A Mother's Spiritual Diary

 Fiancée at the age of thirteen

"I did not like dances, but as soon as you wore a long dress you had to attend.  It was the custom.  I recall when the first dance was held at home, on December 12.  It was time and I did not want to get dressed for the dance.  I preferred to go to bed but I had to go because I had promised.  So I went.  It was on this occasion one of my brothers introduced me to my future husband.  On December 24 I went to another dance.  There he was.  When he spoke to me I almost died, he paid me such compliments and made such outlandish statements!  I was very embarrassed.  However, it was very nice to see so many men come up to me and invite me to dance.  I was so ashamed for I did not know how to treat them.  They all liked me very much.  But I was going steady, with Pancho, yet they kept on courting me.  I did not know why.  One day, just for fun, I counted some twenty-two suitors, quite rich ones, but I loved only Pancho and never cared for anyone else (Aut., 69-70).

"I am going to tell here how I fell in love with my intended, whom I married many years later.

"On January 16, 1876, I was taken to a family dance (at San Luis they danced a lot), where he proposed and I immediately responded to his feelings.  I had never heard love spoken of and here I am hearing him say that he would suffer a great deal if I did not love him and that he would be very unhappy if I did not feel the same toward him and a thousand other things of the sort which, at first, left me cold.  I did not believe I was capable of inspiring tenderness and my heart was overcome.  I found it amazing that anyone could suffer because I did not love him.  I told him then that I also loved him and it was not worthwhile to suffer for so little a thing.

"On returning home, I was upset and felt a weight on my heart.  A strange thing had just happened to me.  I felt a certain disquiet and was even somewhat afraid.  I forbade Pancho to write to me.  He complied until May when we met occasionally outside since my family rightly thought I was too young.  We were engaged for nine years before we married.  I must gratefully say that Pancho never took advantage of my simplicity.  As a fiancée he was always correct and respectful.  On my part, from the very first letter, I strove to raise him up to God.  I had the satisfaction of seeing him ever inclined to piety.  I spoke to him about his religious duties, about love of the Blessed Virgin.  He, in turn, sent me prayers, religious poems and a copy of the Imitation of Christ packaged in a very pretty case... I urged him to frequent the sacraments as often as possible.  Later, I never stopped being concerned about his soul (Aut., 70-72).

"My betrothal never troubled me as an obstacle to my belonging to God.  It seemed to me so easy to combine them both!  When I went to bed and was alone, I thought of Pancho, then of the Eucharist which was my greatest delight.  I went to Communion every day and it was on those days that I saw him go by. Thinking of him did not hinder me from praying. I made myself look as lovely as I could and I dressed myself elegantly to please him.  I would go to the theater, and to dances for the sole purpose of seeing him.  Nothing else did I care for.  But in the midst of all this I never forgot God.  I dreamed of Him as constantly as I could and He drew me to Him in an indescribable way.

"Under my silken gowns - I did not care whether they were but of cotton - at the theater and at the dance I wore a belt of haircloth, delighting in this for the sake my Jesus (Aut., 1, 73-74).