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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 6, 1908

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 6, 1908

+ Jesus        J.M .J.T.               6th August 1908

Darling little Léonie,

I thank you with all my heart for your pretty little feast day bouquets. The little crown touched me particularly. I realised you wove it for me. Your letter, too, was ever so affectionate and spoke directly to my soul. Yet I don’t want you to refer to the past unless it’s to rejoice in it, because you’ve only ever given me joy. And when I gave you away to God, I did so wholeheartedly, because I could see He was calling you. You must therefore never go over that again. Ah, if only you knew how much I love you and how close we became during the ordeal we endured!  

You did well to tell me what you think of the pictures. Your remarks didn’t hurt me, on the contrary; if I criticise the work of others, it’s not because I find mine irreproachable; quite the opposite. Most of the time, I can’t so much as look at them, and it is others who enjoy the meal I serve whilst I stand next to the dishes, without an appetite. It’s sad, but that’s how it is; I’m used to it. As for the painting I call “Sleep”, I’ve always loved the baby Jesus, but the other figures aren’t very good, particularly the Bl. Virgin. Since painting it, I’ve made progress and I master expressions much better now. However, I won’t make any amendments to them; it would be too much trouble for me. It would be better if I began them over again, and they are not so bad that they can’t be useful.  

Will you be pleased? We’ve prepared a surprise for you. It’s a parcel containing all the material on Thérèse that has been published. We couldn’t afford to give all this to you until our uncle gave Marie and me a little money for our feast days. Of course, it wasn’t meant for us, and we have no right to spend it, but when alms are given to us that aren’t intended for Community provisions, our Mother likes using them to spread Thérèse’s message. Sure that we would be pleased, she used the money to this end, and as we thought that you, too, would like to have the pleasure of giving, the material will be distributed by your hand. Do what you like with it. I’ve addressed it to you personally so that you can make your little preparations for your Mother’s feast day and surprise her. I would simply like for one of the two bound books of “Thoughts” to be kept for your usage. Don’t forget to wish your Mother a happy feast day from me, and to give her a kiss. I will be eternally grateful to her for the beautiful books she gave me.

Concerning the Sacred Heart, in a Roman magazine “Reparation through Adoration” by the Archconfraternity of the Eucharistic Heart of August 1908, address: Redemptorist Fathers, St Joachim Church (Rome), or the Congregation Monastery, we read some news that will upset you if you haven’t heard it already. The Sacred Congregation of Rites has decreed that the Sacred Heart will no longer be represented crowned. When his Lordship the Bishop of Nevers asked the Sovereign Pontiff to bless a crowning solemnity that he was planning, he received this reply from Pius X (in a handwritten letter): “I regret I am unable to grant your request since the Sacred Congregation of Rites declared a few days ago that it is improper to portray crowns in images of the divine Heart. If popular piety desires to pay this tribute of devotion, it is permitted only for the crown to be placed at the foot of the statue.” 9th July 1908, Pope Pius X.

The annals continue: “In response to the Sovereign Pontiff’s clarification of the matter, we note that it is indeed more appropriate to proclaim our recognition of the Sacred Heart’s royalty by offering Our Lord the crown rather than imposing it. The divine Saviour was crowned with thorns by His persecutors. Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, upon his triumphant entrance to heaven, was crowned with glory by His Father. We need only, from generation to generation, place the tributes we offer Him as His subjects and devout servants at the foot of the image of the immortal and eternal King, praying He might cast down His benevolent gaze upon our poor crowns.”

We were upset at this news for your sake, because since my failed painting attempt, I’ve always felt deep down that Jesus had no desire for crowns on earth other than the one He chose. I felt this during my retreat in February 1907, and as a result, I completely abandoned my project. If you still have my letters, read those I wrote at the time. I remember telling you about the insight I was given on the matter.

Nevertheless, this decision upsets me deeply, because I sincerely hoped I was mistaken. Don’t be upset, darling little sister. God has His designs, which will become known later on, and these admirable designs will fill our hearts with joy.

I love you with all my might.

Your Céline  Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n. 

I can think of no explanation for the indulgences attached to the Chaplet of the 5 Wounds other than the one given in the enclosed leaflet. I know only that this indulgence was once very fashionable, especially in Italy. It was obtained by reciting a certain chaplet that is little used today. The Holy Face inherited some of these indulgences, but according to his handwritten letter, Pius X wanted to grant more. With the parcel, we’ve enclosed some leaflets so that you can make Thérèse better known when you have the opportunity. Either your Sisters can put them in their letters, or you can distribute some at the same time as you promote the Sacred Heart. If this bothers you, don’t do anything. If you’re happy to do it, we’ll send you some others.

I’m very grateful to you for the remedies you suggested for my poor heels. I’m following them and they are the only things that give me relief. Therefore thanks to you, I’m no worse. Yes, my affectionate little sister, you are the only one who has come to my aid effectively. My ailment might be rare, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less painful.

Whatever you do, don’t be upset about the Sacred Heart. His reign will come all the same. I agree with you; the S.H. in the picture of the little shepherdess is not as ugly as many others, because His facial expression has depth. However, we’ll have one: the one by Muller (which belongs to our godmother) which lacks distinction, majesty, and consequently, divinity. Yet there’s a flash of genius in the face, something which is lacking in that “poor placid sheep!” Excuse my malice!