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From sr Marie of the Sacred Heart to Sophie Bohard - January 16, 1887.

From Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart to Sophie Bohard. 16th January 1887

Sunday 16th January 87.

Dear Cousin,

(Grand-daughter of François Bohard, who was the brother of Marie Martin’s great-grandmother)

If I let you guess where your letter found me, I believe you’d be a long time before replying.

Let’s see, where do you think I am? Away travelling? No. At Les Buissonnets? No. At the Carmel!.. That’s the big news you weren’t counting on hearing. And yet it’s true. I joined St. Teresa’s Carmel on 15th October, which is already three months ago. How time flies! And particularly here. I can assure you that being at the Carmel is not boring, I personally am very happy here, and I thank God every day for the grace he has given me.  

I’m sure you’re wondering how I could ever abandon all my dear family like this, and what has become of my little sisters. But my little sisters have grown up. Céline will be eighteen years old in the month of April, and Thérèse is in her fifteenth year! She is very well at present; she hasn’t been to the Abbey for over a year now; she is taking private lessons (lessons with Mrs. Papinau began in March 1886).

We are not marrying our Léonie for she doesn’t wish to get married; thanks be to God. Her dream is to be a nun as well (Léonie had returned to Les Buissonnets on 1st December 1886 after a brief stay with the Poor Clares), so, dear Cousin, as you can see, we are in the process of populating the convents…

Céline has taken control of the household, and she is getting along very well; everything, cooking and painting, is working harmoniously. I can’t think of anything that could perturb little Céline, she is managing everything and muddles through better than Perrette. She now paints from nature. For Papa’s birthday in August she painted a portrait of me which is said to be a good likeness. Our dear father is well but his love for travelling is beginning to die down. He’s not as young as he was; this summer he hardly went fishing at all, which he used to love so much. My uncle and aunt (Guérin) and my little cousins are also well. Marie is still quite fragile. To build her strength back up, her father gave her a pretty piano as a New Year’s gift. She loves music so much that they have decided to have her take lessons. It was suggested that Jeanne do the same but she didn’t want to. She contents herself with her voice that’s like a nightingale, for she is a marvelous singer. It’s delightful to hear them both. It’s something I can no longer enjoy, but I have other, even sweeter pleasures, and so I don’t complain. And then every week I receive visits in the visiting room, I’ve left my family without leaving them.

Farewell, dear cousin. I send you my best wishes for the coming year. So does my dear Carmelite sister. Do you know how good it seemed to me to meet up with her again? For my happiness to be perfect, I only need the Habit of the Carmel, which will come soon I hope

Your cousin who hasn’t forgotten you

Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart

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