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13 July 1848 - Father Ferdinand François Junillon to Father Julien Eymard, Wallis

Translated by Mary Williamson, October 2017

Based on the document sent, APM OW Junillon.

Sheet of paper forming four pages, three of which are written on, the fourth having only the address and Poupinel’s annotation.

[p.4] [Address]
France / Mr Eymard priest / Marist / Saint Barthélemy Rise / no.4 / Lyon.

[in Poupinel’s handwriting]
Wallis 13th July 1848 / Father Junillon to Reverend Father Eymard.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam et Beatae Mariae Virginis

Wallis 13th July 1848

Very Reverend Father,
I am taking a few moments from the duties of my ministry, which hardly leave me any free time, to write a few disordered words rather than a letter, which would perhaps be of more interest to you. Things go along more or less at their gentle pace in our mission on Wallis, except for our king who has himself made great progress along the road to salvation. He had led a not very commendable life for several years. Nevertheless, it was about two years ago that the Bishop had him take communion for the first time, as at that time he seemed to be behaving better, but soon and during the Bishop’s voyage to Samoa, he caused several scandals and continued in that way until the Bishop’s return. His Lordship treated him harshly and did not go to see him. Two months having passed in this state of affairs and this coolness, the Bishop, wishing to go to Futuna, wanted to talk with him and wrote to him. He took notice of what the Bishop said to him in his letter and a few days later came to the Bishop’s house and had a long discussion with His Lordship. The whole population shared our joy at this happy reunion and a large kava ceremony was held to celebrate.
It was four months ago that the Bishop departed and Easter was about to begin. Public opinion declared the king faithful to his promise. I took him the antiphony of his confession, telling him that if he intended to celebrate Easter, he should think about it soon. The next day he came to see me and the blessed day of Easter he took communion to the great enlightenment of everyone. When mass ended, he headed towards the Bishop’s residence where he waited for me with all his chiefs and I, so as to show him and everyone present my pleasure, went to get him an enormous kava root that I had been keeping for two years and they drank for two or three hours. Since then he has attended with exemplary regularity. Not only does he attend mass every day, but he spends nearly an hour, sometimes more, at the church before mass begins. He also took communion on the fourth Sunday after Easter without my having to invite him. Then, on the day of Saint John the Baptist, his patron saint’s celebration, he also decided to take communion. He asked me, the day before, to hear his confession. I said to one of the chiefs that it would be a good idea to do something in honour of the King on the day of his celebration. In an instant the warriors took up their arms and a fusillade began immediately after the King’s confession and continued until the next day as did the drums, which only stopped towards the evening. I sang high mass and when the King left his home to come here, the sound of numerous rifles being fired was heard.
Last Sunday, Mr Chovel, an agent of the Society of Oceania, who resides in Samoa arrived here. He informed us that there was warfare in that archipelago and that the victors ate their victims. It is a right of warfare in all of the islands here; it is only on Wallis and Futuna now that this is not done. Our Fathers are respected; people even ask them for refuge. But they have nothing for them to eat. In these conditions they have housed the Fathers who have gone to the Solomon Islands and those who have gone to New Caledonia.
But what sad news has come to us from Sydney about our good missionaries in the Solomons! It is indeed true that we can count three martyrs in this archipelago. [1] And those who survived them were obliged to go to other savages and ask them for refuge. May God grant that they are more humane and that they understand better the gift that God is offering them. When I visited them two years ago, I did not think that they would suffer the fate of becoming martyrs, as they were in such a state of weakness that I feared that they might soon succumb. That is what happened to Father Crey. [2] How will the heart of our Very Reverend and very good Father Superior be affected, when he learns that his young warriors have been decimated? But what am I saying? In sending them into battle, he knew their faithfulness and their courage, that is all that is necessary to comfort the heart of a Father.
Now can I say a few words to you about Miss Perroton. [3] She is a woman of rare merit, with a phenomenal character and capable of enduring the greatest of trials. She is of great use to the mission, in fact I could say a necessity. She has an angelic patience with the natives. If she cannot yet teach them by her words, at least she does so powerfully by her example, for she has wisdom without equal and a buoyant piety.
All I can tell you about myself is that I am well, which does not say anything in my favour.
Farewell my Very Reverend Father,
pray for your unworthy servant,
Junillon, missionary apostolic

[7] [p.3, on an angle in the margin]
We hear from Samoa that a Protestant minister has cut his throat and died in the ditch in his latrines. It would have been better for him to have died in peace after a suitable absolution. At least he would have died in an aura of holiness.
[8] [p.1, on an angle, in the margin]
My respects, if you please, to all my Reverend Fathers and our good Brothers. Please ask Miss Monavon to send flannels and boots to Miss Perroton and please give her my regards.


  1. Fathers Jean-Marie Paget and Claude Jacquet and Brother Hyacinthe (Joseph Châtelet) were massacred by the Toros on the island of San Cristobal in the Solomons on 20th April 1844 (cf. doc. 667, § 1-2; 674, § 6; Memoriale Societatis Mariae, p.66, 87, 105).
  2. Cyprien Crey died of the fever on 15th March 1847, on the island of San Christobal in the Solomons (cf. doc. 674, § 4, 29; 681, § 6).
  3. Marie-Françoise Perroton, a lay person at first, the first “pioneer” of the missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, arrived on Wallis on 25th October 1846 to work in the mission (cf. Mijolla, p. 67-71).

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