THE LETTERS OF FATHER BEYZYM. A fragment of the third letter.

Antananarivo. February, 1899.

… Some time ago I talked with Father Superior about my asylum and explained that it could not continue that way any more, as it was no good at all (I moved to the asylum in the middle of February 1899 and celebrated the first Holy Mass on the Candlemas Day).

The poor creatures live in misery in their huts, until they die. But I wrote Father about that in my last letter. Because of the lack of missionaries, the Fathers could not devote themselves to the lepers only. So, now I am here exclusively for them and can take the things seriously. If I contracted the illness and died, Our Holy Mother would send another Pole and it would work somehow.

I also told Father Superior that it was critical to have the leprosarium, but not the shacks we had those days. The doctor and the sisters of mercy or nuns were also needed, etc. It is understandable that the mission is poor and that we live on alms. St Ignatius and St Therese were not rich too and yet they managed to establish a great number of institutions. Think about Chyriv! Father Wehinger, how he manages! We too, trusting in the divine mercy, can think about the leprosarium. But in the end Father Superior said: ”Agreed. If you had money, we would build”. Naturally, the whole thing I entrusted to Our Holy Mother. Everyday I pray to St Father Ignatius, St Therese and St Francis Xavier to intercede with Our Lady on my behalf and hope that within some years, if God wills, there will be a leprosarium constructed, where my poor things will be able to live like people do.

The local Fathers can not do more than they do now, as there is a lack of them, not enough even to cope with everything that needs to be done here. Madagascar is like Father W. Gromadsky parish. There are places here (and quite a lot of them), where the Catholics are, but the Holy Mass has not been served for years, as there is nobody to do that.

I talk to my poor things with the interpreter’s help. One of my patients can speak French somehow. He speaks French exactly the way I speak German, acting as an interpreter, though. I can not use Malagasy at the moment, since I do not know it yet. But I live among my patients, for the poor things to have the Mass served and the salvation at the moment of death. I benefit from this situation, as it helps to learn the language quicker, especially when I do not hear another language. Besides, the works go faster. Father knows that “it is the master’s eye that makes the mill go”. Even if the hired local workers do not understand me, they feel my presence and using the sign language we manage to understand each other somehow. They are absolutely healthy and I do not indulge them, as I am interested only in my patients being protected from the bad weather conditions as soon as possible.

A couple of days ago I had a fever again and stayed in bed for some time. I feel very sorry for the time wasted, but my only consolation is that this is Our Lord’s will. I eagerly write the letters to my homeland. It is the only possibility to use Polish, as no Polish word is heard around …

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