From Marist Studies
22 January 1842 — Mr Jean-François Yvert to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, New Zealand
Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, November 2007
- 22 January 1842
- To the Very Reverend Father Colin, Superior General of the Marists, Lyons, Rhône
- Ad majorem Dei gloriam et Dei genetricis honorem
- New Zealand
- Very Reverend Father
- I am at least breaking that silence which my position had rigorously imposed on me since our departure from London. Ah! certainly, it was costly for a child grateful for spending so many months in the bosom of the most tender of fathers without pouring out its heart. But ought I prefer my satisfaction to the common interest? You have already understood me. A poor lay man, a stranger to the members of the numerous family whom you made responsible for taking him to the Antipodes, had to be very prudent, very circumspect in everything he did. So I contented myself, at each stop on this great voyage, with begging my spiritual Superior to inform you that I was happy, very happy. Still acting on the same principles, I had to wait at the Bay of Islands until everyone had arrived, and had had the time needed to communicate to you their thoughts on such an extraordinary voyage.
- Now, Very Reverend Father, I can freely correspond with you, and tell you how great is the veneration I have for your virtues, how sincere is the affection which binds me so closely to your kind person. My letters from Europe have already, more than once, expressed to you the feelings of a grateful son. Absence, far from lessening these feelings, seems to give them new strength. But it will be only in heaven, where you have already committed yourself to lead me, in the arms of Jesus and Mary, that you will realise perfectly everything my heart feels for you.
- However, Very Reverend Father, although I am well-established in correspondence with you, I am not intending to introduce into my letters the least detail about the mission. Our worthy bishop, our good Fathers, who have quite special knowledge in dealing with this important subject, will enlighten your mind more effectively than could a wretched person like myself, so little mortified, so weak in resisting the assaults of vanity. However, my imperfections, my faults have not prevented the members of the mission whom I have come to know up till now from showing me friendship, even respect. For my part, I love them all dearly, without exception. To sum up, I am as settled and as happy as during the course of our long voyage. The most blessed Virgin, who, according to the excellent Father Montargis, has done so much for me, does not seem to have ceased her favours; tender Mary, whom another person not less dear has assured me was going ahead of me in a voyage of more than 8000 leagues [40,000 km], will not abandon at the ends of the earth a child who has served her for such a long time in the chapel of la Déliverance, and whose name rests in her heart at Fourvière.
- Not wanting to waste your precious time, I am going to beg you, my loving and very loved father, as I finish, to not forget in your prayers him who still thinks [himself] to be the most devoted to you of your whole family.
- Kororareka 22 January 1842
- My respects and my regards to the venerable Father Forest, to good Father Poupinel, to the excellent Father Girard, and to all those good fathers in France.
- parish priest of St Peter’s in Caen, was Yvert’s confessor before his leaving for Oceania