On 20 November 1887, Pope Leo XIII received pilgrims from the dioceses of Coutances, Bayeux, and Nantes in a private audience. Father Révérony, the Vicar General of Bayeux, introduced the pilgrims from Bayeux and Lisieux. Céline explains what happened during the papal audience in a letter to her sister, Marie.
Father Révérony introduced [Saint Louis Martin] to the Holy Father, saying: “This is the father of two Carmelites and a Visitandine,” but he did not say that he was Thérèse’s father…
The Sovereign Pontiff looked intently at Papa, and he extended his hand to Papa, who kissed it and pressed it lovingly. Papa, when returning, was weeping a little.
Letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. (Marie Martin) (excerpt)
20 November 1887
J. M. J. T.
Céline told us about the Holy Father’s particular regard for you! Oh! You deserved it. I love the dear Holy Father with all my heart, he read your thoughts! He read your kindness, and your holiness, he saw the halo that already circles your forehead. This Pope is a Saint!
Yes for no other reason than this blessing, which you received from so close, I find it was well worth making this long journey, I find that the reward has exceeded your worthiness.
Rome, Rome! O Father! In my eyes Rome encompasses all that is beautiful here below, it encompasses the visible Jesus. I believe that if I were able to see the Holy Father, and receive his blessing, I would readily say my Nunc Dimittis. . .
So what will we see, what will we feel in Heaven in the presence of God himself?
Farewell! See you soon darling Father, I am proud of the special blessing that you and your two precious pearls received.
Come back to us in good health and believe that we go out to meet you in [our hearts].
Your poor little pearl who loves you,
Sr. Agnès of Jesus
Letter to Saint Louis Martin
23 November 1887
We always refer to the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux for the vast majority of our quotes concerning Saint Thérèse, Saint Zélie, and Saint Louis Martin, but if you would like to purchase any of the English translations that appear on the Archives website, please visit the website of our Discalced Carmelite friars at ICS Publications.