Letter of JUANITA to her friend Carmen de Castro Ortúzar

Algarrobo, January 16, 1918

Carmen de Castro O.

Dear Carmen:

You must have wondered why my letter was so concise, but it was because I was in such a hurry, since the mail was about to go out and goes out every other day. You can imagine how much I keep thinking about you. I miss you a lot and think all the time of the happiness we'd both be having if we were together.

Here life goes along very pleasantly. We have an enchanting coastline here. We live in a house that's right on the beach, about three meters from the ocean. As you can guess, we have a delightful view. Everything I tell you about how easy going life is here will be too little. Here people dress as they like. The girls wear straw hats; it's all like that. On the beach you see a group of only about four or five women and 11 girls gathered around them. We go swimming together. You can go about a block into the water up to your neck, and with no need to avoid waves or currents; because there are none. You can swim better here than in a swimming pool (...)

One day we went horseback riding with Teresa Lyon. You can't imagine a more beautiful landscape that the one we saw: huge waterfalls between two mountains covered with trees, and at the end of them, an opening through which one can see the ocean, above which clouds of different colors were reflected, and behind that, an overcast sun. You couldn't imagine anything more beautiful, because it makes me think of the God who created such a beautiful earth, even if it is a place of sorrow. What can Heaven be like - I often ask myself - when it's about enjoyment? (...)

Here they have two Masses, but today we had four and in the afternoon every day we have benediction. We with the Lyon girls have formed a musical choir, which would not be too bad if they knew how to accompany us. Today we're going to look for some children for a catechism course with Gabriela Lyon. I'll tell you all about it in my next letter. Pray that we can bring together a good number (...)

Last night was an ideal night. We went outside and sat on the sand. It was the first time the moon could be seen, since every day it had clouded up at night. It would be impossible to describe anything more perfect. I felt that you were right beside me. That's how strongly I was thinking of you. Carmen, does it ever happen to you that when you're looking at the ocean you feel a longing for the infinite? We feel in our soul an inexplicable loneliness that only God can fill, because everything seems so very small.

My dear Carmen, you can't complain that I'm not telling you everything I feel and think, because I know you understand me, and I feel the need to open my soul to you. And who's a better friend than you? How is everyone at your house? Have you heard from Inés and the kids? And how is the baby? Give that little angel many kisses from me.

Affectionate greetings from my whole family to your dear mother and sisters. And you, pretty Pichita, here's a big hug and a noisy kiss from your friend

Juana, Child of Mary

(Letter No. 19, trans. Michael D. Griffin, Teresian Charism Press, 1994)

Photo : Algarrobo beach, Chili



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