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Death of a Translator

Natalie Keen died peacefully in her sleep at home on Saturday 25th June 2016 in her 87th year. The gratitude of those involved in Marist Studies for her work on letters on this website. Our prayers for the repose of her soul and for the family that mourn her passing.

Peter McConnell, ex-French Teacher, churns out translations

Peter, with a considerable flair for languages and long career of teaching French has applied some of his time in retirement to doing translations of the LRO material. He has proved to be extremely productive. His translations include the following, some of which are very lengthy:

That last document has a fascinating account of the 1845 Methodist vs Catholic War on Wallis Island. He has also recently completed documents 526 through 533. So far, I have uploaded the following:

Peter has just translated Letters 552, 556, 574, 565, 567, 568. He commented:

This time I have concentrated on Rocher and Mathieu. Rocher is the rather timid and overstressed bursar. He found Douarre more than a handful and I think in tears as he tendered his resignation. However, I was delighted to read that Douarre came to his help and both seem good friends now. Interesting to see how the French bought property, illegal for French to do so in an English colony (Sydney). Does the ends justify the means? Are the French legally obliged to obey the laws of another country? Interesting dilemma. The other letters are from Mathieu, the first time I think that I have met him. He seems open, not overawed by Colin and is a thinker even though a little paranoid, in my opinion not being there nor knowing the facts, that the Protestants are the devil incarnate. Interesting reading. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Douarre clashed with Colin. He certainly would not have accepted 'consubstantiate' instead of 'of one with the father'. C'est pas Français, ça! I can hear him saying it.

Peter was then asked to translate three letters associated with the death of Bishop Epalle:

Of this letter, Peter wrote:

This letter is again a tear jerker with bishop Epalle's murder. The writer uses the Historic Present to add power to his writing but it would be a little corny to copy that tense in English. Caesar got away with it too.

Another block of Peter's work has been uploaded (July 2011)

Peter commented:

Mugniéry's letter shows what a nightmare travelling was and the fate of suitcases etc.

Peter commented:

Verne writes copiously but unfortunately he repeats himself forgetting what he sent in a previous letter and then repeats it. The anecdotes are the same but the wording changes so I couldn't simply copy and paste. It is still grippingly interesting. One line made me almost weep. He spent 13 months getting to his mission station of Rotuma. Remember voyages in those days was not a Cook's Tour but a voyage of discovery fraught with dangers.

Peter commented:

I am curious about Brother Charles, a keen bush doctor with the surname of Aubert. Mother Aubert in NZ was famous for her potions and care of the sick. It is likely that the two are related. Some of the medical terms are challenging. My doctor-mentor needed to scratch his head as I was doing to myself trying to figure out what the ailments were. I am guessing the diagnosis was incorrect at times but the poor man isolated in the wilderness of Oceania before bacteria was known and able to be treated, he did a fine job.

Website about Peter Chanel

The Marist Internet Project has launched a new permanent website dedicated to St Peter Chanel. The original site was designed some years back and has recently been restored. The address is:

Natalie Keen provides translations

Natalie has provided two fine translations:

Douarre requests his benefactor to "never to forget in your earnest prayers your little bishop" She has continued with "her little bishop" and translated:

Since then she has switched Bishops and translated:

Mary Williamson and the Sydney Procure

Mary Williamson has translated 0636, 16 Jun 1847 - Fr Etienne Chaurain to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney (March 2010) and Tony Kennedy SM linked this story with the two historic paintings which have just been rediscovered. This story is now recounted on a page of the site devoted to the Sydney Procure. This location is also referred to in the subsequent letter translated by Mary: 0637, 22 June, 1847 – Fr Jean-Louis Rocher to Fr Jean-Claude Colin Mary has translated more letters including the VERY long and very interesting account of the missions in the Solomons and the first mission on Woodlark:

More work from Mary on the situation of the missionaries in Wallis:

I have now (Oct 2010) located and uploaded the translation Mary sent a couple of months ago of:

Letters of Léopold Verguet

Fr Charles Girard SM has just provided a very fine translation of some of the letters of Léopold Verguet. So far the following have been uploaded:

Biographical Notes on the First Wave of Missionaries

Fr Michael O'Meeghan privately published this information. It has now (Jan 2010) been uploaded in digital form. More work needs to be done to link names with documents. See Biographical Notes.

Fr Jack Ward SM provides translations

Fr Jack has just provided the translation of a very long and fascinating letter - Girard0451 Fr Xavier Montrouzier writing to his brother (a Jesuit priest) about the mission in San Cristobal in the Solomons (now Makira). Fr Ward has worked on this translation for some time in his retirement at St John Vianney House in Auckland. He has also provided the following:

More translations from Fr Brian Quin

Translations of 21 documents which Brian made in 2008 have been made available on CD by Marist Archives Wellington I have formatted and uploaded all of them, namely:

Darn, I was caught out by the fact that Brian was using an earlier Girard numbering. What was doc 137 is now Doc 146. What was 138 is 147 and what was 156 is correct! (I am confused) - Merv

Letters of Jean-Simon Bernard

June 2009 Amelia has provided some very high quality translations of letters of Fr Bernard. He gives an unvarnished account of the New Zealand mision. Girard0242, Girard0272 and Girard0330b. Amelia also provides a note about issues involved with the transcription and the translation Talk:Girard0242

The Book Launch

The New Zealand Launch of the Lettres reçues d’Océanie 1836-1854. was on Thursday 16 April 2009 at the National Archives, Wellington, at 5.30pm - 7pm. On Friday, 17 April, at Rutherford House, VUW, from 9am - 4pm there was a symposium with international and national speakers, to welcome and discuss the present use of this tremendous resource.

Conference at Good Shepherd College

Saturday 25 April 2009 there were papers presented on The Letters of the Early Missionaries and a book launch of the talks from the 2007 Auckland and Suva symposia 'Catholic Beginnings in Oceania'. Fr Charles Girard SM, editor of the 10 volume collection of the letters, came from America, and Fr Alois Greiler SM came from the Marist Archives in Rome.

Publication of the Colloquia of Suva and Auckland

On 18 December 2008 the final contract was signed with the Australasian Theological Forum (ATF), Australia for the publishing of the talks given at the Auckland and Suva symposia 2007 on ‘Catholic Beginnings in Oceania’. The book will be launched at the general house, 21 May 2009. Other book launches are planned at other venues.

Newly Discovered Primary Material

A trove of letters of Br Joseph-Xavier Luzy, who was in the first party of Catholic Missionaries to set sail for Western Oceania (with Bishop Pomapallier and Fr Pierre Chanel SM), has been discovered in France. I heard about it from Sr Teri SM of the Marist Sisters historical centre in Belley.

Colin Sup

I have received a pdf copy of Volume 1 of Colin Sup: Documents for the study of the generalate of Jean-Claude Colin (1836-1854), which are the other end of the conversation we are researching in Girard's Lettres reçues d’Océanie. Many of the documents are letters written to Oceania. This compilation, the work of Fr Gaston Lessard SM, is in the original language, French. However Gaston has also made available to us the work of himself and Fr Anthony Ward SM, a 1985 English translation of some of those letters: Draft edition of the letters by Jean-Claude Colin under his generalship (1836-1854) The (minor) obstacle here is that the files concerned are formatted for an old word-processing program called XYWrite. As I reformat the letters, I am uploading them and they will be listed on ColinSup Contents. The originals were only draft translations (albeit the work of experts), and I may have introduced mistakes in my re-formatting so there is room for improvement. Comments and corrections are welcomed. - Merv

New Caledonia's Flora and Fauna

Brenda has uploaded part of her translation of Fr Xavier Montrouzier's 1846 account of the abundance of unusual animals, plants and molluscs in New Caledonia. This document was rife with technical terms and possible neo-logisms. Language experts may care to check the translation and make suggestions on the talk page (click on the discussion tab at the top of Girard0450). It is also a terrific read - an intelligent priest trying to describe in words what a tropical pacific island is like.

University of Waikato PhD Students

At work on translating some of the Lettres reçues d’Océanie are two PhD students from the French Section of the Humanities Department at the University of Waikato. They are Sandy and Ronja both working on documents by Petit-Jean as part of their doctoral studies. The fruits of Ronja's work can be seen in documents Girard0053 and Girard0087.

Anglican Historical Sources

Project Canterbury is a free online archive of out-of-print Anglican texts and related modern documents. Their latest newsletter includes these remarks:

We have finally completed the full digitization of the Occasional Papers of the Melanesian Mission, 1892-97. These can be found in the Oceania directory, then scrolling down to Melanesia and 1892. These are of considerable historical, anthropological and linguistic interest. Among other things, Melanesian Mission work among indentured labourers in Northern Queensland is documented. While the MM was never keen on pidjin, there is included the text of the Ten Commandments in Queensland pidgin.
We have added a Pitcairn Island subdirectory It includes all the articles in the Colonial Church Chronicle on Pitcairn from 1850-55. These articles portray the reformed Bounty mutineers as a kind of perfect utopian community. There is also a bit of documentation of pre-Bounty Polynesian artefacts found on the island, including Easter Island-like statues.
A Handbook of the Melanesian Mission (Auckland c. 1924) is quite rare. Among other things, it includes a chapter of recipes suitable for missionaries to use.
at Sketches from Life in Melanesia by Ellen Wilson (1927) documents her work among Melanesian women and often is a reflection on suffering and early death.
There is a Maori translation (1882) of one of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce's children's stories, Agathos There is also an account of the launch of the Maori translation of the Bible in 1858
I have been collaborating with Fr. Michael Blain in Wellington on a "Historical Note on the Diocese of Melanesia and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea (1885-1949)" Michael is updating both his online Blain Biographical Directories of NZ (including Polynesia and Melanesia) Anglican clergy ordained before 1930, and (pre-Annexation) Diocese of Honolulu Anglican clergy. These updated directories should appear soon on Project Canterbury to replace the existing directories.
These are the highlights of recent additions. We always welcome new material for the site. Warm wishes, Terry (Bishop Terry Brown, Auki, Malaita Province, Solomon Islands)