551 How great should each one‟s love for the Church be! As a good child prays for the mother it loves, so also should every Christian soul pray for the Church, its Mother. What then should be said of us religious who have especially committed ourselves to praying for the Church? How great, then, is our apostolate, hidden though it be. All our little daily nothings will be placed at the feet of the Lord Jesus as a propitiatory offering for the world; but in order that (22) our offering may be 157 pleasing to God, it must be pure. And for it to be pure, the heart must be freed of all natural attachments, and all its affections must be directed towards the Creator, loving all creatures in Him and according to His will; and, acting thus, each with a zealous spirit will bring joy to the Church. 552 In addition to the vows, I see one rule as most important. Although all the rules are important, I put this one in first place, and it is silence. Truly, if this rule were to be observed strictly, I would not worry about the others. Women are very fond of talking, but the Holy Spirit does not speak to a soul that is distracted and garrulous. He speaks by His quiet inspirations to a soul that is recollected, to a soul that knows how to keep silence. If silence were strictly observed, there would not be any grumbling, bitterness, slandering, or gossip, and charity would not be tarnished. (23) In a word, many wrongs would not be done. Silent lips are pure gold and bear witness to holiness within. 553 But I want to speak immediately of a second rule; that is, speech. Keeping silent when one ought to speak is an imperfection and sometimes even a sin. And so, let all the sisters take part in recreation, and the superior should not dispense them from this except for a matter of great importance. Recreation is an opportunity for getting to know one another. Let each sister speak her mind in all simplicity for the edification of the others and not in a spirit of superiority nor, God forbid, in a quarrelsome manner, for that would not be in keeping with perfection and the spirit of our vocation, which should be especially characterized by love. Twice a day, there will be a recreation of one half hour. But if a sister breaks silence outside that time, (24) she must accuse herself before the Superior at once and ask for a penance, and the Superior should punish these offenses with public penances, or else she will answer for this before the Lord. 554 Enclosure.112 No one may enter the enclosure without the special permission of the Ordinary and under very special circumstances, such as the administration of the Sacraments to the ill in order to prepare them for death, and for the burial rites. There also may be need of letting in a workman to do some repairs, but for this a specific permission will be required. The door to the enclosure will always be locked and only the Superior will have the key. 555 The use of the parlor. None of the sisters will make use of the parlor without special permission of the Superior, and the Superior should not permit frequent visits. (25) Those who have died to the world should not be going back to it, not even through conversations. But if the Superior thinks it right to permit some sister to go to the parlor, let her observe the following directions. She herself should accompany the sister, and if she cannot do so, she should arrange to be replaced by a sister who will be bound to confidence and must not repeat what she has heard, but who is to inform the Superior of everything. Conversations ought to be short, unless there is permission for extra time for the sake of the person who has come for the visit. However, the curtain is not to be drawn aside, except for very special cases, as for example when a mother or father urgently asks that this be done. 556 Letters. Every sister may write sealed letters to the Ordinary to whom the house is subject. For any other letter, permission is required, and the sister shall hand the 158 letter unsealed to the Superior. The Superior is to be guided by the spirit of love (26) and prudence, and has the right to send or withhold the letter, in the light of whatever is for the greater glory of God. However, I would like very much that such communications be as rare as possible. Let us help people by prayer and mortification, and not by correspondence. 557 Confession. Both the regular and the extraordinary confessors for the community will be appointed by the Ordinary [Bishop]. 113 There will be one regular confessor, and he will hear the sisters‟ confessions once a week. The extraordinary confessor will come once every three months, and each sister is obliged to see him, even if she makes no confession. The two confessors will hold their posts in the convent for three years. Then there will be a secret vote, and the Superior will submit the results to the Ordinary. The confessor can be re-appointed for an additional three years and even a third three-year term. (27) The sisters will make their confession through a locked grille. The conferences to the community will also be given through a grille, covered with a dark curtain. The sisters will never talk among themselves about confession or the confessors; rather, let them pray for them that God may give them the light to direct their souls. 558 Holy Communion. The sisters should never talk about who goes more and who goes less frequently to Holy Communion. They should refrain from passing judgment on this subject which does not concern them. All judgments in this matter belong exclusively to the confessor. The Superior may speak to a sister, not to inquire why she is not going to Communion, but simply to make confession available to her. The superiors should never dare to enter into the domain of the sisters‟ consciences. The Superior may sometimes arrange that the community offer (28) Communion for a certain intention. Each sister should strive for the greatest purity of soul, so that she might receive the Divine Visitor every day. 559 On one occasion, when I entered the chapel, I saw the walls of a building in a state of disrepair [a torn down building].114 The windows were without panes, and the doors had only frames with no paneling. Then I heard these words in my soul: This is where the convent will be, I was a little disappointed that these ruins were to be the convent. 560 Thursday. I felt urged to undertake as soon as possible the task which the Lord was asking of me. While making my confession, I was holding to my own opinion over that of the confessor. At first, I did not realize this, but when I was making my Holy Hour I saw the Lord Jesus (29) as He appears in the Image, and He told me that I must repeat to my confessor and my superiors everything He says to me or asks of me…. and do only what you receive permission to do. And He gave me to know how displeased He was with persons who are self-willed, and I recognized that I was one of these. I saw this shadow of self-will in myself, and I threw myself in the dust115 before His Majesty and, with a broken heart, begged His pardon. But Jesus did not let me remain in this state for long. His divine gaze filled my heart with such joy that I have no words to express it. And Jesus gave me to know that I should ask Him more questions and seek His advice. Truly, how sweet is the look of my Lord; His eyes penetrate my soul to its most secret depths. My spirit communicates with God without any word being spoken. I am aware that He is living in me and I in Him. 159 561 (30) All at once, I saw the image in some small chapel and at that moment I saw that chapel became an enormous and beautiful temple. And in this temple I saw the Mother of God with the Infant in Her arms. And a moment later, the infant Jesus disappeared from the arms of His Mother, and I saw the living image of Jesus Crucified. The Mother of God told me to do what She had done, that, even when joyful, I should always keep my eyes fixed on the cross, and She told me that the graces God was granting me were not for me alone, but for other souls as well. 562 When I see the Infant Jesus during Holy Mass, it is not always the same: sometimes He is very joyous, and sometimes He is not even looking at the chapel. At present, He is often very joyful when our confessor [Father Sopocko] offers Holy Mass. I was greatly surprised that the Infant Jesus loves him so much. Sometimes I see Him dressed in a colorful pinafore. 110 563 (31 ) Before I came to Vilnius and met this confessor, I once saw a rather small church and near it, this congregation. 117 The convent had twelve cells: each nun was to live separately. I saw the priest [Father Sopocko] who was helping me to prepare the convent and whom I was to meet some years later, but whom I already knew from the vision. I saw how he was arranging everything in the convent with great care, assisted by another priest [probably Father Wantuchowski 118] whom I have not yet met. I saw the iron grating, covered with a dark curtain, and the sisters did not go out to the church. 564 On the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, during Holy Mass, I heard the rustling of garments and saw the most holy Mother of God in a most beautiful radiance. Her white garment was girdled with a blue (32) sash. She said to me, You give Me great joy when you adore The Holy Trinity for the graces and privileges which were accorded Me. And She immediately disappeared. Penances and Mortification. 565 Interior mortifications take the first place, but besides this, we must practice exterior mortifications, strictly determined, so that all can practice them. These are: on three days a week, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, there will be a strict fast; each Friday, all the sisters – each one in her own cell – will take the discipline 119 for the length of the recitation of Psalm 50, and all will do this at the same time; namely, three o'clock; and this will be offered for dying sinners. During the two great fasts, 120 ember days 121 and vigils, 122 the food will consist of a piece of bread and some water, once a day. Let each sister try to observe these mortifications which are prescribed (33) for all. But if anyone desires to do something more, she should ask the superior for permission. One more general mortification: no sister is allowed to enter the cell of another without special permission from the Superior, but the Superior should sometimes unexpectedly enter the cells of the sisters, not in order to spy, but in the spirit of love and the responsibility which she has before God. None of the sisters will lock anything; the rule will be the general key for all. 160 566 One day, after Holy Communion, I suddenly saw the Infant Jesus standing by my kneeler and holding on to it with His two little hands. Although He was but a little Child, my soul was filled with awe and fear, for I see in Him my Judge, my Lord, and my Creator, before whose holiness the Angeles tremble. At the same time, my soul was flooded with such unspeakable (34) love that I thought I would die under its influence. I now see that Jesus first strengthens my soul and makes it capable of abiding with Him, for otherwise I would not be able to bear what I experience at such a moment. Relationship of Sisters with the Superior 567 All the sisters should respect the Superior as the Lord Jesus himself, as I mentioned when speaking about the vow of obedience. They should behave toward her with childlike trust, and should never murmur or find fault with her commands, as this is very displeasing to God. Let each be guided by a spirit of faith in her relationship to superiors; let her ask with simplicity for all that she needs. God forbid that it ever happen or be repeated that any of the sisters would be a cause of sorrow or tears to the Superior. Let each one know that as the fourth commandment obliges a child to honor its parents, in like manner is the religious bound to respect her Superior. Only a bad (35) religious would take the liberty of judging her Superior. Let the sisters be sincere with the Superior, telling her about everything and about their needs with childlike simplicity. The sisters will address the Superior thus: “With your leave, Sister Superior.” They shall never kiss her hand, but whenever they meet her in the corridor or enter her cell, they should say, “Praised be Jesus Christ,” bowing their heads slightly. They shall address each other as “Sister,” adding the proper name. Their relationship toward the Superior should be marked by a spirit of faith and not by sentimentality or flattery, as these are unworthy of a religious and would degrade her very much. A religious should be as free as a queen, and will be such only when she lives in the spirit of faith. We should obey and respect the Superior, not because she is good, holy or prudent, but solely because she represents God, and by obeying her we are obeying God Himself.
(36) Relationship of the Superior to the Sisters.
568 The Superior should be distinguished by humility and love toward each sister
without exception. She must not let herself be led by likes and dislikes, but by the
spirit of Christ alone. Let her be aware that God will demand of her an account for
each sister. She should not moralize to the sisters, but rather set them an example
of profound humility and self-denial; this will be the most efficacious lesson she can
give her subjects. She should be firm, but never harsh. She should be patient
when bothered with the same questions. Even if she has to give the same answer
a hundred times over, she should do so with equanimity. Let her strive to
anticipate the sisters‟ needs rather than wait till they ask for this or that, for people