When Perrine was a teenager and came of working age, she was employed in the dress shop of her aunts. She was received into a lay apostolate called the Congregation of the Most Blessed Virgin, one of her aunts being the superior. This was an apostolate for working girls; there were no vows, but rules that “tended to preserve piety in the hearts of the young women who were members.” After her probation, Perrine made her consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At this point, she says the Lord made her “pass from Thabor to Calvary”; her consolations stopped and she experienced “spiritual dryness and interior aridity”. She could not feel the love of God, tried to regain the “delightful transports of Divine Love” through her own force in meditation, but of course to no avail. Though not committing grave sin, she became lukewarm and turned away from the Lord. She also changed confessors at this time, which she ended up regretting, because she felt that her new confessor did not understand her soul, and he took her off frequent Communion, which certainly couldn’t have helped matters.
So from approximately seventeen years of age to nineteen-and-a-half, she “became very imperfect” and “gave myself up to distractions and became lukewarm in the service of God.” In hindsight, Perrine says that the most harmful thing she did to her soul at this time was to give up the practice of meditation.
[The Golden Arrow. The Autobiography and Revelations of Sister Mary of St. Peter (1816-1848) on Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, edited by Dorothy Scallan; translated by Father Emeric B. Scallan, S.T.B.]