To the Most Illustrious Lord Don Teutonio de Braganza, afterwards Archbishop of Evora, at Salamanca.
The Saint gives this great prelate some excellent advice, thanks him for some alms he had sent her, and recommends to him the establishment of a new house of Carmelites. Date, 1574.
JESUS. The grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with your Lordship.
I received very great pleasure on hearing of your safe arrival, and the good state of your Lordship’s health; but your letter seemed to me too short for so long a journey and your Lordship does not tell me the reason why you did not let me know if you succeeded in the affair on which you went. It will be no new thing that your Lordship is not satisfied with yourself; but wonder not if the labour of the journey, which prevented you from having your hours regulated, has caused some tepidity in your soul. But you will be yourself again, when you resume your usual quiet. I have at present some little health, in comparison with the severe sickness I have lately had; and if I should complain as you do, you would consider your pains as nothing. The sickness I had during two months was so violent, that I felt it even in my interior, so as to make me think I had no existence. At present I am well as regards the interior, but as to the exterior, I still suffer my usual infirmities. I am treated well by the orders of your Lordship, and I pray God to reward you for it. The people have shown great kindness to me and some other religious, who have come very ill from Pastrana: the sickness was occasioned by the dampness of their house. They are now getting better; they are very devout souls, with whom your Lordship will be much pleased to converse, but principally with the prioress.
I had before heard of the death of the king of France.1 I am grieved at the thought of seeing so many evils which follow from it, and the souls which the devil will gain. I pray God to send a remedy; at least, if our prayers can be of any assistance, we do not forget to beseech His Majesty (in favour of them). I entreat Him to reward you also for all your care, and the many favours you have done our order. The father provincial (I mean the father visitor) is so far off, that I cannot by a letter transact this business with him, about which you spoke to me. It would be a good thing to build a house here for our fathers, if the devil does not prevent it, for this reason. The favour which you wish to do us will contribute not a little to this establishment, together with the circumstance of the visitors being confirmed without any limitation of time. I believe that for certain reasons, they have been confirmed with greater authority than they had formerly. They may now even found convents; so that I trust in our Lord He will prosper this business. Do not abandon it, I beseech you. I believe the father visitor will soon come near us; I will then write to him. They assure me he will come here. Your Lordship will do me the favour to speak to him, and tell him what you think of everything; you may speak to him with perfect freedom, for he is a truly good man, and he deserves to be treated in this candid way; and perhaps he may resolve to finish the affair, in consideration of you. I beg of you not to despair until you know what he intends doing. Mother prioress recommends herself to your Lordship’s prayers. All our nuns have ever been careful, and are so still, to pray for you. Our sisters of Medina, and every one who wishes to confer a favour on me, do the same.
Our Father Rector’s bad health afflicts me much. I pray God it may be better, and that He will bestow on you the grace and sanctity I desire for you. Amen. Please to inform the Father Rector how anxious we are to beg of our Lord to give him his health, and that I am well satisfied with Father Santander. But it is quite otherwise with the religious who are our neighbours; they have gone to law against us, because we have bought a house which suited our purpose, and which is near to theirs. I do not know how the matter will end.
Your Lordship’s unworthy Servant,
TERESA DE JESUS.
1 Charles IX., who died in 1574. After the death of this monarch Protestantism began to gain ground in France, and it is to this evil no doubt that the Saint alludes.