MADELEINE was born on October
27th 1924 at Putôt-en-Auge, a little village in Normandy situated
at the foot of the Haute-Butte - a dependence of Dozulé, which
is a larger village with a school, St Joseph's, run by Sisters.
Her parents, after thirty-five years of service with a big land-owner, retired to a small house they had bought some years earlier. They had three children : John, born in 1913, Madeleine, and Peter, born in 1927.
After her apprenticeship to a dressmaker, Madeleine married on August 14th 1948, shortly after the death of her father, and her mother stayed on in the house with the newly married couple. She lived to the age of 94 (R.I.P. Oct.1983), surrounded by the loving care of her daughter. Five children were born, all at Putot. In 1968, the house being too small, the family settled in a more comfortable home at Dozulé, near the school, catechism, and the church. Madeleine and her husband brought up their five children, not without difficulty.
In 1970, with a little pressure from her mother, Madeleine resolved to make her "Easter duties" which she had neglected for four years, for the church in Putot had no priest. After a brave confession she decided to go to Communion on Easter Sunday and the following Sunday.
And then, the Sunday after Easter, having been to Communion, and before even kneeling down in her place,"something happened which I could not explain... I felt a kind of weakness... I was as though drunk with joy and happiness, I seemed to have discovered another world." And that lasted until she got home. She thought about it all that week but couldn't understand it, so she longed to go to communion again the next Sunday, April 12th 1970, less by faith than by curiosity.
As from that day on, a completely different life began for her. Again, "this interior joy possessed me, but this time I felt a presence which was not of this world... the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit ; a supernatural power took possession of me, a sweet presence... the world did not exist, my body did not exist, there was left only God in me and me in God."
On reaching home, she felt transformed, her spirit full of joy, and this joy did not leave her for an instant. Now there was no question of waiting until Pentecost for her next Communion. The third Sunday after Easter, April 19th, "this wonderful joy came again", she wept with happiness. She decided to confide to the parish priest, because such a secret could only be understood by a priest : "it is no longer I, it is Jesus who is living in me." The priest encouraged her to go to Communion during the week, "it is so long to wait from one Sunday to the next... nothing can replace a Mass. It is Jesus in the Host who saved me from doubt and at each Mass I really see Jesus in the priest, in His gestures on the eve of the Passion, and I see the Spirit of God come to the altar to give Himself to all of us."
Increasingly, she wanted to please God
by becoming as pure as a child. All her worries were forgotten, her
life was changed, for before, she found it without interest and rather
dreary. "All is transformed if one offers everything to God each
morning, for "love of Him" who has given His life for each of us.
Christ is risen, really alive ! Each day I live this Resurrection...
Never let a day pass without praying, without thinking about Jesus,
about all who suffer, who weep... prayer unites us to God, and gives us
a spiritual joy which no material goods can replace... Neither science,
nor human wisdom, nor any beautiful words can open the heart of an
unbeliever to God. A conversion is not the work of man, God must
attract a soul by His Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit man is nothing
and can do nothing. We must pray "with love" for without the Spirit of
God we are nothing. He watches over us unceasingly. Tell everybody :
God watches over us at each instant, and if we know this and have
really understood it, we can thank God. God alone can transform the
heart of man, but to receive the Lord's graces, we must pray a lot with
trust and faith."
"In my spirit, everything sings the Lord's praise, the flowers, their scent, the trees, the morning dew, everything that exists and is alive - it is the breath of God, for here on earth, everything sings God's praises... I doubted in His existence, my life had no interest, it was dreary... five children to bring up and a lack of money... but since April 12th 1970, it's the resurrection of my spirit, of my soul, material worries have faded away, this inner peace rises above all earthly things... Heaven is at the end of our present life..."
So Madeleine lived in tranksgiving for about two years, until Palm Sunday 1972. As in 1971, she wanted to participate fully in this Holy Week when Christ suffered so much to save the whole world. Thus dawned Holy Tuesday, March 28th...