Uruguay: Maristas San Luis, Pando
Santos: Victor, Pastor e Irene
This letter was no doubt a circular intended for all the communities. The original, in fact, shows traces of another letter which was placed on top of it before the ink had dried. From these traces we can see that the other letter, at least in its opening lines, was identical with this one. We can therefore conclude that in the beginning Fr. Champagnat himself wrote out copies of his circular letters to the eighteen communities which then made up the Institute, except perhaps for those he was going to visit within the next few days, to whom he would deliver the message in person.
As for the vacations, after the community moved down to the Hermitage, they had been and still were two months long, as before (Avit, AA, p. 98). We also know that the schools reopened around All Saints, so the vacation normally began in early September. Given the disturbances taking place in the country at that time, why was it thought better to delay the start of the vacation by two weeks? We have no way of knowing for sure. To get some idea of the climate of French society at this time, see the Introduction, above, and also Life, pp. 174-176; Avit, AA, pp. 96-98; O.M., I, pp. 481-482.
Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph
My dear friends,
Im afraid I didnt inform you that the vacation would begin only on 15th September. All the parish priests want it this way, and they say that the glory of God is involved here.
Dont be frightened; Mary is our defender. The hairs of our head are all counted, and not one of them can fall without Gods permission. Let us be totally convinced that we have no greater enemy than ourselves. Only we can hurt ourselves; no one else can. God has said to the wicked, You can go just so far and no farther.
I leave you in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We do not forget you in our prayers. Pray for us, too.
I have the honor to be your very devoted father in Jesus and Mary,
Champagnat, sup. of the M.B.
Marys Hermitage, 5th August 1830