From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

8 January 1840 — Bishop Jean-Baptiste-François Pompallier to Father Jean- Claude Colin, Bay of Islands

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, April 2010

M Superior-General of the Society of Mary, Lyons, France
No. 19
J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph)
St Mary’s Mission [Kororareka] New Zealand

8 January 1840

To Reverend Father Colin, Superior-General of the Society of Mary in Lyons
Very Reverend and much beloved Father
Yesterday I wrote to you briefly and very much in haste, which circumstances too often force me to do. The captain of the ship La Meuse, to whom I had to give my letter, was imminently about to set sail for France. But Providence sent him a contrary letter which obliges him to still remain in the harbour. I am taking advantage of that to give you some news.
With inexpressible joy I received the four excellent priest-subjects and the good catechist Brother you sent me. They left London on the 14th June, arrived in Sydney about the 25th October and at last got to the Bay of Islands on the 10th December 1839. Their stay in Sydney was a bit long, although several ships came from that port to this one during their stay-over. But that little delay was far from being attributable to their ardent desires to come and join me in the (mission) field of the father of the family, but rather to the impossibility of being included in the number of passengers on one of those ships that come here, to the too hasty departure of some others, and the secrecy maintained by a fourth vessel in its voyage from Sydney to the Bay of Islands. Without that I would have been able to have these beloved new confrères a month earlier. Usually it takes only eight to ten days to get from Sydney to the Bay of Islands. Anyway, you can see, Reverend Father, how much quicker are voyages going to the mission via the Cape of Good Hope and New (Holland) than by rounding Cape Horn and calling at some South American ports, where opportunities for getting to this establishment are rare and uncertain and have always been very expensive for me. The three priests in the first despatch you sent me took more than nine months to get from Bordeaux to here, and the four of this last despatch did not take even six months and could have even done it in only five. In the joy I experienced in receiving these dear new assistants, I was downcast that there was only one Brother. Send me at least three Brothers for each priest and let each of them have a fair ability to teach school and to give trade training to my beloved savages. The Brothers can learn the languages quickly now that we have a grammar and a dictionary of the New Zealand language, and their school teaching ministry, by sending them out in twos, will be unimaginably useful – it will be like two priests here.
So how annoyed I am at having to finish; the ship is setting sail, the wind, unfortunately, is becoming fair. Priests, priests, Reverend Father, Brothers, more and more Brothers. Without that, heresy will bring about and is already bringing about great evils throughout my mission. I thought that today it would be good to interest you at greater length with detailed news, but to my great regret, I have to finish. The Fathers on Wallis and Futuna are doing well and their missions fairly well. Father Chevron has left these coasts to visit them and join them. I sent him there on the second day after his arrival here, by way of the fortunate opportunity offered by a ship which was leaving these coasts. He is accompanied by Brother Attale, and in a fortnight or three weeks he ought to be there. You must have received news about those two interesting missions by way of two long letters I sent you more than six months ago. Farewell, Very Reverend Father… […] May the Kingdom of God come […] our sanctification be fulfilled, the salvation of the peoples is the glory of the Church. Those are my new year’s wishes, very beloved Father, for you, for all your children, for the Fathers, the Brothers and the Sisters of the dear Society of Mary. Farewell.
Your most affectionate and grateful and obedient servant
J(ean) B(aptis)te F(ranc)ois Pompallier, Bishop of Maronea and Vic(ar) Ap(ostolic) of Western Oceania.
I am very happy with the letters from Father Poupinel and am edified by his correspondence. Very shortly I will write to him and will put his zeal to the test. I send him in advance the blessing which he asks for so earnestly.
+ J(ean) B(aptis)te F(ranc)ois

Previous Letter List of 1840 Letters Next letter