Lanternarius Press

Blessed Marie-Therese de Soubiran

OCTOBER 20 is the traditional memorial of BD. MARIE-THERESE de SOUBIRAN (+1889).

Time passes, and it passes quickly: we shall soon know the reason of so many things that surprise and shock our feeble short-sighted reason.

Marie-Therese was born to Joseph Paul Comte de Soubiran and his wife Noemi de Gelis on May 16, 1834. Marie-Therese received her First Communion at the age of twelve, normal for that time.

Her uncle was Fr. Louis de Soubiran, her parish priest and a man of definitive goals. His one goal was to have his niece join the Carmelites. She refused and attended a religious retreat conducted by a Jesuit priest.

A determined young woman, herself, Marie-Therese decided, at the age of 30, that she would rather start her own institution, focusing on girls, Sisters of Mary Help of Christians. Within four years, Pope Pius IX issued a Decree of Praise.

The very next year, a promising widow entered the institution. Marie-Therese taught the young woman how to do the bookkeeping for the convent. But, then, the Franco-Prussian war began and Marie-Therese had to escape to London. It was over a year before she could return. To her despair, the new sister accused her superior of financial mismanagement and showed her the financial records. Marie-Therese was forced out of the institution she had founded. She had to support herself with embroidery for several years.

In 1874, the young woman was accepted into the convent of Our Lady of Charity in Paris, where she took vows three years later, taking the name Marie of the Sacred Heart. During this time, she was the portress of the convent. This solitary job gave Marie-Therese time to turn her hand to some beautiful spiritual insights. Her settled life did not last very long. Within four years her health began to decline. Although she was sent to various areas in France to teach, the pain became worse and she was limited to teaching the catechism from her home parish. On June 7, 1889, the sister died, with Jesus’ name on her lips.

After her death, the new superior of the old institution took up an investigation of the old financial books. She did this for two surprising reasons, the sister-bookkeeper had run away, and her (not dead) husband had come looking for her. After looking at the evidence, it was concluded that the younger sister had embezzled money from the convent and had falsified the books to make it look like Marie-Therese had done it. The dearly departed sister was vindicated and her reputation was renewed.

Pope Pius XII beatified Marie-Therese on October 20, 1946.

"All that we have to do is to prepare ourselves, in humility and childlike confidence, to receive and to give to others what we have received." Blessed Marie


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