To celebrate the end of the year in which Louis and Zelie Martin were beatified, and as a New Year's Eve prayer for all who visit thereseoflisieux.org I offer the letter St. Therese wrote to her sister Celine on New Year's Eve 1889. The year 1889 had been most painful for the Martin family: on 12 February 1889, the date Therese later called "our great treasure," Louis had had to enter a psychiatric hospital at Caen, where he remained for more than three years. In that context, the letter Therese, then sixteen, wrote to Celine is all the more inspiring:
J. M. J. T.
Jesus + December 31, 1889
My dear Celine,
You are the one getting my last "adieu" for this year! . . . In a few hours, it will have passed forever . . . it will be in eternity! . . .
Since my Celine is in her bed, it is up to me to go and wish her a Happy New Year.
Do you remember times past? . . . The year which is just running out was good; yes, it was precious for heaven, and may the one that will follow resemble it! . . .
Celine, I'm not surprised at seeing you in bed after such a year; at the end of a day like that, there is reason to rest! . . . Do you understand? . . . Perhaps the year about to begin will be the last!!!!!! . . . Ah! let us profit, let us profit from the shortest moments; let us act like misers, and let us be jealous of the littlest things for the Beloved! Our New Year's day is very sad this year . . . and it's with a heart filled with memories that I'm going to watch, waiting for midnight . . . . I remember everything . . . now we are orphans, but we can say with love, "Our Father, who art in heaven." Yes, there still remains to us the only All of our souls! . . .
Another year has passed! . . . Celine, it is gone, gone, and it will never return, and just as this year has passed so also will our life pass and soon we shall say "It is gone." Let us not waste our time, soon eternity will shine for us! . . . Celine, if you wish, let us convert souls; this year, we must form many priests who love Jesus and who handle Him with the same tenderness with which Mary handled Him in His cradle!
Your little Sister Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face
from Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume I, 1877-1890. Washington, D.C: ICS Publications, 1982. Letter 101, pp. 601-602. Used with permission.