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Br Joseph-Xavier (Jean-Marie Luzy) to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Futuna, 20 September 1850

APM OW 208 Luzy

Clisby Letter 87. Girard doc. 940

Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS


Joseph had only put his request for the books he mentions here [1] a few months before, so he can hardly have expected to receive them in so short a time, especially as Marie-Nizier had received Poupinel’s letter of 8 July 1849 only in June (LMN 75). It was most likely that Colin was referring in his letter to a request made earlier (rf L 73 [3]). But Joseph may have been experiencing the same problems his confrere complains about in the preceding letter. As for the request for tools [2], either Mathieu was a more obliging superior or Joseph, with the advantage of seniority and his position at the Hermitage, believed in the efficacy of the direct approach. In any case, Joseph and Augustin were engaged in a major building project at the Hermitage. Servant describes the operation: “Frs Mathieu and Gagniere were labourers, Brs Augustin and Joseph were masons, carpenters, and joiners, and some natives from the surrounding islands served as helpers to the masons” (ES 274). Matthew Gagniere (1822-1867) joined the Society and was ordained by Douarre in 1847. He had come to Futuna with Rougeyron and the first group of New Caledonians in April. His services were much appreciated at the Hermitage. Rougeyron had just returned from the Isle of Pines with another group, including the three main chiefs of Balade and Pouebo (ES 272).

The last paragraph suggests a problem arising from a death in the family, probably that of Joseph’s mother. He was her favourite son and her will may have caused some dispute among other members of the family. There is no further reference to it, so it seems to have been resolved without his personal intervention being necessary.

Text of the Letter

Very Reverend Father,
I was very pleased to receive the few lines you were kind enough to send me in the letter of the good Fr Bourdin. [1] He also spares me a thought from time to time. You told me that what I asked you for should have arrived. I can assure you I haven’t received anything yet. Perhaps the good Fr Popinel (sic) has forgotten to address it and it is all somewhere still on route. Or perhaps I didn’t make clear what I wanted. I will repeat the list, and if you think I should be sent these things I would be pleased to receive them. Here is what I want: a life of the saints by Codescard, [2] Troncon’s particular examen, the Religious Man, a bible, a little office of the Blessed Virgin, the meditations of Sister Emeriche (sic) on the passion, the life of Our Lord, a life of the Blessed Virgin, any other book of piety or spiritual reading, which is affecting or inspiring.
I have also asked for some tools for carpentry, that is, mouldings, some axes, drills, etc. The ones I brought out with me are all worn out. The youngsters of the Hermitage would like to have keys for the little boxes I have made for them. If you could include a dozen or two they would be delighted.
The little troop at the Hermitage is going well. There are about 30 of them.. Since dear Br Augustin’s arrival we have been building a house in stone 50 feet long and 18 wide and 12 feet high. It’s a big undertaking for so few people. 4 or 5 natives are working full time with us. The others have to work in the plantations after class.
There is nothing new on Futuna except the group of Caledonians Frs Rougeron and Garnier (sic) brought here to spend some time. I commend myself as always to your prayers and those of the good Fathers. My health is reasonable. I work when I can.
If my relatives come to see you, very reverend Father, about family arrangements, I will do what you tell me. If they can be fixed up without my having to go, that is all I want.
Farewell, my very reverend Father, and accept the respects of your very devoted and obedient servant,
Luzy, Br Joseph X.


  1. Bourdin (rf L 49), at Puylata 1848-1850, had been on the minor seminary staff at Belley during Joseph’s time there. His first effort at a biography of Chanel, ready in 1846, had been rejected by Colin: (OM 4: 204-5).
  2. The necessary reservations being made for Joseph’s spelling.

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