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Br Pierre-Marie to Fr Colin, Bay of Islands, 17 April 1844

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, September 2005

APM Z 208 17 April 1844


Bay of Islands, 17 April 1844

Very Reverend Father

I am taking the opportunity given by a British ship going directly to London, to have a few moments’ conversation with you. I would like to have this pleasure more often, but as the Bay of Islands is still my home, and my tasks there are still the same, I would not want to repeat to you the same things too often. Up till now, my health had generally been good, but for the last fortnight it has not allowed me to study. I am beginning to fear that I will have to abandon the study of theology for several reasons: first of all by reason of health, and that I am already a certain age.[1] [p2] On the other hand, the further I progress in this study, the more I am afraid of not being able to acquire a sufficient knowledge of it to maintain the honour of our holy religion in the midst of a country where heresy is very unrelenting. If in fact I was not succeeding according to plans which my Superiors had for me, and which I set for myself according to their desires, I would not be worried about it, because I think I have done what depended on me to make myself useful for the mission, whether for now or for the future. Whatever happens, I will try to keep myself in the great state of contentment I have always experienced since I came to the mission. I am in the hands of Divine Providence. May it dispose of me according to the greatest glory [of God] and my salvation. The only interior difficulty I have experienced here is the sight of heresy, but it is very painful for me. It is a martyrdom for me which will end only at [my] death.

[p3] I try to pray a lot for the missions and for the members of the Society, but my prayers are not always as fervent as I would like. I have the happiness of receiving Holy Communion three times a week and on Sundays. Peace and brotherly love reign in our house. We make all our spiritual exercises in common, as at the Hermitage.[2] Since the Reverend Garin has been sent to a station,[3] the Reverend Father Forest has been our confessor.

The Bishop has been away for two months. The pro-vicar, Father Baty, has been given responsibility for spiritual matters at the mission station in the Bay of Islands. We have been waiting for a long time of new workers in the vineyard of the Lord, but, alas! they are indeed a long time coming. Anyway, may the Lord’s will be done.[4]

Very Reverend Father
I have the honour to be your very obedient son in Jesus and Mary,

[in margin p4] B[rother] P[ierre]-Marie


  1. He turned 40 years of age in 1844 - translator’s note
  2. The Hermitage was the name of the Brothers’ training centre set up by St Marcellin Champagnat, SM, their founder, in the 1820s - translator’s note
  3. at Hato Ireneo in the Kaipara district - translator’s note
  4. In fact, the Marists in New Zealand would have to wait 15 more years for reinforcement. Already, in 1843, Father Colin had decided to send no more men to New Zealand - translator’s note