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Letter VII.—A Holy Community.

The happiness experienced by a Community of Poor Clares in practising abandonment to God.

My dear Sister,

I have made a discovery here that has given me more satisfaction than anything else could have done. In this town of Albi there is a convent of Poor Clares of the Great Reform, entirely separated from the world, who take no dowry and live on daily alms. The Superior is the most saintly person I have ever encountered in my life. I felt beforehand a great interior drawing to have a share in their holy intercourse, and nearly all of them have told me that they felt the same about me. I believe that God intends to bestow some great graces on me through their holy prayers. They lead a very interior life and practice abandonment to God with a remarkable perfection. When I assured them that on every occasion that presented itself I would try to procure alms for them, they seemed to be quite scandalised and begged me to think only of their spiritual needs and to make them more detached and more holy by my instructions and prayers. You cannot imagine anything more wonderful than their union, candour, and simplicity. Impressed by their great austerities I asked them one day if such a hard life did not affect their health and shorten their lives. They replied that there were hardly ever any invalids amongst them, and that very few died young, most of them living to be over eighty. They added that fasting and mortification contributed to improve their health and to prolong life, which good cheer usually tended to shorten. I have never beheld such gaiety and holy joy anywhere else as among these good nuns. To please them I had to talk continually on spiritual subjects as they could not tolerate gossip and worldly news, but said “of what use is all that to us”? I assure you, you would be edified and very glad on my account of this fortunate discovery, for, although I have often visited this 115place before, I knew the Community only by name, and looked on the nuns as dead to all; buried and quite out of sight.

What a favour and consolation for me! I might add it is fitting also to praise and magnify God for the wonders He has worked in these souls.

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