Letters of Marcellin – 130

Marcellin Champagnat

1837-08-09

Since we do not have Mr. Gonons letter to which this is the reply, it is not easy to say exactly what is under discussion. According to Fr. André Percier, parish priest of Saint-Bonnet-les-Bruyères, administrator of Cenves and something of a local historian, around 1830 Jacques Gonon, who lived in the hamlet called Le Vieux-Château, had given part of his inheritance towards the construction of a church and its outbuildings in the hamlet. This church is still standing, but it was never a parish church, since there was another one in the town of Cenves. It is very probable that at the same time, Mr. Gonon had asked a religious congregation to use this place of worship as a pastoral center for animating the spiritual life of the area, just as the present agent of the parish council did recently, by getting the recently-founded Community of St. John to come there as a religious presence witnessing to a living faith. If this were actually the case, and even if there were a more or less remote possibility of opening a school, we can understand Father Champagnats reaction, which he states in this letter.

Sir,

Your plan for procuring the glory of God by establishing a small community in the château which your elder brother inherited, is certainly praiseworthy. God will certainly not let it go unrewarded.

The purpose of this establishment is somewhat outside the scope of our society, which is the Christian education of youth. Besides, we could not provide you with brothers that quickly, because we have too many other requests to fill before yours.

The confidence you show in us fills us with sentiments of great gratitude and the sincere desire to respond to your goodwill towards our society, in showing ourselves always to be, Sir, your devoted 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 la minute AFM; RCLA 1; p. 52 nº 50

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