Novena to Bl. Dina Bélanger

As the Solemnity of the Annunciation approaches, as the Season of Lent unfolds – we turn to the mystical writings of the great daughter of the Church in Canada – Blessed Dina Belanger – to lead us into the Heart of the Mystery of the Trinity, into the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and to unite ourselves with the Agony of Jesus for the Salvation of Souls.

Each day for 15 minutes you are invited to pray this novena. The texts are incorporated into the video and appended below.

Day One:

The experience of God the Holy Trinity … let us ask God for the Grace to know and experience even now what is our Homeland.

On January 25, 1925 she wrote of her experience of annihilation in the holy Trinity

“I no longer exist, being consumed by the divine flame, hidden in the Heart of the Three, yet it is in Paradise that I am annihilated in love. What tranquility! What peace! The night is fading but it is not yet daylight; perhaps a glimmer of dawn. What calm! Yet no sensible consolation. What power! The love within my being is like an invisible force that keeps me consumed in God and exhausts me physically. I feel crushed beneath the weight of infinite love; and yet it seems that the Trinity is allowing me to feel scarcely a single infinitesimal spark escaping from its divine brazier. Oh! Words cannot convey what I am experiencing! If only we poor souls on earth knew how much God loves us! If only we knew how precious is a soul when it is in the state of grace! “Lord, give us the grace to know you. To know you even a little, is to love you beyond measure, you alone, for ever! I suffer and I love! How happy I am!” Page 210.

28th of January:

Until these last few days, I was living in the heart of my Jesus, in his heart of flesh, is in a furnace of divine fire. Now in heaven, I am in the heart of the glorified Word. Since Sunday, 25th January, my state of soul is changed. That date seems to mark the first in a series of days of immense grace. I feel I am in a place of untold, infinite marvels. There in the heart of the three, nothing is tangible. What purity! What love! Visual images, imaginary representations of the eternal father, of the adorable Trinity, the Angels, the saints were hypothetical scenes of heaven have faded away. It is unlike anything our human intellect can suggest. I realize that my God, in whom I am annihilated, is granting me a signal grace in revealing to me something of the truth of the beyond, but I cannot put into words what I understand. This is the truth, of that I’m certain. There is nothing of a material nature such as delights our mortal eyes. Earth seems so far away, so dark, that it looks like a tiny black dot. And then, – how wonderful! – The Infinite takes care of this black abyss that is the entire universe, because he sees their souls that he is created and continues to create in his own divine image, souls that he loves, souls that he wants to enrich with his treasures. O, unheard-of mystery of love! God, the eternal, infinitely content in himself, wants to find happiness in giving himself to his creature… Lord, what goodness…! From the Heart of the Trinity, through the open and glorious wound in the Heart of Jesus, divine graces inundate the earth like countless turbulent oceans. I say ocean so as to use a human term… There is as much difference between what I used to imagine heaven to be like and what I understand today, as between the darkest night and daylight. Yet, I cannot see the light, I am immersed in it, I am blind; the brightness that enlightens me belongs to the furnace in which I am plunged.

Novena Prayer – Based on Prayers of Bl. Dina Bélanger

Oh Jesus, how can I express your infinite goodness to me!

You love me to distraction, with the love that can be explained

only by the insatiable thirst of your divine heart to give and to forgive.

You know my utter poverty, my weakness, the depth of my nothingness, and respond with such marvelous gifts.

You plunged me into the immensity of your grace and your mercy, like a tiny sponge in the ocean.

Countless times, when I was cold, forgetful, ungrateful,

you multiplied your invitations and your caresses.

Without a single exception, you have bestowed your graces upon me through Mary, your good mother and mine,

whom I love so much!

Strengthen my desire to let her act freely in my life so as to foster your work in me.

Good master, holy Virgin, I dedicate this novena to you

as I pray that ________(state your intention here)_____________;

I surrender this need completely to you.

May this act of obedience help me to understand

more fully your tenderness in my extreme poverty;

may it fire me with love for you and allow me to live the motto

that inspired Blessed Dina Bélanger:

Praised forever be Jesus and Marie!

I pray in your Holy Name – Jesus – you who live and reign in love, forever and ever.


Day Two: Meditation – the way to Holiness
Yesterday, we were invited by Blessed Dina to contemplate the deepest mystery of our being – the life in the holy Trinity that was given to us in our baptism and which is our heavenly home. How do we journey so that we like Dina may find ourselves among the Blessed in Heaven? The simple foundations for Dina’s journey are available to us. From the youngest of ages, this essentially private woman was content to live an intimate love with Jesus that she carefully, out of a sense of profound humility, kept as a treasured secret from those around her especially her dear parents whom she loved so much. Of them she wrote:
“Bless {my parents} in their joys, their sacrifices, their troubles. Be everything to them. To prove my gratitude to them, I have but one duty – and a very pressing duty: to become holy. It is a sacred obligation. If I fail in this, I am devoid of filial devotion… Yes, I will be holy insofar as God wills; and may I thus repay the trouble they have taken… Mama, assisted by Papa, was my first catechist. In answer to my thousands of ‘Why’s’, they would attribute everything good to God, and speak to me about the Blessed Virgin, the angels and saints.”
How often parents do not understand the rich fruits of their labours implanting the faith flourish unseen. Séraphia and Octave Bélanger showered so many gifts on their only living child, none so great as the Gift of Faith. And Jesus nurtured this planting. Dina describes her seven-year-old self at school
“My young soul found prayer very attractive. At home, at the sacred time, it was easy to recollect myself; I was used to joining my hands, closing my eyes and shutting out any noise there was around me.… Silence was no problem for me. I took care not to say a single word once the signal had been given {by our teacher to begin prayer}. How God favoured me and giving me the strength to allow myself to be formed in my childhood and youth! I am only just beginning to discover the abundance of graces he showered on me so that his loving designs might be fulfilled in me.”
Dina already began to know the fruit of prayer – its intimacy with Jesus that spilled over into doing special actions of love that only Jesus could see.
When people spoke to me about small sacrifices, it did not scare me at all; I felt such an interior joy in being able to offer some of them to Jesus. I try to hide them from everyone, even from my parents. I began to conceal my interior feelings of piety and devotion. My soul was turning inwards so as to be completely open only to its Creator.
She writes about the turn her prayer to meditation at the age of 10
“it was Jesus in the Tabernacle who first taught me to meditate. One afternoon, towards evening, I was alone in the church. While I was praying, I felt a strong desire to meditate. Before my eyes, in my prayer book, were the words: Lord, my God! My mind was lost in pious reflection on these divine appellations. I lost count of time and the Master continued to enlighten me for half an hour. Another time, present in his monstrous, he held my whole being captive. I was gazing at him, without moving; I said to him, interiorly: “Jesus, I know that it is you who are present there in the Host. Oh! Show yourself to me, let me see you with my eyes; I so long to see you!” I contemplated him for a very long time. I was inflamed with the desire to see him. The gentle Prisoner answered my prayer with a great increase of faith in his Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It was a signal grace.”
Like St. Therese of Lisieux, nature and its beauties drew this child into meditation.
I spent the summer in the country with nature, with its beauty and varied richness, threw me into a kind of ecstasy: twilight, moonlight, plants, flowers, fruit, streams, rivers, butterflies, birds, etc. I found the mild breezes, the rustling of leaves, the silence of the evening, the twinkling smile of the stars enthralling. Although I did not realize it, my musings were a form of devout meditation. They were to become deeper and deeper, soon being termed contemplation and reducing me to silence, lost in admiration, burning with gratitude and love for the infinite, consumed with the desire to possess him, Beauty itself, in all its perfection.
She is very clear that she considers all of this richly religious childhood an incredible gift of God… Who was making a silent space to meet her, brothers and sisters, that same God is at work in us in the same way. Meditation and intimacy with God is not only for mystics. Dina found writing about herself extremely painful, yet doing it out of obedience she was happy if her beloved Jesus was known and loved by others through it:

“Oh! If only souls knew how merciful our Saviour is, how he loves to forgive us, they would always approach him with unlimited confidence! Our weaknesses do not deter his love; they are for him the foundation of our holiness. All he asks is our goodwill, our repentance and trust in his mercy. I would like to tell of the indulgence he has shown towards me all my life, but for that I would need to understand it myself.”

Beyond understanding is the indulgent love of Jesus. Let us for a few moments indulge Jesus in silence, letting Him love us.


How merciful you were to Blessed Dina – Lord Jesus!
How merciful you are to us – Lord Jesus!
Open the hearts of our parents to be confident as they never cease to bring their children to you.
Open the hearts of our children that they may long to be saints.
Give us the grace of silence to hear your melodious voice.
Grant to your Church that you may be adored and worshipped in all the Tabernacles of the World where you await with the gift of meditation.
Help us to delight in the gifts of nature and so be led to long for you who are Beauty itself.
May Blessed Dina’s prayer be answered and all souls know how merciful our Saviour is

Day Three – To act out of Love for Jesus Alone

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary ….

Blessed Dina Belanger, pray for us.

Our Lady of the Annunciation, pray for us.

Agonizing Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

Blessed Dina set out on her interior journey with the discipline of a pianist used to practice. To be a pianist you have so study scales, to be a saint you must have a rule of life. At sixteen she wrote:

I drew up a rule of life: morning and evening prayers, Mass, Holy Communion, Rosary, at least 10 minutes meditation each day; weekly confession, as had been my custom since the year of my First Communion. In this rule of life, I also wrote down my duties towards my neighbour and towards myself. I can summarize it all by saying; death with all its potential suffering rather than consent to the least venial sin; in order to achieve this, to pray and never drawback before renunciation. The examination of conscience every evening was at that time of great assistance in preserving my peace of mind; through it, I could see clearly into my conscience and I kept it in order.

The Belanger family was part of a very active social scene in Québec, and Dina with her talent at the piano was often at the center of things. But there was a silence that also attended to her. Despite it causing people to wonder what was going on in this child, Dina kept care that her interior life not be paraded before anyone including her parents. Already, at a young age, Dina began to taste the moments of trial and spiritual suffering that comes to all those who seek to follow the Lord.

When people spoke in my presence about the spiritual life, about asceticism, I concealed my understanding of the serious subjects treated. By a ray of his light, Jesus would reveal the truth to me in an instant, far more effectively than lengthy conversations in human languages.

During my Thanksgiving after communion, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament or meditation, my divine friend often enlightened me. At the same time, dryness and distractions did not reduce my fervour. For some time (perhaps when I was a little younger), I remember being in such a state of dryness, numbness, that I appreciated even the inexpressible grace of baptism more by reason and will then by any feeling of love. I had nothing to say to our Lord; I felt completely indifferent to religious matters. At these times, when I was shrouded in darkness, I would pour out my soul at the feet of Jesus, offering him my poverty and my suffering.

Brothers and sisters, is this not so often our lot? Our human relationships go through peaks and valleys, even more intensely so too does our relationship with the Lord. And Dina, a person of great sensitivity shows us that our anchor in faith carries us through everything because it allows us to see Jesus carrying us through in everything.

People would say to me: you know nothing about suffering; you have never experienced any adversity.” They were right, since their judgement was based on appearances, on the exterior and our normal natural inclinations. It was impossible to surmise from the exterior, that my happiness was not complete. Only, what enthralled the world was tortured to me: esteem, pleasure – even when legitimate – plunged me into boredom. In contrast, what the world dreaded and was wary of – suffering and renunciation – I loved passionately, because Jesus made me feel as he did.

And Jesus’ suffering was great in that year of 1914. As the world spiraled into the insanity of the First World War Dina offered her self to Jesus in a spirit of reparation. She knew well that there was a and deeper and more destructive enemy warring against her.

The evil spirit had not given up the battle in my regard. Certainly not. But the protection of Jesus was so attentive and strong that it prevented me from slipping down the hazardous slope. For those who love God, everything turns to good. I passed close to the abyss and did not see it. The danger was great, yet at that moment I did not realize it. How good the master is to those who love him! Several times in my life, I have found myself blinded, without suspecting it, when faced with danger. “Oh, divine tenderness! Oh, infinite love! How can I sing your praises! My God, thank you for ever for protecting my soul, for hearing my good desires!”

It is at this time, at the age of 17, that blessed Dina began her deliberate journey to abandon herself to the most intimate union with our Lord what she was to call “the substitution of Jesus for myself

One day, I heard about the offering by which the soul abandoned itself entirely to divine Love as a victim. Scarcely had I learned about this gift of oneself, known as the heroic offering, then I offered myself; I abandoned myself entirely to the will of Jesus as his victim.… I felt this time that it implied more sacrifices, more acts of reparation. Could I refuse to make use of the means others employed to serve the infinite master? No. Besides, when I discovered a generous practice, when I received a heavenly light, it was always accompanied by such a powerful grace that I had to follow the inspiration: I was carried along by an irresistible force; it would’ve taken a more painful effort to resist than to let myself be carried along in its wholesome current.

What is the result brothers and sisters of surrendering to the providence of God protecting supporting forgiving and loving us? Blessed Dina tells us:

That is why I am happy, yes, happy to acknowledge the favours of the beloved towards his little bride. I repeat, if in heaven Jesus rewards me for what I have done during my time on earth, it will be once more through an excess of tenderness. As for me, I have done nothing, nothing, nothing except commit blunders. It is he alone who is done good deeds. “Immense love of my God, who will ever understand you… Oh Jesus, your heart thirsts, it needs to give itself ceaselessly to poor creatures. Oh! Consumed me totally in this love which is my only possible response to your gifts.”

Let us listen to the Heart of Jesus.


Prayer Reflection:

a poem by blessed Dina

Of love, I want to live and die!

Grant, Jesus, to my heart’s desire,

Your brightly burning flame.

In your heaven, all I claim

To delight in radiance above,

Is yourself, O God of love


This young woman who desired at the age of 16 to become a religious was like Thérèse not allowed by her spiritual director to enter. But, she tells us many times in her life God had other plans for her and what seemed at the moment like a setback was actually the foundation for a new blessing she was able to spend more time with her parents and then to leave them to go and study in New York where she trained to become a concert pianist. Very talented, she returned to Quebec to the bon monde – the beautiful world to which she belonged. Her very well-healed and well-respected parents were delighted to bring her into society in which there was much fuss and bother over appearances. In the midst of all this, however, and throughout all of this journey the Lord was forming her as she interiorly climbed the mountain. She found herself by God’s grace finally able to enter religious life, though in a community she did not expect. She joined the community with whom she had boarded in New York:  les Religieuses de Jésus et Marie. Let us listen to some of her reflections about her time in novitiate.

I strove to acquire an agreeable virtue: that of smiling at everything, at events as much as at people. I had always had a melancholy expression; I had to overcome this ugly habit for as the gentle bishop of Geneva [St. Francis de Sales] said, “a sad saint is a sorry saint”. This truism suited me well. Jesus gave me to understand that true interior joy is reflected in one’s facial expression; his divine lessons taught me to accept everything with a smile. Alas! Does nature get the better of my good intentions? The Master is the best judge. (120)

 And so, she went to work. This woman who was a concert pianist went to work as a teacher of children who may or may not have been particularly talented. Nonetheless, the were entrusted to her. She writes:

 “I was entrusted with the task of giving piano lessons to a few students. This was my introduction to work. The supernatural goal I set myself was as far about my natural inclinations as morality is above the profane. I saw Jesus himself in my pupils. I imagined him at the same age as each of the pupils who came for a lesson. Who was teaching? – Again, Jesus since he was living in me. How easy it was, then to gain my initial experience! I could not have been more assiduous had our Lord been visibly at my side. I tried to offer Jesus the entire day, that is, not refusing him in anything and working only for him. I wanted my life to be an unbroken prayer by remaining continually united to him in my prayer, my work, and my rest”. (120)

Of course, the life of a novice was challenging because she was asked to be with many others – she of a naturally interior inclination. Yet, this life was one of having the great joy of being constantly in the divine presence because every novitiate has in their home the presence of Jesus in a chapel. And it was before Jesus in the Eucharist on a Christmas Day that Blessed Dina had the following encounters.

At Christmas, in the white Host, I received the Baby Jesus. One morning, this sweet Child said to me:

Would you like to play a game of love?

I saw myself just as small as he was. “Oh, yes, dear Jesus!” I replied.

Well! He said, whichever of us can love the most will win.

Then I had a sudden inspiration. I had a powerful means of playing the game. “Oh yes.”

I created you continued our loving saviour, I gave you the gift of faith from the dawn of your existence, I surrounded you with countless precious graces, I redeemed you, pardoned you, called you to religious life: all that out of love. And you?

“Jesus, I love you is much as I can and, to prove my love, I want to refuse you nothing, nothing at all.”

I know, but my love is infinite, and yours?

“Mine, oh Divine Child, is infinite like yours, because I love you with your own heart!”

You are right; so, it is a draw, we have both won!

Another morning, my dear little king suggested:

Let’s play the game of the cross, shall we?

“Yes, Jesus.” I did not feel quite as courageous about that game as about the game of love because it seemed more difficult to win.

Whoever succeeds best in carrying the cross will win.

“As you wish.”

Look, in Bethlehem, I was born in poverty; in Egypt, at Nazareth, during my public life, on Calvary, always and everywhere I endured suffering and humiliation; and since then, in the Eucharist, complete annihilation, and of how many insults am I not the victim in the sacrament of love! And what have you suffered for me?

“Jesus, I am happy to accept all the small crosses you deign to send me, and I thank you in advance for those that in your goodness you have reserved for me.”

I have borne and endured everything without complaining.

I began to hesitate: “my good Master, you know my sincere desire, my firm intention, never to be unfaithful to the least of your graces. I am weak, but you know my nature. And I love your cross passionately, and everything about it that is most painful.”

                My sufferings, went on my loving Saviour, are of infinite value. What are yours worth?

I saw that mine were poor, miserable; I turned sadly to the Blessed Virgin, begging her to inspire me. Light dawned at once. “Jesus”, I replied contentedly, “I unite mine with yours and so my poverty is clothed in your infinite merits.”

Alright! Concluded the divine Child, we have both won again! (123 – 125)

Jesus often took me far above the earth to talk to him in greater tranquility. Or else, he would raise me a little above the earth and show it to me. I saw that it was dark, overcast, black. How, then, was it possible not to mourn over one’s exile and long ardently for our eternal home!

Day Five: “I was in intense Darkness. Jesus was sleeping”

The practice of union with God, as I have already described it, continued to be the subject of my particular examen. I added that I wanted to act out of love for Jesus alone; not seeking either myself or any created thing. (126)

My brothers and sisters, Jesus the divine child, Jesus the suffering man,  Jesus the strong and dutiful son, Jesus the inspiring teacher, Jesus the Risen King of the universe is always conversing with us. Let us listen to him in silence.

We left our beloved Dina at the end of the first book of the recollections that she was instructed to write by her mother superior prior to her full entry into religious life. By 1924 she had been in religious life for a while already and her desire to be completely united with Christ Jesus was now coming to its fulfilment. And the road, she well knew, was to be one of suffering and darkness. Called to be one with Jesus, called to share in his victory alone, called to a life of perfection, she discovered the emptiness of our Lord on the Cross as her way.

On New Year’s Day, in the morning at meditation, my dear Bridegroom greeted me and gave me his gift. What did he wish me? – Love! I was to let him have his own way, and let his Mother and mine have her way. And his gift? – Oh, joy! It was suffering!

This led her to be confined, away from the rest of the community because of the scarlet fever she had contracted with teaching young children in Québec. In the silence she heard the voice of Jesus constantly giving her the numbers of the days she had yet to live. She followed this journey of suffering, however, she was not alone for she was, like we are, surrounded by a choir of angels and a cloud of witnesses. There were two especially precious for her:

“Several paragraphs earlier I mentioned blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus. For some time now, I have found it impossible to address her in any other way than by saying ‘Teresa, my little sister’. I have to use ‘tu’ the familiar also in speaking her name. This intimacy gives me great joy. As for St. Cecilia, I had not the courage to take the same liberty with her. I called her first, St. Cecilia, my patron; then I replaced the word my patron with my big sister. Then I decided to address her familiarly as: Cecilia, my big sister. Very often now, I beg the protection of my two patrons or I converse with them saying over and over: Cécile and Thérèse, pray for us, or I confide to you this intention.” (176)

Like Thérèse she knew the intimacy of the Lord’s love. And like Thérèse, she was to know the emptiness that comes with no longer feeling the Lord’s presence.

On my birthday, during my Thanksgiving, my dear master and his court greeted me. It was another divine favour that filled me with consolation. I was then the same age as Ste-Cécile was when Jesus called her to eternal union with him.

My good master also takes pleasure in sleeping. I am often in darkness, as in the depths of night, I understand nothing. As I am always given the grace to love, what more do I need?

It was to grow deeper and more difficult. She writes:

From July onwards, I was in intense darkness. Jesus was sleeping deeply; not only was he asleep, but he seemed to turn me away, as if displeased with my behaviour. I saw myself going down to hell; was not that the place I deserved? My actions seemed so poor and imperfect that each of them was worthless. My trust and self abandonment grew in proportion to the depth of the darkness. What is signal grace my good Master was granting me! My peace increased. I was surviving not on the peace and self-abandonment that the heart feels when it is full of joy but on that firm trust based on love, that unshakable trust that comes from the will when it believes and hopes in the infinite goodness of God. I immersed myself more deeply and my only Good, I tried to become more and more annihilated. Often, I would say: “Jesus, you seem to be turning me away. Alright! Just because of that, I will hide myself deeper in your heart. I can see myself going down to hell: just as you wish, Jesus, only we will both go there, for we can no longer be separated since I am annihilated in you. There, in the depths of the everlasting chasms, I will love you, my divine bridegroom: then it will no longer be hell, because in hell there can be no love!” At times, I clung to the anchor of trust and felt as if I were suspended over the abyss of discouragement; in pure abandonment, I clung more vehemently to my God. I again repeated: “Jesus, you seem to be very displeased with me! No, no, I cannot stay under this impression. I know, I believe that you love me and you know well that I love you, that I want to love you as ardently and purely as possible. You loved Mary Magdalene… Oh! I know that you pity me. I love you and abandon myself to you: therein lies my happiness and my peace.”

Brothers and sisters, often in our life especially when we enter into the longing to journey with the Lord we meet this withdrawal of feelings from Jesus. Indeed, we meet that withdrawing of our feelings for and from other. Jesus is with us in that hell and it is hell no longer. For if we love and trust then hell is no more. In the midst of Jesus’ withdrawal blessed Dina received permission to make a vow of perfection:

“My God, with your grace and the help of Mary, my good Mother, I make the vow of the greatest perfection. Jesus, I vowed to let you have your way as perfectly as you desire to act in me; I vow always to choose to do what is most perfect.” I ask God’s blessing and then I begged the help of the most blessed virgin by reciting the Hail Mary three times; and I kissed the ground as a sign of my helplessness and of my trust in God. I felt no consolation. It is true my peace was sweet but Jesus was still sleeping; not a word from him or from the Blessed Virgin, or from any one in heaven.

To be annihilated in Christ is to be able to say along with St. Paul, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” It is to be invited to be with Jesus in the abyss of the Cross. The emptiness of the Cross is a divine emptiness beyond our understanding. Becoming sin with us and for us Jesus knows utter abandonment. Yesterday little Owen, a Down syndrome member of this parish said to me when I asked him how he was, “I’m sad.” I asked, “why are you sad?” He said, “because Jesus died on the cross.”

I love you Jesus! Oh! How I love you! Then I often take my crucifix and kiss the sacred wounds, the wound in his right shoulder and his adorable lips, and I said: “Dear Jesus, if I had not done this stupid thing you would not have had so many kisses, so many acts of love.” I think my dear Master delights in letting me fail involuntarily, so that he can act with mercy towards me and spur me on to greater acts of trust. What is certain is that my blunders foster love and humility in my soul. I am incapable of putting into words the extent to which I feel worthy of contempt. Each morning, I renew my sacred vow in the same circumstances and the same way as on the first day. I am so happy. Human language can in no way convey my happiness.…!