Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor returned to the Supreme Court Monday to listen to a farewell letter, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist before he died, praising her tenure as the nation’s first woman justice.

“When you came to the court 24 years ago, you faced the same challenges that new members of the institution have always faced. But in addition you faced a challenge that none of them had faced — you were the first woman justice,” Rehnquist wrote in the July 18 letter that was signed “affectionately” by all of the justices.