Second Notebook – Paragraphs 541-550
541. A short time later, I heard this voice in my soul: Do not fear anything; nothing will happen to you against My will. After these words of the Lord, a strange power entered my soul. I rejoiced greatly that God is so good.
542. Postulancy. (note108) Age of admission: any person between the ages of fifteen and thirty. Firstly, the spirit with which the candidate is imbued and her character are to be taken into consideration, whether she has a strong will and the courage to follow in Jesus’ footsteps with joy and gladness, as God loves a cheerful giver. She must despise the world and herself. The lack of a dowry will never be an obstacle to admission. All formalities concerning the candidate must be clear; no complicated cases should be admitted.
Melancholy persons, those disposed to sadness, those suffering from contagious diseases, those of an unstable character and those who are inclined to be suspicious of others are not adaptable to the religious life and must not be admitted. Members should be selected with greatest care, as one ill-fitting member is enough to throw the whole convent into confusion.
543. The duration of the postulancy. The postulancy will last one year. During this time, the candidate should examine whether she is attracted to this type of life and whether it is suitable to her. The directress should also diligently consider whether or not the person in question is suitable for this type of life. After a year, if the postulant shows evidence of a stable will and an earnest desire to serve God, she should be admitted to the novitiate.
544. The novitiate (note109) is to last one year, without any interruption. At this time the novice should be taught about the virtues relating to the vows and about the importance of the vows. The directress should do her utmost to provide a solid formation. Let her train the novices in the practice of humility, because only a humble heart keeps the vows easily and experiences the great joys that God pours out upon the faithful soul.
The novices should not be burdened with duties that entail responsibilities, so that they may be free to devote themselves to their own perfection. They are obliged to observe the rules and statutes strictly, as are the postulants.
545. After a year of novitiate, if the novice proves faithful, she may be admitted to make her profession for one year. This is to be repeated for three years. She may then be given duties of responsibility. However, she will still belong to the novitiate, and once a week she must attend conferences together with the novices, and she will spend the last six months entirely in the novitiate in order to prepare well for her solemn profession. (note110)
546. Meals. We will have no meat. Our meals shall be such that not even the poor will have any reason to envy us. Still, feast days may differ slightly from regular days. The sisters will eat three times a day. Fasts, especially the two great ones, will be observed strictly, according to the original spirit. The food should be the same for all the nuns without exception so that communal life may be kept pure. This refers not only to food but to clothing and the furnishing of cells as well. However, if a sister should fall ill, she should receive every consideration.
547. Prayers. One hour of meditation, Holy Mass and Holy Communion, prayers, two examinations of conscience, office, (note111) rosary, spiritual reading, one hour of prayer during the night. As to the horarium, it is better to draw it up after we have begun to live this type of life.
548. Suddenly I head these words in my soul: My daughter, I assure you of a permanent income on which you will live. Your duty will be to trust completely in My goodness, and My duty will be to give you all you need. I am making Myself dependent upon your trust: if your trust is great, then My generosity will be without limit.
549. Work. As poor persons, the nuns themselves will do all the work in the convent. Each one should be glad when she is given some work which is humbling or which goes against her nature, as that will greatly help her interior formation. The superior will often change the sisters’ duties, and in this way help them to detach themselves completely from the little details to which women have a great attachment. Truly, I often find it amusing to see with my own eyes souls who have forsaken really great things only to attach themselves to fiddle faddle; that is, trifles. Each sister, including even the superior, shall work in the kitchen for a month. Every one should take a turn at every chore which is to be done in the convent.
550. And always and in everything, their intention should be pure, for every sort of mixed motive is displeasing to God. They should accuse themselves of all external transgressions, and ask the Superior for a penance. They should do this in a spirit of humility.
They should love one another with a sublime love, with a pure love, seeing God’s likeness in every sister. Love should be the special characteristic of this little community, so they must not close up their hearts, but embrace the whole world, rendering mercy to every soul through prayer, according to their calling. If we live in this spirit of mercy, we ourselves will obtain mercy.