Letters of Maria Celeste:
1 May 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
I did not have time this morning to be able to respond fully to your implication, which was that you intended to give comfort and come to the aid of just us two, and not the whole convent, as per chance you persuade yourself may be the case, Sire, when you help settle the debt for Suor Arcangela's office. I see verily that you are not entirely informed of our customs, or, to say it more correctly, our indiscreet system of unofficial rules; for, as each one of us is compelled by turns to assume the expenditures of the Provider's office, and of all the other convent offices, it is incumbent upon every nun, as the various responsibilities devolve upon her, to find the requisite sum of money to meet the particular need in each case, and if she does not have it, the worse for her; wherefore many times it happens that by indirect and roundabout means (this I have learned from you, Sire) these sisters find ways to provide the required services by embroiling themselves in many predicaments: and it is impossible for them to manage it otherwise, when any poor nun in the office of Provider must spend one hundred scudi. For Suor Arcangela up till now I have paid close to 40, part of which I had received as a loan from Suor Luisa, and part from our allowance, of which there remains a balance of 16 scudi to draw upon for all of May.
Suor Oretta spent 50 scudi: Now we are sorely pressed and I do not know where else to turn, and since the Lord God keeps you in this life for our support, I take advantage of this blessing and seize upon it to beseech you, Sire, that with God's love you free me from the worry that harasses me, by lending me whatever amount of money you can until next year comes around, at which time we will recover our losses by collecting from those who must pay the expenses then, and thereby repay you, with which thought, in haste, I commend you to God.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden