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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - December 30, 1904

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - December 30, 1904

+ Jesus J.M.J.T. 30th December 1904

Darling little sister,

I know I’m always promising you long letters, but once again, I don’t think this one will be as full or dense as I’d like. Uncle says I have a ministerial schedule and, when he wants to know something, he writes to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, because he doesn’t dare disturb “Madam the Minister”!  

You can see the reputation I have. Still, I put up with it out of love for God and every day I experience what Thérèse told me: “Being a painter in a community demands all kinds of sacrifices.”

You know I’m decorating a medieval style vestment with 2 themes in ovals. I’m painting the life of Jesus on the chasuble, of course. The stole and maniple bear the portraits of the four Evangelists. The purse represents the Sacred Heart forgiving France. France is in chains at Jesus’ feet, and is being presented to Him by the Virgin Mary. Lastly, the chalice veil depicts a scene from the Carmel, and has the Arms of our Order embroidered on it. In the oval, you can see Thérèse holding a scroll that reads, “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” The Blessed Virgin is smiling and leaning forward to take the scroll, and the Child Jesus on her lap is also reaching for it. One of his little hands is therefore stretched out, while the other is letting fall a shower of roses in the fold of Thérèse’s cloak, which an angel is holding for her, and from there they fall onto earth. To one side, there is a host of little cherubims. One is very busy reading a book entitled “Thérèse of the Child Jesus”, while others are playing with lilies, crowns and sceptres.  

I was saving this painting for our Mother’s feast day. You see, she doesn’t know about it, and I’m begging you not to mention it in your next letter. Yet we won’t be holding the celebration on the 21st [January] because we’ll still be in mourning, so it is going to be postponed until the feast of the Good Shepherd. However I really want to give it to her and I won’t be able to wait much longer. As you can see, darling little sister, I have a great deal of work to do on top of my duties; I don’t know where to begin. I do believe it will take me 3 years to finish the vestment. I can’t take it anymore and I don’t think I would undertake anything like this again for 10,000 frs. It demands not only time but also one’s life: that’s how difficult it is.

I’m sending you a photograph of the Bl. Virgin, but our Mother doesn’t like it so I’m going to retouch it. She doesn’t think she looks young enough. It’s because I had the terrible idea of having her resemble the Holy Face. But as I promised it to you for Christmas, I’m sending it anyway. Darling little sister, forgive my awful scribble. I’ve written very hurriedly. Forgive me also for not having spoken about pious and mystical matters. It is hardly like me. The one thing I know is that I love Jesus and desire to love Him, and also that I yearn for the Homeland.

Until the blessed day when we’re all reunited up above, I wish a happy New Year to you and to your esteemed Mothers, to whom I offer my respects.

Your little sister who sends you lots of love,

Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n.