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11 December 1850. — Father Ferdinand François Junillon to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Wallis

Translated by Peter McConnell, March 2011

[p. 4]
Lyon ¤ montée S(ain)t Barthélemi ¤ 4 ¤ Monsieur Colin
supérieur de la ¤ Société de Marie

[p. 1]

A(d) m(ajorem) D(ei) g(loriam) et D(ei) G(enitricis) h(onorem)
Wallis 11 November 1850

Very Reverend Father Superior,
before beginning my letter, I reread the one you paid me the honour of writing to me, and it is always a renewed happiness for me to do so. In addition I here and now beg you to continue your good advice and your tender care. Excellent father, just imagine how much good your letters have done us, separated as we are from pretty well all spiritual help. The Reverend Fathers Maîtrepierre, Lagniet and others, full of the spirit of God, would serve us well if they were joined us telling us all that the spirit of God will dictate to them, in order to arouse in your children overseas the state of holiness and to strengthen in them the great ideas that they must have had from the time of their vocation. The spiritual help which I crave from your charity is to me all the more necessary as I am poorer in qualities. Accustomed for a long time to do what I want, I have difficulty in bending to the yoke of the rule and practising the virtue of conforming in this climate which is not conducive to energy in spirit or mind.
As for the brothers whom you are worry about and whom you entrust to me with so much anxiety, I can assure you, Reverend Father, that there has been a great improvement. The last ones, Sorlin and Charise, whom you sent me seem inspired by a very good attitude and have an exemplary piety. As far as the other two, Pichelin and Sauveur, are concerned what we have to reproach them for is not so much a bad attitude and bad feelings on their part so much as a matter of their personality. What gives me this opinion is that both of them are faithful to their little practices of piety. I reprimand them as best I can; I have shared with them the recommendations that you have made to me in taking greater care. The worthy brother Sauveur has moreover been particularly difficult. The bishop, alerted about him right from the beginning reviewed the matter and seems to be very happy about it at the moment. On another hand, he is with Father Mériais without serving him as a brother should, and requiring to take orders from him to lighten the burden under which he suffers. However the bishop requires him to be busy solely with printing. There is right on both the sides of the bishop and the Reverend Father Mériais. The bishop is determined that the printing should proceed quickly and the priest in seeing that somebody should help him; there is right on either side. Moreover his business can only languish a lot and completely ruin his health, if somebody does not come to his help. He needs a brother most urgently; two would put him at ease; one for the cooking and the household chores and the other to look after the animals and the outdoor work. I even dare to think that this settlement will be better managed only when there is a second brother and his help assured for each year in addition to what is budgeted for each of the priests and brothers.
Reverend Father, do act in such a way that the two separate viewpoints may cease and that religious charity may be observed between us. I have done what I have been able up until now to maintain it.
Concerning an increase in ready cash given to each one who needed it and which came from he committee Reverend Father Dubreul attended, I will tell you that in my case I never saw the need of it if what is promised is sent punctually and put away. I have the honour of telling you that I want to mention here only ordinary needs. Yet I think that to keep everybody happy, it would perhaps be appropriate to allot to each one an amount of money, which each person could save as much as possible and build or if he wants to in a certain time, his church or a house and even a place as modest as possible, for his school. I see myself obliged to do it outside my allocation If this system were followed; up until now, in regards to building, we can’t do anything that lasts more than five years. I find nothing in France which can serve me as a point of comparison, to give you an idea of the filth and the wretched condition of our churches.
I have myself built a house out of local wood for Sister Perroton who had been up until then very poorly housed. With all the jobs that I have moreover I took six or seven months to build it. She has been living there for about the same time that it took to be built. God knows all the shirts and soutanes that I have got wet and almost ruined, while planing the planks and the timber which was needed in that building.
What couldn’t I do, if I had the energy and the means for a young lady who does so much herself for all the mission station and in particular for Wallis. Besides dressmaking, caring for the sick and the care she gives to some girls who stay with her she teaches school to about a hundred young girls. Nothing is more useful in a mission station that is already established than an institution of that kind, if one could count on its permanence. Therefore, Reverend Father, take into consideration what I am saying in the letter of Reverend Father Bourdin concerning nuns.
The departure of the ship and my paper invite me to end my letter and tell you that I am in the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary that
I am the least of your children
in Oceania although the eldest of them all,
apostolic missionary.