Circular Letter to the Sisters following the Official Suppression of the Congregation

(Lowicz, c. December 25, 1864)

Rejoice always, never cease praying,
render constant thanks;
such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

My dearest and most beloved Sisters in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

I write to all of you for whom my heart longs because at all major holydays with some in person, with others in spirit, and at least by letter, I was accustomed to share with you the joy of the occasion and especially that which should fill our souls on this great feast of the coming on earth of our Spouse.

My beloved, what can I share with you this year since my soul is filled with sadness? The Infant Jesus brings us the very heavy cross of suffering and tears, exile and destitution. How will we accept such a thorny and wounding star (Christmas) from our Lord? Shall we scorn this gift, shall we cast it away and say we do not want it? h! my dearest, if we are true handmaids and Spouses of Jesus then we cannot receive such trials from the Lord with ingratitude.

We stood by our Beloved when He caressed us, when He sheltered us under the same roof with Himself, when He fed us with His Word, when He clothed us in the raiment of His betrothed. We stood staunchly by Him and it pleased us to sing His praises and it was easy to place at His feet our promises that we will always remain faithful, that we were prepared to suffer everything for Him, that nothing will separate us from Him. And now, when He has permitted us to be exiled from His home, when His caresses became a hard cross, when He leaves us in spiritual longing, aridity, and misery, when we are not permitted to wear the holy habit of His Spouse, should we now desert Him who showed us how much He loves us? Should we complain against Him and break our promises and repel our cross and lose trust in the goodness of God and succumb to doubt?

Oh, that is impossible, that would have been a hundred times more painful and much more dangerous than what has befallen us. That alone would clearly demonstrate not only to all men but before all heaven that we are not spouses of Jesus, but worthless mercenaries who seek only compensation, self-gratification but have neither the spirit of God nor that pure love of God which is stronger than death and cannot be disheartened by anything.

Oh, my dearest, you will not inflict this pain upon me; you will not add new wounds to the already painful wound, you will not show yourselves ungrateful and unfaithful to the Lord, for believe me, that although I am now burdened with such a very heavy cross, and can say with the mother of the Maccabees, (of who they say that she was a martyr seven times) that I am a crucified exile some two hundred times; however, beyond comparison I would be more tormented and grieved were I to learn that you are unfaithful to God and that you accept the cross from His hand unwillingly and ungratefully.

So, my beloved, rejoice in the Lord that He has considered you worthy of suffering and persecution. Thank Him humbly for that grace. Do not cease to praise Him in your hearts. And if you cannot live openly like Felicians, try to live like true servants of Jesus, like daughters of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and concealing your religious garb endeavor to clothe yourselves with the garb of piety, humility, gentleness, and great innocence, because that dress no one can forbid you to wear, and because so clothed you will diffuse the sweet odor of Christ throughout the world and your light will shine before men, so that they may sing the praises of our Father who is in heaven.

Oh, my dearest, everything has been taken away from us, but we possess Jesus; let us, therefore, rejoice in Him, let us give thanks to Him, let us pray unceasingly to Him, and may the blessing of Jesus and Mary never forsake us, let it eternally unite us.

Perhaps some of you may say that it is easy to encourage others to self-denial from the serenity of the cloister, but believe me, that external tranquility does not necessarily silence internal storm. Believe me, that I too am oppressed with pain, loneliness, and sadness to such a degree that today even the rays of the sun bother me. How much more pleasant it would have been if I were among you – but as it is I feel exiled.

Pray for me, that I may not be exiled from heaven, and that all of us may meet one day in paradise – that not one of us may be missing.

I bid you farewell, my dearest ones.
I enclose you in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Pray for me.

Your lonely Mother

The contents indicate that the letter was written on the occasion of Christmas, immediately after the suppression of the Congregation in 1864. Mother Mary Angela, after finding homes for the sisters of the II Choir who were affected by the decree of suppression, on the advice of Father Honorat left fro Lowicz on December 23, 1864, where the cloistered Felicians had found a haven at the convent of the Bernardine Sisters.