L E T T E R S
Zélie Martin, Thérèse's Mother
Taken from General Correspondence Volume Two Translated by John Clarke, O.C.D. Copyright (c) 1988 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, ICS Publications, 2131 Lincoln Road, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002 U.S.A.
From Mme. Guérin¹ to Thérèse.
16 November 1891
Dear little Thérèse,
I read and reread your nice letter, and I really do not know how to respond to so much thoughtfulness. I am very much moved when seeing all the affection you are showing me and of which your sisters and yourself have already given me so many proofs.
What have I done, then, that God has surrounded me with such loving hearts! I did nothing but answer the last look of a mother whom I loved very much, very much. I believed I understood that look which nothing will be able to make me forget.2 It is engraved within my heart. Since that day, I have tried to replace her whom God had taken away from you, but, alas! Nothing can replace a Mother!
However, God has willed to bless my feeble efforts, and today He permits me to receive the affection of these young hearts. He willed that the mother who guided your early childhood be raised to a more sublime glory and enjoy heavenly delights. Ah! it is because, little Thérèse, your parents are among those we may call saints and who merit bringing forth saints.
When I consider this good father, venerable Patriarch we are pleased to call him, bent under the weight of his trial, dragging his cross painfully, and when I remember him as so kind, so happy among his children, taking his dear little queen by the arm, I say to myself: "There must be a beautiful heaven where all this will be rewarded. This good father has given three of his children to God, and there remains nothing in return..."
All these reflections came to me, dear little Thérèse, when reading your nice letter and receiving your beautiful hair so artistically and delicately arranged. I am very happy to possess this souvenir which is very precious to me, and you will thank your good Mother for me until I can do so myself.
I have not written your sisters, dear little Thérèse; you will be my messenger to them, telling them of all the pleasure their affectionate letters gave me, thanking them for their prayers for me and mine, which I beg them to continue.
Remember me to Reverend Mother Marie de Gonzague. I am very appreciative of the remembrance of the entire Carmel. Remember me to Mother Geneviève. In a word, little Thérèse, remember me to all the Sisters, telling them of my gratitude.
I kiss you with my whole heart and your two dear sisters as well.
Your very devoted aunt,
1. Céline Guérin was the wife of Isidore Guérin, brother of Thérèse's mother, Zélie. The Guérin helped raise the Martin daughters after the death of Zélie, and cared for Louis Martin during his illness.
2 She is speaking of the night before her Zélie Martin died, 27 August 1877.