Letters of Maria Celeste:
26 February 1626
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
Your having let the days go by, Sire, without coming to visit us (this being an opportune time, as you, from what I hear, are in command of your health, and free from demands of the Court) would be enough to provoke some fear in me that the great love you have always shown us may be diminishing somewhat. Except that the expressions of your loving tenderness toward us come so frequently as to free me from this suspicion: therefore I am sooner inclined to believe that you keep putting off the visit because of the scarce satisfaction you derive from coming here, not only because the two of us, in what I suppose I would call our ineptitude, simply do not know how to show you a better time, but also because the other nuns, for other reasons, cannot keep you sufficiently amused.
Given all that, I will leave off complaining, to act as though I had never entertained such thoughts; and I only pray you to bow (by allowing us to see you again) if not entirely to your own pleasure, at least partially to our wish; which would be to have you with us always, if only it were possible, in order to pay you that homage which your merits and our debt demand. Even though we are denied your presence, still we will not fail to remember our obligation to you by praising your name to the Lord so that He may grant you His grace in this life, and Paradise in the next.
I suspect that Vincenzio is complaining about us, because we lag so long in sending him the collars that he requested, insisting that he had great need of them. Please, Sire, get us a little bit of cotton batiste, so that we may sew them for him, and also give us some news of him, which we so desire. And if anything occurs to you regarding some need of yours, in which we can engage ourselves, remember that it is our greatest pleasure to serve you. And ending here, Sire, I commend myself lovingly to you, together with Suor Arcangela.
From San Matteo, first day of Lent 1625.*
Most affectionate daughter,
*In the Florentine calendar, the new year began on 25 March.
©1995 Al Van Helden