Tuesday, August 05, 2008

When we got to the lodging, I found that there was in the place a very great servant of God, a Dominican friar, who had heard my confessions while I was at St Joseph's. As in my account of that foundation I have spoken much of his goodness, I will hear only say his name, the Master Fray Domingo BaƱez. He is very learned and wise, and I always took his advice. And to his thinking this was not so difficult a work as others that I had had to do: for the more anyone knows of God, the more easily he does God's work: and because he knew how gracious God had been to me in certain matters, and from what he had seen in the foundation of St Joseph's, it all seemed to him quite possible. It gave me great encouragement when I saw him; for I felt sure that with the help of his advice all would go well. Well, when he came, I told him in great secrecy what was going on: and he thought we could speedily come to terms with the Augustinians. But to me any delay was distressing because I did not know what to do with so many nuns. All who were in our lodging son heard everything: and so we all spent an anxious night.

Early in the morning the Prior of the Order, Fray Antonio, arrived, and said that the house which he had agreed to purchase would do for us, and had an entrance which we could turn into a little chapel with the help of some hangings. We determined to go there: to me at least it seemed the best thing: for the shorter the time the better, as we were out of our own convents; also, having learned my lesson in the first foundation, I feared some opposition. So my plan was that before any one got wind of it we should already have taken possession; so me determined to do it at once. The Master Fahter Fray Domingo agreed with us.

We arrived at Medina del Campo on the Vigil of the Assumption at midnight. We alighted at St Anne's so as not to make any noise, and went on foot to the house. It was just the time when the bulls which were to fight next day were being driven to the enclosure, and it was a great mercy that some of them did not toss us. As for us, our minds were so taken up that I never thought of such a thing; but the Lord, Who is always mindful of those who are desiring - as I certainly was - to serve Him, kept us safe.

We arrived at the house and went into the patio. The walls looked to me very ruinous. There was a good deal of earth to be shovelled out, it had an open roof, and the walls were unplastered. The night was short, and we had only brought with us a few hangings, I think three, which were not nearly enough to cover the length of the entrance: and I did not know what to do, for I saw it was not fit to set an altar there. It pleased the Lord - for He desired that it should be done at once - that the lady's steward had in his house a great deal of tapestry of hers, and some blue damask bed-hangings: and she had told him to give us anything we wanted; for she was very good. When I saw such good garniture, I gave praise to the Lord, and so did the others. We did not know what to do for nails, nor could we buy them at that hour; but we hunted in the walls, and at last with a dood deal of trouble we found plenty. Some put up the hangings: we nuns cleaned the floor; and we worked with such a will that when morning dawned the altar was set up, and the little bell in a passage; and mass was said at once. This sufficed to take possession: but as at that time we did know this, we also had the Blessed Sacrament reserved. We nuns saw mass through the chinks of a door opposite; for there was nowhere else for us to be.