From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - December 24, 1927

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - December 24, 1927

+ Jesus                                                           Carmel of Lisieux

24th December 1927

Darling little sister,

We have licence to speak and Mr Ménage is coming this afternoon. He’ll take you our Christmas letter, because it’s a long time to wait to give it to Mrs Lecourt on Wednesday.

Our Mother’s letter, or whichever you read first, will tell you the great news: Our dear little saint has been named patron saint of all missions and missionaries the world over. I can’t tell what this new honour meant to me deep down. I was filled with joy, and it was a pure joy, like the feeling I had when H.H. Benedict XV gave his masterful speech on “the way of spiritual childhood” on 14th August. I can remember that there was nothing else I desired on earth at that moment. I mean to say that the Beatification and Canonisation that we were still hoping would take place seemed like nothing more than a fine garment to me. The Pope had just highlighted a priceless treasure to give it new impetus, which was more important, because what would the Beatification and Canonisation have meant if our little saint had only been presented to the world as a model for youths to follow, for example? There was a precious peal waiting to be discovered, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ unearthed it.

And today, it is contemplative life that is being glorified. You see, until today, male patron saints of missions have always been paragons of ministry through their preaching. There was St Francis Xavier, the great missionary par excellence, and St Peter Claver for black people. We might have wondered whether we were actual missionaries too, whether we worked as hard as the heroes that go to faraway countries, and whether we had as much merit as them when it came to converting pagans. And the Church has just answered us. O, Léonie, to think that it was not a great Sr Teresa that was chosen! No, she had “writings” and we could have misunderstood them. Yet it was our little Thérèse who was chosen so that we might understand what she meant to say to us!

Dear little sister, we owe such immense thanksgiving to God for all His blessings! Oh, let it not be said that there are things we would refuse Him!

I wish you a happy and holy New Year. I send you all my love

Your little sister

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face and St Teresa