To Surrender our life in Jesus Christ in faith

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The distinctive spirituality of the Congregation has developed gradually from the beginning with the blending of the mystery of Mary in the Cenacle, the charism of the founders and the lgnatian influence.  The insight of Mother Therese expressed in the text "To Surrender Oneself" has given this spirituality its special character.  By our very vocation God invites us to live it in depth.  The Congregation also shares it with ail who are led by the Spirit to the riches of this source.

Excerpt from the text written by Mother Therese on June 26, 1864.

Video created by Sister Rose Hoover, r.c.


Complete text:

Se Livrer (To Surrender Oneself): 



Our Lord has often made me understand how helpful it is for a soul desirous of making progress in the spiritual life to surrender herself - to give herself - unreservedly to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  But this morning it pleased his divine goodness to give me a very special perception of it.  l was preparing to begin my meditation, when l heard the pealing of the church bells summoning the faithful to assist at the divine mysteries.  At that moment the desire came over me to unite myself with all the Masses that were being said, and to that end l directed my intention so that l might participate in them. Thereupon there came to me a general view of the whole Catholic world and of a vast number of altars upon which at one and the same time the adorable Victim was being immolated. The blood of the Lamb without stain was flowing in abundance over every one of these altars, which seemed to be surrounded by a light cloud of smoke ascending towards heaven.  My soul was seized and penetrated with a feeling of love and gratitude on beholding this most abundant satisfaction that Our Lord was offering for us.  But l was also greatly astonished that the whole world was not sanctified by it. l asked how it was when the Sacrifice of the Cross offered only once was sufficient to redeem all souls, that now being renewed so many times, it did not avail to sanctify them all.

This is the answer I thought I heard: "The sacrifice is undoubtedly sufficient by itself and the blood of Jesus more than sufficient for the sanctification of a thousand worlds, but souls  do not correspond; they are not generous enough." Now the great means whereby one may enter the way of perfection and sanctity is to surrender oneself to our good God. But what does it mean to surrender oneself? I understand the full extent of the meaning of the word, self-surrender; but l cannot explain it. I only know it is very vast; that it embraces both the present and the future.  To surrender oneself is something more than to devote oneself, more than to give oneself ; it is even something more than to abandon oneself to God.  To surrender oneself is to die to everything and to self, to be no longer concerned with self except to keep it continually turned towards God.   Self-surrender is no longer to seek self-satisfaction in anything but solely God's good pleasure. It should be added that self-surrender is to follow that complete spirit of detachment which holds to nothing; neither to persons nor to things, neither to time nor place. lt means to accept everything, to submit to everything.



But perhaps you will think this is a very difficult thing. Do not let yourself be deceived; there is nothing so easy to do, nothing so sweet to put into practice. The whole thing consists in making a generous act at the very beginning, by saying with all sincerity: "My God, I wish to be entirely thine; deign to accept my offering" - that is all.  But you must be careful to keep yourself in this attitude of soul, and do not shrink from any of the little sacrifices which can help you advance in virtue; you must always remember you have surrendered yourself.  I pray our Lord to give an understanding of this word to all souls eager to please him, and to inspire them to take advantage of so easy a means of sanctification.  Oh! If beforehand they did but understand the sweetness and peace experienced by those who hold nothing back from the good God. How closely he unites himself to the soul that seeks him sincerely in total self-surrender!  Once you have tried this you will see that therein lies the true happiness you are vainly seeking elsewhere.  The self-surrendered soul has found heaven on earth since she enjoys that sweet peace which is part of the happiness of the elect.


To understand what "self-surrender" means in the daily life of Mother Thérèse, see the Catalogue of the exhibition realised for the 150th anniversary of the text in the part Treasures from the Archives.
Mass of Thanksgiving for the 150th Anniversary

of the text written by St Therese Couderc: Self-Surrender

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