« PreviousContinue »
whom, though a Catholic, he placed perfect reliance, that no influence should be exerted to bring her to that communion. A year or two, and more elapsed, when this young lady, who was both intelligent and handsome, being ready to enter upon the world, gave too con*vincing a proof of the danger of being exposed to the persuasions of an artful governess, and a still more artful priest; for their representations of their system of religion had so wrought upon her youthful and unsuspicious mind, that, instead of answering the call of her parent, she resolved to take the veil. It was the aim of these seducers to make her do this immediately, while her resolution and the impressions on her mind which led to it were fresh and strong; but with that sense of duty, which had ever marked her character, she determined to communicate her designs to her father, before she finally carried them into execution. At the same time, she declared this step to be no subterfuge, and that no earthly motives could prevail upon her to change her purpose; for they had taught her, that in thus espousing Christ, she should leave father and mother, brothers and sisters, lands and possessions, and all that she had, to cleave unto Him.
Her father, upon being made acquainted with her determination, was of course greatly shocked; but, after some consideration, appointed a day to meet and talk over the subject with her. He accordingly set off for Paris, having previously thought of every argument that he should urge, as most strongly appealing to her good sense, to her general notions of filial duty, and to his own intentions towards her. When he arrived, he found his daughter an altered being, both in manner and affection, and totally different from what she had represented herself in her communications to him. For hours, and for days, he urged every reason that his ingenuity could suggest, to divert her from her purpose, and employed all the persuasion and force of which he was master; but all, all was vain. His once dutiful child was immoveable ; – the duty she owed her God, she said, was paramount to all filial obligations his views of the religion which she had embraced, were erroneous; for she had been taught by infallible guides, and convinced by miraculous tests. The father, finding all his entreaties and endeavours vain, at length gave up the point, upon this condition ; — that, as her determination to take the veil was so fixed, he should
name the religious house of which she should become a member. This was readily, most readily agreed to; and the girl, elated with joy, and her father, depressed beyond measure, separated, with the understanding that on the morrow she was to be conducted by him to the nunnery which was in the neighbourhood of this great city. The father kept his appointment, received his child, and after an hour's drive, both reached the gates of the convent. mained firm, unchanged, and unmoved; he melted into tears, and imprinted the last kiss upon her pale and quivering lips. An ancient lady, the superior, received her, and the father and daughter parted — for ever!
Daughter,” said the Elder, as they passed through the numerous passages, “it is the custom of our House for those about to become our Sisters, to be kept in a short and almost exclusive retirement, that they may better consider the sacred nature of the vows they are to make, and be instructed in their duties. For this
purpose, one or two of our Sisterhood will be deputed to hold converse with you."
During the first days the Superior and the Sisters paid frequent visits to her: We are
guarded,' they said, “as to the manner of receiving and admitting to the sacred veil those of your nation and former habits. Our holy religion has been wounded deeply by the injurious representations of your countrymen ; we are all, therefore, cautious how we receive any of you among us, lest the charge already made to our detriment be, by these means, increased. We are, moreover, unwilling, that through any want of care on our part, your people should withhold the amity which now exists between us. We, therefore, strictly charge you to consider whether your admittance here will receive the sanction of
your relatives and friends; or whether if they be against it, they may not be incensed, and so lay to our charge things which, if listened to, may prove injurious to the sacred cause we espouse.'
Upon hearing this, the poor girl was disheartened, and confessed that her father had the strongest objections to the step she was about to take, and had urged every thing in his power to change her mind; but that finding her resolute, he had given way. They then continued to represent to her their deep sorrow at this circumstance, and declared that whatever might in former times have been the opinions and practice
of their church, it no longer acquiesced in the propriety of receiving into the inner recesses of her bosom, such as violated the duty owed to a parent; and, therefore, although they still could not refuse her, if she persisted in her resolution, they pressed upon her by every motive, the necessity of the deepest consideration, before she finally took a step, which, once made, could not be recalled.”
“ This,” exclaimed Eloise, “ was liberal and kind, and worthy of the cause of true religion; and, surely, if such be the conduct of the Superiors of the Catholic religion, it ought to cause you to recall those strong charges of bigotry, which you have to-day so freely lavished against them.”
“ Well,” I continued, “ the girl from the commencement of the attempt made for her conversion, had been taught to look up with more than peculiar reverence to the advice and representations of the Bishop of St. Denis, who had delegated one of her Priests to convey his sentiments to her; and now that she was so near him, she entreated that he might be informed of her situation and circumstances, and that he might be persuaded to see her. The venerable man no