From Mme Martin to Pauline CF 201 - May 10, 1877.


From Mme Martin to Pauline

May 10, 1877

My dear Pauline,

I was very anxious to receive your last letter. I’m still concerned about your health, and then I wanted to know if you would tell me about the much desired pilgrimage which, unfortunately, isn’t taking place. I’m beginning to fear that I won’t find one. However it’s very rare that there isn’t one sometime around the month of September.

It’s still quite settled that you’ll go with Marie and Léonie. Your father, seeing that I want them to come, gave his consent right away.

As for Marie’s retreat at the Visitation Monastery, you know how little your father likes to be separated from you, and at first he’d categorically said she couldn’t go. I saw that he was so determined I didn’t try to plead her case. On the contrary, I agreed, quite resolved in fact to try again.

Last night, Marie was moaning about this. I said to her, “Let me take care of it. I always manage to get what I want without fighting. It’s still a month away, that’s enough time to persuade your father ten times.”

I wasn’t mistaken because when he returned barely an hour later he began to talk in a very friendly way to your sister, who was working energetically. “Good,” I said to myself, “Now’s the time! ...” And I brought up the matter. “So you really want to make this retreat?” your father said to Marie. “Yes, Papa.” “Oh well, you can go.”

And he, who likes neither absences nor expenditures, declared to me again yesterday, “I don’t want her to go, and she certainly won’t go; the trips to Le Mans and Lisieux are never-ending.”

I said all the same things, but with an ulterior motive. I learned the tricks of the trade a long time ago! So, when I say to someone, “My husband doesn’t want it,” it’s that I don’t want the thing any more than he does because when I have a good reason, I know how to persuade him of it. And I found that I had good reason to want Marie to go on the retreat.

It’s true that’s it an expense, but money is nothing when it’s about the sanctification and perfection of a soul, and last year Marie returned to me completely transformed. The fruits still last, yet it’s time for her to renew her reserve. Besides, deep down, your father feels the same way, and that’s why he gave in so kindheartedly.

I’ll try to find an opportunity to send her to you on Sunday or Monday morning, although I don’t like anyone travelling on Sunday unless it’s absolutely necessary. Then I’ll go get her and have you come home at the same time.

Now, let’s talk about Léonie a little bit, my poor child who caused me so much fear! How many times I trembled at the thought of the unhappy future that awaited her, yet I always had hope, and I believe I see the dawn of better days.

Grace has been working in her since your aunt’s death, when she began to show an affection for me that’s constantly growing. She can’t leave me anymore; she even goes as far as confiding in me her most secret thoughts. Fear and love of God are penetrating her heart little by little.

But if you knew how gently I treat her! I’m surprised at myself. I’m quite sure your aunt also obtained for me the grace to know how to handle her. She wants to receive Communion at the end of May, and that means constant preparation every day. Oh well, may God be blessed!

That’s why I feel needed, if not indispensable. Also, I very much hope the Blessed Mother will cure me. So pray hard, my Pauline, during this beautiful month, so that our good Heavenly Mother comes to our aid.

Our dear little Céline and Thérèse are always angels of benediction, with little angelic natures. Thérèse makes Marie’s happiness and glory; it’s incredible how proud she is of her. It’s true she has answers quite rare for her age. Céline said to her the other day, “How is it that God can be in a tiny host?” Thérèse answered, “It’s not surprising since God is all powerful!” “And what does all-powerful mean?” “It means He can do whatever He wants!” (quoted by Thérèse in Manuscript A, 10 recto).

I have many other things to tell you, but I don’t have time. They’ll be for next time. Good-bye, my Pauline, I look forward to hearing from you. I kiss you with all my heart.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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