From Céline to Mme Guérin - November 14, 1887.

From Céline to Mme. Guérin.

November 14, 1887

Dear Aunt,

You're the first to whom I'm writing from Rome, the Eternal City, the unique City, the homeland of martyrs and saints. And in union with these heavenly inhabitants, I come to wish you a happy feast. 

Dear Aunt, your joyful feast day, which we look forward to so much every year, will go by without us. No, [1 v°] not without us, for our hearts are near you, especially on this occasion. I prayed hard for you in all the shrines I visited and I thank you for all the trouble you went to back home. Your two letters gave me much joy. I think you are so good! If you only knew how I pitied you; I can see you look­ing for the pears, making preserves, such annoying things! while your lazy goddaughter spends the rainy season happily in a delightful country where the sun smiles every day, where the fields are bedecked with daisies, and where the gardens are all in bloom.

If it were only this!. . . It is very beautiful but passing. These delightful pearls that God casts under our feet are nothing; they pale in the presence of the marvels which we are witnessing. Rome! Oh, dear Aunt, how can I speak to you about it? My heart is so moved. Today, we visited ancient Rome, that is, outside the walls; we went through the Roman countryside, passed along the Appian Way, so famous because of historic and holy memories.

St. Paul walked it to go to his martyrdom.... I drank some water from the fountain produced by the bounds made by the head of this great Saint. 1 saw the little prison where he spent three days; it is walled in, but through a little window I was able to thrust in my hand quite far, perhaps farther than many people. When treading this holy ground in this way, my heart leaps and my tears are hidden with difficulty. Dear Aunt, I could not begin to tell you all the things we see; each step uncovers something new; my heart is overflowing and I'm going to stop. Oh! at the sight of these sacred relics, what heart would remain silent? They cry out: be saints! life is short, very short, so work while it is still day. The dead in their tombs tell you that all is passing away....

We saw in the catacombs a skeleton lying within its tight enclosure, but I'm staying up too late, I could continue in this way until midnight.

Au revoir, dear Aunt. I kiss you. How I love you, and I wish you an exceptional feast celebrated by the angels.... I kiss dear Un­cle, dear little Jeanne, Marie, Marie and Pauline. We received all their letters; we were on the lookout, and there was no danger of allowing one of them to escape.

I kiss Marcelline and Maria and all those dear to us, our friends, everybody. ...


If the Carmel were to see this letter because of some informa­tion I have given, I believe they would be happy.

Papa told me to give all best regards and to wish you a happy feast.

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc