Br Francois to Br Gennade
Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS
Only one of Gennade's letters from the early period has survived, that of December 1847 (L 72). After his assignment to Villa Maria in 1853, the Marists made good use of his experience in stone and metal work, and he performed invaluable services in the building programme there. At the same time, he may have felt, like others, that this work was not the sort of work he had come out to the missions for, a point Francois seeems to be addressing in . Francois also mentions the brother's birthplace, St Genis-Terrenoire, a mining community where the brothers had opened a school in 1854.
Text of the Letter
- From your welcome and interesting letters we see that you have not been lacking crosses and trials, but we see too that your courage and zeal are still the same, so that you can say with the Apostle, St Paul: 'We are God's fellow workers' [1 Cor. 3: 9]. and we seek to honour our ministry through great patience in trials, in hardships, in extreme affliction, in labours, in fasting, in watching, by purity, kindness, and by genuine charity; we appear as sorrowful and yet we are always rejoicing, as poor yet providing service for many; it seems we have nothing yet we possess everything [2 Cor. 6: 4-10]. For in the measure we share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, so we share too in consolation through Jesus Christ [2 Cor. 1: 5].
- So always be well convinced of these sentiments of the great Apostle of the nations, my dear Brother, since you share in the labours and work of the life of an apostle. Although your main occupations may be manual work, you know you have no less a part in the work of those who preach the word of God, as we read in Rodriguez. Even in preaching the Gospel St Paul applied himself to manual work [cf 1 Cor. 4: 12]. You know from experience that it is very useful to know how to do all sorts of things and to be able to set your hand to anything.
- The good Fr Matricon and all the Brothers appreciate very much your affectionate remembrance of them. We maintain a very tender affection for you and we take a real interest in all that happens to you, in your sorrows and your joys. Good subjects keep coming to us from St Genis, and now we have an establishment there, I hope the number will go on increasing. The new parish priest is a man full of zeal and with a good head for business. He has had a very large and very well laid out house built for the Brothers, with a courtyard and a garden. It is one of our finest houses. There are four Brothers.
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