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31 May 1841 — Father Pierre Bataillon to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis

Translated by Mary Williamson, June 2020

Based on the document sent, APM OC 418.1.

Half sheet of paper. In the register of letters, ED 1, with the number 66. Extracts of § 2 edited in Rozier, Chanel … known, doc. 60.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph.

Wallis, 31 May 1841
Western Oceania.

My Very Reverend Superior,
The occasion that I have to entrust this letter seems so risky and so distant that I only want to risk a few words.
I am alive and healthy on the island of Wallis. I have with me Father Chevron and three Brothers, who are Brother Joseph, Brother Attale and Brother Marie Nizier.[1] Father Chevron and Brother Attale who arrived here last May, 1840, went first to live on the island of Futuna [2] and at the end of the same year Father Chanel was good enough to send them back to me.[3] As for Brother Marie Nizier, he arrived from Futuna only 15 days ago. It was to escape from death. He told us that the reverend and good Father Chanel had been martyred by the natives of Futuna. He had only five or six novices and as others were interested in converting, to cut it all short, they went and massacred Father Chanel on 28 April 1841. It very much seemed that if he had been visited by the Bishop he would still be alive; but we would not have a martyr! What glory for the Society of Mary to already have a martyr.
The Bishop has not yet come to visit us. One could say that he no longer thinks of us. His tardiness seems to cause a lot of ill effects and I fear that the two islands will escape us if he continues to delay. Fiat voluntas Dei. [4]
Out of 2300 inhabitants that we counted on Wallis, about 2000 have been converted. We have not yet made any formal baptisms. I will give you all the details at another time.
Please send the following few words to my father.
I ask your blessing and the support of your prayers.
Your very humble and obedient servant, Bataillon, Missionary apostolic.


  1. Brothers Joseph-Xavier (Jean-Marie Luzy), Attale (Jean-Baptiste Grimaud) and Marie-Nizier (Jean-Marie Delorme).
  2. Having arrived on Wallis on 9 May 1840 (cf. doc. 62, § 46), They left on 15 May for Futuna where they arrived on the following day (cf. doc. 62, § 51-52).
  3. In response to Bataillon’s request (overwhelmed by the flood of conversions on Wallis), Chanel wrote to him on 19 November 1840 that he agreed “to Father Chevron leaving us to go with Brother Attale to share your concerns and your consolations” (Rozier, Chanel’s Writings, doc. 61, § 1). Chevron and Attale (Grimaud) left for Wallis the following day, 20 November (cf. Rozier, Chanel’s writings, p.496. and the less precise information of doc. 125, § 6 and n.8, § 19, and also doc. 94, § 1).
  4. Cf. Matt 6:10: Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra (thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven); cf. Matt 26:42: Pater mi, si non potest hic calix transire nisi bibam illum, fiat voluntas tua (“ My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass me by without my drinking it, thy will be done.”); cf. Luke 22:42: Pater si vis, transfer calicem istum a me: verumtamen non mea voluntas, sed tua fiat (“Father, if it be thy will, take this cup away from me. Let not my will but thine be done.”); cf. Ac 21.14: Et cum ei suadere non possemus, quievimus dicentes: Domini voluntas fiat (So as he would not be persuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

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