The following is a story told by a nun working on a mission in the far north of Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. She writes concerning a young girl called Christine from the Cree tribe. The young girl died a short time after receiving her first communion.
“The convent of Lake Athabaska is presently marvelling at the grace of God, which has brought a little girl of the Cree tribe to the Eucharist. She made her first communion of the 8th of December 1915, at the age of two years and 11 months. She could have received it six months earlier, because not only could she already tell the difference between the Eucharistic bread and ordinary bread, which is a required condition, but she also had a thorough knowledge of the essential truths of the catechism. We had the opportunity to question her on the latter and we did not find even a single error among her replies.
She turned two years old on the second Christmas of her life. We explained to her the nativity scene, the shepherds, the three kings; the reason for the lights and the decorations around the Divine Infant. What did Christine do? She went straight to the tabernacle, knelt in front of it and said her prayer.
Why do we never see you at the nativity scene?, the sister asked her. It is so beautiful! And all the other children go their to see the little Jesus!… But you, never.
But there, she responded, the little Jesus is not alive. Here, in his little house, he lives, and I speak to him.
She did not rest, until she was allowed to get out of bed to assist the Mass. During the Benedictions with the Blessed Sacrament, she gazed upon the Sacred Host, and nothing could distract her. However, one evening, during the Benediction, she babbled something. The Mother Superior, seizing the occasion to humiliate her, went to the little girls during the recreation time:
Christine is not very wise at all… She will not go to the Mass anymore, nor to the blessing. That is final; she will stay in her bed.
The child did not say anything; but in her eyes, raised toward her accuser, one could see large tears welling up. A few minutes later, the sisters were gathered in their community room when they heard some small fingers knocking on the door. It was Christine:
Will you forgive me sister? I will be a good little girl. Will you bring me to the Mass again?…
One afternoon, when they forgotten her, she remained there crying. A sister found her:
Tell me, what is wrong?
I am all alone!
But no, my child, Jesus is with you; he is everywhere.
Her sorrow was alleviated.
Some days later, Christine, while passing through the rooms, encountered the same sister, who was herself alone:
Are you all alone, sister?
Indeed I am.
Indeed you are not alone! The little Jesus is with you. He is everywhere…
She then raised herself up on her tiptoes, and reaching her hand until the sister’s chest she said:
He is there, the little Jesus. He has entered your heart, in the Mass!…
Finally, the long awaited day arrived. Many times she had escaped the vigilance of her guardians and made her way to the communion rail with the others. But the priest had passed her by, and each time it was a great disappointment! On December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception, he stopped and placed the white host on the lips of this innocence… From that time on, Christine only lived for the morning communion and for that of the next day.
I love my heart more, now that the little Jesus is there, she said.”