J.M.+ J.T. Carmel of Lisieux
August 11, 1909
With you, I profoundly regret the illness of your mother. I would have been happy to receive you on behalf of our Reverend Mother who, alas, being gravely ill, cannot come to the speakroom2.
You see, Mademoiselle, that the “Little Flower3” leaves thorns in the hearts that she loves the most here below! Therefore, you must not conclude that she loves you less because you are tried – I think that it is quite the contrary. Be assured that if you cannot come to Lisieux, she will go to you and all of you will have, the best and most precious graces as if you had been able to accomplish your pilgrimage to her tomb.
Please tell your good mother that we are going to begin a novena this evening for her cure; we will make it at the feet of the “Virgin of the Smile4” in the very cell of the “Little Flower”.
The eyes of this heavenly flower were blue in her childhood; later they became an indefinite color, but very intense and brilliant, while very mild at the same time.
We are going to think of a special memento which you request for the “little Stanislaus” whom I also love very much and we will send it to her with pleasure. We would like to have, in return, the account of the cure of the Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Philadelphia.5
And, now, Mademoiselle and dear child, I thank you in advance for your generous offering. Would you thank your good parents for us? In return, we are going to pray that our little Thérèse be the Angel of their trip and that they arrive in good health in their dear country while awaiting arrival into our common Fatherland above, where we will know each other in joy, close to our heavenly little Thérèse.
Pray a little, Mademoiselle and dear child, for her who has been very unworthy to be the “little mother” below and who professes herself a daughter of St. Teresa1.
Your humble and grateful Sister
Sr. Agnes of Jesus, r.c.i.
The little notes will be placed faithfully in the place you desire. Please tell this to dear Sister Teresa of Jesus4. We will send a photo of Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus later.
1 To an unknown benefactor.
2 This is Mother Marie-Ange of the Child Jesus. She was elected Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux in 1908 (at the end of Mother Agnes’s two terms) at the age of 27. She took the first official steps toward the introduction of the Cause of Sr. Thérèse. She would die in November, 1909, and was succeeded by Mother Agnes.
3 Soon to be the popular appellation of St. Thérèse, she gave herself this name in the very first lines of the Story of a Soul.
4Page 15, note 7.
5Mother Gertrude of the Heart of Jesus suffered from an attack of pneumonia which was complicated by heart disease. In the Spring of 1909, she had a very severe spell of illness, and received the Sacrament of the Sick. She recovered on the last day of a Novena to Sr. Thérèse which was being said by the Sisters in Philadelphia.
1 St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila), the Foundress of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.
2 (1860-1941) The oldest of the Martin children and the Godmother of St. Thérèse. It is to her that we owe Manuscript B of the Story of a Soul.
3 Page 7, note 1.
4 A member of the Carmel of Philadelphia.