I am gong to make you smile: in my childhood I dreamed of fighting on battlefields. When I was starting to learn the history of France, the story of Joan of Arc's exploits delighted me. I used to feel the desire and the courage to imitate her. It seemed to me that the Lord destined me too for great things. I was not mistaken. But instead of voices from Heaven calling me to combat, I heard in the depths of my soul a voice that was gentler and stronger still: the voice of the Spouse of virgins was calling me to other exploits and more glorious conquests, and in the solitude of Carmel I understood my mission was not to crown a mortal king but to make the King of Heaven loved, to conquer for Him the kingdom of hearts.
Letter to Maurice Belliere, April 5, 1897, trans. Patrick Ahern