Letters of Marcellin – 312

Marcellin Champagnat


Mr. Barthélemey had just been named prefect of the Loire on 10th August 1839; Fr. Champagnat, always eager to bring the matter of the authorization of his congregation to a close, lost no time in paying him a visit, during which he certainly must have updated him on the question. Encouraged by the welcome he received, he does not hesitate now to ask him to intervene. In fact we find in the national archives a letter from the prefecture of the Loire, dated 15th January 1840, signed, if we are reading correctly, on behalf of the prefect, who was making his inspections, by the delegated councillor, Lachèze:

Fr. Champagnat, head of the congregation (of the Little Brothers of Mary), not knowing to what he should attribute the delay in the resolution of his request, wrote to me to know what steps he should take to guarantee its success. According to the reports of my predecessor, I believe the dossier is complete, and that the usefulness of the establishment is sufficiently demonstrated. It remains for me, therefore, only to ask Your Excellency to please have the file on this question returned to him, and to take suitable action on it.

We will see later on (L. 330) what action the minister actually took.

Mister Prefect,

Taking advantage of the obliging offers you were good enough to make me on the first visit I had the honor to pay you, I will venture to ask you to please ask the Ministry of Public Instruction what has become of the matter of the authorization of the Little Brothers of Mary, and what steps we still have to take to guarantee its success.

Being very desirous of working under the protection and in line with the views of the government for the proper instruction of children, we are prepared to take whatever measures it wishes to point out to us to bring ourselves into harmony with it, even if that meant, according to what Mr. De Salvandy, Minister of Public Instruction, informed me through His Lordship the bishop of Belley, adopting the statutes of an already-recognized society. We will agree to accept them even though our own were approved by the Royal Council in its session of 28th February 1834.

I hope, Mr. Prefect, that you will be so good as to add to your request a few kind words in our favor. The welcome with which you honored me, the noble protection you grant everywhere to works useful to the public, give me the quiet confidence that you will give me this new reason to unite my congratulations to those of the entire department on the excellent choice which has brought you among us.

With confidence therefore in both your goodness and your powerful influence, I will be so bold as to ask you to accept the profound respect and respectful devotedness with which I have, 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. 165, nº 211, éditée dans CSG 1, p. 300


Letters of Marcellin - 311...


Letters of Marcellin - 314...