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10 January 1838 — Circular letter of Jean-Claude Colin to the Fathers and Brothers of the Society of Mary

From the microfilm of the original sent in the author’s hand addressed to Marcellin Champagnat, AFM

It exists in the AFM in various lithographed versions sent out; one lithograph sent to the brothers of Saint-Didier-sur-Rochefort (Loire) is conserved in APM 233.71 Édition en Circ. P. F. M. 1, p. 249s.

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Monsieur / Monsieur Champagnat supérieur des frères de Notre / Dame de l’Ermitage et en son absence à celui / qui le remplace / Notre Dame de l’Ermitage / par St Chamond / Loire

BELLEY -- ---- 1838 — -- --MOND -- 12 JANV 1838

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Belley, 10 January 1838

My very dear confrères and Brothers in Jesus and Mary,
A last letter from Valparaiso and written at the beginning of August informs us that Monsignor Pompallier and our other confrères and Brothers are still in that city, but are about to re-embark for their destination. It is reasonable for us then to presume that they are now in the midst of their poor islanders, that they are treading on this wild land, the object of their most ardent wish, this land which in the designs of Providence has become the portion of the children of Mary.
It is our bounden duty, we who are denied the signal blessing of being able to share the honourable works of our very worthy confrères, to think seriously about procuring for them, workers filled with the spirit of God, and who, under the auspices of the most tender and most powerful of mothers, will fly to their aid and show their eagerness to assist them to cultivate this wild 33. Already the pastor of pastors, the Sovereign Pontiff, through the pen of his ambassador Franzoni, Prefect of the sacred congregation of Propaganda, wrote to us on the 26th October, urges us to send them reinforcements of apostles and to send them out there as fast as we can. Consequently, my dear brothers, we shall set about making preparations as soon as possible for the departure of three or four priests with two Brother catechists.
Without doubt, it is no small consolation to me as I see the zeal of several among us earnestly requesting to be part of this second apostolic colony, and indeed, that pure, generous zeal is not in our estimation the smallest proof of Heaven's protection. There is no difficulty in finding workers, the choosing of them is going to embarrass me; for, in view of our member, we cannot allow all those who ask, to leave. Here, more than anywhere else, is where I feel the full burden of my position.
This is where I need all the members of the Society to be one with me in fervently asking Jesus and Mary to come to my assistance, to enlighten me and make known to me those whom they intend for the sublime vocation of the apostleship; for such a vocation can only come from on high. This is why I am asking all members of the Society, of whatever branch they belong, to be kind enough to redouble their fervour in offering to God specially for my intention from now until the feast of the Purification, 1. An hour's adoration before the Blessed Sacrament; 2. All priests, at least one mass, each Brother and each Sister three communions; 3. All, three Hail Marys, every day. Each member may add to this other prayers, as his zeal prompts him, such as offering the Holy Office, the Rosary. You may even call upon the Holy Souls with whom you have a relationship, joining your prayers with theirs for the same purpose. With these sentiments of the tenderest affection, my dear confrères and Brothers, I dare to call myself.
Your most humble and obedient servant
Collin (Sup).
Kindly read this letter to all the Brothers.