By Saint Louis de Montfort
When I got there, all those connected with the house from the director down to the most humble worker and the entire town rejoiced and looked upon me as a man sent by God to put an end to the prevailing abuses.
The directors with whom I was working, not indeed as an equal but as an inferior, gave me full liberty in the drawing up and the observance of the rules I wanted to introduce. Even the Bishop and the committee allowed me to serve the poor in the refectory and to go round the town begging for something extra for them to eat with the dry bread they were usually given.
I did this for three months, enduring opposition and snubs, which went on increasing day after day to such an extent that ultimately through the disapproval of a certain gentleman and the matron of the workhouse I was obliged to give up providing food for the dining-room of the poor.
In giving this up, I acted in obedience to my director (the one replacing you) although the re-organization of the dining-room had been a great help to the administrators of the establishment. This particular gentleman, embittered against me without any legitimate reason as far as I know, used to snub me and insult me in the house and discredit my behavior in the eyes of the administration and even of the townsfolk. His actions drew upon him the resentment of the poor, who all loved me with the exception of a few perverted ones who backed him against me.
During this painful period, I kept silent and lived in retirement putting my cause into the hands of God and relying on his help, in spite of opposite advice given to me. To this end I went for a week's retreat to the Jesuits, confident that our Lord and his holy Mother would take my cause in hand. I was not wrong in my expectation: when I came back I found this gentleman ill and he died a few days later. The matron, a young and sturdy person, also died a short time afterwards.
More than eighty of the poor inmates fell ill and some of them died, and the whole town began to say that there was a plague in the poorhouse and that the place was cursed. Through all this period of sickness, and in spite of my involvement with the dying, I was the only one not to be affected by the disease.
From a letter by Saint Louis de Montfort to Fr. Leschassier, Superior of the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris.
General Hospital, Poitiers, 4th of July, 1702.