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20 September 1853 - Father Jean-Baptiste Vigouroux to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Balade, New Caledonia

Translated by Peter McConnell, May 2011

Based on the document sent, APM ONC 208 Vigoureux.

[p. 4]
France § Au très révérend § père – Très révérend père Colin § supérieur général de la Société de Marie § à Lyon, montée S(ain)t Barthélemy (n. 4) § Rhônes
[p. 1]

A(d) M(ajorem) D(ei) G(loriam) et B(eatæ) V(irginis) M(ariæ)
Balade (Station S(ain)t Denis) 20 September 1853

Very Reverend Father,
This letter which I have honour of writing to you today is still my first, since I had the honour of being one of your children. Would such a long time end up convincing you, very Reverend Father, that I am disheartened by your mission station? That is why I am vigorously shaking off my laziness, the sole cause of delay that I have taken to write to you and I beg you by this letter, rather a short one that’s true, but very sincere I beg you to forgive me the fault I committed in not writing to you. I declare that I want to live and die a Marist missionary; I declare that I want to live in the place that you choose and occupy myself with everything that you wish to give me. I will receive with the action of grace all the advice which you want to be given to me or which you give me directly. Since the time that I have been in the mission field I have not had the slightest regret for exchanging rest for work, peacefulness for botheration. And if you allowed me, very Reverend Father, I promise you to continue like that until the end of my career. It will not be very long away no doubt.
Alas, if only I had died instead of Bishop Douarre! ---I do not intend talking to you about that death which has been so devastating for us all, but especially for me. The gratitude I have for Bishop Douarre for having accepted me into his mission station bound me to his fate in a quite particular way. When we left France I was far from thinking that the one who loved us more than a father loves his children would leave us orphans so soon. Blessed be God for all he has done! I had to remember that he was my father even when he chastised me, for the past as for the present, and I hope that it will be the case in the future. I have had only to be pleased with good procedures, co-operation and love from all my fellow priests whom I have had to live with. Today a perfect union still reigns among us all.
At this juncture, very Reverend Father, I will not talk about the mission stations. My superiors at the mission station have everything they need to explain that topic clearly to you. I give myself the task of sometimes thinking like the others.
On a former occasion Bishop Douarre asked me to speak to you about some incipient resources in our livestock and agriculture, but I guess that Reverend Father Rougeyron will have spoken to you about that.
I beg you, very Reverend Father, to grant me the grace of being counted in the number of your most devoted children,
Jean Vigouroux
Priest of the Society of Mary.