From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 13, 1900
+ Jesus J.M .J.T. 13th May 1900
Today, the anniversary of my first Communion, I have the joy of congratulating you on being accepted for Holy Profession.
I know now how difficult it is. When I lived out in the world, I considered profession as a joke and I thought that once in the convent, a postulant or novice was always accepted. Now I see that Chapter meetings frighten the poor novices and with good cause. I therefore congratulate you, Léonie. You are the last in the family to irrevocably consecrate yourself to Jesus, and in your case this required a miracle of grace. Our Thérèse worked this miracle. It was not in vain that, on the day of her profession, she said, “If Léonie doesn’t have the vocation, well, you are all-powerful, my God, perform a miracle and give it to her!” Our Lord did not see fit to answer her prayer. He wanted this miracle to be worked by her little hands. The devil was therefore well and truly duped. He wanted to thwart God’s plans, as it were, and deny Him His wish, and now he is vanquished by a child. It serves him right. Now he is utterly humiliated.
Darling little sister, we all belong to Jesus now. Heaven is only a step away. But first we must fight, we must battle and we must save souls. Our Lord again showed me that this is what He wants me to do, and He did so in an utterly incredible and symbolic way. You remember the story about the little swallow that was carried off by a sparrowhawk. It took place on 6th August, my feast day, after I had asked Thérèse for a little gift, which she never refuses me. It happened on the evening of my feast day, and although it had been a very sad day, the event helped me progress in fervour and zeal for souls. On 28th April this year, on the evening of my birthday, I was complaining that Thérèse hadn’t given me anything when, during recreation, I was asked to run an errand that I found very hard to do. I had to walk past the sacristy, which at that time was the stage of many a personal struggle. I had been suffering terribly, and even though I was practicing virtue as best I could, I kept asking myself whether I was pleasing Jesus, whether He was pleased with me and whether I was saving souls with my little victories. So, as I was saying, I was walking past the sacristy windows, because it was on my way, when I heard harrowing bird cries. I looked up, and what did I see: an enormous bird of prey holding a lovely thrush in its claws. A blackbird was lying lifeless on the ground. I began chasing the animal, having scared it by my presence. He flew around me in the cloisters. Not knowing how to make him drop his prey, I took out our handkerchief and, waving it at the bird, I cornered it. Finally, it was so frightened that it let go of the poor thrush, which quickly flew away. I was very moved, and even very sad. But Jesus chose to enlighten me inwardly. For several days afterwards, I felt flooded with light. This was part of my birthday present. (I must tell you that nothing similar has ever been seen at the Carmel.) I therefore realised it wasn’t necessary to be a great soul and have powerful weapons with which to tear the devil’s prey from him. A small act of inner denial, even the smallest of sacrifices, will suffice. They can be compared to my waving the handkerchief. It’s like the story of David and the giant Goliath. The fatally-wounded bird can signify the soul in a state of mortal sin, and the other, an “innocent” soul that the devil tries to bring down. But, in the 2 examples I was shown, neither victim became the vulture’s food. This means that our little victories convert and save all souls and every type of sinner from eternal damnation, from the smallest to the greatest.
I’ll leave you now, darling sister. Ah, pray that zeal and love quickly consume my heart!
I love you more than words can say. I must hurry because it’s time for Matins.
Your little Geneviève
I won’t forget to pray for your intentions and those of your revered Mothers, whom I love. God will accomplish His will. We thought it remarkable that this scene unfolded in front of the sacristy windows under the cloisters, in the very arena of my struggles.