2004 May/Mirror of True Womanhood Ch5

“I have seen on earth angelic and heavenly manners, admirable beauties in this world, insomuch that the remembrance charms and afflicts me; for all that I now behold seem but dreams, shadows, and smoke. Love, wisdom, merit, sensibility, and grief, formed, in weeping, a sweeter concert than any other ever heard on earth, and the hearers were so attentive to this harmony, that not a leaf trembled on the branches, such was the sweetness which pervaded all the air around.”

Petrarch.

 

“It is strange and amazing that those very woman who are so delicate that the mere humming of a bee is sufficient to chase them from the most delightful garden of the world, should have the courage to introduce discord into their houses.”

Le Main, La Devotion Aisee.

How Husband and wife together make a happy home

In one of the exquisite books written by a contemporary author, many examples and extracts are given, all tending to show how blissful is the condition of every family in which the principles of the Catholic religion are sedulously practiced by the parents and children. In the house of Count St. Elzear the son of a saint and the husband of another, the tutor of a king, the governor and savior of his kingdom; the gentle knight, the great-souled statesman, and skillful general, who died at twenty-eight, the idol and model of two nations we have the perfect mirror of domestic government. It is not easy to say, whether his wife, St. Delphine, and her saintly husband, are more to be admired for the supernatural virtues which shone in their lives, or for the practical common-sense which dictated the rules they established over their household and over their princely domains.

But, though Elzear had been reared as a saint from infancy, and had scarcely emerged from boyhood when they were affianced and married, – Delphine, who was by two years his elder (though only fifteen), became thenceforward the guiding and controlling spirit. Although entrusted, at so unripe an age, with the government of large estates in France and the kingdom of Naples, and finding himself at the head of so numerous a household, it was affirmed by the unanimous testimony of his servants, retainers, and subjects that not a sign of ill-temper or impatience ever betrayed a disposition naturally passionate and fierce.

His wife, who studied him so closely, wondered at this extraordinary mastery over self, and said to him one day: “What kind of a man are you, never to show anger or emotion when treated with insolence or seriously wronged? …Are you incapable of feeling resentment? What harm should it do to the wicked men who occasionally do you foul wrong, if you manifested a little indignation at their conduct?” “Why should I betray temper or give way to¬†indignation, my dear Delphine?” was the reply. “Anger never serves any good purpose. Nevertheless, I shall let you into a little secret of mine. Know, then, that often enough, when wronged in word or deed, I do feel my anger swell up within me. But I never fail to recall how our dear Lord was treated in his passion; and say to myself, ‘Even if thy servants did buffet thee and pluck thy beard, how much more outrageously was he treated!'” He died in 1323.

 

The Wrathful Husband Transformed By Patience

In 1355, lived at Sienna, in Italy, a nobleman, Giovanni (John) Colombino, who was quite the opposite of St. Elzear. He was extremely irritable, and took no pains to master his temper. Coming home one day at his dinner hour, and finding that the meal was not ready, he flew into a furious passion, and began to upset and break the furniture in the dining room. His wife a holy woman endeavored to pacify him, and, while urging the servants to hurry forward their preparations, she argued sweetly with her husband on to read a book, while she would go to aid the cook. He flung the book away from him, and stalked back and forth in his rage, while the lady hastened to the kitchen.

Presently, however, he began to cool down and to feel heartily ashamed of his weakness. So, picking up the book, he began to read it. It was the Lives of the Saints, – and in the mirror of their conduct he beheld the horrible deformity of his own life. From that hour there was a total change in Giovanni Colombino; – he became the wonder of Sienna, died in odor of sanctity, and added one more name to the long roll of Christian heroes, who owed, under Providence, their greatness and heroism to the irresistible influence of a saintly woman.