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From sr Agnès of Jesus to Céline - October 1890.

From sr Agnès of Jesus to Céline - October 1890.

J.M.J.T.
Little Céline.

We received your frame and found it perfect, but, not knowing anything about them, the features appeared strong at first; so much so that for fear of it producing the same effect upon Fr. de la Brugère (Céline had the portrait of Mgr. Robin taken to the Carmel before going to Paray. The painting was commissioned by Father de la Brugère (1846-1932), who had been Chaplain at the general hospital of Bayeux since 1889), we didn’t pass it on but hung it on the far wall of the upstairs visiting room…. We were very anxious… At last at one o’clock the bell rang. I went up to the visiting room alone, opened the grille, I had the long veil on… I glimpsed Fr. de la Brugère and his brother… I let them contemplate your masterpiece for a moment; my heart was beating fast… very fast… “Ah! It’s perfect”, said the Father… then the watchmaker said: “Ah! It’s striking. How well it resembles him…” “This is certainly the most beautiful and one of the most lifelike portraits of our community… How pleased the Mother Superior is going to be. [1 v°] Ah! Mother, kindly tell your Mother Prioress how pleased I am, I couldn’t be more satisfied…” It was Father de la Brugère who said this… He was in awe.

So I said to him: “Father, when you look closely at this painting, it will perhaps not have the same effect upon you, for you know that the style of painting today is not the same as it used to be.” “I know that Mother but I can tell you that this portrait will be placed very high in the big reception room, etc.” So everything turned out for the best. I was very proud…

The Chaplain only made a small observation about the hand: he finds the shadows around the first phalanx of the big fingers a bit too black… “In order for the work to be completed, I will come and collect the painting in 8 to 10 days” he added. Monsieur de la Brugère, the watchmaker [2 r°] replied that the date of completion might further be postponed due to the varnishing to be done. I said I would do my best and the two gentlemen left DELIGHTED. I could tell they hadn’t expected what they found and I hadn’t expected seeing such satisfied customers either… Thank you, thank you my little Céline!...

I forgot to tell you that, in his gladness, Fr. de la Br. explained to me how he would surprise the Community. I didn’t understand much, I only know he will arrive unexpectedly in the nuns’ refectory on I don’t know which feast day, carrying the portrait in I don’t know what way (but certainly not round his neck).

Well that’s enough on that subject. Thank you again… May the Heart of Jesus bless my little darling Céline!... Don’t forget what he said one day to Bl. M. M. (Marguerite Marie Alacoque): “Daughter, I cherish the cross so much that I can’t help closely uniting myself to those who carry it out of love for me.” [2 v°] He is therefore very near you, and very near to our little family which is entirely his… Oh my darling! pray hard for us!... and for Papa!... I dream of him, my memory of him would hurt me if my heart wasn’t full of faith and trust in God… so my unique prayer for him is this: “My God, I ask for nothing. You see, know, love and can do all things!” I believe surrender is what pleases Our Lord the most, which is understandable, because it’s a sign that we trust in him…

Little Céline, let’s become Saints because all things are nothing: all things pass! Soon we will have eternal joy. But in the meantime, there’s nothing but fights and deep suffering, is there not? What encourages me is remembering these words which Our Mother Saint Teresa said to her daughters: “Remember you are only here to stand with your weapons constantly in hand and to fight…” So that is our life… it’s a militant life… well, let’s fight for souls and for the glory of God, and then die on the battlefield, so that we may then rest in eternal peace.

Farewell my little Céline, I’ve written in such a hurry I don’t know what I’ve said. It’s an awful letter, forgive me.

Sr. Agnès of Jesus

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