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1.  TO FATHERS BROËT AND SALMERÓN

On Dealing with Others

 Rome, early September 1541

summary | text of letter  | footnotes


          In November 1538, Ignatius placed himself and his companions at the disposal of Pope Paul III and expressed his and their willingness to be sent wherever the pope needed them. Within a short time the pontiff called on the Jesuits to go to Siena, Parma, and India. Now, at the suggestion of the English cardinal, Reginald Pole, Paul III chose to send Paschase Broët1 and Alfonso Salmerón2 as legates to Ireland to help stem the spread of King Henry VIII's heretical ideas. Their task was to visit bishops, reform monasteries, and rekindle the faith among the Irish people. They left Rome on September 10, 1541. Ignatius prepared two instructions for these Jesuits; the one translated below gives the norms they are to follow in their apostolate. They are to adapt themselves to the temperaments of the individuals with whom they deal and, to win them over, they are instructed to enter the other's door but to come out their own. The legates arrived in Ulster, Ireland, on February 23, 1542, and after thirty-four grim days encountering innumerable and insurmountable difficulties, they left Ireland without accomplishing the purpose of their visit. This instruction was prepared in early September 1541, and was written in Spanish [Ep. 1:179-181].

How to Deal and Converse with others in the Lord

 

          In all your dealings be slow to speak and say little, especially with your equals and those lower in dignity and authority than yourselves. Be ready to listen for long periods and until each one has had his say. Answer the questions put to you, come to an end, and take your leave. If a rejoinder is required, let your reply be as brief as possible, and take leave promptly and politely.

          In dealing with men of position or influence—if you hope to win their affection for the greater glory of God our Lord—first consider their temperaments and adapt yourselves to them. If they are of a lively temper, quick and cheerful in speech, follow their lead while speaking to them of good and holy things, and do not be serious, glum, and reserved. If they are shy and retiring, slow to speak, serious, and weighty in their words, use the same manner with them, because such ways will be pleasing to them. I became all things to all men [1 Cor. 9:22].

          You must keep in mind that if someone with a lively disposition does not deal with another who is likewise lively, there is very great danger of their failing to come to any agreement, since they happen not to be of the same mind. And therefore, if one knows that he himself is of such a lively disposition, he ought to approach the other, possessing similar traits, well prepared by a close study of himself and determined to be patient and not to get out of sorts with him, especially if he knows him to be in poor health. If he is dealing with one of slower temper, then there is not so much danger of a disagreement arising from words too hastily spoken.

          Whenever we wish to win someone over and engage him in the greater service of God our Lord, we should use the same strategy for good that the enemy employs to draw a good soul to evil. The enemy enters through the other's door and comes out his own. He enters with the other, not by opposing his ways but by praising them. He acts familiarly with the soul, suggesting good and holy thoughts that bring peace to the good soul. Then, little by little, he tries to come out his own door, always portraying some error or illusion under the appearance of something good, but which will always be evil. So, we may lead others to good by praying or agreeing with them on a certain good point, leaving aside whatever else may be wrong. Thus after gaining his confidence, we shall meet with better success. In this sense we enter his door with him, but we come out our own.

          We should be kind and compassionate with those who are sad or tempted, speak at length with them, and show great joy and cheerfulness, both interior and exterior, to draw them to the opposite of what they feel, for their greater edification and consolation.

          In everything you say, especially when you are trying to restore peace and are giving spiritual exhortations, be on your guard and remember that everything you say may or will become public.

          In business matters be generous with your time; that is, if you can, do today what you promise to do tomorrow.

          On the supposition that you possess such authority, it would be better if Master Francis3 had charge of the finances. You will be better able to accept or decline requests coming from others if none of the three of you touch any money, but rather send it by another to the person to whom it is due. In fact, it would be better for the person seeking the dispensation to give the fee directly to the person to whom it is owed, and get a receipt indicating that the dispensation was granted. Or, if any other way be more convenient, use it, but see to it that each of the three of you can say that he has not touched any money connected with the mission.

Footnotes

1 Broët was born in Bertrancourt (Picardy), France, in 1500. He studied at Amiens and was ordained on March 12, 1524. He spent the next eight or so years in a parish, but then went to Paris in late 1532 or early 1533. There he met Pierre Favre, made the Spiritual Exercises and pronounced his vows at Montmartre on August 15, 1536. He labored in Siena (1537-1540), and after his mission to Ireland worked in Italy (1542-1551). He was provincial of France (1552-1556) and died in Paris on September 14, 1562, while serving the plague stricken.
2 Salmerón was born on September 6/8, 1515, in Toledo, Spain. He went to Alcalá (ca. 1528) to study and there met Diego Laínez. Together they went (1532) to Paris to find Ignatius. Salmerón was one of the original seven to pronounce vows at Montmartre on August 15, 1534. He was papal theologian at the Council of Trent (1546, 1551, 1562) and was provincial of Naples (1558-1576). He died in Naples on February 13, 1585.
3 Francisco Zapata was a Spaniard working at the papal curia in Rome and had accompanied Broët and Salmerón on their mission to Ireland. He later (1546) entered the Society, but sometime in 1547or 1548 was dismissed. He subsequently entered the Franciscans.