From Sister Marie-Dosithée Guérin to Mrs. Martin – August 18, 1868

From Sister Marie-Dosithée Guérin to Mrs. Martin.

V. + J. (Live Jesus)

From our Monastery in Le Mans

18th August 1868

Dear sister,

I thank you for the decision you have taken (to send Marie and Pauline to boarding school at the Visitation convent in Le Mans), it is certainly the Holy Spirit that inspired you to do so and I hope that he will bless the effort we will make to render these dear children virtuous. On receiving your letter, I went straight to our Rev. Mother’s Assistant (Our dear Mother being ill and not being able to see to anything) who welcomed me with extreme kindness, saying that she was willing to make any concession in the interest of your children; so we set the price of boarding at 600 Francs for the two little girls, on top of that you will have the fees…  

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expensive we will lower it. You see dear sister how good we are to you here and that [1v°] I would be wrong not to devote my life to my dear community who is so kind to me and my family.

I have sent you a prospectus, you will see what they need in terms of clothes, although you are not obliged to provide everything that is marked on the list, on condition that the girls have enough clothes to last them the time it takes for the others to come back from the launderer’s. I even advise you to bring them yourself and find a launderer, if you do not launder them at home, because I find that the launderer here by taking 50 Frs a year per child is a bit expensive, I think that if you pay per item it will not be so much. 

In the prospectus we ask for nightdresses, you can replace them with white camisoles and I’ve even seen children with coloured nightdresses and camisoles, do what suits you best; as for collars, you can (…. ) 4 veils but I think that two will suffice, the younger children do not go and sit in the choir nearly as often as the others, for the long tulle veil, I think you can wait until their first communion. Concerning the black pinafores you could choose coloured ones,  but I think that black pinafores with bodices or blouses would be better they don’t get dirty so easily, one or two will suffice the two uniform dresses in black wool, one warmer for the winter, and the other lighter for the summer, if you want to give them one each to begin with - 3 capes (sic), the younger ones only wear them on Sundays when they go and sit in the choir, so one or two at most will be sufficient. For the prayer books, give them what you like.

I advise you dear sister to provide the bedclothes, it will be less expensive than subscribing for ours, for the bedside rugs, they don’t have to be expensive I assure you. It says the slippers are to be in black wool but if you only have coloured ones, they can wear them.

We like the children to have buttoned up trousers, short dresses, like the ones they wear; one corset will suffice; they wear clogs to go out into the garden in winter and even in summer if it is wet, but generally they don’t have foot-warmers, the classrooms are well-heated.

When I went to ask for a prospectus from the 1st Mistress of the boarding school she was very glad and told me to tell you that she would love my dear little nieces very much. She also said that she had sent a prospectus to Mrs. Clouet who wanted to send her second daughter to us. I would be very glad, that could save you several trips, when she comes to fetch her daughter on New Year’ day and at Easter, she could take your children as well and you could also use her courier. 

I believe that when you only have three children at home, you could get by with one maid, my Father would have one housekeeper for himself, and if you had trouble doing everything, by giving something to the housekeeper she would help you. Believe me take on as few maids as you can, it is so difficult finding suitable ones.

I don’t think there is cause for concern over your little Joseph being out of sorts, his temperament will only improve I believe (A few days later, events would prove her confidence to be misplaced. Cf. letter 75), he will grow out of his bad moods that young children so often have, and then he will become strong like Léonie. 

As for me you would be wrong to alarm yourself over my health; it’s true that for 7 or 8 months I thought I would not last much longer, I didn’t have much of an appetite and I couldn’t seem to recover but for over a fortnight now I have felt fully recovered, I have a very good appetite, I only [3 r°] need one nap, all in all I am very well. For your children’s documents I think that sending them with Isidore in a fortnight will be early enough, term doesn’t begin until 8th October. Reply to me through my brother or earlier if you wish, should you find the boarding fees too expensive. 

Do give my dear little Father all my love, I hope to see him in a fortnight if his health allows. Also give my love to my brother-in-law and tell him that I hope to see him more often now. 

I am glad about this, coming to see his children will take his mind off things. 

Goodbye dear sister and friend, believe that the Lord and I love you very much, give much thanksgiving to our Saviour for the favours he grants you for your children.

With all my love Your affectionate Sister

Sr. Marie Dosithée Guérin

Of the Von of Holy Mary

B. B. G.




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