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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 28, 1907

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 28, 1907

+Jesus            J.M.J.T.                     28th November 1907

Darling little sister,

Once again, it’s time for us to say farewell before Advent. The years go by quickly, bringing us closer to blessed eternity. What joy! I’m filled with happiness every time I think of it.

You know that a sense of proud independence typifies your Céline, and the other day, I had a certain desire to be free. I therefore immediately imagined I was the sovereign mistress of something. That something was me. I have feet, hands, a tongue, a brain and a heart. Together, they form a perfect machine, one that I can use as I see fit. It’s true I’ve already given it to Jesus, but by taking my three vows, I’ve done nothing more than launch my ship into open waters, so to speak. Although I’m on course, I still have much distance to cover. I must always keep watch and constantly steer my boat. Abandoning it would be madness. I alone can accomplish this task, and with that in mind, “Everyone is free to do as much or as little for Jesus as they wish.” – O little sister, I’m so happy to think that I’m free and can consecrate my whole being to Jesus at all times. No, I don’t want to commit a single act in my own self-interest, and I don’t want to work with my hands for a cause that is even the slightest bit human. I don’t want to hurt God in His Charity, either in word or in thought, and I don’t want to use my heart for anything other than for loving Jesus and delighting in all that He does. I don’t want to complain about anything on earth ever again.    

We’re currently reading the life of Bl. Mother Chappuis aloud in the refectory. I find it echoes my own heart. It’s very bold to say such a thing, but I believe that her soul and ours are almost like sisters. Before reading the life of this holy Mother, we read that of Sister Rémusat. In the evenings, we’re reading Lives of the Saints, and we’ve reached the life of Bl. Margaret-Mary [Alacoque], and so, both in the mornings and evenings, our readings are very Visitation orientated! And I assure you, we are finding them most edifying.

As you know, we had a retreat led by Fr Pichon. I was really glad to see him again, or rather, to get to know him, because I knew him more through letters than through spiritual direction in the confessional. He asked me who had given us the pretty plaque that’s on our tabernacle door and I proudly told him that it had come from the Visitation monastery in Caen. Thank your dear Mothers once again for giving us this treat. Alas, I would have loved to do something similar for them by giving them a copy of the Sacred Heart of Christ the King. I can’t find any consolation.

For Christmas, I’ll send you the picture of the Virgin Mary, which I’ve finished correcting. She looks very good now. I’ll send you the paintings of Thérèse as well, which I’ve also corrected (although our uncle doesn’t know this).

We’ve just had the imprimatur from His Lordship for the enclosed prayer, which was written to mark the introduction of Thérèse’s Cause.

Do pray for us, because we are going through many ordeals on account of this cause. (We don’t agree with His Lordship over the choice of postulator. Keep this to yourself.)

I send you a kiss, darling little sister, and I love you with all my heart

Your little sister,

Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n. 

Friday – We have just received your letter. Oh, it brought me such pleasure! The letter from your little Brother is very good. I thank Thérèse for having sent him to you. Thank you for the treatment for my heels. Thank your dear Mothers very much and give them a kiss from me, for I love them dearly. With the Visitation, we feel we’re with family. As for your little testimony, don’t worry. Just write down your memories of your little sister as if you were writing a letter. I fear that mine is too long, and still insubstantial, containing nothing but facts. You can talk about her spirit of faith, and her desire to take Holy Communion, supporting it with the fact that she overcame her shyness to stop Mgr Hugonin in the street in order to ask him for permission to take her 1st Communion a year earlier. She went to church regularly, and admired religious ceremonies and the liturgy. Then there was her faith in the all-powerfulness of God, her perfect self-surrender, and also her charity and love for God, which expressed itself in everything she did. Then there was her charity towards her neighbour.

After the theological virtues come the cardinal virtues: Prudence, Fortitude and Temperance.

Mention how great her self-control was, even when she was small, her rare common sense, and the inner and outward sacrifices that she made. Facts are what you need above all, and words. Focus hard on all your memories and they’ll flood back, I’m sure of it. Our little Thérèse was virtuous in everything she did.

Remember her confirmation. Also, you mustn’t forget to say that she asked you for a two-centime notebook so that she could write her manuscript. This is proof of how poor and modest she was. No detail is to be overlooked because virtue is proven in very tiny things.