Biographical Notes

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Summary information about some of the early Marists, taken from THE FIRST WAVE OF FRENCH MARISTS by Michael O'Meeghan SM, informally published in 2008.

The First Wave

Group I

They sailed with Pompallier on 24 December 1836 from Le Havre for Valparaiso on the Delphine, with no fixed destination beyond there. Fr CLAUDE BRET died at sea on 20 March 1837, from fever contracted during a stop for repairs at Teneriffe. At Valparaiso the difficulty of finding a ship to take the group directly to New Guinea ruled that country out as a possible base in the western Pacific. Instead, the Europa took them via the Gambier Islands to Tahiti. There Pompallier chartered the Raiatea to take them further west into his designated territory. He abandoned an idea of making his base at Ponape (Ascension Is) in favour of heading for Tonga which refused him permanent access. So he moved on to Wallis which made him welcome and he left Fr PIERRE BATAILLON and Br JOSEPH-XAVIER LUZY there.
With a similar encouraging reception at Futuna, 170km to the southwest, he left Fr PIERRE CHANEL and Br MARIE NIZIER there. By then he had decided to make his base in New Zealand, and to sail there via Sydney which he reached on 9 December 1837. On learning that a group of Catholics in Northland had been asking Sydney's bishop for a priest, he sailed for the Hokianga River harbour on 30 December, assured of a welcome from the Thomas Poynton family when he landed on 10 January 1838. To assist him in his mission he had two Marists remaining:
  1. Catherin Servant
  2. Antoine (Br Michel) Colombon

Group II

This group sailed from Bordeaux on the Basque on 9 September 1838. Because word had not yet been received in France of where Pompallier had established his base, they followed the same route as Group I. At Valparaiso they negotiated the use of the Reine de Paix which took them to Wallis and Futuna to visit for ten days and restock the four Marists left there by Pompallier a year and a half previously. They arrived at the Bay of Islands on 14 June 1839.
  1. Claude-André Baty
  2. Jean-Baptiste Épalle
  3. Louis-Maxime Petit
  4. Joseph (Br Marie-Augustin) Drevet
  5. Étienne (Br Élie-Régis) Marin
  6. Jean-Baptiste (Br Florentin) Françon

Group III

They sailed from London on the Australasian Packet on 14 June, 1839, to arrive in Sydney on 25 October 1839 via the Cape of Good Hope. The Martha left on 10 November to land them in the Bay of Islands on 9 December, 1839.
  1. Joseph-André Chevron
  2. Jean-Baptiste Comte
  3. Jean-Baptiste Petit-Jean
  4. Philippe Viard
  5. Jean-Baptiste (Br Attale) Grimaud


Group IV

Courtesy of the French navy they sailed from Brest on 19 February 1840 on the “Aube” and arrived at the Bay of Islands on 11 July 1840.
  1. Jean Pezant
  2. Jean-André Tripe
  3. Jean-Claude (Br Claude-Marie) Bertrand
  4. Claude (Br Amon) Duperron

Group V

Funds for this 14-strong group had been lodged with Wright's bank in London. While they were waiting there for on-going transport the bank was declared bankrupt on 19 November 1840. Some emergency funding was hastily arranged from France to cover further travel expenses, but 1332 was lost to the mission. They sailed from London on the Mary Gray on 8 December 1840, and arrived in Sydney on 7 May 1841. There they transhipped to the Earl Durham, leaving Sydney on 1 June and arriving in the Bay of Islands on 15 June 1841.
  1. Michel Borjon
  2. Antoine Garin
  3. Louis Rozet
  4. Antoine Séon
  5. Joseph-François Roulleaux
  6. Pierre (Br Pierre-Marie) Pérénon
  7. Michel (Br Basile) Monchanin
  8. Pierre (Br Colomb) Poncet
  9. Pierre (Br Emery) Roudet
  10. Antoine (Br Euloge) Chabany
  11. Étienne (Br Justin) Perret
  12. Jean Yvert
  13. Louis Perret
  14. Benjamin Dausse

Group VI

They sailed from London on 16 November 1841 on the London. With a stopover in Wellington during 6-11 April 1842 (where there was as yet no resident priest), they arrived in the Bay of Islands on 4 May, 1842.
  1. Jean Forest
  2. Jérôme Grange
  3. Euloge Reignier
  4. Jean Lampila
  5. Jean (Br Déodat) Villemagne
  6. Luc (Br Luc) Macé

Group VII

Courtesy of the French navy, they sailed from Toulon on 15 August 1842 on the Rhin which (via Brazil) was to take up station at Akaroa. On 27 December they arrived at Hobart where they transhipped for Sydney to arrive there on 10 January 1843. They reached the Bay of Islands (via Auckland) on 18 February 1843.
  1. Jean-Simon Bernard
  2. Auguste-Joseph Chouvet
  3. Delphin-Victor Moreau


Up till 1850 the only other Catholic priest in New Zealand was Jeremiah O'Reily (37), an Irish Capuchin, who arrived in Wellington quite independently of Pompallier and the Marists. He came at the request of Catholics in the Wellington settlement, his appointment negotiated by the Petre family. Pompallier accepted him, appointing him parish priest of Wellington. With Viard's arrival he stayed on as parish priest of Te Aro where he remained till his death on 21 July 1880, aged 75. He is buried in Mount Street cemetery where a monument in his memory was erected by public subscription.

Alphabetic Order of Wave I

  1. Claude-André Baty
  2. Jean-Simon Bernard
  3. Jean-Claude (Br Claude-Marie) Bertrand
  4. Michel Borjon
  5. Antoine (Br Euloge) Chabany
  6. Joseph-André Chevron
  7. Auguste-Joseph Chouvet
  8. Antoine (Br Michel) Colombon
  9. Jean-Baptiste Comte
  10. Benjamin Dausse
  11. Claude (Br Amon) Duperron
  12. Jean-Baptiste Épalle
  13. Joseph (Br Marie-Augustin) Drevet
  14. Jean Forest
  15. Jean-Baptiste (Br Florentin) Françon
  16. Antoine Garin
  17. Jérôme Grange
  18. Jean-Baptiste (Br Attale) Grimaud
  19. Jean Lampila
  20. Luc (Br Luc) Macé
  21. Étienne (Br Élie-Régis) Marin
  22. Michel (Br Basile) Monchanin
  23. Delphin-Victor Moreau
  24. Pierre (Br Pierre-Marie) Pérénon
  25. Étienne (Br Justin) Perret
  26. Louis Perret
  27. Louis-Maxime Petit
  28. Jean-Baptiste Petit-Jean
  29. Jean Pezant
  30. Pierre (Br Colomb) Poncet
  31. Euloge Reignier
  32. Pierre (Br Emery) Roudet
  33. Joseph-François Roulleaux
  34. Louis Rozet
  35. Antoine Séon
  36. Catherin Servant
  37. Jean-André Tripe
  38. Philippe Viard
  39. Jean (Br Déodat) Villemagne
  40. Jean Yvert

The Brothers of Wave I

  1. Br Amon
  2. Br Attale
  3. Br Basile
  4. Br Claude-Marie
  5. Br Colomb
  6. Br Déodat
  7. Br Élie-Régis
  8. Br Emery
  9. Br Euloge
  10. Br Florentin
  11. Br Justin
  12. Br Luc
  13. Br Marie-Augustin
  14. Br Michel
  15. Br Pierre-Marie

Other Persons of Interest

  1. Guillaume Douarre

Notes