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From sr Genevieve (Celine) to Jeanne La Neele – December 8, 1926

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to Jeanne La Neele – December 8, 1926

+ Jesus                                                                              Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                                        8 Xber 1926

                                         Dear little sister,

   Considering the circumstances under which you had the page of writing, it is yours and as I wish to be loyal, I will send it back to you if you insist on it, but it isn’t wise! I know what a good heart you have. If you don’t have it framed because it isn’t neat enough, you won’t be able to help showing it to people, and one day or another, you’ll let someone take it away, either whole or in pieces. You would do better to do as Father Roulland did: knowing that he would be caught out, he gave us the pieces of writing he had, considering that they would be “safer in our hands than in his,” he said. And now he’s very glad that he did. (I must point out that I’m not thinking of your letters; only the page of writing.)

On that note, I don’t understand the last line of your letter: “I don’t understand why it wasn’t authenticated with the workbooks.” You no doubt meant to say, “why it wasn’t kept with”, because you don’t have any workbooks.

   As for the relics, of course a family can possess very precious relics, and 1st class ones in fact, but it’s the quantity that makes them truly valuable in your case. We give away locks of hair, flesh and bone fragments daily but they’re certainly nothing more than “fragments”! Saints’ relics are entitled to certain honours when they are significant enough. For example, with a large, well-defined bone, such as a rib, it’s possible to constitute “a holy body”, whereas with what we distribute, this would be forbidden. Now, your framed hair locks, as a whole entity, is too great a relic to be kept in a family home. You therefore cannot bequeath it to a family. It must be left to either a church or a monastery and I wouldn’t like to think that you would do us the insult of not bequeathing this relic to the convent where the Saint in question lived! After all, the convent is the rightful owner.

You didn’t say in your letter that you would do what I asked of you. I’ll admit that this has left us perplexed. Imagine our heartache if you died before us and we found out that your will didn’t bequeath Thérèse’s keepsakes to us. What’s more, the Community won’t honour your memory. You know how you felt when Mr Petit died without leaving you any memorabilia. What we’re hoping for is our saint’s relics, for us, and once we’re gone, for our Carmel. Do you really want to disinherit us completely? I assure you, it can’t be so. Could it be possible for our dear Jeanne to leave us nothing? By leaving us her share, Marie didn’t do us any favours because there was S. Martin on one side and G. Maudelonde on the other. What happened was quite normal and nobody has any reason to envy us, especially as a part of what she gave us was given to charities, as was intended. It is true that we were happy with this arrangement because it corresponded with our uncle’s wishes and he wanted Mr D.’s inheritance to go to good causes. Then God blessed us by allowing the investment that you attributed to us prosper. – In short, what I mean to say is that you cannot forget us completely in your will simply because we no longer live out in the world and worldly keepsakes such as pieces of furniture therefore wouldn’t interest us. You cannot refuse to give us what we are requesting from you, that is to say our little saint’s keepsakes, every last one, plus our family keepsakes and photographs, and everything else concerning us. And, in order that you to have our gratitude from now on and that there’s no coldness between us, I beg you to promise them to us in writing and to put your instructions in your will so that your sole beneficiary will observe them. May our dear uncle and aunt inspire you! I send you my love, darling little sister

                            Sr Genviève of the Holy Face, u.c.n.

We share very, very deeply in your hardship, dear little sister, and we are praying for you with all our sisterly hearts.