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Br Marie-Nizier to Fr Champagnat. Le Havre. 22 December 1836

(CPC 93)


It was six weeks since Marie-Nizier had written to Champagnat. They went on board the “Delphine” on the 23rd and weighed anchor the following day.

Champagnat included the second part of this letter in his Circular to the Brothers of 1 January 1837 (S1 190) and in his letter of 16 May 1837 to Fr Jacques Fontbonne (S1 232), a Marist aspirant at the Hermitage in 1831 who had gone as a missionary to the United States of America in 1835. He was obviously very proud of it; he calls it "the very beautiful letter of Br M(arie)- Nizier” in a letter to Br Louis Marie on the 2 January (S1 193) and promises to share it with him later. If he was referring to the Circular, the delay is accounted for by the time needed to make multiple copies.

Text of the Letter

Dear reverend Father,
If I had known we were going to remain so long at Le Havre I would have asked you for a reply to the letter I sent you in November. I told you we were going to leave on the 13th and today, the 22nd, we are still awaiting the day we have so looked forward to. The winds have always been against us and have changed a bit in our favour only recently. The change raises hopes we can soon go on board. In fact, this morning the captain of our ship advised Monsignor to be ready to depart tomorrow if the winds stay favourable.
How happy I count myself, dear Father, to have been chosen among the Brothers of Mary to be the first to carry the light of the Gospel to savage peoples. How unworthy I am of this choice. God be blessed! He gave me my vocation and makes me follow it. I am very happy to be setting out - in all sincerity, I would not give up my place for a crown. I am not afraid because Mary, my good Mother, will be my guide in all I do, and my refuge in time of trouble.
Very dear Father, I would like to wish you and all my dear Brothers in Jesus and Mary a happy New Year in person, but circumstances do not allow me to do what I want. From the depths of my heart I wish you, and my dear Brothers too, a holy and happy year.
Hoping you will accept my good wishes,
Br Marie-Nizier
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