True happiness is not of this world.
We waste our time looking for it here.
April 14, 1868
Your last letter made me very happy. I was so eager to hear from you, and I still am because I’d like to know how little Jeanne is doing, as well as all of you.
I see you’ve already had many concerns about your dear little girl. But, my dear sister, you mustn’t worry unnecessarily; children always have a few problems. I’m so used to it with mine that I just accept it.
However, I’ve had plenty of reasons to be anxious over the youngest one, who was very sick three weeks ago. The wet nurse arrived, sobbing, to tell me that there was no hope, that he was sick exactly like his little brother. The fear of seeing him die in her home frightened her so much that she wanted to return him to me. The doctor went there right away and saw he had bronchitis. We took care of him as best we could, and now he’s completely cured.
We went to see him today. He smiled at his father and me as if he knew us. I feel so deprived not having him with us, and I’m longing for the moment when he returns, although I already fear the extra problems his return will bring us because we’re so overworked here. If I had three times less work, I’d still have so much that I’d rarely have a free moment. But it’s such sweet work to take care of little children! If I only had that to do, it seems to me I’d be the happiest of women. But it’s quite necessary that their father and I work to earn money for their dowries. Otherwise, when they’re grown, they won’t be very happy with us!
In my last letter, I forgot to thank you for the beautiful box of candy you sent home to us with my father. He gave us a charming account of little Jeanne’s baptism. He was truly impressed.
Everyone here is in good health, but my poor Léonie took a bad fall and has two very large and deep cuts on her forehead. This is the third time she has cut her forehead, and the marks from the first two times are very noticeable. I’m sorry about that. But on the other hand she has the best nature you could imagine. She and Pauline are charming; little Hélène is very cute as well. Marie has a very special and determined nature. She is the prettiest, but I’d like her to be more obedient. When you write to me, don’t mention what I say to you about this child, other than being so gifted. My husband wouldn’t be happy; she’s his favorite!
I hope to receive news from you soon. Will you tell me if the pharmacy is doing well, if my brother still worries and if he’s sad? I’d like you all to be happy, but true happiness is not of this world. We waste our time looking for it here.
R/. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
V/. So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux