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Letters of Marie-Pauline Martin, Sister Agnès de Jésus

Mère Agnès de Jésus, O. C. D. (1861-1951)

1925 and 1929 letters from Agnès de Jésus to Cardinal Dougherty in Philadelphia regarding news and work at the Carmelite community in Lisieux

Two letters of correspondence from Sister Agnès de Jésus, O. C. D. in the Collection of Br. John Lupia, T. O. C. are part of his donation to the Order of Carmelites and will be sent to the Prior General, Fr. Míceál O'Neill, O. Carm. in the Roman Curia, together with the receipt from the dealer from whom they were acquired.

Author: Marie-Pauline Martin, (Agnès de Jésus) of Lisieux

Title: 1925 and 1929 letters from Agnès de Jésus to Cardinal Dougherty in Philadelphia regarding news and work at the Carmelite community in Lisieux

Description: Two letters each inscribed on a single large folded sheet of quadrille graph paper kept in their original envelopes with franking and postal markings. 

Je cherche de l'aide pour transcrire le texte de ces lettres et tout contexte historique qui pourra aider à l'appréciation dans leur contexte historique. Email : jlupia2@yahoo.com


The first letter, dated November 21, 1925, is a two page letter that thanks the Cardinal for his kind letters, and declares her intention to commit to praying for him at the tomb of her sister St. Thérèse, etc., with best wishes for the new year. This letter dates to almost exactly six months after the canonization of St. Thérèse de Lisieux on May 17th. The final post script alludes to something of Cardinal Dougherty's at Paris. Perhaps something he had written like his 1925 Commentary on The Little Flower, or some other sort of gifts he had sent. Courtesy Collection of John Lupia

Envelope franked with France 1900, 1 Fr. Scott #125 with cancel postmark Nov 20, 1925. Cardinal Dougherty's coffee splash no doubt bottom right hand corner.

        C'est avec plaisir et reconnaissance que j'ai revu aujourd'hui les cher lignes de votre eminence et les deux signature qui me satisfont pleinement. j'ai prié  ma sainte petit soeur d' e'crise elle meme, en retour, le nom de votre Eminence dans le coeur de Jesus. Mais il y est d'eja . . . alors il y sera inscrit deux fois.
        Je comptais, dans quelques jours, pour être la premiere a le faire, offris tres respectueusement mes voeu a Votre Eminence pour le nouvelle année si proche. Je profite de l'occasion qui on est dorme, afin d'accomplir des aujourd'hui le devoir et promettre de nouveau nos prières constante a votre Eminence prés de notre cher petite sainte, ans intentions qui la préoccupant et pour le plus grand bien de son année.
        Daignez nous bénir toutes, Eminence, et agrees l'expression de mes sentiments les plus respectueux et reconnaissants.
        De Votre Eminence, le trés humble fille et servante
                                                                        in N. S.
S. Agnès de Jésus, o.c.d.
21 novembre 1925

P. S. Pourrais je sans indiscrétion connaitre l'adresse a Paris des Charmantes pieces de Votre Eminence?

* * * * *

        It is with pleasure and gratitude that I have reviewed today the dear lines of your eminence and the two signatures which fully satisfy me. I prayed to the holy little sister in crisis herself, in return, the name of your Eminence in the heart of Jesus. But there it is already. . . so then it will be twice registered.
        I counted, in a few days, allow me to be the first to very respectfully offer my wishes to Your Eminence for the new year so near.
        I wish to take advantage of the opportunity while they are asleep, in order to fulfill our duty today and once again promise our constant prayers for your Eminence near our dear little saint, for your intentions that preoccupy you and for a very blessed year.
        Deign to bless us all, Your Eminence, and accept the expression of my most respectful and grateful feelings.
From Your Eminence most humble daughter and servant 
in Our Lord, 
Sister Agnès de Jésus, O. C. D.
21 November 1925

P. S. Could I, without indiscretion, know the address in Paris of the charming pieces of Your Eminence?


The second letter, dated June 3, 1929, is a four page letter that informs Cardinal Dougherty about her memories of her trip to Philadelphia, her encounter with his niece and her mother and their plans to visit Lisieux. She then speaks about Bishop Suhard (later on Cardinal Suhard) and his Society of the Little Flower, and then goes on thanking the cardinal for his generosity and says they have enough money for the year ahead to construct the Basilica, and that she has great confidence that her little sister saint will send the rest. Courtesy Collection of Br. John Lupia, T.O.C.

Envelope franked with France 1.5 Franc Scott #196 postmarked June 3, 1929.

        Le pèlerinage de Philadelphia est passe, mais hélas! Trop rapidement. J'ai parle quelques instants ne'anmoins avecMonseigneur Votre Chancelier qui m'a remis une belle offrande de pèlerins dont je suis bien reconnaisante. J'ai parle é'galement avec la cher niece de Votre Eminence accompagner de sa bonne mere. Cela m'a s'appelle de dons souvenirs . . . Cette cher niece  espere sevenir a Lisieux en Septembre avec Votre Eminence pour la pose de la premiere pierre de la Basilique. 
        J'ai su que notre bon Évêque Monseigneur Suhard, allait ecrir a Votre Eminence, je m'en suis réjouir. De plus en plus le grandeur l'intéressé  a notre seour qu'elle entoure de tout sou devouement, de toute la sollicitude. De gros images le tout dissipés par la prudence par le fonctionnement parfait d'une Société bien [ ?  ] et par un pretre de valeur [  ?  ] modeste dout le pèlerinage n'a qu' a le louer.

+ Monsieur l'Abbé [Octave] Germain directeur du pèlerinage et des [  ?  ]
        The Philadelphia pilgrimage is over, but alas! Too fast. I spoke a few moments nonetheless with Monsignor [Lamb], Your Chancellor, who gave me a nice pilgrims offering for which I am very grateful. I also spoke with the dear niece of Your Eminence accompanied by her dear mother. . . . This dear niece hopes to go to Lisieux in September with Your Eminence for the laying of the foundation stone of the Basilica.
        I knew that our good Bishop Monsignor Suhard, was going to write to Your Eminence, I rejoiced in it. More and more the great interest in our sister is surrounded with such dedication of all involved.

Pages 3 and 4.


Fr. Hugh Louis Lamb (1890-1959), was the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1927-1936, and is cited but not named in this letter by Agnès de Jésus.

The foundation stone to the Basilica was laid on September 30, 1929 by Cardinal Charost, papal legate.

Emmanuel Célestin Suhard (1874-1949), was appointed bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux in June 1928 by Pope Pius XI, and consecrated bishop October 3, 1928. This letter marks to the day his eighth month as the local ordinary for the Carmelites at Lisieux. Suhard composed the statutes for the Society of the Little Flower in 1929 and Sister Agnès de Jésus mentions Bishop Suhard wishing to write Archbishop Dougherty. Jean Vinatier, Le cardinal Suhard : L'évêque du renouveau missionnaire en France. (Le Centurion, 1983) : 71, mentions Suhard's work for the Carmelite saint.

Diorama Sainte-Thérèse a waxwork opened a few weeks after this letter in July 1929 as a result of a suggestion from Paul Herembrood. 

Pr. l'Abbé Octave Germain, premier directeur du pèlerinage (1923-1937), published in 1927, Manuel des pèlerins de Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus.

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