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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - April 16, 1910

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - April 16, 1910

+ Jesus                           16th April 1910

Darling little sister,

We saw Mgr de Teil today. He brought us some specific paper for us to write our copies on. We’re sending you two notebooks of this paper. For each letter, you must start a new page, either front or back (it doesn’t matter which). If you don’t have enough paper, ask us for some more. You must copy out any crossed-out passages, unless they have been scratched out, in which case they no longer exist and you shouldn’t rewrite them. We don’t need to copy the punctuation, or the spelling or grammar mistakes. You don’t have to be the one to make the copies.

I think your Mother needs to sign them to confirm that they are exact copies of the originals, and Mgr de Teil told us to affix our Community stamp at the end of each letter. I think the same applies to you. There always have to be a great many formalities for these sorts of procedures.

Now darling little sister, I’m going to say goodbye, as I’m in a great hurry. Mgr de Teil also told me to prepare my testimony. To do this, we must use the “Articles” to guide us. You must have received them. We therefore need to follow them to know how to proceed (1). As you go through the articles, their layout will remind you of a fact relating to Thérèse’s life. You can write about it on the large sheets of writing paper (don’t write on the backs; leave them blank). To avoid getting lost, we put titles on each page, for example, Charity – Humility – Childhood - Family Life, etc. The title is of your choosing, to make things simpler for you because, you can, if you wish, reply verbally without using the written documents to help you. As for us, we don’t have good enough memories for that, and we fear we’ll be choked with emotion, so we’re preparing documents. Once we’ve read them out, the court will take them from us, but then give them back at the end of the trial. The Commission is coming to hear our oaths on 24th and 25th May, if I’ve understood correctly, and will deal with the writings, so we won’t be questioned quite yet, but we must nevertheless be ready. Fr Quirié is the Court President, Fr Dubosq, the Superior of the Major Seminary, is promoter. Fr Deslandes, Canon in Bayeux, is the chief clerk and Fr Marie is chief clerk for Lisieux. He will stand in for Canon Deslandes, because writing is very tiring, so to simplify things, a town priest without an active ministry is needed. Dear Fr Marie is delighted, and we’re very pleased to have him. You mustn’t be scrupulous; we’re not obliged to say everything we know.

(See the end of my letter. I’ve just written it and I forgot that it related to the body of my letter and not to the end. Sorry.)

When you prepare your answers, you can use quotations from Thérèse’s letters. For example, if your letters contain passages that demonstrate her spirit of faith, charity, zeal for saving souls, humility or trust, to support what you claim, say, “she wrote such-and-such in the year such-and-such.”

This is very useful, because the letters not featuring in this particular trial won’t become known otherwise, and it’s good to use them to highlight her virtues. Her writings will be examined only by a specific commission, one that is independent of the other, and which will serve only to see whether something discredits her faith or morals. In your letters, there are some lovely things to point out. Your excellent Mothers will tell you how to classify these passages.

(1) You will notice that the articles talk first about the life story she wrote, in general, before broaching the theological virtues, Cardinal virtues and other virtues related to them. Your dear Mother Superior will certainly be summoned to testify to Thérèse’s reputation for holiness, and to what she has heard about her correspondence and her way of guiding souls. For the 1st article, it is always very much appreciated if you have precise notes. They don’t like “ohs” and “ahs”. No one knows what questions will be asked because they’re secret, but we’ll always be able to find answers on the papers we have prepared. Now I send you a kiss, darling little sister,

Your Céline

Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n.