Letters of Marcellin – 281

Marcellin Champagnat


In the Annales de St-Chamond, Brother Avit tells us that Bro. Benoît and another brother came to take care of the orphans in November 1839 (AFM, 213.45, p. 4). It must be admitted that Bro. Avit is wrong on both the date and the name. According to this letter, the brothers had already been running the orphanage for some time, perhaps a few months, but we cannot be sure. In the first account book, there is an entry for 13th July 1839, stating that Bro.Claude-Marie had received 30 francs from the funds of the Hermitage for La Charité de St-Chamond (p. 131). So it was not Bro. Benoît who was in charge of that establishment, but Bro. Claude-Marie, as this letter gives us to understand. But perhaps Bro. Avit was right when he wrote, a bit further on, All we know is that the poor little children were sometimes treated with severity, which would justify the move on the part of Mr. Dugas, President of the administrative council, who probably requested that the brother director be changed. All the same, Fr. Champagnat kept him there temporarily, for he had most probably already assigned him to the missions (cf. his biographical sketch).


Since, because of the departure of our brothers, I cannot come to St-Chamond to work out an agreement with you concerning the personnel of your establishment, I am writing you, to explain the reasons why I decided not to change anything there just yet.

Brother Augustin is very afraid of being named director there. He likes Bro. Claude-Marie and gets along well with him. This is a very important point for the prosperity of a house: unity between the Brother Director and the brothers who assist him. I think that if I encourage Bro. Claude-Marie, he will devote himself to his work wholeheartedly and in earnest. He is an obedient and pious brother; he will be open to my remarks and will profit by them.

For the rest, Sir, I do want to have a discussion with you about the good order of this establishment in which I am extremely interested. Since there is nothing which I am not prepared to do to show you my gratitude and devotion, I will always make it my
duty and my pleasure to take every possible means to guarantee the success of the good work whose direction is entrusted to your generous care.

I profit by this occasion to assure you again of the deep gratitude in which the Society of the Brothers of Mary will always hold you, remembering all your goodness towards it. Truly, the lovely city of Saint-Chamond has been for us a living and daily providence. But how much we owe especially to your pious and liberal charity!

Please accept once again, Sir, my sincere thanks, and be assured that I will neglect no occasion to show you that no one could be with greater respect and devotion, Sir, your most humble and most obedient servant,


Notre-Dame de lHermiage near St-Chamond, 19th October 1839

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: D?après l?expédition qui se trouve chez Mr. Bernard de Boissieu, à Saint-Chamond


Letters of Marcellin - 280...


Letters of Marcellin - 285...