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Historical Archives Curiosities and news A Jesuit mother’s letter

A Jesuit mother’s letter

We often recount the religious life of Jesuit novices, fathers and brothers after they entered the novitiate, but before they became religious they had been sons, brothers, uncles, affections for many family members.

Sometimes it is possible to find traces of their relationship with their parents.

Often in the personal files of Jesuits or among their papers, there are also letters and photos of their relatives, written on different occasions, such as entry into the novitiate, ordination or specific events. On the occasion of Mother’s Day, we read together today a letter that the mother of a Jesuit wrote to the Provincial of the Roman Province, Fr Porta.

Rome, 21 September 1951

Very Reverend Father Porta,

It may seem strange to you, the reason for this letter of mine, but sometimes mothers have inspirations, and I follow mine, to make known an episode from the childhood of my Paul, to some member of the Society of Jesus and naturally I chose you, Reverend Father Provincial.

One night in the first week of February 1932, a little boy of about 10 years old, gravely ill, in the throes of pain and fever, invoked: ‘Holy Virgin, you who are so close to Jesus, tell him to make me well and make me a priest’.

The following night, the child repeated the same prayer, which his mother wrote down, jealously preserving its memory in her heart. Jesus immediately answered the first part of the prayer of the little sick boy, who was quickly healed. And this year, 19 years later, he also answered the second part, as the child of that time, faithful to the divine call, became a Priest of Christ in the Society of Jesus on 7 July 1951.

With a moved and grateful heart to the Lord, I present to you Reverend Father Porta my respectful greetings.

Maria Bachelet

That Jesuit was Paolo Bachelet, who died on 31 October 2020.

In the photograph accompanying today’s in-depth study, we see Fr Puca’s family with the Jesuit on ordination day and the mother kissing her son’s hands during the ceremony.

Often the first person to receive the host during a Jesuit’s first mass was his mother along with the rest of the family.

The bond with one’s parents can also be seen in the funerary mementos that Jesuits carried in their wallets, depicting their parents, family photos, pictures of their brothers’ or sisters’ children.

Maria Macchi