Pauline Libermann

  • At eighteen years of age, Pauline was considering a religious vocation. Fr. Libermann stressed the importance of Pauline connecting with her desire and understanding that desire. This is true desire "When the thought of entering religion inspires us to live more perfectly, more piously, when it impels us to overcome our faults and make sacrifices for God, when it gives us peace of soul and devotion to God."
  • While figuring out if her vocation is genuine or not Pauline is to cultivate those virtues that are necessary for the fulfilment of her desire. "Prepare yourself so that, when the time comes, you may follow the voice of the Bridegroom who is calling you. In the meantime make ready for the religious life by trying to acquire the virtues that are necessary for so holy a life - recollection, humility, meekness, obedience, modesty, contempt for the world and indifference to its foolish pleasures."
  • Pauline was troubled by self-doubt. What are her true motives? Where does her real desire lie? She turned to her uncle for guidance. He replied, "Do not mistake an idea that comes uninvited into your mind for one to which your will adheres. The human motives of which you spoke are fictions of your imagination. You would never, with full deliberation, have said that it was for such motives that you desired to become a religious. The imagination at times conjures up such things but your will has no part in them. Your will sincerely seeks God."
  • Pauline took vows and, as Sister Leopold, was surprised with failings in herself. Uncle Francis again was on hand to offer firm advice. "You should not be surprised nor anxious when, from time to time, your heart plays tricks on you. The gardener is not surprised that the weeds return after he has raked and cleared the soil. He knows beforehand that some will return and that he will have to repeat the weeding over and over again."
  • In his final letter to his beloved niece, Fr. Libermann gently scolds her as one "always on the look-out for something that can cause you anxiety." He continued, "When the good Lord gives you honey, you very quickly take a pinch of pepper after it. You have scarcely finished telling me that you have drawn much benefit from your retreat when you add, I believe that the good Lord will demand a more severe account from me because of the graces He has given me. This is what I call taking a pinch of pepper directly after the honey."
  • Rather than trouble herself, she should "Be pleased and feel happy about God's infinite love for you, and do not insult His goodness and His great love for you by yielding to fears. It is not to make you fear Him that He gives you graces. Therefore, be filled with gratitude to Him for His goodness, and profit from those graces by pleasing Him more and more."