Louise, Letter 0019. To Monsieur l’Abbé de Vaux

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoWritings of Louise de MarillacLeave a Comment

Author: Louise de Marillac · Translator: Louise Sullivan, D.C. · Year of first publication: 1991 · Source: Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac. Correspondence and Thoughts. Translated from the original French edition Sainte Louise de Marillac: Ecrits Spirituels.
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At AngersMay 3, 1640


We have good reason to praise God who softens by His mercy the lashes which His justice inflicts upon us.

Our Sister Geneviève1 is now better. How worried I would have been had you further exposed yourself! I beg of you, for the love of God, Monsieur, do not let our sisters impose upon you to this extent. 1 am afraid that, seeing the great charity which God gives you for them, they will take advantage of it without considering the danger which this poses to you any more than they consider the danger to themselves. They are very much in the wrong if they want to conceal their illness when you or the administrators order them not to do so or when they do not remain sufficiently isolated.

I am not writing to them by this mail because I do not want to interfere with the time devoted to the service of their sick poor, who, I hope, will not suffer any harm. They will not, unless the sisters are a little too protective of themselves. You always tell me only the good they do. Do not be afraid, I beg of you, Monsieur, also to speak to me of their faults.

I believe that I did not clearly understand what you were asking me to present to Monsieur Vincent concerning the Mission. I assume that you have received the second letter which I wrote to you about this matter and understand his reasons.

I praised God when you informed me of the election of these two good persons as Fathers of the Poor. But can the good Monsieur Gardeau2 do nothing more? I believe that, unless he works on the matter, the implementation of the contract will continue to be delayed3. It seems to me, Monsieur, that the gentlemen are very wrong in fearing the estab­lishment of a community, because the power that they reserve for themselves and which we willingly accord them of removing the sisters, should convince them that they retain permanent control.

I am certain that you will not fail to continue to remind the sisters of their duty to obey. Monsieur Vincent humbly greets you. He is in constant admiration of your charity. I hope that our good God will grant you holy perseverance. I beg Him to inspire you with a thought for my needs during the holy sacrifice of the Mass since I am by His holy love, Monsieur, your very humble daughter and servant.

  1. Geneviève Caillou of Saint-Germain: at Angers from March 1640 until the end of 1644; at the parish of Saint-Gervais in Paris in 164S and 1646; sent to Le Mans in May 1646. As a result of the difficulties experienced in the effort to establish the Daughters of Charity in that city, she returned to Paris (Coste II, 399). She signed the Act of Establishment of the Company on August 8, 1653.
  2. One of the administrators of the hospital of Angers.
  3. Literally, “to be left on the hook.” The hospital administrators contested the article of the contract which affirmed the dependence of the sisters upon the Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission.

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