From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – November 3, 1918

From Sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – November 3rd 1918

V+J! From our monastery in Caen on 3rd November 1918

Darling little Mamma,

My retreat has just ended and I come running into your arms to tell you that Jesus showed His “tiny one” nothing but love and mercy. We see things so clearly on retreat! And we understand that our lives should be nothing but an uninterrupted sacrifice. Self-love must die a slow death and only then can true happiness be found! At this point, we are always pleased with what God does. In short, we feel heavenly peace when Jesus is comforted and glorified! Like darling Thérèse, I put the crucifix on the pillow as soon as I’m out of bed, and I also say to my Beloved, “Take some rest, you have worked enough, wept enough and suffered enough. It’s my turn now,” etc.  

When I’m suffering, Céline’s method helps me greatly. Like her, I say, “I’m happy to experience suffering, anguish, and exile of the heart. I want everything, I accept everything.” It’s true that this strengthens me, despite me not feeling anything and feeling as though my soul is in fact in agony, as though crushed on the rack. We sometimes wonder whether we’re not headed straight for our damnation, but we’re not. Even if God were to kill me I would still hope in Him. I also love saying, “O Jesus, grant that at the time of your choosing, I fall as well, but into your arms. Like a tree that remains where it falls, I’ll not move.” You know, little Mamma, that I sing your delightful poem about the “Little Way” to the tune of “La Plainte du Mousse”. Try it, you’ll see that it works very well and the words go deeper into my soul than if I read it. My resolutions are these:

Since “living on love is not setting up one’s tent at the top of Tabor,” I must climb Calvary with Jesus and look at the Cross as a treasure. Therefore, I must go against all the natural inclinations that compel me to flee sacrifice and suffering, and consequently strive to meet it head on, that is to say, see Our Lord reaching out to me in the hard times when I’m tempted to shrink back. This way I make sure I avoid anything that could disappoint Him. But above all, I want to work on my humility and kindness and do five acts of each a day. If only you knew how good and devoted our darling Mother was to me during the retreat. We can never thank God enough for having given us such a treasure. For myself, I melt with gratitude.  

A few days ago, we received the precious parcel that was entrusted to the Providence Sister for 30thSeptember. Well, better late than never and what’s more it will make quite a handsome New Year’s gift, because everything is delightful and the coloured postcards are extremely pretty. This is another act of kindness to add to the infinite number we’ve already received. Thank you! Thank you, darling little sisters. It’s generally believed that our Saint was never able to follow your austere Rule in all its rigour because of her health. But I think this is false. It seems to me, little Mamma, that on the contrary she must have followed it for at least two years. Tell me, I beg of you, if I’m mistaken about this. I sincerely hope that you continue not having the time to be sick. All of us here are suffering from some flu symptom or other, but it’s nothing serious. We’re all still standing, thanks to God.

With my love and affection

Sr Françoise-Thérèse Martin