Girard0126

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6 January 1842. — Father Joseph Chevron to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, October 2014


This letter without a date can be dated 6 January 1842 from the following facts: the author is writing it on the day of the departure “of the Bishop’s schooner and the corvette for Futuna” [1], and the schooner “is going to the Bay of Islands” [3] now. Father Viard writes in a letter the following month that he left “for Futuna in the Sancta Maria accompanied by the corvette L’Allier. It was Epiphany Day” (Doc 133 [5]) and that after the time needed at Futuna to reclaim Father Chanel’s remains, he went in the schooner to the Bay of Islands (ibid [7])


Father Colin, Superior-General of the Marists, Lyons, France


Father-Superior
[1]
It is with real regret that I see how little time the so hasty departure of the Bishop’s schooner and the corvette for Futuna leaves me to write to you at greater length. You must have received a little letter that I wrote to you last June,[1] to inform you, in the letter which I wrote to my parents, of some details about Futuna which[2] perhaps you would be very interested to know.
[2]
I had asked you, Father, to be so kind as to receive me into the number of Mary’s children, [but] I have not yet received any reply. I asked my parents for some books, always however in submission to your will in this matter; if you thought it was not appropriate, I ask you to cross out this request from my letter.
[3]
The Bishop is staying with us for a few months while awaiting the return of his schooner which is going to the Bay of Islands. I think his presence here will have very good results. We have six churches here, and not yet a single baptism, excepting baptisms done in danger of death. For some months we have experienced a lot of difficulties. May God be blessed in everything. I think Father Bataillon is sending you a detailed account of what has happened in the mission.[3]
[4]
I am beginning to understand the natives and make myself understood. I can lead some catechism lessons, but can give no following speech. When you are past thirty years old, and especially when you are weakened by the climate of this country and the life we lead here, memory is considerably weakened. I have to finish. Please offer my respects to our dear confrères and especially the director. Be assured of the deep respect with which I have the honour to be, Father Superior,
Your devoted
J(oseph) Chevron
[5]
Brothers Joseph, Marie, and Attale who are present here, ask me to offer you their deep respects.

Notes

  1. Read, no doubt: “last May” because it is clear that Chevron refers to his letter of 28th May 1841.
  2. “Qui” read as ‘que’
  3. Cf Bataillon’s letter, Doc 125