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Fr Pierre Bataillon to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, 25 October 1836

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, October 2006. Reviewed by C Girard 2010

JMJ To the greater glory of God and the honour of the Mother of God.
25 November 1836[1]

Reverend Superior
I am taking the liberty of writing to you in order to embrace you again in Our Lord Jesus Christ; and as well to commend myself very especially to your good prayers and those of my worthy brothers, the children of Mary. Never have they been better fulfilled than in me, those words of the Holy Spirit: infirma mundi elegit Deus ut…. [2] And doesn't this truth point to the hope of always having the help of my brothers’ prayers which lead me to undertake such a difficult career; so I beg you in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ: remember always at the holy altar the youngest and most miserable of your children.
You know that we have hung a heart[3] around the neck of our good Lady of Fourvière; you may know about that. It is the finest of all and on it can be read the words: Missionaries of Polynesia. It encloses a very long strip of paper on which one can put two columns of names on one side and two on the other; so thousands can be written there; please God it will be soon filled. We have also put in this symbol of our filial piety a little consecration of ourselves and our savages to our good mother; we were really sorry not to be able to show you all these things and submit them to your judgment; but it will be easy to examine everything in private.
I would like to tell you, to console you, how much people everywhere have become interested in our beloved mission, and especially how much they have prayed and are still praying; I have witnessed and will never forget some very moving scenes of this sort. One young woman among others quite pious, not content with praying constantly for us, had the thought of getting everyone to pray, and of perpetuating the memory of our mission by having printed a prayer for this intention behind a picture in which the Blessed Virgin is pictured at the foot of the cross. The invocation would be placed at the bottom of the image and the prayer on the other side. I saw this thought as a type of inspiration; I spoke about it to Bishop Pompallier, and this idea greatly pleased him. He made me responsible for sending you the prayer and invocation which this good soul had given me, and to refer them to your judgment. If with the permission of ordinaries this little lithograph could be printed, it would greatly help maintain the spirit which could spread among the faithful about our mission and would gain the glory of God and of his Divine Mother. I have directed the lady to Father Chanut at La Favorite. He will be able to introduce her to you. She is taking responsibility for all costs. We thought that it was perhaps not appropriate to name Polynesia in the prayer in question, but it would be easy to insert a word there which would indicate our beloved mission; all the more because it is quite new, and it came to birth in Lyons. In what concerns the whole of the prayer and the invocation, you would arrange it as you please; we like what I am sending you very much, especially the end.
We are very grateful for the important advice which you were kind enough to send us in your last letter; we will all take a copy of it, and for myself I promise that I will preserve it very carefully and will try to put it into practice during my whole life.
Brother Marie Nizier’s age has given us a bit of difficulty, as you foresaw,[4] however we have got out of it by getting him to go on a quick journey to his parents’ home.
We are all well and are all very happy. We embrace you in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Father Chanel, who is going to write to you a little later on, has especially urged me to pay you his respects. Please accept mine and please remember always, Father Superior, that I am your very humble and obedient servant and child
Bataillon, priest apostolic. 25 October 1836
We are not embarking until the 30th. I am going to Le Havre today with Father Chanel and Brother Marie-Nizier to make the last purchases. Bishop Pompallier and the others will follow us in two or three days. Adieu! Until we meet in heaven!!!


  1. Postmark -- 25 October -- and data given at the end indicate a slip of the pen. ‘Nov’ should be ‘Oct’ - translator’s note
  2. (What is) weak in the world God has chosen so as (to confound what is strong) – 1 Corinthians 1:27
  3. heart-shaped container --translator’s note
  4. Jean-Marie Delorme was born on 26 August 1816, and so was only 20 years old when he left for the missions. As Pompallier notes to Colin -- 28 November 1836 -- being a minor, Brother Marie-Nizier was thought unable to give power of attorney, especially as his parents were still alive - translator’s note

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