In the beginning of September Henry Van Rensselaer, S.J. reported for his studies in philosophy at Woodstock, Md.. where he was to spend three fruitful and happy years. On the approach of the Feast of All Saints, he returned to Frederick to take his first vows as a Jesuit Scholastic. The interruption was a brief one, for it was from Woodstock College that he wrote the following letter:
" Woodstock, " November 2, 1880. "
I have had the great happiness of taking the vows. I went down to Frederick on Saturday afternoon, spent Sunday in recollection and silence, and then on Monday in the domestic chapel, took my vows before the Community. Just think, I had about thirty Masses said for me that day, besides many receiving Holy Communion for my intention. There is such a beautiful feeling of charity in the Society. I like this quotation very much and it has made a great impression on me:
' Petit sacrifice, petit bonheur; grand sacrifice, grand bonheur; sacrifice complet, bonheur complet.''Most of the subjoined letters were addressed to his sister, who shortly after her conversion had been enrolled among the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1880, he writes:
" I do not know that I have ever spent a happier feast, except perhaps All Saints, and this was a breathing of the same air. We had our half-yearly renovation of vows. What the Society wishes is homo in vita spirituali perfectus,and for this, great talents are not necessary, thank God, else I might despair of attaining it, for I shall never shine as a learned man, nor do I regret it much. It has many dangers which I shall be spared. Let us desire better gifts, for desire paves the way."
Link (here) Life and letters of Henry Van Rensselaer, S.J.