From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - February 2, 1923

From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - February 2, 1923

2nd February 1923

Beloved little sisters,

How you have lavished me again this year with all your gifts, and especially with your letters, which are so affectionate and interesting.

This precious crucifix, which is so rich in indulgences, brings me immense pleasure, as does the name of Jesus which lights up this night of exile. This darkness will soon come to an end for me. I not only feel this, I’m firmly convinced of it, and here’s why: On 30th September last, I asked Thérèse for a sign that she would come and fetch me at last, after having languished after her coming for so long. Yet that evening, I was very sad (although very resigned) to not have received an answer. But listen to this, it didn’t do me any harm to wait.

On 30th December, after having slept well, I went to the choir for the second half hour of silent prayer. I attended Mass, took Communion and, as usual, wheeled one of our handicapped Sisters to receive Holy Communion, when all of a sudden, shortly before receiving the sign to leave the choir, I felt faint. I left and had to muster all my strength to take off my cross and rosary, which we had to place in a basket (for Saint Sylvester’s Day). But alas, I could already no longer see anything. One of our Sisters took the objects from my hands. I only had the time to sit down in the fore-choir before I was completely gone. My lifeless body was taken to the infirmary where I was lavished with care and affection. Our dearest Mother was very anxious because my pulse had stopped and it was very difficult to bring me round. They tried everything; injections, etc. When I came back to my senses, I was in a lot of pain. I don’t think dying can involve any greater suffering. All I would have had to do was to draw a last breath and fall into Jesus’ arms. He was truly in my heart at that moment, because I had just taken Communion. What an ineffable meeting that would have been! But also, what a significant sign this was. It has filled me with joy . . . and I sing, “My God, I already hear your eternal feast being prepared!” But I am so fully and so entirely surrendered to His holy will that I only want Him to do as He pleases . . . . If He gave me the choice between living and dying, I would choose nothing, because it is what He does that I love. . . .

Our revered Mother and Dom Vital Lehodey think that this is the best way to prepare for appearing before God. This saintly friar is amazed by the change that has taken place in my soul in so short a time. He attributes it to Thérèse. – When I realised that my darling Mother was by my side, I lovingly turned to her and said, “O dear Mother, I love you so much! I wouldn’t want to leave you so soon.” With indescribable affection, she replied, “Dear little child, we do not wish to let you go either.” Our darling Mother was then unaware of my prayer to Thérèse. I told her about it only later.

I beg of you, beloved little sisters, don’t be upset. Instead, rejoice with me. I am overjoyed to be reaching port.

When I’m in heaven, I hope my dear Community will continue to benefit from the same generosity you have hitherto shown them. You will promise me this will, won’t you, little sisters? O thank you on behalf of myself and the Community. With that in mind I can die peacefully and full of joy, because I consider that all the debts I have contracted towards my religious family will be settled satisfactorily.

I send you a big kiss, darling little sisters, and all the affection in my loving and deeply grateful heart. Soon we’ll be in heaven!

Just a word more, little sisters. I have become so small that I am bold enough to believe I won’t go to purgatory. I ask Jesus, to whom I am fully surrendered, to prepare me Himself for His coming. I don’t want to interfere in any way, because I’ll only spoil everything. I experience, however, the same old difficulties: boredom, aversion, and weariness on many occasions, but I sense that all this distress is a form of purification, and that God is doing His work, and I say thank you to Him, for everything, for it gives me strength and encouragement. Lastly, I can feel my Adored Eagle preparing to swoop upon His little prey and this fills me with joy. I don’t want to put any obstacle to Him accomplishing His divine work in me. I ask this of Him, with all the strength I can muster. My darling Eldest Sister, have a happy birthday on the 22nd! I shall take Communion for you. I love you so, so, so much!