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14 September 1847 – (Extract) Father Pierre Rougeyron to Bishop Guillaume Douarre, New Caledonia

Based on the script, APM OP 458.2 Mission. Trans. (1845 – 1860).

Sheet of paper forming four pages, two of which are written on; the third blank, the fourth having only Poupinel’s annotation.

Translated by Mary Williamson, December 2011.

[p.4] [in Poupinel’s handwriting]
New Caledonia – Sydney 14th September 1844 – Note on Brother Blaise.
Note on Brother Blaise.
(extract from a letter from Reverend Father Rougeyron to Bishop Douarre. Sydney 14th September 1847)
Bishop, I cannot end my long letter without devoting a few lines to the memory of the admirable Brother Blaise Marmoiton, massacred in New Caledonia on 18th July 1847.
I will not speak to you, Bishop, of the deep feelings of faith and piety that characterised him in this living world. You have more than witnessed this, since this noble soul was one of your flock in your beautiful little parish of la Tourette. You, above all my Lord, can acknowledge the huge sacrifice that he made in leaving his home territory, one of the most beautiful in the Auvergne and in giving up his possessions which, without being substantial were sufficient to allow him to lead a comfortable life; in a word, in saying goodbye to a mother who adored him, to his family members and to numerous friends who esteemed and loved him. Thanks to your devout eloquence, he came to sacrifice everything for Jesus Christ and follow, beyond the seas, to heathen territories, his much loved Shepherd.
Our voyage was long and difficult, but never a word of complaint or regret passed his lips. Having arrived in New Caledonia, a fall had him confined to bed or at least the house for more than eight months; the same resignation to the will of God. Having regained his health he contributed many services to the mission through his ministrations and his labours. But what distinguished him most was his faith and piety. He was admirably devoted to our Lord in the Holy Sacrament. If one wished to find a companion during one’s spare time, one had only to go up to our small chapel; he could be seen humbly prostrated before the Holy Sacrament, immersed in that supreme Majesty, melting so to speak, with love. Many times I have seen him, his face radiant during his adoration. The perfect religious person, I have never seen him neglect his prayers of his other religious observances.
Indeed, for several months, his piety had become more fervent. One could say that he sensed his approaching end. Repelled by life’s events, he thought only of his eternal life. The Lord, a merciful Father, had thus prepared him. Prepared for Heaven, he departed to join his God, who called him to himself through the blessed death of a martyr.
Oh! What a precious death, that of the just! Mortally wounded, he dragged himself to the chapel to give up, near to his God, his last breath. While Bishop Collomb and all the others present pitied his fate, only he did not complain; what can I say! He consoled and encouraged those who were saddened by his suffering. Why, he said to the Bishop, why would you pity me? I am more fortunate than you, for I am going to die. This miserable life, here below, is going to be exchanged for a better one. And at that moment a beautiful smile appeared on his dying lips.
Nothing quite so enlightening as his last moments. Stripped of his habit by the natives, he still had the strength and courage to gather up some grasses with which to cover himself. Nevertheless, he was bathed in his own blood and was near to giving up his soul. Even in such a state, he consoled and strengthened in their faith two young Christians, Antoine and Marie, who were seated beside him. Marie so clearly recognised the holiness of the good Brother that she gathered up some relics, which she had jealously guarded, even though she had not been instructed in the cult of relics.
Oh! Happy Brother, how worthy of envy is your fate! Now that your career on earth is finished, now that you are, as we hope, in the radiance of Glory, remember those who have been your companions in your labours in exile; pray for them and for this earth that you have drenched in your blood.

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