From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

27 August 1845 — Fr Jean-Victor Favier to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Futuna

Translated by Peter McConnell, June 2010

Futuna, 27 Aug 1845

Very reverend Father,
Because we lack a suitable harbour, our island, lost so to speak in the middle of the huge ocean, is pretty well entirely forgotten by navigators. It has been more than a year that Bishop Bataillon has left me here to be an assistant to Father Servant and I have not had the opportunity of contacting my colleagues in Wallis, only 40 leagues away. That is sufficient to explain to you my long silence, and you will understand, I am quite sure, how much it has pained me not being able to confide in the priest he loves and venerates. Even today I can do it only very briefly.
Blessed be providence which has put me on the soil of Futuna bathed in the blood of our glorious martyr! May his example speak strongly to hearts! Our consolations are great in the midst of our Christian community. The fervour and regular practice of our converts give us great happiness. When leaving France, I thought that my life would be spent surrounded by pagans and troubles. God has been happy with my sacrifice; may his will be done! However give always love and gratitude to this god of goodness who has deigned to caste his eyes on such an unworthy person as I. A thousand thanks to you, very Reverend Father, for agreeing to admit me to the fold of the children of Mary, despite my unworthiness. So pray earnestly to Our Lady so that I do not put obstacles in the way of graces that her divine son wants to spread out over us and on the islanders who are entrusted to our care.
Before our departure you told us frequently that you were united with us and that that was the only way to be happy. Carried to the ends of the earth for the glory of Jesus Christ we have not forgotten your kind recommendations and your fatherly advice; also the peace, unity, and the harmony which exists among your children. Therefore thanks for your good counselling and don't deny it to those who must follow us.
An American whaler dropped off at Futuna ten Futunan islanders coming from Rotuma. They told us that that island wants to embrace Christianity. The Methodists sent to Rotuma those whom they claimed to be converts from neighbouring islands and the inhabitants of Rotuma did not listen to them. They said they wanted only the religion of the matuas (priests). Many of them wanted to set sail with our natives to come and be instructed at Futuna. The chiefs held them back, promising them that soon priests would come and that they would convert all together. It appears that several did not pay attention to the order given by the chiefs; they are determined to escape at the first opportunity. The population of Rotuma is about 4000 souls. It¹s a harvest ready for gathering. It grieves me not being able to race there; but I must stay at the post confided to me.
Our new Christians wanted to write to their brothers in Europe. I am sending you their letter translated as well as the little knowledge that I have of the Futunan language permits me. They would be very happy to learn that their brothers in Europe love them as they love them themselves. And I can assure you that their gratitude is really genuine.
Be so good, very reverend Father, ------
Favier, apos[tolic] miss[ionary]