Letters of Marcellin – 092

Marcellin Champagnat


Besieged by mayors and parish priests who wanted brothers, Fr. Champagnat sometimes felt obliged to entrust certain positions to Brothers who were not sufficiently prepared. This was the case in Semur, where he had to entrust the school to Brother De la Croix, who had been wearing the religious habit only nine months. It is true that he was twenty-five years old, but his draft status was not definitively settled, nor was his religious formation sufficiently solid. Letter 112 contains a few innuendos on that subject. In fact he soon left the Congregation, probably in 1839 (cf. biographical sketch).

Mister Mayor,

Our Brother De la Croix, director of our school in Semur, wrote to ask that we send him a certificate of good morals to complete the formalities required for his authorization as a town teacher.
Before sending him that document, we feel we should share with you our reflections and our concerns about him.

In sending this brother to Semur, our intention was not primarily to have him authorized there. We had reached a firm agreement about that with Fr. Berard, your curate. We have reason to suspect that your trouble and the steps you are taking will prove to be useless and even harmful, since Brother De la Croix, who has only a limited deferment, runs the risk of being called up for service. Our fear is all the more well-founded in that we have learned that the brigadier had inquired of his parents where he might be found. We know for sure that nothing happened beyond that. It seems to us, however, that it would be well to wait a while longer before having him authorized.

But whatever happens, be assured, Mr. Mayor, that we will not overlook any means of helping your school to prosper and therefore of sending you subjects. This year we have been too hard pressed; we did not intend to open your establishment, but your curate would not desist. Together with several prominent people from your city, he made me flatly promise him brothers during my visit while you were away. This coming year, I think we will be less bothered.

Accept the assurance of the esteem with which I have the honor to be, etc….

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, pp. 28-29, nº 12


Letters of Marcellin - 091...


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