From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 203 - May 29, 1877.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

May 29, 1877

I should have written to you a week ago, but I didn’t find the time. However, I have to decide to do it today because I have good news to tell you.

I saw in The Religious Week from [the Diocese of ] Séez that a pilgrimage to Lourdes will leave from Angers on June 10. I wrote to a nun at the Visitation Monastery in Angers who had been my oldest daughters’ headmistress for seven years in Le Mans and asked if she would be kind enough to provide me with information about it. She replied that the pilgrimage will depart June 18 and not the 10th, and that she was responsible for the tickets. I asked her for four of them since Marie, Pauline and Léonie will come with me.

It’s quite a lot of trouble and expense, but if I obtain the grace we wish for so much, it will not be too much to pay dearly for it. And it seems to me that the more sacrifices we make, the more the Blessed Mother will be inclined to answer our prayers.

Only yesterday I received a letter from the good nun giving me some new information. The pilgrimage leaves Angers on Monday, June 18, at seven-fifty in the morning and arrives in Lourdes on Tuesday, the 19th, at eight o’clock in the morning. We stay until eight o’clock Thursday evening and return to Angers on Friday around eight o’clock at night. This way we’ll spend three days in Lourdes, which isn’t too much for me. In addition, this dear Sister tells me not to worry about looking for a hotel in Angers, that an extern Sister will meet us at the station and provide suitable accommodations. “And who knows,” she adds, “if Providence won’t have a pleasant surprise in store for you?”

I don’t know what this pleasant surprise can be. Marie thinks she may want to give us a room in the extern Sisters’ residence. Sister Marie-Paula also tells me that the entire Community is praying for me. In short, all of this makes me happy and gives me courage. Yes, I truly hope the Blessed Mother will cure me.

The disease is progressing and spreading more and more. I expect the tumor will burst before the month of August. I’m still suffering very little, but the mild suffering is almost continual and, at times, quite violent. For about a month I’ve also had pain in my arm. I don’t need to ask you for your prayers, I’m quite sure there’s no shortage of them, nor those of your good family who show me so much sympathy.

The decisive moment is approaching. I’d like all of us to make a novena that would end Wednesday or Thursday, June 21, the day I leave Lourdes. I’d intended to go see Doctor X before leaving so that if I’m cured, he’ll be able to certify that it was a miracle. My husband doesn’t agree with this idea. Tell me, what do you think?

My Pauline still gets headaches. I’m hoping she’ll find some relief in Lourdes.

Léonie continues to become a good child, but it’s difficult land to cultivate. It definitely needs the dew of Heaven, which, I’m sure, won’t fail us. I’m doing everything possible to cultivate it well, and God will make the flowers and the fruits grow. This little one has a heart of gold. You only have to know how to handle her, with a great deal of gentleness.

I’m so gentle with her that they criticize me for it, but I know what I’m doing and don’t listen to these criticisms. She was brought to this point by an extreme harshness that I didn’t suspect and under the influence of the maid who went about it very badly, although she’s a nice girl deep down.

Oh well, who knows? I believe God allowed this bad treatment, which I was unaware of, to first subdue this strange nature and make it more accommodating so that the task may be easier in the future. Otherwise, she would never have known the value of gentleness and friendship, but it was important that it ended as quickly as possible, or else she would have been lost.

If my wishes aren’t granted and I’m not cured, the maid will leave as soon as I return from Lourdes. I don’t want this child to fall under her control ever again. I hope God will help me find the kind of person I want to raise her, but rather let’s hope that I’m the one He’s chosen for this task.

However, the servant is very devoted. If I’m not cured she wants to take care of me up until the end, but I can’t accept her devotion for fear that she’ll stay on after I’m gone.

I’m leaving June 10 to take Marie to the retreat at the Visitation Monastery. I’ll pick her up on the 17th along with Pauline, and we’ll leave for Angers.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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