Letters of Maria Celeste:
4 June 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
In my last letter I gave you good news regarding the plague, Sire, and now (God be praised and the Most Holy Madonna, from Whom this grace is acknowledged) I give you even better news, having learned that yesterday no one died of it and only two went to Lazzaretto, sick with illnesses other than the contagion, sent there because the hospitals do not take in such cases, or very few. I am not certain whether people are still feeling well in the direction of Rovezzano; but this is a small thing, and with good management and the help of the warm weather, which now makes its presence felt intensely, we hope in short for a complete liberation.
In these regions no one is suspected of infection; the families that suffered the greatest losses at the beginning of the outbreak are those of the Grazzini who are the workers of the Lanfredini, and the Farcigli, who lived halfway up the hill: there was a large family divided among two or three houses, and though I do not yet know whose workers they were, well I know they are all dead. These are the confirmed reports that I have diligently gathered so as to be able to keep you informed, and thus encourage you to return, should you be dispatched from all your affairs there. For indeed this period of your absence has worn on much too long, nor would I want you by any means, Sire, to tarry until autumn, as I fear may happen, if you wait too long to take your leave; all the more so since I hear that you now find yourself free to pursue many recreations, which gladdens and delights me greatly, while on the other hand I am sorry that your pains give you no respite, although it seems almost requisite for the pleasure you take in drinking those excellent wines to be counterbalanced by some pain, so that, if you refrain from imbibing large quantities, you may avoid some greater injury that could be incurred by drinking.
In my last letter I did not have time to tell you how, during its return from Florence, the image of the Most Holy Madonna of Impruneta came into our Church; a grace truly worthy of note, because she was passing from the Plain, so that she had to come here, going back along the whole length of that road you know so well, Sire, and weighing in excess of 700 pounds with the tabernacle and adornments; its size rendering it unable to fit through our gate, it became necessary to break the wall of the courtyard, and raise the doorway of the Church, which we accomplished with great readiness for such an occasion.
Suor Arcangela Landucci di San Giorgio [her cousin], after having sent several times to demand two scudi from me with great entreaty, now writes me a long lament for the death of her Suor Sibilla, and implores me to beg you, Sire, as I am, that you do her the kindness of having a mass said for that soul at the altar of San Gregorio, as she needs such assurance to feel at peace, promising not to neglect you with her prayers.
Now that I have remembered San Gregorio, I am reminded that you never said anything to me, Sire, of having received a prescription I sent you for the plague. That struck me as strange, because it seemed to me I had offered you something useful, and I sincerely doubt that it has failed to do you good. And here, coming to an end by giving you loving greetings on behalf of our usual friends, I pray Our Lord to grant you His holy grace.
From San Matteo, the 4th day of June 1633.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden