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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,
S. M. Celeste

1995 Al Van Helden
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