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Brothers Colomb (Pierre Poncet) and Basile (Michel Monchanin) to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Kororareka, 8 May 1842

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, July 2008


To Reverend Father Superior: Puylata


A M D G et D G H[1]
Kororareka 8 May 1842


Very Reverend Father
[1]
It is so that I can receive good advice from your lips, some salutary advice, that I want to inform you about my frame of mind. We are very much here as we were in France, and we distance ourselves in vain from our country, we do not, by reason of that, leave behind our bad habits. So it was that in France I had bouts of bad moods from time to time, then the others would sometimes react to that with words that were brusque and lacking in authority. Well now, that still happens to me sometimes. I am criticised for wasting my time sometimes at work, because I want to do things I have not be asked to do, and that distracts me from my main task. I also have the fault of wanting to hold on to my own ideas too much and being a bit obstinate in my way of seeing things. I am not accommodating enough with my Brothers, and I sometimes speak to them in words that cause them some pain. My Superiors think that I am too inclined to distance myself from the others, to not talk to them easily enough; so during the little times of recreation that we can take, I am tempted to not go with them. But I hope that with the help of the Blessed Virgin I will succeed in correcting myself of my bad habits; if I rely only on my own strength, I have everything to fear, but the good Virgin must have all the glory for it. During this month which is entirely consecrated to honouring her, I want to redouble my zeal in order to beg her to correct me from all my faults, and for my part I will try to make efforts to correspond to graces. I am inclined to occupy myself in useless things, little nothings, and that is perhaps what is lessening my liking for my main tasks. As well, I am seen to go too roughly when I use tools, and that I work in a way that leads me sometimes to be responsible for these tools being damaged more quickly than if they were used more carefully. I want in future to act with more caution so as to have nothing to reproach myself with in this matter, and so to care for the things entrusted to me and which the mission needs so much.
[2]
Very Reverend Father, I strongly commend myself to your fervent prayers, and when you go to Fourvière do not forget me in the presence of the Blessed Virgin. Please, as well, commend me to the prayers of my dear Brothers to whom you will have the chance to give news about me.
[3]
Yours very respectfully, Very Reverend Father Superior
on behalf of Brother Colomb
Father Garin
[4]
PS Brother Basile also wants me to give you an account of his interior life; he regrets not being able to write, so as to be able to do it himself; I have spoken to you about this in my letter, and I think I have said enough[2] about it to let you see how he is. He has this in his favour, among his faults, that he early recognises his mistakes, that he bemoans his bad moods, the ways he has taken on, ways which sometime cause him to be take for a Maori, for having had two Maoris in his kitchen, he speaks and exclaims like them, without wanting to. He often asks me to warn him when I notice his mistakes, and always appears in the holy place[3] recollected in a fittingly edifying way. I am striving more and more to correct him: I hope that helped by Mary he will change for the better.
Father Garin


Notes

  1. To the greater glory of God and the glory of the Mother of God
  2. je crois en avoir dû suffisament – does he mean dit? - translator’s note
  3. the chapel, no doubt - translator’s note