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14 November 1848 — Father Pierre Rougeyron to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Anatom

Translated by Mary Williamson, January 2019

Based on the document sent, APM ONC 208 Rougeyron.

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

[p.4] [Address]
The young Mr Colin in Lyon / Saint Barthélemy Rise — Puylata, no.4 / Rône — France.

Anatom, Saint Joseph, 14th November 1848.

My Very Reverend Father,
The youngest of your children who is on the other side of the world would have, as consolation, many things to recount to his good Father, but the current state of affairs in Europe and especially in our France prevents me from doing so. So may the good Mother be my confidant and my interpreter where you are concerned my good Father.
The Good Lord shows his kindness to us every day, while not sparing us the difficulties. At the moment we are not stricken by the hand of the natives, but we are by illness. Amidst other Europeans, we are the only ones with the fever.
On the day of the blessed name of Mary, our good Mother inspired me to have a small house constructed on the mountain that overlooks our garden and to consecrate it to her. I have done it and already Father Chapuy, who was the first to stay there, finds he is cured. I hope it will be the same for others when they are able to stay there.
All your children, my Very Reverend Father, are well, as far as their spiritual health is concerned. They are motivated by a very keen spirit, I can only praise them for their conscientiousness in following the rules of the house. We have had some successes for Mary. Prosper, that poor straying lamb, has permanently returned to the fold. I have had him make his vows. From that time he has seemed peaceful and happy and I think he is. Another young man, who was left here by the Bishop as a worker, asks to be received as a novice. He no longer wishes to receive a salary. And finally, a third, a charming and good young man, is strongly tempted to follow their example. I strongly believe that the Holy Virgin has already netted him.
I think that Father Roudaire, who has gone to found the mission on the Isle of Pines, informs you of what is happening there. Everything is going quite well there, it seems, though this poor Brother Jean, not finding peace within himself, nor with the others, wishes, according to Father Roudaire, to leave the mission and the Society. [1] It is heartbreaking. Let us pray that this temptation of the devil vanish away.
Not knowing when we will receive help from Europe, we are all cultivating the garden as much as we can, Fathers and Brothers. This earth, made fertile from on high and watered by our sweat will perhaps be sufficient to extend our miserable existence until such time as you are able to come to our aid. In the middle of the tribulations of all sorts with which you are surrounded, do not forget us, at least in your prayers. Nourish us, one and all, with this holy bread. Providence will provide us with the other. Let us leave this task to her. Let us also merge all our suffering together.
Ah! My Very Reverend Father, if all the troubles continue in France, it seems to me that Mary should inspire you to withdraw to the surroundings of your numerous children who have been asking for a long time to see their Father. This visit would not be without great benefits. Who knows if Oceania might not be destined to be the refuge of the Society of Mary. It has already produced many marvels here.
The Bishop has not arrived yet. We are anxious for His Lordship, that he might not be held back by these upheavals. For three years we have been orphans and we have received so many terrible blows during that time!
For my part, I thank you very much for the excellent colleagues and good Brothers that you have sent to our mission. We can see in all of them plenty of zeal and piety, but these young priests especially, who come from the noviciate, are edifying and how I love them. They are easier to mould into the way of the missions, their fresh enthusiasm and energy overcome the obstacles that one finds in a mission with less difficulty, to my mind; I would always wish for young priests fresh from their noviciate.
It would be desirable if some, if not all, of those who come from France could know a little English. Everywhere in the curacy of Bishop Douarre we find English people. They do not wish to, or are not able to learn French. So it is essential that we know their language to be able to talk to them. We are embarrassed at Anatom because not one of us knows English. I have given Father Chapuy this task. Father Gagnère and I … for the natives; that is what suits us.
We are beginning to speak a little of the language here, quite different from that of New Caledonia. We are starting to put together some prayers. Our people are neither unpleasant not thieves, but they seem indifferent to religion. In intelligence they are inferior to the New Caledonians.
Although the island is very small, it has about 2000 inhabitants and is well populated. There are three missionary houses on this small island, ours and also two with Protestants (independents.) [2] Up till now they seem to fear us; the natives and the Europeans are well disposed towards us. We only ask the Lord for this to continue.
If by chance Bishop Douarre is still in France, please, my Very Reverend Father, pass on our news, as I have not written to him, imagining that he had long since departed.
I have the honour,
my Very Reverend Father of being
your very humble child,
Rougeyron, missionary priest.


  1. Jean Taragnat (cf. doc. 856, § 8; and the whole of doc. 1320).
  2. The “independents” are missionaries from the London Missionary Society and also members of the churches founded in Samoa and elsewhere by the London Missionary Society, the “Congregationalists”. (cf. doc. 118, § 4, n.4; 413, § 12, n. 10; 621, § 1, n. 2).