In an episode that is a bit of a departure from the usual format, Patti and Sr. Gabby discuss one of Blessed Adele's letters, which was written to a Marianist sister who was the director of one of the community's houses in 1825. This letter is a great window into the final years of Adele's life and the strength of her leadership. Patti and Sr. Gabby discuss the challenges the Marianist Sisters faced at this time, the tensions that existed between the Sisters and Father Chaminade, and the humor that is part of daily life in community. It's an interesting conversation that is sure to be informative whether you know a little or a lot about Adele!
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Scroll down the page to read the full text of the letter discussed in the podcast.
Full text of the letter:
582. To Sister de l'Incarnation de Lachapelle, Condom
+ J.M.J.T. May 30, 1825
Blessed Trinity, I adore you.
2 I am like you, my dear daughter; I would write to you every day if I followed the promptings of my heart. However, we must not always seek what pleases us.
3 I do not think that a retreat would be beneficial to Mlle Dardy. She needs to be in one place for a good length of time. However, if she wants to make a retreat, I shall accept her with pleasure if it is for the good of her soul. But I don't want her to be in your boarding department. I am completely opposed to that. Say so to Mother Emmanuel, in case she would want her there. Otherwise, say nothing about it.
4 I have been told that the Good Father plans to visit us. Now that the royal authorization is almost an accomplished fact, Father Caillet will return from Paris and Father will be free to come. After that, Father Caillet will return to Saint-Rémy. So you see, Father Chaminade had Father Caillet make a special trip so that he could come to see us. Let me hear no one calumniate our Good Father.
5 Yesterday Sisters Luce and Félicité took the holy habit; this brought back memories of happy days. Each in her own way is a very good religious.
6 Come now, my dear daughter, let us not give way to depression; patience! The work of God is a slow process, even in us. Let us bear with one another as God bears with us. Rest assured that a great deal of pride enters into our discouragement. Let us trust more in God; he will draw glory from our weakness.
7 One day St. Gertrude asked the Lord to deliver a superior from a certain defect. The Lord refused, saying that this defect was good for him, for it provided him with a reason to be humble and an opportunity frequently to renew his good intention and so to give glory to God. The defects of superiors call for greater faith on the part of the community; they must see God, rather than a human being, in the superior; that is no small advantage.
8 Hold firm so that no worldliness will be introduced into the boarding school; but always act with the greatest simplicity.
9 I do not agree with Father Castex that we should have a servant. It should be our glory to follow our divine Master who said that he had come to serve and not to be served.
10 Do not increase the gardener’s wages, or if you do, make it minimal. He is bluffing; if you are firm, he will cease his importunity.
11 Madame Belloc’s condition has worsened; pray for her. She is perspiring and has a bad cough, but it does not seem too serious. The rest of us are well; the good Lord does not send all his trials at the same time.
12 Does your cow give milk?
13 I agree that the young ladies of Montfort simply cannot acquire the spirit of the Institute in so short a time. But God will do the work if it is really his. Let us always give good example and when we do not, let us humbly accept the fact. It is good, Lord, for you to humble me.
14 I embrace you and all our sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sister Marie T.
15 We don’t have enough pincushions for our sewing classes. You know that it is Sister Sacrement who makes them; enough said. I am sending you a circular from the Carmelites of Agen, announcing the recent death of one of them. I want us to do the same when one of our sisters dies.
16 I wrote to Father Fourteau several days ago for urgent information. Please send someone to see whether he has received the letter and answered it. I have not received an answer as yet.
Published on 21 February 2021. Hosted by Patti Gehred and Gabby Bibeau, FMI from the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS). Editing by Gabby Bibeau, FMI. Music: “Travel Light” by Jason Shaw (used with permission via Creative Commons License; see more of his work at http://audionautix.com/).