From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - November 12, 1899

From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - November 12, 1899


Dearest little Sisters,

Much has happened since I last wrote. Who would have thought that my dearest Mistress would be taken from me so soon. I would have been so pleased to take Holy Profession with her. Offering her child to the Lord was also her greatest desire, but this was not His holy will, which we must adore and praise above all things. Her departure for Boulogne was a cruel blow to my heart, but without wasting any time, I threw myself into Jesus’ Heart and there I drew the strength to suffer generously.

A while ago, our much-loved Mother reminded me that on the day I received the Habit she was obliged to give me her candle, because someone had forgotten to pass one to the celebrant for me. And our dearest Mother immediately thought, “I must be the light for this child.”

Now that Our Mother is a twofold Mother to me because she has accepted to be in charge of the novitiate, I have made the link with what happened that day. How grateful I am to her for looking after all her tiny lambs, despite her numerous occupations. I fear only one thing, which is that her health won’t be able to keep up with her zeal. But like with all things, I try to put all my trust in the Heart of the Master who wounds and heals so lovingly.

My beloved Mistress’ departure has left me feeling an enormous emptiness. I feel that at any moment I’m going to meet her. So sometimes I shed a few bitter tears. Exile seems harder and heavier to bear, but I also look higher and I hope. I hear Jesus telling me inwardly, “Am I not enough for you? What are you afraid of? Can a child whom I love as much as I love you perish in the arms of the Almighty?” . . . These gentle thoughts follow me, comforting and encouraging me.

What’s more, I find there’s no greater comfort in my sorrow than appearing perfectly religious. This was my dear and sorely missed Mistress’ greatest desire, and she asked me to do it many times before leaving. In fact, she showed me what I had to do more through example than words. It has to be said: Jesus gave me a real treasure in her. I want to put all my energy into imitating her virtues, yet with my limited strength, no matter how hard I run, I’ll always be far behind her.