Letters of Marcellin – 026

Marcellin Champagnat


The brothers had opened the school in Marlhes in 1819 at the request of the parish priest, Fr. Jean-Antoine Alirot. Early in 1822, after a visit from Fr. Champagnat, the brothers left the school because the building was unhealthy (cf. Life, p. 87). Fr. Alirot died on 12th May 1822, and two days later, Fr. Claude Duplay, parish priest in Chaponost, was transferred to Marlhes. In 1831, he asked for the brothers return; Fr. Champagnat granted his request the following year. It was on this occasion, according to J. M. Chausse, the biographer of Jean-Louis Duplay, that he wrote this letter, of which we unfortunately have only the following extract.

It can truly be said that the Little Brothers of Mary exist today because of your brother, Father Jean-Louis Duplay. I would never have begun this work, still less continued it, if he had not formally approved it.

He did even more: when there was finally question of their definitive approval, I went to speak to him, as I always did about any important matters. Even though he was interested in my project, he did not at first think I should leave my position as curate in La Valla, to devote myself to it full time.

After he had had a long discussion about my work with Father Dervieux, the parish priest of Saint-Pierre in Saint-Chamond, he changed his mind. When I saw him again, he told me he would be sorry if my projects did not succeed.

He told me again that I must go on, that my work was Gods work, that I had nothing to fear. I was very pleased and affirmed by these words, and since then, I have struggled more confidently against the obstacles people have put in my path.

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: Extrait de: J.M. Chausse,


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