From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 70 - October 1, 1871.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

October 1, 1871

I’m very sorry to hear that you need to stay in bed all day and that you’re dying of boredom. No one understands better than I, since I can’t stand spending two days in bed. How much I admire your patience! You tell me, however, that I have courage. It’s true I don’t pamper myself, but if I knew I had to be inactive for several months, I don’t know what I would do. I don’t believe God would allow me to have such a calamity. It would be too much for me. So you see, my dear sister, I don’t have as much courage as you think.

I remember when my last little girl was born. I was busy with my lace business until nine thirty in the evening, took care of Céline and sang her to sleep, and Mélanie-Thérèse was born before eleven o’clock. I said to myself, “So, I’m lucky!” But I wasn’t always lucky, and many times I would have preferred to be afflicted as you are and to keep my little girl.

I had said to God, “You know well that I don’t have time to be sick.” I was answered beyond all hope, and I gloried in it a little. Then God seemed to say to me, “Since you don’t have time to be sick, perhaps you’ll have time to suffer a lot of pain?” And I haven’t been spared, I assure you!

You see, in this world, that’s what it’s like. We have to carry our cross in one way or another. We say to God, “I don’t want that one.” Often our prayer is answered, but often also to our misfortune. It’s better to patiently accept what happens to us. There’s always joy alongside the pain. That’s what will happen to you, my dear sister.

Next Thursday, the children go back to the Visitation Monastery, but to my great regret, my Léonie won’t be returning there. She’s not able to keep up with the others, and at the moment, they don’t have a teacher to give her private lessons. What’s more, my sister’s health is so fragile during the winter that the Mother Superior wants to spare her the fatigue of keeping an eye on this child.

Céline is very strong; she talks like a magpie, and she’s charming and spiritual. She knows her uncle and aunt well, and little Jeanne, too. She says their names while pointing to their pictures. She learns everything she wants to. Her sisters only have to sing a little song four or five times, and we hear Céline repeat it in the same pitch. But as soon as she realizes we’re listening to her, she stops.


 © Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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