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15 November 1848 — Brother Prosper Rouesné to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Anatom

Translated by Mary Williamson, January 2019

Based on the document sent, APM ONC 208 Rouesné.

Sheet of paper forming two pages, the first of which is written on, the reverse side having only the address.

Anatome, 15th November 1848.

My Very Reverend Father,
You will be aware no doubt of the story of all my adventures and my travels since I left France. I do not think that it would be helpful to remind you of them. Nevertheless, please put up with my telling you of my viewpoint on reentering the world and how much my expectations were disappointed.
My Reverend Father, the contentment that I expected to find when no longer under the rule of religious obedience, left me with so much emptiness in my heart that as much as I had expected to find satisfaction and despite that, I could not find any contentment of heart within me, although nevertheless my greatest care was to always behave according to the rules of religion. Often regrets tore me apart. Then I realised that my sacrifice in leaving the world had not been wholehearted enough. The sacrifices of all my little attachments and of my free will, the suffering to which one is exposed, had been too painful for me, my submission not humble enough, my position too tedious, everything was dependent on me and everything was difficult, even as far as my Brothers with whom I was obliged to live, even though they were much more likeable than me.
Then, being in Sydney, mulling over all these miseries in my mind, I clearly saw that it was my pride and my incomplete detachment from outside people that had caused my desertion from the religious life. Returning from New Caledonia to Sydney, as the mission no longer needed a labourer, I was having to find work, which was very easy for me thanks to the intervention of the procurator with a very good Catholic and my salary was quite generous; despite this great advantage, many changes of heart tired me and my spirit was not tranquil. Some time after, I learned of the death of my dear Father, who I commend to your prayers and also the death of three missionaries with whom I had left France and this made me seriously ponder, wondering if I should return to the religious life where providence had placed me in the first place. I struggled greatly, but finally with the help of Mary, I returned to the fold, even though I still had some afterthoughts; but Father Rougeyron and Mr Marceau have “elludées” [1] sorted them out for me and I had the good fortune to renew my vows on the day of the Assumption four months ago and I am very content. Sometimes there are of course a few little miseries; but not a return to the outside world and I hope that with the protection of the Holy Virgin, our good mother, everything will go well and I will die a child of Mary.
I would ask you, my Very Reverend Father, that if my name has been effaced from the bottom of the list of names of missionaries which is enclosed in the silver heart of our Lady of Fourvière, I would beg you to put it back. You will tear off the little piece of paper on which I put my signature and you will stick it back on the list.
I received the letter that Father Laniet [2] had sent back to me to which you have kindly wished to add a few salutary pieces of advice for me and I thank you with all my heart. Thank Father Laneit for me too, for his kindness.
I finish by embracing you with all my heart and I am your son in Jesus and Mary, Prosper Rouesné.
Prosper Rouesné.


  1. Read perhaps elucidated
  2. Benoît Lagniet was Superior at Verdelais from 1843 to 1846; on 19th September 1846, Colin named him “Provincial” that is to say his direct assistant and even his frequent substitute in the administration of the Society; he kept this post up till September 1852 (cf. OM, 3, p.751).

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