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Br Joseph-Xavier to Fr Poupinel, Villa Maria, 19 October 1862



The chief reason for Joseph’s writing this letter only a month after the last is to repeat his request for time away from the procure on Wallis, but he adds a few items of news. The preacher of the brothers’ retreat was to be Isidore Bochettaz (1825-1888), a Savoyard who joined the Society in 1856, a year before coming to the Pacific. He had been working in Samoa until his appointment to Clydesdale. The brothers from Clydesdale were to join them. How many they were we cannot be certain – at least two, with Charles and Charise. By this time Poupinel’s letters from his various ports of call had reached them. It seems that he went back to France, probably on a warship, through the Indian Ocean, calling at Aden and Alexandria before docking at Toulon. Upon his return, one of his first activities was to visit the relatives of his men, among them Joseph’s nephew – probably Emile, whom the brother mentions in a letter the following year (L 170). He was also due to call on their Polynesian student, Soakimi Gata, studying for the priesthood at Propaganda in Rome (rf L 109).

The translation is taken from a photocopy of the original in the APM (VM 22 1.14). The letter bears two postmarks, Paris 14 January 1863 and Lyon 16 January 1863.

Text of the Letter

Very Reverend Father,
Please pardon me for writing to you once more. It is only to tell you that my sentiments are the same, the days still drag on, and to go for a trip to Wallis. I would be so content and if the sickness of the swollen legs or any other sickness became too burdensome, on your return to the islands, if it would be convenient, I would return to the procure. And if the good God calls me to him, I would not be sorry to die in the islands, and especially on Wallis where they pray a lot for the dead.
Nothing new at the procure. We are going to make our retreat next week. The brothers from Clydesdale should be coming. Fr Bochetas (sic) is presenting the subjects for meditation. Br Germanique is here.
Victor asks you to remember him, for his part, he will never forget you, and Setefano neither, who has already asked many times how much time[1] you still have to remain in France. Victor recalls the commissions he has given you, the rosary clasps and the galvanized iron wire for making rosaries. We are waiting for the vegetable seeds that you should be sending us. Our wire nails are finished. (Please) send us some of different lengths when the fathers come.
We have received your news. We were very happy. Fr Joly read your letters from Aten (sic), from Alexandria, and from Lyon. I can assure that although you had some little miseries on your crossing I was happy to see you in Lyon. It’s more than a month now since I said a word in the refectory, but that day I lost my silence a bit. I found you too good since your arrival in Lyon; before even seeing the persons dearest to you, you have visited the relations of your distant children. Yes truly, my Reverend Father, it is too good of you. Since your arrival you have seen Fr Rocher’s parents, you have seen my nephew. I would not know, my Father, what I would need to do to express my thanks for so much goodness. So I will ask the Blessed Virgin to thank you for me. I am sure she will know how to do it better.
I have just received a letter from Soakimi Gata. It has given me pleasure. When you are in Rome, very reverend Father, you can tell him I love him very much. May he always be very good and study his theology well in order to combat the protestants.
I am not writing to the very Reverend Father General. You see that I write quite badly, and I know well that you will communicate to him my intentions. Pardon me, if you will, for all the offenses I do you and have done you. You know how wretched I am. So pray to the good God for me, my very Rev Father, that he will have mercy on me in the last days. And remember me often at the Memento of the holy Mass. I wish you good health and a prompt return.
I greet you in the holy hearts of J.M.J. and believe me your very humble and obedient servant,
Luzy Br J. X. sm.
NB. Everyone is well. Br Genade (sic) has finished the stables. It is a handsome building.


  1. the word is in English in the original.

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