From Marist Studies
15 October 1847 − Bishop Pierre Bataillon to Father Victor Poupinel, Futuna
Translated by Mary Williamson, March 2014.
Based on the document sent, APM OC 418.1.
One sheet of paper forming four written pages, Poupinel’s annotation written at the top of the first page.
- [p.1, in Poupinel’s handwriting]
- Bishop Bataillon, bishop of Enos.
- Mission of Our Lady of the Martyrs − Futuna Island 15th October 1847
- To Reverend Father Poupinel.
- My Reverend Father,
- I spent just three months on Uvea after my return from Samoa; then I set off again for Futuna, arriving here a few days ago. The mission’s schooner, Morning Star, on which I travelled, is going back to Tahiti, so I am taking this opportunity to briefly inform you about our affairs in Oceania.
- It is a year ago that the Arche d’Alliance was in our vicinity; after having travelled via the Marquesas, Tahiti and Samoa, she arrived in Wallis last October; she returned to Samoa, passing us by; from there she went to New Caledonia via Futuna and the Solomon Islands and from there to Sydney, then leaving Sydney for Tahiti. From there she returned to Samoa, then Tonga and Wallis. There I made a deal with Mr Marceau; we leased our schooner to him until such time as he returns from France; he will maintain it and provide a crew on condition that the Society of Oceania provides us with the means to make a complete round tour of our missions each year. I was going to travel to Futuna on the Arche d’ Alliance, but on leaving port she broke her rudder, so I continued on on our schooner, which was heading for Tahiti; I am waiting here for Mr Marceau; from here he will return to Sydney, travelling via Fiji, Rotuma, New Caledonia and Bishop Collomb’s missions. Then from Sydney he will head for France. Though he has not gained much benefit from this first trip, he is nevertheless encouraged by it and we hope, if things turn out well that the Society will be helpful to our fledgling missions.
- According to the agreement made with Mr Marceau the Society of Oceania should provide us, from now on, with everything we need for our missions - so, for those setting out, you will only have to provide their clothing, books and religious equipment and on board the Society’s ships we will find all the necessary requirements for the established missionaries; we will make whatever we can from what nature provides, to avoid expenses; those things we cannot make, we will find already assembled for us aboard their ships.
- We have drawn up, in agreement with our Fathers, a type of budget, in which so much per year is assigned to each missionary for provisions, clothing etc. The Society of Oceania, having this document, and knowing as well the number of missionaries, will know exactly what it will have to send us each year and as the ships arrive at our missions, each missionary will know exactly what he is able to take from on board, without prior permission or formality. - Apart from that, each missionary will have a certain sum of money to provide for his own private needs, so that henceforth things will be simplified and there will not, we hope, be cause for complaints and mutterings.
- In this way the Society’s ships will be our procurator’s office and their agents our procurators; we have nevertheless assigned Fr Mériais to keep all the accounts for the curacy in order. As for our “allowances”, I think that we will have to trust them to the Society of Oceania, who will deliver them to us in kind or on paper, whichever will be the more expedient. Look over the details yourself and sort it out with Mr Marceau or Mr Marziou.
- If each departing missionary could make an effort to provide himself with a complete set of liturgical articles he would have them for life and the Society of Oceania would not have to provide us with these sorts of things, which would save the missions a great deal of expense. So kindly inform each departing missionary that when he arrives at our missions, a church will be assigned to him; − that is the least he should expect and if it is not too difficult he could perhaps, in his parish and amongst his acquaintances, try to acquire all the general equipment required for the act of worship, videlicet gratis (other than the chapel and the objects for the mass and other offices) a font, a monstrance, a censer, a stations of the cross, a statue of the Holy Virgin, some banners and pictures, a processional cross etc. Everything he is able to obtain will be destined for the place he will be sent to. − I hear the missionaries who arrive saying that − if only they had known, they themselves would have had the means to obtain, without any cost, everything that they required for worship. − Please discuss this with the Rev. Fr Superior and if it is not inconvenient, inform those departing of this matter, so that each person can attempt to acquire for himself all that will be necessary for conducting worship.
- In our dealings with the Propagation of the Faith, apart from the current requirements, of which you are aware, please place special emphasis on two establishments that we are in the process of setting up in Wallis and in Futuna, for two combined colleges and noviciates for Brothers.
- As for news of our missions, it is much the same as previously, that is to say, God’s work continues to grow, though little by little. − Although the mission on Wallis is not entirely settled, I am less anxious about it now than I was previously. The bad aspects are improving. − Futuna is like a small community. In Tonga we have recently been accepted into an important position. The Fathers in Fiji have a flock that is growing day by day. − Our missionaries in Samoa are gradually gaining the confidence of the natives and the maligning they receive from their adversaries, far from damaging them will, before long, turn to their advantage. We have just learned that our missionaries on Rotuma are still alive and are communicating well with the natives.
- Please, once again, draw the attention of the brotherhood to the king of Wallis, Lavelua, who still leaves much to be desired and the Protestant chief, Pooi, who is still the main cause of my anxieties on Wallis. − Also commend to their prayers the chiefs Tui Toga, Tugi and Taufohau of Tonga, the kings of the two big islands of Fiji, where we plan to go as often as possible, the chiefs of Rotuma and Samoa etc. The brotherhood can count the conversion of a young chief on Wallis as one of its greatest conquests − something to encourage for their continued prayers.
- : You sent us a bell, supposedly from the parents of Fr Mathieu; it was not meant for us, but rather for a mission in the Sandwich Islands. − It has been in use for a year on Wallis, and now it is aboard our schooner, which is taking it to Tahiti, so as to pass it on to its destination. Our natives on Wallis have attributed the accident that happened to the Arche d’Alliance to the removal of this bell. Please, if possible, so as to console them, use your influence with some worthy folk to have another, even bigger one made to replace the one that they pine for with much regret.
- I lost a ring in Samoa and broke another whilst preaching. I have only one damaged one left and it will not go on over my gloves. I commend myself to your kindness for this.
- Please be kindly disposed towards my scribblings and all my difficulties. − Please commend us to the prayers of all the Society. Pray for us yourself and be assured that we are always united in prayer and holy sacrifice,
- Your very humble and obedient servant,
- Pierre, Bishop of Enos, vicar apostolic of central Oceania.
- Your very humble and obedient servant,
- Cf. doc.672, § 5, n. 1.
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