From Mme Guérin to her daughter Marie and her Carmelite nieces - November 21,1897.

From Mme Guérin to her daughter Marie and her Carmelite nieces - November 21,1897.

(the letter is almost entirely addressed to Marie)

Dearly beloved children,

         I would need a pen different from my own to reply to such lovely letters. With only my heart, I’ve come to thank you for your beautiful sentiments, which you expressed so well. God gave me a great grace by giving me such a virtuous family, and by allowing me, for a few short years, to guide the young children whom he had already [lv°] chosen to be his Brides!

       Dear little Marie, I was able to take Holy Communion, and, with all my heart, I consecrated you to your Celestial Spouse! I hadn’t yet seen your letter, and I didn’t know that you were renewing your vows today (Sunday 21st November, hence the date of the letter. It can be presumed that the feast day of the 19th was moved to the Sunday to allow Francis and Jeanne to attend. Another letter from Marie proves that they were indeed present in the visiting room for a little while on Sunday 21st). You are right when you say, my darling, that I find it sweet to offer one of my most beautiful flowers to Jesus. I ask Jesus that my humble little flower might become more and more beautiful in his eyes and that the perfume of her virtues becomes more and more pleasing to him!

       I should have begun by first of all thanking the Reverend Mother for her kind feast day wishes, and then for her thoughtfulness in offering me the photograph of our dear little Thérèse. Our little darling was there with us when we celebrated… with her gentle gaze! And [2r°] I owe this joy to the dear Mother Prioress. You know, Marie, that I’m incapable of expressing what I feel, but your heart will speak for me and convey my thanks to the dear Mother. – Mama was very pleased and very moved by the photograph and your lovely letter. Thank you – Thank you.

     Dear little girls, your letters made me weep! To think that I am loved to such an extent in the midst of so much wretchedness! What have I done to God for him to be so generous to me! In his kindness, his pure kindness alone, he saw fit to take compassion on me!... Dear Marie of the Sacred Heart, you have done me so much good with your strong filial love (Her letter is yet to be found, as is that of Sister Geneviève, Mrs. Guérin’s goddaughter), as has Pauline, who has shown me that her little Thérèse is taking such good care of us! As Marie said, you can really tell you are Jesus’ brides, and that in contact with Love itself, you believe in love.

     [2v°] Dear little Goddaughter, you knew just what would delight your godmother the most: a few verses by our dear saint. And these ones are exquisitely beautiful! The poetry and sentiments expressed are no less than admirable. This child wasn’t made for the earth. Everything in her was celestial! Poor darling! It’s the first time I haven’t had a feast day letter from her, but thanks to your good Mother and my Celine, the memory of her didn’t cause us any sadness. Dear little one, she was unpetalled like the dew, first at the feet of the Child Jesus and right unto Calvary, but only to blossom again Up Above!... (This commentary suggests that Céline had sent her aunt “An Unpetalled Rose” (PN 51). Cf. Poems, II, 284 end).

Oh! I hope she’ll help me lead a better life. If only, like her, I could learn how to live unknown to everyone and to myself in this miserable world, wholly occupied in glorifying God whom she so loved, and in placing my little grain of sand to help save souls. But I will leave you now, my darlings, without having said what my heart feels at all. Do thank the dear Sisters in the kitchen for me for wishing me a happy feast day. Thank you to everyone at the dear Carmel.

       [r°tvl I send all my love to you all, and I ask your dear Mother to kindly let my dear little girls give her a kiss today in honour of my feast day. Please, if it’s possible, let me know which day we can come and see you. Grandmama will come too, and Hélène should be bringing her little Yves on the day I come so that I can introduce you to him. The little Pottier child is still very sick. Poor Céline is very distressed. Pray for her.

Your Mother

C. Guérin

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