Br Francois to Br Marie-Nizier, (Our Lady of the Hermitage), 9 Jan 1857
Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS
Francois here refers to his letter to Marie-Nizier of April 1856 (L 117) and his other references appear to be to the brother's letter of 1855. This would have included details of the flourishing state of the Futunan mission as well as the much less reassuring news about places like Fiji. Marie-Nizier may well have repeated some of the material he had read in Mathieu's letter of July 1854 (L 110), or he may have heard from Servant who had visited the islands on his way to Samoa.
Text of the Letter
- I have sent this handwritten Circular to all our Brothers of Oceania, and although I wrote to you personally last April when sending you the books and printed Circulars you requested, I did not want to deprive you of the consolation of also receiving this Circular like the other Brothers. Since you were among the first sent to Oceania, you have certainly had much to do in those savage lands.
- You have indeed toiled and suffered, and you have witnessed many different events, some pleasant and encouraging, others sad and disappointing. So you can say with the Apostle St Paul: 'I have experienced everything, I am used to anything.' [cf Phil. 4: 12] And I do not doubt that you share the same attitude as the great Apostle when he says: 'I am ready to sacrifice everything and to sacrifice myself for the salvation of souls' [cf 2 Cor. 12: 15]. Oh! How happy we are to hear that the island of Futuna, watered with the blood of the first martyr of the Society of Mary, is now so fertile in the fruits of grace and of holiness, and that its people are recapturing the fervour and the virtues of the first Christians! We rejoice with you and bless the Lord and the holy Mary. But how sad we were, as well as horror-struck, when we learned of what is happening in the other missions! We pray the Lord will have pity on those poor peoples and open their eyes for them.
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