Br Francois to Br Charise, (Our Lady of the Hermitage), 9 Jan 1857
Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS
Charise had done his novitiate at St Paul-Trois-Chateaux, and this is why Francois takes the trouble to fill him in on the situation there. Of the brothers mentioned, Br Paul (Louis Bouteille 1793-1866) had been director of the house prior to the union of the Brothers of Christian Instruction with Champagnat's brothers in 1844. When Charise entered in 1847 and handed his novitiate fee to Paul, he asked permission to use part of it to buy a copy of the Lives of the Saints, 'for he said, he wanted to become a saint. Br Paul began to laugh and said to him, "My good fellow, we have the Lives of the Saints here. You will also find models among the Brothers." ' (Notices necrologiques 1884-1890, pp 55-8, AFM) In 1854 Charise had been appointed to join Verne at Amaila. He was probably at Saleamua when this letter reached him, though by 1858 he was back in Apia. Although he was a good correspondent and wrote a number of letters to Francois as well as to Colin and others, few are to be found in the AFM. Those do not include the one in which he requests the books, which were probably sent him via Poupinel.
Text of the Letter
- The last two years I have spent about three months at St Paul-3-Chateaux after our Brothers' retreats, having a rest because I was feeling a bit worn out. I enjoy the climate, anyway, and I am happy among all those good Brothers and pious novices.
- Br Paul is still librarian. He told me he had had a letter from you. Br Victor is econome and also responsible for the boarding school. Br Jean-Pierre is still responsible for clothing and he is in reasonable health, but Br Celien who helped him with the sewing is dead, as you will see in the circular. Br Alban is in charge of the laundry, Br Ceslas and Br Ambroix are in the kitchen, Br Marie-Ephrem does wonders in the garden and Br Pierre has care of the barn and ploughing. Br Fabien is still infirmarian; he has had a lot of work in the last two years. The house doctors are the two Messrs Thune, but it is the nephew who does most. People are very happy with him, he takes a special interest in the house.
- Fr Mouret, former curate of St Paul, is the current chaplain to the Brothers. He replaced Fr Rours, the successor of Fr Grange, who died a few years ago. The new chaplain is a charming man and shows an admirable zeal and devotion to the Brothers.
- While I was at St Paul, a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin was set up over the town gate, called Our Lady's gate. Monsignor Tibour [Sibour], Archbishop of Paris, performed the ceremony. The community took part and sang
- I have been rereading with great interest, my dear Brother, the different letters you have sent us. I am very happy and very edified by the way in which you try to sanctify your voyages and all your daily activities by the exercises of piety and by the saying of ejaculatory prayers. I encourage you to carry on with renewed fervour and to abandon yourself with a very filial confidence into the hands of divine Providence, in order to do the will of God in everything and everywhere. I have sent dear Br M. Nizier the books and circulars he asked me for. I think you must have received yours too.
- Marie Sibour, archbishop of Paris, born at St Paul in 1872, was assassinated by a priest under interdict in the church of St Etienne-du-Mont in Paris during this same year 1857. (Petit Larousse 1963, p 1704)
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