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13 August 1846 — Fr Xavier Montrouzier to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, New Caledonia

Translated by Peter McConnell, September 2010

Jesus, Mary and Joseph – All through Mary!

Confidential Letter
Very Reverend Father,
A well born son hides nothing from his parents, especially when, on opening up his heart, he can receive from them consolation and sound advice. Following that principle, I couldn’t fail to write to you and inform you of a trouble for which I have already made a sacrifice to Jesus and Mary but one which I also need to communicate with you. You know, Reverend Father, that being wounded at San Christoval, I was sent to New Caledonia to recuperate. That was done without my having asked for anything and refused anything. I stayed with the good bishop, Douarre, who spoke to me about the sad situation in New Caledonia and his lack of personnel and he made me promise to wait before returning. He said he would see Reverend Father Frémont and that he would get his response concerning what I would do. The distance and the difficulty of communicating did not allow me to speak to my superior directly; I have been reduced to acting on the advice of Reverend Fathers Rougeyron, Junillon and Chaurain in deciding to wait for the result of the course taken by Bishop Douarre, and their advice was unanimous. This course of action was later on supported by Reverend Fathers Dubreuil, Rocher and Grange. So I stayed in New Caledonia, not to remain there definitively but to wait for a decision to be made. I must tell you, Reverend Father, that the thought of leaving San Christoval was hard to bear, I had already adopted the people, I loved them and still do. Later on Father Frémont almost reproached me for having left my post. I felt the reproach keenly and I admit to you that I would not be angry were you to be of like mind. Apart from the consolation that my heart will find in your reply my youth will see in that matter a rule of behaviour for the future.
Besides, very Reverend Father, I am absolutely indifferent as far as your decision goes, one sought by Bishop Douarre going to the very crux of the matter. Da mihi animas, caetera tolli tibi = Give me personnel and take away the rest. Please, I beg you, see in me only a docile instrument in the hands of God and assign me, without consultation, to the post where you want me to be a missionary.
I am well, Reverend Father, and although I am constantly busy be it with manual work, be it with the study of language, be it my religious duties, I do not feel tired. May I continue to have enough energy to carry on God’s work, which is not negligible here? I assure you of that.
I embrace you affectionately in the quite loving hearts of Jesus and Mary and beg you to believe in me always, Your very humble and your very obedient child,
Xavier Montrouzier
Apostolic Missionary