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Letter XI.—Good Wishes.

To the Sisters of the Visitation at Nancy (1732).

Mutual good wishes between souls who seek nothing but God alone.


My very dear Sisters,

Your good wishes for me are quite heavenly; they are evidently dictated by the heart, but what a heart! One that is entirely spiritual and interior, which sets no value on anything but what is divine, and has no interests but those for eternity.

Profiting by such an example I return you a thousand good wishes of the same sort, and in the same spirit as yours, and particularly that God will be pleased to preserve and increase more and more; 1st. The love of solitude and silence which forms the spirit of recollection so necessary for the interior life; 2nd. The spirit of peace and charity, of union, and of detachment and interior abnegation which preserves that sweet and tranquil peace in the soul, which is the true happiness of this present life and the foundation of the interior life; 3rd. An attraction for the practice of the presence of God, and for heartfelt prayer, for these are the mainsprings of the spiritual life; 4th. The sincere will to be all for God which incessantly renews the spirit of fervour; 5th. An entire and perfect union of our wills with the will of God, which will make us contented with our spiritual poverty because God wills it. Thus we sacrifice our self-love however deep-rooted and hidden it may be.

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These rules are indispensably necessary for certain souls who, although indifferent to all other things, yet afflict themselves about their interior miseries. In the practice of them they will find peace. In this way all that is wanting to us will be supplied, all our miseries will be remedied, and our poverty enriched. For there can be no greater treasure in our souls than conformity to the will of God, submitting our own wills to His, even if it should be at the expense of those interests which are most dear to us and which we regard as most desirable. Since we ought to desire virtues only to please God, will it not be to wish to have them all in wishing to conform to the divine good pleasure, and with so generous and so perfect a conformity extending to all things with the sole exception of an offence against God?

I congratulate you with all my heart on the joy you feel in celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of your house, but most of all on the fact that your house was founded in the poverty of the Crib and in confidence in divine Providence. The virtues of your saintly first Sisters were built on this rich foundation and have helped to construct the edifice. Your virtues will, I hope, maintain it and bring it to perfection for the honour and glory of its divine Master who is its sole proprietor.

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