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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.
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
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.
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.
||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
||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.
||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.