added to them, could not equal one moment of the anguish which I now endure." 1

How pathetic are her accounts of the temptations (as she considered them) caused by excessive fasting!

"The devil pictures vividly to my imagination the most exquisite meats, the most delicate savours; and that everywhere, in the choir, in my cell, in the places furthest removed from the kitchen. . . . On the days when I may eat, I feel all the same an insatiable hunger, and often, after my meal, I have a greater appetite than on the days when I do not touch a morsel." 2

At other times she loathes all food: "One day, He [i.e. the Lord] inspired me with a disgust and want of appetite so great, that I suffered atrociously at meal times. Sometimes it was an insatiable appetite; but all that I ate did not do me the least good, and I was almost falling from weakness. At other times He gave me the appearance of good health and of being more robust than usual-thus at least I appeared in the eyes of the Sisters-but in reality, I had no strength at all, and suffered unspeakable pains, which I strove to hide as much as possible, as far as the body was concerned." 3

And when we ask what was the issue of all these terrible austerities, what work Philomena did in the world, or even in her convent world, the answer is very perplexing. She is claimed, as Saint Teresa was, as a Reformer of her Order; yet all that she accomplished seems to be limited to two things,

1 Ibid. pp. 171-2.


p. 167.


p. 162.

one of which was not carried into effect until after her death. The first is, that the Sisters, according to the letter of their Rule, should go barefooted. But if we look at the portrait affixed to the volume, we see that her feet are bare indeed, but she wears sandals! That is to say, she left off wearing stockings! Now, Philomena Ferrer seems to have belonged to the artisan class. In her day, twenty-five or thirty years ago, the peasant-farmers and labourers of both sexes, but especially women, went habitually barefooted, throughout the Pyrenees and Northern Spain. Women and girls going to market, or to church, stopped outside the town or village to put on their shoes and stockings, and took them off when returning. The other reform, which was not effected until after her death, was to rise for the midnight service. Throughout the life there is this exaggeration of the doings of the cloister in her own and the neighbouring convents. She imagines that they are to be the first to propagate through the world the worship of the New Trinity, the Very Sweet Heart of Jesus, His Mother, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and the Archangel St. Michael. She hears Jesus saying to her: "The Community of the Minimes, which thou inhabitest, and which is so dear to Me, that of the Carmel of Vals, and that of the barefooted Carmelites of Tarragona are to fast," etc., "so as to obtain blessings for the whole world." The recital of these visions and revelations form almost her last writings, and they show the highest point to which she attained.

1 Ibid. p. 199.

It is noteworthy, that in perusing this life we find a significant change in devotions from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Santa Teresa heads her letters "Jesus," only. Philomena, as customary now, heads hers "J. M. J."-Jesus, Mary, Joseph. Santa Teresa is named as one of those who advanced the worship of St. Joseph; but we may read many of her works without discovering any trace of such a worship. The culte of the Sacred Heart was unknown to her. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had not yet been made an Article of Faith. She would never have made St. Michael a member of the Trinity, "Jesus, Mary Immaculate, the Archangel Michael." All this, however, is done by Philomena; she is beatified for it, and the process of her canonization is still going on. What would the great Fathers of the primitive Church, Athanasius, Hilary, have said to the introduction of such a Trinity? However many visions and revelations might be claimed for it, would they have considered the promulgator of it a Saint?

Of Philomena herself I have no wish to write harshly. She lived with the greatest earnestness up to the ideal set before her. She did all for God. She was taught that suffering was pleasing to God, and she inflicted suffering on herself for His sake, to such a degree as to embitter the soul with despair, and to shorten her bodily life. She seems to have been admirable and singularly attractive in all her relations. She was loved and revered by all. The testimony of her father, her brother and sister is most touching in this respect. But what

have we to say to the conduct of her Superiors and Confessor, who encouraged her in her self-tortures, by permitting them? With what indignation would the recital of these long-continued tortures, especially those of the last two years, have been heard in the law-courts, and have been reported on in the papers, had they been inflicted against her will! What pity would have been lavished on the unfortunate victim! All real feeling seems to have been absorbed in the idea that these self-inflicted sufferings were the greatest marks of God's grace, and that He thus willed them. Is this Christianity?

Philomena's canonization demands miracles after death, as well as before. Here is one, wrought after death: One of the Sisters sent to a nun belonging to another convent, who was said to be dying of consumption, a chip of the rush shirt which Philomena wore, with nine little notes, each containing an invocation of her. One of these notes was to be burnt each day, and the ashes swallowed in water. On taking the ashes of the first note burnt the girl was completely cured. But another nun, ill of cancer, who did the same thing, died soon after. In the latter case it is said that God granted the prayer of the Sister. She wished to die! 1

1 See for these and other miracles, Chapitre xvi., Gloire posthume, pp. 233-243.



THE first French Revolution, while transforming the government, civil administration, and social state of France, produced at first an even greater, though more temporary, change in the religious and ecclesiastical condition of the country. One hundred and thirty of the archbishops and bishops had emigrated; the greater part to England, some to Germany, Spain, Italy, and America. Of the parish priests, some had followed their bishops into exile; some some were transported or imprisoned; others remained at their posts, to be guillotined, or to die in the pitiless massacres of the Revolution, or to lie hidden in their parishes, guarded by the people, to whose religious needs they ministered as far as it was possible to do so in secret. It was a time of trial and of sifting. Only four bishops abjured their office: the defections were more in number, but perhaps not more in proportion, among the priests. As seen in other countries, the secular clergy came out of the furnace better than the monks and the cloistered orders. Two-thirds of the latter renounced their vows, and it was

1 La Petite Église, Essai Historique, par le R. P. J. E. B. Drochon. (Paris, La Bonne Presse, 1894.)

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