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1 June 1850. — Father Ferdinand Junillon to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis

Translated by Peter McConnell, March 2011

[p. 4]
Monsieur ¤ Monsieur Colin prêtre à ¤ Pilata montée S(ain)tBarthélemi ¤ nº 4 Lyon
COLONIES &c.ART.13 — [--] 25 NO 25 1855 —ANGLETERRE [--] CALAIS — LYON 28 NOV. (68)

[p. 1]
J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph) Wallis 1st June 1850

Very Reverend Father Superior,
everything I could tell you about the happiness I experience in reading your letter would be of negligent importance compared with what I feel in my very bones. It’s like an extraordinary help offered to he who feels overwhelmed under the burdensome troubles and who feels he is coming back to life, and like the dew of the grace that God has been spreading out in my soul for such a long time, my soul bereft of spiritual comfort. To sum up, they are words of a father, a father who loves his children tenderly. I would like to be able to gather into my heart the words that you say to me, advice that you give me so as never to forget them convinced absolutely that I would be better than I am. But for that, very Reverend father, I need to speak of my failings, of my faults which you should know because it is the duty of my superiors in Oceania to tell you everything.
If one had to complain about Wallis, perhaps I would be the cause of that complaint. If the brothers have not always been as edifying as they ought to have been, it is perhaps that I have not been full of charity and enthusiasm as I should have been as regards to them. I have tried a little to keep them in piety through good readings which I do with them morning and evening and by some reflections which I am capable of doing with them. They are a little like everything in his world, subject to change, I pass over certain matters and easily pardon those that I deal with again.
However, generally there is nothing bad in their behaviour such as would cause anxiety in the future. The main things are faults in character, the lack of respect vis-à-vis the simple missionaries who are often seen the wrong way; not completing certain tasks as they should but making the natives do them instead. All those things can serve you, very Reverend Father, to prepare those whom you will send in the future, and especially never send any who have not completed their novitiate beforehand. Without speaking ill of any of the others, the worthy brother Louis Pichelin is a model.
As far as what I think of Bishop Bataillon, I think I should behave in the way I have in the past because I saw clearly that they took to him matters that were far beyond what was apt, but matters have improved in all directions and with the help of our instructions full of goodness and strength; everything will return to normal. The members of the small Marist Order scattered here and there in Oceania will give themselves the task of imitating their brothers who are in France so as to give their common father all the comfort that he deserves.
Thinking that I will not have on this occasion to write to the Reverend Fathers who have honoured me by sending me their news, I beg them to accept my apologies and my gratitude. I will do my duty next time.
Very Reverend Father, keep up the good work through your precious letters and pray for me so that I may be a good missionary!
With the help of God’s grace I promise to be perfectly obedient.
With a deep respect for your reverence,
I am the very devoted servant,
Junillon, missionary priest.