Louise, Letter 0004. To Monsieur Father Vincent

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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September 4 (c. 1634)


I am returning the Rule of Saint-Sauveur to you. I had not seen it. It appears that the first part makes the Confraternity completely dependent upon the Pastor.T do not know if this is wise. It is certainly true that the Pastors in Beauvais would be delighted to have it that way. However, this would immediately lead them to want no one else to know what was happening within each Confraternity. On the other hand, I believe, Monsieur, that the Officers must keep them informed about the reception of the sick, at least telling them whom they will accept. A provision must be made in the Rule stating that the Pastor records the votes during an election and that the Treasurer gives the financial report in his presence. No mention should be made, however, of the Vicar General. The number of Ladies should be indicated as is the case in the present Rule. It should also state that vacancies will be filled by those upon whom the Company has agreed, and subsequently they will be presented to the Pastor to be incorporated and receive his blessing.

As for the question of a Procurator, I do not know if we can easily find one for every Confraternity. The Ladies would never turn over the records of the collections to him. As for keeping the accounts, 1 think that the women can take care of this themselves. There would be nothing else for him to do except perhaps to see to it that any legacies there might be would be administered for the benefit of the Confraternity. In that case, one Procurator for all the Confraternities would appear to be sufficient. These suggestions are only for Beauvais. The ordinary Rule is good for Liancourt, especially the provisions which recommend friendship among the members and give the greatest [details] concerning the morning and evening exercises and the practice of recalling the presence of God during the day. Also, Monsieur, I recommend that vacant places be filled as provided here. Good Procurators can be found everywhere.

Please let me know, Monsieur, if you will now add a particular article for this Officer who is seeking so earnestly to be admitted as Procurator for the goods of the Confraternity. Let me know also if the Rule will provide for two girls to be named by Madame de Liancourt1 as nurses for the sick. They would reside in the housing which the Duchess would furnish for this purpose and would be obliged to bring medicine to the sick of La Bruy&re, Cauffry and Rantigny as well as Liancourt. They would be expected to visit the sick at least twice a week and to carry out all that is required by and provided for by the foundation set up for this purpose. In this area, collections are taken up in the homes on Sundays and in the churches on major feasts. The Procurators keep a book in which they record the receipts from each collection. The Treasurer does the same. Only strong boxes with two locks are to be used. I think that it should be added that the two guardians are to be members of the Confraternity.

I believe, Monsieur, that it would be appropriate to have a register in each strong box similar to the one which I left with you so that all the happenings of the Confraternity could be recorded in it. I think that the Act of Establishment should be written at the beginning, followed by the Rule, the names of the Ladies, and the results of the election of the Procurator and of the officers. Place could be left after this for subsequent elections.

Toward the middle of the book, a place should be indicated where a record is to be kept of the names of the Ladies who have died and of those who have replaced them. Another section should be reserved for pious legacies and for extraordinary gifts, while a list of furniture belonging to the poor should be kept in another section. The book that I brought you is from La Bruy&re because the Act of Establishment contains all the necessary signatures.

I believe that the Superioress must also keep a register in which she writes the names of the sick poor, the date on which they were received, and the date on which they died or were discharged by the Confraternity.

If you had not told me to draw up this report, Monsieur, I would not have dared to do so. I do not know why I have delayed so long in writing except that I realize that my mind is very slow both to do good for others and for my own practices.

Good Sister Jeanne from the parish of Saint-Benoit2 has just brought me three girls from Colombe who seem very promising and who desire to serve the poor anywhere that they are sent. I believe that they will go to see you one of these days. I am sorry that I missed the day that your Charity was willing to give me. I think it was my fault. I have great need of a few days to think about myself and be renewed. I believe, Monsieur, when the time comes for me to take charge of the Confraternity of Charity of the parish of Saint-Laurent, if you wish to honor me by employing me for this, that I should spend a few days there. I could use this occasion, if you judge it appropriate. But for the love of God, Monsieur, ask the divine mercy to let you know my needs; otherwise, I will believe that He wishes to abandon me completely because He allows you to feel this way.

I am enclosing a report of each of the Assemblies of Beauvais. I believe that it would be well for the Rule that you are drawing up to be for Saint-Sauveur3. When you send it, you could ask that it be sent to the other Charities to be copied. If you would be so good as to take the trouble to re-read the letter I sent you from Liancourt, you will perhaps find something more that I am not telling you at this time. Please excuse the disorder of my presentation. I almost want to blame my poor memory, but you know me as I am and as I always shall be, Monsieur, your very humble daughter and most grateful servant.

P. S. Collections are made every Monday in Beauvais, but I think it would be well to take them up also on major feasts in the church. I believe that with the imminent establishment of the Mission at Beauvais, as the Bishop wishes, it will be easy to obtain all that could be desired for the good of the Confraternity. I did not undertake to suggest this collection.

  1. Madame the Duchess de Liancourt, born Jeanne de Schomberg (1600-1674), Lady of Charity. She established the Confraternity of Charity on her estates.
  2. Parish of Paris
  3. Parish of Paris

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