Letters of Marcellin – 095

Marcellin Champagnat

1837-02-23

Here we are dealing with two slightly different texts, but they still give the same answer. The first, A, was written in reply to Fr. Mazeliers first letter. But before Fr. Champagnat could send it, he received a second letter from him, telling him he could in fact send to St-Paul as many brothers as he wanted, and hence did not need to wait for another reply. Consequently, Fr. Champagnat did not send the first letter, even though it was already entered in the register, but instead wrote another, in a much more intimate tone, which he actually sent.

Since these are not rough drafts, but finished copies, we reproduce them one after the other in chronological order, despite the repetitions.

A

Father Superior,

We received your letter and immediately ordered our Brother Cyprien to go to you with the necessary money to pay the bill you sent us. We thank you for your kindness and good will toward our society. May the Lord repay you a hundredfold for all you have done for us, and may our Good Mother, the Virgin Mary, see how many favors you have done us.

This year we again have several subjects whose status with regard to military service leaves us uneasy. Our business in Paris is still not completed. We very much hope it will have a happy outcome and that we will finally receive an ordinance. His Lordship of Belley instructed Fr. De la Croix and Fr. Depéry not to forget us in Paris. Several notable persons have promised us their protection and have gone to a lot of trouble on our behalf. But so long as things remain as they are, we will look to your charitable house to save us from difficulty in a situation which causes us anxiety again every year. Please be good enough, Fr. Superior, to continue to render us this important service. We will be infinitely indebted to you for it.

If among our brothers who will be so fortunate as to go to you, there are any who might be useful to you in the exercise of their profession, we will be very pleased if they do so. If they wish to remain in your society to work with your good brothers for the glory of God, we wholeheartedly give them our consent.

Father Superior, please honor us with an answer flowing from your charity and accept the profound respect and total dedication with which I have the honor to be, Father Superior, etc….

B

J.M.J.

Notre Dame de lHermitage, 23rd February 1837

Father Superior,

I had intended to visit you to repay you when I received your two letters. I paid Mr. Brun. As for the four hundred and forty-five, I did not pay them; I lost Mr. Burdets address. But since you need that amount at St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, Brother Cyprien, who is leaving again to continue his studies for his certificate of competence in your house, will bring it to you. He has recovered his health very well, and he has settled his family affairs, so he will not have to leave before he obtains the document he wants. Brother Justin is always tired, Brother Apollinaire is still at your disposition; we will send both of them to you sometime this summer. We have a half-dozen brothers or novices again this year who are eligible for conscription. We are thinking again of having recourse to you. Mary our Good Mother will not let the service you do for her children go unrewarded.

Our business in Paris has just been given a good push by order of His Lordship of Belley; he just informed me about it. This worthy bishop, who thinks very highly of you, has taken our interests to heart. We are once again going to strongly recommend our request in Paris to the Blessed Virgin. Would you and yours also kindly join your good prayers to ours?

If among those who are fortunate enough to go to you, there are any who might be of some use to you by exercising some profession, we would not be at all upset. We are going to send you a shoemaker; he is a very fine lad, who could be very useful to you.

You embarrass us greatly, Father Superior, when you say you would have preferred not to ask us for anything. The service you do for us is already too great for us to dare to accept anything from you. It is for us to think of ways to show you our gratitude in more than just words.

Fr. Colin, our Superior General, is very eager to meet you. His Lordship of Belley has told him about you. The next time I see him, I intend to suggest to him that he come with me to visit you.

Our missionary priests and our brothers who left for Polynesia were lucky enough to escape a terrible storm which sank all the merchant ships which left twelve hours after them. What an act of Providence!

I have the honor to be, with the deepest gratitude, Father Superior, your most respectful servant,

Champagnat

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. 30, nº 14; et autographe, AFM 112.4

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