From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - January 26, 1936

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - January 26, 1936

J. + M.

P.C.                                                                                 Carmel of Lisieux 26th January 1936

Dear little Léonie, or rather, dear little Françoise-Thérèse

I’m writing to wish you a happy feast day. May gentle St Francis de Sales assume the same auspices over you as over little Thérèse, whom he guided so successfully! Address him a little prayer on behalf of your poor Céline, because she sorely needs his help. It’s so difficult to be gentle and patient all the time.

My letter today might be my last before Lent, because I don’t see how I’ll manage to write before Ash Wednesday. I’m taking my great retreat on Wednesday 12th February until the morning of the 24th (Shrove Monday) because that day will be the 40th anniversary of my Profession and the Sisters want a bit of a celebration; just a small one. (That’s not true; nothing special will be happening at all and I’ll be on retreat on the 24th, which I’m very pleased about. Pray for me . . .) If we held a big celebration for Sr Marie of the Sacred Heart, it’s because we weren’t expecting her to live to see her Fiftieth. Yet it’s not customary here to celebrate a 40th anniversary, even though it is the “Ruby Anniversary”. So I’ll only have Shrove Tuesday to write to you and I fear I’ll be very busy. Believe it or not, several friends of our saint have kept track of the years, and people as far away as Germany want to send me gifts! We’re going to reply that I don’t want anything. You see, prayers and “peace” are what please me most.  

In the meantime, on 11th February, we’ll definitively celebrate Mother Sub-Prioress’ “Silver Anniversary”. As you can see we’re not lying idle.

Our Mother’s feast day was lovely and touching. I gave her Thérèse’s jewellery in a reliquary to be displayed at Les Buissonnets. I also gave her the book of Gospels that she carried on her heart and in which she wrote the Credo with her blood during her trial of faith. The writing has all but faded. I had a triptych done. The small doors will preserve it. The object is heavy and bulky, like the other one.

Dear little sister, I’m talking to you about celebrations and you are in mourning. If only you knew how keenly we felt the loss of one of your dear Mothers from Boulogne, and how much were thinking of all of you, and of you, Léonie. How fortunate she is to have left earth! Oh, how I long for that blessed day, although it seems to elude my grasp! This prolonged wait must be very meritorious and be bringing God great glory, because He is not used to being desired so ardently. So many people tighten the screws that hold them to earth and keep checking them to make sure that they are in good condition. Strangely enough, we do the same when we fear our time has come. The truth is that we’d like to leave this place, but without suffering.

Goodbye, darling little sister. Happy, happy feast day!!! I send you all my love and that’s saying something! Your little Céline,

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face