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July 1854, Father Jean-Victor Favier to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Ovalau

Translated by Sr Marie Challacombe SM, July 2015

To Reverend Father Colin, Superior General of the Society of Mary in Lyon Rhône, France

J(esus), M(ary) J(oseph)
Ovalau, Viti Islands, July 1854

Very Reverend Father,
It is almost 8 months since I returned to Ovalau. Last year, before I left Lakeba, I wrote you a fairly long letter about the crosses the good Lord has sent me.[1] At the time my soul was shrivelled. Now that I am in quite a different state and much calmer, I recognise that I would have done better not to write that letter to you which has only served to distress you, although I believe I did state the truth in my reports. For greater certainty I ask you now to treat that letter as though it had never arrived. My aim in that is to repair the damage I did to the reputation of my confrere. [2]
Reverend Father Bréhéret has gone to replace me at Lakemba, and I am at Ovalau with Fr Ducrettet. There are about 80 proselytes in this mission. Rewa where Fr Mathieu is there are none at all. Lakeba retains the status quo. At present I have a heap of things in hand. It’s always the same when someone comes to visit us. Consequently I beg you to forgive me if I end this letter here.
You may count, Very Reverend Father, on my most sincere devotion and my deepest respect,
J(ean) V(ictor) Favier
a(postolic) m(issionary)
I had sent a list of books suggested by Bishop Bataillon. If Reverend father Poupinel is so kind as to reply, he might just send me the lives of the desert fathers, Gousset’s[3] theology, the great Médaille, [4] a bible in Latin in large print, the abridged theology of Saint Ligouri, Nourugai[?], the books of piety by Father Saint Jure, [5] a roman breviary in 4 volumes, edition 1847, the life of Saint Ligouri, and Saint Thérèse and Saint Francis. – As for the other books mentioned in the list, he can do as he likes.
I also have great need of a pair of spectacles, no. 4. They sent some from Sydney, but they are no good for my eyes which are quite weak.


  1. Cf. Doc 1305, letter of November 6, 1853
  2. Joseph-François Rouilleaux (cf. Doc. 1305 §4-15)
  3. Thomas-Marie-Joseph Gousset (1792-1866), cardinal (in 1850), author of Théologie morale à l’usage des curés at des confesseurs, published in 1844 and several times thereafter, author of 2 volumes of dogmatic theology published in 1848. (“Gousset, Thomas-Marie-Joseph”, Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 6)
  4. Pierre Médaille, S.J., Méditations sur les évangiles de l’année et pour les fêtes de Notre Seigneur, de la Très sainte Vierge et des saints, several editions in various forms.
  5. Father Jean-Baptiste Saint-Jore, author of several works, for example, De la connaissance et de l’amour du fils de Dieu, notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ.