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From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – January 21, 1917

From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – January 21, 1917

21st January 1917

Much-loved little Mother,

Although the cold forbids me from offering you even the tiniest flower for your feast day, at least I can give you the Flower of flowers, that’s to say the One who created them all. I’ve already begun your feast day bouquet, which is composed of five Communions, and it’s tied up with the most valuable and prettiest of ribbons; the Virgin Mary, whom I ask to present it to you. But that’s not all, it’s also important that “little Thérèse” runs up to our little Mother and lets fall her heavenly roses upon her. I’m asking her for a real downpour.

Little Mamma, how could I ever possibly outdo you in generosity? So I incessantly ask the Rich Sovereign and His saints for their help, and this way I hope to repay all my debts.

I have remained at my modest post as refectorian. Seeing how incompetent I am, I consider myself very honoured to have been entrusted with a responsibility in the house of God, where every duty is significant. When, to my surprise, I sometimes find myself wanting another task, or feel a surge of boredom or aversion, I quickly try to immerse myself in God’s will, because in reality His will is the only thing I want and love. Darling little Mamma, my retreat fervour has dropped to rock bottom again, but when I fall (which happens less frequently now) I no longer lose hope as before, and what’s more, your letters always come when I need them, and strengthen me in my incessant struggles. Little Mother, how can you possibly compare yourself to me? It baffles me. Alas! My darling sisters and I, a poor insignificant little creature, are as alike as chalk and cheese! All I can do is buy back in humility what I so often lose in wickedness.

Did dear little Geneviève of the Holy Face receive the parcel of photographs she asked me to send?

I’m looking forward to the surprises I’ve been promised this year. I love the Annunciation and Christmas night ones very much. You can see, darling Mother, how badly these two photographs need to be renewed. If I sent back the one I like so much of you writing in the garden, it’s because it’s private and I don’t want it to stay here after I’m gone. If I wasn’t afraid of hurting you, I would also have sent you back the portraits where I’m alone, because what do you expect the Community to do with them? Isn’t it enough, more than enough even, that they have the poor person with them, without having her picture as well? This is merely an unfounded supposition because I believe I’m loved, although I’m hardly very amicable.

I quickly say this because I’m terrified our dear Mother will make me start my letter over again, and I know that Our Mother and Former Superior cherish their ugly child just as she is.

With hugs and my inexpressible affection to you, little Mamma, as well as to our two little sisters who have the joy of being able to hug you in reality because they live with you. What a privilege! But far from being jealous, I rejoice because I love them more than I love myself.

Your little daughter.