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25 June 1848 - Father Gilbert Roudaire to Marie-Louise Boutarel, Anatom, Vanuatu

Based on the document sent, APM dossier Roudaire.

Translated by Mary Williamson, June 2017

Folded sheet of paper, forming four pages, three of which are written on, the fourth having only the address.

[p.4] [Address]
France / Miss Marie-Louise Boutarel / Pont Gibaud / Puy de Dôme.

[Post Marks]
LYON 28TH DECEMBER 1848 (68) —- CLERMONT FERRAND 28th December [ - - ] 62 —- PONT GIBAUD 29th DECEMBER 1848.

Arche d’Alliance 25th June 1848

My very dear sister,
To judge from the number of my letters, you could believe that I have forgotten you; but that is not true. I believe that I have already told you two or three times that you are with me every time that I offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and I also do not believe that I have failed one single time to commend you to the Divine Majesty at the moment of the offertory. Likewise also, I am firmly persuaded that you have faithfully kept your word to me. What must you have thought of the rarity of my letters? I would say to you that I found it hard to believe myself to really be on a mission whilst I was far from the place where I had first understood I would be sent. Nevertheless, I sent a very long letter to Mr de Meydat about all that had happened to me during the five years that have passed; he should have passed this on to you. If it happens that he has not received it, kindly ask him to reclaim it in Lyon.
I do not forget any of the people that I knew, through you, at Pont-Gibaud; relatives always remain in first place; your precious little congregation of Cinque Plaies remains in my memory, but not more than those last two or three days, spent at Pont-Gibaud surrounded by snow, rain and wind … How much must have happened in France since my departure: grand scandals have occurred, a famine has been endured and heroic acts of charity displayed …. also some deaths, which remind us that ours is perhaps not far away…. Oh! May we be able to remain so firmly united in our divine marriage that our final breath will simply be a gentle transition from our faith to full and complete rapture! I have good reason to be afraid for myself, but I am greatly reassured by the thought of the good and holy souls who pray for me; and my happiness comes from also thinking of them.
I have a thousand things to tell you and it seems to me that I would never be bored when doing this. Nevertheless, I must limit myself, for the moment, to telling you the main things.
You know already that I have left the Samoan archipelago; on arrival in New Caledonia, I found part of the mission destroyed and the rest under siege. A general retreat was carried out amidst of a hail of stones and spears. We arrived in Sydney, where we spent seven months, during which time we made preparations and then departed on board the Arche d’Alliance for port Saint Vincent, in New Caledonia; but as the area was not suitable for us to establish ourselves there, we headed towards the small island of Annatom, the most southerly of the New Hebrides. This place suits us in every way. It is to windward of all the apostolic curacy; we catch up with the news from all the islands in the group. Our house is by the port, to which we have given the name of Saint Joseph. In front of the house is a beautiful beach and behind, a stream, then behind the stream a garden and a valley of good soil for cultivation. Beyond the valley, on a hill, a vast forest of superb trees, excellent for all kinds of usage… Our Fathers on the Stella Maris have just arrived. I am going to go with two of them to set up another establishment on the Isle of Pines or in the south of New Caledonia….
I must stop. It will not be long before you receive another letter. I also owe one to Curate Marchand; I am burdened with many other letters owed; but I hope to catch up with them all soon. Ernest Bonjean has left for India! I would have very much liked to have him here; but it was not God’s will. May he be blessed by all,
Your very devoted and affectionate brother,
in Jesus Christ,
missionary provicar apostolic

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