From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 200 - May 10, 1877.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

May 10, 1877

… I’m very worried about Pauline. During her two-week vacation she had a headache constantly, and, if I hadn’t been afraid of upsetting her, she wouldn’t have returned to school.

I gave her a letter for the headmistress in which I made my concerns known. This poor child didn’t dare complain for fear of displeasing the nuns and was certainly doing work that was too much for her.

The headmistress answered me a week ago. She told me that the headache hasn’t let up and they made her see a doctor, who prescribed some tonics and, above all, almost complete rest.

So Pauline follows a separate regimen and is almost like a boarding student without a schedule. I would prefer to see her here, but I know the Sisters would be very upset, and I’ll wait until the vacation. Since then, a letter from Pauline confirmed that she’s not doing any better, and I’m very sad over this. Marie has to go on the retreat for former students, which begins June 11. I’m waiting anxiously for the moment I see my Pauline again. All of these concerns make me forget my illness. I hardly have time to think about it, and I’m always imagining that my death is remote and in the distant future. However, sometimes I have a flash of reality, and I care about pilgrimages more than you can believe. I’m always in search of information to find out if there’s one on the horizon.

I’m about the same. I’m not suffering a lot, and yet now I feel, almost continuously, the inner work that the illness is doing, but the suffering is quite bearable.

I hope the Blessed Mother will cure me, if not completely, at least so I’ll have the time to raise my children. At first, I always asked her for it. If it’s necessary, I’m certain I won’t be refused, and I believe this grace is more necessary now than ever because of Léonie.

Yes, I see a shining ray of hope for her that foretells to me a complete change to come. Up until now, every effort I’ve made to become attached to her has been fruitless, but it’s no longer the same today. She loves me as much as it’s possible to love, and, with this love, little by little the love of God penetrates her heart. She has unlimited trust in me and goes as far as revealing to me her slightest faults. She truly wants to change her life and makes many efforts that no one else can appreciate like I do.

I can’t get the idea out of my head that this transformation is due to the prayers of my holy sister because everything changed two or three weeks after her death. She’s also the one who obtained the grace for me to know how to manage to attach her heart to mine. I hope God will let me complete my task, which is far from being finished. It takes time to conquer such a nature, and I see that this mission was entrusted to me. No one else could carry it out, not even the nuns at the Visitation Monastery; they would send her away, as they’ve done before.

So I’m really giving up my Alençon lace and beginning to live off of my investments. Anyway, I think it’s time. My biggest fear is not enjoying my retirement for very long. It would be a shame. I really earned it, and I can say that it cost me dearly.

I may be mistaken, but I believe the other manufacturers will be right behind me because the events that are developing won’t help this kind of industry. Ladies make do with flowers, even the “middle class ladies,” who are wearing veritable flower beds on their heads this year. It’s strange, but not beautiful!

It’s time that I finished my letter. It took me several attempts to write this long letter. I hope Madame Maudelonde is recovered now and that you’ve finally found a student. I always say it, and I’ll never stop saying it: God will give you what you need at the right time. You are Christians who are too good for Him to do otherwise.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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