by Mother General Marie-Antoinette de la Trinity in 1972
“What is most precious, in this portrait, is the regard. It is a beautiful painting; from no matter what side one looks, the eyes of our Mother follow. Her regard reveals her soul, a soul accustomed to looking inwards; there is something profound, the interiority of one who does not look through curiosity, to see, but who casts a profound regard on things and who is accustomed to close her eyes to see something better than the things here below, to look within where she finds God. Her regard is clear and direct. Her countenance is, as well, that of a person who is determined, upright.
There is a brightness in her regard and at the same time a nuance of gravity; she was 63 years old, she was tired, she had already suffered. This suffering can be read in the humble and grave meekness which emanates from her regard at the same time as an impression of serenity. Certainly she goes straight on her way; she suffered, she lives within and she casts on persons and things a regard of serenity, of wisdom, learned in the contact with God, and at the same time a great kindness, when one looks at her well, and lets oneself be looked at by her, one feels that she penetrates very gently, but profoundly, as persons who know how to look at others.
In contemplating her, in admiring her, in collecting oneself before her, it would seem one hears these words: “Never forget that the Poor is Our Lord!” With those eyes she certainly knew how to discern Our Lord in the Poor. One believes to hear also: “It is so good to be poor, to have nothing, to expect all from God.” Her regard awaits God, it awaits others through whom Providence will give her what she does not have. Then one believes to hear her say at the end of her life – but it is already true at this time: “I no longer see anything but God.”
In her regard one finds all the world of our Mother. You see, we must look at her and let her look at us; this is what we must do with all those whom we love, beginning with God. When one loves someone, there should be an exchange of regards.
This beautiful painting, so simple, reveals to us something living about our Mother that never, any sculpture could ever give us, but what is marvelous to find the same form of the face, the same energetic profile. The color, a little swarthy, is that of a person who walks in the fresh air, who is used to living outside and of toiling. In 1855, the bazin of the bonnet was not yet starched, nor the strings, thus is the countenance framed without any affectation and with the strings falling a little but this takes nothing away from the dignity of this beautiful countenance.”