From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 4, 1924

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 4, 1924

+ Jesus                                                                 Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                             4th August 1924


Darling Léonie, I still haven’t sent my letter and as I have a little free time this evening during the silence, I’ve come back to it, glad to talk to you about God a little, because until now I’ve spoken only about material things.

I told you yesterday about my increasing workload. I won’t be able to rest until I’m in heaven. That said, I fear that little Thérèse will employ me again to help her do good on earth and scatter roses, because I sincerely doubt that she’ll decide to do without me!

When I’ve finished my apotheosis, I’ll do two life-sized portraits of her, in oil paint: “Thérèse with Roses” and an oval portrait, so that some large colour duplicates can be made. Pray to God that I might succeed, because it will be very difficult and tiring.

Concerning my paintings, I had a comforting thought. I’ll tell you what it was because we are often led to believe, as we grow older, that we regress on the path of perfection and even in our love for God.

So, I had finished my sketch for the apotheosis. It was beautiful, exquisite even, I assure you. We made a tracing of it to send to Rome. A well executed sketch is always pretty when you use your imagination. It shows what the work will look like when finished. Such was my sketch when I began the painting stage. Then, oh then, it looked like nothing but a mess to me. If anyone could believe that something could be made of it, it was me, but showing it to anyone else became impossible and the more I worked on it, the worse it became.

At that moment, I realised that the work Jesus accomplishes in us is much the same. When we’re young, we sometimes have special graces. We feel fervent and ardent. Our mother superiors promise a fine religious life, and they are proud to see that our souls have been blessed. We are like the beautiful sketch.

Yet Jesus then begins covering up the canvas and the more He does so, the less we understand what He intends to do. And so the soul despairs. Even our superiors can’t understand it sometimes. We embark on a path of inward and outward humiliation. And there lies our life’s work. Jesus doesn’t finish His work in us until our last day. He completely finishes His work in the little victims of His Love, those who depend on Him for everything, whereas for others, His work is finished in the life to come.

There you have it, little Léonie. I can’t see anymore and the bell for Matins is about to ring.

From your Céline, who is pleased to be wholly surrendered to Jesus without being able to see what He is accomplishing in her.