Strength out of suffering – France Pastorelli

Religious inspiration in times of deep suffering

France Pastorelli tells her moving story: that of a mother, a musician, whose life turned to deep suffering because of heart problems. She turned her illness into a source of deep wisdom. Whether are ill or not, this book will give you insight into the human condition. France Pastorelli (1880-1958) She started out life a vibrant, intelligent and promising piano player. She married, got a kid – and started having heart problems. She lived long enough to see her daughter get ready for college. She struggled with her disease – because that is what life made her do. This book records the wisdom that struggle gave her.

About Hope – France Pastorelli Quote

When I felt the first light touches of my approaching illness, in spite of their recurrence, I had no real consciousness that they would remain with me always ; the first little scratch of a wound which could only go on deepening and extending, a disease which finally would place me in the ranks of the severely wounded.. Then I found that hope rooted in every fibre of my being kept springing up in spite of all appearances; how lively it was, how constantly renewed, how long it resisted destruction, this hope that one day my malady would subside, that power would come back, and that my body would recover strength enough to be the servant of my mind. With what energy born in turn of rebellion, hope and despair, did I fight against … this insidious and progressive decline of strength, this ever contracting circle. A bed in which for many years I have spent more days than I have outside of it, and which for four years I have not left. What remains of that former tenacious and ardent hope? Nothing.

Strength out of suffering, France Pastorelli – the book

This inspiring book was published in English in 1936. It’s a translation from the French ‘Servitude et grandeur de la maladie’. It is moving, life changing and worth rereading every time illness touches your life, or the life of those you love. Also a must read for those in the health profession: it will help remind you just how human your patients are. They are more than just their disease. About dealing with patients – and being one The book is written by someone who has been a patient for over 15 years, yet it isn’t one sided. It makes it very clear how difficult the situation of the ill person is. And how hard it is to care for an ill person.

  • Pastorelli shares the complexities of her relationships in depth.
  • How hard it is to only ask for help half the time.
  • How hard it is to deal with people who seem to think you should have asked for help even less.
  • How hard it must be to care for someone who keeps moaning about their life.
  • How hard it is to not moan about your life when you are in so much pain.
  • Etc.

The ultimate lesson for the caregiver should be this one: don’t forget the human behind the disease. It may be tempting to refer to a patient by their disease, but from the perspective of the patient this is debilitating. Each patient has their own life story, their own way of dealing with disease. While the doctor or nurse is concerned with their illness and possible solutions to their main problem, they have to live their life as best they can. This involves sorrow, anger at fate and asks the patient for near infinite patience. None of those things get solved by prescribing medicine or dressing a wound.

About finding spiritual comfort

Somehow, through all her suffering, France Pastorelli found the strength to live her life. To not get bitter. To not flee in mindless pursuits. To make the best of her talents – not being able to make music, she turned to writing. France Pastorelli quotes the Bible often. I’m not normally a fan of Christianity, but this book shows the best of that tradition in my opinion. It shows just how helpful the moral guidelines in the New Testament can be. Just how inspiring the life of Jesus can be to those who have to suffer throughout their lives. A question for God, France Pastorelli Quote:

My God, there are certain circumstances in which it is not easy to trace thy hand. I fail to understand why Thou hast chained me a few feet from my piano.

How I found this book…

I found this book lying around the first room I took after moving out of my parents house. I moved into an old building an uncle of mine had bought. It was a mess. It needed renovation badly – and my uncle was going to organize all that with my aunt. Picture an old, brick, Dutch city house – with garage. Dusty, empty – except for this one book… I was starting on my spiritual search at the time, and France Pastorelli’s story touched me deeply.