The epidemic or pandemic is not choosy: it affects everyone. We cannot choose if we want to pass it or no. But we do choose the way we pass it: either closed and distant from everyone, or caring and loving inspite of difficulties.
Ibiza, September 14, 1854
My most appreciated friend: I received your last letter, dated, God knows when. I am with much anxiety, restlessness and sorrows upon knowing the ruinous damage and death that cholera have caused there. It makes no distinctions. It hits everybody because we all have a share, some more, some less in the mystery of iniquity that brings down punishment [2 Thes 2,7].
The affairs of the School and its issue will be resolved now in some other way. No one by now could pin on the course the things will take, but judging by the appearances, we are in great troubles. I have no intention to leave from this Island for the time being. From here I will watch the movement of the wheel that drags and enwraps, snarl and confound all that is most holy and sacred.
I think it will be important to keep all the articles of the School from St. Augustine’s. If you have not done it yet, do so, because when we want to, we could not anymore, for it depends on who is in command; they will either take them to the church or turn them over to the government. I fear that if they will come to know that relics and remains of the School exist, they will take all. Deliberate among yourselves and see if it is prudent to take them from St. Augustine’s.
Scoff this with great prudence: I could not put into effect anything of the land of Horta. I have to leave it and return it to its owners; because it is impossible to pay the lease and thanks God I did not carry out what I intended to do, otherwise, everything could have been lost.
It will be precise to make an arrangement with the owners from whom I took it. I would keep two land measures, that is to say, the land which is occupied by the house under construction, and if you can find someone who could take part to pay the lease. Tell García if he is disposed to take a span of land measures (he told me one day) and between three or four of us together we could plan a building, that is to say, a shelter or a place of recreation. In this case, you can also take a land measure and construct there a small house, develop the place and with time you will have something of value. Let us give up now any project for community use. I speak of individual accommodation. I, on my part will arrange for me the part occupied by the house under construction, and I do not think it will be a great loss. Think it over and inform García, tell me what he thinks of it and if not, I will relinquish it to its owner.
Greetings to Mrs. Marieta, the angel comes and goes, goes up and goes down and in this time of cholera with the delays of the mails and the quarantines, he has been an excellent messenger, but invisible as he is always, we miss a messenger who could speak aloud.
Dispose of this your affectionate and s.s.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
The year 1854 was a sad one for Spain on account of the havoc wrought by the epidemic of cholera. Father of Francisco Palau, Jose Palau Miranau, died on January of that year, and in August of the following year his mother, Antonia Quer Esteve, died by the same epidemic. For sure, it was difficult time for the whole Palau family. Epidemic hit everyone, in different manners, but noone has passed it without any loss. For Francisco Palau, more things were adding on the list of loses: the case of the School of Virtues had no solution, the terrain he bought in Barcelona was a bad investing and he couldn’t maintain it all. He share all these happenings with his friend.
The epidemic of cholera in Spain in XIX century wasn’t the last one to hit this country. There would be more epidemics in this century, another of them cutting the life of Fr. Palau in 1872. And this because he decided not to stand away from the problems of his society, of the people who were in need, but together with the sisters he was helping in attending the sick people. Also we have this opportunity. There is noone who will be passing this pandemic of Covid19 without any loses. Some have family members or friends who died due this sickness. Some have lost their jobs, life’s opportunities. But for all of us, the pandemic can be a chance to show our love and concern for others. It’s true, we need to be prudent and cautious and serious with keeping the health standards. But even though we can’t hug, meet, embrace, be close, still we can care for each other with simple gestures of interest that also have power to change someone’s life. And the only thing we will be risking, is our own commodity.