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Letters to Persons in Religion

Letters to Persons in Religion

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  • ISBN-13: 9781482527599
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
  • Pages: 476 pages
  • Dimensions: 1.08 x 9.00 x 6.00 inches


This work was written by Saint Francis de Sales and translated into English. Although this book is mainly for religious, consider this letter to a widow: “My DAUGHTER-I am so greatly pressed that I have not the leisure to write you anything more than the great word of our salvation, JESUS. Yes, my daughter, can we not at least once pronounce that sacred name of our heart. Oh what a balm would it spread throughout all the powers of our spirit! How happy should we be, my daughter to have in our understanding Jesus only, in our imagination Jesus only. Jesus would be everywhere in us and we everywhere in him. Let us make trial of this, my very dear daughter, let us pronounce it as often as we can; and if for the present it is but with stammering, still at last we shall be able to pronounce it properly. But what is the pronouncing it properly, that sacred name?-for you ask me to speak plainly to you. Alas! my daughter, I do not know. I only know that to express it duly there needs a tongue all of fire; that is, there needs nothing less than love divine, which by itself expresses Jesus in our life by impressing him in the depths of our heart. But courage, my daughter; undoubtedly we shall love God, for he loves us. Make yourself happy in this, and permit not your soul to be troubled about anything. I am, my dear daughter, I am in this same Jesus, yours most absolutely.” Saint Francis de Sales wrote this on humility to a superioress of the Visitation: “IT is the truth, my very dear sister, my daughter, that you have greatly pleased me by the trouble which you have taken to write to me, since also, as I see, you are the one to whom God has disposed to have the charge of superior committed. You will be granted leisure to well prepare yourself, by an entire submission to heavenly Providence, and a perfect strengthening of heart to exercise yourself well in humility, and in sweetness or mildness of heart-the two dear wishes which Our Lord recommended to the Apostles whom he had destined to the superiorship of the universe. Ask nothing and refuse nothing about all matters of the religious life; this is the holy indifference which will preserve you in the peace of your eternal Sponse, and it is the one only teaching that I want practised by all our sisters, whom my heart affectionately salutes, with yours, my dear daughter.” This advice on meditation is very good: “Touching meditation, I pray you not to distress yourself, if sometimes, and even very often, you do not find consolation in it; go quietly on, with humility and patience, not on this account doing violence to your spirit. Use your books when you find your soul weary, that is to say, read a little and then meditate, then read again a little and meditate, till the end of your half-hour. Mother [St.] Teresa thus acted in the beginning, and said that she found it a very good plan for herself. And since we are speaking in confidence, I will add that I have also tried it myself and found it good for me. Take it as a rule that the grace of meditation cannot be gained by any effort of the mind; but there must be a gentle and earnest perseverance full of humility. Continue all your other exercises in the manner I have marked them out for you.” And here is some good advice on getting sufficient rest that we all should take, for how many spend their 'night vigils' in useless pursuits: “With regard to going to bed, I will not change my opinion, if you please; but still, if you do not like bed, and cannot stay in it as long as the rest do, I will permit you to rise an hour earlier; for, my dear sister, it is incredible how dangerous long night vigils are, and how much they weaken the brain. It is not felt during youth; but it comes to be felt so much the more afterwards, and many persons have rendered themselves useless in this way.”

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