From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 5, 1914

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 5, 1914

+ Jesus                 5th November 1914

Darling little sister,

I thank you very much for your little letter and feast day gift. I knew you wouldn’t forget me.

Your retreat has just ended and ours is going to be soon, from the 16th to the 24th, which is the feast of St John of the Cross. Fr Milhau S.J. is going to preach it. We don’t know him; we’re simply taking advantage of his passing through Lisieux, as our scheduled preacher is not available. I assure you, I’m not looking forward to it. I would prefer an hour of flagellation. I don’t have anything to say anymore and yet, as one of little Thérèse’s sisters, I must make an effort to say and do things so that people leave here satisfied. The younger ones are looking forward to it.

On that note, you don’t know this, but recently, a great joy flooded me, and you’ll never guess the reason in a thousand years! I felt joyful that I hadn’t died young. Now I’m pleased to have reached maturity. This feeling came to me as I was reading Mother Marie-Ange’s biography. I can’t exactly explain the reasons for this feeling, but I find that we gain from losing our youthful impressions, because they are less real that what we feel at our age. Little Thérèse is an exception of course, because she received a special gift from the Holy Spirit. Anyway, I’m pleased with the path that God has set out for me and I thank Him for it with all my heart (although I have no desire to continue growing old. My conversion doesn’t go that far!)  

Another thing: we’ve had news from his Lordship, and he is feeling better. He wrote to Fr Pitrou the other day saying that if we wouldn’t mind being reasonable and avoid asking him to say Mass at Les Buissonnets before the beatification, he would go and say a Mass there towards 8th December, in thanksgiving for his healing (which he attributes to Thérèse). I’m organising the celebration. I have a lovely gold vestment for him with a sky blue lining, an ivory bookstand, a blue missal, etc. In the little washroom, there’s an ivory dresser, ivory mirror, ivory crucifix, and ivory coat stand. It’s the sacristy, you see. Everything is pure white in there, like lilies. On the day of that 1st Mass, little Andrée Bergerat, the niece of Sr M. of the Trinity (whose surname is Castel) will receive, in private, her 1st Communion from the hands of his Lordship. You can see what a wonderful day it will be. But keep this to yourself. His Lordship seems to want to hide it.

As for the war, it is keeping us very busy. We are praying hard for the army and for France. It’s our only concern. To help us, we’re going to receive a postulant, Miss de Couffon, from Nantes. We are still leading very busy lives, just as before. The Postulator wrote to say that he is going to send us the “Articles”, and that they will arrive in 2 to 3 weeks’ time. We’ll need to prepare the new trial, which might take place in February. Mgr de Teil is in America. He will come back in 6 weeks.

Concerning Thérèse’s 1st Communion at the Abbey, I wanted to ask you on which side she was seated. At mine, I was on the pulpit side and my family was on the opposite side so that they could see me. I think that Thérèse was on the same side. It must have been Louise Delorme, her companion, who was on the Mother Prioress’ side. You might remember if you can recall on which side you were sitting outside. Enclosed is a little card from our dear Mother. It’s a very rare specimen because we never normally reply to letters that are not addressed to us; letters of that sort only receive a printed card in reply. We wouldn’t be able to cope otherwise. (This one’s for you). We offer our affectionate respects to your Mothers. With a fond kiss from your little sister,

Sr Geneviève of St Teresa