Philadelphia Carmel’s Relationship With Lisieux

“Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to recognize the sanctity of Little Theresa many years before she was canonized by the Church in 1925.

photo of Sister Stanislaus Kelly
Sister Stanislaus Kelly, the first connection from the United States to Lisieux

Sister Stanislaus, of the discalced Carmelites of Philadelphia, introduced the life of the Little Flower to me about twenty-three years ago. It was written in French. Afterwards she showed me a record of some of her miracles. Then I began to preach about her twenty-one years ago, off and on, and for the last fifteen years every Sunday afternoon. The preaching made a demand for more knowledge of her; and our Carmel distributed thousands upon thousands of pictures, pamphlets and relics. There followed a call for these from all over the country and our Carmel supplied this new demand for every State in the Union.

Philadelphia’s Carmel stood alone in this work of spreading devotion to Little Theresa, all over the United States; and Philadelphia was the first city to recognize with our Carmel the glorious virtues and power of the Little Flower.

I am therefore only too glad to write an introduction for the first book on Little Theresa that has been written in Philadelphia, the birthplace of devotion to the Little Flower in this country, now aglow with love for this Little Saint.

My friend, Father Stepanian, has asked me if I think he has caught the spirit of St. Theresa as expressed in the extracts from her life and letters, that he has put into his little book.

I can truly say that I think he has caught her spirit. He has done what he set out to accomplish, to impart her spirit in a reading of an hour to those who have neither time nor inclination to study the complete Autobiography.

The beauty of this book is that it recounts the inner life of Little Theresa in her own words and in a simple order that can be quickly seen and relished.

Here we have religion in action taken from a life in our own times; here in this book is love at its highest and best, Little Theresa’s love for God and souls.”

 

REV. JOHN J. MOORE,
Chaplain of Mt. Carmel Convent, Phila., Pa.
Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16, 1927.

A_Bouquet_Of_Roses_BookThe Introduction from
A Bouquet of Roses
by Rev. Stephen Stepanian
Published by Rev. Stephen Stepanian
140 North Robinson Street, PhIladelphia, Pa.
(copyright 1927)

 (Fr. Moore was the first Chaplain of the Carmel of Philadelphia at the time of its foundation in 1902 and remained in that capacity until his death in 1928, the year after writing the above Introduction.)

Sr. Anne of Jesus to Sr. Ignatius February 2 1924

                                  J. M. J. T.

 

                                                                                                  Carmel of Lisieux

                                                                                                  February 2, 1924

 

My dear Sister Ignatius,

I thank you for the donations which you have kindly forwarded to us and I beg of you to thank the donors, though I presume you have already done so.  Also tell them that we pray for their intention.

We were specially touched by the so generous donation of the poor servant.  If we had her address we would send her some little souvenir.

Yes, dear Sister, the Life in pictures is just published in English.  The translation of the verses has been made by rev. Mother Augustine of Santa Clara.

There is no recent edition of the large Breviary and I don’t think there will be any more of them in France.  The last editions are large 9 inches x 6 ½.  In the first years of the foundations our mothers had large books like yours with and extra psalter but for many, many years, we have the 9 x 6 ½ Breviaries containing the psalms and everything.   Now since the reform of the Breviary we have a small psalter for each day.

We don’t know the new edition of Desclée of which you speak.

As regards to the helios 27 x 17 no. 11, since they did not reach you, I suppose they were not sent, so I will send you a refund (word is not clearly written) now.

I hope you received the circular of our dear Sister Philomena.  We miss her very much for we loved to pay a visit to this dear holy sister and hear her speak of God’s mercy.

I hope you are all keeping well and that winter does not try you too much.  You don’t tell me how you are, yet I would like very much to know it.

Don’t fail to tell me when you write.

We are making for our Annals, an album of all the photographs we have of the chapels

of Carmels during their Tridiums.  If a photograph has been taken of your chapel when you had your Tridium you would please us very much in sending us a copy of the same.  Any size will do.

  Commending myself to your good prayers and assuring you of mine, I remain,

  my dear Sister Ignatius,

  Yours sincerely in Xst, [the word Christ assuredly abbreviated]

  Sr. Anne of Jesus

Sr. Anne to Sr. Ignatius August 8, 1920

Carmel of Lisieux

August 18, 1920

 

My dear Sister Ignatius,

I thank you for your letter of July 23rd.  I understand perfectly that it is not easy for you to write letters for I suppose in Phila. as well as in Lisieux our little saint keeps her apostles most busy.

We received the letter of Mrs. Idell; as she said the donation of $200 was sent to you.  I awaited your own letter to acknowledge.  Now I enclose a letter for this good lady, as she told me to send it through you.  I had understood that the offering was from her, but you say it is from Mrs Smith.  I hope that Mrs. Idell will show the letter to the donor.  I sent you also a large helio and some other little souvenirs for the donor.  You will have the trouble to forward it but I had not the address of Mrs. Idell.  Off the $250 would you kindly send $100 to Mr. Gayer and the remainder here.  I enclose receipted bills up to date.  I will write to Mr. Gayer about the helios you have on hand; they are large ones (21 x 16) are they not sister?

I was surprised by your remark about the translation of The Little Way because it has been made by an Irish Carmelite who was educated in England and who is reputed as an excellent writer and translator.  Besides she understands perfectly our little saint and consequently renders her spirit admirably.

The translation of the Thoughts and of As Little Children have been made by her and these two translations as any other she has made have been found perfect by very competent and  I can say rather critical writers,  As Little Children has been edited by Fr. Taylor, but the translation was made  by the Irish Carmelite I speak of Fr. T finds she writes and translates splendidly. Of course to be faithful to render the true spirit of Soeur Thérèse she must remain French.  If you give her an English or German or Spanish character you have not Soeur Thérèse as she is.  To translate verses is not an easy task, and in order to keep the true sense – this was most important – the translator was obliged in some verse to make them less nice.

I often heard people reproach to Miss Emory to have put her soul with that of Soeur Therese in her translation of the verses.  It may have the advantage of having nicer verses but of course it is no longer our little saint as she is.

The copy of The Little way that way sent to you was offered so there is no question of payment.

I must close now in order to catch the post.  Many thanks for the prayers you said for me on July 26.  I don’t forget you are presently on retreat, and pray especially for you!  You will also be specially remembered during the novenas of Sept. please pray for Mgr. de Cerf, the Vice-Postulator of the Cause who is very ill.  We owe him much for his devotedness to the Cause.

 

Very sincerely yours,

Sr. Anne of Jesus

Dougherty April 9, 1913

Phila

St. Francis de Sales Rectory,

4625 Springfield Ave.

9 Apr. 1913.

 

Dear Rev. Mother Superior:

 

I beg of you to send me here at once two copies of the large life of The Little Flower of Jesus. If they are in French, so much the better; if not, you may send me English copies. I request that the full cost, plus the postage, be also sent me with them. I must be permitted this time to pay for them; but I thank you for the free copy you gave me when I saw you last.

 

Also, I ask for the prayers of the community for a special intention of mine. Please beg a special favor of your Little Flower for me.

Very devotedly yours,

 

+D. J. Dougherty.

Mother Agnes of Jesus to Philadelphia October 9, 1903

J.M.+ J.T.                                           Carmel of Lisieux

October 9, 1903

 

Jesus

 

My dear little Sister,

 

You will be receiving, at the same time as this letter, I think, some mementos of our beloved little sister in heaven.1  I thank you for the money order.

 

Pray well, my little Sister, for the cousin of Thérèse, Sr. Marie of the Eucharist;2 she is very ill at this time.  It was something which we kept private.  I will place it in the hands of the good Lord with submission, no doubt, but also with anguish.  Marie Guérin is the little  solitaire of whom our angel speaks in her childhood3.

 

As for the catalogue of French books, I do not know, my little Sister, which one to indicate to you.  You could address yourself to the St. Paul Bookstore in Paris, 6 Rue Cassette.  There also, you will find the life of Théophane Vénard.4

 

I think that one of my letters must have been lost because I already gave you this information.

 

My good and dear little Sister, I ask that you mention me in you prayers and I promise you on my side to talk to Jesus and to Thérèse about you.  I wish you to become like her, like this sweet child, a little rose of love and heavenly confidence, perpetually scattered and showered for the pleasure of the Heavenly Spouse.

 

I embrace and kiss you in His sight, my dear little child.  My respectful affection to your Reverend Mother.

 

Sr. Agnes of Jesus, r.c.i.

 

Céline (Sr. Genviève of St. Teresa)1 has completed at this time the precious drawing of the scene of Thérèse at the feet of the Holy Father2.  This print will be in the next edition3.

 

 



1 These were rose petals that were touched to the grave of Sr. Thérèse.

2 See letter 1, page 1, note 3.  Sr. Marie was suffering from tuberculosis  (the same disease from which Sr. Thérèse had died); she would die in 1905.

3 Story of a Soul, page 54-5.

4 St. Théophane Vénard, a priest of the Paris Foreign Missionary Society, was martyred in what is present-day Vietnam in the mid-nineteenth century.   Sr. Thérèse developed a great devotion to him, particularly during her last illness.  He was canonized in 1990.

1 Céline (1868-1959), blood-sister of Sr. Thérèse, entered the Carmel of Lisieux in 1894.  She was also one of the Thérèse=s novices.  It is to her that we owe the many photographs still preserved of the Saint.   She used her artistic talents to spread devotion to her sister through the many portraits she painted of her.  She gave one of the most lengthy and important testimonies at the Process in 1910.

2 This picture depicts the audience of November, 1887, when Thérèse petitioned Pope Leo XIII for permission to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen.

3 The next edition of the Story of a Soul.

Mother Agnes of Jesus To Philadelphia July 17, 1903

J.M.+ J.T.                                           Carmel of Lisieux

July 17, 1903

 

Jesus

 

My dear little Sister,

 

I am responding first to the letter you sent prior to this.  This popular edition you desire of the Little Flower will be made next (I hope) by Burns and Oates of London.  I cannot take this right from them.  I must admit that I would have preferred to give it to you, but let us hope that this translation will be done in the best possible way.1

 

My dear and much loved little Sister, pray hard for us, because the storm approaches.2  Ask Jesus to keep us as faithful and generous as the “little Queen” of His Heart.  I am going to pray for this religious, your Martina, the one that you recommend to me.3  Tell her, at any time, if you wish.  I confess that all who love Thérèse are loved by her “little Mother”.  I cannot do otherwise.

 

Dear little Sister, how I rejoice over these graces that you tell me about – graces obtained by the intercession of our angel!  Continue to tell me about them.  Continue especially to walk in her holy way and desire no longer to understand pages that you will only be able to read in heaven.

 

Ah, my dear little child, let us write like this: let us leave all the pages of our own lives to be read only in heaven.

 

Do not regret anything.  Thérèse will have you taste all of her secrets later on.  You will be together forever in the garden of heaven.

 

Sr. Agnes of Jesus, r.c.i.

 

Do not forget me to your dear Reverend Mother and to all the Community.

 



1 Sr. Stanislaus had previously requested permission of Mother Agnes to translate the book in question into English, with a view to having it published in the United States.

2 The government’s persecution of the Church in France.

3 Unknown.