February 9, 1641
At last our good Sister Marie1 is here and she is filled with good will. I find her a bit tired from the work that she has been doing for the past week and apprehensive about departing alone2 and being separated from her sisters. Nevertheless, she is acting in a proper manner without complaining or raising any obstacle in the way of obedience. She simply seems very frightened.
However, I am not so docile. The resolution that I thought you had taken never to send a sister out alone is so deeply rooted in my mind that I find it necessary to send someone with her. She could fall ill on the way or, once there, she could meet evil persons who will get a wrong impression of her and cause her problems. Moreover, we are not insensitive and recognize that it was no little thing for these good girls to leave everything. She could suffer a great deal, and not being able to find relief in her troubles, it is to be feared that she will become discouraged. 1 am afraid that it might also be harmful for others who will believe that we do not care much for our daughters since we let them go all by themselves. All these reasons, Monsieur, cause me to take the liberty of begging you to reconsider the matter. If a solution can be found, she will be an example and an encouragement for the others. The trip will not cost us much. In addition to the ten 6cus that she brought a week ago, she gave me the same amount yesterday.
As for their living expenses, since they have been accustomed to frugality, I believe that whatever small amount is given to one of them would help to support the other. They can work to earn the rest. Although she had a great deal of work and many sick persons at Saint-Germain, Sister Marie did not hesitate to take in laundry to earn money.
If you approve, Monsieur, I thought to give her our big Sister Claire. She is the one who went to Sainte-Marie to be received by you and was accompanied by her mother. She is quite a docile soul, and I think that they would get along very well. I humbly ask you to be so kind as to let me know if you find this satisfactory; when they should leave; and if I should reserve places for them on the coach.
I am distressed to bother you during your illness, which I beg God to cure. I remain, Monsieur, your very humble daughter and most grateful servant.
P.S. The sister whom I am suggesting we send with Sister Marie Joly knows how to read, but Sister Marie does not. She could teach poor little girls. If your Charity would prefer another sister, please name her so that we can give our good Sister Marie a companion.
- Marie Joly, one of the very First Daughters of Charity, was introduced by Madame Coussault in approximately 1632. She served the poor in theparishes of Paris: Saint-Paul, Saint-Germain. In 1641, she was chosen for the new establishment in Sedan. She stayed there until October 1634. Upon returning to Paris, she lived at the Motherhouse. She signed the Act of Establishment of the Company and shared her reflection at the time of the conference of virtues of Barbe Angiboust (Coste X, 647).
- At Sedan. This formerly Protestant city had just returned to the Catholic faith following the abjuration of the Duke de Bouillon in 1634 (Coste II, 131).