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From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - September 24, 1925

From Sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three Carmelite sisters - September 24th 1925

24th September 1925

Beloved little sisters,

You see this letter is dated the same as the ones that were lost to give you an illusion that they were not so. This was the fourth private letter not to reach you. I can’t tell you how it makes my heart suffer.  

Darling Mamma, you make me weep! How can you say that you are indebted to us? Say instead that you are extravagant with us and then you will be speaking the truth. Our beloved Carmel is one of our greatest benefactors, and all our hearts overflow with gratitude.

Here are the details surrounding Cardinal Vico’s visit. As soon as he was inside the enclosure, His Eminence requested to see Sr Léonie, who was in her rightful place, that is to say at the end of the procession, for the whole convent was there, with the cross in front, and singing the Benedictus. I therefore went and knelt at his feet and kissed his ring. The assembly room was decorated with the coats of arms of the Holy Father, His Eminence and His Excellency. It was there that the Cardinal presented me the magnificent portrait of His Holiness, which you have seen, apparently. I felt a mixture of astonishment and indescribable joy to see the blessing I so ardently desired for the silver anniversary of my profession. It was signed by the Holy Father Himself, and I kissed it several times. His Eminence seemed surprised that I’ve only been professed for twenty-five years. I answered his various questions by saying that I joined the monastery about eighteen months after the death of Thérèse, to whom I owed my religious vocation, and that before I entered religious life, I lived with my uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Guérin. The fatherly Cardinal wanted me to walk with him in the garden. Wherever he went, he would ask for his little Sr Léonie, and I felt embarrassed at being shown such benevolence.

After the blessing of the statue, which was accompanied by 200 days of indulgence for those present, the Community sang this delightful poem, which was composed by our Mother for the occasion:

O Thérèse, bless the Prince of the Church

Who appoints to us the Roman Pontiff.

Choose for him the best of your roses

Strew its petals where his feet pass.

Little Flower, with your sweet perfume

Bring comfort and joy to the Supreme Shepherd,

And may He henceforth, Little Flower, reign unfettered!

His Excellency asked our Mother, in the presence of the Cardinal, who agreed, to have a commemorative plaque placed on the pedestal. It is in varnished bronze, and reads:

This statue was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal Vico, Papal Legate, in the presence of His Excellency Mgr Lemonnier, Bishop of Bayeux.               28thSeptember 1925.

We understand now why our darling saint had us wait so long for her statue. It was so it could be blessed by the pope’s representative.

This visit has left an ineffable impression on us. We felt the presence of Holy Church among us because we had the Legate of the Sovereign Pontiff here. We were so happy!

He also accorded us the great favour of raising the feast day of Saint Margaret Mary to the rank of Double Rite for the whole Institute.

Darling sisters, what do you think of the photograph of our pretty little flowerbed around Thérèse’s statue? Do you like it? The large daisies you can see came from the Carmel, and are all over the garden. In the position she is in, our saint looks towards the Sacred Heart on the façade.

My letter seems very insignificant to me and yet I did my best. Are you pleased? I send you all the love I have in my extremely loving heart.