The source for this information is from the excellent book "He and I" by Gabrielle Bossis, 1985, translated by Evelyn M. Brown, published by Editions Mediaspaul, Imprimatur- Msgr Jean-Marie Fortier, Archbishop, Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Gabrielle Bossis (1874-1950) was a Catholic Mystic and layperson who lived in France in the 20th century. Born in Nantes, France in 1874, she was the youngest child of a family of four children. As a child in a well to do family, she was taught and raised in proper social graces and etiquette, and she grew up to be a graceful, happy and high spirited young woman, but as from her childhood she possessed a strong yearning for God and the things of the Spirit. She obtained a Degree in Nursing, and enjoyed the fine arts of that time, including sculpting, painting, illuminating and music. Later in life she discovered that she had another talent- that of writing moral plays and also acting. From that point on until two years before her death she traveled extensively in France and abroad, producing her own plays and acting in the principal role. Those who still remember her remark about her infectious laughter and her unfailing charm.
On very rare occasions in her early life, Gabrielle had been surprised by a Mysterious Voice, which she heard and felt with awe, and sometimes anxious questionings, which she perceived to be the Voice of Christ. It was only at the age of 62, however, that this touching dialogue with the "Inner Voice" began in earnest, continuing (at least in her notes) until two weeks before her death on June 9, 1950.
The journal that she kept of her dialogue with the Inner Voice has been published in numerous languages under the title "He and I" (see note above) and has become a source of deep inspiration and edification for those who read it. Below are a few excerpts from this extraordinary dialogue between "the Inner Voice" and Gabrielle
April 12, 1945. In the [train] station at Angers.
Coming from Paris I had a seat in spite of the dense crowd.
"You see what great care I take of My own. Even in the tumult I draw them into solitude where the heart is on the alert to hear the Beloved. Didn't I say to them in the past, 'When I sent you out without purse or staff did you lack anything?' And they answered, 'Nothing'"
'Lord, it is often l who am lacking.'
"For these omissions humble yourself, and don't be astonished by them. Wish to be cured of this lack of carefulness in My service. Take frequent stock not only of the value of your actions, but above all, of the value of your motive in doing them - the forthrightness of your will to glorify Me.
Perhaps if you paid attention more often to what you do for Me, you would intensify your fervor and tenderness. You would be more faithful in the details - these precious details that can earn so much. They are the specks of goodness that fill life....You get the picture -the invisible grains of sand that make up the immense Sahara. Take great care in the very little things, My Gabrielle. Say to yourself, 'They are made to the Measure of My little nature'. And this thought will keep you humble.
Have you noticed how often the work of the humble has to be done again? Put all your heart into it, knowing that you please Me. And since you want to live for Me, since you want to see everything in relation to Me, and pattern your life after Me, then consider how short the time is that remains for you on earth. You can give Me glory in that time. Give it to Me unstintingly,"
|Gabrielle Bossis First Holy Communion|
I had seen flowers of all kinds at the edge of a ditch.
"You see how insurgent the spring is! Let a springtide of love in your soul blossom out in good deeds of every color. I shall look lovingly at them just as you looked at the flowers in the underbrush. Tell yourself that love alone can make fresh wonders spring forth.
Then give yourself to Love so that Love may possess you. Don't divide yourself into two - one part for you and the other for Me - since I long to have all of you and cherish this hope. Your love quenches My thirst. I am most demanding: you see I want My children to be wholly and utterly Mine at every moment. So don't withhold a thing. Don't take anything of yourselves away. You would steal from Me if you did, because everything is Mine.
If I require this of you it is because My yearning for you is a consuming fire. And My yearning is born of My love. Do you understand? Do you at last believe? Do you acknowledge My power to love? And if Mine is a love beyond all others, then how could you fail to go beyond your usual ways of loving to make your home in the higher realms - the realms where all is simplicity in our oneness. Above all when you know that it is there that I'm waiting for you and that great is My need to Meet you.
Meditate on this need of Mine and you will call to mind that it is in your power to give Me this alms. Then remember the value of a free gift - the gift of oneself when offered out of tenderness. What inexpressible joy will be His who receives it. He will multiply His blessings so that the one that receives them will be lost in wonder and gratitude. 'What have I done to deserve the kindness of My God?' he will ask. And I shall reply, 'You loved Him with all your strivings and you let Him love you'"
April 26, 1945 - 'Lord, Your poor little girl, Your poor image is here before you, yearning for You with all the strength of her being.'
"Have you noticed how people talk among themselves, discussing all their personal affairs? They spend so much time this way and it does them so little good. Don't you think that if they gave themselves to Me, their Friend, I should rejoice to have My place in their thoughts and I should know how to reward their confidence in abundance? Don't you think that it would create a moment-to-moment intimacy between them and Me, and this would be a joy for them, because close to Me their lives would lose their tension.
You understand? It would be life together with Me- I carrying the heavy end of things. So again I say: speak with Me, My little ones. Speak with Me. And our hearts will Merge. Isn't this the aim of My Christians? Isn't that why you want to die? Then begin living this heart-oneness. Seize upon every opportunity. Find every pretext. You aren't bold enough. For some of you it is because you are indifferent.
But My close friends, why, why don't they call to Me from their heart's depths? If only their belief were less like unbelief! If their hope were fixed upon My help ... And if, in all simplicity, their love loved Me more. I should be there looking after everything in their day, and when night fell, their eyes would close again on My face."
Aug 12, 1945, Le Fresne Church
"When you say to Me 'Beloved Jesus, I give You My entire life' do you realize that at the same time I have given you more, since even what you are giving Me is what I've given you? Admit that everything you have comes from Me. It's all a gift from Me, and not to display My power, not chosen at random, but by My most attentive love -chosen especially for you, My children -for your path in life, in order to help you reach the goal that is yours."
"You have everything you need to perfect the Gabrielle I dreamed of in creating you. Did you watch Me creating you? You see, you can have no idea of the tenderness that I pledged to your soul so long ago -from all eternity. Then I ask you not to consider Me too exacting if I say to you, as I do so often, 'Give Me everything'.
March 21, 1946 -Holy hour
"All night long I waited for you in My Eucharist -waited to give Myself to you in the morning. Why should this astonish you? You believe in My presence and a tabernacle, don't you? You believe in My immense love? Then put the two together. And when you wake up during the night, look at the One who is already longing for the dawn to bring you to Him. This will quicken your love and give you confidence in My power. Let Me profit by the days of your life, they are not many. Prolong Me in them as much as you can don't let a day go by without doing something for Me, for there is not a single day that I am not at work, you for your own happiness. Do you believe Me?"
"Then humble yourself for not having responded better to all the loving kindness of your Creator. You know how I love to forgive? You know how your confidence attracts My compassion? Your trust can win anything from My heart. Count on Me. Call Me. Don't you love your name? I love to hear Mine on your lips. Don't deprive Me."
|After death, in her habit as a 3rd order Franciscan|
"Don't be afraid to discover how little it takes to touch Me. I am the sensitive One and you can never know how your gestures make music in My heart. Be afraid of hurting Me. Always try to give Me joy and above all don't imagine Me to be far off. You realize that I am in you, don't you? And if you do, why don't you think of Me more often? I was going to say, always. Then My longing for you, would be completely satisfied. I am the same for all people. They are all My children. I long for every one of them. So, in offering yourself offer the others to Me with My joy in mind."
February 6, 1947 –Holy hour
'I would so love You to be happy in My heart'
"Your desire in itself is a call that pleases Me and gives Me great honor. You make amends for yourself and you make amends for the ingratitude of so many others. Do they think of Me with a little affection even once a year? Do they accept the thought of My love for each one of them? When will you realize that time -the span of earthly life- is too short, that I need all eternity to love them? That this present life of theirs is not their goal, but only a Means given to them to earn the Alder life? Pray for them. You can do a great deal without seeing the fruit. But I see; I hear. I see that in helping others to arise you rise yourself. Do you believe Me? Come to Me and bring others with you."
February 14, 1947 -in a moment of sadness
"Remember that I traveled all of your roads".
"If you want to gain strength to make a sacrifice, don't look at the sacrifice. Look at My joy."
"Don't you realize that I have been waiting a long, long time for you? No two souls are alike. None other can give Me what I expect from you."
March 6, 1947
"Each soul is the object of My special love. That is why I am so grateful to those who are resourceful and bringing back sinners to Me. Keep this in mind then. I gave My life for them in the most atrocious torture, for these poor beloved ones. A humble repentance, and they are already on My heart. So speak gently to them. Speak with tenderness. A brusque remark could drive them farther away.
'I am going to meet one tomorrow, Lord'
"I will give you the necessary tact. As always, I will be in you. You will look at Me and call Me and say 'speak through me'. I will be the listening Brother."
'I have just received telegrams and telephone calls for 101 things'
"That his life, unforeseen events, moving from one place to another, rough weather. But, come what may, remain steadfastly in My heart. Keep your eyes fixed on Me as you ask Me for advice, or as you tell Me that you love Me always. Remember that nothing happens without My permission, and be very calm and serene. There is nothing like serenity for convincing people of the Good. This was My response to the craftiness of the Pharisees. So, be calm in your soul, and happily docile to My will. As you look back over your life, don't you see that My will was always for your good? This is because I love you, and it's the same for everyone, since I love each of you individually. I see you all differently; I see every detail about you, do you understand? My love is not of global love.
I need each one of you as though you were the only person in the world, as though the cosmos had been created for you alone, and My love is greater than the cosmos. So let this thought be a strength to you and your smiling calm.
Let us include My Mother in this life of ours. Do you really believe that Her love is active on your behalf? Oh, My little girl, have faith in the great things that you can do with Us. Without Us…but you are already aware of your nothingness. "
April 8, 1948
"Have you thanked Me for all I did for you, for mankind, for the angels, for My mother? What a concert of blessings, My child! Gather them all as though they were yours and join in the symphony of thanksgiving. Sing your part in the choir of number¬less voices, and I'll know it from all the others. Are there two voices alike in the whole world? Aren't you struck by the diversity in human creation? In heaven too, each saint differs from the other, and if you are enchanted by the variety of colors in your garden, you may be sure that Paradise flashes with a myriad of countless splendid things, all for My glory. There too, I know the voices, for I know you all. My children, I atoned for all of you and I know My redeemed ones.
April 17, 1948 - 'Lord, I should so love to live Your words, and I am always myself, still my old self.'"Is it so difficult to think of your Lord? Is it so difficult to talk with Him and to keep Him company? When you meet someone in a waiting room, don't you instinctively approach that person and in a kindly way do your best to make the time pass pleasantly for him? And if he were a poet, or a scholar, or someone great in the eyes of the world, wouldn't you go even further and show more joy?
My child, it's a God who is waiting at the door of your heart, a God who is all yours and who is in you. You open to Him when you talk to Him, when you look at Him, when you try to take your thoughts off the things around you so that you may turn them to Him with the utmost tenderness.
Don't think that this is a fable I'm telling you. It is the simple reality. But as it's all happening in the shadowland where everything is imperfection, you find it difficult to believe, and you are slow in acting upon it. That is why I am like that person in the waiting room. If only you could approach Me more often with all your kind charm, you might suspect My long yearnings. You might think, 'He's waiting for the world: Yes, My little child, for everyone, and for such a long, long time ... I came to Bethlehem to seek them and I shall go on seeking them right to the end of the world.
This is the patience of God. This is His love. Then how could you ever understand? Yet it would be very sweet to believe, wouldn't it? So quicken your faith by telling Me about it often. More often. Don't get weary: you will hope more and love more. It's your great God who wants you greatly, My very frail little girl"
November 4, 1948
“I knock at your door. You don’t believe that I need my children, do you? An yet, My God-Love needs your love. That is how it is. Always. You remember My words, 'I thirst'? I am always thirsty. If you knew this thirst, more intense than the thirst of men, you would devise every means in your power to quench it. That is why I knock at your door.
Do you remember the heat of the Sahara? The desert burns less than I. Can you understand My thirst for your awareness of Me, for your desire to be pleasing to Me, for your gratitude for My pitiable sufferings, your compassion for all the disgrace, the filth and the hatred I received during the night before My crucifixion and on the morning of My death? And for the blows, and the torture of My body and mind. Do you sometimes think of it?
A diagram of the cilice (instrument of penance) that Gabrielle often wore
Don't you believe that I paid for the right to have at least your friendship? You recall what the thief said: 'Remember me when You come into Your kingdom'? And I say to you, 'Remember Me during your life'. Place Me as a lighthouse in the center of your mind, not just a lighthouse that illumines, but one that gives warmth. Where can you be where I am not? When you are hunting for Me, I am already there, and when you love Me, I love Myself in you.
I am your Source. Give everything back to Me in joy and simplicity. So few stop to think about this.
Then tell Me now, do you want Me to knock at your door?"
November 11 - Holy hour.
"Practice being more attractive for love's sake. You could do immense good with an affectionate look and a smile. If you keep yourself for yourself, you are your own slave. But if you go to meet people with delicate thoughtfulness, you bring peace and rest; you give the balm of Gilead. How a smile from you would have soothed X this morning if you hadn't shut yourself up in your ivory tower. There is a demon called the spirit of contradiction; he fraternizes with the spirit of self-seeking.
Remember that love is not puffed up with pride and that it will never pass away. What you do for yourself will perish miserably. What you do for others, for the love of Me, will go on re-echoing throughout all eternity.
Have you tried to see Me in others? Have you understood that I live in that old crippled woman on the 'sunken road' and all others like her? Couldn't you bring Me a little wood for this winter, and some clothing? Won't you give Me something to eat? Suppose she is bitter and doesn't thank you, what difference does it make? Since I am the One who receives, and I am rich.
Don't be shy when you give. Be daring in goodness:' I was thinking that I should be ashamed to wheel a barrow with wood in it right to that place.
"Perhaps. But I shall not be ashamed of you at the last judgment. Don't run away any more from what costs you something, and you will be among the happiest people. Besides, I've done so much for you ... You are free though. You will not even commit a fault by not going. I'll just have the sadness of wanting some¬thing without getting it."
"Lord, I'll go."
December 15, 1949 - Holy hour.
Coming back from Mass in the dark at 7am in the freezing rain. "This too, Lord, may I offer for Your sinners in this Marian year?
"I take all sufferings little and big, and place them in the treasury of the Church - the treasury used for the making of saints. You forget your past sufferings, but they continue to bear fruit in My sight. You have already forgotten your travel weariness, weather annoyances, desert thirst, the fears, exile in distant countries, the slow journeys back, the long tests of endurance, times of illness. But remember that you offered Me everything and that I've kept everything.
You love to look at the precious jewels in your mother's jewel box, or your favorite books in your library, or the unusual souvenirs given to you during your long tours. Often it's only a trifle, something that hasn't cost the donor much. You remember the Moslem's terebinth, the Indian's moose glove and the pressed leaf given to you in Larache? You treasure these things because those who gave them to you wanted to please you. For the same reason I have found joy in all the little presents given to Me by My children. Even, if they have not cost you very much, even if you gave them to Me only because My Father put them into your hand by some circumstance other than your own free choice, you offered them to Me like good and affectionate children. And so I treasure them as though they were a part of you. Such is your power over Me! You bind Me to you by a single hair of your head. And the more you believe how utterly disarmed I am by your love, the more My unfathomable tenderness overflows to you. The great wrong is to lack faith in it. Then offer Me everything –every gesture, every thought.
-Looking at the preparations for Christmas- ‘Thank you Lord. How could you come down to earth, knowing that You were going to suffer so much?’
“And, if I had not come down, should I have had the joy of instituting My Eucharist where I remain right to the end of the centuries?”
The source for this article is from the excellent book "He and I" by Gabrielle Bossis, 1985, translated by Evelyn M. Brown, published by Editions Mediaspaul, Imprimatur- Msgr Jean-Marie Fortier, Archbishop, Sherbrooke, Quebec, available here: http://www.catholicfreeshipping.com/He-and-I-by-Gabrielle-Bossis-p/9780819834386.htm
"...Ask Me for love. Ask Me; I am burning with desire to give it to you"...."Talk to Me. For Me, there is no sweeter prayer." -Words of our Lord to Gabrielle Bossis
|Caretaker at Gabrielle Bossis House|
A wonderful gentleman by the name of Carlton Sheely kindly got in touch with me and shared a wonderful story of his pilgrimage through France in the summer of 1990 with a American priest by the name of Fr. August Bosio, who was very devoted to Gabrielle Bossis and her writings. As you will read below, together they made a very special visit to the house and burial site of Gabrielle Bossis, actually being led to the house and gravesite in a very Providential way, as you will see.
In his story he reveals some wonderful details of how another French mystic named Marthe Robin (whom I have written about on this website here) was instrumental in informing Evelyn Brown, the English translator of "He and I", about Gabrielle Bossis and her writings, thus being the instrument in leading Evelyn to eventually became the one to translate "He and I" into English. Well, enough of the introduction---I will let Carlton tell the story himself:
"I found your website in my search for some more information regarding Gabrielle Bossis, not really about her life but rather since her death. Has anything taken place since then regarding a cause for her sanctification. My first knowledge of He and I was from Fr August Bosio at the Marian Shrine in West Haverstraw, New York. The story I am about to reveal to you is long and has multiple parts. Please bare with me but I have felt the need to pass this story on to someone before I get to old to remember it and the spirit seems to have pointed me in your direction.
In 1990, as a cardiac surgeon, I was on my way to a conference in Boston. A friend said it would really be worth my while to go and meet a Fr. August Bosio, a very saintly Salesian priest. Indeed he was. I was attracted to him immediately because of his sanctity. We became friends and later he became my spiritual advisor. On leaving, he gave me a copy of Gabrielle Bossis’ He and I. He felt strongly that He and I is a book that can change lives. He continuously promoted the book and was having it translated into other languages. Fr. Bosio shared with me what he had discovered about the book’s journey into its current state.
|Rev. August Bosio|
|The writer of this story, Carlton Sheely|
It was a trip totally led by the Spirit. Fr. Bosio had no idea where to start. He spoke fluent Italian, but only broken French. I spoke only English. We arrived in Paris with no reservations. He knew of a Vincentian House nearby so we drug our luggage around until we found the dark empty church. Fortunately a janitor was able to point us to a Vincentian Retreat house only a few blocks away. Their front desk was manned by someone who spoke English, but he was not very encouraging. All of the priests in Bourdeaux had been thrown out by the communists and were staying here so there probably wouldn’t be any rooms remaining. After a short while, he returned and said we could each have a room and that supper was being served! Fr Bosio circulated among all the priests to see whether any of them knew of Gabrielle Bossis or her book. No one. Next morning we headed for Nante where she had lived. Again, the church was closed.
|Gabrielle Bossis bedroom|
After over an hour of driving we spotted a small sign, Gabrielle Mansur de retreat, a nursing home. We drove down to a small road along the Loire river. We were greeted at the front door of this large building by a very pleasant young lady that said the name Gabrielle was not related to any Bossis and that she had never heard of our Gabrielle. As we are about to leave she said, “But, if you say she was buried near the Loire river, then she must be buried there.” She pointed to a very large cemetery just down the road. Now imagine a very large cemetery along a hillside. Picture the graveyard in Clint Eastwood’s, The Good, The Bad , and the Ugly, where Eastwood and Pesci circle around looking for a particular grave marker. That’s what it felt like .
|Gabrielle Bossis Livingroom and bedroon|
Fr Bosio had me start at the top end working down while he worked up from the bottom. I’m praying please Lord let him find this grave. We’ve run out of options. He said later he was praying that I would find it since he felt he had drug me all the way to France on a wild goose chase. After some time we met in the middle. I told him I had seen a nee Bossis but no Gabrielle. He also had come up empty. We were now out in the middle of this large cemetery. I thought for the first time that he was looking a little downhearted. As I hung my head and looked down. Yes. There it was. We had come together at the foot of her grave stone. See the insert (photo). In English translation it says:
The Holy Spirit didn’t stop here. After Fr Bosio dried his eyes from gladness, we drove a little further down the road and came to some houses that fit the descriptions Gabrielle had described looking out the window of her summer home. A caretaker came out of the house we were looking at and confirmed that it had belonged to the Bossis family. Fr Bosio asked if we could see inside. Sure he said. I’ve got to leave. Just lock the door when you’re finished! Must be the collar. We looked but didn’t touch. At her bedside was some of Joi et Moi in pencil, her originals. Fr. I’m sure was tempted. We then left and were able to speak to Gabrielle’s niece.
|Eating apples in Gabrielle Bossis back yard|
i.e. when you travel, travel with a Saint. Our travels together are no more. Fr August Bosio died back in Italy not far from where he grew up (1/22/1918 – 10-24/2000)
I wrote this because I wasn’t sure how much of the connection between Marthe Robin, Evelyn Brown, and Gabrielle Bossis was known.
**Note: For those interested, Carlton also kindly included some photographs of his visit to Marthe Robins house, which I added to the Marthe Robin page here.