From Céline to Jeanne La Néele - July 25, 1892.

From Céline to Jeanne La Néele - July 25, 1892. 

25th July 1892

My dear, darling little Jeanne,

It has been a very long while since I last wrote to you, and yet you know how much I’m thinking of you and with how much affection I love you! My happiness would be indescribable if you lived near me and I could see you every day, but on earth there is no perfect joy; it is to make us understand that heaven alone is our true Homeland.

Just now I am alone (in Lisieux with Léonie, to watch Mr. Martin. Jeanne was in Caen, the Guérin family in La Musse) and life is not very cheerful [l v°] despite all that our good family in Lisieux is doing to distract us (the “good family in Lisieux” refers to the Maudelonde family). Not a day goes by without one of the two meals taking place in town. This should help the time go quickly but, well, it seems to be going very slowly, very very slowly. However all things pass in this world and soon I shall see all those I love again. I can assure you that I wasn’t cheery the morning they left. When the carriage pulled away, tears were not far from my eyes.

You will say that my thoughts are not very cheerful today; it is perhaps true. But that is because looking at the bright side [2r°] of life is not always easy for us. Our life is surely good on the faith side of things, but it is not bright! Well, that’s the important thing, because goodness still has the edge on brightness.

Let’s talk about something else. There’s not much news in Lisieux. I heard that Gabrielle Delaporte was very ill, she had to be administered the last sacraments, but not having heard anything since I believe she is recovering. – At home, there is hardly any news. Papa is bearing up; I daren’t say well, because he has had several very sad days, suffering harrowing fits of anxiety and weeping, which broke [2v°] my heart. Today he is cheerful, so I can breathe again. Oh how I pity him and share in his pain! Yesterday he said to me: “O my children, pray hard for me!...” and then he also told me to ask Saint Joseph “that he may die a saint”. Help me, my darling little Jeanne, and dear Francis, to assist him in his distress by praying for him. He needs it so much.

I have some more news. You know, no doubt, that Léonie asked, instead of a holiday in La Musse, to take a retreat at the Visitation. It was agreed that she would go when everyone was back, that is to say at the end of August. But the Mother Superior wrote saying she [3r°]couldn’t receive her at that time, and that if she had a retreat to take, she would have to do so either before 15th August or at the end of November. That put me in a bit of an awkward position and as I had nobody to advise me, I took a decision on my own. Not everyone finds pleasure in the same things; I find it in La Musse, Léonie at the Visitation. If she had preferred La Musse, I would have had to let her go and remain home alone, so there is no reason why I should refuse her this. It is true that I would have preferred her retreat to take place when everyone [3v°] was back. But if you can’t beat them, join them and I would have been very sorry to deprive Léonie for my personal satisfaction.

November is very late, it’s cold, and then for Léonie “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!” I therefore took the responsibility upon myself to send her. I think that Aunt will approve of the way I handled things.

The decision taken, Léonie wrote to the Visitation to inform them. Her plan is this: She will leave on Wednesday, that is to say the day after tomorrow at 9 o’clock and arrive in Caen at about 11 o’clock I think. She would be very pleased to find Jules (Dr. La Néele’s coach-driver) and the carriage at the station if you are able. From there she will go to your house and have lunch and then go to the Visitation in the afternoon. – If she doesn’t receive a letter from the Visitation or if they can’t accept her on Wednesday, I will very quickly write to you so that you don’t send the carriage, otherwise you won’t receive a letter. I will summarize: if there are no instructions to the contrary, I won’t write to you, if there are instructions to the contrary, you will receive a letter on Wednesday morning.

What a lot of words to say not very much! Forgive your Céline who always finds that time goes quickly when she is talking to [4v°] you. Well, are you still pleased with your maid? I would like you to have as much peace of mind as I have. To this date I am completely satisfied with my servants, and if it could last I wouldn’t complain.

I was anxious to send you this little letter, my darling little sister, for Saint Anne’s day… I wanted to tell you how hard I’m praying for you and of my wishes for your happiness on this day. Tomorrow I will offer Holy Communion for you, and what’s more, it’s the end of our novena and the whole family will become one heart and one soul at the foot of the tabernacle. Such an Appointment is very sweet and Saint Anne cannot fail to subscribe to our petition!

[4v°tv] I send you my kisses, darling little sister, and my love to you and Francis. Léonie does the same.

Your little Céline.

[lr°tv] I believe I will find myself forced to tell the family where Léonie is. To hide her would be ridiculous, well, I’ll see.

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