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October 1845 — Fr Xavier Montrouzier to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Translated by Peter McConnell, June 2010

J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph) All through Mary!

Very reverend Father,
When joining the Society of the Children of Mary, I thought I would find in the person of the superior general the heart and tenderness of the parents I was leaving in this world. Thanks be to God, I have not been deceived in my expectation. I often thank providence for having been chosen among so many and so many others to share the sweetness of the family of the august Mary, and, I hope, I shall always have to bless her for it. So today I have come to pour out my soul in yours and to relate to you simply and frankly the personal worries that have arisen and the way I have taken to be rid of them. Your advice, your remonstrances, even your reproaches, everything, in regards to the grace on high, will be received with gratitude, because it seems to me, I want to do well.
Bishop Epalle, you know him, reverend Father, chose me before leaving Lyons to be one of his pro-vicars. I thought I should draw his attention to the fact that my age and some more other important faults would make it difficult for me to reconcile his trust which would be necessary in this responsibility. He insisted, saying that it was a matter not taken lightly in council. I accepted the appointment and for some days following I meditated on my new responsibilities.
Several times in London and at sea the bishop consulted me on some matters which he thought quite out of his experience. I always spoke to him frankly. In Sydney I saw that this frankness was not approved of. I realized that it was inevitable that I would have either to maintain an endless struggle or else agree on every occasion. My conscience rejected the latter practice and as far as the former I did not have enough courage to embrace it.
In addition, it has frequently been seen and noted by our brothers as also by our priests that my administrative duties, if you could give that label to the little tasks which I have been given, have been censured and criticized. The bishop has reproached me and made recriminations undoubtedly with justification (because I recognize that I have made many mistakes) but which made more effect, said in private, since they had not ruined my authority partly left in my hands or rather that of the bishop himself. In that way I have seen myself stripped if not of affection at least of trust. These two matters I have placed before God and the upset to my health caused by the personal worry which I experience have made me determined to beg the bishop to choose for himself somebody better or not so bad as I who can get along with him and able to maintain he necessary unity to do a good job. The step I took surprised and angered him. He even saw what I did, and that is what I believe, because he did not actually say it to me myself, as breaking religious obeisance. But for my part, I believe that I have done nothing else than follow the voice of my conscience and now that I am calm and free, I consider that I am happy not having to obey blindly and being without any responsibility.
That’s my position, very reverend Father, for you to judge. If I am mistaken, I will know with the grace from on high to recognize and repair my faults, for I am keen never to lose from view the principles of submission and respect with which I am, reverend Father,
Your quite devoted child in Jesus and Mary
Xavier Montrouzier
Apostolic missionary.