From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 31, 1904

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 31, 1904

+ Jesus J.M.J.T. 31st May 1904


Darling little sister,

I’m very pleased that it is my turn to write to you because it gives me the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday. You know very well that I never forget 3rd June. Like you, I have a good memory when it comes to remembering the important dates of loved ones.

To mark the occasion, I’m sending you a photograph of my Holy Face picture. If you like it, tell me so and I’ll give you some more, but at the moment I have very few. I drew this Holy Face after the Holy Shroud of Turin. I put all my love into copying the features of Jesus as closely as possible, and putting his wounds and the slightest of cuts in the same place as in reality. Even the drops of blood are exactly the same in shape. Our Mother showed my drawing to His Lordship. He thought it very beautiful and has permitted us to make copies of it. Our Mother will make pious pictures from it.

Oh, if only you knew how much love I put into this work! I drew it only on Sundays and during great silences, not in working hours. I’ve deprived myself of rest since Easter, but I don’t regret it. I feel there is something providential about the way in which I came about the pictures of the Holy Shroud, and about what I’ve felt inwardly about the Holy Face over the past year. I’ll tell you all about it in heaven.

Sr Marie of the Eucharist is a bit better. They say she has pulled through again this time. Francis admitted a few days ago she had been on the brink of death once again. I don’t think he’ll be able to save her next time. She is still in bed and following her treatment of serum injections. Many of our Sisters are sick; it’s like a hospital here. Poor Little Mother [Thérèse’s nickname for Pauline] is spending her days playing doctors and nurses. Sr Marie-Emmanuel (the widow from La Vendée) is very sick and it is feared she has a stomach tumour. And then there’s poor Mother Marie de Gonzague who is ill too, but this is a secret. Even she doesn’t know. You mustn’t make any mention of it in your letters. She has been told she has a slightly sore throat but it’s a tumour at the base of her tongue. The two doctors say she only has a few months left. She is completely unaware of this. She hardly feels any pain, says she doesn’t feel unwell, and doesn’t understand why she is being made to take precautions. You see, Léonie, you must pray hard for us. Our hearts are very heavy at the prospect of suffering all these losses.    

Do recommend our little Carmel to your Mothers’ prayers. I send them an affectionate kiss. Your little sister who loves you.

Geneviève of the Holy Face u.c.n.

All three of us wish you a very happy birthday. I thank you for the lovely painting suggestion. As you can see, I have very little time to paint and I’m more likely to see it for real before painting it.

I was born in 1869 so I’m 35 years old, not 36.

P.S. by Mother Agnes of Jesus

Happy birthday, darling little sister. Your little sister and mother, Sr Agnes of Jesus. Sr Marie of the S.H. has gone on retreat. She is praying for you.

P.S. by Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.


Darling little sister, you can talk to us about our poor Mother Marie de Gonzague and her illness if you like, but you must do so on a different piece of paper, separated from your letter, so that if she wants your news and asks to read your letter, she doesn’t read about it. Happy birthday, my darling. I’m on great retreat until Saturday morning. Do pray for me.


Sr. M. of the S.H.