October 14-15 and 17, 1895
My dear Joan,
I seem to see and hear you when reading your letter, it gives me great pleasure to note the pleasant illness that my uncle and my aunt have come to bring you from Lisieux, I hope you are not still cured of your crisis of gaiety... it's probable since the Famous member of the Faculty, in spite of his universal knowledge, cannot find any remedy for his dear little Jeanne. If by chance he discovers it, please don't forget our Carmel, the whole novitiate has been affected by the contagion since the entry "of the little rascal who has deepened the wrinkles and bleached the hair" of his dear Fifine .
It is a great consolation for me, the old dean of the novitiate, to see so much gaiety surrounding my last days, it rejuvenates me and despite my seven and a half years of religious life, gravity often fails me in the presence of the charming Elf which rejoices the whole Community. If you had seen it the other day with your photograph and that of Francis, you would have been very amused! Our Mother had brought them to recess and passed them to each sister; when it was the turn of Sr. Marie of the Eucharist she took the photographs one after the other, giving them her most gracious smiles and saying in turn: “Hello, my Fifine... Hello, my Séraphin”. These expressions of tenderness made all the Carmelites laugh, who are very happy to have such a nice postulant. Her beautiful voice makes our happiness and the charm of our recreations, but above all what delights my heart much more than all the talents and external qualities of our dear Angel, are her dispositions to virtue.
It is very great, my dear Jeanne, the sacrifice that the Good Lord has just asked of you, but has He not promised "to those who for Him will leave, either their Father or their Mother or their sister, the hundredfold in this life”? Well ! for Him, you did not hesitate to separate yourself from a sister dear beyond all that can be said! Ah! Jesus will be obliged to keep his promise... I know well that these words are usually applied to religious souls, however I feel in the bottom of my heart that they were spoken for generous parents who sacrifice children. who are dearer to them than themselves...
Haven't you already received it, the promised hundredfold?... Yes, already the sweet peace and happiness of your little Mary have escaped from the gates of the cloister to spread through your soul... Soon, I will have the intimate confidence, you will receive a hundredfold more abundant, a little angel will come to rejoice your home and receive your maternal kisses...
My dear little Sister, I should have started by thanking you for the present you wanted to give me for my birthday, I'm very touched by it, I assure you, but forgive me if I simply tell you how I like it. Since you wish to please me, I would prefer, instead of fish, a model of flowers. You're going to think I'm very selfish, but you see, my Uncle spoils his dear Carmelites, they are sure not to starve... Little Thérèse, who has never liked what is eaten, likes well however the things useful to her community, she knows that with models, one can earn money to buy fish. It's a bit like Perrette's story, isn't it? but anyway if you give me a branch of eglantines, I will be very happy. If there are none, periwinkles or buttercups, or even any other common flower would please me. I'm afraid of being indelicate, if I am, don't pay attention to my request and I will be very grateful for the fish you give me, especially if you want to add the pearls you told me about. another day... You see, my dear Jeanne, that I am converted and that far from keeping silent, I speak like a magpie and I am too daring in my requests... it is so difficult to keep the happy medium !... fortunately, a Sister forgives everything, even the importunities of a youngest child...
I have interrupted my letter so often that it has no follow-up, I thought very beautiful things about the hundredfold of which I spoke to you at the beginning, but I am obliged to keep the beautiful things at the bottom of my heart and to pray to the Good Lord so that He realizes them for you, because I don't have time to list them for you. I have to go "In the wash", listen while scrubbing the laundry to the dear little Goblin who is no doubt going to sing that "This wash must lead us to the Rivage sans Orage...".
Our two Good Mothers and all your little sisters say a thousand kind things to you and to Francis. I do not forget that tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Saint Luke, one of his patrons, so I will make Holy Communion for him and I will ask Jesus to reward him for the trouble he has taken to find me. remedies...
I embrace you from the heart, my dear little Jeanne, and assure you of affection and gratitude.
of your little sister
Thérèse of the Child Jesus rel.carm.ind.