From Mme Martin to her brother Isidore CF 81 - July 1872.

From Mme Martin to her brother

July 1872

If you only knew how happy your letter made me, yet not without a touch of sadness. I’d like to see your drug business prosper. It’s so painful to go to all that trouble for nothing. You can say you know the problems and the anxieties.

Yes, I understand that you worry even more about Monsieur M. (Césard Maudelonde) than about yourself. These are two crosses you bear, but I have the firm hope that all this will not last a long time because it’s impossible that God would abandon you.

I was struck by what you told me about some words of Holy Scripture you found by chance; but it’s not in vain, nor by chance, that one discovers something so appropriate to our needs of the moment. No, your ordeal can’t last. I have a reason to believe this that I don’t want to share with you. I even have several of them, and I’m as impatient as you are to see them come true. I’d be twice as happy because I take almost as much of an interest in Monsieur M as you do. I find that this is such a good family, so connected to you that your interests are the same. You couldn’t be happy one without the other. It’s very beautiful to live in harmony this way.

My sister spoke to me a lot about your business. She thinks that you could have a representative in several towns. As for me, I think this would be almost as difficult as catching the moon with your teeth!

I told her not to wrack her brains over all this, that there was only one thing to do: to pray to God because neither she nor I can help you in any other way. But He, who is not at a loss, will get us out of this when He finds that we’ve suffered enough. And then you’ll recognize that it’s neither your abilities nor your intelligence which you owe your success to, but to God alone, like me, with my Alençon lace. This conviction is very helpful, I’ve tested it myself.

You know that we’re all given to pride, and I often notice that those who have made their fortune are, for the most part, unbearably arrogant. I’m not saying that I’ve reached that point, or you either, but we’ve been more or less marred by this pride. It’s certain then that constant prosperity takes us away from God. Never has He led His chosen ones down that road. They have passed through the crucible of suffering beforehand to be purified.

You’re going to say that I’m preaching; however, that’s not my intention. I think about these things very often, and I’m telling them to you. Now call this a sermon if you want!

I’m very happy with Marie, who’s truly my consolation. Her tastes are not at all worldly. She’s even too unsociable, too shy. If this doesn’t change, she’ll never get married because her inclinations are quite the opposite.

I only have one sorrow, not seeing my poor Léonie like her. What’s more, I can’t analyze her character; the most learned would be baffled by it. However, I hope the good seed will one day sprout up from the earth. If I see this, I’ll sing my Nunc Dimittis (Nunc Dimittis is the beginning of the Latin translation of Simeon’s Canticle: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word” - in Luke 2 – where Simeon states that he can die in peace. Zélie is referring to her wish to see the transformation of Léonie, so she too, can die in peace), but my sister tells me that I’ll probably not see it. She probably thinks that I don’t have much longer to live. However, for the moment, it doesn’t look like I’ll be going so soon because I’m feeling very well.

Good-bye, my dear friend. Yes, you are my friend. I don’t have any others, apart from my Louis, who is so good. I also love you with all my heart, as well as your wife, and I’d very much like to see you happy.


 © Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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