Letters of Marcellin – 293

Marcellin Champagnat


It would appear that Fr. Aurras had not been heard from since his letter of October 1838 (L. 219), so Fr. Champagnat has started to wonder if his plan to open a novitiate is still pending. Therefore he has not taken any steps towards obtaining the required government permission: according to the laws then in force, either the Little Brothers of Mary would have to be authorized, legally and not just by a simple ordinance, to teach in the department of the Var, or at least the novitiate in Lorgues would have to be authorized by law for the said department. Fr. Champagnat is still counting on obtaining legal authorization for his congregation. But in case he is going to have to wait too long for it, he suggests taking a detour: opening a school which would receive boarders, to whom the novices would be added. However, if a congregation can be found which is already authorized and can carry out the operation more quickly and without subterfuge, he has no objections. This still will not discourage Fr. Aurran, as we learn from L. 299.


We admire seeing how your zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls leads you to pursue so forcefully the carrying out of the pious project you shared with me some time ago. I am sincerely delighted at the good which will flow from it for the people of Provence who are so dear to you. But since we were completely ignorant as to whether you were still interested in this work, we had not taken any steps with the government to obtain permission to establish a novitiate of our brothers in Lorgues. Besides, we are still waiting to obtain, with Marys help and the protection of the good people who favor it, the authorization of our society. It is true that we intend to renew our request very soon and that we have some reason to hope for success, but we could not promise you anything for certain. And you know, Father, that the request, as well as the obtaining of authorization for the society in general, must precede those for a specific novitiate.

There is another means we intend to use for another house like yours: to request authorization for a primary boarding school, in the name of the certified brother who will teach there. Then the novices, considered as boarders, will not be bothered any further. You are perfectly free in that regard. We would not want to be an obstacle to the good work you have undertaken. If Providence does not permit us to give you sufficient guarantees, we will be happy to see it in other hands than ours, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. If, on the contrary, with the protection only of her who has watched over us until now, you still want to use our brothers for your establishment, we will do all that lies in our power to respond to your wishes and to strive with you and the ecclesiastical authority of your diocese for the spiritual good of your young people. Besides the chaplain which the Society will provide for the novitiate, I might be able later on to get a few missionaries who would join him to work, with the permission of the pastors, for the salvation of souls.

Please accept, etc….

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. 147 , nº 188, éditée en CSG 1, p. 294


Letters of Marcellin - 292...


Letters of Marcellin - 295...