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8 March 1850 — Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, October 2007

[Father Rocher was procurator at Sydney and Visitor to the Oceania Marist Mission at this time. I am translating only the parts of his letter that relate to New Zealand. - Brian Quin]

To the very Reverend Father Colin, Superior General of the Society of Mary

AMDG et DGH (To the greater glory of God and the honour of the Mother of God)
Sydney 8 March 1850

Very Reverend Father
Bishop Pompallier arrived in Sydney on 10th of February with 11 missionaries and eight religious women. Out of these 11 missionaries, only two are priests. They are Fathers Henry Garnett and Reynaud who for some time exercised ministry in the diocese of Meaux.[1] The others are in sacred orders or in minor orders. Bishop Pompallier, who had been so much in a hurry to receive and ordain Father Henry Garnett, is now so unhappy with him that he has left him in Sydney; he has been sent 50 miles away to help a priest care for a district. So his Lordship has only one priest with him. This lack of priests doesn't seem to affect the prelate very much. To all those who ask him how he will manage to care for his diocese, he replies that the Pope has given him the right to keep the Marists until he has enough priests to replace them. [2]
I do not know whether his Lordship is afraid that the Society will make recruits among the men he has brought with him, but he has told me that no priest attached to the diocese of Auckland will be able to become a religious without having obtained permission from the Ordinary and Propaganda; [and] that it was a decree that the Court of Rome had issued expressly for the diocese of Auckland.
The prelate came twice to see us at the procure. He dined with us and interested us with his story of his journey to the Holy Land. I believe he will not leave Sydney until some time next week.


I haven't received any news from the missions. Through a letter from Father Séon, I found that Father Baty had gone to Port Nicholson to prepare the way.[3]
... (I) have the honour to be
of your paternity
the very humble and very obedient child
in Jesus and Mary
Marist priest


  1. Henry Garnett, born in England, a carpenter and then a teacher at the Bay of Islands, was sent by Pompallier in 1842 to France where, after a novitiate he was professed as a Marist before leaving the Society; but continued his priestly studies and was ordained by Pompallier. He was on the way to New Zealand with the Bishop when the latter dismissed him in Sydney (cf Simmons Pompallier, Prince for Bishops pp57, 119, 121, 126). The other priest, Louis Reynaud, was sent by Pompallier to Howick but he was a hindrance rather than a help to his Bishop, according to Simmons (Pompallier, p126). He went back to France in April 1852 – C Girard footnote.
  2. Some Marists continue to work in the new diocese of Auckland until they would be replaced, for example, Petit, Reignier, Moreau and Rozet, but within a month most had already left (Simmons Pompallier p125) – C Girard footnote].
  3. for the arrival of the Marists from the North -- translator’s note