To Mother Catherine de Christo, Prioress of the Discalced Carmelites of the Convent of the Most Holy Trinity at Soria, and to the Religious of the said House.
The Saint thanks them for the assistance they gave her when she was in great affliction at Avila:, from which city this letter was written, before her departure from Burgos. Date, 1581. Carta XLIII. Spanish ed. vol. i.
JESUS. The grace of the Holy Spirit be with you all, my daughters.
You will, I am sure, readily believe that I was anxious to write to each of you in particular; but I am now so much engaged, and I have besides such a multitude of letters to write, and especially as I am on the point of commencing my journey, you will see what little leisure I have. Beg of our Lord that we may serve Him in all things, and pray in particular for the success of the Foundation at Burgos.
I received great consolation from your letter, and much more from knowing by your works and words the tender love you bear me. However, in spite of the kindness which you have so generously shown towards me, I firmly believe that your love cannot equal the affection I feel for you, though I have every reason to esteem it, as my wants were great. Our Lord will reward you for it; and it clearly appears you serve Him, since you have rendered such good service to the Religious of this convent.1 They all sincerely thank you for such kindness, and pray for you to our Lord. I continually do the same, for I have nothing else to offer you.
I was much pleased to hear how well everything succeeded, and especially that some persons began to speak against you, without your having given them any occasion to do so. This ought to be very pleasing to you, as you have had so few opportunities of meriting it since your Foundation. With regard to our Father Vallejo, I can only tell you that our Lord repays the great service he has done for Him–by sending him many afflictions; and as he has conferred several important benefits on this House, I do not wonder at our Lord sending him troubles, in order that he may gain the more.
Take care, my daughters, how you act when this holy lady2 enters the house. It is proper that the mother-prioress and all the sisters should treat her with civility and affection. But as she possesses such solid virtue, it is unnecessary to be too strict with her. It will be sufficient for her to see what you do; and then, on the other hand, she will have such a good father, that I think she will soon learn everything necessary. May God preserve you all, and give you health and a long life, for these are what I wish you may have.
I am very glad to hear that the mother-superioress is better. If necessary, she must always have meat, even in Lent; for when there is occasion for such a dispensation, no sin is committed either against the rules of the Church, or against ours. I beg of our Lord, that He will give you virtue above everything else, and especially humility and love one for another; for these are of the greatest importance. May His Majesty grant that I may see you all far advanced in these, and I desire you will beg the same for me.
The Servant of you all,
TERESA DE JESUS.
P.S.–This is the eve of King David’s day,3 and the day which we commenced the foundation of Palencia. Pray for Sister Teresa de Jesus, and for mother sub-prioress. Both of them are confined to their bed, and the sub-prioress is dangerously ill.
1 At Avila.
2 Doña Beatrix de Beaumonte was her name, according to Bishop Palafox. (See annotation on this letter.)
3 “Vispera del Rey David”–a feast in honour of King David.