Letter from a saint: to Rev. J. Bouvier
(The Most Rev. J. Bouvier was the Bishop of Le Mans, France. This letter was dated April 20, 1854.)
“America is truly a wonderful country for ‘improvements,’ an English word which will soon be received into our language, if it has not been already. You will see from an oil painting which we intend sending you next summer, how much we have ‘improved’ Saint Mary’s where, fourteen years ago, we were received through charity into a small frame house, the picture of which you have. You perceive a great change already in the little sketch enclosed with this letter.
“The exterior changes are not, however, the most important ones. When you sent your six daughters to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, you thought they were going to lay the foundation of an establishment which, later on, would be of service to religion; but with the means you made use of — these persons, so poor in every respect, strangers to the country, the customs, and the language of the New World — you never expected to see the fruits of your zeal crowned with so much success. Today we are eighty persons in our Community, sixty-four, including twelve novices, wearing the religious habit, and sixteen postulants. There are nearly a thousand children in our schools, eighty-five boarders here at the Academy, thirty-seven of whom are Catholics.” (“Journals and Letter,” pp. 375-376)
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