January 28, 1641
Accept my very humble thanks for the goodness which your Charity has shown by sending me news of our sisters and by informing me of their faults. This is one of the greatest proofs I could have that you honor us by seeking our good and the perfection of those souls for whom God has given you such great love. You discover therein, Monsieur, the goodness of Divine Providence which placed them under your guidance and which is thereby eternally glorified.
Sister Madeleine1 has explained to me the faults of which the sisters are accused in such a way that I find it difficult to see how they could do any better since there are too many people giving orders. This is something that I said to the administrators when I told them that they would never be completely satisfied with the service rendered to the sick by our sisters if they did not trust them to do this. Very often one person orders what the other forbids.
I am not trying to excuse their faults, Monsieur; on the contrary, I am sure that they commit more than I realize. Would it not be possible, Monsieur, if the administrators complain to you about them, to suggest for matters concerning the care of the sick, that there be one person only to order the little things which are constantly arising and that they authorize the sisters, in keeping with their Rule, to carry out the orders of the doctor when it is possible for them to do so?
Sister Madeleine did not speak to me about any disunion among them or about complaints made against Sister C16mence,’ who she tells me, is quite ill after her fall at the fountain, or about the grumbling heard from Sister Cecile2 during her illness. However, I am concerned about what is not a lesser evil, namely, that they are putting the sick sisters in the wards with the other patients. I am not certain, Monsieur, that this should be allowed. When we send them another sister, which, with the help of God, will be soon, they will be better able to take care of one another. We, both they and I, have great reason to thank God that the fault which caused the fire did not do greater damage, at least according to what I have been told. I am convinced that there is still some envy which gives rise to all these complaints in the city. I beg God to accomplish His holy will in which I remain, Monsieur, your very humble and obedient servant.
P.S. Our good sisters inform me that they are at their best on the days when you visit them. I am not telling you this, Monsieur, to ask you to show greater concern for them but rather to indicate a sign of the weakness of our sex. If they could recognize this fault, it seems to me that you would be greatly encouraged.
- Madeleine Mongert of Sucy-en-Brie, sent to Angers in March 1640. Named Sister Servant in October 1641 at Elisabeth Martin’s departure, she experienced a few difficulties in running the small community. Mademoiselle summoned her to Paris for a few months in 1644. After many chnges of sisters in the hospital of Angers, she reassumed responsibility for the community until 1648. Her state of health made it necessary to replace her by Cdcile Angiboust. She died in Angers at the end of 1648. (Trans. Note: Although when referring to Madeleine Mongert, Louise de Marillac frequently writes Magdeleine, Madeleine will be used whenever reference is made to her.)
- Cécile Angiboust, see Letter 108.