From Mme Martin to Marie and Pauline CF 110 - November 1, 1873.


From Mme Martin to Marie and Pauline

November 1, 1873

My dear little daughters,

I received your letters last Wednesday and I was anxious to get them. I’m very happy that Marie has adjusted well to being back at school again and has such good intentions of doing well. I hope you’ll receive Communion today, All Saints’ Day, and that you’ll do so again tomorrow, All Souls’ Day. There was a beautiful ceremony here for the feast. The Bishop of Autun officiated. Every evening, for nine days, we’ll have Solemn Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament for the intention of France.

Your aunt and uncle in Lisieux wrote to me this week. Your uncle spoke of an enormous red comet262 that’s moving toward us and is still visible at four o’clock in the morning. It was reported in the newspapers and soon we’ll see it. In the meantime, we must serve God and His Saints, my dear little girls, and try to deserve to one day be among the saints whose feast we celebrate today.

I haven’t seen little Thérèse since the day we all went together to Semallé, and I miss her very much. And yet I have to make up my mind to go there, but it’s very hard for me. It’s so far away! Fortunately, she won’t have to stay there much longer.

Your father went to Nocturnal Adoration last night, although he was very tired when he left us at nine o’clock in the evening (Louis was very diligent in attending Nocturnal Adoration with a group of friends from Alençon).

While all the worshippers were in front of the Blessed Sacrament to say the usual prayers, Monsieur Tessier went to light the stove in the room above the sacristy where the gentlemen take turns resting. After the prayers were said, they went to the sacristy to draw their hours of adoration. As sometimes happens, your father asked Monsieur de Morel to draw for him because he was very tired. He then went upstairs to rest a while, but when he got to the room, he smelled suffocating smoke which prevented him from going any farther. He shouted, “Fire!” They all left their lottery and rushed into the apartment. There were two beds on fire. They hurried to throw the mattresses out the windows. Finally, they managed to put out the fire.

If your father hadn’t gone up so early, they wouldn’t have been able to control the fire. There were about thirty beds there and all made of wood. The sacristy was burned, and perhaps the fire would have reached the church. Consequently, the gentlemen looked upon this as providential and, every hour, each worshipper said an Our Father and a Hail Mary to thank God for this protection. Monsieur Tessier hadn’t noticed that two beds were touching the stove, and that was how the fire started.

I’m sending you a letter (?) from Céline. She’s beginning to write and draws some lines. We’ll soon make a scholar out of her! It was the maid who made her write her letter. I wanted to read it, but I couldn’t decipher these hieroglyphics!

The other day the poor little one had a bad toothache. To distract her, Louise gave her Marie’s beautiful porcelain tea set, but she was suffering so much she couldn’t play. The toy remained against the garden windows when, in the afternoon, she kicked it while running and everything overturned. I let out a cry, and the little one got so frightened she ran off I don’t know where.

I collected the tea set and checked to see if anything was broken. Fortunately, there was no damage. Then I set out in search of Céline, since she didn’t come back. I saw her heading for the side of the shed. I went there, nothing…. Then I began to get worried, and I called her name…. No answer! Finally, I returned to the garden. For the third time, I looked under the shed. I saw her nestled between two small groups of branches, in such a small corner that I wondered how she was able to get in there. There was just enough room for a cat! We had a very hard time making her come out. I assure you she didn’t make any noise!

My dear little daughters, I must go to Vespers to pray for the intention of our dear late relatives. There will come a day when you will go there for me, but I have to see to it that I won’t have too much need of your prayers. I want to become a saint, and that won’t be easy. There’s a lot of wood to chop and the wood is as hard as rock. It would have been better if I’d tried earlier, while it was less difficult. Oh well, “better late than never.”

I hope Marie is going to be very sensible. Anyway my children, get used to speaking well. I would truly be very sad if you let yourselves go on this point, as you did during your last vacation, after having spent so many years in boarding school. I also hope that Marie becomes a Child of Mary this year, but, above all, it’s absolutely necessary that she try hard to deserve this beautiful title.

Your father asks me to send you his love a thousand times and, as for me, I hug you with all my love.

© Society of St. Paul / Alba House



Back to the list