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"Your welcome letter made me very happy. From the tenor of it I gather that you progress daily from strength to strength and so have won the prize of your monastic combat. You have climbed up the mountain of sacrifice, while I still dwell in the valley of care, and have spent most of my life for others. You soar above all this on the wings of contemplation, but the glue of concern for others so holds me fast that I cannot fly. Woe is me, for my exile is prolonged. Who will give me the wings of a dove to fly away and find rest? In everything I sought a resting place; in everything I have found distress and sorrow. The only rest is in the inheritance of the saints, of which it is written, This is my resting place forever. But I cannot see the freedom of the children of God which I desire and long for, nor can I breathe that air of freedom. 

My dearest sister, help me with your prayers. As Job says, My days are passing. There is no returning from the way I am going. I am not far from that limit which has been set for all flesh. My grey hairs already proclaim my final hour. Therefore, dearest sister, please pray for me; in your most intimate tears, make a remembrance of me and offer it in the sight of the Son of God. I know that the persistent prayer of the just is very powerful, and that the intercession of another achieves what our own prayers do not. 

My dearest sister, Christ chose you to be his servant, to serve him in your ministry of prayer and to make your sisters pleasing to the Lord, followers who perform good works. Form them by your words and your example of prayer. Put aside all that is vain and strive to fulfil your ministry by your way of life. Clothe yourself in holiness, so as to render devoted service to him who is the Holy of Holies. I beg you, be beyond reproach in managing your funds, modest in your speech, discerning in what you command, quick to help others, sound in the advice you give, circumspect in responding to others, and inclined towards patience. Be considerate of the older sisters and gentle to the younger ones. Be kind to your equals, firm with the proud, kind to the humble, merciful to the penitent, unyielding to the obstinate. The greater the title you bear because of your position, the more glorious it will be for you if you can surpass others in holiness. 

My dearest sister, I have offered you this bit of advice, not because you need any encouragement from me, but to help you run more earnestly towards the prize and reward, and hasten to enter the house of God and the house of Saint Peter, with all your and my dearest sisters. Thus, when I visit you after the Chapter, I will be fully content to see your habit and your religious life."  

From a letter of Saint Peter Martyr to the prioress of Saint Peter's in Campo Santo, Milan (Ed. A. Dondaine: AFP 23, 1953, pp.91-93) 

Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana,
with the collaboration of the Missionary Institutes