From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 19, 1918

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - May 19, 1918

+ Jesus                                                               Carmel of Lisieux 

                                                                            19th May 1918


Dear little Léonie,

I’m writing to you in the garden, on the path of horse chestnut trees, which are beginning to age. Nothing lasts forever here below. God has arranged everything so that it’s impossible for us to become attached to anything. The earth is “a place of change.”

On the other hand, it is a very comforting thought, because it proves to us that we pass away, too.

21st May – Dear little sister, I interrupted my letter and here I am, not in the garden, but in our cell, which is as dark as a tomb because I seal it hermetically “in very hot weather” as instructed, which we’re happy to do, I assure you.

Darling little sister, don’t be sad about feeling upset. Life passes by so quickly that it seems we are merely travellers, that is to say we have no home here; no roof. We walk on and on, towards our goal, towards heaven. That is why we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the various emotions that temporarily befall us.

However, as we suffer sometimes, and suffer deeply at that, I’m going to show you a simple little way to feel happy whilst sad. I used it one day when I couldn’t take any more and since then, I’ve never forgotten it and it has always worked for me.

When I feel sad, and my heart and mind are filled with anguish, I say to myself, “I’m willing to be sad.” And as soon as I’ve convinced myself that it’s what I want, I’m sad whilst happy. Try it and you’ll see. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not tried it.

You see, it conforms to the will of God in all His holiness. Thérèse said, “The happier flowers are to do His will, the closer they are to perfection.” And Our Lord said that, “Whosoever does His will is His brother, sister and Mother.” “Self-surrender is the delicious fruit of love,” sung our little saint. And to be surrendered, we must want exactly what Jesus wants.

Now, dear little Léonie, I’m going to see to your photographs. You will receive them in time for your birthday, I hope (I’m talking about “The Little Way”). I’ve finished my manuscript and am sending it to Fr Dubosq. I still don’t know whether it’s what is required, but if it is burnt, I won’t be disappointed, having acted for Jesus alone. I’ll still be well rewarded for the trouble I’ve gone to, as Thérèse would say.

Goodbye, darling little sister. I send you all my love. I wish you a happy feast day on 9th June. I will pray hard for you when I take Holy Communion. Your little sister,

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face