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24 Dec 1836 — Étienne Terraillon to François Pompallier, St Chamond

From a photocopy of the original sent, conserved in the archives of the Diocese of Auckland. Page 4 not photocopied.

Text of the Letter

[p. 4]
(address readable through a transparency:)
Monseigneur l'Eveque de Maronée
Vicaire apostolique de l'Océanie occidentale
Au Havre
Seine inférieure.

(Two postmarks - illegible)

[p. 1]
Although busy to the point of not knowing which way to turn, I hasten to reply briefly to the few words your Grace has so kindly sent me. I am so deeply touched by the mark of esteem and friendship that you have given me in this instance, and I offer you my sincere thanks.
I had long been under the impression that you were on the high seas, plagued by storms. Several times during the day I entreated our holy Mother to be your star and to encircle you in the mantle of her powerful protection. On learning that you were still in port I admired and blessed Divine Providence. You needed the time which is granted to you. Since your return from Rome, you have not had a moment to breathe. Your impaired health would not have had the rest in needed, on the sea. Nor had you much idea about the country that awaits you. It had not been possible for you to communicate with your family in the way that makes several hearts blend into one. It seems clear then, Monsignor, that this delay, so vexatious on the surface, is after all simply a blessing from that Divine Providence that is keeping a careful watch over you. I shall pass on you welcome messages to our whole circle of friends whose regrets and admiration you have taken away with you. We are praying and are having prayers said for you. The greater the distance that separates us, the closer and dearer you are to us. We already love those you are about to evangelize. They appear already to be our own. We shall be more than delighted to do all in our power for you, and indeed consider ourselves privileged in being able to contribute to the success of a mission so calculated to arouse a holy envy, to use the expression of the Bishop of Belley.
We commend ourselves to your fervent prayers. The Lord cannot but hear those who, to make Him known and loved, who go off to the ends of the earth, undeterred either by what they hold dear or by what they have to fear. If it were not improper on my part, I would ask you to call to mind St. Francis Xaxier. You are vis à vis the Society of Mary what he was vis à vis the Society of Jesus. You are in le Havre just as he was in Lisbon. Francis is your name as it was his. He saw vast seas strewn with rocks and whipped up by storms, he experienced hunger, thirst.[1] What can you see different? At the sight of all these things he cried out: adhuc amplius, adhuc amplius But I am completely forgetting my good manners. I do beg your pardon. I embrace you tenderly, you and all[2] ours who have the good fortune to journey with you. If you allow me, I shall offer them all my sincere affection. I leave you in the hearts of Jesus and Mary. That is where you belong! We are so safe there! That is where I arrange to meet you every day. Ah! if only after your example, I could be there for ever like gold in the fiery furnace! Deign to accept the humble respects of one who has the pleasure to be,

the very h(umble) and ob(edient) s(ervant) of your Grace,
Terraillon, Parish priest of N.D.
[p. 3]
P.S. A thousand and one best wishes to Fr. Servant who was kind enough to write to me. I beg him to accept my grateful thanks.
St. Chamond 24th October 1836.
The parish priest of Izieux and my curates were very appreciative of your remembrance of them. They ask you to accept this token of their deep respect.


  1. for and it is...
  2. for + ours