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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 26, 1921

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 26, 1921

+ Jesus                                                                  Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                             26th March 1921

                                                                                                              

Dear little Léonie,

We have sung Alleluia, we have licence to speak, and our Mother has allowed us to write to you already so that we can give our letter to Mr Ménage this afternoon.

I have so much to tell you! If only you knew what a wonderful celebration we had on the 24th! Our Mother wasn’t expecting it, but she was obliged to go with the flow, and I too was given a delightful celebration.

You will smile when I tell you that I received letters, telegrams, and gifts from all over the world. The reason for this is that many of our little saint’s admirers know the dates that are significant to us, and calculate the anniversaries without us even realising. I was dedicated over 70 Masses. – Knowing that it would please me, an English lady sent 2500 frs to ransom 25 women slaves. I also had some little children ransomed for me (they are less expensive, costing only 25 frs). I asked for a little Marie-Léonie for you. She is my gift to you. As there are 25 of us here, I’ve offered everyone one woman slave, but I’m hoping that the English benefactress will, at my request, ransom another one for you. The charity’s head office in Rome has promised to send us details of all these ransoms.

But here are some details of the feast day. In the morning, our Mother brought me the Holy Father’s blessing in a beautiful frame. The blessing was written beneath a photograph like the one you have (the same picture but much bigger). It read:

“We grant Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face, for the 25th anniversary of her Profession, the apostolic blessing in pledge of divine graces and favours.

Vatican, 6th February 1921

Benedictus XV."

What’s more, I had letters from Cardinal Vico, the Postulator, Mgr de Teil etc., etc. The Abbey was very kind: I had a 4-page letter from all the former Abbesses. I was very touched.

For the Mass, the sacristan had laid out the fine linens and sacred vessels, knowing that I loved to do this when I was sacristan.

You can’t imagine how many tokens of affection the other Sisters gave me. Nothing was too pretty or too good for me. They forced our Mother’s hand in every way.

In the evening, his Lordship permitted us to have the Benediction of the Bl. Sacrament, and we lit some beautiful new candles.

Here’s another detail that will interest my Léonie:

The Sisters in the kitchen decided to strictly respect the fast. It was very nice all the same. Finally, in the evening, they sung me a hymn that our Mother had written. Sr Marie of the Holy Spirit had painted a watercolour depicting the same subject that I’m sending you. Ah, this time I wept! It was just too much. I forgot to tell that, in the morning, I renewed my vows in our Mother’s hands in front of the miraculous statue of the Bl. Virgin. The other Sisters were very moved. You see, our little Carmel was caressed by a heavenly breeze that day. We could feel Thérèse there, presiding over everything, and the other Sisters were quietly awed by this. They were unanimous in saying that they felt renewed joy and delight, and it wasn’t even their anniversary. “What a serene and untainted day it was!” they’ve been saying. Yes, that day represented a haven of peace in our life. It made me think of heaven, and what Jesus is preparing for us.

Darling little sister, I don’t have time to tell you how I felt inside, but you can imagine. “Yes, God is setting aside marvels for me that will by far surpass my greatest desires.” Oh, what a calm, untainted day it was!!! I can’t describe it.

The weather, too, was splendid. The sky was cloudless and spring like. O Léonie, let us refuse Jesus nothing. He is reserving so much happiness for us. And Thérèse is so powerful and loves us so much that she showed us this, despite us being in exile. There was only a thin veil between us.

Goodbye, Léonie. I have another little gift for you, but it will have to wait until 30th April. You see, it will be from Sr Marie of the Trinity, too, because she is celebrating her silver anniversary on that day. It will be a keepsake from both of us. It’s not much! Tell Sr Marguerite-Agnès that I heartily thank her for the keepsake she sent me. The little keepsake from us two will be for you two.

I send you love and kisses

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face

u.c.n.