Letters of Maria Celeste:
25 May 1630
Most Beloved Lord Father
I took the greatest delight, along with Suor Arcangela, in hearing that you are well, Sire, which matters more to me than anything else in the world. I feel reasonably, but not entirely well, since I am still taking the purgative on account of my blockage; and it is for this reason, as well as all the pressing duties to be tended to in the apothecary shop just at this juncture, that I have not written sooner to you, Sire, or to Her Ladyship the Ambassadress. But please pardon my negligence, and see if the enclosed letter suits the purpose; if not, I will await your correction. Suor Arcangela and all the others fare well, except Suor Violante who struggles against her ongoing dysentery.
The Mother Abbess sends her regards to you, Sire, and reminds you of what she told you in person: that is, if chance should offer you the opportunity there in Rome to obtain some charitable help for our Monastery, to please extend yourself in this effort for the love of God and for our relief; although I must add that truly it seems an extraordinary thing to ask of people living so far away, who, when doing a good deed for someone, would prefer to favor their own neighbors and compatriots. Nonetheless I know that you know, Sire, by biding your time, how to pick the perfect moment for implementing your intentions successfully; and therefore I eagerly encourage you in this endeavor, because indeed we really are in dire need, and if it were not for the help we have received from several donations of alms, we would be at risk of starving to death; but may the Lord be ever praised, for, despite the depth of our poverty, He protects us from suffering anything other than the sorrow of the spirit, which we feel for seeing our Mother Abbess continually afflicted by our difficulties; and I for one sympathize with her a great deal, and would like to be able to help her, as I am especially fond of her. I remind you again of the relics that I requested, and so as not to tire you I will finish by sending you loving greetings, from me and from everyone here. And I pray our Lord to bless you.
From San Matteo, the 25th day of May 1630.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden