Ida Friederike Görres

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Ida Friederike Görres (2 December 1901, Schloss Ronsperg – 15 May 1971, Frankfurt am Main) was a writer. She was born into a remarkable Austro-Hungarian family, the daughter of Count Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi, and one of the seven children born to the Japanese lady whom he married when a diplomat in Tokyo at the end of the nineteenth century. After her father's early death, she was brought up in his Bohemian home,Schloss Ronsperg in accordance with the Anglophile ideas of the time and , in view of the fact that her mother was an invalid, doubly in the hands of nurses and governesses. She was deeply involved in the German Youth Movement which made so strong an impression on pre-Nazi Germany. After the Second World War she began once again to write, travel and lecture, until in 1950 a breakdown in health drove her into seclusion.

From Broken Lights and The Hidden Face :

  • There's no redder rag for our modern, progressive Catholics than a certain religious approach to sex and Eros ranging from suspicion to open condemnation and branded accordingly as Manichean, neo-Platonic, Puritan, etc. Quite unacceptable. And yet in these quite obviously heretical speculations there's a barb which, even at first encounter, penetrated to the depths of my mind as the startling confirmation of something always known, and this ferment keeps on working - all the time...the idea which one finds in so many apocryphal trends of thought, i.e. that there's definitely something wrong with sex in its present form, that is, during this terrestrial aeon - something that is not sex in itself, as a whole, but some trait or quality.. Something which does not belong to original human nature, but which owes its actual existence to The Fall; in the same sense unnatural as death is unnatural and yet taken for granted, an inevitable, undeniable factor - in this fallen world.
    • Broken Lights p15-16 Diaries 1951
  • genuine continence and virginity are rare and costly achievements - admirable and really extraordinary; the real thing , nota bene, not simply a shrivelling of Eros-power by means of life-long taboo injections. The Ancients knew this - they called chastity, honestly, simply and humbly, a gift, a charisma, to be implored from God with tears and in humiliating experience - not just a simple athletic feat of will-power and self-control.
    • Broken Lights p. 21 Diaries 1951
  • Once again the tide of Carmelite spitrituality is drawing me, like a current, and, yet again, I sense its dangerous challenge to my own appointed way. Utter nakedness, utter rejection, utter renunciation - how tempting is this stream of spirituality, with the tremendous nimbus of its glorious and venerable past!
    • Broken Lights p. 25 Diaries 1951
  • The close affinity between sexual Eros and deceit is very startling - as in infatuation, infidelity and jealousy: " Quoniam lumbi mei repleti sunt illusionibus. " For, isolated, Eros is in every sense the most treacherous counterfeit of love, sending a continual flow of self-deception and delusion throughout the world, etc.
    • Broken Lights p. 33 Diaries 1951
  • I've just finished reading Shakespeare's Sonnets, that is, I've read and understood them for the first time. One passionate, desolate lament - immeasurable and inconsolable - for the waning, wasting and passing of beauty. At the same time there's something disturbingly un-Christian here - the utterly heathen, desperate keening of the dirges, the grisly dances of death, danses macabres, in which death is nothing but the end, finality - destruction, not transition.
    • Broken Lights p. 38 Diaries 1951


  • That wild Irish novel (Blackcock's Feather, Maurice Walsh), a wonderful Elizabethan cloak and dagger story, has started me spinning again, those same old threads; the link between begetting and killing, i.e. that sex and death must both be phenomena of fallen Creation...Another odd parallel; the very men who haven't the courage to beget children, to accept fatherhood, are likely to be pacifists on principle, and opponents of the death penalty. What was it that old Afghan, Mahbud Ali, said to Kim: "When I was fifteen I had shot my man and begot my man!"...as representative of God and Christ glorified, consecrated to him, he [the priest] is absolved from these characteristics of fallen humanity, dispensed, raised above them - neither for ascetic reasons, nor on human grounds, but simply because these are the symbols of the Adamite order.
    • Broken Lights p. 41-42 Diaries 1951


  • Isn't the very fact that convents exist dazzling evidence enough of the presence of the Spirit, unsatisfactory and odd as their inmates often are?
    • Broken Lights p. 79 Diaries 1951-1952
  • Goethe, whose letters I've been reading very intensively during the past few weeks, is always stressing Verträglichkeit - agreeing to live and let live - as the most important element of friendship: we shouldn't try to change people, but simply let them be as they are, making the best of even partial concord, instead of trying to force a fictitious perfect harmony.
    • Broken Lights p. 82 Diaries 1951-1952
I came across a comment by Wilhelm Fraenger asserting Bosch to have been an all-round heretic..that centre panel of the Garten der Lüste is steeped in more wickedness and horror than the panel showing Hell..those figures in the Garden itself..bewitched, spell-struck, drugged by sorcery, with faces like dope addicts..A queer, indefinable whiff of perversity clings to the whole thing..(Broken Lights Diaries 1951-52)
  • Even read in such broken bits Origen is real food and drink. You can feel it being absorbed, right away, into your very blood. How terse, how compact he is! All this modern stuff is barley-water in comparison.
    • Broken Lights p. 87 Diaries 1951-1952
  • one's twentieth birthday. That day opened the door to a wider life: I reached out to grasp reality. But in fact it was reality which gripped me with its restrictions and constraints and rules which arrogantly claim to be the laws of life, of the universe. To be grown-up really meant resignation; one gave in (if ruefully), laughing a little at one's young dreams.
    • Broken Lights p. 63 Diaries 1951-1952
  • We're always being told that the Fall had nothing whatever to do with sex. No, I can't believe this any more...Not that procreation, as such, would never have been without the Fall. That's nonsense, to my mind; but somehow or other it would have been different...If it's true that St Thomas held other and more optimistic views on this subject, this doesn't disconcert me one bit. Maybe an angel-type, as he was, endowed with the charism of virginity, would be incapable of realizing the depth of the Fall in this domain. What is always attributed to the latent Manicheism in St Augustine might well be the realism of experience.
    • Broken Lights p. 90-91 Diaries 1951-1952
  • Francis de Sales defines jealousy as the expression of a violent but impure love. Does he know how it can be purified, I wonder? Or must it die slowly- in its own festering sore, as it were - burning, oozing out, the way a wound cleanses itself before it heals?
    • Broken Lights p. 105 Diaries 1953-1954
Perhaps it was Benedict Joseph Labre's special task to redeem the core of truth in Jansenism?..For his own concept of God was actually the Jansenist image: the God of wrath, the strict and terrible Judge, all-demanding, to be approached only in fear and trembling - no, only to be adored from afar, never to be neared at all...A rum crowd, our saints, but the really preposterous thing is that the Church actually canonized them! (Diaries 1955-57)
  • The German Youth Movement started quite inconspicuously: a band of secondary schoolboys in Berlin, bored to death by their homes and schools and grown-ups in general, sought to elude this adult world by spending their Sundays and holidays roaming the countryside - what we call hiking, an unheard of pursuit in those days...Hiking became symbolic, standing for Back to Nature against modern civilization; the free-lance spirit as against gregariousness, yet, paradoxically, the urge for comradeship against atomizing individualism...In 1933 the Nazis swallowed up the groups on the nationalistic fringe and shattered the bulk of the Bünde as bulwarks of the individualistic and independent spirit...Today, I suppose, for many of its former members the Youth Movement represents no more than a store of youthful memories. But a small but by no means negligible minority did receive a basic shaping and moulding which held good for the rest of their lives, the essence of that fleeting spirit of the Movement: a shared vision of the true nature of man and his place in the universe,...; a special kind of awareness to Nature; an extremely keen sense of intellectual and spiritual responsibility and a peculiar sanity and sobriety of judgment. This is quite a lot to be thankful for.
    • Appendix, Broken Lights Diaries and Letters 1951-1959
  • I've come to the end of von Hügel's voluminous work on Catherine of Genoa. For such outlay in erudition, it's basically an unrewarding book (for me!), but full of interesting side-lights...Curious, for instance, that Catherine, always universally cited as the recognised authority, the most important and competent witness to the nature of Purgatory, should actually never have had a vision of it - neither as shewing nor as visiting in spirit, as other mystics did..Her statements are pure conclusions, analogies, based on her own spiritual experiences of suffering and bliss: "So that's what it must be like in Purgatory!"
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • people run away from burdens these days. There's nothing they hate more than to be burdened or tied. This accounts for this perverse cult of youthfulness: youth is in itself the yet unburdened state - so we worship youthful looks as the sign and symbol of that craving, almost the promise of its fulfilment. But to attempt to keep it for ever only leads to sterility in every sense: monstrous perversion of youth, destined as blossom of the fruit...
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1953-54
  • The sins of our educational system (Catholic): How we ourselves were wronged by it and how we wronged others in its name. What people call moral training is really a political activity - representing a particular community and its vested interests, which is why it is so liable to political sins and blunders.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1953-54
  • Actually we were brought up to ingratitude - a relentless training through which we were taught to find nothing whatever good in ourselves, whether natural or spiritual..Conquering pride and conceit, they called it, practising humility, self-praise is no praise - all very well...Was pride really crushed by all this snubbing and humiliation? Was it not rather repressed...Worse still, we learnt this way to cultivate the devil's mirror eye of Hans Andersen's Snow Queen , over-vigilant, super-critical sight, sharpened to discover the worm in every bud, even the tiniest plant-louse! For if one practises this sort of discipline on oneself, day and night, it is asking too much - at any rate of a young girl - to judge one's neighbour by another yard-stick. All the time one's lynx-eyed consciousness remained on the alert, quick to pounce on everything negative - in you and in myself...Hans Andersen well knew how near this attitude is to blasphemy.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1953-54
  • Psalm 118 - my solace and my blessing - unfathomably deep. It is my backbone.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1953-54
  • "From time to time I have the feeling that certain instincts [urges? involuntary impulses?] are being annihilated within me, which have hitherto seemed good and perfect: yet as soon as they are destroyed I perceive how evil and imperfect they were." (Catherine of Genoa). This strikes me as very important, for it shows that the judgment of conscience can change, and precisely in someone whose conscience must already have been particularly highly developed, sensitive and illuminated.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • Larion's Law by Peter Freuchen. An Indian saga written by a Dane who lived for thirty years among the woodland tribes of Alaska and even had an Eskimo wife...Really one is ashamed to belong to a white race...what we did to Indians, Negroes, Australian aborigines (not even out of political fanaticism either, but as a matter of course, en passant)
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
It would certainly be unfair to call Thérèse of Lisieux limited, narrow. She was very alert and intelligent, and could certainly have gone to university today, passing all examinations with flying colours. But her horizon was limited - she was quite definitely a vertical person, could only grow skywards and into the depths - no breadth. (Diaries 1955-57)
  • Humanly speaking the Church as a whole will never cut a good figure, and her exceptions seem almost like another species.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • the Legion of little Souls does exist, and they did become manifest in the Little Flower. True, they get on our nerves more than they edify us - precisely that awful Martin family with their pompous self-preoccupation, their insufferable family worship, a perpetual mutual admiration society - but, say what you will, such people really do have religion, in the strictest sense of the word - living contact, authentic conversation with God. They do live out of their trust in him, are honestly concerned with seeking and doing his will, they take pains about being kind to their neighbours, for his sake. Is this really not enough? To hell with all esoterics!
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • Been reading Hardy's Return of the Native. Astonishing how moral standards have shifted over the past hundred years:shifted isn't the word - a landslide...Today the problems of these nineteenth-century novels strike us as exaggerated, as bathos, even comical - much ado about nothing. But for these people it really was a struggle with the gods, very real, menacing, dangerous gods.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • All the time each one of us is hovering above an unfathomable abyss of potential calamities of every kind - sensed in that ever-throbbing pulse deep down in one's heart; as long as this chasm does not open up to devour one, the floating island in any guise whatever must surely be welcome. Wrong notion of God? Asiatic pessimism?
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • That Somerset Maugham anthology Cakes and Ale. How destructive he is, venomous, pulling everything down in biting, corrosive cynicism. Yet somewhere deep down under all the conceit, sarcasm and snobbery is real quivering pain, helpless bewilderment at the inexplicable fact that human nature is chequered. And what perplexes him is less the common, mean element in decent people than the goodness and kindness of wicked, vicious ones.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • I'm reading George Borrow's Lavengro...and , of course, it fits perfectly into the pattern of my current reading! - Fallada and Arnold Bennett's The Old Wives Tale, i.e. my constant musings on the nineteenth century. I was amazed to learn from Bennett's book that in Papa's childhood you could watch an execution, which was a public entertainment, a real show, with high prices paid for windows with a good view, and the local hotels doing a roaring trade.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • Reading lots of Dickens. Barnaby Rudge: the last Catholic pogrom - No Popery, the Gordon Riots in London - 1780, twenty years before Newman was born. He must have known people who had set fire to the houses, or taken in victims and refugees. Lord George Gordon who led the mob (obviously a religious maniac) died as late as 1793. Old Curiosity Shop, Nicholas Nickleby - this too, is part of Newman's background, this gallery of living gargoyles, ghouls and monsters. Might account, perhaps, even for some of Newman's pessimism about the world and human nature, which some attribute merely to his own melancholy disposition? That nineteenth century!!
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
  • Reading O'Rahilly's life of Father William Doyle. I'm surprised this book hasn't left a deeper mark, for it contains - often in parallel terms - the whole teaching of the Little Way which created such a stir in the case of Thérèse. But it seems people prefer to accept such things from a lovely young girl complete with smile, roses and veil. One can't help wondering whether Thérèse would have met with the same enormous response had she been hopelessly ugly - a hunchback with a squint, or old...
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1955-57
The Schutzmantelmadonna is the symbol of the Church. (Diaries 1955-57)
  • Legenda Aurea. To think that there's no Catholic edition of this most Catholic book!...Richard Benz sees it as epic and myth of the Middle Ages, exact parallel to the Gothic cathedrals. Sunk into oblivion with the epoch, rediscovered through the history of art, in the countless painters inspired by the Legend. Wonderful, costly and beautiful - but belonging utterly to the past, monument, museum: venerable, interesting , imposing - tout à fait passé.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
If I were a pagan, a non-European pagan, I'd have one big objection, one special complaint: the fact that the baptized, the white race, have come to be the pest, the curse, the disintegrating ferment for the rest of the world, generally speaking...what is called Christendom..we've branded the whole world with the awful stigma of ugliness, robbing it of its soul, spoiling, violating. By their fruits you shall know them … (Diaries 1957-59)
  • Life of Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists. Astonishing really that he should be so little known, should have left so little impression..Strangely thrilling that St Paul - end of the eighteenth century! - should have prayed all his life for the conversion of England, pledging his sons to do likewise. Once, during Mass, he had a vision of my sons in England. But only in 1841, almost seventy years after his death, did they actually set foot on English soil - through Fr Dominic Barberi. It was he who received Newman into the Church..
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • Wealth is a virtue which has to be practised, really learnt, if it is to be of any real use to its owner, turned to good account, giving him confidence, freedom, power and independence - not enervating him, making him dependent, stingy, soft and vain.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • What does really happen when the factor of love withdraws from a human relationship? Is it a loss or a gain? Is the real landscape revealed at last, hitherto transfigured, but delusive, too, by the driving mist of fantasy? Is it a perverted vision which finds a glowing cloud more beautiful than the solid truth of a plot of earth? And vice versa, what really happens when the radiance, the glamour, begins to take shape, concentrating on a landscape or on a face?
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • I'm reading Günther Anders' Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen (The Antiquity of Man)..That bit about Promethean shame impressed me..observations about the shame of being oneself, the reluctance at stepping out of line, of being forward, of being looked at. This is entirely true to life...Yet it's just as natural to man to want to be seen, to want to be outstanding, to be regarded, as to want to hide - and both these instincts - for that's what they are - clash, often with equal force...How clearly I see the Little Flower in this light: from earliest days the focal point for her whole family, yet on the other hand sincerely desiring to be hidden, taking the veil - and so wonderfully unveiled to posterity, revealed to the world, set up as an image, i.e. to be looked at!
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • isn't every kind of conformity really a sort of masquerade, the mask at once conspicuous and disguising?
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • Yet again - visible and invisible. The panic of loneliness - not physical, far more moral - arises from the fact that every lonely person is wearing a tarnkappe , a magic hood, (in German fairy tales, a magic cap which makes the wearer invisible) against his will: which is tantamount to saying: "If people don't bother about me, it's because nobody is seeing me - seeing me. I'm just a piece of furniture in their eyes." … Newcomers in a strange world suffer this fate especially, what's more in a doubly unpleasant way: first because no one takes any notice of them since they don't belong, i.e. they're nobodies, yet at the same time they're conspicuous, in the way, a nuisance, desperately conscious of being just awkward lumps of furniture.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
Elizabeth of Hungary was exactly the same age as Little Thérèse when she died. What a difference! Elizabeth's lightning directness, impulsive, unselfconscious, beside the perpetual reflection of Thérèse, for ever bent over her interior life, straining to catch every breath, every changing shade of her ego. (Diaries 1957-59)
  • In the Napoleonic Museum in Arenenberg I was rather impressed just how richly clad in the costume of Antiquity the First Empire in fact was - dressed up even comically with its laurels and eagles and togas. Return to Rome wherever you look, though of course not to the Holy Roman Empire - to Caesar's Rome. But the French Revolution itself had fallen back on more or less genuine or imaginary classical models: Brutus and Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus, the Gracchi, consuls and Roman virtues - even these revolutionaries couldn't resolve to start from scratch with something really new.
    • Broken Lights Diaries 1957-59
  • St Thomas had lots to say about the mystical quality of createdness. For him the creature is truly a mystery, a mystical reality. Sometimes this strikes me so forcibly that I shrink from crushing a gnat or plucking a blade of grass - how dare one do such a thing, except of necessity? Nothing sentimental about this - not even compassion at having to hurt things - simply awe before their Maker. I'd never dare to tear up someone else's sketch or manuscript without first asking the author's permission - unless, of course, he had asked me to do so.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • Trochu's Vianney book makes me shudder. Positively frightening - and the saint too. The first time I read it I was quite horrified...Actually he is a second Simeon Stylites - and how hard and stern he is - and not only against himself: he would excommunicate his parishioners if they even once went dancing or drinking - like the most rigorous Puritan..For him sin involved personal, direct single combat with Satan...But there's no glove to Vianney's peasant fist. He's really gruesome.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • I'm afraid I do believe that all earthly love can die - since man is mortal, why not also his most human feature? - and for me pretensions such as love that dies was never love, etc. belong to schoolgirls' albums.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • In private one can well be a cat that walks by itself, and without roots in any specific soil: but in the great battle for the Kingdom of God it seems to me one ought to belong to some brotherhood.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • I'm reading Kristin Lavransdatter again - it's one of the greatest poetic books, and the most powerful portrayal of medieval Christendom I know....I must admit that it makes me cry every time - because it's so real, so true , reaching to the depths of human nature, touching one to the quick.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • Léon Bloy, despite his many impressive qualities..what a hater he was! - wild and implacable, and what power of abuse! Strange don't you think that Ernst Jünger should comment at length in his war-diaries how irresistibly Bloy reminded him of Hitler in his paroxysms of rage and his foul and ribald tongue?..Yet Bloy was undoubtedly a man with great gifts of vision and perception, and charity, too - even in the midst of his orgies of hatred. And much of what he writes about Our Lady of La Salette in his La Salette book is very fine and often goes straight to one's heart...
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • another article by Karl Rahner in Geist und Leben - What he reveals is an issue of the utmost importance: how essential it is for the Christian to recognize a plural, numinous universe, made up of angels, saints, the dead and demons - which are not the same as God...that if this created numinous plurality ceases to be understood as a reality, the very concept of God will be disfigured and distorted..to deny all such powers and figures is just as false, just as ominous as to succomb to them.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59


  • the posthumous visibility of the saints is a puzzling phenomenon indeed, and varies enormously.

Little Thérèse emerged from complete obscurity to world-wide publicity; but Vincent Ferrer, for instance, one of the most prominent, most spectacular and dramatic saints in the whole history of the Church seems barely to have outlived his own lifetime. Today he's as good as forgotten.

    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • For his Spiritual Church Joachim of Fiore foresaw the continuance of the Papacy (much modified), but the bishops were to disappear. If I think at all of the Church to come, then I hope and pray above all for a revival, indeed resurrection of the episcopal office. To my mind it is still a prisoner of its almost thousand-year long disastrous fusion with temporal power. Strange - only a few years ago I thought the Emperor Otto I just marvellous and was full of admiration for his genius in raising the bishops to Reichsfürsten - princes of the realm - thus securing an unshakeable foundation for his Empire. Politically it was a brilliant decision...Yet I can imagine no way in which a mortal enemy of the Church in all craft and cunning could have fastened a worse fate upon her...For how often was their charismatic office as pastors overshadowed, indeed frequently rendered impossible, by their temporal mission and worldly achievements..
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • I've just finished a (for me) very important book about the parents (Louis Martin and Zélie Martin) of the Little Flower..It confirms my thesis 100 per cent: that everything claimed by her super-heralds as her direct inspiration, her unique originality, in fact stemmed from inheritance, upbringing and repetition...Most interesting for me is the recognition how alien and remote this bourgeois piety of the late nineteenth century has become, even for cultivated contemporary Catholic writers - a veritable terra incognita; otherwise this so wide-spread legend of Thérèse's uniqueness could never have grown up.
    • Broken Lights (Letters 1951-59)
  • I just revelled in that High Mass at Beuron Abbey on All Saints' Day..Of course it's a spectacle, but that's just what makes sense, the very same sense as monasticism in general...ritual as the reflection of glory. How marvellously impersonal it is - the strict anonymity of the monks, even more impressive when they raise their hoods. They are just figures and voices. What an achievement to divest oneself of everything private, individual, to enact this holy drama day after day, indifferent to one's personal mood, representing all of us simply as mouth of the Church.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • Take my own case: from nursery days we were taught to believe the worst of people...We were drilled, in principle and emphatically, never to believe anyone, never to trust anyone, all people are liars, people are always hypocrites, especially if they are nice to you, everyone can be bought, etc..Scandal was the sole topic of conversation in Stockau: 'Just to show you what the world is really like.'...I was fiercely determined to have no illusions, to confront even the ugliest reality face to face. I would smuggle The History of Prostitution and such-like books out of the library, disclosures of financial scandals I couldn't understand, books on the crimes of colonial government...And what was the result? I believed every word people told me, they could lie and swindle and make up whatever they liked...Could it be that my insatiable and often so incautious hunger for people who are good, pure, beautiful and holy is in fact the direct result of that early training to despise people?
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • I'm reading a very quaint American book, The Power of Positive Thinking , written, I'd suppose, by a sectarian minister, presumably of Methodist dye. (Norman Vincent Peale)..He's full of stories of prayers heard - and extols the power of prayer.."Before leaving for an important business conference I brace myself with texts like 'If God be for us, who can be against us?'...Then I stalk into the conference room, sure of my victory, and carry off the most marvellous deal.." This, in essence is the burden of the whole book. That's what people call Christian optimism. But it's wasted on us - we've been spoilt for this sort of thing...But isn't it rather self suggestion than authentic religious impulse? It doesn't seem to have dawned on him that suffering, disappointment, defeat or loss might also have some point too, or that God's designs could sometimes be hidden...
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • I'm reading a biography of St John Baptist de la Salle - Extraordinary what educational insights and experiments have existed already - and what has been forgotten!. That reformatory, for instance, which he founded on the most amazing principles somewhere around 1680...The young delinquents were detained in solitary confinement to begin with, being promoted later..to community life..But in their single cells they were given flowers and plants to cultivate and singing birds to breed! The prisoners took their meals together with the Brothers, and each of the boys in solitary confinement was entrusted to one particular Brother...The Jansenists were bitter opponents of the Brothers, for in all his schools de la Salle laid great stress on frequent Communion..They did their best to oppose him personally and to hinder his work. The French Revolution wrecked his Institute, some of the Brothers were executed, others emigrated.
    • Broken Lights Letters 1951-59
  • the protective, healing silence of forgiveness is just as much part of confession as its quality of judgment - stressed so much more. For in confession sin is not so much subjected to the light of the word, of judicial sentence, as received into the darkness of merciful, secret acceptance, sunk into divine oblivion.
    • Broken Lights Letters p. 361
  • A happy childhood means - or ought to mean - that one's first experience of the world is a true experience - not yet comprehensive, of course, yet comprehending the prime reality, so that it becomes an experience of an essential order which thenceforward will serve as a basis of comparison, in whose light all future falsification, all disorder, will be recognised as wrong and invalid. A happy childhood means above all a loved child. Because Thérèse was a happy child, her beginnings could contain perfection. Because she was a loved child, she received from the beginning the knowledge that others must struggle towards so consciously, with such difficulty, by painfully strenuous detours: the simple truth that to so many of us seems the most incredible and amazing lesson of religion: that we can be loved without having deserved it: that grace comes first..It is bliss simply to be someone's child, a child of a father, of a mother, living, moving and having its being in a love which is unmerited, unmeritable , anticipatory, unconditional and immutable. On this basic mystery and reality Thérèse's childhood was built. This was the source of her subsequent doctrine of the way of spiritual childhood.
    • The Hidden Face p. 48-49
  • Anyone who really carries out this existence [ of the Discalced Carmelites ] in spirit and letter must see it as a foretaste of death, of the radical and irrevocable parting from all things that make life rich, sweet and attractive. It is a venturing into death in the hope of receiving a new, mysterious life from the hand of the Lord.
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