A Mother's Spiritual Diary

 With my Husband and my Children

"On September 28, 1885, at 9 p.m., on a Monday, my first child was born. I offered him up to the Lord with all my heart before his birth and as soon as he came into the world. His father, as soon as he was born, fell on his knees, sobbing and thanking God. The Lord enabled me to nurse him for eight months, then I had to wean him. I had quite a few difficulties with him. He did not want a wet-nurse and so had to be fed donkey's milk instead, evidently the most like mine!

"Here is another bit of nonsense I relate with a laugh. I wanted his first word to be 'mama,' but it was 'cat.' This hurt me, being as naive as always. This child, as soon as his father made him study, was perfect. I can only say that he was studious, smart, very upright, with self-respect, ever properly behaved, impetuous but kind-hearted. It seemed to me that the Lord destined him for marriage (Aut. l, 114-115).

"My husband followed a schedule for leaving and returning home from work. I took advantage of this for speaking to my Jesus, for spiritual reading and for doing penance, removing my haircloth belt at the moment he was about to arrive. Once he noticed it and was annoyed. He said I had enough suffering with my children, with nursing them, and with my illnesses. As for me, I felt sure this was not enough, but had to look for even further opportunities for suffering. Later on I shall tell how the Lord took care so that I was not seen while I was writing. My confessor forbade me, for three years, to impose any penances on myself. I did what he told me (Aut., 1, 129-130).

"In 1887, on March 28, on a Monday at midnight, my son Carlos was born. I was able to nurse him. He was a very lively child, intelligent and precocious. He lived only six years and died of typhoid fever on March 10, 1893. In the midst of his sufferings he said: 'May Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.' He suffered a great deal and died without being confirmed. My sorrow has never left me. His death was heartbreaking for me, and I felt such pain as I had never felt before. I could not tear myself away from him, but the voice of obedience speaks and immediately I made the sacrifice of leaving him behind. "In these very days, there had been inflation, and my husband's business was so badly affected that he had to borrow some money to pay for his son's burial. At this period the Lord overwhelmed me with humiliations and financial difficulties. May God be blessed for everything!

"After Carlos' death, my soul felt strong desires for perfection. Scruples tormented me. My conscience reproached me for having told him the medicines he took were pleasant to the taste when they were not. I only wanted him to take them. I did not know how to overcome these scruples. Finally, as a last remembrance, I kept one of his garments. I felt my heart was attached to it. One day the Lord gave me the inspiration to make the sacrifice of giving it up and gave me the grace to do so. Only a mother could understand my feelings. I called a poor child to come in and I dressed him in Carlos' garment. On doing so I felt such sorrow as if my child had been taken away from me again (Aut. 1, 131-132).

"On January 23, 1889, my son Manuel was born at San Luis Potosi, in our house on Rosario Street where we had moved. To the sound of Hail Mary's, during the recitation of the Angelus this child who has cost me so dear was born. It was at this very same hour that Father Jose Camacho died. As soon as I heard of his death, I offered my son to the Lord sincerely, with all my heart. Some time later, I fell ill, but thank God, I was able to nurse him until he could walk. I wanted him christened Manuel because of my great devotion and love for the Holy Eucharist. It is celebrated on Corpus Christi. Manuel has always been very kind. He is simple, joyful, humble and docile and, after his childhood, much inclined to virtue and to the things of the Church. He was enlightened by the Spirit, beyond his age, as to detachment and the vanities of the world. I recall that when Manuel was around seven, his father was at table surrounded by his children and told them he could hardly wait for them to grow up to help him pay the expenses of the household. Manuel answered: 'I will help you, of course, but spiritually, in what concerns the soul, since I was not born to earn money, which is of the earth and a vanity.' Pancho and I looked at each other surprised at his answer.

"He passed through some periods of awful scruples, he was always very pious, without human respect, full of candor and simplicity. He was the most affectionate to me of all my children, even to extremes.

"God called him, listening to my prayers and his. Since he began to speak, together we asked for the immense grace of a religious vocation. The day of his First Communion and on great holy days, he fervently renewed this prayer. The Lord heard him. He entered the Society of Jesus November 12, 1906. He took his vows on December 8, 1908, when he was nineteen years and eleven months old (Aut. 1, 135-138). [He died a holy death in 1955 at Dijon, Spain, at the Immaculate College].

"My soul continued feeling strong desires for perfection. It aspired to attain something beyond, which eluded it. It experienced days of great fervor with intimate and very strong touches of divine love ever accompanied by sufferings, which in some way or other have never left me.

"Was this virtue? I myself have often asked this. Since my childhood, my soul has loudly called out for knowledge of virtues in order to practice them. I would spend long moments reflecting on this, lamenting my not understanding what I wanted to accomplish.

"One day on the feast of Corpus Christi, I went to the Cathedral to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Suddenly the Lord enwrapped me in a prayer of tranquility. Now I realize this is what it was. At that time I could only be aware that these effects were divine. Inflaming my soul, the Lord said to me: 'I promise that one day you will know the nature of virtues for I will place a great number of them within your reach, ones most of which are unknown to you.' l was completely astounded, not knowing what He meant. Who would have told me that ten years or even more later, the Lord would dictate to me more than 'two hundred virtues and vices' (Aut. 139-141).

"Worldly life wearied me very much. I had accustomed my husband, an excellent man, to come home early and find everything there without having to seek elsewhere certain diversions, but he insisted that I accompany him on some occasions although, deep within me, it was against my will.

"I surrounded him with a multitude of attentions. When his birthday came, I gave him eighteen or twenty presents. He was very good. He always treated me most delicately and all that l did for him was but little compared with what he deserved. He helped me put the children to bed and lull them to sleep. His home and his children, there was all his happiness! (Aut. 142-143).

"l wished that God would give me a daughter and not so many sons. One after the other I had three boys. After Manuel, the Lord sent her to me, setting her apart for Himself...

"It was a Monday. She was named María de la Concepción. Without knowing it, she made me suffer a great deal. Her father and I cherished her with a special tenderness. I offered her right away to the Lord, with all my heart, that she might be all His. I strove to keep her as pure as a lily until her total consecration to the Lord, as I will tell later. I was able to nurse her all the time required, thanks to God. She was an enchantment for her father and both of us showered her with blessings. When she was six months old, I thought she was going to die. This was very serious.

"Some years later she had an attack of typhoid fever for forty days and, constantly hung between life and death. Her First Communion was her Viaticum. I offered her to the Lord as a bud to open up in the heavens if that was His divine will. But the Lord did not take her. He destined her to become His spouse on earth... During Concha's illness, the Lord dictated to me all those virtues He had promised me some years before.

"Concha was an angel, extremely pure, filled with hidden qualities and virtues. Modesty was her dominant note. How many virtues I saw her practice in the bosom of the family and in the intimacy of the home! She was a jewel, a pearl, a precious 'shell' a lily... At fifteen she made a vow of virginity, and at seventeen and a half she entered religion... A pure jewel not made for this world... The Lord chose her for Himself (Aut. 1, 144-149).

"When we were married, my husband had an explosive temper, but as soon as the shock was over, he was quite confused. At the end of several years, he changed so much that his mother and his sisters were astounded. I think that this was the work of grace and of my personal efforts, the poor soul, constantly rubbing against the harsh flint that was me (Aut. 1, 151-152).