Letters of Marcellin – 040

Marcellin Champagnat

1834-04-14

In order to make even more sure of obtaining legal authorization for the congregation, Fr. Champagnat did not hesitate to contact persons who were both sympathetic to his work, devoted in rendering service, and likely to have some influence with the government. Mr. Jacques Ardaillon, an industrialist, mayor of St-Chamond, and deputy for the Loire, met all those conditions.

In a note which Father Champagnat rewrote three times before finding the right wording, he asks him to use his influence with the Prefect. This note dates from before 8th February 1834, perhaps from January, or even from December 1833. Although it is not a letter properly so-called, we reproduce it here, since it deals with the same subject-matter as the next one.

Between January and May 1834, Mr. Ardaillon had to go to Paris for a session of the Assembly. Fr. Champagnat is writing to him there, to tell him that the dossier on the request for legal authorization ought to be at the Ministry of Public Instruction, and letting him know that he may, if he thinks it opportune, recommend the dossier in special way to the Minister. He also takes the opportunity to tell him how grateful he is, and gives him some news from his city of St-Chamond, which has remained calm while the major cities of France, like Lyons, have experienced riots (cf. introduction to this chapter, and also O.M., I, p. 622, and doc. 310, p. 701).


Request to the Prefect via Mr. Ardaillon.

1º I ask Mr. Ardaillon to please ask the prefect to take a personal interest in our authorization.
2º I ask Mr. Ardaillon to please advise me, together with the Prefect, as to how to obtain our legal existence.
I would ask Mr. Ardaillon, if he thought it necessary, to involve the Prefect in backing our authorization. We sincerely want to work for the good of our fellow-citizens under the auspices of the King of the French.

Mr. Ardaillon, Deputy,
My documents were sent from Montbrison to the Ministry of Public Instruction on 8th February. At Montbrison, as I had the honor to tell you, I saw the Prefects report and the date it was sent.

How can we thank you, Sir, for all the trouble you are taking to be of service to us. I can easily see the truth of what they say in the area: that you are always ready to further good wherever you find it and wherever anyone asks for your help. I rejoice in advance that I had recourse to you. May God and Holy Mary assist your efforts.

St-Chamond is absolutely calm and the whole district of Saint-
Etienne, as far as I can tell, will not cause any trouble. I believe everything will soon be over, that the workers in Lyons will return to their jobs. They would have been better off if they had never left them. How guilty are the ones who incited them to this revolt; they will never repay the harm they have done to society. I was told that the chief of police of St- Chamond was in St-Etienne. I would gladly give you some news from the region, but I think you are more up to date on everything than I am.

Please accept…

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 la minute, AFM, 132.1, p. 29 et une note, AFM, 132.1, p. 34

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