From Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart to Mme Guérin - undated [1898?]
What we gave you was the oil in the drum. Léonie didn’t understand my instructions. I asked her to tell Uncle that I thought the drum and tinplate canister both contained olive oil. Because on the tinplate thingy, it’s written “Olive” in large letters and there’s a big olive branch. Seeing this, I didn’t take any from it to fry the fish, and as we still had a little olive oil left, I wanted to wait before opening it. I think that the merchant quite simply made a mistake and sent all olive oil, which is why I wanted Uncle to be informed.
How upset I was to hear he was so sick and to see him suffer so cruelly. We love our dear uncle so much. I prayed our little Thérèse to soothe his pain but I inwardly said to myself: In heaven you see things more clearly than here, in this miserable life; that’s why she’s allowing us to suffer. She’s doing what she said she would: “she’s looking God in the eyes.” And seeing his will and the treasures that await us, our dear little angel doesn’t dare say much. This thought comforts me when I see you one or other of you grappling with all the miseries of this life. My heart, first of all, is torn because I always imagine that God is on the point of stealing my treasures from me, like He did my poor father. “I’m bracing myself” at every instant. And to dry my tears, I say to myself: After all, this isn’t true life; true life lies beyond…
Sr. Marie of the Eucharist was telling me at recreation yesterday that when she passed the infirmary where our little Thérèse flew away, she opened the Gospel she carries on her, and asked her to give her some words of comfort. She read these words: “And His kingdom shall have no end.” I thought this very lovely, and very true. I was deeply enraptured thinking that our little queen was today reigning in His everlasting Kingdom.
I must leave you quickly, darling Aunt. With lots of love to you and Uncle and Léonie,
Sr. M. of the S. Heart
Written cross-ways Sr. Geneviève thanks you for the nice pears, as does the Sister in charge of the pantry.
In pencil Benjamin would like to know Céline Pottier’s address.