33. Lorenzo


To Lorenzo de Cepeda, Brother of the Saint.

Letter 6th. The Saint sends him some spiritual advice, and speaks on several matters, the nature of which will be seen by the letter. Date, 1579. It seems to have been written from Valladolid. Carta XXXIV. Spanish ed. vol. i.

THE grace of Christ be with you.

This relation of ours is quite tiresome:1 thus we must pass our time. But though it is proper we should be entirely separated from the world, yet we must not altogether give up attending to the civilites of life. Believe me, however, that during all the time I have been here, I have not been able to write to the sisters, I mean to every one in particular, though some earnestly wish me to do so. But, please God, I will speak to them without fail next Thursday. I will leave a short little note for you, that she who brings the money may take the letter also, together with the money.

I have been informed that three thousand reals2 are now ready, besides a very good chalice, which need not be richer; the weight is about twelve ducats and a real, and I think the value of the workmanship amounts to forty reals, making in all sixteen ducats and three reals less. It is all silver, and I think you will be pleased with it. They showed me one of the metal you spoke of: but though it has not been long made, and is even gilt, a person can easily see what it is in reality. It is quite black inside the foot, and this makes it look disagreeable. I immediately resolved not to purchase it; and it really did appear to me unbearable, that you who use so much silver at your table should wish to buy brass for the service of God. I think I shall not find another so cheap, nor of so good a size. The prioress is so well skilled in these matters, that she has made the bargain with one of her friends, who knows it was for this house. She sends her very kind regards to you; and because I am writing, she thinks it unnecessary for her to write. It is wonderful to see how well she governs the house, and what a talent she has for this purpose.

I enjoy better health here.3 The best thing you can do, is to avoid the company of those persons of whom you speak. It is better your melancholy should discharge itself in this way (for it is nothing else) than in another, which might bring still greater inconveniences. I was delighted to hear that Avila was not dead, for he is a good man. God granted him a favour, in allowing his illness to come upon him in such a place, where such great care was taken of him.

I am not surprised at your trouble: but I am surprised to see you so very desirous of serving God, and yet that you find such a light cross so very heavy. You will soon say, “you wish it were lighter, in order to be the better able to serve our Lord.” O brother! we know not what we ask. All such desires show a little self-love. Do not wonder at wishing to change your cross, for your age demands this. In spite of this imperfection, do not imagine that every one is as exact as you are in fulfilling their duties. Let us praise God that you have not other faults.

I shall stop at Medina three or four days at most, and at Alva about eight. It will take two days to go from Alva to Medina, and thence I shall proceed to Salamanca. By this letter, received from Seville, you will see the prioress has been re-established in her office, at which I am much pleased. If you wish to write to her, send your letter to me, while I am at Salamanca. I have already informed her she must come to pay you, as you want the money. I shall take care that you receive it.

Father Juan de Jesus is now in Rome. The business goes on very well; it will soon be finished.

Canon Montoza, who transacts our business, has returned, and has brought the cardinal’s hat for the Archbishop of Toledo.4 He is one of whose services we shall stand in need. Do me the kindness to visit Francisco de Salcedo, and tell him how I am. I was very glad to hear he was better, and that he could say mass again.5 God grant he may perfectly recover his health. Our sisters here continually recommend him to our Lord, and may His Majesty ever be with you. If you think well, you may safely mention anything to Sister Maria de San Gerónimo.

I sometimes wish to have Teresa here, especially when we are walking in the garden: may God make you both saints. Give my respects to Pedro de Ahumada. Yesterday was the feast of St. Anne: I did not forget you, knowing how devoted you are to her, and that you will build a church, if you have not already done so, in her honour; the thought of this gives me great pleasure.

Your Servant,


1 The bishop of Osma says, “that she must have been a lover of compliments and ceremony: no wonder, then, she was tiresome to the Saint.”

2 The silver real was 5d., and the other of mixed metal about 2 1/2d.

3 Valladolid.

4 His name was Señor Don Gaspar de Quiroga.

5 It appears that this pious gentleman, after the death of his wife, became a priest.

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