From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - July 23 & 24, 1912

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - July 23 & 24, 1912

 + Jesus                                  23rd and 24th July 1912

Darling little sister,

I have here a nice big sheet of paper, and I don’t want to share it with anyone because then I wouldn’t have enough room for everything I want to say. The first thing is something that you know already, which is that I love you with all my heart. My love is unchanging and can’t grow any greater; that’s how strong and deep it is. As for the other things, I will tell you them in turn, but I’ll begin with the most interesting news, which concerns our little saint.

The Postulator wrote today calling for the “Postulatory letters”. They are the requests made by prelates and princes of the Church all over the world that we have collected over the past few months. There are several hundred of them in total (500 I think) and they urge the Pope to open the Cause. This initiative on the part of Father Rodrigue pleased us because requesting these documents shows that they haven’t been idle in Rome.

You can’t imagine how much people love our Thérèse. On average, we receive 200 written testimonies every day, not counting the visits. Believe it or not, over the last ten days or so, we’ve seen 4 bishops. On 15th July, we saw the Bishops of Dahomey and the Ivory Coast. On the 16th, we had the Bishop of Zanzibar and today, the Bishop of Tahiti. We’re still expecting another. Seeing these prelates’ visits and black men serving Masses, I feel very moved and, involuntarily, the following words said by the Prophet Isaiah come to mind: “Rejoice, barren one, who does not bear, because here come your sons and daughters from afar. Dress your tent and lengthen your cords. Break forth into song upon seeing this immense multitude.” Yes, people from all over the world are bringing our saint gold and frankincense, and this is just the beginning. Ah, if only you could see what we’re witnessing!

On 15th September, while the Bishop of Dahomey was saying Mass, we heard hurried footsteps in the chapel, like those of a regiment. It was a youth club on pilgrimage. There were a hundred of them. After the Bishop’s Mass, their priest went up to the altar in turn, and all the young people sang Mass. It was so touching to hear the Credo sung with such gusto and enthusiasm! I assure you that France is not yet lost.

I almost forgot to tell you that a few days previously, before the 4 bishops came, we saw another bishop; Mgr Augouard, a bishop in the Congo. He’s a celebrity. These prelates kneel down in Thérèse’s cell and kiss the ground fervently. These gestures speak volumes to our hearts, especially when I think that a child is the one who draws them here, and because she loved God and practiced hidden virtues in an unknown little cloister. And for having done this, she is loved and invoked all over the world.

The Holy Father has just sent Fr Dumaine, who baptised Thérèse, a photo of our little sister that a prelate gave him, with a blessing written on the back. There’s nothing extraordinary about this, but what is touching is that the Holy Father withdrew to pray to Thérèse for a few minutes before writing it, asking her to heal the priest who had baptised her (Fr Dumaine is suffering terribly from an interior illness).

Now here’s some other news. Did you know that the famous pious picture of the Sacred Heart that has been around for the past few years hasn’t been warmly received in Rome? Magazines say that the Vicariate of Rome has spoken out against its purported “preternatural” origin and condemned it. Everything is false. Now as for the picture itself, nothing in it warrants ecclesiastical censorship. The Vicariate simply adds, “To promote the picture is to popularise tales and fabrications.” I told you that this copy wasn’t divine. Poor Jesus; it pained me to see Him depicted as being so awkward and placid, and I imagined that the enemies of religion must have laughed to see the Christian God portrayed in such a pathetic light. We should certainly react more vigorously to certain pictures of Our Lord than we do, and Mgr de Teil is right to murmur assent with our enemies and call such things “religious idiocies”! Still, there’ll always be some in circulation. My God, humanity is so stupid! Mind you, as I’m part of it, I’m stupid too, perhaps more so than others by saying what I just said, because it might be false in the eyes of God. After all, thanks to this famous picture, He was able to obtain glory from the very stupidity of humanity. The Sisters at the Abbey were crazy about it, and Fr Pichon was instrumental in spreading it abroad. Anyway, I wash my hands of this mess and send you a kiss.

Your little sister Geneviève of St Teresa r.c.n

P.S. The Hassebrouck wedding is still set to take place, and has been fixed for September. We told Mrs H. that she didn’t have the vocation for the Carmel of Lisieux. This prompted a temporary quarrel. We have recovered but haven’t gone back on our decision, for it was taken before God. She might leave Les Buissonnets.

On 5th August, His Lordship will come and bless our Thérèse’s little “Souvenir” shop, which we call the “Boutique”. It is situated opposite the Carmel and will be run by Mademoiselle de la Tour d’Auvergne.

I offer my respects to your Mothers.