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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 30, 1909

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 30, 1909

+ Jesus                   30th May 1909

Holy Day of Pentecost

Darling little sister,

We received the circular announcing the election of your Revered Mother Jeanne-Marguerite and we are very happy for you. I do sympathise with your sorrow, because it’s very sad to lose a Mother, but when a former Mother takes her place, it’s no longer sad, so I rejoice with you, beloved little Léonie. Offer your most Honoured Mother my respects, but I dare not say “congratulations” because the burden of being Superior must be very heavy. The task requires immense sacrifices, and the most costly ones at that. And is your former Mother a little better? The rest will do her good and perhaps restore her to health. Give her a respectful kiss from me.

Did you know that our dear Mother is very sick, and that we’re frightened of losing her? The Dr isn’t at all reassured. It’s true that her temperature has dropped a bit over the last few days, but she’s ever so weak and has such a bad stomach! Ah, if only you knew, little Léonie, how much we’d lose if we lost her. She’s a treasure of virtues and natural gifts. She has been representing our little Community so well at this tricky and difficult time of the introduction of the Cause. We dare not think what the future will be like without her. Our poor Little Mother is crippled with work. Every day she has over 30 letters to reply to (At this point in the letter, Mother Agnes squeezed in the words, “It’s not true. That’s how many we receive, more or less, but I’m not alone in replying, I have a great deal of help.”) It’s true that she has some help, but there is some work she can’t delegate. Our Mother’s illness is giving her a lot of extra work and, above all, much heartache. She would be grief-stricken and lose an immense support. Pray hard for us, darling little sister. We heard that Jeanne and Francis went to see you. They should have told you about their trip, but it isn’t surprising they didn’t mention it. If only you knew the problems it caused us. (Followed by 3 crossed-out and illegible lines)

It was a veritable ordeal and yet we were perfectly innocent.

Things are going from bad to worse with Fr Prévost. He hasn’t replied to the comments we’ve made. I think we’re going to have to get angry. Ah, what problems we’ve had! Fr Pichon was right when he said to us, “Don’t canonise anyone before they die.”

The Prioress of the Abbey has gone to a large Benedictine monastery in Belgium for a month to look closely at their regulations. You know they are a reformed community like Solesmes. Don’t tell anyone this; it’s between us. People outside the monastery are saying she left on business related to the Order. She had the kindness to tell us what her real purpose was. I think it’s lovely to go back to preserving the unity of observance like this. By closing down their boarding school, evildoers have merely made it easier for them to follow their Rule.

I wish you a happy birthday, darling little sister. I’ve been thinking about 3rd June for over a month, so there’s no risk of me forgetting it. I will take Holy Communion for you.

I send you lots of love and kisses. Pray hard for me. God has given me many graces, and I’d like to be extremely good to thank Him. Did you know that an Englishman has given us some money to have Thérèse’s statue made? We have already had a sketch drawn. Keep that to yourselves.

Who told you that Thérèse’s sisters were going to Rome for the beatification? If it was us, it’s hardly certain, as Mgr de Teil seemed to have heard nothing about it. He will enquire when the time is right, but perhaps you heard this from a reliable source. Mgr de Teil approves of the statue project. He guides us in everything.

Your little sister who loves you.

Sr Geneviève of St Teresa