Print

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 9, 1936

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - August 9, 1936

J. + M.

P.C.                                                                              Carmel of Lisieux 9th August 1936

Dearest little sister,

I’m writing to thank you for your feast day wishes. They mean so much to me and I look forward to receiving them each year. If they didn’t arrive, I’d be so sad. What’s more, they are accompanied by the traditional and delightfully scented little bouquet of jasmine flowers. I’m going to use some to decorate our dear eldest sister’s walking stick and candle, in addition to the rose necklace, because she loves this flower, but don’t tell her this.

Apparently for her 1st Communion at the Visitation, the table was strewn with jasmine blossoms, which is why the little flower is dear to her. Her dress was decorated with some too when she took the Habit.

Dear little sister, your little letter is very precious to us. You see current events in the same way as us. So much the better if we are victims of them. It would be a great blessing to die a martyr. And what’s more, we are certain that this great cataclysm will serve to bring God glory and us happiness. God is never vanquished. We therefore mustn’t be frightened and say, in the words of the prophet, “I am not afraid, though the earth trembles.”

Death will come, meanwhile I’ve sown some wild mustard that a missionary in Palestine sent us. Its seeds are the size of herring eggs. Two little shoots have sprouted, but they are still very small. The flowers are yellow, like a cabbage’s, but smaller. It is in fact a vegetable plant. In Palestine, they can grow as tall as 3 or 4 m. and have branches and a trunk. Goldfinches enjoy playing in them. Over there, there’s a proverb that says, “It’s the smallest of all seeds.” The plant that we have is 40 cm tall and very fragile. I’m enclosing a leaf and some flowers.

As for the dentist nun, she is kind and very dexterous. I only have 4 teeth left all in all in the back of my mouth, and having dentures represents a form of harsh penance for me. Yet I would much prefer to have them than not, because of the psalmody. They are a great advantage all the same.

Darling little sister, the 6th August Office the other day was very lovely. We read this passage from St Paul: “We will know God for who He is because we’ll see Him and resemble Him.” We therefore cannot see Him without resembling Him. How wonderful! Having the ability to see Him is the same as having that of resembling Him. It is like the mystery of the Holy Trinity, which forms but one God. It is the image that God created of Himself.

As far as we’re concerned, I understand that “seeing Him means resembling Him”, like a photographic slide, perhaps, which is made to project the pictures it sees. But the slide can be less than perfect, blurry, or poorly developed. Our life is made perfect by our Baptism, the Sacraments, our goodwill, our heart’s disposition, and most importantly, God’s grace. Oh, may our life be clear and intense so that we might see God clearly and therefore resemble Him as closely as possible.

Little Léonie, I see I have expressed myself very badly. These sorts of things can be felt but not expressed in human words. Still, you’ll make of it what you will

I send you all my love

Your loving little sister

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face u.c.n.