Letters of Marcellin – 004

Marcellin Champagnat

1827-05

to explain the situation to him also, in the hopes of gaining his support for the assigning of an additional priest to the Hermitage.
Written by Fr. Champagnat, AFM 132.2, pp. 166-167; published in OM, 1, pp. 434-435.

It is possible, although we cannot be sure, that this letter was intended for Fr. Cattet, who was in charge of everything concerning religious congregations in the archdiocese (cf. OM 1, p. 383, doc. 146). But Fr. Champagnat could just as easily have written it to Fr. Cholleton, or for that matter to Fr. Barou, who was in charge of appointments and who could best have answered this request for an assistant. So we cannot say for sure whom Father Champagnat had in mind when he drafted this letter.

As in the preceding text, the request for another priest to help him is not explicitly stated, but it is clear that these texts were written with that in mind, so that the recipients would back up his express request, which he must have presented to the Council, either in writing or in person (cf. Life, pp. 194-195).

Father Vicar General,

The unfortunate matter of Fr. Courveille and the departure of Fr. Terraillon have put me in a very bad light with the public, who always talk without knowing the whole story. All these setbacks bother me, naturally, but they do not surprise me, because I thought and even said that we had not seen the last of our trials. I am even almost certain that divine Providence is still holding some more in reserve for me. But I will dare to say that as long as God does not abandon me – may his holy name be blessed – I am not afraid of anything.

I am alone, but in spite of that, I have not lost courage, knowing how powerful God is and how hidden are his ways, even from the most clairvoyant of humans. He often reaches his goal when we think he is very far from it.

I still firmly believe that God wants this work, in this age when unbelief is making such frightful progress; but perhaps he wants other men to start it. May his holy name be blessed. More than ever, I want to fulfill his holy will, as soon as I know what it is.

I simply want to explain my situation to you, and then you will do whatever you think is advantageous for the glory of God. After I have updated you on the facts and on how things are going, I will rest in the Lord and in his most holy Mother, and I will bless their holy names.

I expect that by the next vacation, there will be more than eighty of us, in view of the large number we are already and the large number of postulants. I would need to visit our establishments at least every two months, to see if everything is on a solid footing; if any of our brothers has become involved in a dangerous relationship so I can do something about it at the outset; if cleanliness and the Rule are being observed; if the children are making progress, especially in the area of piety; to make sure, in a word, that the brothers are not losing their religious spirit.

So as not to bore you, I will not mention the accounts that have to be kept, the letters to be answered, the debts to be paid or collected, and finally the spiritual and temporal care of the house. That alone, it seems to me, should count for something.

Edition: Translation from: Lettres de Marcellin J. B. Champagnat (1789-1840) Fondateur de l?Institut des Frères Maristes, présentés par Frère Paul Sester,1985.

fonte: Daprès lautographe AFM 132.2, p. 166; édité dans OM 1, 434

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