To my Angelics and divine Daughters in Christ: Mother Prioress, Mother Vicar,
Madonna and Angelic Paola Antonia [Negri]
and all the others who are both my daughters,
and daughters of St. Paul the Apostle, in Christ,
at the convent of St. Paul the Apostle.
[IC. XC. +]
My sweetest and beloved daughters, my only strength and consolation, I am overwhelmed with joy when I think that soon I will be among so noble and generous souls as you are, amiable daughters. You are my crown and my glory, so much so that some day I will make our holy Apostle Paul feel envious of me on account of you. In fact you are not inferior to his [spiritual] daughters in your great desire to suffer for Christ, in your total contempt of worldliness and self-denial, and in your striving to lead people to a spiritual renewal and to Jesus Crucified who is despised so much. Moreover, you, my daughters, all of you, not just one, by wholly renouncing any desire for recognition as well as the interior consolation which Paul's disciples in general used to cherish very much, are filled with apostolic zeal in removing from the hearts of people not only idolatry and other big, big defects, but also in routing out the most pernicious and greatest enemy of Christ Crucified, which is nowadays triumphing almost everywhere-I mean, Lady Tepidity.
Unfurl your flags, my dear daughters, for Jesus Crucified is about to send you to proclaim everywhere the vital energy of the Spirit. Infinite thanks to you, Lord, for giving me such generous daughters.
In the meantime, my beloved, please make every effort to gladden my spirit so that on my arrival I may find that you have made great spiritual progress as you compete with one another. May I find that some of you have acquired such stability and fervent perseverance in spiritual matters that you will never again be victim to a will that fluctuates between fervor and tepidity, but rather will enjoy a steady and holy fervor, nourished by life-giving water and enriched by new vigor. May I find that another one has received such great faith that even the hardest things seem quite easy to her, without being deceived in her confidence by either presumption or vainglory. May I find that someone else believes that she has reached perfection by doing her daily chores, no matter how insignificant they may be, with constancy and persistence, not allowing herself to become bored or feel humiliated. May I find that another one has utterly denied herself, putting aside her own interests to care for others, since she has convinced herself that it is a great gain for her not to worry about herself but about others, and mindful to be at all times prudent and mature in her activities. May I find that others have arrived respectively at overcoming their irrational sadness or their discouragement at having lost control in the war against self, or their hardness of spirit, voluntary distractions, or this or that shortcoming. And so from all this progress of yours may I conclude that you have received the teacher of justice, of holiness, and of perfection: the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. He, of course, will not let you go wrong; rather He will teach you everything. He will not let you lose heart, but will always remain with you. He will not leave you in need, but will provide you with everything. He will grant you, in particular, a continuous spirit of self-abandonment on the ignominious cross, and lead you to a life conformed to Christ's according to the pattern of the great saints. Consequently, you will be able to say with your Father, "be imitators of us as we are of Christ."
Be mindful only of this: both our Blessed Fathers, St. Paul and Fra Battista, have left us such a great example of noble and profound love for Jesus Crucified, love for their own sufferings and humiliations, and love for the thorough conquest of souls, that, if we had no such unbounded desire for the aforementioned things, we would not be considered their children, but bastards and mules. You, of course, do not want to be in such company. Your generous hearts want to belong above all to Christ and to please me, your beloved father. And I always think of you with loving care, anxiously awaiting the moment when I can return to you.
To Christ Crucified I recommend you through your worthy Superiors: that they may not fail in their usual care for you, both because of their love for you and because of my prayers, the prayers of this faithful servant who constantly offers you to Him.
I ask you to tell them to cheer up my heart by bringing about your progress and mine too.
May Christ make this a reality. May He bless you all with a special blessing of His, a blessing complete and perfect.
My mother, Cornelia, and our Battista send their greetings.
Special greetings from my dear Isabella and Giuditta.
May Jesus Christ bless you.
From Cremona, May 26, 1537.
Greetings to my Giuliina. I remind you to be generously responsive to the holy and zealous effort of our noble Paola [Torelli] and to give joy to our common Father, our saintly Father Superior.
Your Father in Christ and indeed your Spirit in Christ,
Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest.