19. Fr Borjon to Br Francois. Lyon. 19 November 1840
Michel Borjon (1811-1842) (the misspelling Barjau in the manuscript copy has been repeated in the typed copy in Lettres d' Oceanie) was ordained in 1837 and professed as a Marist in 1839. He was one of four priests in the fifth group to set out for Oceania and the largest destined for New Zealand, since it also included six Brothers and three laymen. His promising career as a missionary was cut short late in 1842 when, with Br Deodat Villemagne, he was lost at sea with the vessel that was taking them to found a new station at Port Nicholson at the bottom of the North Island.
Francois calls upon the Brothers in his Circular of 15 January 1841 to begin a novena "for one of the greatest concerns of the Society" (CSG 1. 53), without specifying what it is and in a context not directly concerned with the missions. But since it is under the patronage of the Archbishop and associated with the Fathers, this may be the response to Borjon's appeal. There is no sign of any other.
Text of the Letter
- Dear Brother,
- On the point of leaving for the missions of Oceania, I feel the need to solicit spiritual help for such a great enterprise. We are already united with one another as children of Mary; let us bind ourselves even closer with the ties of union and charity. Please pray and have your Brothers pray for the humble missionary who commends himself to you, for our confreres, and for the poor savages. Then you will have a twofold share in the merits of the mission and the good converts will say many prayers for you. This union of prayers and good works for the success of the mission will be especially renewed every Sunday at Holy Mass and Communion, as the cards I am sending you indicate. Besides, your good Brothers have a double interest in praying for this intention since they share both the merits and the dangers of the Fathers, and since such a great number of them have been called to such a noble vocation. If the community could make a novena for the success of the voyage, you would be doing us a great favour.
- Farewell, dear Brother, farewell to all your good Brothers. I would like to have seen you all before my departure, but that is impossible. We will be with one another in the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary. Let us frequently offer their merits for one another and for the conversion of the savages of Oceania.
- I am, dear Brother, with sincere affection,
- Your very devoted
- Borjon. mis. apost.
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