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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - February 11, 1923

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - February 11, 1923                                                                                                   

+ Jesus                                                               Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                         

Darling little sister,

Your letter brought my soul great sadness. The prospect of losing my beloved Léonie is very hard to face. Once we are parted, I’m sure I’ll be happy to know that you have reached port, to feel you close by me, to know you are far from this sad earth, and to think that you won’t have the sorrow of losing us. Yet before I reach that point, how many tears and anxieties we’ll suffer! It’s so hard knowing our loved-ones are suffering! Still, God will be there, with little Thérèse. I don’t mind suffering, but I don’t want you to suffer, darling sister, and I’m going to pray that your journey will be an easy one. Not being near you to nurse you represents a great sacrifice to me, but we’ll soon see each other again up above.

I think that my Léonie will be the first to go. She is the one on whom little Thérèse should have the most mercy. Afterwards, we shall follow on not far behind. Like Jesus, we’ll be able to say, “It is for your good that I am going away.” Yes, after the Beatification, when I’ve placed Thérèse in her reliquary and my mission is complete, I don’t think I will remain on earth for much longer.

Sr Marie of the Sacred Heart is almost crippled. She has difficulty walking even though she is almost always standing. It is true that it’s due to rheumatism, which isn’t serious, but such aches and pains are nevertheless signs that our “muddy envelope” will soon collapse.

Darling Léonie, a while ago, I found the Calvary that we have to endure, and our inescapable death sentence, very hard. Yet God helped me realise that “a saint’s death is precious in His eyes.” I realised that He was doing us a great honour by giving us an opportunity to show Him our love through one last, difficult act, and that this opportunity was a great grace. Since then, I’ve resolved to rejoice in the supreme sign of love that I have yet to give Him, and, whenever the prospect of death seems terrible to me, I welcome Him all the more warmly. I want to avoid letting this fine opportunity escape me at all costs. And I would rather face death than be exempt of it.

Darling little sister, what can I say now? I feel as though my heart is exiled. Whichever way I turn, I feel the weight of this exile. To me, far from being a pure joy, Thérèse’s Beatification is “a sachet of myrrh.” It’s true that only small trials and tribulations are left now; the hardest are over. Yet the small ones are ever so numerous and varied. There’s so much work to do and so many difficult things to face that earthly joy cannot come to light, so to speak. God is no doubt the One who disposes of our inner feelings and allows them to arise for our good and His glory.

Darling little sister, I’ll leave you now, without really leaving you. I love you more than I can say. Oh, if only you knew how fond I am of you!!

From your little sister, with all my love and kisses

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face

u.c.n