Letters of Maria Celeste:
4 June 1631
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
Suor Luisa has enjoined me that I must, on her behalf, render to you those thanks she thinks I am better able to offer, for the comfort and attention she has received from you with such promptness and courtesy; but as I know myself to be utterly unfit for this task, I will pass over it in silence, persuaded as I am that you will be happier knowing that I understand myself, and confess myself indebted for an almost infinite multitude of blessings conferred by you: and for this reason all my desire is centered and focused solely upon not being ungrateful to you: although indeed I cannot give you a better indication of gratitude than my good will: it is surely true that this last kindness you have performed for me, Sire, to my mind, surpasses all the previous ones, since you thus signify your devotion to my well-being with expressions of generosity and love not only to me, but also to those who command my devotion and obligation, whereby I am doubly rewarded; and to my Suor Luisa I begin to repay a debt that I can satisfy only with your help.
The candied citron morsels, since they turned out be among the most beautiful ones that I have ever made, must also therefore taste the best; and I would not want you to give them all away, Sire, even if you took pleasure in doing so: there are 8 of them.
As you know, Suor Arcangela continues the purging; and the doctor deems it necessary to give her Tettuccio water, but in small quantities, on account of her being feeble and sluggish; and because this treatment requires very excellent care of the body, and I find myself quite short of funds, I would dearly hope that you could send me a couple of chickens, Sire, so I could make broth for her both Friday and Saturday. Suor Chiara is still sick in bed, so that with all of this and the duties of the apothecary, I have sent idleness into exile, on the contrary I would find myself overwhelmingly aggravated if Suor Luisa were not willing, by her goodness, to share in all my labors. I send you greetings from her and Suor Arcangela, and I pray blessed God to grant you long life for your sake and mine.
From San Matteo, the 4th day of June 1631.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden