From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 26, 1940

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to sr Francoise-Therese (Leonie) - November 26, 1940

J. + M.

P.C.                                                                         Carmel of Lisieux 26th November 1940

Darling Léonie,

I was on the point of writing to you for Advent and you beat us to it, but you don’t beat us in terms of affection. That you could never do.

If only you know how deeply we share in our dear Visitation’s hardship. You are constantly in our thoughts. Our Mother has regularly received news from the clinic. Your Mother sent news herself, and his Lordship has given us news, too. In a letter to Our Mother, he told her how much your Mother was loved by her daughters and what a special place she held among them. You can tell that he esteems her very highly and he’s right to do so; she can never be too highly appreciated.

Mrs Debon wrote to our Mother too. Like mother like daughter; they suit their name very well.

Léonie, if only you knew what your dear Mother’s illness made me realise deep down. I realised that you don’t have much time left on earth. Losing her was like one last test for you. God wanted to see what you’d say and He saw. He saw that our darling sister remained surrendered to His will and steadfast in her trust, and He now knows where He stands.

It’s a similar test to the one that our eldest sister had just 7 weeks before she died, when her nurse, little Sr Marie of the Incarnation, left for the clinic. That Sister is a real Angel, and has a delightful character. When she helps others, she looks as though she’s enjoying it. You don’t see that twice in a lifetime. And it was this treasure of a Sister, the one who pampered Godmother1 and stayed with her day and night, whom God took from her. I can still see her grave expression as she said goodbye to her. And yet our eldest sister remained as serene as ever. Many Sisters were struck by this and saw it as proof of holiness, because several had been thinking, “She is frail, it’s true, but she is being extremely well looked after. Let’s see what she’d say if she was deprived of her nurse!” They saw and were very much edified by it.

Well, Léonie, Jesus tapped on the clear crystal of your soul, too, and He heard a silvery sound, like an echo of heaven. So He’ll soon come for you; be sure of that. And don’t forget your Céline when you’re up above. My exile feels as though it’s lasting forever and yet I don’t want to move forward the moment that Jesus has fixed for our meeting by a single second.

I send you absolutely all my love.

Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face and St Teresa


P.S. Old Mr Cordonnier, the great architect of our Basilica, has just died in Dordogne, where he retired. Pray for him.

1 Marie of the S.H., Thérèse’s godmother.