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1 February 1846 - Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Source APM OP 458 Rocher.

Translated by Natalie Keen, February 2014

One sheet, measuring 206 x 135mm folded, forming 4 written pages.

To the greater glory of God and the Mother of God the Virgin Mary

Sydney 1 February 1846

My very reverend Father,
In my earlier letters which you have no doubt received, I mentioned the arrival of Dr Gregory, Vicar-general to Bishop Polding. But a new decision has just been made in committee: it is not now Dr Gregory who is leaving for Europe but Bishop himself. His Lordship is due to leave Sydney on the 12th of this month, accompanied by Monsieur Harding, teacher at the minor seminary.
My very reverend father, let me remind you of *1* the close association existing between Bishop Polding and Bishop Pompallier.
*2* His Lordship from Sydney regards Bishop Pompallier as a man of genius and of broad vision.
*3* His Lordship has told Bishop Pompallier that if he had priests like those in New Zealand, he would have sent them packing without delay. (See Father Forest’s letters that I sent you two months ago.)
*4* During Bishop Epalles’s stay in Sydney, we believed we noticed that telling something to Bishop Polding was the same as telling it to Bishop Pompallier.
*5* Different things said in Rome as a joke, which were recounted in Sydney in similar vein by Bishop Epalle, were taken amiss.
*6* Bishop Polding, as you know, has a character of incomparable affability. This quality works for him like a key which opens all hearts.
As far as money matters are concerned, let me place our thoughts on these before you.
We believe it is necessary to have
(1) a pied-a terre in Sydney to accommodate our colleagues when they arrive as well as the parcels and packages which might be sent to us.
(2) a reasonably-sized property in the vicinity of the town large enough to provide for the maintenance of our income and to be able to send a certain amount of help to our dear colleagues who are among the natives.
The diocesan statutes grant each priest 15 acres but I think that our funds could run to something more.
(2) In this property, we would need a reasonably large house to provide for the colleagues as they arrive to get them immediately out of the town.
It’s been imagined when we talked of property ownership that we were thinking of speculating. That’s not so. We simply want to have enough to live on and maintain the missionaries who arrive without these worthy colleagues being obliged to pay us, for it is really tough for Marists who arrive in a Marist house and so feel truly at home to be obliged to pay for their food.
(3) Permission to say Holy Mass in our inner chapel. Father Calinon, ill when he arrived, was able to say Mass only 5 or 6 times. What happened to him was that he set off to go and celebrate Mass and was forced to turn back when half way there; he didn’t have the strength to go on.
We’d be most grateful too for the reserve funds.
I wasn’t intending to write to you by the ship which leaves this morning as I’ve been on retreat with brother Auguste for three days. But as I was saying my rosary I felt a strong urge to tell you of the impending departure of Bishop Polding. I shall use the chance the Bishop provides to inform you and Father Eymard of my retreat.
I’ve had no news of Bishop Epalle or Father Dubreul.
Through December or in early January, Bishop Polding received news of Bishop Bataillon. It seems he has been most unwell but is now much better. A gentleman who travelled from Wallis to Sydney brought this news.
Bishop Polding told me this only last week. Bishop Pompallier was also aware of this news. He kept Bishop Bataillon’s letter to Bishop Polding to himself.
Accept, my very reverend Father, my most sincere good wishes
Your most humble and obedient child in Jesus Christ
Apostolic Missionary