Letters of Marcellin – 019

Marcellin Champagnat


As he had the year before (cf. L. 14), Fr. Champagnat is here responding to the greetings Bro. Barthélemy must have sent him. Once again he encourages him by describing the grandeur of his mission. The problem, it seems, is not that he was not putting enough energy into it, but that he perhaps did not feel adequate to the task (cf. biographical sketch).


Dear Brother Barthélemy,

You should have no doubt that, because of the beautiful name of father which you give me, I consider you all as my dear children in Jesus and Mary and carry you all with affection in my heart. I am very touched by your wishes for me, and I will not forget them. In my prayers I will remember the one who made such beautiful wishes for me. I am very well aware of all the problems which all the illnesses of your co-workers can create for you. Take good care of yourself, so that you can carry out your difficult duties well. All the fathers and brothers are well. I will share your New Years wishes with them.

Be brave, dear friend; think how precious your occupation is in the eyes of God. Great saints and great men were happy to have a task which Jesus and Mary value so highly. Let these little children come to me, for heaven belongs to them.

You have in your hands the price of the blood of Jesus Christ. After God, your many children will owe their salvation to you. Their whole life will be the echo of what you will have taught them. Exert yourself, spare nothing to form their young hearts to virtue; make them realize that without virtue, without piety, without fear of God, they will never be happy; that there is no peace for the wicked. That only God can make them happy, that it was for him alone that they were created. How much good you can do, dear friend!

Your parents are well. Your brother who was in the army died in Paris of severe head pains. Pray for him; regrets cannot do anything for him; all he needs are prayers.

I have many other things to tell you; I hope I will be able to tell them to you in person very shortly. I leave both of you in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. They are such good places!

I have the honor to be your very devoted father in Jesus and….

superior of the brothers

Notre Dame de lHermitage, 3rd January 1831

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 lexpédition autographe - AFM 111.5; reproduite en CSG 1, 161


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