Elise with her mother and one of the nieces

Elise and the children

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Until her last hospital bed Élise kept a child's heart. And that is undoubtedly the cause of her love for children. Throughout her life she sought to awaken the hearts of children to the love of God and to the knowledge of her Work. And after her death she will especially leave the memory of a devoted and loving catechist.

One of the poems, written in adulthood, is certainly to be understood in an autobiographical sense. Élise talks about the seriousness of the child in making little discoveries.

– A tiny child can see better than us
Because it knows how to stop at very small things…
To see the grass of the fields, you get on your knees,
It can find pink pebbles in the gravel…
And it knows how to collect with gentle gestures
Snails, acorns, rose petals…

– A tiny child can see better than us,
And it re-teaches us the humble beauty of things.

Elise's attention to children can be traced back to her own childhood experience where all her attention, simple and pure, was turned to discovering the true meaning of things and the world.

Then Élise was, in the lives of many children, a sweet representative of God: a maternal ray, tender and understanding. More than her asthma attacks, as frightening as they were, it was her unwavering smile that marked them for life. In the presbytery, in the church, during the walks, Élise formed whole classes to the joy of Christ who lived in her own heart.

The following poem, a prayer by Élise, expresses all her bond with children. All those who take care of children can make their treasure out of this pearl:

Jesus, who entrusted me
These souls of children who are yours,
I would like you to give me
Your Spirit, like your apostles.

I would like you to give me
To understand and know them
The very love you loved
Toddlers, divine Master.

I know you said
"Without me you can do nothing"
That we have to be humble and small
As well as a child, to please you.

O Jesus, I am, really,
Not worthy of being "Mom of souls",
But I humbly expect you
Your grace which I claim.

Around me turns their round
And I never want to get out…
These little ones, the hope of the world,
In your hands I put them.

And since I love you
These little ones that you love so much
Deign, Jesus, train yourself
My heart, with their child's hearts.

Prayer of the Mom of souls

Rich in her own childhood experience and her very pure spiritual outlook, Élise understood the importance of child rearing. The respect she had for them enabled her to be an excellent teacher in awakening them to the faith and allowing them a healthy development of their personality.

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