Letters of Marcellin – 090

Marcellin Champagnat

1837-02

This letter is a reply to one which Bishop Devie sent to Fr.
Champagnat on 7th February 1837, which said in part:

Dear Father,

You will find enclosed a bank draft for 400 francs for the novitiate of the fourth brother whom you sent [to St-Didier]. Fr. De la Croix and Fr. Depery [vicars general of Belley] went to a lot of trouble to look for your documents at the Ministry of the Interior, so they could push the authorization of your congregation. They still have not been able to find any trace of them. But one department head promised to do all he could to locate them. At the same time, he told them that since it was a question of a new religious order, a law passed by both Chambers would be necessary.

Did anyone in Paris tell you anything like that? I dont recall that there was ever question of anything more than an ordinance.

I would also like to know if among your documents there is any record of a donation made to your congregation at the Hermitage, because I would like to have the donation of the house of St-Didier with about 40 thousand francs of capital approved at the same time. Keep me up to date on what happens with regard to your house, and I will tell you everything I learn from our travelers when they return, which should be soon....

Fr. Champagnat certainly lost no time answering this letter, which is why we can date it from mid-February (cf. AA, p. 214).

My Lord,

We have received your esteemed letter with the enclosed bank draft.

We want to thank you for the letter with which you were good enough to honor us. Your kindness and your generous liberality towards the Society of Mary, of which you give us such evident proof, will never fade from our memory. We are very touched by all the trouble which Fr. De la Croix and Fr. Depery have taken on our behalf in Paris. We believe our documents are still in the hands of Mr. Delebecque, a department head in the Ministry of Public Instruction. We were never told that a new law would be needed for our authorization. At the time of the fall of Charles X, everything was ready and the procedures completed; all that remained was for him to sign the ordinance, but events blocked that.

Among our documents there is no statement of a donation made to our house; no one even spoke to us about it. We have not heard anything very positive about this whole affair since my return from Paris. We have been waiting a long time to learn the outcome. We read with great interest what you were good enough to write us.

My Lord, please accept the homage of our total devotedness and the firm resolution we have taken not to overlook anything in cooperating with your truly apostolic zeal for the glory of God and the good of religion. We will be happy if you will be so good as to continue to give us your advice and the help of your prayers.

Please accept, Your Grandeurs most humble and most obedient servants.

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 minute AFM, RCLA 1, p. 29, nº 13

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