Chatting about: Spiritual Riches and Real Poverty

Often you might hear someone remark how people in poorer countries seem more joyful and content. Why do you think this might be so? What does Saint Francis mean that if someone is poor they need to accept it as God’s Will? Does God inflict suffering? How might we understand this statement? Many people who are discerning religious life in today’s age meet a challenge: student loans! This debt is certainly a type of poverty (though not any where near as severe as the poverty that Saint Francis speak

Many people who are discerning religious life in today’s age meet a challenge: student loans! This debt is certainly a type of poverty (though not any where near as severe as the poverty that Saint Francis speaks about above). Above, Saint Francis encourages the poor to not be afraid to ask for alms. How might someone who needs to clear a student loan debt before entering religious life be able to benefit from this advice?What is the different between spiritual poverty and having a rich spirit (both things

 

What is the different between spiritual poverty and having a rich spirit (both things Saint Francis encourages us to have)? Are the conflicting concepts?
Lisa C: Is God’s voice always quiet?

Jan 15 2017, 7:28 PM

SrSusan (guest): For some yes for others no

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:29 PM

Guest4841 (guest): Hi Everyone, It’s Judy. Well, my new password did not work even after 4 tries. Good grief.

Jan 15 2017, 7:29 PM

SrSusan (guest): But audible, even if quiet, in another form perhaps

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:29 PM

Lisa C: Yes, always audable

 

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:29 PM

Lisa C: He will make it audible if we want to hear it

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Carol Ann: I am taught that He speaks to all people all the time, but you have to want to hear Him in order to

 

 

RuthGuest5266 (guest): hello everyone. wow we have a full house tonight. Good.

Jan 15 2017, 7:32 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Thank you, Brian. He has indeed blessed me beyond my wildest imaginings.

Jan 15 2017, 7:32 PM

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SrSusan (guest): I have never lived among the destitute but I have lived among the working poor and for the most part happiness was present

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:33 PM

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Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Well, kicking things off, re; the poor in other countries seem more joyous because they tend to be simpler and not attached to material goods. They are grateful for anything that is given to them. :34 PM

Carol Ann: they also have a better sense of community and interdependencePM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) I have not lived among the destitute either, but I have seen mission films and always noticed how much happier they were. The children, in particular, were always smiling, unless they were ill. PM

Dawn (guest): speaking to a young African once here on student, I asked what was biggest difference he saw here compared to where he lived. He said anger…you all have so much but so angry. where I am from we have so little but we live in joy! our village, everyone is close, we eat meals together work and celebrate together…”

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

SrSusan (guest): Tonite I was talking with our Vietnamese Srs who grew up in modest villages Their happiest memories are of family times in the mid 80’s- they had no tv yet and all were together

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Lack of community in our culture seems to be one of our greatest challenges and has created great emotional poverty too soo many !

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Yes. I even note the difference from being a student — materially poor and a doctor cash poor but with a big house, a car, an old truck, etc. We always helped one another as students. Now I cannot even buy the help I need even when I am willing to spend my retirement savings — minimal — and pay the “going rate.” And that in a place where there is a lot of unemployment.

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

Carol Ann: i think they have a better way, espcially if what we have is onl making us angry

 

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Guest3927 (guest): Lack of community in our culture seems to be one of our greatest challenges and has created great emotional poverty too soo many !

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Yes. I even note the difference from being a student — materially poor and a doctor cash poor but with a big house, a car, an old truck, etc. We always helped one another as students. Now I cannot even buy the help I need even when I am willing to spend my retirement savings — minimal — and pay the “going rate.” And that in a place where there is a lot of unemployment.

Jan 15 2017, 7:37 PM

Carol Ann: i think they have a better way, espcially if what we have is onl making us angry

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:38 PM

Lisa C: Material poverty is a very relative thing. People who are very poor in the USA would be considered very rich in Afghanistan.

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SrSusan (guest): Dawn, did he say what he thought caused the anger

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:39 PM

Dawn (guest): no Sr but this would have been a good question. perhaps what he first said…”you have so much”

Jan 15 2017, 7:40 PM

Lisa C: It makes me think that we do not need most of what we have.

Jan 15 2017, 7:40 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) I wonder if having a great deal of possessions or money places an emotional burden on people. They are stressed out trying to maintain their status and keep what they have. They are fearful of what will happen to them if they lose something, or, God forbid, everything.

7:40 PM

Lisa C: I agree Judy

Jan 15 2017, 7:41 PM

Carol Ann: I think you are right Judy, but the continual anger seems deeper than that’

:41 PM

SrSusan (guest): Lack of love and support?

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:41 PM

Dawn (guest): yes Judy. I also think always having our needs met builds up a sense of entitlement

Jan 15 2017, 7:42 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) the anger might come from a sense of disappointment in themselves, or perhaps they are jealous of those who are better off.

Jan 15 2017, 7:42 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, and media feeds into that, in advertising especially

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:42 PM

Guest3927 (guest): If we put anything or anybody ahead of God in our life we have broken our connection to God and our view of everything has become smudged !

Jan 15 2017, 7:42 PM

Carol Ann: Amen!

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Lisa C: Cities, like NY, are full of people who do not know each other. It is easy for people to walk by each other without noticing anyone as a person.

Jan 15 2017, 7:44 PM

Lisa C: When you are crowed in with people ignoring one another all trying for one stupid parking spot it is easy to become angry.

Jan 15 2017, 7:44 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): There are “pockets” of community, though, even in our rich country. My friend RoseAnn, who was a teacher in Lake Placid, tells me that when she was sick (breast cancer, and a gall bladder operation) recovering from surgery, the teachers took turns and brought her food — already prepared — every night.

Jan 15 2017, 7:44 PM

Dawn (guest): yes! so maybe the anger is rooted in our disconnection from God. trying everything to fill the hunger…and NOTHING is working

Jan 15 2017, 7:45 PM

Lisa C: Yes, in the big city there are school communities, church communities, etc. but on the whole most people are unknown.

Jan 15 2017, 7:45 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, there are pockets of community. how can we go about building more?

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SrSusan (guest): Start with our own families- and sometimes the reason we are angry

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:46 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Our culture blasts away at us to put everything and everybody before God ! We must persevere through this assault and put God First Always ! Walk through the valley of the shadow of death ! Fear no Evil ! God is with us !!!

Jan 15 2017, 7:46 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) I think about the degree of homelessness in NYC. I would be willing to guess that a large number of our homeless are drug addicts or people with psychiatric illnesses. Some of them refuse help.

Jan 15 2017, 7:46 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): For one thing, Carol Ann, noticing the needs of others, if possible, and if we can, lending a helping hand.

 

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RuthGuest5266 (guest): For one thing, Carol Ann, noticing the needs of others, if possible, and if we can, lending a helping hand.

Jan 15 2017, 7:46 PM

Dawn (guest): it seems to me the people that gather and grow food in the cities have a good sense of community

Jan 15 2017, 7:47 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, and I do notice a difference in community between the big cities and the little cities that I work in. The little cities are alwasy so happy when we pop in to the seniot center and offer our educational services

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:48 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Large percentage of chronic homeless were victims of abuse !

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Carol Ann: under those circumstances, it is very hard to learn to trust, and if you add addiction and physical illness to the mix, it is extremely difficultPM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): In Norfolk, VA we built a house — and rented a “Drop in Center.” That is, we renovated a condemned old property and made it really livable — a welcoming place, which housed a few formerly homeless people and we served meals on the street intially. 7:51 PM

Carol Ann: Ruth, that’s wonderful! Is it still there? PM

Guest3927 (guest): I have seen benefit of those with severe chronic mental illness living in larger home population 80 to 100 with good care and community involvement being a good answer to help people who have been homeless .

Jan 15 2017, 7:52 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Yes, the Hospitality House is; and we had to move the street service to another place because of objections for the businesses in the area. The Drop In Center downtown was rented property; it served a good purpose, but we were unable to maintain it.

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Carol Ann: Yes, a smaller population than that can be too intense in terms of interactons, and harder to provide servicesPM

Guest4841 (guest): Quest 2 Being poor is to be accepted as God’s will because we have not chosen it, but it has come about as a result of circumstances of our lives (where we are not ourselves responsible for our descent into poverty). I do not believe that God inflicts suffering on us. He allows it for the greater good of the individual.

Jan 15 2017, 7:54 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Almost all of this was done with volunteer help. The chief organizers were a then young couple who learned from Catholic Worker.

Jan 15 2017, 7:55 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Such acceptance enables the individual to live in peace with the circumstances

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Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) And living in this peace eliminates angerPM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Or rather, became Catholic Worker. Well educated, and able to get some financial backing when contributions were inadequate, from relatives. I used to stay at the house with the old, demented, formerly drunk or addicts when Steve and Kim needed a break. As a psychiatry resident physician at the time, apparently I could cope with the “problems” better than most.

Jan 15 2017, 7:56 PM

Guest3927 (guest): A big key to the success of people in these larger homes is when people in the community come in and provide support in many different ways

Jan 15 2017, 7:57 PM

SrSusan (guest): That’s it Judy peace eliminates anger

 

Jan 15 2017, 7:57 PM

Lisa C: I am not sure that God inflicts it as much as offers us a participation in the suffering of Jesus.

Jan 15 2017, 7:57 PM

Dawn (guest): I agree, God does not inflict suffering. good translation Judy

Jan 15 2017, 7:57 PM

Lisa C: The suffering besides teaching us leads to helping other souls.

Jan 15 2017, 7:58 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Spot on Lisa

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RuthGuest5266 (guest): Lisa, I think that is a good way of putting it.

Jan 15 2017, 7:58 PM

Lisa C: If we understand it as participation in His work it is not as painful.

7:59 PM

Lisa C: It is accepted with love.

Jan 15 2017, 7:59 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): That is what I was writing about last week — the various understandings of what is meant by carrying a “cross.

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Dawn (guest): Lisa, yes.suffering does bring compassion for others suffering

Jan 15 2017, 7:59 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Funny how when we serve others they really end up serving us and. Helping us to heal ! That’s God’s Way !

Jan 15 2017, 8:00 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) And seeing it as participation in His work and accepting it with love, does generate peace and even joy.

Jan 15 2017, 8:00 PM

Dawn (guest): that is so right Brian~ !

Jan 15 2017, 8:00 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Isn’t that so, Brian.

2017, 8:00 PM

Lisa C: Some Saints would say ecstacyPM

Carol Ann: and we each have our special part to play

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:01 PM

Guest3927 (guest): God is always trying to get us to stand beside each other ! The world is always trying to put people up or down

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SrSusan (guest): Happens in Church life too

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:03 PM

Carol Ann: Yes, people in the Church and in community are still people, prone to al the same foibles as everyone else

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:03 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): RoseAnn saw a need I had even before I did. After driving me to my GP and home again, she noticed that my car was buried in snow. Since she’d had basically the same surgery as I had, she knew that if my surgeon said it was OK to drive when I saw him the next day, I’d still have the problem of digging the car out from under two weeks of snow. After her part time job she came back in the dark and shoveled out my car! Wow! I am overwhelmed by her charity.

Jan 15 2017, 8:03 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Our enemy is always attacking our unity ! Jesus is always bringing us together as one !

Jan 15 2017, 8:04 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Regarding those who desire to enter religious life and have student loan debt to clear, they should not be averse to seeking help from others. There are several groups dedicated to helping those seeking religious life: National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations; Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations; and the Laboure Society. They are accessible on the internet.

Jan 15 2017, 8:04 PM

Dawn (guest): Ruth, this is a true friend. how wonderful for her help

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Dawn (guest): Before chat tonight I felt to look up GoFundMe…was happy to see successful reach outs for those aspiring to join convents!

Jan 15 2017, 8:07 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Wonderful !

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RuthGuest5266 (guest): Good info Judy. I hope pastors and vocational people know about those groups. A former Catholic HS principal is now, with a young priest, responsible in our diocese for creating a “culture of vocations,” that is, helping to do so; we all must participate. :08 PM

Lisa C: I wonder why Catholic colleges do not give scholarships to those looking to join a convent or become a priest. They probably think that people would use it to get free college. However, with the Army if you have a scholarship and do not complete your

Jan 15 2017, 8:08 PM

Lisa C: obligation then you have to pay back the tuition.

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Lisa C: The church could do it that way.

Jan 15 2017, 8:08 PM

SrSusan (guest): Great idea

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:08 PM

Lisa C: If you do not stay you have to pay back the tuition over time.

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RuthGuest5266 (guest): That makes sense. But I wonder if it doesn’t put undue pressure on some people/9 PM

Dawn (guest): There are similar tuition programs for nurses, agree to work say 4 yrs in rural area and loan is erased

Jan 15 2017, 8:10 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): And I wonder if it doesn’t make at least some wannabe priests/sisters a bit insensitive to the struggles of those who have to pay as they go — for their education.

Jan 15 2017, 8:11 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) I believe that there are similar programs for medical students.

Jan 15 2017, 8:11 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Yes Dawn, even NDEL (I think that

Jan 15 2017, 8:11 PM

Dawn (guest): on GoFundMe, one called Help Jean become a nun has raised 37k! another help send alida to the convent..raised 23K. how wonderful so many women are being called

 

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:12 PM

Carol Ann: these programs would have been of great benefit to me. we could find none for women when i was first seeking

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:12 PM

Lisa C: The only ones for medicine are the military and the public health service

Jan 15 2017, 8:12 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): ‘s what it was called National Defense Education Loan, provided for partial “forgiveness” for those teachers who would go teach in areas of special need.

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RuthGuest5266 (guest): And there is something similar for physicians now — how they get doctors to rural areas of need or to Native American reservations.

Jan 15 2017, 8:13 PM

Lisa C: Ruth, I think they are in the Public Health Service

Jan 15 2017, 8:13 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): That’s it Public Health Service.

Jan 15 2017, 8:13 PM

 

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:17 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Question 4. One can be poor and have a rich spirit if s/he is always concentrating on, or wishing for, more material goods or better circumstances. In spiritual poverty, one is grateful for what one has and accepting of poverty as a means to growth. They also depend on God for His providential care for them and are not always seeking for more. Those with material wealth can be spiritually poof if they are detached from their wealth and do not cling to it tenaciously.

Jan 15 2017, 8:17 PM

SrSusan (guest): We all need to know how to ask for help even if not monetary- here was an ex and aslo many in the Monastery- we ask laity for help alot

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:17 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Uh, that should be spiritually poor, not poof.

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SrSusan (guest): A poor person who envies those with more vs a poor person who tries to be content

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:19 PM

SrSusan (guest): Rich spirit and poor in spirit?

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:20 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): It always seemed to me that that was one special “talent” of religious — getting other people to do things for them. Maybe it is their humility, or maybe it is that the people who helps see a clearer connection to “doing it for God or for the Church.”

 

 

Srusan (guest): It is more like presenting the case Ruth and the people’s generosity comes in

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:21 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): I wrote to Sr. Gemma, Carmelite, during my medical studies; I think their prayers helped me a lot.

Jan 15 2017, 8:21 PM

SrSusan (guest): asking for simple advice and then people reach out

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SrSusan (guest): is too much “wanting”, tho a rich spiirt unless we want God?

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:22 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Paul may be familiar with the reputation that Monasteries have for being powerhouses of prayer. He knew that it would be the right place to seek for prayers in his need.

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Guest3927 (guest): When we have God first in our life our view is very broad and we are able to know when to ask for help ! When we we put other people or possessions before God we have a very narrow view we cannot see and we become prey for our enemy !

Jan 15 2017, 8:22 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): I think so, Judy. That’s good.

Jan 15 2017, 8:23 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): And apparently he believes in the power of prayer.

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Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Refreshing in this day and age!

Jan 15 2017, 8:24 PM

Lisa C: Mother, I do not think wanting a spirit would work. As you said, wanting God, lets God make our spirit full of His Spirit.

Jan 15 2017, 8:24 PM

Guest3927 (guest): Go to those who put God First !

Jan 15 2017, 8:24 PM

Lisa C: Our life becomes His life.

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Dawn (guest): yes I agree , Brian

Jan 15 2017, 8:25 PM

Guest3927 (guest): My Life is in You Lord Jesus !

Jan 15 2017, 8:25 PM

Lisa C: The only real lasting life is His life in us.

Jan 15 2017, 8:26 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): Lisa, I don’t know what you mean by “wanting a spirit”

Jan 15 2017, 8:26 PM

Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) We can never want too much if we want God. But we can want too much if we seek material possessions or money. And if we want God, He will surely give of Himself wholly, for He never gives only a part of Himself.

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Guest4841 (guest): (Judy) Oh that I might never withhold any part of myself from Him, that I might give myself wholly to Him, without reserve. M

Guest3927 (guest): In the original Grinch who stole Christmas ! When the community lost all their possessions for Christmas , they came together and rejoiced in God ! This rejoicing in their apparent loss destroyed the stony heart of the Grinch and his heart as able to expand and the Love of God exploded in him ! What a storyb!

 

Carol Ann: one of my favorites. also the drummer boy who was poor but gave all he had

 

Jan 15 2017, 8:31 PM

RuthGuest5266 (guest): He gave himself wholly on the Cross, and does so in each Eucharistic Celebration — but we are not able to fully receive his self-offering. God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is so immense that we mortals, in this life, cannot FULLY receive Him.

Prepare for the Celebration of St Francis de Sales on January 24

Our Holy Founder of the Visitation Order, St Francis de Sales, will be celebrated on January 24. This year we share excerpts of his teachings and life as a spiritual preparation, from the book  The Beauties of St. Francis de Sales, excerpted from Bishop Camus’ writings.


Day one- January 15th

HUMILITY

St. Francis always discouraged professions of humility, if they were not very true and very sincere. “Such professions,” he said, “are the very cream, the very essence of pride: the really humble man wishes to be, and not to appear so. Humility is timorous, and starts at her shadow; and so delicate, that if she hears her name pronounced, it endangers her existence. He who blames himself, takes a by-road to praise; and like the rower, turns his back to the place whither he desires to go. He would be irritated if what he said against himself was believed; but from a principle of pride, he desires to appear humble.”

Day Two- January 16

MEEKNESS.

I once observed to a celebrated churchman, that I admired the wonderful meekness of the Bishop of Geneva, (St Francis de Sales) with which he governed all things in peace; he does what he pleases, said I, and in so mild a manner, yet so firm, that no one can resist him:—a thousand fall at his left hand, and ten thousand at his right. Everything, with him, tends to persuasion:—he attains his end with sweetness and energy;—before you think he has set out, he has reached the goal. He replied with great judgment, “It is that mildness, which renders him so powerful; know you not that steel is stronger than iron, but of a temper more flexible? ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. All they wish is in their power;—they reign over all hearts, and all are attracted by their sweetness.” It was a frequent Aphorism of St. Francis, “Blessed are the hearts which bend, they never break. “No, certainly they never are broken themselves, but frequently they break others to their opinions.”

Day Three January 17

ST. FRANCIS NEVER ASKED AND NEVER DENIED.

According to his maxim of asking nothing and refusing nothing, he was in the habit of accepting the little presents offered him by the Peasants. It was pleasing to see in what manner and with what feelings he received their handfuls of filberts, chestnuts, apples, or the small cheeses and eggs, brought by the poor; some would present him with half-pence, pence, or farthings, all which he received with humility, and expressions of gratitude. He would even receive the pence sent by the villagers to say Masses for them, and would perform them with deep attention. He used on leaving church, to distribute the money to the poor he chanced to meet with, but the eatables he would carry home and give to his steward, with orders that they should be sent up to table.

Remembering Mother Marie Madeleine Ponnet, Visitandine

Saturday January 14 is the 103rd anniversary of the passing of Visitandine Foundress and Mystic, Mother Marie-Madeleine Ponnet (+ 1914).

She entered the Visitation of Lyon-Fourvière, and  led the foundation of Lyon-Vassieux in 1896, which was established as the abode of the Heart of Jesus”. She wrote  “Thoughts” that nourished the prayer of generations of Visitandines.

Devoted with zeal for the salvation of souls, she taught “that the fidelity to animate each of our actions with the fervor of charity, would attract much more to the world the floods of love contained in the Heart of Jesus than all other practices “. Referring to the mission of the Visitation received on July 2, 1688, “to make use of the treasures of the Heart of Jesus”, she asks: “On the Day of Judgment when Our Lord will ask us what we have done with His Heart, she then composed a poem in twenty-five stanzas. Here are a few translated into English.

Daughter of the Visitation, what have you done with my Heart?
For you I wanted  to burn with unspeakable ardor,
And you, being nothing but an insensible ice,
To love you I took it  and I made it into my Heart.

Daughter of the Visitation, what have you done with my Heart?
I have distributed it as a poor man who gives
The infinite treasure which the rich man abandons;
All I have had: deadened,  righteous, holy or sinful.

Daughter of the Visitation, what have you done with my Heart?
I wanted to take him by humble sacrifices,
In the Church of God these were my offices:
See if, for your Love, they are filled, Lord.