From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 31, 1929

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - March 31, 1929

+ Jesus                                                                  Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                              31st March 1929


Dear little sister,

It is always with renewed joy that I set about writing to you after Lent, on this fine, glorious day of Easter. It makes me dream of the Homeland. But I no longer harbour any hope of seeing it soon. I’m trying not to think about it and accept my sacrifice of being stuck fast in exile. Now I think that our eldest sister will be the 1st to go. She is in her 70th year and badly suffering from rheumatism. Of course, rheumatism doesn’t kill you, but it’s her age that frightens me. Still, when the moment comes, God will give us the strength to bear it if He asks this sacrifice of us. It wouldn’t be good to worry about it beforehand.

And how are you, little sister, and your poor feet? Are they still supporting you well enough? Do tell us all your news. As for me, I am well. I will turn 60 on 28th April. There will be huge celebrations in Alençon on that day in honour of our little saint’s Canonisation. Several bishops will be there, and the Archbishop of Rouen will give the eulogy. On the 24th, the altar at Thérèse’s birthplace will be consecrated by Mgr Pasquet, the Bishop of Séez.

Did you know that we’ve promised to give Notre-Dame church half of Thérèse’s baptism robe, on the condition that the awful stained-glass window in the baptistery is changed? Mgr Pasquet and the archpriest of N.-D. have reluctantly accepted our generous sacrifice. – I have therefore already divided up the robe. We’ll give the most beautiful half to Alençon, that is to say, the front of the dress with the pretty little bodice, and we’re keeping the back of the dress and little cloak.

We’re also going to have the Pavilion, but at a shameful price! We would never have been able or wanted to undertake this crazy venture, but one of our great American friends wants to buy it for our little saint. And so it is God who is giving it to us. Again, I’m going to have a great deal of trouble organising it all on my own. Now the parish of St Léonard will have nothing, unless . . . (I’m going to say something silly) we put a statue of our little saint on the bridge where our parents met for the first time.

Goodbye, darling little sister. I see that I’ve said nothing interesting. May little Thérèse make up for this and fill Léonie’s heart with all that I want to say! “The most laudable sentiments in a man’s heart are never expressed,” said Lamartine. This is true and I feel powerless to describe what I feel deep down, and all the affection that I have for my darling little sister. With all my love,

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face u.c.n.