"A terrible blow took me away from the world and its vanities to bring me close to God.
My brother Manuel, the eldest of al my dearly beloved brothers, was suddenly shot to death.
His brains were blown out by a bullet while he was entertaining a friend, Don Pancho Cayo. Don Pancho insisted on wearing his gun to dinner.
As he sat down at the table the trigger of his gun caught on something and the bullet passed through Manuel's cheek and came out of his head.
It was a terrible tragedy but an accident. My brother fell down dead. He left behind his wife ant three children.
"As soon as we heard what had happened, we took the road to Jesus-Maria. When my mother learned of the death of her son she fell down on her knees and prayed before giving way to her grief.
The tragedy occurred at two o'clock in the afternoon and, around six o'clock I was close by the corpse.
"My parents were almost out of their minds but resigned and accused no one. Don Pancho was in despair.
My brother Primitivo who was present when the accident happened, walked back and forth on the terrace, as thunder boomed and lightning flared, completely overcome. Thence sprung his vocation.
Good Lord, what a tragedy! For me, the blow though cruel was salutary for my poor soul so confused and distraught.
And this was true for the whole family. I returned home in sorrow, resolved to give myself wholly to God, to think more intimately about Him, to detach myself more fully from the trends which led me toward the vanities of the world.
I have always been afflicted by my extreme sensitivity. My soul is affected not only on the occasion of a death but even by simply the absence of someone. As a tiny child, when my father and my brothers came and went, how many tears did I shed! Yes indeed, my soul has suffered much because of my sensitivity.
I think that on this point I have never been understood. My heart has been the source of my greatest sufferings, despite an appearance of coldness and indifference (Aut., 1, 82-85).
"Growing Like the Grass of the Fields"
"My God, how little I have understood Your graces, Your favors and the singular predilection in which You have enveloped my poor soul... I have always felt the inclination to write. From the age of sixteen, I composed an account of the existence, filled with God, which we lived at
Peregrina. I tore most of it up. In that hacienda, prayers were said every night.
At nightfall, I felt my soul ascend far from the earth, seeking God ardently. It was the favorite hour in which I felt myself flooded by something, yes, by this Other thing which I could not define but which elevated me above the earth and turned me resolutely towards the heavens…
"A tranquil life and a happy one but one which, as far as I was concerned, I did not find wholly to my liking because Pancho was not there, Pancho who was staying at San Luis" (Aut., 1, 101-103).
On hearing her, we think of the poet's words: "Only one is wanting to you and so you think the world is empty"