From sr Marie of the Sacred Heart to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - 1913

From sr Marie of the Sacred Heart to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - 1913                                        

Jesus +                                                                          

Carmel of Lisieux 1913

Darling little sister,

If I had known that Jeanne was going to see you, I would have written sooner. Sr. Geneviève would like her to know that she can have the furniture from papa’s bedroom, or at least some of what was there, and we daren’t tell her. It must appear as if it came from you. Sr. Geneviève told me she had explained to you how to go about it. We can’t really speak freely to Jeanne because she doesn’t share our opinions at all. So it’s impossible to talk to her about Les Buissonnets; we feel she doesn’t approve of anything we’re doing. And yet I assure you things are being done wisely and in good taste. Thérèse’s bedroom is ready. Tomorrow, a pretty little altar in imitation white marble, which arrived here from Paris yesterday, will be placed in the alcove. We have unwrapped it so as to admire it at leisure and tomorrow it will be taken to Les Buissonnets. There’s also a console table in the same style for the statue of the Bl. Virgin (modeled on the statue that was there before) to stand on and pretty candlesticks, which are simple yet refined. When everything is ready, we’ll have photographs taken of the room and you can judge for yourself.

Darling little sister, it’s fortunate we’re working for no one but God and that we aren’t expecting any approbation from his creatures. Otherwise we would be lost. So, believe it or not, I’ve come to realise that I don’t wish to see her beatification, by which I mean go to Rome, although we would have every right to go. No, we are resolved to stay hidden in our dear nest where no one can reach us. And from here I’ll be able to picture exactly what is happening in St. Peter’s in Rome. I’ll see the Holy Father and the Cardinals from afar and I’ll have the immeasurable pleasure of being invisible.

O, little sister, what a lot of things I’ve experienced since I joined the Carmel, not counting the things I experienced before then. So when you told me in one of your letters that Father Robert is like family to us….. I’m not entirely of the same opinion. I find him very kind, very pious, and much else besides, but I admit that I love him no more than the next person. I no longer trust anyone but Jesus and my Superiors.

Did we not consider Father Prévost, Ninette, and Mrs. Hassebroucq part of the family, too? And how did that turn out. It’s unbelievable! Now I want to live my last days in peace and not let the pale light of creatures burn my wings.

I’m not sending you back our cousin’s letter so as to remove all temptation of replying. If she writes to you again, do as we did; send a little picture with just a couple of words on it, such as “United in Prayer” or “Yours in Jesus”. Believe me, do as we do, darling little sister. Keep all these people who want to write to you, or see you, at a distance. The world has nothing to do with us and doesn’t know what it is talking about and would readily poke fun at our expense, and take away our peace into the bargain.

Thank you for sending us the newspaper article, we had already read it. Thérèse looks beautiful in it, don’t you think?

Little sister, I don’t believe I congratulated you for having received a visit from Thérèse on 30th September. I have here the letter in which you talk about the fragrances you smelt that day! Beloved little sister, may she let you feel her gentle presence more and more and make you humble and simple and loving like her. For these are the qualities I can see shining in my darling little Léonie’s soul.

I was very pleased to receive the fine dishes from the Visitation. I wrote to your dear Mother Prioress to thank her.

Farewell until Christmas,                    

Your big sister who loves you with all her heart

I don’t think Sr. Geneviève is able to write this time but she thinks about you often and sends you lots of love. This picture is given to you by someone whose name I can’t remember. You mustn’t write to Jeanne about it, it would be better to mention it as though in passing, in person when she next comes to see you. I haven’t told you about the two postmen who, after delivering a packet containing relics, had their bags smelling of perfume for ages. They said that nothing like this had ever happened to them before.