Letters of Maria Celeste:
7 May 1633
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
The delight delivered to me by your latest loving letter was so great, and the change it wrought in me so extensive, that, taking the impact of the emotion together with my being compelled many times to read and reread the same letter over and over to these nuns, until everyone could rejoice in the news of your triumphant successes, I was seized by a terrible headache that lasted from the fourteenth hour of the morning on into the night, something truly outside my usual experience.
I wanted to tell you this detail, not to reproach you for my small suffering, but to enable you to understand all the more how heavily your affairs weigh on my heart and fill me with concern, by showing you what effects they produce in me; effects which, although, generally speaking, filial devotion can and should produce in all progeny, yet in me, I will dare to boast that they possess greater force, as does the power that places me far ahead of most other daughters in the love and reverence I bear my dearest Father, when I see clearly that he, for his part, surpasses the majority of fathers in loving me as his daughter: and that is all I have to say.
I offer endless thanks to blessed God for all the favors and graces that you have been granted up till now, Sire, and hope to receive in the future, since most of them issue from that merciful hand, as you most justly recognize. And even though you attribute the great share of these blessings to the merit of my prayers, this truly is little or nothing; what matters most is the sentiment with which I speak of you to His Divine Majesty, Who, respecting that love, rewarding you so beneficently, answers my prayers, and renders us ever more greatly obligated to Him, while we are also deeply indebted to all those people who have given you their good will and aid, and especially to those most pre-eminent nobles who are your hosts. And I did want to write to Her Most Excellent Ladyship the Ambassadress, but I stay my hand lest I vex her with my constant repetition of the same statements, these being expressions of thanks and confessions of my infinite indebtedness. You take my place, Sire, and pay respects to her in my name. And truly, dearest lord Father, the blessing that you have enjoyed from the favors and the protection of these dignitaries is so great that it suffices to assuage, or even annul all the aggravations you have suffered.
Here is a copy I made you of a most excellent prescription against the plague that has fallen into my hands, not because I believe there is any suspicion of the malady where you are, but because this remedy also works well for all manner of ills. As to the ingredients, I am in such short supply that I must beg them for myself, on which account I cannot fill the prescription for anyone else; but you must try to procure those ingredients that perchance you may lack, Sire, from the heavenly foundry, from the depths of the compassion of the Lord God, with Whom I leave you. Closing with regards to you from everyone here, and in particular from Suor Arcangela and Suor Luisa, who for now, as far as her health is concerned, is getting along passing well.
From San Matteo, the 7th day of May 1633.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden