LT 180 - To Mme La Néele



LT 180

From Thérèse to Mme. La Néele.

October 14-17, 1895



October 14-15, and 17, 1895

Dear Jeanne,

I seem to see and hear you while reading your letter; it gives me great pleasure to learn of the loving sickness that Uncle and Aunt came to bring you from Lisieux, and I hope that you are not yet cured of your attack of gaiety.. .this is probable since the famous member of the Faculty, in spite of his universal knowledge, cannot find any remedy for his dear little Jeanne. If by chance he were to discover one, I beg him not to forget our Carmel, for the whole novitiate is stricken by the contagion since the entrance "of the lit­tle rascal who deepened the wrinkles and whitened the hair" of her dear Fifine.

It is a great consolation for me, the old senior of the novitiate, to see so much gaiety surrounding my last days; it rejuvenates me and, in spite of my seven and a half years of religious life, my gravi­ty often breaks down in the presence of the charming rascal who delights the whole Community. If you had only seen her the other day with your photograph and that of Francis, it would have made you laugh!... Our Mother had brought them into our recreation and was having them passed around to each Sister; when Sister Marie of the Eucharist's turn came, she took the photographs one after the other, giving them her most gracious smiles and saying to each: "Bonjour, Fifine.... Bonjour, Séraphin." These expressions of tenderness made all the Carmelites laugh, who are very happy to have so nice a postulant. Her beautiful voice is the joy and delight of our recreations, but what delights my heart especially, more than our dear angel's talents and exterior qualities, is her disposition to virtue.

The sacrifice God has just asked from you is very great, dear Jeanne, but has He not promised: "to the one who for Him leaves father or mother or sister.. .a hundredfold in this life"? Well, for His sake, you did not hesitate to separate yourself from a sister dear beyond all that can be expressed! Ah! Jesus will be obliged to hold to His promise. ... I know that usually these words are applied to religious souls, however, I feel in the depths of my heart that they were spoken for the generous parents who make the sacrifice of children dearer to them than they are to themselves. . ..

Have you not already received the hundredfold promised?... Yes, already your little Marie's sweet peace and happiness have escaped the cloister grilles to be diffused into your own soul. ... I have an interior conviction that soon you will receive a richer hundredfold, a little angel will come to delight your home and receive your mater­nal kisses....

Dear little sister, I should have begun by thanking you for the gift you want to offer me for my feast day; I was really touched by it, I assure you. But pardon me if I express my taste very simply. Since you want to please me, I would prefer, instead of the fish, a model of floers. You will think I am very selfish, but, you see, Uncle is spoiling his dear Carmelites, and they were really assured of not dy­ing from hunger. . .. Little Thérèse, who never liked things to eat,* loves, however, things useful for her Community. She knows that with some models we can earn money to buy some fish. Is this not a little like the story of Perrette? However, if you give me a branch of eglantine, I shall be very content. If there is none, then some periwinkles, buttercups, or even any other common flower would please me. I fear I am being tactless; if I am, pay no attention to my request, and I shall be thankful for the fish you will give me, especially if you want to add to them the beads you spoke about the other day.... You can see, dear Jeanne, that I am converted, and far from keeping silence I am talking like a magpie and am too bold in my requests.... It is so difficult to keep a happy medium!... Fortunately, a sister pardons everything, even a little Benjamin's importunities....

1 have interrupted my letter so often that it has no continuity. I was thinking of some very beautiful things regarding the hundred­fold that I was speaking about at the beginning, but I am obliged to keep the beautiful things in the bottom of my heart and to beg God to make them a reality for you, for I do not have the time to enumerate them. I must go "to the washing" to listen, while scrub­bing the linens, to the dear little imp who no doubt is going to sing: "Ce lavage, doit nous conduire au Rivage sans Orage.... '"

Our two good Mothers and all your little sisters send you and Fran­cis their love. I am not forgetting that tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St. Luke, one of his patrons, so I will offer my Holy Com­munion for him, and I will ask Jesus to reward him for the trouble he is taking to find remedies for me."...

I kiss you from my heart, dear little Jeanne, and I assure you of the love and gratitude

of your very little sister,

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc