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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - February 27, 1908

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - February 27, 1908

 +Jesus             J.M.J.T.                    27th February 1908

Darling little sister,

I’ve come to bid you farewell before Lent, and guess what! We haven’t had anything from you since we sent you the new edition of the lovely book. It’s true that you sent us a little note, but it was so brief that it didn’t tell us what your impressions were. You see, we attach great importance to our dear Visitation’s appraisals, and your “little sister” went to so much trouble preparing the new edition that I would very much like her to reap the rewards, for she deserves them. Poor Little Mother! Ah, Léonie, if only you knew how difficult a book like this is to produce. You have to have done it to know. You must sacrifice time, money and rest, and face disappointments of all kinds, worries, etc. etc. Yet all these ordeals represent a seed that falls on the ground, one that is destined to yield a hundredfold. Oh, our desire to bring God glory is such that we’ll spare nothing to obtain it for Him: no, nothing. That is how deep His love has penetrated our hearts.  

I have just come out of retreat, as Monday 24th was the anniversary of my Profession: the 12th, can you believe it? Jesus taught me many little things and I myself felt that He was so good that I decided I never wanted to refuse Him anything again. There’s no point in entering religious life if it is to haggle over our perfection by refusing to make sacrifices. The Curate of Ars said, “We should pray for a love of the Cross – then it will become sweet.” Well, that is what I’m doing. I’m practicing seeking suffering, making sacrifices, and choosing that which costs me most dear, and God will no doubt make me love my lot, sooner or later. And I find that when you act bravely like this, you have much more strength. Yes, we must lead our souls into battle to the sound of drums, and singing war songs at full voice. That way, we stand a better chance on the road of suffering. What would happen if, instead of rousing soldiers for battle with trumpets and war marches, a choir of mourners was set up to sing sorrowful laments? The poor soldiers already heading for sacrifice, and perhaps even death, would all be demoralised. I’ve therefore taken the resolution to suffer cheerfully, as Thérèse did, remembering that she told us, in the words of King David, “The Lord loves those who give joyfully.”  

Now, my darling little sister, I’ve something to ask of you. Cast back your mind. When did Thérèse become a Child of Mary? What date? What year? Was it at the Abbey? Inquiries have been made but nobody can find her name on the register. Fr Donin is sorry. He came yesterday, thinking I had some information. I told him that there was only one thing I could remember, which was that Léonie had given her her medallion and ribbon, which proved that she really had been accepted into the Association. Your name must be on the medallion, surely? Answer us before Lent, even if you’ve just written us a letter and sent it, because His Lordship is heading this inquiry and you are the last person who can help us in the matter.

I love you, darling little sister, with all the strength of my heart.

Your Céline, your little companion

Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n.