Letters of Marcellin – 315

Marcellin Champagnat


Father Gire has lost no time in answering the last letter (L. 310), expressing his willingness to go ahead no matter what. Father Champagnat therefore spells out for him the specifications according to which he must first have a schoolhouse built. We may presume the construction took two years, since on 27th April 1842, Brother François answers one of his letters: We are very glad that you are taking steps to assure the establishment of the brothers in your parish; then he answers different questions which have been put to him. He does the same on 27th May, but after that, the correspondence ceases, and we have no indication that the brothers ever went to St-Privat.


Since you persist in wanting to found an establishment of our brothers in the town of St-Privat, the first thing to do is to put up a sufficiently large building, for both the brothers residence and the classrooms for the children, as well as for housing the boarders. Therefore, there must be, on the ground floor, a kitchen, a storeroom, a dining room, and two large adjoining rooms connected by a glass partition extending the entire width and one-and-a-half or two feet high, at a convenient height for the brothers to see each other. In the middle of this same partition, there must be a door with a glass panel. The first of these two rooms must be able to hold 60 writers, and the second 70 to 80 children who are learning to read. If the normal number of boarders will be between 20 and 30, it will be necessary to build a third room adjoining the two others, to give them a separate class, which is however connected to the others as we have seen above. In this case, it would be good if the Brother Director, who ordinarily teaches the first class, could be placed between the two others. The dining room, as well as the cellar, should be proportionate in size to the highest number of boarders. The first floor should include two or three bedrooms and a dormitory which can hold about forty beds, one meter apart. It would be good to build into the brothers room a window through which they can see and supervise the children in the dormitory. The conveniences should be placed where the brothers can see them from their classrooms.

I have not given you the detailed measurements of the various rooms; I leave that to your prudence and that of the benefactors.
It is essential, in the construction of a house of education, not to scrimp, and even to go beyond the strictly necessary.

I am, 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. 169-170, nº 213


Letters of Marcellin - 312...


Letters of Marcellin - 319...