From Marist Studies
5 September 1846 — Fr Étienne Chaurain to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney
Translated by Peter McConnell, September 2010
- Sydney the 5th September 1846
- Very Reverend Father,
- Not knowing what to do if my letter dated July 15 has reached you or not, I thought it appropriate in the advice of my confessor, to open up my poor heart to you again.
- It think I don’t have to tell you that I hope with the grace of God and the help of Mary, to live still perfectly in obedience to your will and that I would not want to oppose your will in any way, convinced that such behaviour would be contrary to that of God himself.
- So I gave you a summary in my last letter that since the terrible day when I saw with my very eyes and a couple of feet away, natives massacring and mutilating the body of my bishop in such a barbaric way and at the same time as much to defend myself and to rescue at least the remains of our martyr, I had to struggle with wretches who wanted to kill us for no other reason than to have our clothes. Never, I told you, never have I been able to find in my heart a single feeling of love for the natives. That involuntary feeling is even more now; it is an insurmountable dislike which rises up in me every time I notice a native.
- Briefly, that is how unhappy I am, and up until now I have waited in vain for a happier frame of mind.
- While I am waiting I console myself from those inner painful feelings which make me so ashamed, by studying here as best I can the English language.
- I live here in peace and happiness with the good Father Rocher. I have shared with him for a few days now my personal distress. He was not surprised by my feelings and with him I have seen God’s will in the conditional arrangements by which you have arranged that I should stay in Sydney with him now that Bishop Epalle had died and Father Dubreul is away.
- I have still enjoyed going to the markets, selling, buying, etc. In a word, the function of bursar in Sydney, now that I can speak, you could say, enough English, gives me a fair amount of pleasure. Doctor Gregory thinks that I will soon be able to carry on my religious duties; that will console a little bit. I am still waiting to give French lessons four times a week to Benedictine aspirants in the archdiocese.
- Blessed be God for everything! May he be pleased to do with me according to his great glory!
- Farewell, very Reverend Father! Father Rocher will no doubt have told you how worried we are about the fate of the missionaries at San Cristobal. We have been busy recently in replenishing their provisions.
- I recommend myself to your prayers and to those of the Marist Society. You see the need which I have.
- Etienne Chaurain
- Marist priest