From sr Marie of the Eucharist to Mme Pottier - February 16, 1896.

From sr Marie of the Eucharist to Mme Pottier - February 16, 1896.

+ Jesus J.M.J.T. 16th February 1896

Dear little Céline,

I was waiting for a reply from the Bishop before writing to you because he was to set the definitive date for the ceremonies. They will be on Tuesday seventeenth of March (this date, which had been set by Mgr. Hugonin, no doubt influenced the date for the prioral election. Having taken the Habit on 5th February 1895, Sister Geneviève could hope to be professed as from 6th February 1896. This required the Superior’s permission for her to be presented for the vote at the Chapter about a month beforehand, that is to say at the beginning of January 1896. Now, at that time, the post of superior had been vacant. Canon Maupas, who had been appointed to succeed Canon Delatroëtte, did not take office until 26th January 1896, when he was installed as Parish Priest of Saint Jacques church. However, in the visiting room, he had voiced the wish that things be “arranged” so that Sister Geneviève could be professed before the end of Mother Agnès of Jesus’ mandate (her three-year mandate was due to expire on 20th February 1896). It had therefore been decided that the elections would be postponed until after Céline’s profession, which was set for 24th February. However, there were two components of a profession: the profession itself and the taking of the veil. The first took place in the Chapter in the presence of the Community alone, the second in public and was usually presided by the Bishop. As the latter had chosen 17th March 1896 for the profession, the elections were postponed until 21st March.

It is understood that this imbroglio provoked some ill-feeling: by right, there was no obligation to subordinate the prioral election to Sister Geneviève’s profession, particularly as it was simply for the sentimental reason of giving Mother Agnès the “consolation” of receiving her own sister’s vows), and I would be very pleased if you could make an appearance in Lisieux with your husband on that day. I’m also inviting Miss Baby; I would be very [lv°] happy to plant two big kisses on her pretty little pink cheeks, which she is hardly concerned about; but I believe her mama would prefer to leave her dear little treasure tucked up in her little nest, and she would be right, especially if we were to have bad weather. Sr. Geneviève’s profession will take place on 24th February, inside the Carmel of course, that is to say she will pronounce her vows on that day, but the outside ceremony, the taking of the veil, will take place on 17th March in the morning, and your poor [2r°] Sister Marie of the Eucharistwill take the habit in the afternoon of the same day. (The printed text from the letter of invitation to the day’s ceremonies have been conserved in the archives of the Carmel: “J.M.J.T. Carmel of Lisieux – The Carmelite Sisters request the honour of your presence at the ceremonies of the Profession of Sr. Geneviève of Saint Teresa (Miss Céline Martin), and the Taking of the Habit of Sr. Marie of the Eucharist (Miss Marie Guérin), which will be celebrated on Tuesday 17th March [1896]. The Taking of the Veil will take place at half past 8 in the morning and the Taking of the Habit at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The two ceremonies will be presided by His Eminence the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux. The sermons will be given by Father Ducellier, Dean of Trévières, and by Father Levasseur, Parish Priest of Saint-Germain-de-Navarre-les-Évreux. The collection will be taken by Miss Anne-Marie Glaizot. Pease present this invitation at the entrance of the Chapel”). I do hope no impediment will deprive us of the joy of seeing each other and sharing one last embrace (Note that the future novice would go out into the exterior chapel in a wedding dress for the first part of the ceremony).

Sr. Geneviève has asked me to convey her invitation to the two of you. She cannot do so herself, as she is on the great retreat for her profession. She has asked me to send lots of kisses to her little Céline.

Do pray for me, dear little Céline, so that I can [2v°] worthily prepare to become Jesus’ little fiancée, before I become his Spouse, which is what I ask for with all my heart. I still couldn’t be happier, I would like to become very saintly and with that in view I demand my dear little Céline’s prayers.

Your servants are leaving you?... This is very troublesome for you, I understand that, and you must certainly have suffered from the way they informed you; but you see, my poor little Céline, you mustn’t count on gratitude in this world, and God has permitted this little misfortune to happen [2v°tv] to show you that you must only do good to others and practice [lr°tv] virtue with the sole intention of pleasing God. Have God alone in sight; that way you shall never be disappointed. You have to endure your share of crosses and trials. They are sometimes very heavy, but in order to obtain heaven, one must suffer greatly.

Jesus has always showered great graces upon your soul, you are his little chosen one, and that is why he is sending you his cross, because there is nothing better he can give us. So we must embrace it joyfully, which is not always easy, I know. But most of the time, if we don’t feel strong enough [lv°tv] to carry these crosses, it is because we don’t ask God enough for his grace. I have experienced this for myself; we don’t ask enough of God. He wants us, through prayer, to tear his graces from him [2r°tv] so to speak. He likes us to ask things of him… You know, you could send me your little note as you have always done, for my Taking of the Habit (Note of personal intentions, which the novice would carry on her heart during the prostration). I assure you I won’t forget you that day. I will carry the little note with your demands for graces on me.

Your little Marie of the Eucharist

who sends you lots of love. Remember me to your husband and give a big kiss to Baby. I wish you a happy birthday in advance. (Céline Pottier-Maudelonde was born on 25th February 1873). All your little cousins at the Carmel send you big kisses.

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