Letters of Marcellin – 314

Marcellin Champagnat


Bishop De Bonald of Le Puy had just been named archbishop of Lyons on 4th December 1839, to succeed Cardinal Fesch, who had died the preceding 13th May. The news was no doubt made public only in January because he had at first refused the appointment. Father Champagnat, as soon as he learned of it, hurried to compose this letter to present him his respects. Since the archbishop was in Paris at this time, it was a good occasion to update him on the proceedings in view of obtaining our legal authorization. This is why, rather than leaving it at a simple letter, the Founder sends him a whole file containing a sketch of the history of the congregation, and a copy of the letter he had sent to the minister on 27th November 1837 (cf. L. 159) with two updated annexes: the list of schools directed by the brothers and that of the parishes which were asking for them. We see no point in reproducing here either the letter to the minister or the two annexes (of which we do not have the manuscripts), which appear in Circulaires, I, pp. 308-314 and in the Abrégé des Annales, pp. 339-343. In any case, these documents most likely had not been drawn up by Fr. Champagnat.

My Lord,

The Superior of the Little Brothers of Mary dares to anticipate the happy moment which will give you to our wishes and our desires, to offer Your Grandeur the homage of his profound respect and his most humble felicitations. We all felt the liveliest joy on learning of the fortunate choice which calls you to govern the celebrated church of Lyons. Full of gratitude, we joined all the faithful of the diocese in thanking God for having given us, in your august person, such a worthy and holy prelate, a pontiff so zealous and so charitable.

My Lord, you welcomed and protected us in the diocese of Le Puy; we were able, under your fortunate patronage, to set up our first establishments there. What may we not expect from your pastoral goodness, now that we are going to become your children in a most special way. Also, My Lord, filled with the most peaceful confidence, we dare from the very outset to send you the enclosed description of the actual situation of our little society, and to request the help of your powerful protection on its behalf.

For eight years now we have been requesting, without having been able to obtain it, the benefit of a royal ordinance which, by regularizing our existence, would shield our brothers from conscription. How fortunate we would consider ourselves, My Lord, if we could owe this favor, so precious and so long desired, to your benevolence and your powerful influence. What gratitude all the children of Mary would feel toward you forever, and particularly him whom God has called to gather and direct them.

In the pleasant confidence that you will favor my request and that, when you are with His Majesty, you will speak on our behalf, I have the honor to be, with the sentiments of the most profound respect….


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. 169-170, nº 213


Letters of Marcellin - 312...


Letters of Marcellin - 319...