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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - June 1, 1913

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - June 1, 1913

+ Jesus                          1st June 1913

Darling Léonie,

I’m so accustomed to beginning the countless business letters I send on this side of the paper that I made a mistake with this one. Forgive me and accept your little Céline’s best wishes for the Golden Anniversary of your birth!

You are indeed 50. You are six years older than me and I’ve just turned 44. Speaking about that to our Mother, I said, “I have the double 4s.” She replied, “Well then, you’ll go to heaven at the double, reach sainthood at the double, and do everything at the double!” I hope she’s right about the 1st two things. As for the last, I’m not doing too badly, because I work tirelessly.

Later on, I’m going to see to arranging the bedroom in Alençon where Thérèse was born. Yesterday, we sent our architect there so that he can come and tell us what needs to be done urgently before we can welcome pilgrims.

Mr and Mrs Grant see 50 people a day on average. We haven’t said anything to Mrs Hassebroucq, the owner, or to Jeanne either, so whatever you do, don’t betray us! Jeanne and Francis don’t understand our way of doing things. They’re always holding back. When she last came to see us, Jeanne told us that people’s devotion to Thérèse was just a will-o’-the-wisp, a passing moment of excitement, and that it will all die down. We, on the other hand, know that worship will only grow and spread! Still, it’s better to hear such things than be deaf, and not being supported or encouraged is our hardship to bear. No doubt God is letting it happen in order to bless us doubly.

You know that his Lordship went to bless the altar at Les Buissonnets. His Eminence said that he would say the first Mass there. Mgr Lemonnier thought everything very good, and so did Mgr de Teil. Mgr Lemonnier wanted us to buy the Dauphin family property so that the wall adjoining the house could be torn down, but Mr Dauphin is selling it at 20 000 frs while it is worth 2 000 at most. You can understand why we don’t want to buy it. And to think that Papa bought the Gervais family’s little garden, which we have our eye on, and that he paid only 800 frs for it. It was our uncle who sold it back. Anyway, that’s the strip of land we want, but we won’t pay 20 000 frs for it.  

The hotel owners and coach drivers say that Thérèse is bringing wealth to Lisieux. All of them drive pilgrims to Les Buissonnets. It’s a well-known place now - that little house hidden up a lane!!! Ah, God’s ways are so admirable!

Darling little sister, even as I’m saying this, I’m thinking, by contrast, that they are as frightening as they are admirable. We are all shocked by the death of our neighbour, Mr Fleuriot, who didn’t see a priest or confess. Our Father Superior is aghast and says that it’s tremendously unfortunate. He had gone to see him the previous day, and said, openly this time, that it was time he confessed. The patient replied, “The fine weather is back now, I’m going to recover,” and he said he would forewarn him. Now there’s firm resolve! God didn’t wait for his signal. Our Father Superior would say that such things never happen to the poor, whereas wealthy people ultimately die impenitent. Mrs de Moidrey (Berthe F.) comes to see me fairly often.  

I see that I don’t have much space left, yet I wanted to tell you that the Hassebroucqs have been to Rome and that they are trying to prevail upon our Mother and others here, but his Lordship is having none of it, and neither are we.

With my love, darling little sister. Your Céline

Sr Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n. 

I offer my affectionate respects to your dear Mothers. Happy birthday again! My Communion on the 3rd will be for you.

Mr Annould, the author of the painting of “Thérèse in Nazareth”, sent me his painting so that I can touch up Thérèse’s facial features. I assure you, she doesn’t look bad.