Br Francois to Br Germanique, St Genis Laval, 17 January 1859
LFF 2: 323 324
Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS
Br Germanique (Fleury Boudoy b. 1824) received the habit at the Hermitage at the beginning of 1850. He was the only teaching brother in the missionary group which left London for the Pacific in July 1858. According to his own letter to Francois from New Caledonia a year later, he had been sent to open a school at Port-de-France (L 142 ), which would make him the first brother to go to the missions specifically for this purpose. This says something of the confidence the superiors placed in a brother who had just made perpetual profession. He had already written from Sydney and when Francois was writing this reply, Germanique was in the process of surveying the properties of the Catholic mission in New Caledonia, an expedition he describes in his long letter of 23 July.
Text of the Letter
- Dear Brother,
- Like yourself, I regretted I was not able to embrace you and bid you farewell at the time of your departure, but then we were at a great distance from each other. I was still in Rome and you were already in London. But what we were unable to do physically and in speech we certainly did in spirit and in heart, and despite the distance which separates us, we will continue always to be united as members of a single family, we will frequently reunite in the sacred tabernacle of the holy hearts of Jesus and Mary, and we will offer there all together our prayers and our desires. Besides, God is everywhere and we are always like the angels, in the divine sanctuary, in whatever place and whatever part of the world we happen to be.
- I congratulate you, my dear Brother, and I thank God with you for the beautiful vocation he has given you, and for the courage with which you have responded, such that you can say with the apostle Saint Peter: ‘Lord, look, we have left everything and followed you’ [Matt. 19: 27], or like St Paul: ‘When it pleased God who has called me by his grace, to reveal to me his Son, so that I should preach him among the nations, I did so immediately, without taking advice of flesh and blood.’ [Gal. 1: 15-16]
- But have confidence, my dear Brother, for according to the promise of the Saviour, he who leaves everything to follow him is amply recompensed even in this world [cf Matt. 19: 29] You already have proof of that, the day you had the joy of making your vows, and you will experience it more and more in proportion to the sacrifices you will have occasion to make in the different circumstances of your apostolic life. In fact, if the pains and tribulations humble and afflict the body, it is in order to elevate and purify the soul. If they mortify our flesh, it is to vivify our spirit. And is it not to purchase cheaply this precious treasure of the Gospel which is the grace and love of Jesus, than to acquire it by a little turning of the earth, which is all physical tribulation is? Yes, without doubt, and one should deem oneself happy in the midst of one’s trials, works, and exercises, when they serve to make us find Jesus Christ and to unite us more perfectly to him by patience and charity which produce perfection. Jesus will be your strength and your virtue in everything you find hardest to bear, as he was the strength of the apostles and the martyrs in their torments and tribulations. Let us esteem a virtue which is lived, exercised, crucified, knowing that it is the sign of divine truth. The root of real good is the cross.
- Let us value nothing else. Let us flee that semblance of religion which cannot put up with anything which shocks and wounds self-love, the denial of all our feelings, and the universal and continual crucifixion of ourselves, like Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ, in order to live in him and for him and to reign with him one day in our heavenly homeland.
- The Fathers and Brothers send you a thousand good wishes and are very appreciative of your good remembrance. For myself, I embrace you most closely, and will give you the blessing you ask with all my heart. May Jesus and Mary bless and conserve you in all times and places, and may your guardian angel accompany and preserve you from all evil and deliver you from every danger. Amen.
- I renew my expression of cordial affection and sincere attachment… F.F.
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