Letters of Marcellin – 174

Marcellin Champagnat


Through Bro. François, Fr. Champagnat kept the brothers fairly regularly informed of the progress of his undertaking. This time, balancing his efforts against his lack of success so far, and against the failure of his recent steps to have some of the brothers exempted from military service, he cannot help expressing his disappointment. But that has not slowed him down any, as the Journal continues to tell us:

February 15 Visit to Mr. Pillet, bureau chief.
16 Visit to Mr. Baude, member of the Council of State, Rue de lUniversité, nº 8, to whom we presented a letter of recommendation from Mr. Jovin. He told us he would do all he could to see that everything ended satisfactorily and as soon as possible.
When we asked him about the nature and prerogatives of legal authorization, he did not seem completely sure of them. He told us that he would take care of our business and that it was useless to stay in Paris any longer.
Received a letter from Fr. Colin from Lyons, informing us that the letter from His Lordship the archbishop of Lyons, in reply to that of the minister, had been mailed on the 13th.
Visit to Mr. Rendu; when we asked about the privileges of legal authorization, he answered that it carried with it the right to exemption from conscription by means of the ten-year commitment, and also the right to legal ownership. He advised us to stay here, in order to be able to give immediate answers to any difficulties which might be raised as objections by the Council of State.
17 Received a letter from Fr. Superior General, telling us that the letter from the bishop of Belley had left on the 13th.
18 Visit to Mr. Baude, and to Mr. Ardaillon to announce the arrival of the letters.
19 Visit to Mr. Fulchiron.
20 Visit to the parish priest of St-Roch and to Mr. Delachaise.
21 Visit to Mr. Ardaillon.
22 Letter to Mr. Sauzet.
Visit to Mr. Pillet who told us that nothing had happened in the offices.
Vist to Mr. Rendu; he was out.
23 Visit to Mr. Ardaillon to go with him to Minister de Salvandy. He was absent because he had to go see the Minister of Finances.
Visit to Mr. Fulchiron who told us that the letters from the bishops had still not arrived at the offices.
Visit to the Lazarists, Rue de Sèvres, nº 95.
Letter to Mr. Jovin Deshayes, to tell him that we had not seen the minister.
24 Visit to Mr. Ardaillon to ask him to take us to see the minister.
Visit to the Minister of Public Instruction; he was out.
Visit to Mr. Delebecque; he told us that the letters from the archbishop of Lyons and the bishop of Belley had arrived, that they were favorable, and that our dossier would be forwarded to the Council of the University. He promised us that he would forward them next Friday, and told us that this business could take as long as another three weeks.
Visit to Mr. Jovin who told us he knows Mr. Maillard, president of the Council of State for Interior Affairs, which will handle our business, and that he would speak with him.
Letter sent to the parish priest of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine to warn him that Mr. Ardaillon is astonished at his silence....

As we can see, the more the two priests multiply their visits, they more they realize how slowly business gets done, which explains the pessimistic but resigned tone of this letter.


Paris, 24th February 1838, Rue du Bac, N

My very dear brother,

I have just received your letter of the 19th. The rector of the university would not approve it without the commitment, saying it was too late; nor would he put his approval on the ones that I brought him. I think I will submit them again as soon as our main business has been taken care of. I do not know what sort of results we can expect, and I dont know what other remedy to try. In any case, send it to me, and recommend everything urgently to God. As for Bro. Théodores case, knowing the ministers answer, I had already taken some steps, which proved fruitless. I was told that it would be more difficult to obtain his exemption than our authorization, and that it would be easier for him to get his own discharge from his regiment. He should bring all his documents and letters of recommendation, if he can get them, from the captain in Montbrison and the general in St-Etienne.

I willingly approve all of Bro. Cassiens trips. May God grant him the courage and health he needs for such a good work.

The farmer has to get out; I will gladly rent him a bit of meadowland and farmland if he pays a reasonable price, but his departure must be unconditional.

In my last letter, I asked you if the brothers prices were suitable or not; I wanted to know what you thought and you didnt answer my question at all. Should I ask them to send me some copies of their Conduite?

Dont bring in other workmen for the rocks.

As for our main business, how many procedures, how many errands, how many visits…you cant begin to imagine. For two days we went back and forth in cabs trying to have an audience with the minister which never worked out. Once we could not find Mr. Ardaillon; he was at the Ministry of Finance where the minister had sent him in a rush; another time it was the minister who was gone. Good Lord, so much business with so little profit; or rather, lets say its very expensive business, since as you well know, the cabs have to be paid by the minute.

We just went with Mr. Ardaillon to see Mr. Delebecque, who told us that all our documents had finally arrived and that on Friday (2nd March) they would be forwarded to the university council. Right now we are trying to find out just what this council is, since we had never even heard of it until now. Mr. Jovin Deshayes is going out of his way to help us, and promised to find out about it and let us know. Mr. Delebecque also told us that our business would be settled in three weeks. We said, if it ends well, let it take a month even! But who knows if it will end well? So here I am in Paris for still another month. Fr.
Chanut is getting ready to leave very soon.

Recommend my poor brother to the prayers of the community. Here I am all alone now out of the ten of us in the family; I think my own turn is not far off. May God grant that I may prepare well for it, thats all I ask Him. And despite all that, since I have been in Paris I feel better than I ever have. I hardly take any warm water at all. My appetite is very good.

Bro. Marie-Jubin is doing wonders. No one could have done better. Perhaps I will buy some lithographic equipment. I have already bought a beautiful ciborium; thats part of what we had promised the Blessed Virgin. She is bound to protect us and obtain for us what we so justifiably desire.

It has rained here almost every day for some time now. Paris is extremely peaceful. As for political developments, I ignore them as if I were a hundred leagues away. I went once to the Chamber of Deputies and I have no desire to go back there.

Fr. Chanut asks me to send you his best.

You may think we have a lot of money; it dwindles every day and we are earning nothing as you must realize. When we have finished, I will ask the Ginots to lend me something which we will repay them.

Yours in the most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I have the honor to be your most devoted servant,


My best regards to Fr. Matricon and Fr. Besson; I recommend myself and my poor brother to their Holy Sacrifices.

I do not need to tell you how dear to me are all the brothers I named in my last letter, even though you did not mention any of them.

Tell Brothers Stanislas and Jean-Marie that we are both saying Masses from N.D. de lHermitage.

Mr. Ardaillon is supposed to be returning home. Be sure to visit him and thank him for everything he is doing for us.

All we can do with the request from St-Rambert is to take note of it. You answered hardly any of my questions; I guess you had nothing very consoling to tell me about some of those topics.

If Mr. Ginot comes, ask him for me to bring me the pars verna of my breviary (the one I have is nearly finished), with a copy of the Rule.

My respectful regards to the parish priest of Notre-Dame. I wanted to tell you something else but I forget what it was.

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 lexpédition autographe AFM 111.33, éditée partiellement dans AAA pp. 234-235


Letters of Marcellin - 172...


Letters of Marcellin - 176...