From Sister Marie-Dosithée Guérin to her brother Isidore – February 8, 1863

From Sister Marie-Dosithée Guérin to her brother Isidore.

Mister Isidore Guérin - rue St Hyacinthe St Michel - Hôtel Senlis 15 - Paris

V + J. (Live Jesus)

from our Monastery in Le Mans

                                  8th February 1863


Very dear brother,

I am writing to you now because you know that during Lent we don’t usually write unless it is really necessary. First, I would like to give you some advice that I think you need. I am all the more confident that you will heed it because I know you always take advice very well and that sometimes you even request it. Therefore, although you are in Paris, you have no less a soul than when you were in Alençon; I entreat you not to lose it during the Carnival season like so many unfortunate young people who are going to throw themselves into the entertainments and then who, just when it’s over, enter eternal life. It is not rare for people to die suddenly; and you're no different from others. But even if this should not happen and you had 40 years left to live and experience all the fun and joys imaginable, without fear or concern, this would, however, soon come to an end. Endless eternity would begin in all its horror, despair and anguish, like a worm that leaves you neither peace nor rest and ruthlessly tears its victim apart. Even the memory of the pleasure you once enjoyed would only increase your torment. But on the contrary, a life spent practicing the most austere penance also comes to an end. The time of the ancient Patriarchs who lived for 900 years is long-gone, and the length of their penance today seems like a dream. Heaven was opened to them, and now they enjoy unending delights, that no turn of events can take away, as well as an indescribable sweetness that I would like to see you share. What madness it is to become attached to the transient and perishable things that we leave behind as soon as we are about to possess them, should we ever succeed in so doing. Be wise, therefore, while there is time, so that you won’t feel the remorse that I would spare you from if I could.

I believe it is not asking too great a sacrifice of you to listen to a sermon at least twice a week during Lent, not to go to any shows and to attend at least once a week a low mass. I am not imposing too great an austerity on you; a great many saintly souls are going to be doing rigorous penance and you, sinner, are not. You must at least do something for the friendship we have always shared, and I therefore hope that *[2r°] you will not refuse what I ask.

Zélie wrote to me recently, telling me that my father will be living near her, in Mr. Cormaille’s house (17, rue du Pont-Neuf, in the house adjacent to Mr. Martin’s watch-making shop). In fact it’s practically their home, which is reassuring; the family will bring him a little comfort. Your small goddaughter is not walking on her own yet (Pauline was 17 months old) she doesn’t dare venture it, she is afraid of falling. If you wanted to go to O. L. of Victories, light a candle for her, Zélie would be very happy.

You are perhaps not aware that Father Tessier died of an apoplexy attack after having been ill for two days. 

Farewell, my dear brother, farewell until Easter; write to me before Lent and promise me you will do what I ask. I believe that you are someone of your word and will keep your promises. 

With all my love,

Your affectionate Sister

Sr. M. Dosithée Guérin of the Von of Holy Mary

B. B. G.

I haven’t yet received the photograph you were supposed to send me, which means it will come later. One of the sisters has been kind enough to offer to repaint the little Jesus that was looking a bit dull, but even without it *[2v°] it is very pretty and gives me great pleasure. It will be a little souvenir for which I am very grateful. Lastly, I advise you again to eat good food if you want to acclimatize. I very much hope you observe the abstinence *[2 r°tv] prescribed by the Church and that you will only eat fatty foods on the days when it is permitted.

I have just received your letter. Fortunately this one had not yet gone. I am in very good health; I wish you were as well. I think you'd be much better staying in a healthier house; otherwise you’ll fall sick again before long. You say you no longer want to be an in-house doctor, and that you need my father to take money out of his savings; my child, this is not the way things are usually done. Try, therefore, to save as much money as possible while continuing to eat very well because that is one thing that is truly important to me.

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