Letters of Maria Celeste:
Most Beloved Lord Father
With the greatest happiness did I learn the other day that you fare well, Sire, although the same fortune has not followed me, as I have been confined to bed since Sunday with a fever, which (according to what the doctor says) would have been quite serious, had it not been for a sudden bodily expulsion that stopped the fever's rise and by this point has even lowered it some small amount. Now that blessed God has seen fit to keep me alive, Sire, I am availing myself of my ability, appealing to you in my neediness, confident that day after day you will minister to me with your gracious loving tenderness; and especially now that I find I must care for myself moderately well in order to overcome my extreme weakness, I would so appreciate it, Sire, if you could send me a few farthings to provide for my needs, which are so numerous that it would exhaust me just to count them, and perhaps impossible for you to assist me with them in any other fashion. I will say only that the provisions currently given to us in the convent consist of moldy bread, ox meat, and wine that has turned sour; I enjoy your wine, of which I still have one full flask and another half, and I do not need any more just yet, because I drink so little. There is enough for me to share it with the others as is proper, and in particular with Suor Luisa, who found the last flask you sent unusually good, being so very clear, by which I mean it was of little color and great quality. If you happen to have a hen in your poultry run that is no longer fit for laying eggs, I might make good use of her for soup, because it is helpful for me to drink weak broth. Meanwhile, not having any more to say, I send you twelve sweet pastries for you to enjoy with my love; and I send you regards together with all my companions here and the Mother Abbess, my most kind and pleasant friend. May our Lord bless you.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden