From Marist Studies
Doc. 111 - 22 September 1841.
Letter from Antoine Garin to Jean-Claude Colin. D’après l’expédition, APM Z 208.
Partial translation by Virginia Spencer
- We are in receipt today, August 8, 1841 of a letter of yours dated July 17, 1840, hence four months before my departure from Lyons, in which you urgently recommend that there always be at least 2 priests together. On this point it was hardly possible until now to conform to this justified desire. However, in Hokianga Fathers Servant and Roulleaux will be together, in Akaroa Fathers Séon and Comte, in Kororareka, Fathers Épalle and Garin with Monsignor [Bp Pompallier]. As for the others, they are located close enough so that they can meet from time to time, except for Fr Petit who is 2 days’ travel from a confrère. Frs Bataillon and Chanel, each on their respective island, are visited by Fr Chevron who goes alternately to one and the other. If the Bishop was thus obliged to make some fathers isolated, it is not, as you fear, from a desire to undertake too much at the same time, or to exert an impatient zeal, but it is need; it is the opportunity to lose all or gain almost everything. Because among these people numbers is everything, that is to say that if a great number embrace another religion, one risks having no one, for they will say for example (and indeed they have said it): We cannot become Catholic because the Protestants are in greater number, and in the wars they will all be against us, they will crush us and eat us. On the other hand, they also say to the Bishop, “What do you expect? We know very well that your religion is true, but the others came first; if you had come first we would all be with you. Fortunately Bishop Pompallier visited a little on all sides and began by promising them priests, then they started to say the Catholic prayers, and on our arrival we had the consolation of seeing chiefs coming from all sides to ask for priests, bells, and books, so that now in New Zealand the Catholics are more numerous, at least the future Catholics because all those of whom I speak want to become so, but one does not press oneself to give them baptism for fear they will do, as unfortunately several here have done who, after having received baptism, left and scandalized others by their bad conduct; which is the result of being unable, for lack of priests, to follow up on them, and keep them in their first frame of mind.