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Maarten Janssen, 2014-
|Addressee(s)||Nuno da Silva Teles|
Private letter from Sister Isabel, a nun, to her uncle, Nuno da Silva Teles, a priest.
Maria do Rosário, a nun in the Convento do Santíssimo Sacramento de Alcântara da Ordem de São Domingos, in Lisbon, was accused of witchcraft in 1752. In this process, there are several letters of other nuns in the same convent, reporting they have been attacked, frequently and quite violently, by Maria do Rosário and two others, Teresa Quaresma and a very pretty girl, who was no more than 13 or 14 years old.
The author asks her uncle for help, begging him to send her, to the monastery where she lives, a prelate to accompany the nuns.
«Praised be the Holy Sacrament. My beloved Uncle and Lord. Since I don't know whether Your Lordship will want to show this letter to someone in your court, I write you this remark to let Your Lordship know the reason why I disturb you so much. My Uncle, among such distresses, we are, we can say, without prelate, because over this whole year he has been to this monastery two afternoons, and with the Abbess only one, nothing more. If we send him any piece of news by letter, there is no answer, or the answer is this: that we resign and he has no solution to give us. Now he is in the farm while we suffer. Hadn't it been these two confessors, the one from the monastery and the Prezado, I don't know what would happen to us. These two friars are martyrs: they wear themselves out every day, because, as the spells have specific hours to be undone and heal the nuns, what has been done today is of no use tomorrow, because it goes back again, blessed be him, the Prezado. His work is unexplainable: he spends many days without leaving the confessional booth, his capacity to keep a secret is remarkable and it was God's compassion to have a person of such circumstances who, without any advantage, bears such work only for charity. Those from de monastery have this as their duty, but he, who has his own occupations at the convent, it's unexplainable the obligation we have to him. Your Lordship must not find it weird what I tell you about Father Vicar, because my intention is not to gossip, but to give Your Lordship a reason why I bother you so much. I have at home a person who could remedy our situation but, as he has been so bad as far as spells are concerned, I suppose, poor soul, that he is afraid. Oh, my Uncle, forgive me and on Wednesday I will send someone to get what is there. And I do want Your Lordship's blessing.
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