From sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three sisters in the Carmel - October 14, 1934

From Sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) to her three Carmelite sisters - October 14th 1934

V + J! From our monastery in Caen this 14th October 1934


Darling little sisters,

Our retreat is over. On the evening of Tuesday 9th October, I came from it feeling completely renewed. My enclosed resolutions will prove this to you. Things can be seen so clearly during these days of grace! God was so gracious to me. I think He is waiting for me to have this attitude of radical humility before coming to steal me away, which is extremely encouraging and gives me wings. Do pray hard for me so that I might persevere. Nothing strengthens the soul quite like faithfulness. I’m having the pleasure of experiencing this. Jesus is carrying His tiny child because He knows that, even though she is making progress and He is holding her by the hand, she will fall flat on her face. I therefore have everything to gain from staying in His divine arms, and so I’m being careful to avoid trying to grow up.

Darling little Mamma, we were so touched by your kindness. It allowed us to honour our little Saint, who is loved more than ever here, even in the refectory. The pictures were very much appreciated. Each Sister found one on her plate in the refectory once I had distributed them. Imagine how happy I was to surprise our dear Sisters in this way. I say “surprise” but I’m exaggerating really because we are all used to being spoilt. Our oversensitive Mother is having scruples because, for her feast day, our Sisters removed some of the little relics from their sachets and used them to decorate little gifts, such as pictures for example, which they then gave to her. Yet this was the reason you gave us complete leeway, was it not?

A kind priest from Belgium sent us, as he did you no doubt, two hundred francs to go towards the heating this winter. It’s so touching! He doesn’t want the Sisters of the Little Victim of Love to suffer from the cold to the point of death, as she did.

I’m sad to hear that dear Father Petitot has died. I would like to read his latest book about our darling saint. He understood her so well. We are simply relishing the first one.

With my love, beloved little sisters. We are fused as one, as though we were in heaven,

Sr Françoise-Thérèse


Retreat resolution this 7th October 1934

God has had me see as clear as day that I must continue to embrace my insignificance. He wants me to love my lowliness and utter powerlessness. So I must be happy to be insignificant and considered as such, despite the resistance of my pride.

Therefore I no longer want to put myself first under any pretext, but henceforth joyfully (or joylessly, it matters little) lead a life that is completely hidden and insignificant in the eyes of creatures.

I adopt these words that my holy little sister pronounced, and they, I quietly trust, will help me significantly: “O Jesus, how I wish I could tell all little souls how ineffable is your condescension! I feel, were it not impossible, that if you found a soul weaker than mine, it would please you to still fill it with greater favours provided it abandoned itself with complete confidence to your infinite mercy!!”

And so, Jesus, here is this tiny soul. You couldn’t find a weaker or poorer one than mine. I therefore have every right to hope to surrender myself to Your merciful love. Doing so will help me triumph over my foolish pride and faithfully keep my resolution.


O my God, in my life You have put little of what shines. Grant that, like You, I might go towards authentic values, disdaining human values in order to esteem and will only the absolute, the Eternal, the love of God by dint of hope.

Extract from a retreat address given by Rev. Fr Desbuquois s.j.