From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - April 15, 1938

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - April 15, 1938

J. + M.

P.C.                                                                                   Carmel of Lisieux 15th April 1938

Darling little sister,

Now that it is Easter, we have licence to speak and I’m promptly writing to wish you an abundance of graces on this glorious feast day and for the blessed and joyful days to come.

Hardship has nonetheless taken up residence here. You no doubt know that we had the flu shortly before Lent and that the fast had to be less austere as a result. Yet we would have been less tired if we had followed the fast to the letter and been healthy. Still, it’s over now. Tonight will be the last difficult night to bear, as far as our human nature is concerned, that is, because for the soul, it is filled with sweet emotions.

It’s always the sameon earth. Here we continue to drag around our wretched bodies, which are becoming heavier with age. On the 28th, I’ll be 69 years old. I’ll see my birthday for the 70th time because I was born at 6 in the morning. That’s saying something! What’s more, I’m shrinking in every respect. My body was jealous of my soul and is following its lead. Now I’m no taller than our Mother. I’m growing shorter and shorter. I’m obliged to use stepladders to reach things that I put away myself. It’s very inconvenient, but no doubt very meritorious.

Our eldest sister is still confined to her wheelchair, and immobile. She can move her hands a bit, though only slightly because they are all deformed. However, she doesn’t even look up from her work. She puts little relics in little frames. It interests her and helps pass the time. She is very edifying. Earlier she said, with a resigned sigh, “To think that I can’t walk, can’t lift myself from this chair or take a single step!” It must be so trying for her, especially since she could never sit still before. She was always in the garden and never where we expected her to be.

Yet God knows this, and so does little Thérèse. This comforts me and gives me the strength to bear life’s hardships. What we try and do is praise God constantly and never complain, whatever happens. We are very careful not to criticise anything He does!

Another great hardship is that one of our young Sisters, an angel of gentleness and kindness, was taken ill with a strangulated hernia a few days ago. She has had it since she was 19, apparently, when she fell down some stairs in the Métro in Paris. She didn’t know she had it. The Doctor was able to stop it from worsening, but she might not recover without an operation. She is currently lying down and keeping still, after being a pillar of the Rule and proving so helpful in her work. We are so few and most, not to say all of us, are feeling peaky. Yet God is with us. He won’t abandon us and our little Carmel will see better days.

Léonie, I hope that you’ll be interested in all that I’m telling you. I love you, you know, and I look forward to the day when all four of us are reunited with Thérèse, our little Angels and darling parents! The day when we see the Bl. Virgin and sweet Jesus will come soon. I send you all my love. Your little sister

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face

u. c. n.