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12 September 1854 - Brother Jean Raynaud to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Tonga

Translated by Sr Marie Challacombe SM, December 2015

To very Reverend father Colin, superior general of the Society of Mary

Tonga, 12 September 1854

J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph)

Very Reverend Father,
Thank you for the things you were kind enough to send me. Now what shall I tell you about my interior. Alas, I don’t make as much progress as I would like to; but I confide myself to Mary. I hope she obtains for me the grace to persevere with the help of your prayer and that of the Society.
This is more or less my way of life. I receive communion on Sunday, Thursday and Saturday. I go to confession every ten days. I do my monthly retreat. I have direction from time to time.
Reverend father, my position is still more or less the same. Our neophytes are still reasonable the way they always have been. Holding on is really martyrdom: night and day, good or bad. However we have to be on our feet for the medicine. By means of the medicine we make a little progress; but really that doesn’t mean much; if they recover they go off home and go back to heresy, and when they don’t recover they carry the sick person all over the island to get them treated by all the sorts of medicine they have in the islands. At present yes, there is a kind of movement; some of our apostates are coming back. God grant that it’s for good.
According to me, reverend father, these islands don’t offer much hope, at least not for a long time; however there is good to be done; if we were in every corner of these islands because of the children who die and the grown-ups too. King George seems to say that he is letting freedom of religion. That’s already something. One could even hope that this man lives for a long time because I think the islands would go back to paganism; the people of Tonga love libertinage and nobody else would be able to maintain discipline except him. Although up to now we haven’t had any reason to be happy with him; he seems to change a lot. God ‘s will. For the Tui Tonga, he doesn’t deserve to have his name written on paper.
Our Christians are happy to hear that Fr Calinon is coming back to Tonga. Like us they felt the loss it would be if he didn’t come back to Tonga.
Our mission would feel a great loss, reverend father, if you took away Father Calinon. He is a man of great integrity and good judgement, and exemplary charity for the sick.
Reverend Father, I won’t give you any more details about our missions. That’s the fathers’ business; it remains for me only to ask again for your prayers in which I have great confidence; yes, reverend father, pray to God for me and to his holy mother so that I can be a good marist brother,
Goodbye, reverend father,
your most devoted child,
Raynaud, marist brother