Letters of Marcellin – 113

Marcellin Champagnat

1837-06

Article 15 of the Guizot Law of 28thune 1833 stipulated that:

In each department a savings bank and reserve fund will be established on behalf of the primary teachers in its towns.

The statutes of these savings banks will be determined by royal ordinance.

These banks will be funded by an annual withholding tax of one-twentieth of the fixed wages of each town teacher. The amount withheld will be placed in the account opened with the royal treasury for savings banks and reserve funds; interest will be calculated every six months. The total amount withheld will be returned to each teacher when he retires, and if he dies while still working, to his widow or his heirs....

For the reasons set forth in this letter, Fr. Champagnat asked to be allowed to keep the one-twentieth for the needs of the Congregation. Letter 145 will show us that he was at least partially successful.

My Lord,

The Superior of the association of the Little Brothers of Mary, established at N.D. de lHermitage, in the district of Saint-Chamond (Loire), has the honor to inform Your Excellency that since the aim of this association is to make it easier for rural towns to obtain the benefits of education for their children with little expense, he has reduced the salary of each teaching brother to the minimum; that since in most of his establishments the two payments which the law authorizes under the name of fixed salary and monthly stipend are combined into a single amount, the withholding of one-twentieth of teachers wages for the savings banks and reserve funds, as prescribed by the law, amounts to too great an annual diminution in his brothers salaries; and that he would therefore be obliged to increase the amount he asks for if he could not expect the annual reimbursement of the amount withheld, whose purpose is to provide teachers with a guaranteed resource in case of infirmity or old age, which cannot happen among the brothers, given the fact that in such circumstances they are sure of obtaining all the help they need from their congregation itself. On the other hand, the brothers very rarely leave their institute and they have no intention of making personal profit within it. This amount withheld cannot therefore be of any profit to the brothers themselves from whom it is taken, and on the contrary it becomes very prejudicial to their institute, which has no other resources but the income from its establishments and the generosity of charitable persons. The special good will with which the Prefect of the Loire and the local authorities wish to honor him, makes him hopeful of having some right to yours as well. He dares to flatter himself that Your Excellency will be willing to allow him to retain the total amount of the twentieth to be withheld monthly, in order to use it in the best interests of the association. His gratitude will be comparable only to the magnitude of the favor which he is soliciting from your goodness.

The undersigned is, with the deepest respect, My Lord, Your Excellencys most humble….

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, pp. 43-44, nº 37

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