From Marie Guérin to Céline - July 26, 1892.

From Marie Guérin to Céline - July 26, 1892. 

Tuesday 26th July 92. La Musse.

Dear little Céline,

It does me so much good to come and rest with you a while!... If only you knew how slowly time seems to be passing. I’ve been very reasonable these past days, but today the boredom that comes from not having you near me feels even stronger. It is because, you see, God has really spoiled me; instead of reliving the memories of the happy days we spent together, as I said before I left, I look at the present moment. I have entirely surrendered myself to the will of God, who allowed us to be separated only in order to win over my heart more completely. And all this is naturally happening within me without any effort on my part. It is true that I [lv°] accepted this trial resignedly… only God knows how hard it was for me!... Oh, my Céline, how can I ever tell you how much I love you! My love is as strong as ever, but it seems more detached than before. Instead of feeling the immense sorrow that I feel when I sense you are unhappy, now I haven’t the strength to feel it. It is as if I were crushed, my heart is broken, but I lift it towards God, and I surrender myself to him for you and for me, because you know that your sorrow is my sorrow and I would rather suffer in your place than you suffer…

“He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20)” These words, which I read and reread so many times, never left any impression in my soul, but, uttered by you, they have remained ingrained in my mind, like a seed that you have scattered and which will bear fruit. At these words, I spontaneously replied: “I want to love Him and give myself for Him…”. It is done, my darling Céline, I have given myself to the One whom you love so much, and whom you make me love… Didn’t you also say that through my trip to La Musse, I would save many souls [2r°] if I wanted to do so? You are God’s instrument vis-à-vis me, you possess the talent to touch souls by the way you say things; it exudes something so deep, and then the look that accompanies your words remains engrained deep in one’s heart, where it stirs even the most hidden fibres. I have said it many times, just seeing you makes one feel carried towards God, because you exude love…

My darling little sister, I am sure that my letter will bore you, but I’m saying all I’m thinking and pouring out my overflowing heartto you. I can look around me all I want, I can’t find anyone who understands me, so I am living withdrawn into myself, and my greatest pleasure is solitude. My heart often speaks to God about my Céline. At least He understands the bond that unites us; I can confide my sorrows to him… This is perhaps a rash judgment, but very often, when I seem to be thinking, Mama looks at me and I can tell she is thinking that in spirit I have gone to find you. Just this look; you know which one, makes me do a lot of thinking. If I felt that our mutual affection was understood, then my exile would be easier. [2v°] I would be able to confide my sorrows to someone, and talk about you, but here I can’t. When I seem a bit sad, people want to distract me and you know that when feeling sorrowful, distractions make the feeling grow rather than diminish. I don’t know whether you understand me, but anyway, what I would like most in cases like these is to be left alone.

To tell you the truth I believe that people barely notice my sorrow, because I am very cheerful, and am so intentionally, but all it takes is for me to be serious, and the reason is discovered straight away. During the first days here, people often said to me: “You are not too bored with us, you are not overly upset about leaving Céline.” The end startled me. Very convincingly, I would reply no, but the quite often repeated sentence was like a sword to my heart. My Aunt José (Joséphine Pigeon, called “Aunt” by the Guérin family) would also often make this remark out loud: “How she must be missing Céline, they are an inseparable pair, how are they going to manage without each other?” I let Mama answer these questions, but once I found myself alone with Aunt José and I admitted that we certainly got along very well because we had the same taste for photography etc. It is best to reply honestly. To listen to people, you would think it was a crime to love another. I let the [lr°tv] world say what it likes, and all these little persecutions only strengthen my affection for you further. I am so detached that if you were not to come in a fortnight, I believe I would feel no sorrow. You understand me, don’t you? I mean that my sacrifice is made in its entirety, but if the blow was struck, it would nevertheless be a fresh heartbreak. Avoid this fresh trial if you can.

Your little sister who is at the school of detachment and who loves you very much.


Whatever you do, not a word about this letter, tell Léonie to be mindful of this, I send her a big kiss, next time I will write to her, too. If you see my darling Mother (Marie de Gonzague) give her my love, I’m going to write to her…

[2v°tv] I would very much like to know whether you are bored, whether the lunches in town are wearisome?... I enjoy receiving your letters very much but, you know, if writing bothers you, don’t trouble yourself; I’m not expecting any. Give my love to my Uncle on behalf of his Grecian (Mr. Martin, Marie’s godfather, was previously known to call his goddaughter Marie Guérin “his Grecian”).

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