Desiring God’s will
You have given all to God without any reserve. Nothing can happen to you which He does not appoint. You desire nothing but the accomplishment of His Holy Will. Everything, how trivial so ever, regarding you will come from this adorable Source. You must be cheerful and happy, animating all around you.
To Frances Warde

February 17, 1838

The beginnings of the Sisters of Mercy
My dear Sister E.,
I would find it most difficult to write what you say Mr. Clarke wishes for, the circumstances which would make it interesting could never be introduced in public discourse. It commenced with 2, Sister Doyle and I. The plan from the beginning was such as is now in practice. In ’27 the house was opened. In a year and a half we were joined so fast that it became a matter of general wonder. Doctor Murray gave his most cordial approbation and visited frequently. All was done under his direction from the time we entered the House, which was erected for the purposes of Charity.
Doctor Blake and Rev. Mr. Armstrong were chiefly concerned, received all the ideas I had formed, and consulted for 2 years at least before the House was built. I am sure Doctor Blake had it constantly before him, in all his communications with Heaven, for I never can forget his fervent Prayers — when it was in progress.
Seeing us increase so rapidly, and all going on in the greatest order almost of itself, great anxiety was expressed to give it stability. We who began were prepared to do whatever was recommended and in September 1830 we went with Dear Sister Harley to George’s Hill to serve a novitiate for the purpose of firmly establishing it. In December ’31 we returned, and the progress has gone on as you know.
We now have gone beyond 100 in number, and the desire to join seems rather to increase, though it was thought the foundations would retard it — it seems to be quite otherwise. There has been a most marked Providential Guidance, which the want of prudence, vigilance, or judgment has not impeded, and it is here that we can most clearly see the designs of God. I could mark circumstances calculated to defeat it at once, but nothing however injurious in itself has done any injury. This is all I could say. The loss of property has been supplied. The Death of the most valuable Sisters passed away as of no consequence. The alarm that was spread by such repeated deaths did not prevent others crowding in; in short, it evidently was to go on, and surmount all obstacles, many of which were great indeed, proceeding from causes within and without.
One thing is remarkable, that no breach of Charity ever occurred amongst us. The Sun never, I believe, went down on our anger. This is our only boast, otherwise we have been deficient enough, and far, very far from cooperating generously with God in our regard, but we will try to do better. . . .
To Elizabeth Moore

January 13, 1839

Hearts centered in God

We have one solid comfort amidst this little tripping about, our hearts can always be in the same place, centered in God, for whom alone we go forward or stay back. Oh may He look on us with love and pity and then we shall be able to do anything He wishes us to do, no matter how difficult to accomplish or painful to our feelings. If He looks on us with approbation for one instant each day it will be sufficient to bring us joyfully on the end of our journey. Let us implore Him to do so at this season of Love and Mercy.
To Mary de Sales White

December 20, 1840

Good today, better tomorrow
How rapidly the days, weeks, and months are passing. Another month ended, that seemed but a few days begun. If we have not forfeited the friendship of almighty God, but have been trying to love Him more and more, and to serve Him faithfully, then they were blessed days for us. Oh, let us endeavor to use these days, such as we should wish the past to have been. Let us enter into the spirit of the Church, making this time a truly penitential season, mortifying the pride of self-opinion, performing all with humble heart, keeping the first Lenten admonition engraved on our heart: “You are made from dust and unto dust you will return.” Our poor bodys [sic] only but our precious immortal souls, after passing through these few years of pilgrimage, pain and sorrow, will, if we are faithful, soon enter on the joys of a blissful Eternity.
The simplest and most practical lesson I know, my Dear Sister de Sales, is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides.
To Mary de Sales White

February 28, 1841

The blessing of unity
All are good and happy. The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing, it should make all else pass into nothing. All laugh and play together, not one cold, stiff soul appears. From the day they enter, all reserve of any ungracious kind leaves them. This is the spirit of the Order, indeed the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us, that not withstanding our unworthiness God never seems to visit us with angry punishment. He may punish a little in Mercy, but never in wrath. Take what He will from us, He still leaves His holy peace, and this He has graciously extended to all our convents. Thousands of thanks and praises to His Holy Name.
To Elizabeth Moore
Easter Monday, 1841
The effects of Lenten meditation
The impression made on our minds by forty days meditation on Christ’s humiliations, meekness, and unwearied perseverance will help us on every difficult occasion, and we will endeavor to make Him the only return He demands of us, by giving Him our whole heart, fashioned on His own model — pure, meek, merciful and humble. All will then be easy and sweet, no agitation, no particular desire except to please and glorify God.
Pray for your portion of Easter Grace before the extra Treasury is closed. Pray fervently and constantly, do not give up until all is given to you.
To Mary de Sales White

April 19, 1841

Trust in Providence
You are on the secure high road of the Cross —have the most strong and lively confidence that your convent will be firmly established for it certainly will. “Be just and fear not.” Acquit yourself with justice towards God, let no temporal consideration influence your words or actions when the duty of your state is in question. I could not think any person with very cautious worldly views worthy to be admitted to holy profession. It is not a disposition to bestow gifts, like benevolent persons in the world, that bespeaks generosity of mind for the religious state. It is bestowing ourselves most freely and relying with unhesitating confidence on the Providence of God.
When our innocent, yet very sensible, Sister Chantal (McCann) was about to hand over all she possessed, making it impossible to ever command one shilling, her Mother told her she ought to have some security, as many persons were of [the] opinion this House would not be established, and said to her: “What would you do then?” She answered: “Won’t I have my sweet Lord?” And sweet He was to her indeed to the very last moment. Tho’ we may not often have the consolation to meet such noble universal disengagement as hers, yet a spirit directly opposite, I humbly hope will never make its abode amongst us. 

To Mary Ann Doyle

July 24, 1841