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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - September 16, 1906

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - September 16, 1906

+Jesus                               16th September 1906

Darling little sister,

It has been a very long time since I last wrote. Alas! I thought I would be able to bring you joy at the same time: the Sacred Heart picture, but it’s just the opposite. Yes, I have sad news, but remember that this sadness filled my heart before reaching yours.

My Sacred Heart was, I thought, finished. Except, to improve the facial expression, I began to touch it up a little, but the already worn paper wasn’t strong enough to withstand the alterations and it’s completely ruined. But don’t be upset, my darling. I’ve come to terms with it. God’s will was no doubt behind it in some way. This time next year, I’ll begin it again, this time in paint. I think God wants me to deserve the grace of success by experiencing hardship. The subject is certainly worth it, and even if it killed me, I would begin it over and over again until my triumph was complete.

It wasn’t this way with the Holy Face picture. My dear Sacred Heart resembled the Holy Face too much. It looked old under its crown, and a little sad. Next time, I will distance myself a bit from these faults. I’m going to study the question thoroughly, and think my plan through. I’ve already read a book about the Holy Face of King Abgar, which is kept in Genoa. It’s the portrait of Our Living Lord. He deigned to imprint His face onto a shroud to satisfy the king of Edessa. I’m going to procure a photograph of this print, and root out truthful documents. This way, I’ll be in contact with modern scholars and archivists. It’s funny, isn’t it? Still, I’ll employ any means to see my project through.    

Uncle claims I’ll never succeed, and that the S.H. [Sacred Heart] shouldn’t resemble the Holy Face at all. We’ll see about that! He also says that only a great artist could succeed. But I think it’s just the opposite, because God always uses the weakest and most flawed instruments to accomplish His works; He flouts human means. Therefore if God really wants the S.H., and if He wants me to do it, He will help me succeed in due course. In the meantime, I’ve lost three months. Do pray that I might make up the time, because the time I’ve given you is very precious; I interrupted my work for you because I knew you’d like a letter.

Little Léonie, I’d like to be able to tell you lots of interesting things like Marie does, but I live a life of retreat and writing doesn’t come so easily to me. Yet I love you, you know that. I cherish you beyond words.

Did you know that we’ve lost a 56 year old Sr called Sr St John of the Cross, and that Sr Marie-Ange, who was not only the pearl, but also the hope of the Community, is suffering from tuberculosis? Our Mother is devastated. The community is not much better. Francis claims he’s going to cure her, but I don’t have his faith.

On 15th October, we’re holding the Habit Reception for a Lay Sister. The 12th, 13th and 14th November will be our Triduum in honour of the Bl. Martyrs of Compiègne, which will be presided by His Lordship.

I send you thousands of kisses. Your little sister

Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n.

Remember me to your kind Mothers.