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Br Elie-Regis to Fr Poupinel, Kaueroa, Wanganui, 14 May 1865



Elie-Regis is replying to a letter written by Poupinel from Sydney after his return from his visitation of the New Zealand mission. In his reply he talks about his desire for a transfer.

Augustin Sauzeau, after a short period with Forest in Napier, was recalled to Wellington pending re-assignment. Before his appointment to Picton in November 1864, he must have spent time in Wanganui and Kauaeroa, where Elie-Regis spoke to him about his desire for a transfer to another station. Sauzeau explains this in a letter to Poupinel at the end of February 1865. At the time the brother was quite keen to go, since Sauzeau says he would have been quite ready to accompany him when he left (letter of 27 February 1865, APM). Apart from the fact that Elie was not happy at Kauaeroa and the ever present menace of the Hauhau on the river, he does not provide the reason behind the request. But the losses of Moutoa the previous year had struck the mission a heavy blow, and this year fire had destroyed the church, so the Marists must have been feeling fairly disheartened. Sauzeau himself was hoping Elie could join him at Picton where he was setting up a new station and help him with the building work as well as take charge of temporal affairs. But with the rebuilding of the church on his hands, Elie could not leave at that time [4].

Poupinel was unable to include Wanganui in his 1866 visit either, and when Elie did get his transfer two years later, it was to Waitara in Taranaki.

The translation was made from the photocopy of the original in Jessie Munro’s selection of letters to Poupinel in the Villa Maria files in the APM.

Text of the Letter

My rev. Father,
I received your letter the 9th of May; it gave me great pleasure, but my pleasure would have been greater if you had come yourself. I think that next time you will not pass by without seeing us.
You tell me that rev Fr Sauzeau told you that I would like a transfer. It’s true. Some time ago I even wrote a letter for Monsignor for that purpose and then I reconsidered for fear of acting against the will of God and I didn’t send it. I was waiting for you to speak about all these petty miseries. Fr Sauzeau must have told you something about them. I will not note for you now what gave me the desire to change because it would take too long, all the more as I have made the sacrifice.
I will confine myself merely to telling you that I am happy enough now I concern myself little with places and creatures. I desire only God and my salvation, to do God’s Will in everything that is not shown by yours. I try to carry out as well as possible all my duties, the spiritual as well as the temporal, with patience, while awaiting the dawn of a fine day when you will visit us.
I have now some resemblance to the hermits of old who used to do things and then undo them again. Thus I am demolishing the old chapel to make a new one but larger, of the same type as Fr Pezant’s. I don’t think it will be finished when you come. I assure you that it cost me a lot to pull down what I had put up with so much labour. That is what they want, well, so be it. So you see that I cannot now leave Fr Lampila with all the work on his hands.
Your very humble and obedient servant,
Br Elie Regis.
My best wishes to dear Brother Joseph.

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