Complementary text: the example of Mother Therese Couderc
By a disposition of Providence that seems surprising when compared to the history of other religious societies, God wished to establish this good work upon the annihilation of the two columns that seemed to be its support. Fr. Terme, another Francois Regis, consumed like him by the ardor of his zeal, died in 1834. Mother Therese Couderc, two years later, entered without dying into a veritable tomb.
The religious Society that owed her its existence developed without her and even seemed to lose sight of her for a long time. What had happened? An administrative failure after an unforeseen event; the promise of a legacy that Mother could count on for building, (the legacy was bequeathed by a widow who entered the Congregation), opposition from the family, a lost trial, and financial trouble, confused the nuns who were not yet formed to trust in God. Hasty measures, that would later be regretted, were taken, and Mother Therese was put aside for her incapacity and no longer counted at all.
Forgotten, mistrusted and separated from her former companions who were sent away for unknown reasons, fearful of suffering the same fate herself, this sensitive heart suffered pain, anguish and heartbreak whose bitterness God alone can measure. After her resignation in 1838, the Society suffered storms that almost destroyed it. Mother then entered into the obscurity of common life, never again to leave it until her death in Fouviere in 1885.
A trial so long and so bitter, when we think of the events that set it off, of the religious souls, so good and well-intentioned, who were the agents behind it, is a riddle to us.
Instead of being scandalized, let us ask the Spirit of God, and let us try to penetrate into the plan that Providence followed in trying this soul. We can see that it was an immolation. Cardinal Perraud does not hesitate to declare:
If the Institute of the Retreat passed victoriously through interior trials to which humanly speaking it ought to have succumbed, we have every reason to believe that the hidden immolations so perseveringly borne by Mother Therese were instrumental in this miracle of preservation and of salvation."
Even more elevated and admirable is the goal of hidden sanctification in this mysterious trial. This soul was pleasing to God and like Tobias, had to be tried that she might rise higher: “Quia acceptas eras Deo, necesse fuit ut tentatio probaret te.—Because you were pleasing to God, you had to be tried by temptation.”
Fr. Melizan, "La Mere Therese Couderc" in La Vie Spirituelle (January 1926)