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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 2, 1919

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 2, 1919

+ Jesus                                                                      Carmel of Lisieux

                                                     2nd March 1919                                                                                                                                                            

Darling little sister, 

I'm writing to say goodbye before Lent, which will go by quickly as usual. It only seems like yesterday that I saw the Easter Candle shining by the altar and yet it was 40 days short of a year ago. Our lives, too, which can now be counted in months rather than years, will go by quickly. Do not fear, little Léonie. You certainly won't see all of us die.

I'm coming out of my retreat for the anniversary of my profession, which was 23 years ago already! More and more, I find that we must seize the smallest of opportunities to please Jesus. We are like wealthy children; we have a great deal, but we would be so upset later on if we hadn't given Him absolutely everything that we could during our time of trial here below. It is called a time of trial precisely because God leaves us free to give or hold back. He does what He can to help us be fruitful. He helps us by letting us suffer, by inspiring us, and by His grace. It is His grace that follows us step by step so that we might have the pleasure of proving our love to Him and be proud later on to have been generous to Him, remembering how generous He will be to us!

Dear little Léonie, I will repeat what Thérèse once wrote to me: “Let us take advantage of the little time we have left. Let us prove our love to Jesus by saving souls for Him.”

Little sister, you wrote us a very kind letter but I don't feel inspired to paint Thérèse with doves. It's a charming idea, but up until now, we have always ensured that we portray her only practicing pious actions, such as teaching poor children, counting her sacrifices, etc. However, we could get away with it in her biography for children in the form of a simple pen-and-ink drawing. That said, I think that I was the one who had the dove cage, not Thérèse. I placed it in the arbour at Les Buissonnets and later at Uncle's house. I was the one who would stand them on my lap and train them. Perhaps Thérèse did this before me or with me.

I send my love, darling little sister,

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face