Letters of Marcellin – 071

Marcellin Champagnat

1836-10

Fr. Jean-Claude Michon, parish priest of Saint-André-le-Bas in Vienne, had asked for our brothers in 1833; they were sent that same year and the school quickly prospered. Two years later, in 1835, contrary to Bro. Avit (Annales de Vienne, AFM, 214.107), who has him dying that year, Fr. Michon was named a titular canon and was replaced by Fr. Gilloz. In addition, that same year, Fr. Guttin, pastor and archpriest of Saint-Maurice in Vienne, seeing how well our brothers had succeeded in Saint-André, asked Fr. Champagnat for two of them (ibid., p. 3). Annoyed at being refused because the building was not large enough, he turned to the Brothers of the Christian Schools...who settled in and beat their drums to attract students, which effectively emptied our school. Fr. Champagnat therefore decided to withdraw the brothers. Fr. Gilloz, who liked them, tried everything he could to keep them, but in vain. The school in St-André was closed in October 1837 (ibid., p. 3) Therefore, this letter refers to Fr. Gilloz efforts to keep the Marist Brothers. He no doubt had asked for better financial arrangements, like those which, according to Bro. Avit, satisfied the Brothers of the Christian Schools, in order to keep up the competition. Fr.
Champagnat knew he was being blackmailed and did not budge.

Father,

If our brothers are assured of their housing, and 1200 francs for three brothers, and if their furnishings are maintained, and if possible, they be given a small garden — under those conditions, Father, we are ready to do all we can to maintain this establishment, and to satisfy you in every way. The advantages it offers our house are too well known and too real for us to waver in that regard.

But give the Brothers of the Christian Schools a beautiful house, a steady income, and tell ours to go rent a house, maintain their own furnishings, and assume the problems and risks of a paying school, and see how equal the struggle is.

Therefore, Father, please examine your resources and tell me your decision. I will act according to the reply with which you will honor me.

Please accept the assurance of the great esteem with which I have the honor to be your devoted,

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, RCLA, 1, p. 10, nº XI

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