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From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to sr Genevieve (Celine) - August 6, 1910

From Sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to Sr Genevieve (Celine) - August 6th 1910

From our Monastery in Caen this 6th August 1910

Darling Céline,

You can see I’m writing to you on very thin paper because our dear Mother wants to enclose three pictures as a keepsake of our 3rd centenary. They are very pretty and have come just in time for your feast day, darling sister. You know how much affection your little visitandine has for you in her heart, so read there what I mean to say on this day, because I can’t express it. Jesus has filled my heart with so much love for my dear trio that it can’t contain it, it’s overflowing on all sides.

Listen little sister, but whatever you do don’t be upset by what I’m about to tell you. I’m unwell, it’s true. I have localised bronchitis. Francis told our Mother it was serious, and he’s treating me himself (I don’t see our doctor at all anymore). He wants at all costs to drive out the poor little infection with serum injections, and yet it’s not particularly nasty. I merely feel weak. I cough very little and can prevent myself from coughing quite easily when I want to. You know that a few days before her blessed death, little Thérèse had our dear sister Marie of the Sacred Heart write to me saying that if I was willing to “live on love and humility”, she would come and fetch me soon. In my opinion, she’s coming, and I’m happy to see her! So I’m hurrying to finish all her lessons. I’m begging her to help me and not forget her promise. A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to have permission to make her Offering to Merciful Love, and I recited it with great fervour. I say it again every day after Communion, and it’s often with immense faith that I say, “Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You . . .” I’ve noticed that ever since I first made this offering, my health has very gradually declined. I had three colds one after the other and from that moment on, I considered it as a sign of my imminent departure for the great journey of eternity, and I rejoiced at the prospect of soon going to the Lord’s House. My only fear is that I don’t die a better person. I was bold enough to tell our beloved Mother this, and she pressed me to her heart, saying to me sadly, “Do you wish to leave us, then?” And I replied, “Oh, Mother, I’m no good for anything. I beg of you, let me die in your arms and go to meet God.”

In the meantime, our loving Mother has told me to rest in the mornings and evenings. I no longer sing the Holy Office, although I couldn’t make the slightest sound anyway. The only duty I’ve kept is the one I have in the refectory, which isn’t too tiring for me. In any case, it’s not treatment I’m lacking; I’m living like a king. But rest assured, little sister, I’m not dying; far from it. I can go on like this for a long time yet. My condition is worse than if I had a well-defined illness; but since Jesus wills me to languor, I’m pleasing Him this way. I only want what He wants. I’m a rag cloth; a rag cloth, and nothing more! And when He finds his little rag cloth to His liking, little Thérèse will come and fetch it and hide it forever in the wound of His sacred side . . .

You see, my darling, I’m speaking to you openly. Don’t be upset, particularly as otherwise I would never dare to open my heart to you again, which would punish me as much as it would my little sisters, from whom I hide nothing. We are nuns . . . I know that such language as this would be unbearable for people out in the world. They wouldn’t understand any of it, and it would perhaps shock them, but for the rest of us, it’s a completely different story because we, following in the footsteps of the Blessed, are already striving here in exile to see God in all things.

Thank you for your two dear letters. I’ve included a few extracts from Thérèse’s letters in my testimony as you advised. Like you, we received the account of the miracle and the vision of the Sacred Heart that was seen by the fortunate Sister in the Visitation of Paris. It’s so touching! It certainly makes Our Lord known and loved, and I was meaning to mention it to you. I bless the retreat of my darling little Mother which earned me such a lovely long letter, and the 3 new pictures. All the above-mentioned things that my doting little mamma sent me, absolutely everything, brought me so much pleasure. I’m like a child when I receive gifts. Yes, I’d like the foreign editions of the life of our angel, but only two English books, and one Polish one if you have some in that language. I would also like a few copies of Shower of Roses for our Mother’s feast day. Those we had disappeared in no time at all because of the continuous requests we receive for keepsakes, novenas etc. We deeply appreciate the lovely life story of Mother Marie-Ange, and we’re happy to have the nine brochures, but do you not feel, like we do, that it would be better if it had a portrait of the dear Mother inside? We would also like some authenticating seals, but only ones on paper because we have enough fabric ones. Thank you in advance for everything! . . . because the countless acts of consideration and kindness that you show your little sister touch her beyond what she can say with the cold language of earth, but I’m hoping to make up for it in the heavens. I send you all my affection and gratitude,

Sr Françoise-Thérèse Martin

B.B.G.

I saw the little boy whom Thérèse healed. I would like for him to take his little sticks to her grave as soon as possible and for it to no longer be an issue. The dear Visitandine who was healed is called Louise-Eugénie, and she has the same rank as our Lay Sisters.

Thank you to my little Marie for her devotion in writing to me. Her lovely letters reveal her generous heart, deeply touching my own meagre little heart.

Following the prayer of one of our white-veiled Srs, Sr Marie-Joséphine, who is in charge of the bees, little Thérèse sent her a new swarm. The hive bears her name. Is this not typical of her kindness and courteousness? We’re still completely awe-struck from reading about our Thérèse’s wonders. We’ll return this treasure to you when we have the opportunity. Thank you for sharing it with us. With it, we’ll enclose the account of a miracle that occurred in our Monastery in Wilmington, England. Thérèse’s favoured one sent it to the Visitation in Le Mans several months ago, thinking I was a nun there. If your heels are painful, darling little Céline, take the medication I sent you.