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8 May 1847 — Fr Léopold Verguet to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Translated by Peter McConnell, July 2010

8 May 1847
Reverend Father,
Bishop Collomb is going to leave this evening for New Zealand. Since I saw him preparing for his departure I have not been able to be calm. I was tormented on the one hand by the desire to follow him, to work still to the glory of God for the salvation of the natives and on the other hand by the fear of deprivation, sicknesses and especially fear of an over severe rule for my cowardice.
Mary gave me some courage. I spoke to Father Chaurain about how I felt and by his intervention to Bishop Collomb; the bishop’s counselling restored my confidence. I have also been much encouraged in thinking of the favourable reply which you were good enough to make to my letter of September or October 1845 in which I expressed my desire to return to Europe after ten years in the mission field.
From those different points of view and from those conversations with my colleagues, the result has been that I decided to leave this evening with the bishop. I don’t know yet whether I shall accompany him further than to New Zealand. I am still unwell; sea travel exhausts me; I daren’t be responsible for myself.
I expressed these doubts to Bishop Collomb who nevertheless agreed to take me with him. I seem to have a real desire to see that little island (Woodlark) so close to New Guinea and which so many marvellous things are said about. Father Marceau will come and visit us there in a year’s time. If I was still seriously ill, the bishop promised to let me return to Sydney. I have a thousand acts of grace to give to our priests of the supply base at Sydney. They gave me all the care and attention of the best of mothers. It is not enough to thank them for it; I wanted you to be aware of it. I am sure you will be pleased.
Be assured of my very real affection for our priests and brothers. More than once I have thought of writing to them, particularly to Father Cholleton, but the trials through which God is pleased to let me pass prevent me from finding anything interesting.
I have the honour of being, reverend Father, your very humble and very affectionate,
Léopold Verguet
Society of Mary.