From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 8, 1915

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 8, 1915

Jesus + Carmel 8th August 1915

Dear little Léonie,

I thank you very much for your feast day wishes. Every year your little letter brings me great joy and goes straight to my heart. It really is incredible that I’m still feted on this day. Despite the name Geneviève of St Teresa having outwardly replaced my 1st name, Marie of the Holy Face, everyone still wishes me a happy feast day on 6th August. Jeanne was very kind; she sent me some cantaloupes. Francis is being a bit kinder, but he never comes to see us, unless the reason is important, which isn’t often. It’s therefore rare that we see him other than on New Year’s Day. You know that he was ill and spent 5 months at the seaside and at the baths. He is much better and is resuming his activities.

I’ve already begun giving my testimony for the Process, but the gentlemen of the court have suspended the sessions and I won’t reappear in the dock until 23rd August. I’m about half way through. The Court will have just about finished hearing everyone by the end of the holidays, which is why I have little hope of seeing you. Our Mother says that the moment is not right for a reunion because, what with the testimony on our minds and the tiredness of having endured whole days of court sessions, you wouldn’t enjoy our company and vice versa, and this would upset us. We should be at rest when we see each other, which is why our Mother is planning on asking you to come here for the Beatification festivities. We have only another 4 or 5 years to wait.

Our Mother has written to your Rev. Mother asking her to allow you to send us your testimony. Despite our oath, it will still be possible for us to clarify a few points if need be. The three of us have helped each other, and this hasn’t influenced our personal views in the slightest. Instead, it helps to guide us and make informed choices. “A brother who is helped is like a strong city.”

With regards to the Crucifix picture, I don’t want to go against our Mother’s intentions by circulating it. You are the only person on earth to have seen it. Francis and Jeanne haven’t seen it, and none of our Sisters here have a copy. They haven’t even seen the original painting and I regret having given you so many, and particularly that Fr Besnard has one.

I have no wish to know the reason why it is being kept quiet. Our Mother must be being inspired by God without realising it. The moment has no doubt not come to publish it. There is a time for everything. God’s time will come if His glory will truly gain from it. I still think that it will be much easier to bring it to light and publish the little study I wrote on the subject once I’m dead. Circulating it now would cause us heaps of difficulties. It would involve pilgrimages with the artists and scholars working with the Holy Shroud. Apart from the fact that it would be financially impossible to launch ourselves into such a complex project at the same time as seeing to the building work for little Thérèse, there would be much more opportunity for criticism and jealousy if I was alive. That’s assuming the work has value once I’m gone. So, as I said, I deeply regret that one was given to Fr Besnard. It’s so easy to print one photograph from another, especially as artistic property rights aren’t recognised in America. I can just see us receiving small pictures of my Crucifix, or a copy of it signed by another author after he has changed one insignificant detail!! You would be immensely upset if we were robbed in this way as a result of a little carelessness on your part. The pictures I gave you mustn’t leave your enclosure and I’d like you to retrieve the one that Fr Besnard has. Do this for me, I beg of you.  

Goodbye, darling little sister. I love you with all my heart.

Your little sister

Sr Geneviève of St Teresa u.c.n. 

I offer my respects to both your “new” and “former” Mothers.