Letters of Marcellin – 011

Marcellin Champagnat


This new request does not seem to have been motivated by the growth of the Institute. Since the request of May 1827 to obtain the help of Fr. SĂ©on, only two new schools had been opened and the registers show only ten new candidates in 1827 and no more than two in 1828. In addition, Fr. Bourdin had come to replace Fr. SĂ©on during the vacation of 1828 (cf. Chronologie, p. 48). But we can find one reason for this request in the fact that the administrative structure of the Institute was then being set up. In fact, it was during the following year, 1829, that a secretariat was organized and registers begun (cf. AA, pp. 90-91). Another reason may be Fr. Champagnats intention to gather around him a nucleus of the Society of Mary, which explains the opening lines of this letter.

18th Dec. 1828, Letter to Fr. Cattet, V.G.

The interest you have shown so far in Marys work gives us courage to make further requests for its development. While organizations which seek to do evil are so easily set up, will those which seek only the glory of God always face insurmountable obstacles?

For the fifteen years that I have been committed to the Society of Mary, whose growth is in your hands, I have never doubted that God wants this work to exist in this age of incredulity. Please, either tell me that this is not Gods work, or else do more and more to help it succeed. The society of brothers can not be explicitly considered as Marys work, but only as a branch, posterior to the society itself.

We still need someone for the proper administration of the branch of brothers, which is beginning to take hold. Permit me to remind you here, parenthetically, of the promise you made me, to give us all the men who would be well-suited for our work, and who would consequently ask only for their clothing and food. There are several who have the necessary qualities: Fathers R.N.
Meanwhile, the latter would be suitable as house treasurer.

Fr. SĂ©on, as you know, takes care of the spiritual needs of the house, supervises our ribbon factory, and helps out from time to time in the nearby parishes, which, as you know, we are very eager to take care of. Fr. Bourdin supervises the novices classes, penmanship, mathematics, singing, catechetics, supplying books for the communities, and the small chapel.

As for me, I am in charge of visiting the establishments, the examinations of the children in our schools, the correspondence, arrangements to be made with the towns, the transfer of the brothers, the reception of the novices who come to us, in a word, the general and particular upkeep of all the establishments. The time I can give to the temporal upkeep of the house is very insufficient; otherwise I can do nothing for the establishments, whose expenses are hardly checked up on.

Now that I know you are aware of my position, I leave it to your wisdom to help us as God and his Holy Mother may inspire you. If you give us someone else, we will bless the Lord for that; if you do not think it advisable, we will say, May Gods will be done. I will always do all I can to do the will of my superiors, whom I love and esteem greatly, and whom I will never forget.

I have the honor….

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, pp. 174-175; édité dans Vie, pp. 234-235; OM, 1, pp. 451-453


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