Sister Mary of St. Peter: Part 2

Sr. Mary of St. Peter

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.]


5 thoughts on “Sister Mary of St. Peter: Part 2

  1. First, what a joy to look in and find a new post. I doubt that makes you feel obliged enough to post oftener and oftener, and only for your sake, I hope it doesn’t. 🙂

    From various things I’ve read over the past couple of years, it’s at that point of seeming non-communication or non-life — like in a monarch caterpillar chrysalis that is preparing to go all black and shriveled, which I liken to just before Easter vigil for the catechumens, or to just before one is called from the borrowed tomb — when THE most amazing something entirely of God is going on. Not even the experiencer knows what is or isn’t going on. Or, in a manner of speaking, it may look and walk and quack like a duck, but it’s not –it’s a whole new species that’s gonna fly like never before. Whether we hear it or not, we are His beloved and are heavily-watched, and He is whispering us the whole while.

  2. C, thank you for the encouragement! Well, I will be trying to post more often as I work my way through the background of this devotion, at least. I find it easier on my schedule to do short segments like this.

    The caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly metaphor is excellent – you might not remember, but that’s one of the ways St. Teresa tried to help people understand it in Interior Castle. It’s an excellent metaphor for the spiritual life and the prayerlife. It’s often difficult to see when one is actually going through it, but if one has read about it in advance, or has a spiritual director who knows what’s going on, then it is a metaphor which inspires so much hope, and gives one the perseverence to continue.

  3. I didn’t know of that metaphor until I daily/hourly waited for a young child’s beloved blackened chrysalis to convince me it was dead enough to solemnize its passing with a backyard ceremony. What sprang forth only stubborn and heartbroken hours from then just shut my gaping mouth — the beauty, grace and freedom of no more belly but limbs now, and wings. GeezLouise, does it get any better?? Nonetheless, if not for a contemporary little black sheep bringing it all out further here, I’d have paid no attention to the attention He desires.

    And I see there’s another post up… my gosh, Christmas has come before Advent this year!

    Yes, hope. And perseverance.

  4. Glad to have found you. I am just setting out on journey with a new spiritual director who is very in tune with St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. I am just a novice in getting to know what contemplative prayer is and am reading Fire Within as an intro and looking forward to Interior Castle. Iwill be checking back often! Ken

    P.S. No one has more time between posts than me though I hope to change that as well!

  5. C, it’s always so beautiful when our souls recognize something about the spiritual life through God’s wonderful creation! That always seems to have a kind of immediate, intense and lasting understanding, whereas sometimes with what we read or hear, it takes years before the lightbulb goes on!

    Ken, welcome! I’m sorry it took me a while to get here; I’ve been under the weather since Wednesday evening. I’m really happy for you that you have a spiritual director, and one who will be helping you in the area of contemplative prayer as well. If you look in my archives for 2006, we went chapter by chapter through Interior Castle, and if you look in my Podcast category, you will find my file-sharing links to Fr. Thomas Dubay’s contemplative prayer series. Looking forward to visiting you as well.

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