From Marie Martin to Mme Guérin - July 10, 1876.

From Marie Martin to Mme Guérin - July 10, 1876.

Dear Aunt,

Do you know where your little niece has just come from? It’s from a faraway place that is little visited and little known. I’ve been on a long journey, I’ve come from Thebaid!... Like the good hermits in ancient times, I was in solitude or rather on a retreat for I was hardly alone in my dear convent.

You’ve guessed, haven’t you, dear Aunt, that the Thebaid I’m talking about is the Visitation. Oh! It’s such a charming Thebaid and I was [1v°]so happy there I would almost have liked to stay there.

I would readily go on such a pleasant retreat every month if it was possible. To see not only my convent again, but also my aunt, teachers, and classmates: is all that not appealing? I am truly not one of those people who see the inside of a convent as only doom and gloom, I see it as all rosy.

But I mustn’t let you think that I want to be a nun, because that isn’t my intention at all. Shutting oneself away in a cloister forever must be a bit sad, but shutting oneself away there for only a few days is absolutely delightful.

How well the good nuns looked after us! They lent us their cells so that we could have a better retreat, because you need [2 r°] to be a bit alone to have a good retreat. That was not what pleased me the most, sometimes I didn’t quite know what to do in my cell. Thinking about God, death and judgment all the time is a bit serious… But when I was bored I would say farewell to my solitude and walk through the cloisters reading the beautiful sentences that are written on the walls of the monastery. And then I would return to my cell. Aunt came to pay me little visits quite often. How happy I was to see my dear aunt, I love her more than ever, and I cried hard upon leaving her. It seemed as though I would never see her again; she is in so much suffering. Well I hope God will leave her with us for a while longer and that I will go and see her again on next year’s retreat.

It was a Jesuit priest who instructed us. I liked him a lot, he looks like a saint, and he is one I’m sure. I also like the [2v] Jesuits now that I know this one. All the old boarders went to ask him for spiritual direction; some of them found him a little severe, but I found his vision totally corresponded to mine.

I don’t want to talk about all that any more, dear Aunt, for these details can hardly be of interest to you, but what can a poor little girl like me say, other than that she loves you with all her heart and you know that very well (…)

Has Uncle completely recovered? If he hasn’t yet, I hope he recovers very soon so that he can come and see his little nieces next month. How long we’ve been looking forward to the month when we shall be reunited again. Ah! If only we could be in Lisieux too!

Goodbye, dear Aunt, as I wait until August, I’ll more than once think of you, Uncle and my dear little cousins.

Your respectful and affectionate niece


Monday 10th July 76

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