment of the 
Most High. Christian princes could aid in this 
miracle if they set themselves with ardor to re- 
cover the holy places.” It has been declared to 
me, that veneration for the Holy Land is one of 
the most powerful and efficacious means to es- 
tablish and confirm the Catholic monarchies. 

The august Mary prepared herself, by fervent 
desires, to offer in the temple her adorable Infant 
to the Eternal Father. She embellished her soul 
by the practice of the highest virtues. The In- 
fant Jesus conversed with His Mother, but in an 
intelligible voice only when she was alone. Her 
holy spouse did not enjoy this happiness until a 
year after His birth. 

During the time which our august Queen 
passed at Bethlehem, she was visited by many 
persons, who were nearly all of the poorest class. 
They spoke of the arrival of the Magi, and of 
the coming of the Messiah. By a disposition of 
divine Providence, the approaching birth was a 
subject of public conversation among the Jews. 



The prudent Mother had various occasions te 
practise great virtues. Those good people held 
such fabulous discussions upon matters of re- 
ligion, that the ingenuous St. Joseph smiled at 
them, but, at the same time, admired the impres- 
sive replies of our great Lady, and the divine 
wisdom with which she instructed them. 

The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph remained 
with the divine Infant, in their humble dwelling 
at Bethlehem, until the close of the forty days pre: 
scribed for presenting Him in the temple. This 
period being fulfilled, our Lady and St. Joseph 
prepared for the journey. They resolved to 
offer the only Son of the Eternal Father accord- 
ing to the law, knowing His desire to be sub- 
missive to the law, and to be offered to His di- 
vine Father. Having fixed the day of departure, 
they took leave of their pious hostess, whom they 
left crowned with celestial benedictions. 

They went first to visit the grotto of the na- 
tivity. The blessed Mother gave the Infant to 
St. Joseph, and, prostrate on the earth, she vene- — 
rated this holy place. Her holy spouse did the — 
same, with inexpressible devotion. Then the — 
Blessed Virgin requested leave of St. Joseph to 
make the journey barefooted, and to carry the 
holy Infant in her arms. Our august Lady 
usually wore a kind of shoes which covered the 


feet. The thread was taken from a plant re- 
sembling hemp, which was suitable for the 

St. Joseph, having requested her to rise, thus 
replied: ‘The Son of the Eternal Father, whom I 
have within my arms, gives you His benediction. 
IT am well pleased that you should go on foot, ear- 
rying Him, but not barefooted. Be content with 
your pious desire, which will be agreeable to the 
Lord, who has inspired it.” St. Joseph some- 
times used authority towards the august Mary, 
but it was always with great respect. He used 
this authority as head, only that she might not 
be deprived of the consolation she enjoyed in 
the practice of humility and obedience; and 
as the saint obeyed her in so doing, he mortified 
and humbled himself in commanding her, and 
thus both were obedient and humble. 

St. Joseph refused to allow her to go to Jeru- 
salem barefooted, because he feared the cold 
might injure her health; but his fears arose 
from his ignorance of the admirable nature of 
her virginal constitution. Our blessed Lady, 
implicitly obedient to her spouse, did not make 
the journey barefooted. They left the grotto, 
after having asked the benediction of the In- 
fant God, who bestowed it, perceptibly, upon 
them. St. Joseph loaded the ass with the 


package of swaddling clothes, and that portion 
of the gifts of the Magi which they had reserved 
as an offering at the temple. All the celestial 
court accompanied them, in visible forms. Our 
blessed Lady and her spouse enjoyed their vis- 
ion. These heavenly spirits celebrated the mys- 
tery by new and admirable canticles, and, thus 
disposed, they traversed the two leagues which 
separated Bethlehem from Jerusalem. The 
weather was severe—nor did this happen with- 
out the particular providence of God. Nothing 
was to be seen but frost and ice, so that the 
Creator made Man trembled with cold, like one 
of mere human birth. He wept in the arms of 
His loving Mother. Our potent Queen ad- 
dressed herself to the winds and elements, and 
commanded them, authoritatively, to become 
milder. They obeyed the order of their legiti- 
mate mistress for the Infant, without changing 
towards her, 

During this time, and while our blessed Lady 
was on the way with the Infant Jesus, the 
chief priest, Simeon, had a revelation that the 
incarnate Word was coming to the temple, in 
Ilis Mother’s arms, to offer himself to God. The 
same revelation was made to the holy widow, 
Anna, and it was revealed to her, and the high 
priest, also, that St. Joseph was with his most 


pure spouse. And having communicated to 
each other what had just been revealed to them, 
they agreed to send the steward of the temple 
to meet them, after having instructed him how 
to recognize our holy travellers. The steward 
executed the order he had received, which 
proved a great consolation to our august Queen 
and St. Joseph. The fortunate host left them in 
his house, and went to give an account of his 
mission to the high priest. 

The saintly spouses formed their plans the 
same evening. Our ever-prudent Lady advised 
St. Joseph to go at-once and present the gifts of 
the kings at the temple, so as to avoid attracting 
public attention. She also prayed him to bring, 
on his return, the turtle doves, which they in- 
"tended to offer publicly the following day. St. 
Joseph executed all in such a manner that he 
seemed only an ordinary stranger, who offered 
myrrh, incense, and gold to the receiver of the 
gifts at the temple. He did not use any portion 
of them to purchase a lamb, because this would 
not have accorded with their poor and humble 
condition. Neither did they depart, in the least 
particular, from the poverty and humility which 
they held in such high esteem, even though it 
might have tended towards good and pious 


Simeon was, according to St. Luke, a just 
man, fearing God, and awaiting the consolation 
of Israel, and the Holy Spirit had revealed to 
him that he should see Christ the Lord before 
his death. On that night he was instructed by 
Divine illumination, and discovered, with great 
clearness, all the mysteries of the incarnation 
and redemption of the human race. By the 
knowledge of these sublime revelations he was 
elevated above himself. The same night St. 
Anna had also a revelation of many of these 
mysteries, from which she received unspeakable 

The day having come when the Son of Justice 
was to appear, our blessed Lady prepared the 
turtle doves and two lights. She then wrap- 
ped the infant Jesus in His swaddling-clothes, 
and set out, with her saintly spouse, for the tem- 
ple. Arrived at the gates, the happy mother 
adored the Lord in spirit and in truth, and made 
an offering to the divine Majesty of herself with 
her Son whom she held in her arms. The most 
fortunate of men, St. Joseph, felt at the same 
moment a new and sweet effusion of the Holy 
Spirit, which filled him with joy and divine light. 

Conducted by the same Spirit, the high priest 
Simeon came to the temple, and, approaching the 
place where Mary stood with Jesus, he beheld 



them all radiant with light. Anna approached 
and saw it, also. Simeon took the Infant in his 
arms, and offering Him to the eternal Father, in- 
~ toned the celebrated canticle, “ Now Thou dost 
dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to [hy 
word, in peace.” Afterwards he announced the 
cruel passion which the heart of Mary must suffer 
at the view of the sufferings of Jesus. 

The blessed Mary and St. Joseph admired the 
sublimity of the Spirit which had inspired Sim- 
eon. The holy old man gave his benediction to 
the happy parents and to the Infant. When the 
holy priest prophesied the passion, the Infant 
humbly inclined His head, in testimony that He 
accepted the prophecy, and would fulfil it. The 
tender mother comprehended all the mysteries 
included within this prophecy. On his part, the 
holy St. Joseph also penetrated many things 
concerning the redemption and the sufferings of 
Jesus, but his knowledge was less comprehen- 
sive than that of his spouse, because he was not 
to witness their accomplishment on earth. 

The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph took leave 
of the high priest, after having received his 
benediction, and that of St. Anna, and returned 
to the house which had been prepared for them. 
Here they resolved to remain nine days longer, 
to visit the temple and to renew there, each day, 


the offering: of the most holy Host, with devout 
thanksgivings. The number nine had always 
been dear to the holy family. They began their 
novena and remained in the temple from before 
the hour of tierce to the evening, choosing the 
most humble and retired quarter. It was at this 
time the divine Majesty promised that the au- 
gust mother should obtain all that she would 
ask for those who were devoted to her, as long 
as the world was to endure, and even for. great 
sinners, if they would avail themselves of her 




N the fifth day of the novena, after the 
Presentation, the Blessed Virgin had a 
vision of the’ Divinity, in which she was warned 
to fly into Egypt because Herod sought to destroy 
the new-born Messiah. The Lord referred her 
to St. Joseph, to be guided by him in all things 
relating to this journey. But the exceeding af- 
fection of our Lady for her most hol y Son 
grieved her heart, on considering the pain which 
so young a child must suffer in executing this 
command. She was touched with compassion, 
and could not restrain her tears. 

The faithful St. Joseph observed the affliction 
of his spouse, and supposed it to be the effect of 
the prophecy of St. Simeon. But as he had a 
tender affection for our queen, and was also of 
a most compassionate temper, he was troubled at 
the affliction of his spouse; and it was for this 


reason that the angel appeared to him in a 
dream. During this same night, as it is related 
by St. Matthew, the angel of the Lord said to 
him, “ Arise, and take the child and His Mother, 
and fly into Eqypt, and be there until I shall tell 
thee. For it will come to pass, that Herod will seek 
the Child to destron y Llim.” 

Filled with zeal and anxiety, St. J oseph arose 
on the instant, and, approaching the place whither 
his beloved spouse had retired, he said to her, 
“Tt is the will of the Most High, that we shall 
be afflicted, for His angel has declared to me the 
command of His Majesty, that we shall fly with 
the Infant into Egypt, because Herod designs to 
destroy His life. Prepare, then, for the fatigues 
of this journey, and tell me what I can do for 
your comfort, and for the service of our most 
sweet Infant.” “ My spouse,” replied our queen, 
‘if we receive so much good at the liberal - 
hands of the Most High, it is but just that we 
should receive from Him temporal pains and 

The blessed Mother and St. Joseph approach- 
ed the cradle where the Infant Jesus ‘slept; nor 
was this slumber without mystery. The holy 
Mother thus addressed Him: “Flee away, O my 
beloved, and be like to the roe, and to the 
young hart; come, let us go to the fields.” St. 


Joseph added: “Thy power cannot be limited 
by that of the kings of the earth, but Thine ex- 
alted wisdom would conceal it. Who can 
fathom the impenetrable seerets of Thy Provi- 
dence?” Our august Lady then awakened the 
Infant. Our loving Saviour, willing to show, 
by certain marks, that He was of true human 
nature, and to affect His parents, wept a little, 
but soon He became quiet. 

The holy Virgin and St. Joseph asked a bene- 
diction of the Divine Infant, which He bestowed 
in a manner not to be mistaken. Then gather- 
ing their humble garments, they departed, with- 
out further delay, a little after midnight, making 
use of the same beast of burden which they bad 
brought from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They 
travelled with all diligence towards Hgypt, 
quitting Jerusalem to go to another country, 
concealed by the silence and obscurity of the 
night. | 

It is not possible to find faith and hope more 
firm than that of our Queen and her faithful 
spouse, but they were pained because of the In- 
fant Jesus. They knew not what might happen 
to them on this long journey, nor where it was 
to terminate, nor how they would be received 
in Egypt, nor how they could educate this Child. 
But the angels strengthened them in such wise, 


that, issuing from Jerusalem by the gate towards 
Nazareth, they began their journey with great 

The Blessed Virgin could have wished to pass 
through Hebron, where at this moment St. Eli- 
zabeth sojourned, and because it was but little 
out of their way; but the prudent St. Joseph, 
who was in great apprehension of Ierod, could 
not consent to the least delay. “I think,” said 
he, ‘that it is of the greatest importance not to. 
retard our journey for even a moment, but to 
hasten it as much as possible, so as to be re- 
moved from danger. For this reason we ought 
not to pause at Hebron, where we should, per- 
haps, be sought after sooner than elsewhere.” 
The Blessed Virgin obeyed St. Joseph, not only 
in that which he commanded, but she would not 
even send an angel to her cousin without his 
consent. What an admirable example to teach 
us to renounce our own will, which is often so 
prejudicial to us! 

The angel having instructed St. Elizabeth, 
she desired to come and adore the Infant Jesus, 
but the celestial ambassador prevented her. 
She then sent a person to convey, in all haste, 
food and money to the holy family, with cloth- 
ing for the Child. This messenger found them 
at the city of Gaza, distant twenty hours from 


Jerusalem, by the road that leads from Palestine 
to Egypt. 

Our holy travellers remained two days in this 
town, on account of the fatigue of St. Joseph, 
and to give rest to the ass, which carried our 
Quéen. They dismissed the servant of Eliza- 
beth, and St. Joseph charged him to reveal to 
no one the place where he had found them. The 
Lord appointed a better means of securing this 
silence. He destroyed his memory of the fact. 

The charitable Mary shared the presents of 
Elizabeth with the poor, whom she never forgot. 
Of the cloth she made a covering for the Infunt, 
and a mantle for St. Joseph, capable of protect- 
ing them from the severity of the weather. She 
also prepared such of the provisions as could be 
preserved, to provide for the necessities of her 
Son and St. Joseph, without having recourse to. 
miraculous assistance. 

The happy St. Joseph was a witness of the 
mysteries which passed between the blessed Mo- 
ther and the Infant Jesus. The holy Mary un- 
derstood, through intellectual visions, the unity 
of the Divine Essence with the Trinity of per- 
sons; the eternal generation of the Word, and ° 
the procession of the Holy Ghost witout pri- 
ority or posteriority. Finally, the august Mother 
contemplated all the interior acts of her only 



Son, and imitated them. The happy Joseph 
was often a witness of these divine mysteries, 
and received illumination from them which 
smoothed the difficulties of the road. 

From time to time our saint took care to in- 
quire of his spouse how she found herself, and 
if she had need of any thing for the Infant or 
herself. He approached Him and adored: he 
kissed His feet and asked His benediction. 
Sometimes he took Him in his arms. Thus our 
great patriarch overcame gently all the fatigues 
of the journey. His holy spouse encouraged 
him; yet external things never interfered with 
her sublime thoughts and affections. 

Three days after their arrival at Gaza, our 
saintly travellers set out for Egypt. They then 
entered the sandy desert called Beersheba, which 
has an extent of sixty leagues before reaching 
Heliopolis, near Cairo. They made short jour- 
neys, because of the sand. Many events hap- 
pened to the holy family. The Most High al- 
lowed them to suffer from the hardships of the 
desert. Our blessed Lady was much distressed, 
but she supported them with patience for the 
‘sake of her Son and husband. St. Joseph, on his 
part, suffered greatly from his inability:to pro- 
tect the Infant and Mother, notwithstanding all 
his cares, 


In traversing the desert, it was absolutely ne- 
cessary that they should pass the nights in the 
open air, and without shelter; and it was in 
winter, and the month of February. The first 
night which overtook them, obliged them to 
stop at the foot of a hill. The Queen of Heaven 
seated herself on the sand with her Son in her 
arms, and they supped on what they had brought 
from Gaza. The Blessed Virgin gave milk to 
her Infant Jesus, and His Majesty consoled them 
in many pleasing and caressing ways. The saint 
raised a sort of little tent with his mantle and 
some sticks, so that the Incarnate Word and 
His holy Mother should not be exposed to the 
night air. Our great Lady knew that her most 
holy Son offered this affliction to the Eternal 
Father, together with His sufferings, and those 
of herself and St. Joseph. She united with 
Him in prayer. St. Joseph slept on the ground, | 
his head supported by the little box of swad- 
dling @lothes and their other poor apparel. The 
following day they continued their route, and 
then their provision of bread and fruits failed 
them, so that the Mistress of the Universe and | 
her holy spouse, feeling the pressure of hunger, 
found themselves in the direst distress, and, al- 
though that of the saint was the most severe, 
both were in the greatest affliction. Thus they 



passed one of the first days of their journey, 
until nine in the evening, without nourishment. 
Our blessed Lady then addressed herself to the 
Most High. ‘Eternal and Almighty God,” 
said she, “I offer to Thee thanks, and I bless 
Thee. How, being only a poor useless creature, 
how shall I dare to ask any thing for myself? 
But have regard to Thine only Son, and grant 
the means to sustain His natural life, and to pre- 
serve that of my spouse!” The Most High per- 
mitted that to the rigors of the elements should be 
joined those of hunger, exhaustion, and of this 
sort of abandonment—and then came a tempest 
of wind and rain, that wearied them extremely. 

The careful Mother, exercising her power as 
Queen of creatures, commanded the .elements 
not to offend their Creator, and to reserve for 
her their rude attacks. The Infant Jesus, to re- 
compense this loving care, gave commands to 
His angels, and they formed a luminous globe, 
impenetrable to the weather, which inclosed 
their God made man, the Blessed Virgin, and 
her spouse. This protection was bestowed on 
other occasions, also, while crossing the desert. 

But food was wanting, and this want which 
could not be supplied by any human industry, 
was most pressing. The Lord then helped them 
by the ministry of angels, who furnished them 


with bread and excellent fruits, and brought 
them, besides, a beverage of delicious flavor. 
Upon this, they sang canticles of praise to the 
Lord, who feeds all flesh, at a convenient season. 
Such was the repast which the Lord made for 
His three travellers in the same desert, where 
Elias, flying from Jezebel, was strengthened by 
bread baked in the ashes which the angel of the 
Lord brought him. 

None of the miracles wrought in favor of the 
Jewish people are worthy to be compared with 
those which the Lord wrought during this jour- 
ney for His Son made man, and the august Mary 
and St. Joseph, to preserve the natural life on 
~ which depended the salvation of the human 
race. But the Lord always waited until the ne- 
cessity was most urgent. Let the poor rejoice 
in this example—let not the hungry be cast 
down—let those who suffer persecution expect 
help in season, and let none complain of Divine 
Providence! When was it ever that the Lord 
failed to help those who put their trust in Him? 
Come! come to Him with humility and con- 
fidence! The eyes of your fathers regard you 
with fixed attention | 

The Most High not only took care to nourish 
our pilgrims, but He also offered them sensible 
recreations, to soothe. the weariness of the way. 



It often happened that the blessed Mother, paus- 
ing with the Infant God, was speedily surround- 
ed by large numbers of birds. The blessed 
Queen received them, and commanded them to 
praise their Creator: the birds obeyed, and the 
devoted Mother recreated the Infant Jesus in 
the sweetest canticles. The holy angels joined 
their voices to that of our lovely Lady. _ 

The Son and the Mother sometimes held in- 
terior communications, so’sublime, that words 
are inadequate to express them. The holy 
St. Joseph participated in some of these mys- 
teries, and their divine consolations made him 
forget his fatigue while he enjoyed the de- 
lights of such society ; but he knew not that the 
Infant conversed with His Mother. 



CHAPTER. X1iTl.., 


SHE flight of the Incarnate Word had other 
mysteries, and other ends, besides that of 
withdrawing from the effects of Herod’s anger. 
It was rather the means employed by the Lord 
to visit Egypt, and there to operate the wonders 
of which the Prophets had spoken, Isaiah, in 
particular, ch. xix. 1: “ The Lord will enter into 
Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at Hs 
presence,” etc. But we will not here pursue this 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, continuing their jour- 
ney, arrived at the inhabited portion of Egypt, 
and before reaching Heliopolis, where they were 
to sojourn, the angels led them through many 
other places. From this cause they employed 
more than fifty days in the journey, passing over 
two hundred leagues, although they might have 
arrived much sooner at Heliopolis if they had 
followed the direct road. 


The Egyptians were strongly inclined to idol- 
atry and superstition, and idols were placed 
every where. There were many temples where 
devils made their abode, and they were so given 
to the worship of demons, and so blinded by 
their delusions, that nothing short of the omni- 
potent arm of the Lord had power to reform 
this misguided country. Now, the Infant Jesus, 
with His Mother and St. Joseph, entered the 
habitations of the Egyptians. And when He 
entered, in the arms of the august Mary, rais- 
ing His eyes towards heaven, and joining His 
hands, He prayed for the salvation of the poor 
people enslaved by the devil. Then exercising 
His power over these evil spirits, He pre- 
cipitated them into the abyss. The idols fell 
at the same moment with a loud noise, the 
temples sank into ruins, and the oheri were 

The cause of these prodigies was known to 
our Lady, who united her prayers to those of 
her Divine Son. St. Joseph also discovered ~ 
that all these wonders proceeded from the Incar- 
nate Word, and, filled with holy admiration, he 
praised and blessed Him. The demons fuiled to 
discover the cause. The Egyptians were amazed, 
although the most learned still preserved certain 
traditions of prophesies of Jeremiah, when he 


was in Egypt, that a King of the Jews should 
come into their kingdom, and the temples of 
their idols should be destroyed. : 

In their trouble, some of the people came to 
visit our blessed Lady and St. Joseph, and dis- 
coursed with them on the ruin of their temples. 
The Queen of Wisdom availed herself of the 
oceasion to instruct them. Her words were so 
sweet and so forcible, that the rumor of the ar- 
rival of our holy travellers was extended. Jesus 
and Mary passed through many towns of Egypt, 
chasing the demons not only from the temples, 
but from the bodies of the people. Our Prin- 
cess and St. Joseph instructed many persons in 
the path to virtue and to eternal life. 

They arrived at Heliopolis. Many idols were 
possessed by demons of great power, particularly 
one which abode in a tree at the entrance of the 
city. When the Word made man passed it, the 
_ demon was precipitated into the depths of the 
abyss, and the tree bowed itself to the earth. 
Several authors have recorded this miracle, for 
the leaves and fruits of this same tree, after- 
wards, cured many maladies. 

Various writers have recorded this sojourn of 
the holy family in Egypt. Some mention their 
residence in one city, some in another. All may 
be true in referring to different epochs, for the 


“Moy family were at Hermopolis, Media Ma: 
taria, and other towns, but they fixed their 
« abods at Heliopolis, bilieiina the angels had said 
to our blessed Lady and St. Joseph, that they 
were to stop ; at this place. Thus this city of the 
sun, accordiig to its name, saw the Son of Jus: 
tice and of Gites: 

Immediately upon their arrival, St. Joseph 
sought a lodging, offering a fair price. The 
Lord guided him to a poor habitation, a little 
out of the town, as the Queen of Heavénghad 
wished, and thi took possession of it at once. 
On entering it with her Son and St. Joseph, our 
blessed Lady prostrated herself and kissed the 

earth with profound humility. She then began 
the lowly task of cleanging hey humble abode, 
and, so indige eir cigcumstances, that 
she was obliged the broom with which 
she swept the hou “ 

Although our st ngers were content to 
be lodged within bare walls of this poor 
tenement, food and fufniture were still wanting. 
The miraculous succor, which they had been ae- 
customed to receive by the ministry of angels, 
had ceased since they had entered inhabited re- 
gions. The Lord placed them at the table of. 
the poorest poor, which is to have recourse to 
alms; and, while suffering from hunger, St. Jo- 


seph went to ask for food for the Son of God. ely 
- By this example he teaches the poor never to (7. 

complain of their wants, nomto be ashamed to pe 
ans have failed, - 
since it was necessary to arn at so%arly MS 
to support the life of the Lord of\all created 
things. During the three first days, 
arrival at Helippolis, ouxgblessed A 

‘ain Something - his ce 
Piecnened in divers places of 

7 i Having received payment for certain 
work, he made a little bedstead, entirely of 
wood, for the Mother, and a ee for the In- 
fant. For himself he ared no other bed 
than the earth. Nor wagith®xe apy furniture in 
the house, until, By th 

In this extreme pover fary and Joseph 
never spoke of their hous@at Nazareth, nor of 
their parents and friends, nor of the presents of < 
the wise men. They regretted none of those a 
things, and supported their indigence without 
uttering the least complaint—without dwelling 
on the past, without fear of the future. On the 
contrary, they were always joyous—abandoning 


themselves entirely to Divine Providence in the 
hour of their greatest need. 

Oh, the baseness of our infidel hearts! With 
how many troubles, cares and pains are they not 
possessed, at the smallest inconveniences! The 
example of our blessed strangers should serve as 
a grave rebuke for our pusillanimity in times of 
trial and affliction. Our prudent Lady and her 
spouse, deprived of all temporal goods, lodged, 
with joy, in their destitute habitation. Of the 
three chambers that it contained, one was con- 
secrated as a sanctuary for the Infant Jesus and 
His most holy Mother. In it were placed the 
cradle and her little bed. The second was ap- 
propriated to St. Joseph for prayer and repose, 
and the third served as a shop, where he worked 
at his trade. Our august Lady, seeing their ex- 
treme indigence, and that her spouse was obliged 
to increase his ordinary toil to enable them to 
subsist, resolved to aid him by her own labor. 
She judged it best to employ the day in work, 
so as to gain what was necessary for their 
food, for the clothing of St. Joseph, and to fur- 
nish their house, reserving only the night for her 
spiritual exercises. The Infant God approved 
this prudent decision of His Mother, and regu- 
lxted the order of her life and her manual labor. 
But when the holy Mother saw that it was time 




to relieve St. Joseph, by procuring for him the 
society of her Son, she said to Him: “My Son 
and my Lord, regard your faithful servant with 
the love of son and father.” And, addressing 
the saint: ‘Receive, my spouse, within your 
arms, the Lord, who holds within His hands the 
heavens and earth, and who will sweeten the 
fatigues of your toil.” 

The saint was accustomed to receive this fa- 
vor with great humility and gratitude, asking 
his holy spouse if he might take the liberty to 
caress the Infant. Reassured by the prudent 
Lady, the consolation he received in these ca- 
resses made him forget all his pains, so that they 
seemed easy and most sweet. When the holy 
‘spouses took their repast, the Blessed Virgin held - 
the Infant. Having placed whatever was ne- 
_ cessary on the table, she took Him again from 
the arms of St. Joseph. All that I can say of 
any thing that our saints did, is, that they were 
the adtairation of the angels, aa that they were 
according to the good pleasure of the Lord. 
When Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would 
enter Kgypt on a light cloud, to make His won- 
ders shine there, by this cloud, he meant His 
most holy Mother. After the Son of Justice had 
enlightened Kgypt, and the cloud, free from 

every taint of sin, the august Mary, had fer- 


tilized it, this land brought forth abundant fruits 
during many ages, as we have seen in the great. 
number of saints and anchorites whom, in the 
sequel, it produced. 

The Lord sojourned at Heliopolis, and when 
He entered the temples, the idols and altars. 
were overthrown, with a, frightful noise. The 
whole city was in the greatest terror, and many: 
persons of both sexes went to visit the strangers, 
and spoke of it to our blessed Lady and St. Jo- 
seph. Our blessed. Mother conversed with them: 
with much prudence, wisdom and sweetness. 
She withdrew them from their errors, and, at 
the same time, healed some diseased persons: 
The rumor of these miracles spread abroad to, 
such a degree that our blessed Lady, seeing her-. 
self approached by multitudes of people, inquired 
of her divine Son what He would have her to, 
do. The Infant God replied, that she should 
impart to them the knowledge. of the true God, 
and instruct them in His worship and. of the 
means to put away their sins. 

The blessings which these souls thus obtained 
were so abundant that it would require many 
volumes to record the wonders that were mani+ 
fested during these seven years. ‘T'wo years 
later, St. Joseph. also began to heal the sick. 
Our blessed Lady devoted herself chiefly: to the 


eure of women; she herself dressed their 
‘wounds; but for men, she healed them by her 
words only. 

During the period of their sojourn, Heliopolis 
was infected by the plague. This misfortune, 
and the report of the wonders which they 
wrought, brought them great numbers of sick 
people, who went away healed in body and soul. 
But the Lord, wishing to extend His grace, de- 
termined, on the request of our Blessed Lady, 
that St. Joseph should instruct and cure the 
sick. And she obtained for him a new interior 
light, and a singular grace of holiness for the 
exercise of this ministry, so that, in the third 
year after their arrival, St. Joseph began the 
exercise of these gifts from heaven. He usually 
instructed and cured the men, and our Blessed — 
Lady the women. We can easily conceive the 
good they wrought, but it is impossible to give 
the details of it. 

King Herod was much disappointed when he 
heard that the Magi had visited Bethlehem—had 
seen the august Mary and St. Joseph, and had 
already left Palestine. He was also informed of 
what had passed in the temple. He then gave 
orders to make a strict search for our Queen, 
her Infant, and St. Joseph. But the Lord, who 
had commanded their departure from Jerusalem 


by night, concealed their journey. And now it 
was that the demon inspired Herod to murder all 
the children of that region who were under two 
years old. 

Herod promulgated this diabolical command 
in the sixth month after the birth of our Re- 
deemer. Her most sweet Son, and the august 
Mother prayed to the Almighty for the holy 
innocents. The Divine Providence was most 
gracious towards these infant martyrs, and they 
all received, some more, some less, the use of 
reason, and a sublime knowledge of the being 
of God. They exercised heroic acts of faith, 
adoration, respect, and love of God. They wil-- 
lingly received martyrdom, and the angels who 
assisted them bore their souls to Limbo. 




NE day, while the Blessed Mary and St. 
? Joseph discoursed together upon the mys- 
teries of the Lord, the Infant Jesus, having 
completed his first year, desired to break silence, 
and to speak, in a distinct voice, with His faith- 
ful foster-father. The two spouses spoke of the 
Infinite Being of God, and His goodness in send- 
ing His only Son to be the Master and Re- 
deemer of men—to converse with them, and 
suffer the pains which their depraved nature had 
deserved. | 
St. Joseph, in this meditation, admired the 
works of the Lord, and redoubled his grateful 
thanksgivings for His love. The Infant God, 
who was in the arms of His Mother, used them 
as a pulpit, from which He thus addressed the 
saint: ‘My raTHer, I am come ‘rom heaven 


to be the light of the world, and, as a good shep- 
herd, to seek and to aes my sheep, and to 
give them the food of eternal life. I desire that 
you may both become children of the light, 
since you are so near to its source.” fe 
words of the Infant Jesus, full of life and force, 
poured into the heart of the holy patriarch a 
new love—a profound respect—an inexpressible 
joy. He cast himself at the feet of the Infant 
God and offered devout thanks that the first 
word which he had heard Him pronounce was 
jather, With many tears, he prayed his Divine 
Majesty to illuminate him with celestial light, to 
enable him to do whatsoever should be most 
agreeable to Him, and to thank Him for the 
manifold blessings that he had received from 
His liberal hand. 

Fathers, who naturally love their children, 
feel great consolation when they perceive ae 
they give promise of becoming wise and dis- 
tinguished in the world; and even when they 
are not so, their natural affection induces them 
to praise whatever their children may say or do. 
Now, although St. Joseph was not the real 
father of the Infant, but only His foster-father, 
the love which he bore Him surpassed, beyond 
comparison, all that fathers have ever had for 
their children; because grace, and even nature, 

tow or br JosErH. . ~ “187 

were more powerful in him than in others, or 
in all fathers united. It is, therefore, by this 
love, and by the delight he felt in being the repu- 
ted futher of the Infant Jesus, that we are 
to measure the joy of his pure soul, when he 
heard the Son of the Eternal Father call him 
father, in beginning to speak with him so gra- 

This first year having been passed in swad- 
dling clothes, the prudent Mother judged the 
time had come when He should be put upon 
His feet. The Infant Jesus said to her: “ My 
Mother, you will clothe me in a long tunic, of 
a plain color. I will wear none but this. It 
shall grow with me, and it shall be for this that 
they will cast lots after my death. I ought to 
have only one coat in this world, in order to in- 
struct men to esteem and to love poverty. I 
consent that you give me some common sandals, 
which I will wear until the time comes for my 
public preaching, when I must go barefooted.” 
The Queen of Heaven employed herself imme- 
diately to accomplish the will of her most holy 
Son. She provided wool of the natural color, 
of which she spun and made a little tunic, all of 
one piece. She wove it on a frame. There 
was a mystery in making this tunic without 
seam. On the prayer of our Blessed Lady, it 


changed its natural hue into another, which was 
between violet and silver color, very perfect, so 
that the shade could not be distinguished. Be- 
sides this, she made a half tunic of linen, for an 
under garment, in which He was crucified. The 
holy Mother, having thus clothed the Infant Je- 
sus, put sandals upon Him, and set Him on His 
feet. The tunic proved to be exactly fitted to 
Him, and He never quitted it until the execu- 
tioners despoiled Him of His clothing, to flag- 
ellate and crucify Him, because it grew with 
His sacred body as much as was necessary. The 
same thing happened, with the sandals, and the 
other tunic, which served as drawers. The In- 
fant Jesus found himself afoot. There appeared 
in Him a grace quite wonderful, for He sur- 
passed, in beauty, all the children of men. The 
angels were surprised that He had chosen go 
humble a vestment. 

Our Blessed Lady and her holy spouse were. 
filled with joy on seeing their Infant walk with 
so much grace, and possessing such rare beauty. 
When He had reached eighteen months, He was . 
_ weaned—afterwards He ate meat, but always very 
sparely. When He was grown up, He took His 
food at the same hour with our blessed spouses, 
_ and nothing more; and when at the table with His 
parents, they waited always for Him to give the 


benediction at the commencement, and to return 
thanks at the close of the repast. 

The Infant Jesus grew in the admiration of 
all who knew Him. Having attained His sixth 
year, He began, sometimes, to go out to visit the 
sick in the hospitals. From every quarter they 
came to felicitate and bless the parents for having 
such a Child. Many children of Heliopolis, as 
is usual, accompanied our amiable Jesus. He 
instructed them in the knowledge of the Divi- 
nity and of the virtues, and taught them the 
way to eternal life. 

This lovely and beautiful Child, in proportion 
as He advanced in age, assumed a graver de- 
meanor towards His parents; and some time 
after the swaddling clothes were laid aside, the 
most tender caresses, which had always been made 
with a certain reserve, ceased. The circumspec- 
tion of His parents in this regard, arose from 
their perception in Him of so much of the ma- 
jesty of the hidden Divinity, which, if He had 
not tempered it, would often have produced 
a fear so full of respect, that they could not 
have dared even to speak to Him. But His 
presence never ceased to inspire them with sen- 
timents altogether divine and ineffable. 

In this majestic grandeur, He was dutiful 
towards His most holy Mother, and treated 


St. Joseph as the one who held the name and 
office of His father, obeying both as their hum- 
ble Child. It is impossible to enumerate the 

souls who were converted and saved in Helix 

opolis, and in all Egypt—the sick whom they 
cured, and the wonders they wrought, in the 
seven years of their abode there. During this 
time the Infant Jesus attained the age of seven 
years, and this was the term of that mysterious 
exile which the Eternal Wisdom had fixed. To 
fulfil the prophecies, it was necessary that He 
should return to Nazareth. The Eternal Father, 
one day, declared His will to the humanity of 
His divine Son, in the presence of His holy Mo- 
ther. The Son and the Mother disclosed noth- 
ing of the new order from heaven to St. Joseph, 
but the angel of the Lord appeared to him the 

same night in a dream, as it is related by St. 

Matthew, and instructed him “ to take the Child 
and His Mother, and return to the land of Israel.” 
‘The Most High so eminently esteems good 
order, that the Infant Jesus being God, and His 
Mother so superior in sanctity to St. Joseph, 
nevertheless He would not that the undertaking 
of the return to Galilee should depend either 
upon the Son or the Mother, but that it should 
be conducted by St. Joseph, who filled the office 
of head to this divine family. This example 



teaches to all mortals how agreeable it is to God, 
that they who are inferiors in the mystical body, 
although more worthy by other qualities, should 
vbey. and submit themselves to those who, by 
vheir office, are their superiors. 

St. Joseph went instantly to communicate the 
commandment of the Lord to the Infant Jesus 
and His Mother, who replied, “that the will of 
the heavenly Father should be executed.” Upon 
which they prepared with all possible diligence 
for their departure. They distributed among 
the poor the little furniture they possessed, 
and this was done by the agency of the Infant 

They left Heliopolis for Palestine, with the 
same angels who had accompanied them to 
Egypt. Our Queen rode a little ass, with 
the Infant God in her lap, and St. Joseph 
walked near them. All their acquaintances 
felt sensibly their departure, and took leave of 
them with many tears. They passed several of 
the inhabited places of Egypt before arriving at 
the desert, and left. every where marks of their 
tharity. They cured many sick persons, and. 

hased away a multitude of demons, who knew 
not. by what. power they were precipitated into: 
the abyss. 

T will not pause to record the various circum: 


stances that attended the Infant Jesus and His 
Blessed Mother in their departure from Egypt. 
It may suffice to say, that they who approached 
them with any pious affection were enlightened 
in the truth, assisted by grace, and penetrated 
by divine love. At length, our holy travellers 
left behind them the inhabited country, and en- 
tered the desert by which they had come. There 
they again suffered discomforts similar to those 
they had endured after leaving Palestine. In 
these extremities the Lord himself provided for 
them by the ministry of the angels. Some- 
times the Infant Jesus ordered these spirits to 
bring food for His holy Mother and her spouse. 
This consoled the holy Patriarch, seeing that 
he was altogether unable of nivdase to find sup- 
port for the King and Queen of Heaven. On 
other occasions the Infant God exercised His di- 
vine power in multiplying some morsel of bread 
into as much as they had need of. For the rest, 
this journey passed off as the preceding one. 
But when, on approaching Palestine, the cau 
tious St. J obeph heard that Archelaus reigned in 
Judea, in the place of Herod, his futher, he 
took another road, without entering Judea, and 
they came to Nazareth, their country, because 
the Infant was to be called a Nazarene. There 
they found their Old abode, under <he guardian- 



ship of that pious woman, the relative of St. 
Joseph, to whom he had written on their depart- 
ure for Egypt, requesting her to take charge of 
it and whatever it contained: and they found 
all in good condition. 

When our Blessed Lady had entered it with 
her divine Son and holy spouse, she prostrated 
herself to render thanks. The happy Mother 
then regulated her affairs according to the inten- 
tions of the Infant God, and St. Joseph did the 
same, in whatever regarded his employment for 
the support of the Infant, the Mother and him- 
self. ‘The happiness of the holy Patriarch was 
immense; for it was a favor and an unutterable 
joy to have been chosen to gain by the labor 
of his hands wherewithal to sustain the Infant 
God and His Mother, to whom belonged heaven, 
earth, and all that they contain. 

The Queen of Heaven desired to requite the 
labors of the saint. She served him and pre- 
pared his simple food with the most affectionate 
gratitude, and, obeying him in all things, she re- 
garded herself more as his servant than his 
spouse. She considered herself unworthy that 
even the earth should sustain her, and she es- 
_ tablished her rare humility on such solid founda- 
tions, that she was always plunged in an abyss of 
annihilation, and still lower in her own esteem. 






ESUS, Mary and Joseph, had finally reached 

8 Nazareth, and their poor dwelling was 
changed into a new heaven. If it were neces- 
sary to relate all the wonders that happened 
there befure the Infant God had reached His 
twelfth year, many volumes would be required. 
Soon after their return to Nazareth, the Lord 
tried His most Blessed Mother. The Most High 
determined that our holy Lady should be the 
first disciple of her Son. The Incarnate Word 
and’ His Blessed Mother occupied themselves in 
these profound mysteries during the twenty- 
three years of their abode at aareth: The 
Lord caused her to feel internally His absence. 
Besides this, the Infant God, without making ° 
known any cause for it, was more grave than 
ordinary. We omit here many admirable things,” 
that we may not withdraw ourselves too much 


from the life of our holy Patriarch. The pru- 
dent Mother never neglected any thing that re- 
garded the corporeal service of her Son, taking 
great care of His diet as well as that of St. 
Joseph. She also obtained that the Infant Jesus 
consoled His foster-father by His presence, as 
much as if he had been His natural futher. 

The Infant God obeyed His Mother, and was _ 
often with St. Joseph while at his work in~ 
which he was continually occupied, so that thus, 
by the sweat of his brow, he. might maintain 
those so dear to him. In proportion as He grew 
“in stature, He aided the holy Patriarch, so far as 
‘it was possible at His age, and sometimes He 
wrought miracles to produce results which sur- 
passed His natural strength, thereby to relieve 
the saint of his labor; but these marvels occur- 
red only in the presence of the three. 

Some time after the return of our saints to 
Nazareth, the period arrived when the precept 
of the law of Moses obliged the Israelites to ap- 
pear before the Lord at Jerusalem. * This com- 
mandment was obligatory three times a year, 
but it was binding only on the men—women 
might present themselves for devotion, at their 
choice. Our Blessed Lady conferred with her 
spouse as to what they should do on this 
occasion. The saint wished to conduct thither 


the Queen of Heaven and her holy Child, to 
offer them anew to the Eternal Father. The 
holy Mother was inclined to go from devotion, 
but she undertook nothing without the consent 
of her Master, the Incarnate Word. Having 
consulted Him, it was resolved that St. Joseph 
should present himself there alone, twice in the 
year, and the third time they should all go to- 
gether. “It was at the festival of the Passover 
that the sweet Jesus and His Blessed Mother ac- 
companied St. Joseph. When he went along, 
the saint made the journey on behalf of all, and, 
as deputy for the Son and the Mother, (who 
prayed for him at Nazareth,) he made mysteri- 
ous prayers in the temple at Jerusalem, offering 
the sacrifice of his lips. And as he offered there 
Jesus and Mary, this offering was more agree- 
able to the Kternal Father edi any which all 
the rest of the people of Israel could offer. 
When the Incarnate Word and the Virgin 
Mary accompanied St. Joseph to the festival of the 
Passover, this pilgrimage was more admirable 
for him, because the ten thousand angels accom- 
panied our divine travellers. They made short 
journeys on these occasions, because, after the 
return from Egypt, the Infant Jesus desired to 
go on foot, which obliged them to move slowly, 
The first time they travelled in this manner, our 


Blessed Lady and St. Joseph,were careful to assist 
Him, by taking Him sometimes in their arms, 
but afterwards He went entirely on foot.. The 
prudent Mother offered no opposition, but led 
Him by the hand, and the glorious Patriarch 
sometimes enjoyed this consolation. 

Every time the Son and the Mother made 
this journey, they operated wonders for the good 
of souls. When they stopped for the night, in 
some hostelry, the Infant God and His Mother 
were never separated. She often saw Him en- 
gaged in prayer for the whole human race, and 
united her prayers to His. Many times, as in a 
mirror, she beheld all the affronts, all the igno- 
miny, and all the sufferings which her most 
sweet Child would suffer in the City of Jerusa- 
lem, and she was transpierced by the sword of 
grief which Simeon had predicted. But the In- 
fant God, to alleviate her sorrow, prayed her to 
offer these pains, which regarded them mutually, 
for the salvation of men. 

- Our holy family, as I have said, continued to 

go every year to the temple, to celebrate the Pass- 
over. The Infant God had attained His twelfth 
year, the epoch at which He was to make manifest 
the splendors of His inaccessible light. Our holy 
pilgrims remained an entire week at Jerusalem. 
The happy Mother and St. Joseph received, 

LY So 


each in proportion to their dispositions, such 
great favors from the liberal hand of the Lord, 
that the human understanding is not able to con- 
ceive them. 

The seventh day past, they took the road to- 
~ wards Nazareth. But as they issued forth from 
the City of Jerusalem, the Infant God left His 
parents unperceived, and remained behind, while 
they pursued their journey, not knowing what 
had happened. The Lord availed himself of 
the customs of the people; for the troops of 
strangers divided themselves, and, for the better 
preservation of propriety, the women went to- 
gether. The children accompanied, indifferently, 
their father or their mother. St. Joseph had 
reason to believe that the Child Jesus went with 
His Blessed Mother, nor could he imagine that 
she would have set out without Him. Our 
Blessed Lady had less strong reasons to per- 
suade herself that our adorable Saviour was 
with the Patriarch St. Joseph, but the Lord di- 
verted her mind by other divine thoughts at 
the beginning, so that when she found herself 
alone without her best beloved, she believed 
that the glorious St. Joseph had taken Him 
with him, and that the Supreme Lord had willed 
to grant him this consolation. 

Our holy spouses travelled on with this idea 


throughout the day, as St. Luke informs us, and, 
having left the city by different gates, rejoined 
each other afterwards. The holy Mary and her 
spouse met at the place where they were to pass 
the first night after their departure from Jerusa- 
lem. But our Blessed Lady, seeing that the 
Infant God was not with St. Joseph, as she sup- 
posed, and the holy patriarch not finding Him 
with His Mother, both were thrown into such 
consternation that they nearly lost the power of 
speech, and remained some time without utter- 
inga word. Both, from humility, attributed the 
fault to themselves, of allowing Him to be sep- 
arated, by their want of care for the divine In- 
fant. Recovering a little from their amazement, 
they conferred together, in extreme grief, respect- 
ing what was to be done. The tender Mother 
spoke first: “My spouse, my heart can find 
no repose, unless we go at once to seek my 
holy Child.” They instantly commenced their 
researches, by inquiries among their relatives 
and acquaintances, but none could give them 
tidings of Him, nor mitigate their sorrow; on 
the contrary, it was augmented, for no one had 
seen Him since they had come out of Jerusalem, 

The Mother of Wisdom formed various con- 
jectures in her mind, and the first thought was, 
that Archelaus, having had some knowledge of 


the Infant Jesus, might have caused Ilim to be 
apprehended. She feared that He had been cast 
into prison and maltreated. Her deep humility 
induced her, also, to fear that, unhappily, her 
services might not have been pleasing to Him, 
This innocent Dove passed the three days, dur- 
ing which she sought the Saviour, in tears and 
groanings, without repose—without food or 
sleep. The celestial spirits of her guard were 
not ignorant of where He was, but she was so 
reserved and so humble, that she did not inquire 
of them where she could find Him. 

The grief of our Blessed Lady on this occa- 
sion surpassed ail that all the martyrs united 
have suffered; and in it she exercised a patience 
and resignation unparalleled. For, O! prodigy 
of holiness—of prudence — of perfection! in 
such an unheard-of affliction, and in such ab- 
sorbing sorrow, she was neither troubled, nor 
lost her interior nor exterior peace—she gave way 
to no movement of impatience, nor of disordered 
tenderness. She sought for her Child with a 

divine wisdom, inquiring of many persons if — 

they had not seen Ilim, and giving marks by 
which He might be recognized. Among others, 
a woman replied to her inquiries: “A child, - 
having the same features that you describe,-pre- 
sented himself yesterday at my door, asking 


alms, which I gave him. Ilis charming manners 
and exceeding beauty won my heart.” These 
were the first tidings the afflicted Mother had ~ 
obtained of her Son in Jerusalem, and she 
forthwith proceeded to the hospital of the city, 
huping to find the Master of poverty among the 
poor, where she was informed that the child 
she described had visited them during three 
days, bringing them alms, and had left them 
much consoled in their afflictions. Having 
failed to find Him among the poor, she doubted 
not that He would be in the temple. The holy 
angels now said to her: “Queen of the uni- 
verse, you will soon behold the light of your 
eyes. Hasten to the temple.” The glorious 
patriarch, St. Joseph, advanced towards her at 
this moment, for, to gain time, he had sought 
for the Infant God in another direction, and he 
also had been directed, by an angel, to the tem- 

He suffered extremely from fatigue during 
these three days, going sometimes in one direc- 
tion, sometimes in another, occasionally with his 
blessed spouse, oftener alone, and always with 
inconceivable care and solicitude; for his life 
would have been endangered if the hand of the 
Lord had not sustained him, and if our precious 
Lady had not taken care to alleviate his extreme 


affliction, besides obliging him to take some 
little food and rest. The tender and devoted 
love which he cherished for the Infant God im- 
parted such an exceeding desire to find Him, 
that he forgot all besides, Following the coun- 
sel of the celestial princes, our holy spouses hast- 
ened to the temple. In the next chapter we 
shall relate what happened there. 


CIA Vika yt. 


£\\ UR Blessed Lady, ever so assiduous in the 
. J) service of her Divine Son, had, neverthe- 
less, lost sight of Him, and left Him to wander 
away from her at Jerusalem. Although it might 
suffice to say that the same Lord so ordained it, 
we may also perceive how this separation was 
effected. It is certain that, besides taking ad- 
vantage of the multitudes of people, the Infant 
God used, also, supernatural means, and while 
the men and women were separating from 
each other, the omipotent Lord gave to His 
Blessed Mother an intellectual vision, which so | 
possessed all her faculties, and so elevated her 
above things of sense, that she was unable to do 
more than mechanically to follow the path 
she travelled. St. Joseph had the reasons 
we have already adverted to, kut he, also, was 


elevated to a most sublime contemplation, which 
induced a more ready acquiescence in the idea 
that the Infant had accompanied His Mother, 
and by this means the adorable Child separated 
himself from His parents and remained at Jeru- 
salem. Ile withdrew himself when near the 
gates of the city, and, returning, he traversed 
the streets, meditating, by His divine science, on 
the events of the future, and offering himself to 
His Father for the salvation of souls, 

In order to inaugurate the honor of humble 
mendicity, as the eldest son of holy poverty, 
He employed three days in asking alms, He 
visited the hospitals, consoled all the poor 

whom He found there, and shared with them 
the alms He had received. He secretly re- 
restored to several sick persons health of body, 
and to many that of the soul. He wrought 
these miracles in favor of some who had showed 
Him kindness, wishing to accomplish, in ad- 
vance, the promise that He would afterwards 
make to His Church. 

Faving occupied himself with these and many 
other works, according to the will of God, He 
went to the temple, where, on the day men- 
tioned by St. Luke, the Rabbis, or doctors of the 
law, were assembled in an apartment, where they 
disputed whether the Messiah was not already 


born, They were installed in their seats with that 
authority which usually accompanies those who 
pass for learned men. The Infant Jesus ap- 
proached the assembly. The opinions of the 
doctors upon this subject were widely different, 
for some asserted the fact, while others denied 
it; and those who supported the negative, alleged 
the testimony of the Scriptures and the prophe- 
cies, understood by them in the gross manner 
which the Apostle speaks of. Now, these sages, 
as they deemed themselves, advanced the opin- 
ion that the Messiah ought to come with all the 
majesty and pomp of a monarch, but, as yet, 
they saw no indications of this power and ib- 

The Master of Truth, Jesus, perceived that 
the discussion was about to terminate in this er- 
ror, for, although there were men who held the 
contrary opinion, their number was small. His 
immense charity could not endure this ignorance 
of His works, and their sublime ends, in these 
interpreters of the law. The Infant God drew 
nearer. He entered into the midst of the as- 
sembly with admirable majesty and beauty, and 
excited in these doctors the desire to hear Him 
with attention. 

He opened His discourse, saying: “I have 
heard all that has been said touching the coming 



of the Messiah, and the conclusion respecting it. 
In offering an objection to this decision, I 
pre-suppose what the prophets have said, viz. : 
That His coming should be with great power, 
and with glorious majesty; for Isaiah declares 
that He shall be our legislator, our king, who 
shall save His people. Daniel assures us that 
all tribes and all people shall serve Him. The 
Scriptures are filled with similar promises. But 
my doubt is founded on these passages and di- 
vers others. The same Isaiah says that He shall 
be satiated with opprobrium, and led like a sheep 
to the slaughter. Jeremiah tells us that His ene- 
mies should assemble to erase His name from the 
land of the living; and David, that He would 
be the refuse of the people. How will it be pos- 
sible to harmonize these prophecies? We can- 
not deny that the Messiah must come twice— 
the first time, to redeem the world ; the second, to 
judge it. The prophecies should, then, be ap- 
plied to these two events, giving to each what 
belongs to it. Following these observations, if 
we conclude that the first advent will be with 
power and majesty, this must not be understood 
in a material sense, but of a new spiritual king- 
dom. And with this just interpretation, all the 
Scriptures, which-cannot be harmonized in any 
other sense, will be found uniform,” 


To these the Infant God joined many other 
reasons. The scribes and doctors, who had list- 
ened to Him, remained silent. At length, 
“ What wonder is this?” said they. ‘* Whence 
comes this marvellous child?” The august 
Mary and St. Joseph arrived in time to hear the 
conclusion of the discourse. The doctors of the 
law arose, and our Blessed Lady, overwhelmed 
with joy to have found her treasure, approached 
her Divine Child, and said, as it is related by 
St. Luke: “Son, why hast Thou done so to us? 
Behold, Thy futher and I have sought Thee, sor- 
rowing.” is Majesty replied to her: “ How 1s 
it that yousought me? Did you not know thatl 
must be about my Father's business ?” 

The Evangelist relates that the Blessed Mary 
and St. Joseph did not understand the mystery 
of these words. It was because of their interior 
joy, which they had sowed in tears. The pru- 
dent Mother said to her divine Son: “Do not 
separate me from your presence, Receive me 
for your servant, and if through my own fault I 
have lost you, I entreat your pardon.” The In- 
fant God received her with complaisance, and 
they again set out for Nazareth. After they 
had gone a short distance from Jerusalem, our 
Blessed Lady prostrating herself, adored her holy 
Son, and asked His benediction. The Divine 


Jesus raised her from the ground, and spoke to 
her with great sweetness. Afterwards He lifted 
the veil, and, with greater clearness than ever 
before, revealed to her His most holy soul and 
its operations. 

The blessed Mother conversed with her most 
sweet Child, respecting the mysteries that He 
had opened to her. The celestial Master in- . 
formed her that these doctors and scribes knew 
not that His majesty was the Messiah, because 
of their presumption and confidence in their own 
wisdom. Our Redeemer converted many souls 
during this journey, and, as His holy Mother 
was present, He made her the instrument of 
these miracles. He restored many sick persons 
to health, He comforted the afflicted, and 
wrought other wonders which I do not pause to 
_ recount, 

They arrived at Nazareth. The Evangelist 
St. Luke includes, in a few brief words, the 
mysteries of their history: “ The Infant Jesus 
was subject to His parents,” i.e. to His holy 
Mother and St. Joseph. ‘ Mis Mother kept all 
these words in her heart, and Jesus advanced in 
wisdom and age and grace with God and man.” 
We shall speak of this further on, adding, only, 
at this time, that the humility and obedience of 
eur Lord towards Iis parents, offered new sub- 


jects of admiration to the angels, as did also 
the dignity of his pure Mother, to whom the 
God Incarnate was confided, in order that, by 
the help of St. Joseph, she might minister to His 
wants, | 

Although the obedience of the Son was only 
a consequence of the natural maternity, still, to 
exercise the rights of a Mother over her Son, a 
different grace was necessary from that which she 
had received to conceive and bring Him forth. 
The august Mary possessed all these needful 
graces, proportioned to this ministry and office, 
and with such abundance, that they were re- 
flected upon her happy spouse, so that he was 
also the worthy foster-fauther of Jesus Christ, and 
head of this most holy family. 





7 IIE Queen of Heaven completed her thirty- 

third year, and her chaste form retained 
all its natural perfections so beautifully and well 
proportioned, that it was the admiration of the 
angelic choirs. Her sacred body had reached 
its full development, so that this august Prin- 
cess resembled the holy humanity of her Son. 
The pure Mary preserved this admirable com- 
plexion at thirty-three, without the least change, 
and at the age of seventy, she had lost nothing 
of her strength and beauty. Our blessed Lady 
understood this privilege. She knew that the 
resemblance of the humanity of her divine Son 
was to be always preserved in her. St. Joseph 
was not aged when this lovely Queen had attain- 
ed her thirty-third year, nevertheless his strength 
was much exhausted, because the cares, travels, 


and continued pains he had taken for the sup- 
port of his spouse and the Lord of the Uni- 
verse, had worn upon his health more than 
his years. The Lord, who desired to advance 
him in the exercise of patience and the other 
virtues, permitted him to suffer from certain 
maladies, that hindered him much from appli- 
cation to manual labor. His prudent spouse, 
who had always appreciated, loved and served 
him beyond all that other women have done in 
regard to their husbands, perceiving his indis- 
position, said to him, ‘My spouse, I am under 
extreme obligations for your fidelity, and the 
Increasing care and fatigue you have imposed 
upon yourself, in order, by the sweat of your 
brow, to maintain me, your servant, and my 
adorable Son. You will receive from the liberal 
hand of the Most High the recompense for your 
pains, and the precious benedictions which you 
have merited. I beg you to cease from this 
incessant labor, and repose yourself. I will now 
labor for you, in testimony of my gratitude, as. 
long as the Lord shall give us life.” 

The saint listened to the reasonings of his 
sweet spouse with many tears; and, although 
he assured her that he desired to continue his 
toil, he yielded to her solicitations, believing it 
his duty to obey her, and discontinued his labors. 


In order to have nothing superfluous in this 
holy family, they gave away his tools in alms. 

St. Joseph being thus relieved from labor, gave 
himself entirely for the rest of his days to the 
contemplation of the mysteries which he had 
nourished in his breast, and to the practice of 
virtue. He was happy in these occupations to 
find himself in the presence and enjoyment of 
the conversation of the Incarnate Wisdom and 
of her who was His Mother. With such helps, 
. he arrived at so high a degree of sanctity, that 
next to his blessed spouse, who was always uni- 
que among mere creatures, he surpassed all men, 
and he will never be surpassed by any.* 

Our august Queen and her divine Son assisted, 
served, and consoled him in his maladies, with 
the most assiduous care. It is impossible to 
depict the humility, respect, and love which 
these charitable cares produced in the sincere 
and grateful heart of the servant of God. The 
Blessed Virgin charged herself with the support 
of her most holy Son and her spouse, by her 
own work. The Eternal Wisdom so disposed 
it, in order that her merits and virtues might 
reach the highest degree, and serve as an ex- 
ample to put to shame the children of Adam. 

The Lord offers this strong woman to us as an 

* Suarez maintains this samte doctrine ex-professo. 


example. The heart of her husband ‘rusteth in 
her, and not only that of her spouse Joseph, 
but also that of her Son, at once true God and 
man, as Solomon declares in the thirty-first 
chapter of Proverbs. Means were not wanting 
to the Lord to support the corporeal life of His 
Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, since man lives 
not by bread alone. He could have miraculously 
_ provided for them every day, but the world would 
_ have been deprived of the privilege of witness- 
ing the industry of the most pure Mother of 
God, and if our Blessed Lady had not acquired 
these merits, she would have failed to obtain 
much of her reward. 
With prudent diligence she provided for all. 
Neither ouradorable Saviour nor His Mother, ate 
flesh meat—their food consisted of fish, fruits, 
and herbs, and they partook of these with great 
moderation. Our august Lady, nevertheless, 
prepared meat for St. Joseph, and served it in the 
manner most agreeable to him. It happened 
sometimes, that her labor was insufficient, be- 
cause St. Joseph had need of more than hereto- 
fore. On these occasions, our Lord exercised 
His power. Ife often so ordered that His 
Blessed Mother accomplished much in a short 

time, so that her work multiplied itself in her 





T is a common mistake to regard the Lord 

Jesus only as Redeemer, and not as a mas- 
ter, who by His example instructs us to suffer 
afflictions. And, although Catholics do not fall 
into the insensate errors of the heretics, for 
they all admit that without good works, and 
without afflictions, there is neither recompense 
nor crown, yet we find many children of the 
Holy Church who are scarcely to be distinguish- 
ed from those who are in darkness, since they 
avoid works which are painful to them. 

Let us reject this manifest error, and let us 
be assured that sufferings have not been for our 
Lord Jesus Christ alone, but for us also. The 
most beloved of our divine Master have received 
the greatest share of the cross. Let us not be 
so bold as to say, that if the Saviour suffered as 
man, He is, at the same time, God, and hence 



IIis is, to human weakness, rather a subject 
for admiration than of imitation. The Sa 
viour of our souls overturns this excuse by the 
example of [lis most innocent Mother and St. 
Joseph, and that of many men and feeble women 

The Lord conducted, by this royal road of 
suffering, the spouse of His blessed Mother, St. 
Joseph, whom His Majesty loved above all the 
children of men. To increase his merits and 
his crown, before his power of gaining merits 
had ceased, the Lord bestowed on him, in the 
last years of his life, certain exceedingly acute 
maladies, which caused excessive pain through- 
out his body, and great debility. Besides these, 
there was another mode of suffering, more gen- 
‘tle, yet very distinct, which resulted from the 
force of his burning love. This love was so ve- 
hement, and at times his transports were so 
impetuous, that his pure spirit must have 
broken the chains that bound it to the body, 
if the same Lord had not given him the power - 
of resisting it. His Majesty made him suffer 
this sweet violence, because, from the natural 
feebleness of a body so attenuated, this painful 
exercise was a great merit for the saint, not only 
from the effects of the pain that he suffered, 
but from the cause, which was love; hence he 


acquired incomparable merits. Our blessed 
Lady had knowledge of all these mysteries. 
She penetrated the interior of the saint, so that 
she might not be deprived of the joy she 
derived from the conviction of having a spouse 
so holy and so beloved of the Lord. She ob- 
served the candor and purity of his soul—his 
ardent affection, his lofty and divine thoughts, 
his patience and sweetness in his maladies, the 
great sufferings that he bore without a complaint 
or sigh, neither asking any solace. Our great 
patriarch supported all his pains with an incom- 
parable patience and magnanimity. All this_ 
his faithful spouse remarked, as well as the value 
and the merits of the many virtues which the 
gaint practised, and she conceived so high a 
reverence for him that we will not attempt to 
express it. She applied herself, with the great- 
est joy, to sustain and console him. As she had 
little esteem for what she did herself to relieve 
the great dissomforts of her spouse, and because 
of the love she bore him, she commanded the 
viands that she prepared for her holy patient to 
give him strength and re-establish his appetite, 
since this was to preserve the life of the saint— 
the just—the elect of the Most High. . 

When St. Joseph partook of this food, he was 
sensib'e of the sweet benedictions and the genial | 

a em oie se 


effects of the viands, and inquired of his spouse: 
“What aliments of life are these which vivify 
me, restoring my appetite and my strength, and 
fill me with new consolation?” The Queen 
of heaven served him on her knees, and, 
when his pains were violent, she removed his 
sandals, and supported and assisted him with 
the tenderest affection. Although the humble 
saint made every effort to hinder his spouse 
from taking such unwearied pains, it was 
always in vain, for our sweet Lady understood 
the maladies of her patient, and when he most. 
needed help, and she therefore hastened to as- 
sist him, in all his wants, with the greatest affec- 
tion. She often said things which exceedingly 
consoled him. During the three last years of his 
life, which were those of his greatest suffering, 
she never quitted him, day nor night. If fora 
moment she withdrew, it was only to serve her 
Divine Son, who united with His Mother to as- 
sist the holy patriarch, except when He was 
necessarily occupied in other works; so we may 
say that never was patient so well served. 
From hence we may learn how great were the 
happiness and the merits of St. Joseph, for he 
alone has merited to have her for his spouse, 
who was also the spouse of the Holy Spirit. 
The charity of our blessed Lady towards St 


Joseph was not satisfied by these services of 
which we have spoken. She strove to console 
him by still other means. Sometimes she prayed 
the Lord, with the most ardent charity, to de- 
liver her spouse from his sufferings, and to inflict 
them upon herself. In making this request, she 
believed herself to deserve the pains of all crea- 
_ tures, regarding herself as the least of all. She 
alleged, also, the holiness of St. Joseph, and the 
delight which the Lord took in this heart, so 
conformed to that of His Majesty. She wit- 
nessed the sufferings of her blessed spouse, and 
had compassion for them: she knew his merits, 
and the pleasure which her adorable Son had in 
him, She rejoiced in the patience of the saint, 
and magnified the Lord. Sometimes, the Queen 
of Pity, touched by the excruciating pains of her 
spouse, and melted by tenderest sympathy, hay- 
ing obtained permission from her Divine Son, 
commanded His sufferings, and their natural 
causes, to suspend their activity, and cease so 
cruelly to afflict the just and the well-beloved 
of the Lord. 

At other times, she prayed the saints and an- 
gels to console her spouse, and to strengthen him 
an his troubles, when the weakness of the fragile 
flesh demanded it. By this species of command. 
ment, the blessed spirits appeared to the holy pa 


tient in the human fozm, all radiant with beauty 
and splendor, and conversing with each other of 
God and His infinite perfections. Occasionally 
they chanted celestial 7.”.s'v, with a sweetness that 
suspended his bodily ¢.inz, and inflamed his pure 
soul with divine love. The man of God had, be- 
sides, for his greater consolation, a particular 
knowledge, not only of all these favors, but also 
of the holiness of his most holy spouse, of the 
love that she bore to him, of the interior charity 
with which she served him, and others of the ex- 
cellences of this great Queen of the universe. 
- All these united produced such effects upon St. 
Joseph, and enabled him to acquire so many 
merits, that, in this life, it is not possible to con- 
ceive them.* 

*M. Olier, who has written such sublime pages on St. Joseph, 
affirms that we cannot know, here below, the merits of the glo- 
rious St. Joseph, and that we are incapable to conceive them. 
What a eulogy !—Manuseripts of M. Olier. 




§ \URING eight years St. Joseph had been 
AP exercised by pain and sufferings, and his 
generous spirit was ever more and more purified 
in the crucible of patience and divine love. 
With years his tortures increased, his strength 
diminished. The inevitable term of life, to 
which we pay the universal tribute of death, 
approached. His blessed spouse increased her | 
devotion and her cares to serve him with inviol- 
able fidelity. 

This most holy Lady, knowing, through her 
infused science that the last hour of her chaste 
spouse in this place of exile was very near, 
went to find her adorable Son, and said to Him: 
““My Lord and my God, the time for the death 
of your servant Joseph, which you have deter- 
mined by an eternal will, approaches, I beseech 


you, Lord, by your infinite goodness, to assist 
him in this hour, so that his death may be as 
precious to you, as his life has been agreeable. 
Remember, my Son, the love and humility of 
your servant—his merits—his virtues, and the 
us ae has taken to preserve your life and 

Our Saviour replied to her: “ My Mother, your 
requests are pleasing to me, and the merits of 
Joseph are in my thoughts, I will now assist 
him, and I will give him so eminent a place 
among the princes of my people, that it will be 
a subject of admiration for the angels, and a 
motive for praises to them and to men. I will 
not do for any nation that which I will do 
for your spouse.” Our august Lady returned 
thanks to her most sweet Son for this promise. 

During the nine days that preceded the death 
of St. J oseph, the Son and the Mother watched 
by him day and night. They so arranged it that 
one or the other was always with him. During 
these nine days, the angels chanted, three times 
each day, by the commandment Wi the Lord, 
celestial music for the holy patient. It was com- 
posed of canticles of praise to the Most High, 
and of benedictions for the saint himself; and,. 
besides, so delicious a fragrance pervaded all of 
this poor habitation, that not only the man of © 



God was fortified and cheered by it, but many 
persons on the outside. 

A day before his death, all inflamed with divine 
love for so many benefits, he was elevated into a 
sublime ecstasy, which continued twenty-four 
hours, the Lord preserving his strength and life 
by a miraculous interposition. In this ecstatic 
state he clearly beheld the Divine Essence, and 
discovered in it, without a veil, that which he had 
believed by faith, either in the incomprehensible 
Divinity, or in the mysteries of the Incarnation 
and Redemption—the Church Militant and the 
sacraments with which she is enriched. The Holy 
Trinity destined him to be the precursor of our 
Saviour Jesus Christ to the saints who were in 
limbo, and commanded him to announce to them 
anew their redemption, and to prepare them for 
the visit which the same Lord was to make 
them to conduct them to eternal felicity. St. 
Joseph returned from this ecstasy radiant in 
beauty, his soul divinized from the view of the 
being of God. He addressed himself to his 
spouse, and requested her benediction; but she 
prayed her most holy Son to give it, which His 
Divine Majesty was pleased to do. Our Blessed 
Lady, having knelt, besought St. Joseph to bless 
her as her spouse and head. The man of God, 
not without a divine impulse, gave his benedic- 


tion to his beloved spouse before their separa- 
tion. She afterwards kissed the hand with which 
he had blessed her, and requested him to salute 
for her the saints in limbo. 

The most humble Joseph, wishing to close his 
life by the seal of humility, asked pardon of his 
holy spouse for the faults which he might have 
committed in her service as a feeble man of 
earthly mould. He entreated her to assist him 
in this last hour, and to intercede for him. THe 
testified, above all, his gratitude to our adorable 
Saviour, for the benefits that he had received 
from [lis most liberal hand during all his life, 
and particularly in this sickness. Then taking 
leave of his blessed spouse, he said to her: ‘‘ You 
are blessed among all women, and chosen above 
all creatures. Let angels and men praise you. 
Let all nations know and exalt your dignity. 
Let the name of the Most High through you be 
known, adored, and glorified in all future ages, 
and eternally praised by all the blessed spirits, 
for having created you so pleasing in His eyes, 
I trust to meet you in the heavenly land.” 

After this, the man of God addressed our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and, wishing to speak to His 
Majesty with profound respect, he made every 
effort to kneel on the ground. But the sweet 
Jesus approaching, received him in His arms, 


and the saint, supporting his head upon His 
bosom, said: “My Lord and my God, Son of 
the Eternal Father, Creator and Redeemer of 
the world, give Thine eternal benediction to 
Thy servant, who is the work of Thy hands. 
Pardon the faults I have committed in Thy 
service and in Thy company. I confess Thee, I 
glorify Thee, I render to Thee, with a contrite 
and humble heart, eternal thanks for having 
chosen me, by Thine ineffable goodness, from 
among men to be the spouse of. Thine own Mo- 
ther. Grant, Lord, that Thine own glory may be 
the theme of my gratitude through all eternity.” 

The Redeemer of the world gave him His 
benediction: ‘Rest in peace,” He said; “the 
grace of my heavenly Father, and mine, be with 
thee. Proclaim the good tidings to my proph- 
ets and saints, who await thee in Paradise, and 
tell them that their redemption is nigh.” As 
our beloved Redeemer pronounced these words, 
the most happy Joseph expired in His arms, and 
His Divine Majesty closed His eyes. The an- 
gels chanted the sweetest. hymns of praise, 
and, by order of the supreme King, they 
conducted this most holy soul into Paradise, 
where the saints recognized him as the reputed 
father of the Redeemer of the world, and His 
greatly beloved one, who merited singular ven. 


eration. He imparted a new joy to this 
innumerable assembly, by announcing to them, 
according to the commandment of the Lord, that 
their redemption would not long be delayed. 
We must not omit to mention, that although the 
precious death of St. Joseph was preceded by 
so long a sickness, and such severe sufferings, 
these were not the chief causes of it. He 
might have lived longer, notwithstanding these 
maladies, if the effects of the ardent love that 
burned in his chaste bosom had not been super- 
added, for this happy death was rather a triumph 
of love than the penalty for sin. The Lord 
suspended the supernatural aid by which He had 
preserved the strength of His servant, and hin- 
dered the violence of his love from destroying 
him; and this help failing, nature was van- 
quished. This victory sundered the ties that 
detained his holy soul in the prison of the body, 
in which consists our death. Thus, love was the 
last of his maladies, and it was also the greatest 
and most glorious, since, by it, death is the sleep 
of the body, and the principle cf life. 

Our blessed Lady, seeing that her spouse had 
ceased to live, prepared his body for sepulture, 
according to the customary usages. No other 
hands than hers, and those of the angels who 
assisted her, touched him, In order that all 


should be comformable to the incomparable 
modesty of the Virgin Mother, the Lord clothed 
the body of St. Joseph in a celestial splendor, 
which covered it in such a manner that the face 
only was visible, and thus the pure spouse saw 
not the rest of the body which she prepared for 
interment. Several persons were attracted to 
the house by the sweet fragrance that exhaled 
from the holy corpse, and, seeing it so beautiful, 
and as flexible as if it had been living, they 
were greatly astonished. 

The body of St. Joseph was carried to the 
common cemetery, followed by relatives, friends, 
and others, and by the Redeemer of the world 
and Ilis holy Mother, and a great multitude of 
angels. Our prudent Lady preserved an unal- 
terable dignity, nor did she permit her interior 
affliction to hinder her in ordering all things 
necessary for the interment of her spouse, or the 
service of her Son. She acquitted herself in all 
with a regal magnanimity, and, at the close, she 
gave thanks to her adorable Son for the favors 
He had bestowed on St. Joseph, Our august 
saint was one of those who enjoyed the privi- 
lege of exemption from the sight of the demons 
at his death, because these spirits of darkness, 
wishing to approach him, were sensible that a 
powerful force arrested ther, and the angels 
hurled them into hell. 




SHE duration of the life of this happiest 

of men, St. Joseph, was sixty years and 
some days. He espoused the Blessed Mary in 
his thirty-third year, and he lived a little more 
than twenty-seven years in her society. At the 
death of her holy. spouse, our Lady was nearly 
forty-one years and six months old. She felt a 
natural grief at his death, because she had loved 
him as her spouse, as a very great saint, and her 
protector and benefactor; and, although the well- 
vegulated mind of our admirable Lady controlled 
ier sorrow, it was not the less profound. The 
more she knew of the high degree of sanctity 
which her spouse had attained among the great 
saints, whose names are inscribed in the Book of 



Life, the greater was her affection for him. And, 
since we cannot lose without sorrow that which 
we tenderly love, we cannot doubt that the 
grief of the Blessed Virgin was very great, when 
we measure it by the love she bore to the holy 

This is not the place to treat, particularly, of 
the excellence of the holiness of St. J oseph, for 
I have no order to impart, more than what will] 
serve generally to make manifest the dignity of 
his spouse, to whose merits (after those of her 
divine Son) we must attribute the gifts and 
graces with which the Most High favored the 
glorious patriarch. And, even if our blessed - 
Lady had not been the meritorious cause, or the 
instrument of the sanctity of her spouse, she 
was, at least, the immediate end to which that 
sanctity referred. The virtues and graces which 
the Lord communicated to His servant, J oseph, 
were conferred to render him more worthy of her 
whom He had chosen to be His Mother. It is by 
this rule, and by the esteem and love which this 
adorable Lord bore to His most pure Mother, that 
the sanctity of St. Joseph is to be measured. 
Doubtless, if there had been found in the world 
another man more perfect and more excellent, 
His Majesty would have made him the spouse 
of His own Mother; and, since He conferred 


this dignity upon St. Joseph, it must be granted, 
without contradiction, that he was the greatest 
saint of God on earth. As he had been created 
for such an exalted purpose, it is certain that it 
was with the design to render him worthy of the 
august Mary, and to proportion him, by her 
powerful right, to these same ends. This pro- 
portion was to be found in the holiness, the vir- 
tues, the gifts and graces, natural or infused, 
which he so eminently possessed. 

I observe a difference between this great saint, 
and the other saints, in the gifts of grace which 
they received. There have been many saints 
who have been gifted with privileges, all of 
which were not connected with their own sanc 
tification, but had regard to other objects fur the 
service of the Most High. They were gratul- 

tous gifts, or apart from sanctity. But for those 

of our holy Patriarch, all the gifts that he re- 
ceived, augmented in him the virtues, and his 
interior sanctification. The ministry with which 
they were connected was a consequence of his 
holiness and his good works, for the more holy 
he was, the more worthy was he to be the spouse 
of the august Mary, and the depositary of the 
treasure and the mystery of Heaven. Ie ought 
to have been, as he was, in reality, a prodigy of 
holiness, and, by the special providence of God, 




he was sanctified at his birth. His nature was 
in just proportions—his qualities excellent—his 
complexion perfect, and to these were superadd- 
ed purity of soul and right inclinations. In 
him the concupiscence of the flesh found itself 
enchained, so that no unregulated inclinations 
could gain the mastery. Although he had not 
the use of reason at his first sanctification, in 
which he was justified only from original sin, his 
Mother was sensible of a new joy in the Holy 
Spirit, and, without fully penetrating the mys- 
tery, she performed great acts of virtue, and be- 
lieved that her child would become great before 
God and man. 

St. Joseph, as we have said, was born beauti- 
ful and most perfect by nature. He brought to 
his parents an extraordinary joy, like that at the 
birth of the little Baptist, although the cause 
of it was less manifest. The Lord advanced 
him in the use of reason, and gave it to him in 
all its perfection, in the third year of his age. 
He communicated to him, also, an infused sci- 
ence, and a new augmentation of grace and vir- 
tue. The holy child began, henceforth, to know 
God by faith; he knew Ilim also by natural 
Teason, as the primal cause and author of all 
creatures, and he comprehended, with a most — 


sublime conception, all that was said of God 
and His works. 

He had, at the same time, the power of elevated 
contemplation, and he practised the virtues ad- 
mirably, in proportion to his tender years. The 
use of reason dates with children usually about 
‘ or after their seventh year. St. Joseph, in his 
third year, was already, in his reasoning faculty, 
a perfect man, and in holiness also. He was 
of a sweet disposition, charitable, kind, and sin- 
cere. In all things he gave evidence of holy 
and angelic inclinations, and, growing in age and 
in perfection, he attained, by a most holy life, 
the age at which he espoused the most Blessed 

Then to augment for him the gifts of grace, 
and to confirm him in these gifts, our Blessed 
Lady aided him by her prayers. She earnestly 
supplicated the Most High, that if He command- 
ed her to enter the marriage state, He would 
sanctify her spouse Joseph, so that he should con- 
form himself to her chaste desires. This august 
Lady knew that God would be gracious to her 
prayers, and that He would operate in the soul 
of the holy Patriarch effects divine and beyond 
expression. He imbued him with the perfect 
fulness of all the virtues and all the gifts, 

_ His Divine Majesty perfected anew all his 


faculties. In the virtue of chastity he was more 
elevated than the highest seraphim, because, in- 
habiting a body, mortal and earthly, he pos- 
sessed a purity equal to theirs—they being dis- 
engaged from matter. There never even entered 
into his thoughts any image in the slightest de- 
gree impure, or of an animal or sensual nature.’ 
By this perfection, and by his angelic integrity, 
he was prepared to be the spouse of the most 
pure of creatures, and to live in her society. 
Without this privilege he could not have been 
capable of arriving at so great and excellent a 

Equally admirable in the other virtues, espe- 
cially in divine love, he was like one who finds 
himself at the fountain, and replenishes himself 
with that living water which conducts to eternal 
life, or as an inflammable substance near the 
sphere of the sacred fire, that kindles without 
resistance. All that can be said in the most ex- 
alted praise of this loving spouse, has been al- 
ready expressed, when it was recorded that the 
love of God was the cause of his sickness, and 
the instrument of his death. The sweet pains 
of love surpassed those of nature, and these 
were less active than the first. As the objects of 
his love, our Lord Jesus Christ and Iis Mother 
were present, and since the saint possessed them 


in a closer union than any other mortal could 
approach, it was inevitable that this most faith- 
ful and candid heart must exhale itself in the 
affections of a love so constituted. 

Blessed be the author of such great wonders, 
and blessed be the happiest of men, St. Joseph, 
in whom they were all most worthily wrought! 
He merits that all nations should know and bless 
him, since the Lord has not honored any other 
among mortals, nor ever manifested so much 
love for any as for him. 

In the course of this history, I have said 
something of the visions and revelations with 
which our saint was favored. It is certain 
that he had many more than we can relate; 
but we may imagine great things if we con- 
sider that he was made acquainted with the 
mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of Ilis 
most holy Mother—that he lived so long in close 
association with them, that he was regarded as 
the Father of this Divine Saviour, and was truly 
the spouse of our Blessed Lady. 

Besides all this, I have discovered that the 
Most High accorded to him, because of his great 
sanctity, certain privileges in favor of those who 
choose him for their intercessor, and who invoke 
him with devotion. The first is, to obtain the 

virtue of chastity, and to be withdrawn from the 


danger of losing it; the second, to receive power- 
ful assistance to be freed from sin and to recover 
the grace of God; the third, to acquire, by his 
means, devotion for our Blessed Lady, and 
dispositions to receive her favors; the fourth, 
to obtain a happy death and a special protection 
against the demons at this last hour; the fifth, 
to intimidate the enemies of our salvation by 
pronouncing the name of St. Joseph; the sixth, 
to obtain health of body and consolation in af- 
fliction ; the seventh privilege to have, by his in- 
tercession, successors in families. 

God grants all these favors, and many more 
to those who ask for them as they ought, in the 
name of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Vir- 
gin; and [entreat all the faithful children of the 
Holy Church to have a great devotion for this 
great saint, and to be persuaded that they will 
become sensible of the favorable effects of his 
protection, if they will dispose themselves wor- 
thily to merit and to receive them. 

Our Lord arose from the sepulchre after His 
yassion and death, invested with beauty and 
4lory, as the prophets had announced. Finding 
slimself with the saints and prophets whom He 
had relieved from prison, He promised to all the 
Auman race, the universal resurrection of the 


dead as a consequence of His own glorious resur- 
rection, in the same flesh and in the same body, 
each in his own; and, as a pledge of this promise, 
His Divine Majesty commanded the souls of 
many saints to reunite with their bodies, and be 
raised to an immortal life. These bodies arose, as 
Saint Matthew records in his Gospel, and among 
them were those of St. Anne, Str. JoSEPH, and 
St. Joachim: the others were ancient Fathers 
and Patriarchs. | 

Our Blessed Lady was careful every year on 
the festival of her most holy and chaste spouse 
St. Joseph, to celebrate the espousals, through 
which the Lord had given him to be her faithful 
companion, in order to conceal the mysteries 
of the Incarnation of the Word, and to execute 
with the highest wisdom the secrets and the 
works of the redemption of the human race. 
And as all these works of the Most High were 
as a deposite in the most prudent heart of Mary, 
and as she kept this festival as a mark of her 
high esteem for him, the joy and gratitude with 
_ which she celebrated his memory were ineffable. 

Her most holy spouse Joseph descended at the 
festival all radiant with glory, accompanied by 
innumerable angels, who solemnized it with 
great joy in chanting ‘new hymns, which were 
composed by our most Blessed Lady, in grati- 


tude for the benefits which her spouse and her- 
self had received from the hand of the Most 

After having thus employed several hours, 
she discoursed a part of the day with her glorious 
spouse, on the Divine attributes and perfections ; 
for, in the absence of the Lord, these were the 
occupations that best pleased His gentle Mother. 
A little before taking leave of the holy spouse, 
she entreated him to pray for her, in the presence 
of God; and to praise Him in her name; she 
also requested him to offer prayers for the 
Holy Church and the Apostles. She asked his 
benediction, and the glorious saint returned to 



a r 




a ee ae 

MC aan HCO Le en 
t artes: ae 

i bee 
Panne ety ee 
oie t 




cA Se 




———__—_—_ #9 

Tue life of the servant of God, Mary of Jesus, offers the 
most perfect model of a soul rising from virtue to virtue, 
according to the words of the prophet, even to the summit 
of perfection; and her character demands from us an at- 
tentive study and meditation. There is much to learn in 
these pages for whomsoever desires to follow the path of 
holiness without looking back. They offer a unique ex- 
ample of the spiritual life in its perfection. 

It may, perhaps, be objected that only a small number 
of privileged souls receive such great favors, or are called 
by the way of ecstasies, visions, and the most eminent gifts 
of infused science, However this may be, it remains not 
the less incontestable that a great many are called to per- 
fection and to contemplation, if not infused, at least ac- 
quired ; and that both lead to the highest perfection, as it 
is expressly taught by the great mystical doctor, St. 
Teresa, in her ‘* Treatise on Perfection,” Chapter XVIII. 
Another of her admirable works, “‘ Zhe Interior Castle,” 
cannot be too highly recommended to the reader, As 
for. those who are incredulous in regard to the divine 
communications and celestial favors which are mentioned 
in this Life, let them remember that the Church does not 
reject them :—she examines them with care, but she is not 
incredulous. Without doubt to believe on slight grounds 


is folly—qui cito credit, levis est corde. Eccl. xix. 4, 
Nevertheless, it would be temerity to refus> credence to 
facts which the most learned and pious men do not hesi 
tate to pronounce worthy of all confidence. God, in the 
impenetrable designs of His mercy, has permitted us to be 
a witness of prodigies that yield in nothing to any of the 
wonders recorded in the life of Mary of Jesus. For our- 
selves, we profess openly that nothing has been more use- 
ful to our soul than our belief in the miracles of God in 
His saints. 

It seems evident to us that we have reached the times 
which the venerable Grignon de Montfort speaks of 
in his “ Zreatise on the True Devotion to the Most Blessed 
Virgin.” ‘At the end of the world, and very soon, the 
Most High, with His Holy Mother, will form for them- 
selves great saints, who will as much surpass the greater 
number of other saints as the cedars of Lebanon surpass 
little trees—as it has been revealed to a holy soul, and 
as we read in the writings of St. Vincent Ferrier, p. 29.” 

Thus three saints affirm that in the present age, which 
is the age of Mary, the Holy Spirit will pour out upon 
souls the gifts of wisdom for the operations of miracles of 
grace. ‘These souls, in imitation of Mary of Jesus d’ Agre- 
da, will become living copies of Mary, and will lose them- 
selves in the abyss of her interior, to love and glorify Jesus 
Christ. Mary of Jesus is the great model to follow, and 
the doctrine of her writings is the way and the truth 
which lead infallibly to Jesus Christ. The works of this 
servant of God are destined to be the book of life for the 
great souls of whom we speak. 

To observe the decree of the Sovereign Pontiff, Urban 
VIII., of happy memory, of the 5th of July, 1634, we pro- 
test that all the visions, revelations, miracles, and other 
extraordinary favors recorded in the “ Life of Mary of 
Jesus,” have no other authority than that given by the tes 
timonials reported by us. 






HE venerable Mother, Mary of Jesus, who 
wrote the Cité Mystique de Dieu, (The 
Mystical City of God,) was born at Agreda, a 
city of old Castile in Spain, on the 2d of April, 
1602. Her parents were Francis Coronél and 
Catharine d’Arana, both noble, and of great 

She was baptized on the eleventh of the same 
month, and by.a special disposition of Provi- 
dence, she was named Mary, to which she after- 
wards added that of Jesus, which was the name 
given by the early Christians to the Mother of 


; ® 

the Saviour, whom they called Mary or JESUS. 
Her Mother, convinced that her daughter was 
destined by God for great things, guarded her 
with watchful care. ni 

II. Before the little Mary was capable of pro- 
fiting by the lessons of her parents, God began 
to instruct her in a wonderful way. With 
the earliest use of her reason she had an ex- 
alted vision, in which her understanding was 
enlightened by divine illuminations, and her 
will confirmed. This supernatural vision was 
the beginning of knowledge to the child; from 
it she learned to know God as the creator of the 
universe, the preserver and vivifier of all that 
has existence. Human miseries were made man- 
ifest to her in herself; and the consciousness 
she attained of them, humbled her to the very 
depths of her nothingness. Human nature in 
its first state of innocence was revealed to her, 
and she discovered the ravages that sin had 
made m man. She was attracted by the good- 
ness and the infinite beauty of God, and absorbed 
in His love, and she conceived a very great fear 
of offending God and of losing His grace. Thus 
the spiritual edifice of this soul was established 
on the solid foundations of love, humility and 
fear. 3 

From this time, having the perfect use of her 


reason, which was aided by the light and knowl. 
edge acquired in the vision, she began to exer- 
cise her powers of reflection. The Lord com- 
municated to her, also, an infused knowledge of 
the articles of the faith which she should be- 
lieve; of the commandments of the law of 
grace, and those of the holy Church which she 
should observe; of the nature and the qualities 
of the persons with whom she should associate, 
and of her conduct towards them. 

Favored with such admirable lights, she re- 
solved to employ all her faculties to love God 
and keep His commandments; and she lived in 
great serenity of mind and tranquillity of con- 
science, not allowing herself to be scandalized by 
the conduct of others, and acting in all things 
with the simplicity of the dove. 

But God, having resolved to raise the edifice 
of the spiritual life of this child to a sublime ele- 
vation, willed to consolidate it by the sure coun- 
terpoise of afflictions. He suspended, therefore, 
His caresses, and the effects of His presence. 
This affliction was very great. She sought her be- 
loved, but was not able to find Him, and, penetra- 
ted by grief, she wept and lamented. This ab- 
sence of the Lord continued during several years, 
for she received no other extraordinary favors, 
until some days after taking the religious habit. 


Meanwhile the Lord gave her only that interior 
illumination which is usually enjoyed by souls 
who follow the way of perfection. 

The sorrowing child feared to have offended 
the Lord, and that [is absence was intended as 
a chastisement. The humble sentiments she en- 
tertained for herself Jed her to regard all with 
whom she associated as her superiors, and this 
humility, being deeply grounded in her heart, 
made her timid in their presence. She found 
neither repose nor consolation but in retreat. 
Worldly conversation, although it is permitted, 
rendered her melancholy, and, under these appear- 
ances, she Game to be considered a useless creature. 

Iler parents were pained to observe these 
timid and sombre dispositions in their daughter. 
Her mother suspected them to be the effects of 
an idle or slothful nature, and, under this im- 
pression, she treated her with severity, and re- 
proved her with harshness. The father followed 
the example of his wife. This was designed by 
Providence, in order to preserve the humility of 
the child. In these afflictions she sought after 
God. ‘My divine Master and adorable Lord,” 
she cried, ‘“‘my father and my mother have for- 
saken me! ‘O cast a favorable look upon Thy 
helpless child!” But all the gates of consolation 
were shut, and her heart was in litterness. 


The Lord accompanied these spiritual pains 
by others of her body, which gave a timely 
mortification to the flesh, so that it should not 
resist the spirit; and she was exercised by al- 
most continual disorders or maladies, ‘These 
indispositions began from her sixteenth year, 
for her intense sufferings disturbed her health. 
With great submission to the Divine will, she 
made a wise use of her afflictions to deepen her 
humility, and of her maladies to exercise her 
patience. She was much encouraged by the re- 
membrance of the passion of our Saviour, 
which she often called to mind: and when the 
Lord said to her, “Z have suffered far more for 
thee,” she forgot all her pains. 

IiI.—Her parents did not neglect to imbue 
her mind with the principles of Christian doe- 
trine. Her pious mother undertook to instruct 
her, and was agreeably surprised to find that 
this child, so useless in worldly matters, was so 
capable to learn and so inclined to devotion. 
From this, she inferred that in her little Mary 
some divine secret lay concealed. She took her 
to the churches, taught her how to frequent the 
sacraments, and to practise mental prayer. 

The Lord enlightened the youthful Mary 
more and more, by that interior knowledge of 
which we have spoken. In relating the effects 

yt fa 


which she experienced from it, she says: “It 
consoled me in my afflictions—corrected me in 
my disorders—checked me in my imperfections, 
and animated me in my tepidity.” She usually 
received, with this enlightenment, two divine 
favors: one was an interior voice, which said to 
her heart: “Come to me, my spouse. Leave 
terrestrial things. Purify yourself. Direct your 
actions to please me, for Jam that Iam. Has- 
ten, my dove, to fulfill the desires that I awaken 
within you.” The other was an interior repre- 
hension of her defects and vices; for, if she re- 
ceived any satisfaction with complaisance, the 
Lord shed so much bitterness within her soul 
that she begame dissolved in tears. 

IV. By favor of this spiritual intelligence, 
she desired, passionately, to practise the vir- 
tues. She exercised herself chiefly in the theo- 
logical virtues of faith, hope, and, especially, 
in charity; for her will was captivated by the 
love of God. She ‘neglected no occasion—not 
even the least—to practise the moral virtues, 
and she always cherished the highest esteem for 
virginal purity. Even in her eighth year, the 
pious child had a strong inspiration that it would 
be an agreeable offering to the Son of the Vir- 
gin to consecrate to [lim her virginity, and, 
taking the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and some 


other saints for witnesses, she made a vow of 
perpetual chastity. From this time the divine 
spouse increased his favors, although he con- 
tinued, apparently, absent. In this state she 
remained until the twelfth year of her age. 

She had addressed herself to her confessor, to 
learn how she could better serve God. He was 
a spiritual and interior man, who, perceiving the 
fervor of the child, taught her how to practise 
mental prayer. God, as if He had awaited the 
instructions of man, revealed Himself to this 
loving soul. He placed her in the oraison of 
quietude, and she felt, with a most sweet tran- 
quillity, the presence of God. The Lord elevated 
her to such a state that she herself said: “ LZ lived 
_ withou living, because Thou, Lord, livedst in me.” 
She remained some years in this state, with con- 
siderable progress in the divine life. 

The Lord had inspired her to preserve the 
secrets of her interior, but it was not possible 
that those who associated with her should not 
perceive something of what she concealed. They 
observed her equanimity of spirit in afflictions, 
her joy in contempt. “It is all I ask,” said 
she one day to her mistress, “that they should 
despise me.” They remarked, also, that, from 
her earliest years, she had deprived herself 
of a part of her food, for the poor. Her mother 


took her with her to visit the poor, and she 
manifested great joy when she was allowed to 
dispense the alms. 

The report of her virtues spread through the 
city. In the general esteem excited by her un- 
common merit, some persons had the curiosity 
to watch her in her retreat, where they saw her 
in the practise of penances almost impossible at _ 
her age. They witnessed her great modesty— 
her extraordinary recollection—the devotion 
with which she approached the sacraments—and 
were edified. Her Confessor, notwithstanding 
his prudence, could not always preserve silence, 
and sometimes communicated his thoughts to 
devout persons, and thus she reached the twelfth 
year of her age. 




(FTER having completed her twelfth year, 
which is the age required for permis- 

sion to enter in religion, she declared anew 
to her parents, her vocation. They, doubting 
nothing, resolved to satisfy her desires, and 
wished her to take the habit of the bare-footed 

Carmelites, when, oh, impenetrable secrets’ of 

Divine Providence! there happened as follows :— 
The pious Mother of the young Mary em- 

ployed three or four hours, daily, in oraison. 

One day, the Lord spoke with her, and said, 

“That it was His will she should build in 

her house a monastery for nuns, where she 

and her daughters should make their profession, 
and that her husband should become a religious 
of the Order of St. Francis, where his two sons 
already were.” The Lord spoke in the same 


manner to her confessor, the venerable F. Jonn 
de Torrecille, and the obedient lady going to the 
Convent to communicate to him what had passed, 
the servant of God came to meet her, saying: 
‘My daughter, I know already the object of 
this visit.” 

All difficulties and opposition, being at length 
overcome, the Ordinary and the regular Supe- 
riors consented to the foundation. When the 
fervent Mary heard of this remarkable disposi- 
tion of the Lord, with regard to her parents, her 
joy was immense. ‘She encouraged her Mother, 
and incited her to perseverance. The foun- 
dation was retarded during three years, and she 
ceased not to pray the Lord to shorten the time. 
Finally, on the 16th of August, 1618, the new 
monastery was commenced, and on the day of 
the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of 
God, the first Mass was solemnly chanted in the 
new Church. The Monastery was placed under 
the Order of St. Clara, and the foundresses re- 
quired that the sisterhood belonging to it, should 
be bare-footed, although the Order of the Con- 
ception of this province wore shoes. | 

On the 138th of January, 1619, the mother 
and her two daughters, with three sisters, who 
had come from the Convent of St. Louis of 
Burgos, to be foundresses, entered the humble 


monastery :in perpetual enclosure, and formed 
there a community. Our Mary, on taking the 
habit, assumed the title of Mary of Jesus. She 
was at that time sixteen years of age. 

While the parental mansion was being con- 
verted into a monastery, the embarrassments of 
the workmen, and the crowds of people who 
came abont it, had somewhat disturbed her 
mind. This was permitted by Divine Provi- 
dence, that her soul might be better established 
in humility, from the experience of her own 
weakness. By the help of ILis grace she-repaired 
these distractions in a little time, yet she did not 
cease to weep for them as bitterly as if they 
had been the greatest sins. And, now she be- 
gan to act as if she had but just commenced life. 
She reflected how worthy-God is to be loved 
and served, and she represented to herself the 
sublimity of interior actions. She pondered 
seriously upon her own fragility, and the great 
dangers to be encountered in spiritual life. She 
therefore resolved to follow faithfully the path 
of virtue, with courageous, humble, and submis- 
sive firmness. 

II. Although under the pressure of an inex- 
tinguishable fear, which is the offspring of love 
and humility, she persevered throughout her 
life in this resolution. This fear, which the high- 



est illumination could not dissipate, would have 
proved a hindrance to the flight of her spirit to- 

wards (vod, if the Lord had not tempered it by 

an absolute confidence in the virtue of obedi- 

ence according to the words, “ He who hears — 

you, hears me; he who obeys you, obeys me.” In 
order to preserve herself with assurance, in obe- 
dience to her superiors and confessors, she 
yielded to the inspiration to show them clearly 
all her interior—not only that of her sins and 
imperfections, but also of the least temptations. 

The foundations upon which the spiritual edi- 
fice of this creature were elevated, were then, 
love, humility, fear and obedience. She made 
a general confession not only to ease her con- 

science, but that her confessor might guide her. 

with security. She applied herself entirely to 
the holy exercise of oraison in a manner so ad- 
mirable, and so useful, that she never made it 
without striving to discover her faults, in order 
to correct them at once. She commenced by 
meditation, considering the truths and mysteries 
which faith inculeates, purifying and ornament- 
ing her soul by their lights, so that she might 
become the worthy tabernacle of the Lord. 

The rule which she followed was to put her- 
self in the lowest place, and to persevere in it 
until the Lord should elevate her to a higher 


+ ein erepcaem. 


degree, The divine spouse, to whom fidelity and - 
true humility are so agreeable, delayed not her en- 
trance into the prayer of recollection, where she 
~ annihilated herself, forgot the earth, and, as if in 
a glowing furnace, was purified. From this He 
raised her to a higher eminence, in which the fire 
of divine love began to burn with great spiritual 
sweetness. All this happened in the first months 
of her noviciate. 

The most frequent subject of her oraison, 
during this time, was the passion of our Lord 
Jesus. She bore, always, the image of Jesus 
Christ crucified, vividly engraved on her heart, 
and she was Hine of its wondrous effect for 
the preservation of her interior purity. This 
holy exercise produced the most salutary effect. 
upon her soul, and brought forth rich fruits. 

She aided her time according to her obliga- 
tions. ‘The remaining hours were employed 
in reading spiritual Looks, in mental or vocal 
prayers, and other exercises of devotion and 
penitence. Not a moment was wasted. She 
slept only enough to support life. Without 
ceasing, she had on her lips.these words of 
David: “ What shall I render to the Lord for alt 
the good He hath done unto me?” , Often her con- 
fessor refused to permit the penances which she 

wished to practise, and she submitted in obe- 



dience, believing, always, that the opinion of her 
confessor was just. 

Mary of Jesus passed, in this manner, the 
years of her noviciate, with great spiritual pro- 
gress. On the 2d of February, 1620, the day 
of the Purification of our Lady, she made her 
profession with her pious mother. Her sister 
was still too young. Having entered into her 
religious vows, she continued her spiritual life 
with renewed fervor. After many entreaties, 
she obtained the most retired chamber of the 
convent, and it became the field of her spiritual 
combats. ‘ 

III. The Lord, having chosen to make her 
the historiographer and the disciple of His Most 
Blessed Mother, elevated her spirit, from degree 
to degree. But the harbinger of all grace was 
affliction. This was the only door by which she 
entered into divine favor. Before receiving the 
extraordinary graces which Divine Providence 
‘destined for her, the demon had permission to 
afflict her, outwardly, in a surprising manner. 
The infernal dragon left no means untried. 
When the servant of God offered up devotions, 
in the silence of the night, the demon extin- 
guished the light, and sought to disturb her by 
frightful imaginings. He appeared to her under 
various forms of horrible animals. Sometimes 



he presented himself in that of a foetid corpse, 
at others, as a living man, He maltreated her 
in her person, and tormented her in every way 
to interrupt her exercises. But God imparted 
to her such courage, that she despised all these 
attacks, and entirely disregarded the enemy. 

The Lord favored her, during these combats, 
with sensible caresses. When she received 
Holy Communion, in partaking of the holy ele- 
ments, she enjoyed a taste of inconceivable 
savor. Many times she saw the Blessed Sacra- 
ment surrounded by a miraculous splendor. 
These favors were succeeded by varied divine 
apparitions. The Queen of angels appeared to 
her, the first time, with her adorable Son in her 
arms, invested with splendor and glory. She 
sank prostrate at His feet, with profound hu- 
mility; but the merciful mother raised her up, 
and the most sweet Jesus received her within 
His arms. This apparition gave her strength to 
support every pain. The august Queen of 
Heaven was the object of her first vision. 

The Lord continued to distinguish Ilis ser- 
vant by these favors. On the festival of Pen- 
tecost, a beautiful dove, all radiant, appeared to 
her, -and rapt her, as if in ecstasy. On another 
occasion, our Redeemer appeared in the deplora- 
ble condition to which He was brought at Ilis 


passion. But the combats of the demon sne- 
ceeded to these sensible favors, and, finally, the 
Lord gave more ample permission to the enemy. 

The demon, perceiving that he was despised 
by. our humble maiden, attacked her, by the 
permissign of the Lord, with greater cruelty. 
He augmented her maladies, and added extraor- 
dinary torments. She was thrown into a state 
of such extreme debility, that she seemed, con- 
stantly, as if in a dying condition. At the same 
time, he vexed her by horrible fancies, and every 
species of tribulation. And, as he had discov- 
ered that the torment of this soul was the dread 
of offending God, he attacked her at this point, 
exciting her fears by insinuations that she was 
in the road to perdition. He tortured her in 
other ways, which the following words of the 
saint will explain. ‘He tormented me,” said 
she, ‘with pains which cannot be mentioned, 
singularly strange for a soul who had through- 
out life cherished purity. 

IV. The fury of the demon was not satiated. 
He undertook now to afflict her by means of 
creatures. The convent was so contracted in 
its dimensions, that her exercises could not be 
concealed from the other nuns. Some observed 
her with admiration, others from curiosity. The 
mother foundresses, seeing the servant of God 



continually ill, though she did not keep her bed, 
resolved to suspend her practices. The demon 
induced them, under the pretext of compassion, 
to do as we shall relate. 

‘In order to interrupt her holy exercises, they 
obliged her to remain in their presence, and 
even caused her to be watched at night. They 
forbade her to communicate to her confessor 
what was passing within her, and she was 
allowed only half a quarter of an hour for con- 
fession. She was punished by being deprived 
of Holy Communion, and with harsh words. 
If, being reproved, she did not justify herself, 
they were displeased; and if she said any thing 
in the hope of satisfying them, they imposed 
mortifications. And, besides, the Lord hid His 
presence from her! Thus circumstanced, she 
was destitute of all consolations, for prayer, con- 
- fession, and communion were allowed her only 
under restrictions. The demon took advantage 
of all this to destroy her. But this opposition, 
and these pains, could not check the ser- 
vant of God in the way of perfection. Jn her 
temptation she had recourse to purity of inten- 
tion. With regard to the sisters, she accepted 
their censures without excusing herself, and 
prayed for them. She was always admirable in 

her obedience to her superiors, and forming, 


from their opposition, a means of obtaining mer- 
its for herself, she prayed in spirit while striv- 
ing to satisfy them. Thus she pursued the path 
of her spiritual life in treading under foot the 
snares of hell. 




(N this abridgment of her life, we cannot 
enter into the particulars of the various 
grades of her sufferings, nor of the degrees of 
prayer which the Lord communicated to her. 
The servant of God wrote on this subject a 
treatise, entitled The Ladder, in which she records 
the counsels of the Lord to avoid dangers, the 
steps by which she ascended to perfection, and 
the instructions she received from the Holy 

At the beginning of her religious life, she 
was able to conceal the favors she received, but, 
having been elevated to a higher contemplation, 
it was no longer possible either to hide them, or 
withdraw herself. On discovering them, some of 
the religieuses pronounced it hypocrisy. Others 
said she had lost her senses. The servant of 


God consoled herself by the reflection that this 
would draw contempt upon her. She would 
gladly have concealed these favors, but the im- 
petuosities of the spirit continued, and became 
manifest ecstasies. 

The Lord designed to enter into intimate com- 
munication with this soul, by the way of intel- 
lectual revelations and visions, and for this 
reason he favored her with the ecstasies which 
ordinarily introduce these visions. On the Satur- 
day after the Feast of Pentecost, in 1620, she in- 
quired of the Lord, in her oraison, “ What shall 
I do?” and a transport of love for God ensued, 
in which she found herself in a state of perfect: 
interior recollection. In this state, she saw in a 
vision the Mother of God, with her most holy 
Son in her arms, The Blessed Virgin gave her 
an instruction on the virtues, and it seemed to 
her that the divine Lord drew her heart from 
her, and changed it. This was her first ecstasy. 

From this time, when she was in her eighteenth 
year, her ecstatic raptures were so frequent that 
she could no longer conceal them. After re- 
ceiving Holy Communion, the Lord so trans- 
ported her in an ecstasy, that, in spite of her 
efforts, which caused the blood to flow from her 
mouth, she was unable to resist it. Notwith- 
standing her esteem for these divine favors, and 


her appreciation of the good effects which thay 
wrought in her soul, her humility suffered, Le- 
cause they were known to others. ‘ We ought 
not to desire these transcendent graces,” scid 
she. “Ido not wish for them; but I must go 
whither Ilis Majesty is pleased to conduct me. 
May Ilis holy will be done in me.” 

II.—It is not surprising that different senti- 
ments existed in the community with regard to 
events so extraordinary. The religieuses omitted 
nothing to enlighten themselves, and went even 
further than the rules of prudence would ap. 
prove. They were persuaded there was a su- 
pernatural cause at work, and requested the 
Father Provincial to examine the case. The 
ecstasies assumed this form: The body was de- 
prived of the use of the senses, as if it had been 
dead, or inanimate. It was a little raised above 
the earth, and so light, that, by a single breath, 
it was moved as easily asa feather. The face 
appeared more beautiful than usual, and the 
posture was so modest and devout, that she re- 
sembled a seraph in human form. She remained 
in this state two and even three hours. 

The Provincial, who was a very learned man, 
and, at the same time, devout and prudent, care 
fully examined the case, and also the circum: 
stances attending it. He probed the interior of 


the servant of God—examining her principles, 
her progress, and her actual condition, together 
with all the secrets of her soul—and he found 
all according to the spirit of God. He resolved 
to put her to the proof by a trial, the effect of 
which is an assured mark of a good spirit, al- 
though the failure of it ought not to be too much 
censured. He ordered her to come to the par- 
lor, while she was in an ecstasy, and she obeyed 
immediately. The abbess made the same ex: 
periment, with a similar result, and also her con- 
fessor, and the mistress of novices. 

After so exact a scrutiny, the Provincial de- 
cided that it was not judicious to stifle the spirit 
of the servant of God. He recommended pre- 
cautions, so that these wonders should not be 
exposed before seculars; and he provided for 
her a pious and prudent confessor, to whom he 
confided the peculiarities of her condition, her 
recollection, her exercises, and her austerities. 
The servant of God was much consoled by this 
examination, because she regarded the judg- 
ment of her superiors as the surest guide for her 

Mary of Jesus. pursued her spiritual course. 
The religieuses conceived a great esteem for her 
extraordinary virtue, and this esteem changed 
into a sort of vencration, as the ecstasies became 



more frequent and more marvellous. All re- 
garded her as a prodigy of holiness, but the 
exposure caused her humility to suffer an inex- 
dressible martyrdom. 

In proportion as the Lord multiplied His fa- 
vors afflictions and pains responded to them. 
Those caused by the demon were so cruel, that 
* they surpassed her natural strength. The all- 
powerful Lord fortified her even in these ecstasies, 
“The soul,” she one day said to her confessor, 
‘receives sometimes favors of such a character, 
that the body is supernaturally refreshed and 
strengthened ; without this I should be dead.” 
The absences of the Lord succeeded these visits: 
the demon ceased not to whisper that she fol- 
lowed the way to perdition, and, in her humil- 
ity, she fancied it was true. Here was the sting 
of the angel of Satan which afflicted this soul,— 
the fear that the grandeur of the revelations 
might stimulate her pride. 

III. After the departure of the Provincial, 
she regulated her life with her confessor, so as 
not to be hindered in following the common life. 
She was always so exact in the rules of the com- 
munity, that she was regarded asa model by the 
_ other religieuses. Obedience only could hinder 
her, and she was mortified to fail in the pre- 
scribed regularity. Even when there were only 


_ the prayers of the divine office to be said, she 
availed herself of them. 

Ilaving become paralyzed, she caused herself 
to be transported to the choir, and there ardently 
besought the Lord not to remove her sickness 
and sufferings, but so to moderate them that 
she might not be prevented from being with 
the community. She received this henefit by 
means of the blessed Mother of God, and be- 
came more fervently attached to her service. 
She was cured through a holy image of our 
Lady of Martyrs, which was brought into her 

The pains by which the demon tormented her 
did not cease, but the Lord so regulated the time 
of her paroxysms that she could perform her 
common obligations. She was very exact to ob- 
serve the rules, the constitution, and all the holy 
practices of religious life, never omitting any 

IV. In her personal penances she followed in- 
violably the rules which her Divine Spouse had 
given her. ‘That which the Lord has ordered 
and instructed me to do,” said she to her con- 
fessor, “is, to put far from me, in all my exer 
cises and penances, whatever might interfere 
with the purest intention of pleasing Him alone: 
all imprudence, which is dangerous in these 


matters; all occasions that might attract esteem 
towards me; all that fervor which arises from 
self-love, or is not clearly examined by the in- 
terior light; not to commend myself in making 
them, since all that we can do for God, is as 
nothing in proportion to what we ought to do, 
and to do nothing but in obedience.” 

She slept only two hours daily, on a sort of 
bed made in the form of a grate; sometimes on 
the pavement, or on the floor. She arose towards 
eleven o’clock in the night, and began the exer- 
cise of the cross, which lasted three hours. She 
occupied an hour and a half in meditating the 
passion of the Lord. » For half an hour she car- 
ried a heavy cer oss of iron while contemplating 
the foot-steps of the Saviour. She continued half 
an hour prostrate in the form of the cross, the 
remainder of the hour she stood with her arms 
extended. She then employed the time remain- 
ing in thanksgivings and prayers for all men. 
At two o’clock she went to Matins with the com- 
munity, and at four o’clock she re-entered her 
chamber, when her pains took possession of her 
until six o’clock. At six she went to make her 
meditation with the community. She confessed, 
and received holy communion. She then em- 
ployed an hour and a half in the contemplation 
of the Lord. The remainder of the day was 



occupied in the offices of the convent and in 
writing, when her confessor required it. Then 
she was engaged an hour in oraison. At six 
she partook of a small portion of food, and at 
seven she went to compline. Finally, retired to 
her cell, she made her examination of conscience, 
ani other devotions, and took her two hours of 
sleep. fer usual food consisted of herbs and 
vegetables, and of these she took only as much 
as was necessary. She ate but once a day. 

She went, nevertheless, to the refectory, but it 
was only to kiss the feet of the others, to ask their 
pardon kneeling, or to prostrate herself at the 
- door, so as to be trodden under foot. She fasted 
sire times a week on bread and water, and on 
Fridays she drank nothing. She took the dis- 
cipline five times daily, and sometimes she lost 
much blood. 

_ All the ordinary penances, besides others, on 
extraordinary occasions, were more painful to 
her than to others, because she was of a deli: 
cate complexion, and, besides, the Lord often 
miraculously augmented her sensibility to pain. 
st to her it seemed always as if she did noth- 

; for, reflecting upon what she owed Him, she 
anil all that she, had suffered. 

In her eestasies, her love of souls was more 

and more inflamed, and this love becoming 


strong as death, and its zeal inflexible, her 
soul was pierced with poignant sorrow. In 
this state, the Lord sometimes made known to 
her [His will, that she should labor for His crea- 
tures; and she offered herself to suffer, and even 
to give her life, if it were necessary, for the 
salvation of a single soul. 

One day, after having communicated, while 
in ecstasy, the Lord showed to her, in a wonder- 
ful manner, the whole universe by abstractive 
images. Among the multitudes of those who nei- 
ther professed nor confessed the faith, His Divine 
Majesty declared to her, that they who were the 
least disposed to be converted, and to whom His 
mercy was most inclined, were the Gentiles of 
New Mexico. The communication of these 
lights continued, and the Lord showed her with 
greater distinctness those kingdoms and_ provin- 
ces of Indians, commanding her to pray and labor 
for them. He gave her a distinct knowledge of 
their manners and customs, their dispositions, 
and their great need of the ministers of God. 
The faithful servant was excited always more 

and more to Jabor and to prayer. Then the Lord, 

whose judgments are impenetrable, and whose 
ways are incomprehensible, operated in her, and 
by her, one of the greatest wonders, which has 
commanded the admiration of ages. 





AOA HILE she prayed for these souls, the 
MW Lord placed her in ecstasy, ad it 
seamed that she found herself—she knew not by 
what means—in a totally different region, and 
in the midst of Indians. It appeared that she 
saw them—that she found the climate of their 
country warmer than her own; and the Lord 
commanded her to preach the faith, and she 
seemed to preach to the Indians in her Spanish 
language, and they understood her, and she 
understood them. She wrought prodigies in 
confirmation of the faith. The Indians were 
converted, and she catechized them. : 

This wonderful state was renewed, and more 
than five hundred times it seemed to her that 

she was transported into that country, and 
that a great nation and its king were con- 


verted to the faith of Jesus Christ. She saw the 
monks of St. Francis, and counselled the In- 
dians to send some of their people to invite these 
religious to come among them, informing them 
where they were to be found. 

The servant of God communicated all these 
strange things to her confessor. The report was 
current, among religious of both sexes, that she 
had been conveyed, bodily, to the Indies. The 
truth is, that a woman—whether it was the 
servant of God herself, or some angel in her 
form—wrought these wonders. The religious 
who were in New Mexico were surprised at the 
arrival among them of a great troop of Indians, 
who demanded to be baptized. Who had in- 
structed them? It was, they said, a woman, 
whom, by their description, they recognized to 
be a nun. 

Father Alonzo de Benavides, a devout man, 
_ moved by his zeal for the good of souls, sent 
to them some of his religious. Finding them 
already sufficiently instructed, they baptized the 
king and his family, and a great number of per- 
sons, so that Christianity flourished in those 
provinces. Meanwhile, the fathers desired to 
know who was that servant of God who had 
been the instrument, in the hands of the Al- 

mighty, of doing so much good. Father Alonzo 


de Benavides, some years after, found cause to 
return to Spain. He arrived in Madrid in 1630, 
and conferred with the Rev'd Minister-General, 
on the principal affair which had brought him 
to Europe. The Father Bernardin, of Sienna, 
who had examined her, doubted not that it 
was Sister Mary of Jesus, and appointed Father 
Alonzo his commissioner to her. 

Father Benavides arrived at Agreda, and, 
having exhibited the letters of the General, he 
went to the convent with the confessor, and a re- 
ligious of great reputation, to interrogate the 
servant of God. She replied, in virtue of obe- 
dience, and declared, with much prudence, the 
time, the beginning, and the progress of these 
marvellous events. The father interrogated her 
respecting the particular marks of places, and 
the occupations and modes of living among the 
_ Indians; and, while giving him the proper 
names of the provinces, she confessed that she 
had seen this father there, fixing the day, the — 
hour, and place where she had seen him, and 
the religious who accompanied him. 

Father Benavides, with the Provincial and 
the confessor, made a written report of these 
facts. Their conjecture was, that she had been 
carried, bodily, to the Indies; but this was an ex- 
aggeration, for the servant of God said, in refer- 


ence to this point: “ That which I think the most 
certain, is, that an angel appeared in my form, 
and that the Lord showed me, here, in oraison, 
what passed there.” 

The servant of God gave a letter to the father 
for the religious who were employed at these 
conversions; and, having returned to New 
Mexico, he related to his assembled brethren 
how he had found in Spain her who had wrought 
the wonders of which they had been witnesses. 
Father Alonzo wrote an account of these facts, 
which is preserved in the archives of the Custo- 
dia, and a copy of it was sent in 1668, which 
has served to prepare this memoir. 

II.—The servant of God was subjected to an 
insupportable martyrdom, as soon as her ecsta- 
sies became noised abroad. The attention of 
seculars was excited. The religieuses opened 
the grating so that they could see her. They 
drew aside the veil, and showed how she could 
be moved by a breath. A vain babbler told 
her of it. It is impossible to express the mor- 
tification of the servant of God, when she was 
assured of the truth. She locked herself up; 
but the religieuses, removing a board from the 
door, carried her to the choir, as easily as a 
feather. She had no consciousness of it; but 
she said, afterwards, that, if she had been put in 


the pillory, she should have suffered less than 
in hearing of what they had done. 

During three years she had endured this kind 
of publicity. She supplicated the Lord to with- 
draw these favors, and used all human means 
to conceal them. At last the Lord sent her 
superiors who provided remedies, and He grant- 
ed her prayer in causing to cease all that excited 
observation. The religieuses who had judged 
of her sanctity only by these prodigies, were 
dissatisfied. Some said she had been under the 
influence of a good spirit; others suspected some 
secret sin. The servant of God‘endured these. 
affronts with joy, but she suffered from tHe ab- 
sence of the Lord. The demon then dared to 
propose to restore the ecstasies if she would 
make a compact with him. But, armed by 
faith, and inflamed by charity, she detested and 
drove him from her presence. 

IIl.—The servant of the Lord besought her 
Divine Master to conduct her, by secret ways, 
unknown to the world. The Lord promised it, 
and, from that time, she felt a great change in 
her interior. Her elevations of spirit were ad- 
mirable: the superior portion of her soul 
soared towards God: its powers were absorbed 
in the Divinity, and she received sublime revela- 
tions and instructions in a manner purely intel- 


lectual. In her exterior nothing ethane 
- Was apparent. 

The servant of God discusses the degrees, the 
modes, and the effects of this communication in 
the 2d chapter, book i. of the history of the 
Blessed Virgin. She continued in this way 
during her life, the divine light always increas- 
ing in her to the last. She now made a new 
rule of life, and wrote thirty-three counsels, 
which she practised. These are the principal: 
“To go in every thing against my will, and do 
nothing according to its appetites; never to 
commit any sin, nor imperfection, with deliber- 
ate intention; to be devoted to the Blessed 
Virgin; to offer to the Eternal Father the 
merits of His most holy Son—Hlis blood, and 
the treasures of the holy Church—praying to 
Him for the salvation of souls, by the love which 
He bears them; to put myself always in the 
lowest place.” 

The extraordinary merit of Sister Mary of 
Jesus won the hearts of the community. They 
changed their opinions, and, becoming convinced 
of her great worth, they persevered in sustaining 
her. Meanwhile, the Lord dilated the interior 
powers of her soul, and she received communi- 
cations, without causing any embarrassment 
to her exterior occupations. In this eminent 


state she discovered the profound mysteries 
hidden in the life of Jesus Christ and Iis Blessed 
Mother. Although the visions and revelations 
she now enjoyed were intellectual, she had, 
sometimes, imaginary, and even corporeal visita- 
tions. But as soon as she felt that the visions, 
or expressions, came by the imagination, or the 
senses, she placed herself in indifference, called 
up her faith, and thus left no room for the sug- 
gestions of the demon. She received her fuvors 
only as a means whereby to serve God more en- 

IV.—The attacks of the demon did not cease. 
During their éontinuance-she had no fear ; but, 
afterwards, her miseries so oppressed her spirit, 
that the enemy made her apprehend she might 
not be in the right way. Sometimes he excited 
disquiet by means of creatures. At others, he 
impressed his suggestions on her imagination 
with such force, that she was unable to expel 
them from her mind. He made “mountains out 
. of molehills,” and endeavored to persuade her 
that all which had happened arose from the 
imagination, or natural causes, He pretended 
that this was the voice of conscience, and the 
counsel of God himself. To withdraw her from 
obedience, he insinuated that she deceived her 


confessors. From these followed the sadness, 
affliction and obscurity that filled her soul. 

The servant of God, in this painful condition, 
was admirable. She sought after God by faith. 
She humbled herself, acknowledging her noth- 
ingness, and confessed all her sins. This remedy 
alone satisfied her. Her sufferings in this way, 
during her life, cannot be expressed. ‘ What 
surprises me,” said she to her confessor, ‘is, that 
I am not more experienced; whence I conclude 
there is, in these sufferings, a divine intention.” 
We shall again refer to these extraordinary 

V. The object of all these favors bestowed 
upon the servant of God, was to prepare her to 
make known to the world the “ Divine life of the 
Most Blessed Virgin.” God, who proportions 
means to their ends, gave her, besides her guar- 
dian angel, five other angels, who made them- 
‘selves visible to her. Their communications 
served to enlighten, instruct, correct, and advise 
her. Sometimes they sent forms into her im- 
agination when the Lord spoke with her in this 
superior part, and at other times they cleared up 
-her difficulties. : ; 

She wrote a short treatise on what the celes- 
tial spirits taught her touching the direction of 
the spiritual life. In her hidden life, the angels 


conducted her as the superior angel illuminates 
the inferior, They thus prepared her during 
many years. One day, the Lord manifested to 
her, in Himself, the glory of Ilis saints, and 
said: “Be faithful to me; love me much; di- 
Jate your heart, and place it in my hands. I 
desire that your conversation shall be only with 
me, my angels, and my saints. I give you 
two of my elect.” St. Agnes and St. Ursula 
appeared, and she felt that these glorious vir- 
gins were as if present with her continually. 

The two saints gave her instructions upon the 
fidelity of the spouse of the Most Tigh—of the 
employment of the superior part of the soul—of 
the modest deportment of the inferior part, and 
the manner of acting towards creatures. The 
servant'of God found these counsels so advanta- 
geous, that she wrote a little treatise, which she 
communicated to her confessor. She lived as if 
in glory amid these heavenly occupations, 




HE had passed three years in the eminent - 
state of which we have spoken, when Lis 
Divine Majesty ordained that she should be Su- 
perior of the community, for the good of her 
sisters. The Divine Providence disposed all 
with power and gentleness. It was in the year 
1627, the eighth of the foundation of the 
monastery, that the Superiors had the inspira- 
tion to appoint, as the Superior, Mary of Jesus, 
The Lord had, as we have hinted, forewarned 
His servant on the subject, by manifesting to 
her His will. It was one of the most grievous 
‘trials that could have been inflicted upon her, 
for her profound humility was disturbed by it. 
She addressed herself to God, praying Him to 
remove from her this bitter cup, but all was of 


no avail. The Lord had implanted within her 
so tender a devotion to the Queen of angels, and 
so great a confidence in her goodness, that she 
uudertook nothing without invoking her aid. 
She therefore poured forth her heart in the pres- 
ence of the Virgin Mother. The merciful Queen 
appeared to her, and said: “ My dear child, be 
consoled ; I will be Mother and Superior for you, 
and also for your children; I will supply your 
deficiencies; you shall be the instrument by 
which I will accomplish the will of my Son and 
my God.” 

The humble servant yielded to the Divine will. 
The Superiors appointed her president on the 
festival of St. Joseph, 1627, and, after having 
obtained a dispensation, on account of her youth, 
_ from Rome, she was elected abbess, to the great 
joy of the community. The Queen of Angels 
acquitted herself of the promise she had made. 
The Lord confirmed it, saying, that He gave her 
ILlis Blessed Mother for Superior, that she should 
obey her as her faithful disciple. 

From this epoch the communication of the 
Mother of God with this creature continued to 
be intimate, frequent, and sublime. She directed 
her, gave her counsel, corrected her defects, and 
imbued her with heavenly doctrine. The ser- 
vant of God accused herself every night of her 


faults, prostrate before the Queen of Heaven, ta 
recognize her superiority. She also placed in 
the middle of the choir an image of the Mother 
of God, and at her feet the rules and seal of the 
convent, which are the insignia of government. 
When she dedicated the history of the Queen of 
Angels to her sisters, she found it necessary to 
reveal to them this mystery, and henceforth the 
nuns called this holy image their Superior. 

Il. The marvellous effects of this government 
of the Mother of God were visible both in their 
spiritual and temporal affairs. In less than 
eleven years the servant of God formed this 
monastery in the inviolable observance of the 
rules, and in conformity to the constitution of 
the Recollects. She established there usages so 
holy, and exercises so sublime, and observances 
so devout, that nothing better could be desired 
for the highest perfection of a religious commu- 
nity. In her administration the golden mean 
was observed between too great zeal and too 
much indulgence ; the reins of regular discipline 
were held firmly, without doing violence to the 
infirmities of nature. 

The venerable mother, Mary of Jesus, with 
eminent holiness governed this monastery during 
thirty-five years; for when the election depend- 
ed on the community, they applied to the 



nuncios, for dispensations to enable them to re 
elect her. The servant of God besought the 
generals of the order to release her from this 
position; and, finally, in 1652, she prevailed on 
the nuncio to refuse a dispensation. It was 
permitted by God, that her sisters might see in 
her a model of the most perfect obedience, and 
appreciate the value of her government. At 
the end of three years she was re-elected, and 
continued to be, by dispensation, until her death. 

When she was first Superior, or, rather, the 
Vicar of the Queen of Heaven, she undertook to 
build a new convent, having in her possession 
only forty franes. But the church and the 
other buildings were completed in less than 
seven years, without any diminution of the 
funds of the community. The church was con- 
secrated by the bishop with extraordinary 
pomp, in the midst of a concourse of people and 
clergy assembled from many leagues around. She 
maintained an unbroken calm in regard to all 
the material wants of the community, although 
the Lord allowed them sometimes to touch the 
limits of extreme necessity. 

III. In 1627 the Most High began to declare 
to the servant of God His holy will that she 
should write the life of the Virgin Mother. The 
Lord having inspired her with a most ardent 



devotion for His holy Mother, she desired to 
prepare a treatise which should be pleasing to 
her. In this view she wrote what had been 
communicated to her on the praises and prerog- 
atives of the Mother of God. This treatise was 
greatly applauded, but it was doubted that she 
was the author. She was examined on this 
subject, and it was discovered that this admira- 
ble treatise was as nothing in comparison to the 
Divine knowledge contained within her soul. 

She offered an humble resistance, as may be 
seen in the Introduction to the history of the 
Blessed Virgin, The Lord gave her ten years 
to prepare for it—His Divine Providence also 
procured a confessor capable, learned, pru- 
dent, and pious, to assist her. Father Francis 
André de la Torre had the inspiration to con- 
secrate himself to the conduct of this soul, and 
he directed her during twenty years, to the time 
of his death, excepting rare absences by tre 
order of his Superiors. 

IV. The Lord now granted to her a new in- 
fused science, perspicuous and general; but whe- 
ther it is that science, even infused, brings with it 
the danger of some sinful complaisance, or that 
the human understanding has need, in order to 
use the heavenly light with liberty, to be puri- 
fied in the crucible, the servant of God was 



plunged into new afflictions. She was cast into a 
night of complete obscurity, which lasted eighty 
days, and the light of faith was her only guide. 
The demons had ample power to afflict and to 
tempt her. Lucifer, accompanied by his legions, 
continued his attacks during this entire period. 
They consisted of horrible visions, terrible 
voices, unheard-of cruelties; he even went so 
far as to blaspheme by her mouth. He trans- 
figured himself into an angel of light; he feign- 
_ ed miracles, and dared to present her with holy 
water, but was unable to resist its effects. 

The Lord manifested to the servant of God 
\fter this combat, that the demons had attacked 
her by more than a thousand dangerous tempta- 
tions; but Mary of Jesus, armed with the 
buckler of faith, had won a complete victory. 
At length the permission of the Lord ceased, 
and the demons fled. She had also a dangerous 
illness, in which the approaches of death were 
represented to her. Finally, she was placed in 
view of hell, and as if in this horrible pit. It 
was the last proof which the Lord imposed to 
elevate this creature to the sublimity of infused 

V. After this tenebrous night, the Most High 
disclosed to her the secrets and mysteries ofl 
Ilis wisdom. He bestowed on her a more dis- 


tinct intelligence of the Church Militant, with 
the grace and gifts which He communicates to 
mortals in this valley of tears. She was en- 
dowed with a more eminent knowledge of the 
Church Triumphant, of the essential glory of 
the angels and saints, and of accidental glory. 
The infinite perfections of God and His attri- 
butes were manifested to her in a degree above 
the ordinary power of grace. 

This illumination was habitual to her, and 
permanent. She penetrated the meanings of 
the Scriptures, and understood Latin, without 
being able to speak it, and she obtained the use 
‘of the most proper terms of scholastic and mys- 
tical theology. But this knowledge did not 

make her less humble; she never spoke of it 
unless in obedience to her Superiors. All these 
lights contributed only to augment her love for 
God, to serve Him, and ooo to persuade others 
to love Him. 

After these favors the Lord called her to a 
higher perfection, by an interior voice, gentle and 
efficacious. He represented to her His innumer- 
able benefits, and engaged her to correspond 
with them. She sought, like the thirsty hart, 

to please the Lord, and in her pains of love, 

she ejaculated, ‘‘I pray Thee, Lord, to grant 
me that high perfection which Thou willest in 
me, and the instructions necessary to practise it!” 


VI. She was already the spouse of the Most 
High, and to perfect her in this state, the Di- 
vine Majesty regulated His love, and prescribed 
inviolable laws for her, commanding her to 
write them as a rule of life, and to communi- 
cate them to her Superiors. She therefore wrote, 
inspiied by her Divine spouse, an admirable 
treatise, entitled ‘ 7’he laws of the spouse, the eleva- 
tions of her chaste love, and instruction in the Divine 
science.” This treatise has three parts, under the 
metaphor of the construction of the temple of 
Solomon. The first teaches how to prepare and 
polish the materials—that is to say, the senses 
and faculties of the soul; the second, how to 
form the virtues; and the third, how God com- 
municates Himself in a sublime way to the soul. 

During many years this humble virgin prac- 
tised these Divine laws. Inflamed by the love 
of her spouse, she had a holy zeal for His honor. 
She labored incessantly that her Well-Beloved 
might not be offended. To this effect she inter- 
posed the merits of the passion of the Redeemer, 
and practised painful works on behalf of sin- 
ners. She wrought great good, but it is enough 
to say here that in this way she became capable 
of serving as the instrument to write the great 
work of the admirable history of the Mother of 
God, to reform morals and sanctify souls. 




T was now ten years since she had begun to 
know the will of heaven, when renewed or- 
ders were positively given to write the Divine 
history, and the narration of the mystical city of 
God for the glory of the Most High, the honor 
of the Mother, and the sanctification of the faith- 
ful. Seeing herself obliged to yield, in her per- 
plexity she had recourse to her confessor. He, 
too, who, during ten years, had understood all, - 
decided that she must obey, and the Superiors 
whom he consulted were of the same opinion. 
Thus confirmed by obedience, the venerable 
Mother began, in 1637, to write the history of 
the Queen of Angels. In only twenty days she 
had completed the first part. The Divine light, 
and the intelligence of the mysteries of which she 
wrote, were so vivid, that her pen could not keep 


pace with theirimpetuosity. The Lord concealed 
- from the demon the commencement of the work, 
lest he should retard it, and in order that it ~ 
should be evident, from the extreme rapidity 
with which it was written, that it sprang from 
Divine power. 

II. When the demon knew of this first part, 
foreseeing that souls would. be greatly benefited 
by it, he employed all his stratagems to prevent 
its continuance. In her apprehensions of having 
offended God, she employed her time in appeas- 
ing the Lord, and thus it was delayed; but at. 
length it was finished. Who can describe the 
fervent affections of that inflamed heart while 
writing this history? The attention she was ob- 
liged to give to the light imparted to her, and 
the occupation of writing, had interrupted her 
ardor to imitate the Queen of Heaven, but in com- | 
posing the last chapters, moved by a Divine im- 
pulse, she exclaimed: ‘Lord, may Thy will be 
done in me; I offer myself to obey Thy orders 
with submission.” At these words she saw de- 
scending from heaven an angel of wondrous 
beauty, who had orders to instruct, reprove, and 
humble her. He said to her: “O soul! follow 
the steps of thine august Mistress, the Blessed 
Virgin, practise her precepts, imitate her virtues, 
and be faithful in all that regards the service of 



our Lord.” In this disposition she finished the 
history of the Blessed Virgin. 

Having completed the work, the Lord excitec 
her to a keen sorrow for her sins, and appeared 
to her in a vision. It seemed that He presented 
her to the eternal Father, and said: “ We have 
lifted up this soul from the dust of her misery, 
that she might write the history of my Mother, 
because our Divine providence has determined 
that in an age so overgrown with sins and 
offences against Thy Majesty we should re- 
veal the history of my Mother as a remedy. 
It is but right that the soul who has written this 
doctrine should practise it.” The most Blessed 
Virgin made the same request, and the eternal 
Father granted it. Then the memory of her past 
sins, of her ingratitudes, and negligencies became 
still more grievous, and the servant of God wept 
bitterly, when she heard a voice declare: “The 
days of this creature are ended; dead to the 
world, she is born for God.” The Redeemer 
applied to her the merits of His blood, and the 
most holy Trinity confirmed her in the name of 
Mary, that she might practise the doctrine of the 
history she had written. 

The Lord imprinted upon her a lively horror 
of sin, and disclosed to her the sweetness of the 
Divine yoke. He showed her the faults she had 


committed, and seeing her contrite and confused, 
and unable to restore one for a thousand, He 
confirmed her in her state as spouse. She was 
then returned to the Mother of the King, in or- 
' der to be prepared. The Queen of Heaven in- 
structed her in the first place, to renounce all 
honors, pleasures, and conveniences, and all hu- 
man favors, and to seek for labors and sufferings, — 
that she might bear some resemblance to her 
spouse. Thus she became crucified to the 
world, and lived no more in it, nor for it, but 
Jesus lived in her, and she for Jesus. The mer- 
ciful Mother instructed her how to cast off the bad 
habits contracted by her sins, her imperfections, 
and unmortified passions, and to purify her im- 
agination of the images produced by intercourse 
with the world. She adorned her with rich or- 
naments, and showed her the lofty habitation of 
her interior, where she could be sheltered from 
the attacks of her enemies. 

III. The servant of God prepared a treatise — 
on these instructions of the Lord and His holy 
Mother, entitled, “ Zhe laws of the spouse; her 
considerations and sighs to obtain the last and true 
end—the good pleasure of her Divine Spouse.” To 
this she added a short treatise, “ Z’he excellences 
and the virtues of the Mother of God,” to carry always 
about her. She wrote it because she heard a 


voice, in the superior portion of her soul, which 
said: ‘‘ You have need of a mistress:to conduct 
you; of a mother to protect you; ofa friend to 
console you; of a queen to obey; of an exam- 
ple to rule your life; of a model of all the vir- 
tues. Now, all these you will find in Mary.” 

She composed another little treatise, called. 
“ Meditations on the Passion of our Redeemer,” 
taken from the second part of the Divine history. 
The interior voice said to her: “ Place here the . 
passion of the Lord; let it for your un- 
derstanding, consolation for your spirit, occupa- 
tion for your mind, and you will draw from it 
abundant fruits for your soul.” In this same 
book she wrote the exercises that she practised, 
prayers, sublime meditations, useful devotions, 
the order of her life, distribution of time, and 
the fervent elevations of her spirit. She com- 
pleted it in 1641, and it did not meet the fate of 
her other writings, which, as we shall see, she 
afterwards burnt. 

She passed ten years in this employment of 
disciple of the Mother of God, receiving great. 
and frequent favors, mingled with many extra- 
ordinary afflictions. The Lord then bestowed 
on her an admirable privilege, which was con- 
tinued to the end of her life. This was, that all 
His communications should be preceded by so 



great a sorrow for her sins, that her heart 
seemed broken. The love and fear of God, 
and contempt for herself, accompanied this 
sorrow. With this disposition she received 
all the Divine favors. At the least fault or 
imperfection she was reproved so severely, 
that she was lost in contrition and humility. 
The Lord favored this creature with a singular 
participation in all the gifts and graces which 
_had been accorded to His Mother, though in a 
very inferior degree, but in kind the same. 
‘One of these gifts was the knowledge of created 
things in themselves, without mistake; the 
other was an impetuous communication of the 
light of truth, and the power of grace, which 
instructed her, not to permit an affection for 
any earthly thing in this vale of tears, even when 
lawful and honest. It was permissible for her 
to love God alone, and her neighbor in Him, 
and to labor, according to her condition, for the 
salvation of souls, 

IV. In her fervor, the servant of God had 
collected a great number of vocal prayers, which 
she habitually recited. But, after having been 
elevated to a high infused contemplation, these 
prayers embarrassed her. It seemed that she 
‘ought to dispense with the least perfect; yet she 
feared to abandon the use of devotions which 



she had so long practised. Jer confessor de- 
cided to diminish them. He left her the Divine 
office—the little office of our Lady—her litunies, 
the chaplet, her Pater and Ave, the visit to the 
altars, five disciplines a day, the exercise of the 
cross, and that of death. He permitted her to 
read the Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, 
according to her custom, from childhood. He 
also moderated her austerities. 

When she was Superior, he decided that she 
must follow the rules of the community. The 
docile Superior obeyed, and conformed herself 
to the community in regard to all external 
things. In 1688 she introduced the Divine 
office at midnight, as it is used among the Re- 
collects of St. Julian, which led to the change in 
her exercises. Her vocal prayers were modera- 
ted in 1644. She never refused her assistance 
to any one. She visited and consoled the sick, 
gave counsel, and found means to help all. She 
was never idle. 

V. She conducted all her actions after the 
manner of the angels, never losing sight of God, 
and making frequent interior acts of adoration, 
praise, respect, and love. In her oraison, her 
contemplatién was sublime. She assisted at the 
holy sacrifice with great devotion. In the con- 
fessional, her confessors were astonished to see 


so much sorrow, and such resolutions to cor- 
rect faults so trivial that they could scarce. 
ly discover an imperfection. The angels, per. 
haps, were in admiration, when she received 
Holy Communion. At the refectory, she con-, 
sidered that if she responded so little to the 
natural benefits of the Lord, she did still less for 
the supernatural favors, so great and so multi- 
plied, which she received. 

Every day she practised some mortification. 
On Monday she prostrated herself at the door 
of the refectory, that she might be trodden un- 
der foot; on Thursdays she kissed the feet of 
her sisters; on Fridays she remained on her. 
knees, imploring mercy for her sins. In the 
duties of her office she acted with admirable hu- 
mility and wisdom, governing with gentle se-_ 
verity and modest authority. She treated her 
sisters with maternal affection, and took great 
pains to supply their necessities. She loved 
them, without respect to persons. She chastened 
offences against God, and forgot those which 
were against herself In fine, she took counsel 
of all, in grave affairs, and obeyed the counsels 
even of her inferiors. 

In her associations with persons of the world 
she was very careful not to lose her interior re 
collection. She closed her eyes, guarded ner 



hearing and her tongue, and gave utterance 
only to words of discretion, full of humility 
and charity. When it was necessary, she’stimu- 
lated others to practise virtue, with heavenly 
prudence. She had written many sentences, 
from which we quote this: “he Divine anger 
moves slowly to vengeance, but the delay of pun- 
ashment ws compensated by the greatness of tor- 

In this abridgment much must be omitted of 
the graces she received, and of the pains, the ab- 
sences, and the combats that accompanied them. 
The Divine spouse formed, by this varied treat- 
ment, a spiritual life that obtained the admiration 
of the angels, when they saw rising, as it were, 
from the desert, a creature so blessed and so 
united to her Well-Beloved. 





er HE Providence of God, in proportion as 
“ men, by their enormous sins, provoke 
the Divine wrath, raises up souls of eminent 
sanctity to appease His outraged justice. It 
is easy to perceive that Mary of Jesus was 
one of these, who, far better than the other 
Esther, found grace before the King of the 
Universe. In the year 1630 the Lord mani- 
fested to her the approaching calamities of His 
Church, saying that He could have wished to 
find another Moses to oppose himself to His an- 
ger. | 
His Divine Majesty, in 1637, began to sho 
her the assemblies held by the demons in hell 
against the holy Church and the faithful, and 
against Spain in particular, as she wrote, twenty 



years later, to Pope Alexander VII. She saw 
that they determined to stir up wars against 
the Christian princes, the better to sow heresies 
without difficulty.» With this view many legions 
spread themselves over the world. The servant 
of God prayed and groaned before God, and the 
Lord replied to her that this was a chastisement 
for the sins of Catholics ungrateful for His bene- 
fits. The war soon broke out. She saw the 
Church like a bark agitated by the impetuous 
waves of affliction, while the faithful, ecclesiastics 
and seculars, sought no remedy for it. She was 
afflicted, but the Mother of God excited her to 
pray with redoubled ardor. It seemed to her that 
His Divine Majesty had elevated her to this holy 
and sublime state for the good of the people of 
God, that she might labor for them. From this 
time she made it her chief employment to im- 
plore the Divine clemency to turn away these 
scourges from Christendom. 

She prayed with great fervor for Spain, who 
has preserved the purity of her faith in its in- 
tegrity. She endeavored to diminish the faults 
of her children, who, being more enlightened 
and more favored, ought to commit fewer sins. 
The loving Lord, inclined to satisfy the desires 
of His servant, opened a way which could not 
have been imagined—it was, that a poor nun, 


shut up in her cloister, should have a close, fre- 
quent, and even familiar communication with her 

II. In the year 1643, King Philip IV., pressed 
by the wars of Catalonia and Portugal, on his 
way to Saragossa, took the road by Agreda. He 
wished to see the servant of God, and the first 
time he spoke with her he felt such virtue in her 
words that he went away consoled. He prayed 
her to be his mediatrix with God for his people 
and himself, and requested her to write to him 
of whatever she judged best for the service of 
God.* The venerable mother obeyed, and she be- 
gan to exhort him through her letters to correct 
and reform the morals of his kingdom. The king 
experienced from them such good effects that he 
continued this holy intercourse of letters during 
twenty-two years, while the servant of God still 
lived. His majesty folded his paper in two, 
writing on one side with his own hand, and the 
servant of God replied on the other. The king 
died four months after Mary of Jesus. — 

III. The Lord so ordered that the fuithful 
should come to her for consolation in their 

* There was found recently, at the imperial library of Paris, a 
part of this correspondence, which has been translated and pub- 
lished under the title, “Zhe Sister Mary d’ Agreda and Philip IV.” 

Inedited correspondence, translated from the Spanish by Ger 
mond de Lavigne. 1 vol., 8vo. Vaton, Paris. 


troubles, and all found a remedy for either cor 
poreal or spiritual afflictions. People of all sorts 
and conditions were gathered from many distant 
places; but she preferred the poor, who are gen- 
erally destitute of human aid. She thus dimin- 
ished, according to her ardent desires, the num- 
ber of sinners, for, while administering to the 
body, she gave instructions for spiritual wants. 
‘The Lord, by a singular privilege of His grace, 
made known to her the state of their consciences. 

The faithful, before leaving her, generally 
begged some souvenir as a memorial of her 
benefits. Unable to resist so pious a desire, 
the venerable Mother gave to each a cross, 
medal, image, rosary, or scapular. One day, in 
her retreat, recollecting the spiritual wants of 
these people, she prayed the Lord to grant the 
grace to withdraw from sin, or to avoid the 
occasion of it, and to be assisted at the hour of 
death, to all who would pray with devotion, 
having upon them some one of the objects that 
she gave#-and the Lord heard her prayer. 
The servant of God left no means untried for 
the salvation of souls. She said to one of her 
Superiors, who desired her to inform him of what 
passed in her mind on this subject: “I cannot 
explain the ardent desires which the Most High 
has implanted in my soul for the salvation of the 


people of New Mexico, and for the conversion 
of those who know Him not, or who are in a 
state of mortal sin.” It often happened that she 
found herself surrounded by many guardian an- 
gels, who invited her to pray for the souls con- 
fided to their charge, and to suffer pains on their 
behalf. Sometimes the angel guardian of a soul 
informed her that it was in danger of perdition, 
that her prayers might deliver it ; and many per- 
sons declared themselves to have been saved by 
the servant of God from dangers that menaced 
their eternal salvation. 

IV. She especially extended her solicitudes 
over the nuns of this happy monastery as her 
duty demanded. Her ardent desire that all 
might be holy made her endure a sort of 
martyrdom. She so acted as to blend pru- 
dence with her charity and zeal to advance 
them in perfection. With regard to the Rule 
of the Constitutions, and the regular observances, 
she never permitted any thing which could intro- 
duce the least relaxation. She neglected no 
duty. Above all, she had recourse to prayer, 
addressing herself to Jesus Christ, and to the 
Queen of Angels, and representing the promises 
they had made to her. She held conferences so 
fervent and so sublime, that the sisters said, if they 
had but profited by them, they would he sera. 


phim in perfection. She persuaded them to 
make frequent spiritual exercises of such a kind, 
that she who made them, could assist at all the 
xxercises of the community. They vied with 
each other in the practice of virtue. In a word, 
she procured for her sisters, by all possible 
means, the grace of the Lord. Each of them, in 
imitation of her, wore an image of Jesus Christ; 
and she obtained for those who used them 
with devotion, powerful helps to excite them 
more and more in the Divine love. She also ob- 
tained, that those who prayed with devotion be- 
fore the image in the choir should find there 
a sure asylum, and grace to protect them against 
the demon, and in temptations. 

V. In the year 16438, her confessor, father 
Francis André, was obliged to be absent for a 
considerable time. An ancient religious was put 
in his place to confess the servant of God. He, 
having little understanding of her affairs, de- 
clared to her that women ought not to write, 
and that, therefore, through obedience, she must 
burn the history of our Lady, and all her other 
papers. As soon as the order was received, and 
vithout reply, she burned all the manuscripts 
that were within her power. 

The principal confessor, on his return, re- 
proved her sharply, and, persuaded that it was 


very important to preserve an original, written 
by the hand of the servant of God, he com- 
manded her to write it over again. But, during 
the eighteen months that remained before the 
death of this father, the servant of God was 
hindered in the work, the Lord so disposing it 
for His own purposes. Father Francis André 
de la Torre died in 1647, on St. Joseph’s Day, 
after having assisted the servant of God nearly 
twenty years. He left all the writings of Mary 
of Jesus, with orders to transmit them to the 
Provincial, but she persuaded his agent to give — 
them to her. The Superiors having appointed 
for‘ her the same confessor who had caused the 
other papers to be burned, he burned these 
also! This loss was irreparable; but the judg- 
ments of God, who permits it, are impenetrable. 

The Lord finally gave her such a confessor as 
she had need of in her present circumstances. 
This was father Andrew de Fuen Mayor. He 
began to confess the servant of God in 1650, 
and she continued to confess to him during the 
remainder of her days. This confessor obliged 
her to write a second time the history of the 
Blessed Virgin. Finally, informed of the prin- 
cipal events ‘which had passed in her interior 
during the whole course of her life, he obliged 
her to undertake the history of it, which was a 


great mortification to her. Nevertheless, obedi- 
ence works miracies. She commenced, but she 
could write little more than the foundation of her 
monastery, and the lives of its fathers. Death 
surprised her in this work, which would have 
contained reproductions of all the treatises that 
she had written, which had been burnt, and in a 
heavenly manner, for the lights of her last years 
were the most sublime and abundant. But we 
must not question the judgments of the Most 
High, who has not permitted us to possess them. 

VI. When the Lord renewed the order to 
write a second time the history of His holy Mo- 
ther, she knew that His Divine Majesty designed 
to elevate her to a new state. She employed 
seventy-two days to prepare herself for a general 
confession in 1651, and thirteen days were occu- 
pied in her confession. This preparation was 
followed by a mystical death. The Lord several 
times repeated this grace, yet none could say she 

“had ever receded. The new life of the spirit, 
which is the mystic death, has various degrees; 
and the servant of God obtained many times 
this new life, without losing that which she had 

The venerable Mother, well knew these de- 
grees, in the deaths she had experienced, and, 
being elevated to a new life, all that she had 



hitherto done for God seemed but an invisible 
point, in proportion to the obligations she dis 
covered still remaining. Nevertheless, the Lord 
did not exempt her in these deaths from com- 
bats with the world, nor from the temptations ot 
the demon, nor from the tumults excited by the 
flesh, the passions, and the appetites; nor did 
He destroy her enemies so as not to deprive her 
of the merit of combating them, but He en- 
feebled them, in order that the victory should 
declare for her in the conflict. 


CHAP TH) iil. 


T was the Lord’s will that the servant of 
JK God should henceforth apply herself to the 
imitation of the Queen of Angels, no longer 
as a disciple, but as her daughter. Mary of 
Jesus called this state religion, and she begam 
it by a novitiate. The Mother of God willed 
to constitute herself her mistress of novices; 
she adopted her as her daughter, engendered 
in her love. The servant of God entered upon 
this novitiate of the imitation of the Mother 
of God, on the day of the Purification of the 
Virgin, in the year 1652, in quality of daughter. 
She copied in herself, with all possible exacti- 
tude, the virtues of the Queen of Angels, having 
always her example before her eyes. And after 
being exercised in this observance, she made a 
vow of the most sublime nature that had ever 


yet been heard of. Renewing in the hands of 
the Mother of God her four vows, she made a 
fifth, to obey her in the instructions which she 
gave as her mistress. 

She made this vow in one of the most exalted 
visions to which the Lord had then elevated 
her, and she felt that the most pure Virgin, 
on confirming it, gave her in recompense a 
spiritual embrace. We may infer from this vow 
a perfection of life beyond all expression. It is 
only necessary to read the instructions given to 
her by the Mother of God, in the Cité Mystique, 
and to remember that the servant of God exe- 
cuted them with fidelity. 

The Lord elevated her to a degree still higher. 
After having passed some time in the imitation 
of the Most Blessed Virgin, the Most High 
placed her in another, of the immediate imita- 
tion of Jesus Christ. The Divine Jesus would 
be her master, and commanded her to imitate 
Him, until her soul should arrive at a sort of 
resemblance with her celestial Spouse. He 
promised her, that if she observed the laws of 
this state, all the promises of the Gospel would 
be renewed in her. 

On the day of the Assumption, in the year 
1658, the Lord lifted her into a still more 
sublime state than she had yet known in her 


mortal life. He placed her in the novitiate of 
contemplation of the Essence of God. This no- 
Vitiate is a State of union with God, in which 
His Divine Majesty lives in the soul, by being, 
mystically, its life, the virtue of its virtue, the 
movements of all its being, and the vivifying 
power of all its actions. 

These three novitiates are like A degrees of 
different elevations, each of which is more’lofty 
than the preceding. The servant of God as- 
cended from one to the other, the first preparing 
her for the second, and these two for the third. 
But it is worthy of observation here, that she did 
not leave the lowest degree to mount to the high- 
est, for each is a preparation for the next in 
order, and necessary for its security ; neither can 
the highest be attained except through the two 
first. The Lord gave this counsel to His servant, 
viz., that the novitiate of the imitation of the most 
pure Mary prepared her for that of the imitation 
of Jesus Christ; for the Mother is the immediate 
entrance to the Son, and the novitiate of the 
imitation of Jesus Christ and His evangelical 
doctrine would conduct her to the sublimity of 
the Essence of God; since the Son is the way to 
the Father, and all who seek for God must go 
through His only Son, who conducts them to 
Him. 7 



Two years and a half after this, on the day of 
the Assumption, the servant of God was elevated 
(whether she was in the body, or out of the 
body, she knew not,) before the throne of the 
Most Holy Trinity, and she made, in presence 
of the Incarnate Word, and of His most pure. 
Mother, her profession of the state of daughter 
and imitatrice of this Queen. was as if 
the Most High confirmed her in this state. 

II. The Lord then reiterated His orders to 
write the second time the history of the Queen 
of Angels. Her confessor seconded them, and 
her Superiors obliged her to obey. In the 
year 1655 she began it anew, in the form in 
which the original, written by her hand, exists 
at this time. The demon made every effort, 
and practised every ruse that his malice could 
suggest, to hinder the work. She wrote at no 
period when she was not sensible that all the 
fury of hell opposed it. The infernal dragon 
hoped she would die before its completion, and 
he would not have been mistaken, if the Lord 
had not miraculously preserved her life, as the 
angels revealed to the servant of God. : 

Mary of Jesus, in the midst of these combats, 
wrote this history, imitating, as closely as possi- 
ble, the august Queen of Heaven. At the same! 
time she applied herself with care to learn in 


the holy gospels whatever she ought to know, 
in order to imitate her Divine Master. The 
chief counsel that she received from the Lord in 
this school was to suffer without repugnance, to 
embrace pain with pleasure, to take up her 
cross, and to follow Jesus Christ with fervor. 
The demon gave her matter for suffering. 

The serpent came to ask permission of the Lord 
to persecute her, as he did formerly for Job. The 
‘ permission of God being given, she was soon sen- 
sible of a species of cruel martyrdom, without 
consolation either divine or human. She found 
no consolation even in her confessor. But she 
suffered in great tranquillity, endeavoring to 
imitate her adorable Master. At length, tri- 
umphing over hell, she finished her admirable 

III. The servant of God continued her life in 
the three states of imitation of the Mother of 
God—of novice, of the imitation of Jesus Christ, 
and of the eontemplation of the Divine Es- 
sence, with great perfection, under a general 
law of the Divine love. She was attentive 
to the most holy will of her Well-Beloved, 
so as to do nothing that was not agreeable to 
Him. Having passed some years in these ob- 
servances, the Lord crowned all His graces by 
calling her to the profession of these sublime 


states of perfection, and it seemed that she could 
not rise higher in this mortal life; but God 
is an immense ocean of perfection. 

Mary of Jesus had an admirable knowledge 
of the life, of all the operations, and of all the 
virtues, of the Mother of God, and she copied 
and imitated, with that inferior proportion which 
we must suppose, the virtues and the operations, 
interior and exterior, of the Queen of Heaven. 
By the protection of this powerful mediatrix, 
she was elevated to the imitation of Jesus Christ, 
and the Most High made her enter, by this 
door, to the sublime state of the contemplation 
of the Divine Essence, where she had the happi- 
ness to enjoy the intimate embraces of union 
with His Divine Majesty. Then, at the view 
of the glory and grandeur of God, she trans- 
formed herself into His image, in advancing from 
one light to another light—from the imitation of 
Mary to that of Jesus Christ—from the contem- 
plation of the sacred humanity to that of the 
divinity, and from an affection inflamed, to a 
flame more ardent, by the movement of the 
Holy Spirit. 

IV. Here would be the place to treat of the 
virtues in detail, but this would too much en- 
-large our abridgment. We will only add a few 
words on the gratuitous gifts with which her 


soul was endowed for the benefit of others. She 
had the gift of speaking with eminent wisdom, as we 
see by her writings, which are admired by all the 
learned; the gift of speaking with science, which 
was evident to all those who were charged with 
her direction, and which is seen in the sublime 
instructions that she has left. The gift of faith 
is visible in her, by the services she rendered to 
the Church, principally in New Mexico. All 
her precautions to conceal her gift of healing the 
sick could not prevent its manifestation. The 
gift of operation of the virtues showed itself in the 
numerous conversions wrought by the venerable 
Mother upon various persons possessed by the 
demon. The gift of prophecy was very frequent. 
The gift of the discernment of spirits was so re- 
markable in this servant of God, that, by a sin- 
gular grace of the Lord, she discovered the 
interior of the persons who had recourse to her. 
The gift of speaking different tongues was commu- 
nicated to her—since, speaking Spanish to the 
Indians, they understood her as if she had ad- 
dressed them in their own language; and, final- 
ly, the gift of ¢nterpretation of tongues, which her 
Superiors had many times occasion to remark, 
IV. For a long time the venerable Mother, 
Mary of Jesus, had prepared for death. Her 
first occupation, after matins, was to meditate 


upon the voice of the Most High, who called 
her to judgment. She wrote this meditation with 
considerations so full of awe, that they excite 
terror in reading them. She composed another 
meditation on the response which her soul would 
make at this terrible judgment. She expresses 
her sorrow for her sins—desires the last sacra- 
ments, and to have the assistance of priests at 
that awful hour. To this she adds two other 
- meditations—one on the judgment of the right- 
eous, and the reprobate soul; the other on the 
universal judgment, which she intersperses with 
considerations of fearful import. 

She preserved, in a coffer, the bones of her 
father, and, when visiting them, she made sub- 
lime reflections, reading, afterwards, the recom- 
mendation of the soul. Every Friday she pre- 
pared herself for her last hour. From time to 
time she made retreats, to be better prepared. 
Finally, the Most High, by the prayers of the 
humanity of Jesus Christ and the Virgin, sent 
an angel to dispose her for a holy death. 

VII. According to the example of many 
saints, she saw clearly the approaches of death. 
Desirous to perform the exercises 01 a retreat, 
she said to her sisters, who were disturbed by 
this absence from them: “It cannot be dispen- 
sed with, because I make it to prepare myself to 


die well.” After this retreat, she held the chap- 
ter on Monday, in place of Friday. “ This will 
be the last that I shall hold,” said she. She 
asked to have her feet washed. “ Wash them 
well,” she said to the sister, “for I shall soon 
receive Extreme Unction.” 

She had prayed the Lord to be assisted by 
His priests. Now it happened that the father, 
Zalizanes, left Madrid to preside at a chapter of 
his order: ‘Let us go,” said he, “by Agreda, 
for the Lord calls me there.” Father Samaniego, 
Provincial, also went there. The servant of 
God, who had fallen ill, enjoyed this great con- 
solation, for the General visited her every day. 
From the commencement they saw that the 
sickness of the venerable Mother was mortal, 
and, when it was known, the sorrow was univer- 




HE sickness of the servant of God lasted 

from the first vespers of Ascension Day to 
the day of Pentecost, on which she expired. 
The Lord granted her the grace of a good death, 
and it was not sudden. He left her in the one 
obscure light of faith, that the merit of the ser- 
vant of God should manifest itself. On the 
third day of her sickness she confessed, with so 
many marks of perfect contrition for her sins, 
that the confessor was in admiration of it, and 
she confessed many times during her sickness, 
giving testimony of her exalted esteem for this 

On the Sunday within the octave of the As- 
cension, she received the holy Viaticum. The 
Superior commanded her to ask His Divine Ma- 
jesty to prolong her life if it were His will, and 
to grant her the grace to be submissive to His 
most holy will. In this manner she practised | 
obedience until her last moments. Every day 



she received holy communion, for she took no- 
thing until after having received this sacrament. 
She endured without complaint all her suffer- 
ings, and refused no remedies, although she 
knew they were of no ayail. 

She profited by every spiritual pain, and 
at last, on the Thursday of the Octave of the 
Ascension, her physicians judged that she ought 
to receive Extreme Unction. The Father-General, 
Zalizanes, announced this to the venerable Mo- 
ther, who rejoiced on hearing of it. Towards 
evening she received it with touching devotion. 
“‘T begin,” said she, “to console myself, and to 
take courage.” She spoke with her sisters, 
and blessed each one in particular, giving them 
salutary counsels. Then she took leave of them, 
and returned to her recollection. She persevered 
in it until the day of Pentecost. 

On this day, the Father-General gave her the 
benediction of St. Francis, and, surrounded by 

- the most eminent religious of the order, and the 

nuns of her monastery, towards the hour of 
tierce, when it is thought the Holy Spirit de- 
scended upon His Apostles, without having lost 
her reason, or her senses, she yielded up her 
spirit to her Creator, to enjoy Him eternally in 
glory, as we may presume, from her life and her 
death. Before expiring she said: ‘Come! 


come! come!” and at this last word, her spirit 
departed on the 24th of May, in the year of our 
Lord 1665. 

Here terminates the recital of the Rev. Father 
Samaniego, which we have abridged with the 
most scrupulous exactitude; for the life which 
he has left us of the servant of God, is as accurate 
as it is full of unction. It is remarkable, espe- 
cially, for the great mystical science which it re- 
veals in its author, a very rare gift in these lat- 
ter times. We shall now proceed to lay before 
the reader the acts and authentic documents 
which we have discovered, through which it is 
our desire to honor the servant of God, and to 
re-establish the memory of her glorious gifts and 



(From which the Admirable Life of St. Joseph is extracted,) 


In the highest rank among the saints of past ages, who 
have been endowed with signal graces and singular privileges 
by the august Queen of Heaven, must be placed, without hes- 
itation, the Venerable Mary of Jesus, called of Agreda, from 
the name of the city in Spain where she passed her life. A 
writer, whose authority will not be suspected, the celebrated 
J. Goerres, in his monumental work on Mysticism, cites as an 
example, in the chapter entitled Culminating Point of Chris- 
tian Mysticism, the life of Mary of Agreda; and, in fact, no 
more perfect model can be found of the most elevated ways 
of mystical perfection, As an example, she is unique, and 
most valuable as a study in this progress of the soul, which, 
according to the words of the prophet, rises from degree to 
degree, even to the summit of perfection: ibant de virtute in 

But another and more powerful motive makes it our duty 
to publish a rather extended notice on Mary of Jesus. It is 
our desire to call the attention of our readers to her great 
work, The Cité Mystigue—The Mystical City. 

During more than three years we have pursued our re- 
searches on this subject with an ever growing ardor, and we 


have been so fortunate as to find irrefutable documents relating 
to it. In one of the libraries of Paris we have discovered the 
acts of the process for the canonization of the servant of God, 
Supported by these documents of unexceptionable authority, 
we advance, and hope to terminate all debates on this ques- 
tion. And after the publication of the papers which we are 
about to insert in this article, no one, we hope, among Chris- 
tians, will be tempted to imagine that it is forbidden to read 
the works of Mary of Agreda, as it has been too frequently 

There are divine and supernatural gifts so marvellous, that 
if all the authority of the holy doctors and that of the Church 
did not absolutely affirm them, we should be inclined to re- 
gard as doubtful. But doubt is permitted only to ignorance 
and to bad faith, and neither can justify a man at the tribunal 
of conscience, nor, consequently, at the tribunal of God, 

The God of merey grants to souls the privilege known un- 
der the name of clear, distinct, and precise words, or supernat- 
wral expressions, by which we mean, that God consents to 
speak to a soul, either directly and immediately, as it 
happens in certain cases, or by the ministry of angels, 
which is the most common, Sometimes it is the Father, 
sometimes the Son; at other times it is the august Mother of 
God, and, in rare circumstances, the saints, who discourse with 
souls in an elevated state of contemplation. 

St. Teresa, whose authority in these matters is sovereign, 
because of the approbation which the Church has stamped on 
her writings, treats this question at length in the Interior 
Castle, Sixth Mansion, chap, iii, “God,” she says, “makés 
His presence felt in various ways, It is effected by certain 
discourses, of different kinds, which He makes to the soul: 
some of them seem to come from without, others are pro- 
foundly interior; some seem to come from the superior part 
of the soul, others are so much in the exterior as to be heard 
by the ear.” Alvarez de Paz adds that they seem sometimes 


to issue from the depths of the heart.—Jnterduim et 4pso pene- 
trali cordis assurgere, vol. iii. bk. v. ch. 6. 

The seraphic saint explains the means by which to distin- 
guish the origin of these discourses, which may proceed from 
the imagination, or the demon, or from the Divine being. 
“ When it is God who speaks,” she continues, “ suddenly Ile 
silences in us all other thoughts to make us attentive to what 
He says, and it is less in our power not to hear, than it is in 
the power of a person very quick at hearing not to hear what 
is said to him by another in a loud voice. When God speaks, 
it is beyond the power of the soul to stop the ears, or to think 
of any other thing than what it hears. I hope,” she adds, 
“that I have correctly explained what regards these divine 
discourses, and imparted some useful advice to the souls 
whom the Divine Master may honor with such favors, 

Suarez, and in him we hear all the doctors, explains the 
manner of operation. After a profound examination of the 
mode by which the angels communicate their thoughts to 
each other, he applies it to the souls to whom God imparts 
this gift. Suarez, Part II. book ii. chap. 27, Scaramelli, in 
his Directorio mystico treats this noble subject ex professo, and 
based on the doctrine of the great doctors, he developes, un- 
der every point of view, whatever relates to this matter 
Tract iv. chap. 14, 15. 

We should add, that the servants of God who hear these 
supernatural and heavenly discourses, sometimes behold, un- 
der corporeal forms, the celestial personages who pronounce 
them, while at others they see nothing and hear the voice only, 

The little we have said will suffice to attract the attention 
of priests, and engage them to study these wonders of grace, 
In view of the phenomena of magnetism and neo-spiritualism 
which now invade the world, they will come to a better 
understanding both of truth and error, and discern more 
clearly the snare which the angel of darkness labors to spread 
for men, in luring them either to the denial of what is super 



natural, or to the grossest delusions, into which he plunges 
the unhappy adepts of his tenebrous doctrines, 

But let us hasten towards our object, and inquire, 1st, 
Whether it is permitted to any one, by whatever authority 
he may be invested, to forbid the reading of the works of 
Mary of Jesus d’Agreda? 2, Whether it be true that the read- 
ing of them is allowed, and that pious souls have nothing 
whatever to fear in regard to the doctrine which is taught in 
the Mystical City of God ? 

With regard to the first point our task is easy. Eleven 
years after the appearance of this work, which had al- 
~eady been translated into Italian, it suddenly became the 
subject of a lively discussion. The tribunal of the Holy Office 
“in regard to the circumstances of the time,” according to the 
words of the postulator of the cause for the canonization of 
Mary of Jesus, issued a decree of prohibition August 4th, 1681. 

But God, who brings good out of evil, caused the prohibi- 
tion to contribute to the greater triumph of this work. In 
fact, three months later, Nov. 9th, 1681, the decree was re- 
voked, We'have the gratification to place here the authen- 
tic text of the decree of revocation, It is extracted from the 
process of canonization :— 

Innocentius Papa XII, 

In negotio librorum sanctimonialis Marie a Jesus de Agreda 
supersedendum duximus quamvis sacree hujus inquisitionis ratio 
et stylus aliter suaderunt, 

Datum Rome sub annulo piscatoris, Nov, 9th, 1681, 

The reader will, doubtless, inquire what is the force of this 
decree, and whether it has the veritable character of obliga- 
tory iaw in the Universal Church? On this point we need 
not even invoke the common teaching of the doctors, The 
sovereign authority has resolved the question, without leaving 
room for the smallest doubt or discussion. In 1713, the Holy ~ 


Office published a decree by which it prescribes to the Bishop 
of C to conform himself to the suspensory decree of In- 
nocent XII., which prohibits him from forbidding the read- 
ing of the works of Mary of Jesus of Agreda, We subjoin the 
text of this decree. 

Decree of the Holy Office. — 

“In the Congregation held Sept. 19th, 1713, when were 
present their Eminences, Cardinals Acciaioli, Spada, Ferrari, 
Fabroni, and Ottoboni, it was decreed, that the letter of the 
Inquisitor de C must be withdrawn, and that the sus- 
pensory decree has the force of law throughout the Univer- 
sal Church.” 

The original is in the Convent of Ara Celi at Rome. We 
have, consequently, the right to declare that no one is per- 
mitted to forbid the reading of these works, and that whom- 
soever shall attempt such a prohibition must not only be dis- 
regarded, but even obliged to retract what he has had the 
boldness to utter. 2d. The Holy See, by permission of Di- 
vine Providence, has done more than merely to protect the 
works of Mary of Jesus against her adversaries,—the rea ding 
of them is formally permitted and encouraged. Pops Alex- 
ander VII., of holy memory, has expressly authorized them 
to be read, oraculo vive vocis, Finally, under Pope Benedict 
XIII., the sacred Congregation of Rites passed the following 
decree :— 

“It is ordered that the cause of the above mentioned ser- 
vant of God shall be continued before the holy Congregation 
of Rites without further examination of the Cité Mystique, 
and these books can be retained and read. March 14, 1729,” 

This decree is signed by Pope Benedict XIII 

The tribunal of the Holy See having definitively decided the 
cause, the reader will not hesitate to seek his own edification 
in the doctrine of the works of this seraphic servant of God, 


Having cited the authentic decrees of the Court of Rome, 
we shall now proceed to render justice to the works of the 
illustrious servant of God. It is nearly a year since the cor- 
respondence of Mary of Jesus with King Philip IV. of Spain 
was found in the Imperial library. These letters have been 
published by an editor of the Revue de Paris in one volume, 
In his review, M. Germond de Lavigne, in speaking of The 
Cité Mystique, thus expresses himself :—‘ We have read this 
astonishing book, this treatise ex professo, of the celebrated 
ascetic, and we can only say, with the doctors who have 
edited it, that the mysteries of the Christian religion, the 
principles of the Catholic Church, the most difficult texts of 
the Holy Scriptures and confused computations of the evan- 
gelical history, the most secret decrees of Divine Providence, 
of theology, sacred, dogmatic, exegetic, scholastic, moral, de- 
liberative, mystical, all are here assembled. What are we to 
think of these sublime inspirations of the soul when it is dis- 
engaged from matter, when it is purified by contemplation 
and meditation? Is it really a revelation from on high ?”— 
Revue de Paris, Dee, 15th, 1854; Jan. 1st, 1855. 

Thus speaks a writer in a Review little suspected, we must 
adn. t, of any tendency towards mysticism. But the truth 
inspires him to make this precious avowal, 

We will now offer a brief resumé of the opinions of those 
who are most competent to judge in these matters, viz., the 
members of religious orders, and universities who have made 
the most minute examination. Father Antoine, surnamed 
the very celebrated doctor, thus expresses himself :—“ This 
book has enchanted me, Every line is clear and full of life: 
in a word, all that it contains contributes to elevate the soul, 
inflame the heart, and excite profound devotion.” Father 
Andreas Mendo, of the Society of Jesus, says, “the entire 
work is like a continual light that illuminates the mind, and a 
flame that kindles the will, It banishes tepidity, and excites 
us to rise to the highest degrees of virtue, Whoever reads it 


with care, cannot fail to be instructed, and will be stimulated 
to become more holy.” 

Father Dydace de Sylva, Benedictine, says, “The study ot 
this work is most profitable, It possesses an admirable and 
efficacious virtue to persuade. All that can be said in its 
favor is below the truth. As soon as we begin to read it, we 
are rapt in admiration, I feel, with lively regret, that I have 
need of the wisdom of an angel to express my meaning, my 
veneration, my desires, on this subject.” Father John of the 
Mother of God, says, “I have been so happy as to get pos- 
session of this book, which has filled me with delight, All 
induces me to think that the spirit of the author has been il- 
luminated by light from on high, The perusal of it will 
bring great consolation to the faithful.” 

The most eclebrated and renowned universities have ri- 
valled each other in exalting this admirable production, We 
omit the testimonials of Madrid, Aleala, Salamanca, and 
Toulouse, whose eulogiums leave nothing to be desired, and 
cite only the University of Louvain, as follows: ‘‘ Learned 
men or ignorant may gather admirable fruits from reading 
this work, which the faithful may do without fear of danger 
to faith or morals. We find nothing in it that tends either 
to the relaxation of virtue, or toan indiscreet rigor. In read- 
ing it, we are sensible of a special grace that is not felt with 
other Looks, and the more we read, the greater is the relish 
and the pleasure it imparts.” 

The Bishop of the Diocese of Sister Mary of Jesus thus 
announces his approbation: “I conclude that this work 
is really good, that it contains a heavenly doctrine, of 
which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt. We 
find in it a doctrine solid, strong, true, conformable to the 
Gospel, which leads to the knowledge of God and of the most 
pure Virgin, Mother of God, and excites to the love of virtue, 
and to a horror of sin.” 

The Bishop of the Diocese in which it was first printed, de 


elares, “ Many theologians, the most distinguished by their au- 
thority, their learning, and their zeal for the faith, have ex- 
amined every part of this work, word for word, and have ap- 
proved it as being conformable to the dogmas of the Catholic . 
aith, and useful to promote good morals.” 

What more can be said in praise of a book? We here aver 
that all our citations have been faithfully copied by ourselves 
from the authentic printed reports which we have translated 
with all possible fidelity. 

But in order to leave nothing obscure, we will not omit to 
repeat here, that the Faculty of Paris censured several pages 
of the first part after its translation into-French, in 1696, 
Now, Benedict XIV. informs us in the decree of 1748, ren- 
dered in the cause of the beatification and canonization of 
the servant of God, that Amort, the most formidable adver- 
sary of Mary d’Agreda, acknowledged the censure of the 
Faculty of Paris to be without foundation and of no value. 
Hence, we need not pause to prove that this censure is 
marked as null, for numerous reasons that were expiained by 
the postulator before the Holy Congregation of Rites. We 
hope there will be no further question for the future, 

Spain, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, held 
within ker bosom saints whose holiness and good works must 
continue forever to be celebrated in the Church. The mys- 
tical life, especially, which at this epoch, was flourishing in 
various nations of Europe, had in that country a prodi- 
gious impulsion, Our age, so earnest in seeking for whatever 
preceding times have left that is most precious, will not allow 
the treasures, the marvellous fruits of the gift of infused 
science of that happy period, to remain long in oblivion. We 
return to our study of the incomparable glory of Catholic 
Spain, Mary of Jesus d’Agreda, 

We are not alone in our judgment of the seraphic servant 
of God. At the moment of writing these pages, a religious, 
venerable by his virtues and his talents, formerly Provincial 


of his order, Father Laurent, has completed the publicatior 
of The Life of the Venerable Mother, Mary of Agreda. Thi 
_ Life is none other than that of Father Samaniego, of whick 
we have given an abridgment in this volume. 

In a very beautiful introduction, Father Laurent writes 2s 
follows upon the great work of the venerable Mary :— : 

“‘The divine inspiration makes itself felt in every page. In 
reading it we are persuaded that it was only in the celestial 
regions, where she was rapt in her eestacies, that she could 
gather the knowledes of these sublime mysteries, the revela- 
tion of the most adorable and ineffable designs of the Most 
High upon the august Mary.” 

“It is under the dictation of the Mother of Jesus Christ that 
she retraces the mortal life of the Queen of Heaven; so that 
this work, fallen from the pen of a simple girl without ac- 
quired knowledge, and living in the obscurity of a cloister, 
is perhaps, the most extraordinary, and the most astonishing 
book that ever issued from mortal hands, The author ap- 
proaches without hesitation the most sublime mysteries of 
the Christian religion, and unfolds them with rare clearness, 
She developes, without embarrassment, and with a prodi- 
gious facility, the Catholic dogma, and the most difficult pas- 
sages of the holy writings, The sacred chronology is as fam- 
iliar to her as to the most eminent doctors; she reveals the 
most secret ways of Providence: sacred theology, sublime 
philosophy, extensive knowledge of the natural sciences, per- 
suasive eloquence, all are here united, even to the precision, 
the correctness, tbe elevation, the vigor, and elegance of the 
style.” —Life of the Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus d’ Agreda, 
Introd. pp. 16, 17. 

We have dwelt designedly on the work of this servant of 
God. The Cité Mystique, in our view, is not only, according 
to Father Laurent, “the book, the most extraordinary and 
astonishing that ever issued from the hands of any living 
creature ;” it seeme to us to be manifestly destined, in the 


designs of Providence, to produce great fruits for the sane- 
tification and the higher perfection of souls in these latter 

times. 8 | Yr? 

We give, in‘coneldsion, 4 brief resumé of the acts of the 
cause for the beatification and canonization of Mary of Jésus 
of Agreda, The reader must perceive that God has been 
pleased to manifest the glory and the sanctity of his servant, 
declared Venerable by the Church, and who will be placed 
on her altars, as we hupe, within a few years, 

She died, May 24th, 1665, on the day of Pentecost. Soon 
after, the process of the Bishop of her Diocese was opened 
on her virtues and miracles in general, and the fama swuneti- 
tatis. On the 2ist of November, 1671, the demand was made 
for the process of canonization, Clement X, introduced the 
cause August 24th, 1672. The commission of introduction 
was signed, Jan. 28th, 1678. The deeree on the non-culte 
was carried June 27th, 1674. The apostolic process on the 
sanctity, the virtues, and miracles in general, was presented 
Sept. 2d, 1679. The process was opened, the servant of God 
was declared Venerable, and finally, Dec. 16th, 1689, the 
council were named by Innocent XI. for the examination of 
the books. 

After a long course of disappointments, the case was re- 
sumed in 1745, under Benedict XIV. who, in 1748, rendered 
a decree, that he did not contest Prout oportet, the authen- 
ticity of the writings, At length, Clement XIV. declared 
that the book, the Cité Mystique really belonged to Mary 
of Jesus of Agreda, And now, other proceedings will speed- 
ily be instituted to renew this cause, and we trust, in the 
age of Mary, the servant of God will receive the supreme 
honors of beatification and canonization which will fill the 
measure of her glory on earth, 


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nates ‘pdoreSbalinan iicmaergs Sereda Ee ae ah et pays ae ele SP Se Re ne xs : nie el ae oa Ss im, 
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