Letters of Marcellin – 020

Marcellin Champagnat


Brother Antoine had requested permission to lend books, most likely textbooks, to some student from a particularly poor family, or to some adult who had not had the opportunity to go to school when he was young. That Fr. Champagnat felt he did not have the authority to give such a permission can be understood from the fact that the textbooks belonged to the school.

As for the reference to Bro. Jean-Baptiste, we find in the annals of Millery (AFM, 214.50, p. 2) this comment by Bro. Avit: It seems that Bro. Antoine was replaced, at least for a few months, by Bro. Jean-Baptiste, the illustrious assistant, the author of the life of Fr. Champagnat...he stayed there only a short time and Bro. Antoine soon returned. From this we may conclude that when school reopened in 1830, Bro. Jean-Baptiste was named director, and that early in 1831, the Founder needed him else-where, transferred him and sent back Bro. Antoine. We can see from this that in spite of his spirit of close collaboration with the clergy, Fr. Champagnat none the less maintained the right to transfer brothers according to the needs of the moment.

Dear Brother Antoine and very dear Brother Gonzague,

I can not permit you to lend books; that is against the spirit of your rule; it is up to the parish priest to do so, if he sees fit.

I am annoyed that I made Bro. Jean-Baptiste leave without first informing the parish priest , but I could not do it any other way. I had excellent reasons for acting thus. I have given him too many obvious proofs of my interest in his school for him to doubt my good will. We are sending your things to you…until further orders.

My dear friends, do your utmost to run your school well. Never forget how much good you can do; remember how interested the Savior of the world was in teaching children, how he ordered his disciples to let the children come near his divine person. Tell your children that they should be very happy to be as dear to Jesus Christ as they are. Yes, this God of goodness loves them to the point of delighting to be with them; they have only to open their hearts and Jesus and Mary will fill them.

Get her on your side; tell her that after you have done all you can, its just too bad for her if her affairs dont go well. Recommend your children to her earnestly; make a little novena in her honor with your children: the little prayer, Remember….

Without a doubt, the best news you could have given me was to tell me that you are pleased with Bro. Gonzague , and that his conduct is edifying. Im eager to come to see you so I can embrace both of you. Meanwhile, I leave you in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I never forget you in my prayers, and I recommend myself to yours.

I have the honor to be your very devoted father in Jesus and Mary,

Champagnat, superior of the brothers

Notre Dame de lHermitage, 4th February 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: D?après l?expédition autographe - AFM 111.6


Letters of Marcellin - 019...


Letters of Marcellin - 029...