Letters of Marcellin – 298

Marcellin Champagnat


It is very regrettable that Fr. Madiniers letter has not been preserved, because we would understand this reply much better if we knew exactly what he was asking. However, we must rest satisfied with the glimpses this letter gives us, all the more so since the annals of this establishment make no mention of this affair. Fr. Madinier seems to think that either too many students are absent too often, or that their absences are not always justified. Father Champagnats astonishment may therefore stem either from the extreme strictness of the parish priest, who seems to forget that in rural areas farmwork imposes its own demands, or from the brothers lack of discipline. In any case, these absences can never be totally suppressed, but they can be controlled to eliminate abuses. Perhaps there has been some slight misunderstanding between the brothers and the priest. The easiest way to resolve it will be to discuss it together; for their part, for the sake of the greater good, the brothers will give in.


Your letter really astonished us. Like you, we feel that if the children attended the brothers classes with diligence, their progress would be much more noticeable, and the classroom discipline much more even. But we also realize that, generally speaking, such perfect and constant diligence is impossible in rural areas. So we are in total agreement with the point of view expressed in your letter, about the children who are obliged to be absent on certain days, or to miss certain classes. We have simply recommended to our brothers to be very sure they are in agreement about these absences and about the day when the children are obliged to be absent, or about the class they are obliged to miss; and also to insist that, if, over and above these habitual absences, some extraordinary reasons would necessitate other occasional ones, the brothers be informed in advance as much as possible. You readily understand that without these precautions, the children could abuse of the trust of their parents and the brothers, and be running around the streets when the former think they are in school, and the latter think they are at home.

[I am upset that your remarks were misunderstood by the brothers and that they pushed matters too far. Please explain to them my wishes, which I believe are in agreement with yours. I am sure they will follow them faithfully.]

For the rest, Father, I leave everything to your wisdom and prudence. I am telling the brothers to act in concert with you in everything that concerns the prosperity and regularity of our establishment.

Please, 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, pp. 153-154, nº 194


Letters of Marcellin - 296...


Letters of Marcellin - 299...