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Br Marie-Augustin (Joseph Drevet) to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis, 15 July 1844

D’après l’expédition, APM OW 208 Drevet.

Clisby Letter 48. Girard doc. 336

Introduction and translation by Br Edward Clisby FMS


Joseph Drevet (b 1809) was admitted as a novice at the Hermitage in July 1835 and, as Brother Marie-Augustin, made perpetual profession in October 1836. He was one of the foundation community at the school at St Didier-sur-Chalaronne, some 15 kilometres north of Lyon in the Saone valley, the same year. Having worked in New Zealand for just over 3 years after his arrival with the second group of Marists, he was appointed to Wallis in 1842. His major occupation in New Zealand, on Wallis, and later on Futuna, appears to have been building. In 1851, he was transferred to Fiji, where he left the Society, in June 1855.. He is usually referred to in the correspondence simply as Br Augustin.

This letter in his personal file in the APM is the only one that has survived. It is undoubtedly the one mentioned by Avit in his entry for 3 July 1845 in the Annals: "Fr Colin communicated the letters that Brothers Joseph-Xavier, Marie-Nizier, Marie-Augustin and Attale had written him from Oceania. He asked that help should be sent to these Brothers" (AA 2. 69). But there are no copies of these letters in the AFM.

Text of the Letter

Very reverend Superior,
I am writing these few words to show the love and respect I have and will continue to have for you. I am embarrassed that you have not received any of the letters I have sent. This is the third I have written. I often recall the advice you gave me. I also often reread the letter you sent with the second group to depart for the missions. I keep it as a treasure.
I am writing to you these few lines to fulfil a point of rule and also to tell you what concerns me especially. I am well, my health is pretty much the same, except for the rheumatism which causes me great suffering at times.
I am disturbed at what might become of me when I have to give an account at the last day. I hope that the Mother of the afflicted will not abandon those who have sacrificed themselves for her divine soul. I pass my life as if I were in the world. I assist at Holy Mass every day, I go to Confession every 10 or 15 days and to communion three times a week. In 7 years I have been able to make only one reasonably good retreat. My main occupation is building churches, houses.
I commend myself to your prayers and those of the Society of Mary. I am, with the deepest respect,
your very humble and submissive
Brother Marie Augustin

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