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1 June 1842 — Father Euloge Reignier to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Tauranga

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, January 2015


To the very Reverend Father Colin, Superior of the Society of Mary, 4 Barthélemy Rise, Lyons


Tauranga 1st June 1842


Very Reverend Superior
[1]
I remember that on the morning of my leaving Lyons, I wanted to see you, but I knocked on your door without reply, I could not have the consolation of seeing you once more. I was consoled by a letter from Father Poupinel who wrote to me, while I was still in Boulogne, that you were going to pray in a special way, and get other people to pray, for the happy outcome of our long journey. Jesus and Mary heard you, and everything worked out as you wished.
[2]
I will not mention the various circumstances of our life at sea, of our journey to Port Nicholson, to Auckland – my confrères will have told you about them better than I could, and, besides, I have said something about them in some letters that have passed through your hands.
[3]
I was not able to appropriately renew my religious vows on the ship, but on the great day of Pentecost,[1] I had the great happiness at the Bay of Islands, so that I truly rejoiced to be able to beg you to include me as one of your children. I pronounced my vows in the presence of Father Garin, beside a young Englishman, a theology student, who made the vow of obedience.[2] Already the number of your children includes several nations. May the words of benediction uttered by the Holy Father be fulfilled from day to day, and may the Society of Mary be able to spread to the ends of the universe for the glory of the holy names of Jesus and Mary.
[4]
On Pentecost Monday[3] I embarked with Father Comte to go and replace Father Borjon and Rozet, appointed to Port Nicholson, who are now near the middle of the North Island on the east coast.[4] Our journey was very long – a fortnight. Many natives came to visit us in the stations which we have set up in various bays. Father Comte got off and visited several of their villages to lead prayers, to satisfy several of them who were asking for books. We had to stay up very late at night copying prayers to give them in place of books which we didn’t have and so sent them away from the ship, to which they had rushed.
[5]
At one time we thought we had really ship-wrecked. The captain had anchored his ship behind a rock in a not very safe situation. Suddenly at two o’clock in the morning a violent wind arose, which began to drive the ship from above its anchors, and cast it towards the land. The captain shouted, “My ship is lost: get to land, get to land!” In a quarter of an hour, everyone was cast ashore in two attempts: we spent the rest of the night under the stars of Providence. Thanks be to God, the violent force of the wind did not damage the ship. The next morning we returned to it and set off to be driven into the open sea and be really buffeted for several days.
[6]
At Tauranga we had the happiness of greeting good Father Pèzant; a hundred savages rushed to the shore when we arrived, several came and offered us their shoulders so allowing us to get out of the canoe without getting wet. Here we have four natives more or less dangerously wounded. They had been lined up on the side of the Protestants, but however they asked for us; the Protestants are very humiliated by the fact that in the last murders they have just committed, they have almost eaten still more of the vanquished people’s chiefs. We are going to meet in order to combine into two, if we can, four establishments, in each of which there would be a Father. It’s my heart’s desire that everything succeed in this way, without which the good of the mission will suffer too much. In these arrangements, [if] carried out like this, we will have the happiness of being two priests and a Brother in each of these two stations. I am not going to say to you anything more about the mission. I am quite new [here] and I could mislead you more than enlighten you. Up till this very moment, I have always experienced the greatest peace, and the greatest contentment as well.
[7]
Pray, I beg you, my very Reverend Superior, for the least of your children, most submissive [and] respectful
Reignier

Notes

  1. In 1842, May 15
  2. Henry Garnett (see his letter, Doc 169 [1])
  3. 16 May 1842
  4. Michel Borjon had been at Maketu, Louis Rozet at Opotiki – both from August 1841 to August-September 1842 (Cf Doc 104 [1-2], 114 [3-4], 124 [7], 129 [4-8], 186 [5], 205 [4]. Jean-Baptiste Comte and Reignier will settle at Opotiki (Cf Doc 205 [3], 209 [36])