The Oratory, May 17.1872
My dear Madam
I read your letter with extreme sympathy for you, and great gratitude for the confidence you place in me; and I have done my very best to fulfil your wishes.
But, as you know so well, the first springs of thought are from God. It is He, and not man, who gives us those initial beliefs, views, and methods of inquiry, which are ruling principles in our judgements and opinions. It is not by learned or by strong arguments, or by controversial skill, that your dear son will be back to you – but by his Mother’s prayers.
St Monica had a long and time in seeking her son’s salvation, but she persevered, and at His own good moment sent the st Ambrose to fulfil her prayer.
Your son is far more advantagiously placed that her son. He is a man of irreproachable life. He wishes to do God’s will: He has a… in the great mysteries and the old dogmas of Christianity, which St Augustin had not. Recollect what a Bishop said to her: The child of so many tears can not be lost”. God He will hear you also: When with the woman in the Gospel (Luke XVIII) you cry out “against your adversary”.
We do not forget to offer our prayers in union with you.
Most sincerely yours in Jesu Xt
(Brentano Nachlass, Copyright by Freies Deutsches Hochstift. Frankfurter Goethe Museum, Handschrift nr. 58808-09)