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13 January 1846 - Bishop Pierre Bataillon to Fr Victor Poupinel, Wallis

Translated by Natalie Keen, September 2010

Source APM OC 418.1

Single sheet comprising four handwritten pages.


+ Mission of Our Lady of Good Hope
Uvea Island 13 January 1846

To Reverend Father Poupinel

My Reverend Father,
I am sending herewith for your attention a letter for our Reverend Father. -- As it is very long and written in great haste, you need only let him know of it if he is too busy to read it, that is. -- Moreover, it is right that you should be familiar with the contents and I shall not go over it here.
I just want at this point to express my sincere gratitude for all the trouble you go to for our missions and for your interest in them. Do keep thinking of us and always take all the care you can with the purchases made for the mission so that nothing is forgotten and everything is of good quality. We’ve let you know all our needs and our plans; I’m not repeating it here. -- But please never forget our requests and remind our good Father about us. Remind him often of the requests for subjects and other things we make of him. -- His busy life and the added care now for a constantly growing family might sometimes mean that he could forget us, those of his children who are scattered across the Ocean.
It is with much pleasure and gratitude that we have heard all your accounts of the zeal for and interest in our missions in Oceania of the faithful in France and especially those in Lyon. Since it is impossible here to acknowledge the help they give to us and to our novices, we make it a duty and at the same time a pleasure to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass frequently for all the good families who keep us so much in mind. -- We tell our novices about their kindness and they are quite astonished at it, and we tell them to pray for their benefactors and this they do with pleasure and gratefulness. Please, my Reverend Father, whenever you get the chance, describe our true feelings to all the good souls who do so much for us. Tell them that we never forget them before the Lord. Tell them of our gratitude and that of all our missionaries and novices, for all of us here in the depths of Oceania are experiencing the effects of their zeal and their kindness. Please convey our thanks specially to the following families – Monavou, de Châteaubriant, David, Trouttou, Tavel, Vocauson, Perille, Ralle, Deschamps, d’Avallon, Prost, to the Ursuline nuns of St. Jean de Bournay and all the families whose name and generosity or generosity only have reached us here. I think I wrote to abbots Grouet and le Veneur. --- But every chance you get, keep on telling them how grateful we are.
You must have received a package of different little objects, presents from our novices. If our benefactors would like the little knick-knacks, share them out as you see fit for the benefit of the mission. Since we can’t send things individually to each person, we will always address these sorts of things to the house. – and we’ll certainly make sure we send some from time to time. You will distribute them as you think best to those who take an interest in our missions and our Society.
According to all reports I’ve had, things in general are reasonably priced in Sydney. If this is the case, Father Dubreul will have told you already and I’ll give you further news about it through Father Junillon who is at present on his way there. In this case, there is no use acquiring things in France and then having to pay high freight costs for transport to Sydney and risk spoilage on the journey. But we buy in France only what is simply not available in Sydney or which would be lots dearer there. -- It will be lots easier for our missionaries to leave Europe with just a few suitcases than to be so loaded with packages. Give them a generous allowance and a minimum of goods. They will make their purchases in Sydney with the guidance of the procurator stationed there. One comment: Sydney seems to be the only place suitable for our business. Our schooner will go there regularly every year. All our despatches would then need to be made to us through Sydney and so that they arrive more regularly at the agreed time, they would need to be sent from England where there are certainly always opportunities for departures. It is so much easier that henceforth the missionaries leaving will have less property and fewer personal effects.
As far as passage on warships is concerned, it is undoubtedly a good thing, but here’s what we think: 1: It is often necessary to wait for two or three months in French ports or others on the way. – Arriving eventually in Tahiti, they are faced with a long wait before they can join us.[1] 3: To travel from Tahiti to us will be pretty costly for them. The result is that this expenditure and waste of time in the ports, this uncertainty of finding a passage to Tahiti and the cost of that must equal at the very least the cost of a passage from England to Sydney. With this system, there is the advantage of travelling direct, of being almost certain of the times of departure and arrival. This is no small advantage and once they have arrived in Sydney at an agreed date, there they’ll find our schooner which will bring them at no further cost right to us.
Think about my comments, pass them on to Father Superior and if you think it’s a good idea, let’s make it a general rule, till further notice, that all our missionaries travel via Sydney through England or other suitable chance offering; and to have them leave Europe so that they arrive in Sydney around the end of December each year. - They will always find our schooner there at this time to transport them in an enjoyable manner and as expected. If we had a set procedure like this, I will always henceforth regard it as agreed in France and act accordingly until such time as we might have new rules.
But by the way, Father Poupinel, do persuade our good Father Superior to send us someone every year. If over the space of two years he is able and willing to provide for us, say 4 or 8 priests, it is my preference that he send them in two groups, two or four one year and the same the next . It won’t cost him more subjects and will be much better for our missions.
I am too aware of your interest in us to insist on our recommendations. Please just pray for us and have others do the same. I am very truly yours in Our Lord
Pierre Bishop of Enos, Vicar Apostolic


  1. The writer is referring to the delays experienced by the missionaries at Tahiti: (1) from January to mid-April of the 5 missionaries, Philippe Calinon and his companions (cf.doc. 328, §1,n.1); and (2) from 13 April to 4 May 1845 of the four missionaries, Ferdinand Junillon and his companions (cf. doc. 508, §3).