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RP8 01v

BROTHER AUGUSTI, anxiously.

  A new mission!... O my Father, will Your Reverence then be leaving Rome?.... 

 SAINT FRANCIS  

  It's not a matter of leaving Rome, but of receiving a nov­ice who should become the glory of the Society of Jesus. To make you acquainted with him, I'm going to read you a few passages from a letter from the Provincial of Northern Germany. 

  BROTHER AUGUSTI 

  Father, I'm beginning to believe that you are put­ting me to a test. I can't understand how your Reverence would deign to choose me, a poor little novice, as confidant.... 

  SAINT FRANCIS, smiling. 

  No, my child, it's not a test; I know you' well enough to know that my confidences won't make you feel superior to your fellow students. Here's the reason I must speak with you intimately: I want you to be the angel of Brother Stanislaus, the novice Fr. Canisius is sending me. 
  Picking up the letter, he reads the following passages
"The angelic child I'm presenting to you, Your Rever­ence, is the son of John Kostka, lord of Rostkow in the King­dom of Poland. Young Stanislaus's family is among the most illustrious of the royalty, but they are even more remarkable for their piety. However, despite the examples of virtue John Kostka has had the honor of giving his sons, this good noble­man does not understand at all the practice of the evangelical counsels and [Stanislaus] will never obtain his consent to enter the Society of Jesus. I believed that, on account of the distance. I'd be able to admit him to our novitiate at Dillingen. Some letters of Fr. Antonio, the child's spiritual director, have al­ready convinced me of his sanctity, but what enchants me most of all is to see the angelic piety that shines from young Stanislaus's face and reveals his soul's maturity. I have been able to recognize that Sanctity knows no distinction between blond hair and white. Nonetheless. I still wanted to test this vocation; the lengthy fatigues of a journey on foot of two hundred leagues by a child of noble upbringing did not satisfy me. So, I ordered die young novice to perform the most me­nial duties in the house; I had him serve at table in the lowly clothes he'd worn on his trip (to avoid recognition, he'd aban­doned the garments of a gentleman and dressed like a poor pilgrim). No humiliation shocked the fervent novice, the most contradictory orders never seemed to upset him; his only re­sponse was to do immediately what he'd been told to do and to do it so promptly that his fellow students, in a charming

 

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