From Céline to Thérèse - August 19, 1894

From Céline to Thérèse - August 19, 1894

Dear little Thérése,

I am not going to write you at length, for Marie will give you a multitude of details she knows moreover better than I; I want simp­ly to tell you the sorrow caused me by this war that is going on in an underhanded way.

Jeanne and Francis are really dead set against me, they are talk­ing with great bitterness. They reproach me with many things, and when Marie has pinned them down on one point, they find another complaint. First, they say that I do not have a vocation, that I was destined to be the mother of a family, that 1 should have spoken earlier about this attraction to the religious life, that I am foolish to decide so quickly, that if they were to offer me a good match, I would take it, that it is an impulse, out of desperation that I am entering the convent, etc.; afterward, it is about yourselves [the Carmelites], you are monopolizers, and you and I are low in their

estimation, etc.; afterward, it is because I am ungrateful to be leav­ing so quickly after Papa's death! I should have finished my time of mourning in the world, strengthened my vocation, and given at least one year to Uncle and Aunt out of gratitude, etc., etc. It never comes to an end... and I could not tell you how worked up they are. Never would I have believed that my vocation, already so much tried, would have met with so much anger. I am twenty-five years old, I know what I am doing, and they should know that never have I appeared inclined to marriage; they should have guessed that im­mediately after the departure of our dear Father, my first care was to settle down, and they should not blame me for this. Finally! Since that is how it is! And they are pitiless when it comes to souls con­secrated to God; it seems that religious deserve everything when it comes to contempt and trouble, and Jeanne would have preferred to see me go to Jerusalem rather than to Lisieux.

Thérèse! do you know what I think? I am already a daughter of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa since my lot is "to suffer and to be despised." The glory surrounding such a step on the part of a young girl is being refused to me. But I look upon this as a grace and a pledge of predilection. Uncle is admirable; he is making much of me, caresses me, and I see that he is broken-hearted. Francis and Jeanne are careful not to make their statements in front of him.

I thought that M. le Curé de St. Jacques would perhaps be on retreat for the week of September 14; maybe you could inform him about the date I have chosen so that he would leave the first week, the week of the 3rd. I would be very sad if I had to give up the date of September 14. I see Léonie every day. I go to the ocean every day. Yesterday, we fished for crabs, and I did not see one. I prayed to Papa, and they were plentiful, a real miraculous catch, more than one hundred, and I was the one who saw the most.... If you can write me a word, I will be delighted, but we are returning on Wednes­day night, so write me immediately... should I have my picture taken?

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

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