From Céline to Jeanne Guérin - April 29, 1889.

From Céline to Jeanne Guérin. 29th April 1889.

29th April 89.

Dear little Jeanne,

Thank you for all your wishes and for those from my dear Aunt and my little Marie. Alas so much has changed over the last twenty years! What a lot of crosses and trials we have already endured! God must have loved us a lot to have caused us so much distress.

Twenty years! And God created another bond between my dear Godmother (Mrs. Guérin) and her little Céline, I happily claim all my rights…

Oh! Thank you for having thought of me, it is good to see that nobody forgot me. Even at the Carmel [1 v°] they thought of it too, it is surprising to see that people remember such a concealed date.

Jeannette1, you are mistaken, you said I’m entering my twentieth spring, you consider me younger than I am, it’s my twenty-first I’m beginning.

If only you knew how touching poor Léonie was, she brought me a lovely potted rosebush, it is quite high, its flowers are large and a light pink, it has five large buds. They represent us five who are growing up amongst thorns. She also gave me a charming little brooch, alas! I had very little need of it, I dream of putting jewelry on so little now. Nevertheless this profusion of little memories brought us a moment of cheerfulness. It also revived sorrow, for look where and in what circumstances I turned twenty! Far from my family and all those I love. My dear little Jeanne, Léonie and I are two lonely little sparrows, our soft and warm nest has little by little grown deserted. As soon as they could the birds took flight one after the other, however two stayed, surrounding their Father with their care, alas! They had nobody left but him! As he grew older the bonds grew stronger. Peace reigned in the already decimated soft nest, when all of a sudden [2 v°] a breath of wind scattered the Father and the little ones. Their dwelling is deserted and like the dove from the ark they have nowhere to set foot (Gen. 8:9). There they are, wandering from branch to branch, asking for their beloved Father in the echoes…

Little sister, we are these sorry sparrows wailing far from their Homeland but the day will come when tears turn to smiles, here below we sow in tears to harvest in joy (Ps. 125:6)... These thoughts are consoling and make life bearable.

My little Jeanne, I had a thousand things to tell you today but as I’m coming on Saturday I will save them until then. If I don’t write between now and then we will arrive at about 10 o’clock as usual, but we won’t stop at the Carmel because it’s their breakfast time (since Easter, the Carmel had resumed its summer timetable: meals at 10am and 6pm), we will probably go at 3 o’clock.

I would like Marie to make some chocolate rice for the Feast of the Good Shepherd. We must give our poor Carmelites all the sweets possible.

In my last letter I wanted to say something for Marcelline but I was in too much of a hurry, make up for this oversight by telling her that we are thinking of her. (Marcelline Husé, servant to the Guérins, who had just lost her mother in mid-April).

Give my love to my dear Aunt, my uncle and the little Marie of my heart (I forgive her for her mischief).

Lots of affection from your Céline.

[1 r°tv] As I was lost in my thoughts I forgot or rather believed I told you how our dear Father was; he is not well right now, an attack seems to be threatening, he is very restless, and I can only rely on what people tell me. We saw him twice through the chapel window and every day we take him his newspaper, which is a pastime for him; I’ve seen him read it in the courtyard.

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