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8 November 1846 — Fr Étienne Chaurain to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Translated by Peter McConnell, October 2010

Sydney, 5 November 1846
Father Superior,
Bishop Douarre’s departure for France gives me an excellent opportunity not to be missed of sending you at least a brief letter.
There is no need to speak to you again of my private thoughts; they are the same that I expressed to you in my previous two letters.
So I pass straightaway to the excellent service which Bishop Douarre gave us in encouraging us to buy the property at Birchgrove. I have nothing to add to the praiseworthy service and the description that Father Rocher sent you. Really it seems that God in his goodness was planning it for us. It is really quite suitable for the purpose we have for it. It is already in rather a good state; I hope that soon there will be nothing short of being useful and pleasant.
When buying the first property which Father Dubreul no doubt told you about, I am of the opinion that I tried to buy some property or other which was suitable. He took advantage of the very moment when Father Rocher and I were sick to make us the most wretched present he could.
Everybody who saw it could not understand how he decided to make such a purchase. This time on the contrary all our acquaintances and all those who are interested in us applauded our choice. And although the price is a little high, everybody who has seen Birchgrove does not find it excessive.
At first the archbishopric caused difficulties; but thanks to Bishop Douarre, we won all our requests and furthermore here we are, I believe, in a very good relationship with all the ecclesiastical authorities in Sydney. We did not want permission to carry out the sacred ministry; we wanted it entirely to be given to us. Both the grand vicar and Bishop Polding’s representative are adamant that I should aim to preach in English, although truthfully I do not feel absolutely capable of doing so, at least for the present.
Please excuse me for being so brief! I have been pretty well always obliged to accompany Bishop Douarre and serve as his interpreter in the visits he made in Sydney. I have time only to ask you for your paternal blessing and for the help of your prayers.
The most insignificant of your children,
Etienne Chaurain,
temporary bursar
PS. I will leave Father Rocher the trouble of asking you for your quite special help in paying for this property. Without you, we won’t be able to keep it. We need expeditious help, which once given will put us, I think, in a position of being self sufficient.