Letters of Marcellin – 047

Marcellin Champagnat


The brothers in Sorbiers were teaching in the house which had belonged to Brothers Arsène and Cassien, who had sold it to Fr. Champagnat in 1832 (cf. Annales de Sorbiers, AFM, 213.75, p. 4). The town in turn rented the house, which served as the town school. The lease was not renewed for 1835, because of a decision of the town council dated 7th May 1834. In the minutes of that meeting we read: 4 The Council having discussed ways of meeting these two expenses, which come to two hundred francs in all, decided that 200 francs would be taken for this purpose from the ordinary revenues of the town; that a tax of two hundred and four francs would be imposed on the town for new construction. So, as of May the decision had been taken to build a new schoolhouse, but by October nothing had yet been done. We can also imagine that the mayor must have made all kinds of promises, since the brothers continued to teach in Sorbiers until 1837, as will be seen from LL. 73 and 153.

The rough copy of this letter is undated. There can be hardly any doubt that it was written during 1834, for it immediately follows the preceding one to Fr. Frain (L. 43). As for the month, we think, judging from the text itself, that it was written after the end of the school year, while the brothers were together at the Hermitage and at the moment when the Founder was deciding on each ones assignment for the next school year; hence, in early October.

To the Mayor of Sorbiers.

Dear Mister Mayor,

Having learned that you did not renew the lease on the house where your brothers taught last year , and knowing also that you have not begun to build another one, I can foresee that All Saints will come and nothing will have been done. I would be very pleased to know if you have some other resort somewhere else; if not, the brothers cannot under any circumstances operate the town school in their own quarters, because they are too small and unhealthy.

In the event that you have no other resort, I will inform a town which has asked for subjects on the advice of the prefect and the sub-prefect, that I will be able to give them brothers this year.

Please, Mr. Mayor, do me the honor of giving me a prompt reply.

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 un brouillon, AFM, 132.1, p. 37


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