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Br Abraham to Br Francois, Villa Maria, Sydney, 12 March 1859

LO 75

Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS


Abraham and Ptolomee left Bordeaux on 24 October 1858 in a party of missionaries which included four priests, one coadjutor brother, and three sisters of the Third Order of Mary. Abraham mentions here only one of his companions, Maurice Tresallet (1828-1894), a Marist since 1853, who spent his life on the New Zealand mission. It took them three days to reach the open sea but from then on the voyage was uneventful until they were near its end in Bass Strait. They arrived in Sydney on 15 February and did not set out for the islands until 5 June (rf L 145).

There is a copy of this letter in cahier 2 (pp 29-30) in the AFM.

Text of the Letter

My very reverend Brother Superior,
Although I am a great distance away from you, my Reverend Br Superior, I will never forget you before God, or the Society of the Little Brothers of Mary which I am very happy to belong to. How sweet it is to recall the joyful times one has spent in that holy house.
We left Pauillac on the 25th October. This little town is 20 hours sailing from Bordeaux. After 2 days at anchor in the Gironde we cleared its dangerous heads. Our voyage was a very good one as far as the straits of B[ass]. There the good God wanted to give us a little test. First we were becalmed and then we had a contrary wind. We thought we would be there only a few days – we spent 17. I was kept busy during the crossing saying rosaries and singing hymns with Fr Tresalet [sic]. We had the good fortune of assisting at Mass very frequently and receiving Holy Communion. On Christmas Day we sang High Mass at midnight in the dining room. All on the ship assisted at it in a very edifying way. In the evening we also had solemn Vespers in the same room. It resembled a real chapel with all the decorations which had been prepared for the feast.
My health was quite good all voyage, except for a month when I was seasick. We arrived in Sydney on the 14th of February. I was very pleased to meet Brs Augule, Emery, and Gennade. Br Augule has asked me to pass on his respects, and also to the Assistants. He is always well. He is very happy and has no time to be bored; he is very busy making shoes. He is very grateful for the little souvenirs you have sent him.
Each evening we perform the exercises for the month of St Joseph. We don’t know yet when we will be leaving for the islands.
Best wishes to good Br Louis-Marie and the other Assistants and all the Brothers I know.
Farewell, my Reverend Brother, pray for me.
Your very devoted and obedient servant,
Br Abraham.

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