LT 220 - to Fr. Bellière - February 24, 1897.


Carmel of Lisieux

Wednesday evening, February 24, 1897


Monsieur l'Abbé,

Before entering into the silence of holy Lent, 1 want to add a short note to our Reverend Mother's letter to thank you for the one you sent me last month.

If you experience any consolation when you think that in Carmel a Sister is praying incessantly for you, my gratitude is not less great than yours to Our Lord, who has given me a little brother whom He destines to become His priest and His apostle.... Truly, you will know only in heaven how dear you are to me; I feel our souls are made to understand one another. Your prose which you call "rough and ready" reveals to me that Jesus has placed in your heart aspirations that He gives only to souls called to the highest sanctity. Since He Himself has chosen me to be your sister, I trust He will not look upon my weakness or rather that He will use this weakness even to carry out His work, for the strong God loves to show His power by making use of nothing. United in Him, our souls will be able to save many others, for this gentle Jesus has said: "If two among you agree together on something which you ask from my Father, it will be granted them." Ah! what we are asking Him is to work for His glory, to love Him and make Him loved.... How would our union and our prayer not be blessed?

Monsieur l'Abbé, since the canticle on love has pleased you, our good Mother told me to copy out several other poems for you, but you will receive them only in a few weeks, for I have few free moments, even on Sunday because of my task as sacristan. These poor poems will reveal to you not what I am but what I would like and should be.... When composing them, I have looked more at the substance than at the form, so the rules of versification are not always respected; my purpose was to translate my sentiments (or rather the sentiments of the Carmelite) in order to respond to my Sisters' desires. These verses are more suitable for a religious woman than for a seminarian. I hope, however, they will please you. Is not your soul the fiancee of the Divine Lamb, and will it not soon become His spouse, on the blessed day of your ordination to the subdiaconate?

I thank you, Monsieur l'Abbé, for having chosen me as godmother of the first child you will have the joy of baptizing; it is, then, up to me to choose the names of my future godchild. I want to give it as protectors: the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and St. Maurice, my dear little brother's patron. No doubt this child exists only in God's thought, but already I am praying for it and fulfilling in advance my duties as godmother. I am praying, too, for all the souls who will be entrusted to you, and above all I beg Jesus to embellish your soul with all virtues, and especially with His love. You tell me that very often you pray also for your sister; since you have this charity, I would be very happy if each day you would consent to offer this prayer for her which contains all her desires: "Merciful Father, in the name of our gentle Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints, I beg You to enkindle my sister with Your Spirit of Love and to grant her the favor of making You loved very much.’' You have prom­ised to pray for me throughout your life; no doubt your life will be longer than mine, and it is not permitted you to sing like me: "I have the hope my exile will be short!. .. " but neither are you permitted to forget your promise. If the Lord takes me soon with Him, I ask you to continue each day the same prayer, for I shall desire in heaven the same thing as I do on earth: To love Jesus and to make him loved.

Monsieur l'abbé, you must think I am very strange; perhaps you are sorry to have a sister who seems to want to go and enjoy eternal repose and leave you working alone.... But rest assured, the only thing I desire is God's will, and I admit that if in heaven I were no longer able to work for His glory, I would prefer exile to the homeland.

I do not know the future; however, if Jesus realizes my presen­timents, I promise to remain your little sister up above. Our union, far from being broken, will become more intimate. Then there will no longer be any cloister and grilles, and my soul will be able to fly with you into distant missions. Our roles will remain the same: yours, apostolic weapons, mine, prayer and love.

Monsieur l'Abbé, I notice I am losing count of time; it is late, in a few moments the divine Office will ring, and nevertheless I still have a request to make. I would like you to write down for me the memorable dates of your life so that I may unite myself to you in a very special way to thank our gentle Savior for the graces He has granted you.

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus-Victim, who will soon be exposed for our adoration,   I am happy to call myself forever,

Your very little and unworthy sister,

Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel carm. ind.

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc