From Mme Martin to Pauline CF 170 - October 29, 1876.


From Mme Martin to Pauline

October 29, 1876

My dear Pauline,

I’m sure you’re not expecting to receive a letter today. I’m sending it to you secretly, without your aunt knowing. I’ll send you another one Sunday, that is, when you will have written me the letter that she has to see, but I’d like another one from you, between now and then, to have reliable news of her health.

Sister Marie-Louise de Gonzague [Vétillart] - (a nun at the Visitation Monastery in Le Mans and the director of the school) will be kind enough to put a few words at the end of your letter to give me some accurate information about your aunt’s health. Then, if there’s cause for rejoicing, it will be without reservation, but in any case, I prefer to know the truth.

So, my little Pauline, as soon as you have a moment, write me a few lines. In next Sunday’s letter, act as if you hadn’t already written me, and I will do the same in my response.

Take heart, my dear Pauline, whatever God sends us, we must submit to it. If I lose my dear sister, I won’t cry for her but for myself, because she’ll be happy, and we’ll be sad! This pain, however, will be soothed by the certainty of her happiness.

Marie isn’t writing you a letter this time, it will be for Sunday. Above all, don’t send her a letter in this secret mail; I don’t want to see it.

I have nothing new to tell you. Céline is always doing her “practices,” and she did 27 of them today. It’s easy for her with her little sister.

That one is truly funny sometimes. The other day she asked me if she would go to Heaven. “Yes, if you’re very good,” I answered. “Ah! Mama,” she continued, “If I’m not good, then I’ll go to Hell? But no, I know what I’ll do. I would fly off to be with you who’d be in Heaven. Then you would hold me very tightly in your arms. How would God be able to take me?” I saw in her expression that she was convinced God could do nothing to her if she was in the arms of her mother (quoted by Thérèse with some variations in Manuscript A, folio 5 verso). The day of your return to the Visitation Monastery, poor Céline cried all day to the point of getting sick over it. Everyone abandoned her at the same time, her dear Pauline and also her little friend Élise, whom she loved very much and who was leaving Alençon for good. She still found a little consolation in the hope of seeing Marie and me again when we returned, but our train was an hour late, and instead of returning at eight o’clock, we arrived at nine o’clock.

I assure you I was very worried knowing that your father was waiting for us at the station. I said to Marie when we left Le Mans at a quarter to eight, “Your father is already at the station at this moment.” And I wasn’t wrong. He waited for us an hour, he who doesn’t like to wait. Imagine how he was enjoying himself!

I’ll think of you a lot on Thursday, my little Pauline, and I’ll be very sad all day long, knowing that you’ll be deprived of going out. If I could be there, I would, but you know I can’t be away on Thursdays. Oh well, it will be All Souls’ Day, and that will be good. We’ll offer all our hardships for the poor souls in Purgatory, who are much more deprived than we are, and, above all, for the souls of our relatives.

Good-bye, my Pauline. I must end my letter, although I’m having difficulty making up my mind to do so because it makes me so happy to write to you. I love you so much. If you knew how you’re always on my mind, I don’t think there’s a moment during the day when I’m not thinking about you. I’m always seeing your beloved face, and I don’t need your picture to remember it.

Good-bye once again, my little girl who’s loved very much. I kiss you with all my heart.

Your mother,

Z. Martin

© Society of St. Paul / Alba House


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