From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 117 - June 1, 1874.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

June 1, 1874

I know you’ve learned from her aunt in Le Mans of my poor Léonie’s departure from the boarding school (Léonie, eleven years old, returned permanently to Alençon on Easter Monday, April 6 ,1874. Read the letter of her aunt announcing this to the Guérins). As you can imagine, this upsets me greatly. That doesn’t say it enough. This has caused me profound sorrow which still continues. My sister was my only hope to reform this child, and I was convinced they would keep her. But it wasn’t possible, in spite of their best good will, or else they would have had to separate her from the other children. As soon as she found herself in their company, she couldn’t control herself and displayed a lack of discipline without equal.

Finally, I believe that only a miracle could change her nature. It’s true, I don’t deserve a miracle, and yet I hope against all hope. The more I see her being difficult, the more I convince myself that God will not permit her to remain that way. I’ll pray so much that He’ll let Himself be swayed. At the age of eighteen months she was cured of an illness that could have killed her. Why would God have saved her from death and not plan to show her mercy?

I would have liked to take her on the pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial, which leaves June 25, because it was through the intercession of Blessed Margaret Mary [Alacoque] that she was cured before, but I can’t go away at that time. On the other hand, I’m intending to take her, every year, to Notre-Dame de Séez on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

I would lose my mind over it, but, thank God, I’m consoled by other things. Marie and Pauline are as well as possible. Céline and Thérèse show a lot of promise. There’s only one thing that worries me about Céline; she’s terribly thin. She’s growing a lot. I’m always afraid she’ll become like my little Hélène.

As for my big Thérèse, it’s not the same. I’ve never had such a strong child, except for the first. She seems very intelligent. I’m very happy to have her, and I think she’ll be the last. She’ll be beautiful, she’s already graceful. I love her little mouth, which the wet nurse used to tell me was “big as an eye!”

I hug you with all my heart, as well as my brother.

Your affectionate sister,

Z. Martin


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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