This stained glass window is at Sant Ouen in France, it shows Francis and Dominic (who admittedly was not present) asking the Lord to have Colette reform the Franciscan order.

This stained glass window is at Sant Ouen in France, it shows Francis and Dominic (who admittedly was not present) asking the Lord to have Colette reform the Franciscan order.

The letters


Letters from, to and about St Colette

Colette is beautifully visible in her letters. Writing to her communities at Puy, Ghent and Besançon we see her gentleness and consideration - and the quality of her decisions. In her letter to Marie de Boen she gives a picture of what our life is about. Her ability to lay aside the cherished plan of establishing Colettines in her birth place, simply so as not to offend the Benedictine Fathers is worthy of St Francis himself when he and the brothers vacated their shack so as not to inconvenience a donkey! She held no grievance over this, despite having the permission of the Pope and the King.

Colette loved people, from little Sister Louise who wanted to go back to her Mother Colette in preference to staying at Auxonne, to old Father Jehan, who found it rather hard to be released from his post as chaplain.

The interaction of Colette’s houses with the local community is illustated by the letters to Jan de Hot-Kerbech and his friends at Ghent and with Bartholome de Dijon whom she affiliates as a spiritual member of the order.

St John of Capistrano wanted to reform Colette’s reform but he gave way before her prayers. Cardinal Cesarini, the Papal legate at the council of Basle wanted her help to reform Jaques de Bourbon. The Cardinal’s two letters are obviously part of a much larger correspondence. Reading his second letter, you can tell what a charmer our Holy Mother was!

But if you want a surprise read Henry VIII’s letter to Leo X!

Colette corresponded widely and though many of her letters perished in the destruction of monasteries and other archives during the French revolution, there may be a great many more extant than are given here. These were translated by Ty Mam Duw from ‘Lettres de Ste Colette’ by our Sisters at Paray-le-Monial 1981 with the exception of the letters of St John Capistrano and Henry VIII which was abstracted from ‘Walled in light’ by Mother Mary Francis. Sheed & Ward 1959

Go here and click on the title of the letter you would like to read