Letters of Marcellin – 150

Marcellin Champagnat

1837-11-01

Fr. Champagnat shows the bishop his unconditional submission, and informs him of his decision to withdraw the brothers from Peaugres and Boulieu, all the while assuring him of his availability whenever it may please him to honor him once again with his confidence. Humanly speaking, this letter is not lacking in cleverness, since it catches the bishop, so to speak, in his own trap. There is no doubt that therein lies the reason why the prohibition leveled by his vicar general was ineffective, since it did not lead to the closing of any of our schools.

My Lord,

I consider myself fortunate that Providence offers me this opportunity to express to Your Grandeur my respectful homage and to assure him of my total devotedness. It would doubtless have been more satisfying for me to do so for more pleasant reasons, but since it has pleased God to ordain otherwise, you will at least allow me the satisfaction of explaining to Your Grandeur the uprightness of our intentions by letting you know our feelings.

Fr. Cattet, vicar general of the diocese of Lyons, has just sent us a letter from Fr. Vernet, date 20th October 1837, in which Fr. Vernet asks him, in the name of Your Grandeur, to forbid the Brothers of the Hermitage to open establishments in the diocese of Viviers. We have no doubt, My Lord, that Fr. Vernet decided on such a step only for praiseworthy motives, and so we hasten to subscribe to them with the most respectful submission, only too happy to be able thus to contribute to good order in your diocese. If the presence of our brothers in the diocese of Viviers could have resulted in an unpleasant clash which would be a disgrace to religion, we ourselves are deeply upset by it. It would be, alas, extremely distressing if at a moment when Protestantism is sacrificing its dearest interests, and rallying on all sides to take over the education of youth at all costs, we should happen to hinder the work of God in a diocese whose wise administration is so advantageous to both of us. According to Fr. Vernets letter, Your Grandeur would not be displeased if, at a time when we cannot answer the multiplicity of requests which come to us from all over France, we ordered our brothers in Peaugres and Boulieu not to reopen their schools until we received a very formal authorization from Your Grandeur.

You will be tolerant, My Lord, if I profit by this occasion to inform Your Grandeur about the spirit of the society. It is a principle of our Constitutions that we act always and everywhere and in everything, only with the help and under the benevolent protection of Our Lords the bishops, of whom we glory in always being the most submissive and devoted servants. Therefore, when it shall please Your Grandeur to honor us with his confidence, we will rush to obey your orders, which it will always be a pleasure and a glory for us to fulfill.

Please accept the profound respect of one who considers himself fortunate to be able to call himself, with devotedness, My Lord, Your Grandeurs most humble and obedient servant.

Champagnat, sup. M.B.

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. 66-67, nº 71; éditée dans AAA pp. 225-226

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