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1850? — Father Ferdinand François Junillon to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis

Translated by Peter McConnell, March 2011

[p. 4]
France ¤
Au très révérend ¤
Le très révérend père Collin supérieur général de la Société de Marie ¤
rue S(ain)t Barthé[le]mi nº 4 ¤

[p. 1]
ca. 1850?a

A request for spiritual assistance and some words of encouragement from you,
Very Reverend Father,
If I knew a short cut to shorten the route to a week or a month to see my country again, I would take the first opportunity that I had to be on my way, and from there as fast as an eagle in a day, I would be right in front of you, Reverend Father, embracing you affectionately, showering you with my tears, begging you to come to our aid to give us bread which we thought we would find when we joined the Marist Order. I mean the religious help which resembles substantial bread where the soul finds life and all the means of reaching perfection of our lives.
Being back again in France, a vicar general from Algiers answered a letter I wrote to him in the name of the bishop of that place to offer me a huge area in his diocese because he thought me enthusiastic to join him. I rejected the feelings I had which inclined me to that mission field in favour of the advice of my friends and the affection of my family which I would have been able to see once more, I preferred to associate myself with a religious group in whose care, after joining it, one finds the most powerful means of saving one’s soul.
It never occurred to me, very Reverend Father, that you can forget your children overseas. That is why too that the abandonment where we are from your fatherly care is for me a mystery which I can’t fathom. Are you waiting for His Lordship Bishop Bataillon to come to you to settle with him matters being litigated on? We are far from receiving help which crave. Apart from the fact that the bishop is ill, I think that he is not keen to travel to Europe. However his sickness is increasing, whispering increases, and people are complaining everywhere. Very Reverend Father, pray that that aspect will not harm vocations and that we keep the spirit of our lives, an inviolable and respectful attachment to our dear Marist Order whose sacred rules I would probably not know before my death.
I have not even known of any letter from you since I have been in Oceania.
I am not saying that the harm is very great but an immediate and strong remedy is required.
You yourself, very Reverend Father, are the loving doctor who can pour the balm of consolation onto the wounds which have been open for so long.
We will experience that gentle consolation which has been so long looked for, when words which will be the expression of your heart will be faithfully transmitted to us by a religious superior whom we will be able at least to call our provincial.
He will teach us, I am quietly convinced of it, that we are always the objects of your paternal tenderness, as well as the love of all our colleagues in Europe, to whose prayers I recommend myself very notably promising them not to forget them in my prayers.
The mission station in Wallis is ticking along. I am still the unworthy superior there. And in that conviction I have asked the bishop to allow me to retire, seeing moreover that my strength is sapped and seeing that I will soon be fit for nothing. I would like to end my life in retirement, to work by myself. I feel the Procurator office in Sydney would be ideal for my retirement, unless you call me to go elsewhere.
Accept the deepest respect with which I have the honour of being
the most humble and very obedient
servant of your reverence,
Missionary priest.