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21 Nov 1840 - Fr Jean-Claude Colin To Marist Missionaries in Oceania

If fraternal charity has to reign among Christians, if it has to be stronger among Religious, it seems that there is a serious obligation upon you, dear children, who are far away from him who is honoured to be called your father; because this word gives some notion of his feelings and duties, the feeling of a father’s fraternal solicitude for you; often separated from another, you are responsible for each other. Personally, I would complain bitterly about the downfall of a child who died before the eyes of an indifferent brother; adopt then every means in your power to become strong in this virtue of fraternal charity.
See whether you could come together on retreat, and if feasible, put forward your ideas to Monsignor and ask him to gather you round him; there to examine how familiar you are with the rule, how it can be observed in the duties of the apostolate. There to see together the dangers of a station, the means of diminishing or removing them, the need perhaps to withdraw. There to tighten the bonds that unite so sweetly and so usefully hearts that are truly religious. To spread mutually that spiritual force that results from unity of purpose, unity of means, effects which the Holy Ghost is pleased to produce in those who come together under His impulsion.
Your own salvation must come first; what would it profit you to gain souls for God if you suffered the loss of your own? Watch your prayers; without prayer a missionary will not be saved. Do not say: prayer is impossible, there is no time for it. St. Paul found time, St. Francis Xavier found time and they worked every bit as much as you and they saved just as many souls as you will save; they saved them because they sanctified themselves. Do you examine your consciences from time to time? Go to confession? Do you take steps to fulfill this essential duty? You are too far away from your nearest confrere, ask earnestly to be brought together. If it were a question of death, you would certainly make representations, you could nevertheless give way; your soul is in evident danger, you must escape from the danger or perish. Have you kept up your devotion to our amiable mother, Mary? This devotion is the thermometer of virtue. Have you a burning zeal? If it is cold, you are not apostles, you have no love for Christ or for souls, no knowledge of their value, since their loss leaves you indifferent; for them you were sent, for them you will have to render an account to the sovereign pastor.
I desire, dear confreres, to bring this letter to a close. Be always small in your estimation, loving each other, helping each other. Record for me in detail anything that can be of interest, the welfare, union of hearts, the spirit of the Society. Finally, I leave you all, Fathers in the love of Jesus and Mary, and remain the most sincere in affection,
your very humble and obedient servant,

Fr. Colin,
21st November, 1840.