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30 September 1846 — Br Jacques Peloux to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Samoa

Translated by Peter McConnell, September 2010

Navigator Islands of Our Lady of the Assumption
30 Sept 1846

Very Reverend Father,
I left France intending to grow cotton in the Wallis Islands as in Le Survey, but divine providence thought otherwise. Yet Bishop Bataillon tells me that he has not given up the idea entirely, because he had me leave all the equipment I had brought from France saying that he would probably recall me to the Wallis Islands in two years time. I assure you, very Reverend Father, that I will do all I can to make this small enterprise successful, but it seems a little difficult because the natives are a little lazy, and then there is little cotton in the Wallis Islands; it is true that if they cultivated it, there would be a little more. Very Reverend Father, I don’t think that is it is necessary to send any other gear until you receive other information.
After staying in the Wallis Islands for three months, Bishop Bataillon sent me to Samoa to help Reverend Fathers Roudaire and Violette in the beginning of heir work. I don’t think I need to give you any details about the beginning of that mission station, because Reverend Father Violette wrote you a long letter. No doubt he gave you much more complete details than I could give you. I am busy doing carpentry-cabinetmaking jobs, aspects which concern the house.
I can assure you, very Reverend Father, that I am very happy because I have the good luck to be in the mission field of Oceania; the only thing I regret is that I am not fervent enough, but I hope that with the grace of God and the powerful protection of Mary, our mother we have in common, I will become more virtuous and more faithful to the graces that God in his goodness sends me.
I recommend myself instantly to your good prayers and to those of all your holy Society. As for me, I pray for you every day and for all the Brothers, but I hope to do it with even more ardour now in our little church which we completed some time ago. It was blessed on 19 July, on St Vincent de Paul’s feast day. All the natives attended very ardently especially in the preparations, bringing wood and starting to prepare them, etc. It can hold 500 persons approximately. It is really pretty. The walls are in planks of timber which the natives did not make much of a job of, because they gave us a lot of work to plane them. It has four doors and eight windows, an altar, a tabernacle, communion table, credenza, presidential chair and a prie-Dieu. It was Reverend Father Violette and I who did all that without anybody giving us a hand. The day the church was dedicated there was a great festival for the natives. The night before they killed 148-150 pigs; they brought them all at the same time to the door of the chief’s big hut; it was a marvellous sight; they brought us ten for ourselves. Very Reverend Father, You can imagine how pleased we were seeing the first Catholic chapel built in the Samoan Islands under the patronage of Our Lady of the Assumption.
I am most profoundly
your very humble and very obedient servant,
Brother Jacques Peloux.