Letter of St Colette to the Poor Clares at Besançon
18 July 1446
To my dearest and most loved Mother in our Lord, to Mother Abbess and all the Sisters of the convent of Besançon, may this letter be presented.
Jesus Maria Francis Clare
My dearest and most well-loved Mother in our sweet Saviour Jesus Christ, as earnestly and as humbly and as affectionately as I may know, I recommend myself always to you and to your daughters. I recommend myself to them all together assembled, and to each one in particular, as if I named them with their own names. I beg them most humbly that you will always remember myself, my poor soul, my poor person, all my responsibilities with all my woeful intentions and our good Father, Brother Pierre, in your holy prayers before our Lord. They are so needful for me as our Lord knows and understands. I render thanks to God and to you for all the good you did me while I was with you, and I pray God that he will be your perfect recompense for it all. If it pleases you to have news of myself, I am as you know I am, as well as can be, enfeebled in body, while my soul is as God knows it to be.
My very dear and most beloved Mother, I recommend to you always the Holy Rule, the Holy Statutes and all the Holy ordinances; and that you take great care that everything is done and kept as it is necessary for it to be done and observed, so that you may render a good account before God of all that has been committed to you , and that faults should be justly punished as it says in the holy ordinances. And in carrying out your office have good patience, for you will receive a good recompense for all the labour you have.
I beg the Sisters most humbly for the love of God and for their salvation to strive with all their power to love and serve our Lord, and that they may be true religious, tending towards God alone, loyally keeping everything that they have freely and willingly promised God: the Holy Rule, the holy statutes and all the holy ordinances, so as to avoid the penalties prescribed for these transgressions, and much more so those which will come after this present life and so at last to have and possess the eternal life is promised to them. The labour is brief but the rest is long, for such little effort we receive a great recompense.
And for God, my Mother, I recommend that you take great care that the holy silence is well kept as well as the manner of speaking at the turn and at the grille as you know it should be. And may it please you to recommend me humbly to our good Brother confessor and to all the good Fathers and Brothers.
And I recommend to you, my Mother, the Abbess of Hesdin and all the sisters as well as all the others who are there.
I will not write anything else at present, except that I pray the blessed Holy Spirit to watch over you always in soul and body, and to give you joy, peace, health, salvation and life everlasting.
Written at Hesdin, the 18th day of July 1446.
Unworthy handmaid of Jesus, at Hesdin.