From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 25, 1919

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 25, 1919

+ Jesus                                                         Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                   25th November 1919


Darling little sister,

I’m the one writing, this time, to say farewell before the silence of Advent. It will be a very brief silence because in a month’s time (the usual interval between our letters) we’ll be together again.

I don’t know whether you heard that dear Father Pichon died on 15th November at 6 in the morning. When he didn’t come down to say Mass, someone went upstairs and found him dead in an armchair. He had been praying before going to the altar. We think he died an extremely beautiful and worthy death. He was such a gallant, pious, and holy old man! He had asked God never to deprive him of the possibility to offer the Holy Sacrifice: he went to celebrate it in heaven!

It must have been a heart attack that took him. Over the two years or so that he was in the care-home for Jesuit Fathers, he was found unconscious several times. He told us so, believing it to be due to weakness. Yet I knew it was more serious than that. Dear Fr Pichon! He is very happy now. We urged him to perform little Thérèse’s Act of Self-Offering to Merciful Love. She must have been by his side just before he died. I can’t tell you how upset we were to hear of his death. We loved him so much! I knew him since the age of 13, but now I’m pleased he is delivered from the evils of this life.

Yesterday we had two charming candidates receive the Habit in a double ceremony. Despite 5 large bays being under construction in our chapel, the ceremony was lovely, and His Lordship presided. The two novices were accompanied by their mothers and fathers. One of the girls’ fathers was a Major. He was in uniform and his chest was covered in medals. We had closed off the bays using Mr Huchon’s drapes. During the ceremony, poor Mr de Richemont, Maryelle’s husband, had an epileptic fit. His screams were like those of a wild animal. It’s fortunate that he was at the back of the chapel. He was able to be led out. It didn’t disturb the ceremony. His screams were drowned out by us singing the In Exitu. But our Mother wrote to Maryelle asking her not to bring her husband next time.

I was very pleased that you mentioned depicting the Holy Face in our apotheosis painting, because I had had the same thought, but our Mother disagreed. After what you said, I tested an idea, which was well received, and now it’s official: the Holy Face will feature in it! I’m overjoyed! But instead of being imprinted on the Shroud, it will be in the form of a painting, in the centre of the Cross. It will be framed by clouds and rays of light. It’s wonderful. It brightens up the painting, because it was dull and dreary before. When I have a photo of it, I’ll send it to you.

Mr de Bercegol (who sees to our business matters and the Central Office) is going to move to Lisieux next April. He has bought the Coupey property on Boulevard Pont-l'Evêque. It’s the large house near Allée Lemercier.

What a lot of news, darling little sister! I’m telling you all this because I know it will bring you pleasure, just as your letters bring us pleasure. We love reading about all the details concerning your life and duties, and especially seeing you heading full sail towards the Port of Love, where our little Thérèse dropped anchor. I’m taking care of her, and I ask her to take care of me. I don’t know where I’m going; I’m in a giddy whirlpool, but I sense that many good things will come of it, for both Jesus and myself. We have only this life to fight and exert ourselves in His service.

Goodbye, little Léonie. With love from your little Céline.

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face


P.S. Today we had a visit from a bishop of Peru who is very enthusiastic about our Little Saint.

We did receive your last letter. Remember me to dear Sister Thérèse Pougheol. I don’t talk about her to you much, but I often think of her. Her parents were so good to us in our time of suffering.