Fr. Adolphe Roulland was a newly ordained missionary in China. As a seminarian, he asked the superior of the Carmel of Lisieux, Mother Marie de Gonzague, that one of her nuns be associated with him in his mission, supporting his evangelizing work with prayer and penance. It was St. Thérèse who was assigned to this task, and thus she carried on correspondence with Fr. Roulland toward the end of her life. This is the last letter she wrote to him.
June 23, 1896
Jesus June 23, 1896
I thought it would please our Good Mother to give her on June 21 for her feast day a corporal and a purificator, along with a pall, that she might have the pleasure of sending them to you for the 29th. I owe this reverend Mother the interior joy of being united to you by the apostolic bonds of prayer and mortification, so I beg you, Reverend Father, to aid me at the holy altar to pay her my debt of gratitude.
I feel very unworthy to be associated in a special way with one of the missionaries of our adorable Jesus, but since obedience entrusts me with this sweet task, I am assured my heavenly Spouse will make up for my feeble merits (upon which I in no way rely), and that He will listen to the desires of my soul by rendering fruitful your apostolate. I shall be truly happy to work with you for the salvation of souls. It is for this purpose I became a Carmelite nun; being unable to be an active missionary, I wanted to be one through love and penance just like Saint Teresa, my seraphic Mother.... I beg you, Reverend Father, ask for me from Jesus, on the day He deigns for the first time to descend from heaven at your voice, ask Him to set me on fire with His Love so that I may enkindle it in hearts.
For a long time I wanted to know an Apostle who would pronounce my name at the holy altar on the day of his first Mass.... I wanted to prepare for him the sacred linens and the white host destined to veil the King of heaven.... The God of Goodness has willed to realize my dream and to show me once again how pleased He is to grant the desires of souls who love Him alone.
If I did not fear to be indiscreet, I would ask you, Reverend Father, to make each day at the holy altar a memento for me.... When the ocean will separate you from France, you will recall, when looking at the pall which I painted with so much joy, that on the mountain of Carmel a soul is praying unceasingly to the divine Prisoner of Love for the success of your glorious conquest.
I want, Reverend Father, our apostolic union to be known only to Jesus, and I beg one of your first blessings for her who will be happy to call herself eternally,
Your unworthy little Sister in Jesus-Victim, Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel. carm. ind.