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Br Louis-Marie to Mgr Elloy, N.D. De Saint-Genis-Laval, 20 September 1870

CSG 4: 533


In his circular of 20 September 1870 (CSG 4: 151), Louis-Marie writes: “I recommend very especially to your prayers our dear Br Ulbert, of the Province of Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, and our dear Br Landry, of the Province of Aubenas, who leave, at the end of this month, with Mgr Elloy, several Marist Fathers, and several Sisters, for the Mission of Appia [sic] in Oceania. This is the first school establishment we are founding in those islands. Let us pray God to bless it and to bless all the Missions of Oceania, with which Providence has associated us, since their beginnings.”

This letter, addressed to “Mgr Elloy, Vicar Apostolic, in London”, was taken by the two brothers when they went to join him in that city prior to their departure for Oceania. Ulbert (Louis Romestan 1835-1898) entered the novitiate at St Paul in 1852 and took his final vows in 1857. Apia was his first appointment as director. Landry (Andre Tourvielhe 1835-1902) entered the La Begude novitiate in 1858 and made profession in 1863. They were responding to Elloy’s request for brothers to run his school for catechists at Saleufi. Louis-Marie had in mind that they might be joined once there by the two PFM already in Samoa, Abraham and Lucien, as Bataillon had proposed (rf L 192).

The reason for Elloy’s early return from Europe was the outbreak of war between France and Prussia in mid July which had brought the Vatican Council to an abrupt end. Before that, however, Rome had partly resolved the problems of Central Oceania by detaching Samoa and making it a separate vicariate under Elloy’s charge. The new vicar apostolic made no delay in collecting workers for his mission. When the two brothers joined him in London, he had assembled a party of 14, 4 priests and a brother of the Society, the two Little Brothers of Mary, and no fewer than 7 sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. They left London on 2 October on the ‘Patriarch’ and arrived in Apia the following April.

Text of the Letter

My Lord,
I am happy to present to Your Lordship the two Catechist Brothers you were good enough to ask of me.
It has not been possible for me to have had them earlier. But I hope that despite the delay and despite the invasion, they will reach you in time.
Under the authority of the bishop and of the Father in charge of the station, our dear Brother Ulbert will direct the establishment, in conformity with our Rules and Constitutions. Dear Brother Landry will assist him with whoever you wish to join them.
I hope, Your Lordship, that you will be happy with these two Brothers. Both are very pious and capable. They will be able to give service with the singing, and I have reason to believe they will quickly learn the language of the country.
I recommended them to work on it already during the voyage, and to pick up the basics of English.
It is with a very special satisfaction, my Lord, that I confide these two religious to your fatherly care, as much for the spiritual, as for the temporal. I know that you will be a kind father and a trustworthy guide for them. This morning we prayed for Your Lordship, for them, and for all who are departing with them. The community Mass with Communion and Benediction was offered for this intention.
Please too, my Lord, remember us before the good God and allow me to throw myself at your feet to ask for your special blessing, and ask you to accept, with all my wishes for a happy sailing, the profound and very affectionate respect with which I am, my Lord, etc….
Br Louis-Marie. Sup. Gen.

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