From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - February 11, 1931

From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - February 11, 1931

 V + J! From our monastery in Caen this 11th February 1931 


Beloved little sisters,

I couldn’t begin Lent without writing to you once more, even though we are never apart.

You asked me, darling little Mamma, whether I suffered a great deal when I was sick. Despite never losing my lucidity, I was so lost and crushed that I only really suffered from the brutal treatments I was given, particularly the funny mustard plasters, which roasted me like St Lawrence on his gridiron. Sometimes I thought I was losing my head. In addition to other very efficient treatments, our sorely missed Sister nurse had me take starch baths, which our devoted and kind doctor had prescribed and which helped rid me of the eczema. One day when I was in the bath and our dear Sister was caring for me, I said to her, “Ah, Sister, if my little Mother Agnes could see you now, she would have tears in her eyes.”

I’m receiving assiduous care for my cold, though it’s making me cough as if it were whooping cough. Our Sisters in Le Mans wrote saying they have several cases there, and that this is how the nasty flu ends.

Our revered Mother is feeling better. She is allowed to leave her bed for short periods. Our dear former Superior is also extremely kind and motherly, if only you knew! She has shown me, and continues to show me, lots of attention. Ever since our dearest Mother fell sick, she has been doubly affectionate and vigilant towards the patients and stragglers, working with our dear assistant nurse. It’s extremely touching.

Yes, darling little Mamma, during my illness, my nights were usually bad. I was very restless, couldn’t stay in bed, and felt very disorientated. Someone kept watch over me at night, of course, and I would pray with my dear guardian almost all the time, for I was convinced I was going to die. I even asked for the blessed candle.

Never mind about your retreat, darling eldest sister. My innermost desire is to wish you a happy 71st birthday and take Communion for you. The pictures you prepared are delightful and bring me great pleasure. The rose was given to Sr Marguerite-Agnès and I’ve kept the pretty little blue one as well as the card depicting the Holy Family on the banks of the Nile. This picture delights me and you deprived yourself of it for me, my doting little sister.

The picture on vellum is ever so beautiful! It’s a very valuable painting. I have entrusted it to our dear Mother because it is too precious for me. Who was the artist who painted this marvel? When they sent us the twelve volumes of The Liturgical Year, the editor and his wife in Tours wrote to say they would send us the last 5 later on, and the delay is becoming interminable. We think it would be simpler to ask for them ourselves to save you the trouble. The little Agnus Dei are so delightful! Thank you! Your little sister who loves you so very dearly

Sr Françoise-Thérèse B.B.G

I’m given cuppings every 3 days and injections every day. The latter are very nasty. I’m being careful not to throw away your letters. They’re as precious to me as my two eyes. Once I’m gone, my Mother Superiors can do what they like with them, except the ones from Thérèse. Ah, I want those to stay in the Community.