Translated by Miss M Lindsay, Archive Assistant ? 1986
… the care of the mission. At the same time as it issued this invitation to the prelate, the Propaganda was urging Father Colin to send some missionaries to this land. To reply to this noble desire, he applied to Mgr Pompallier, who had withdrawn the total amount of the last grant from the Propagation of the Faith, and requested him to be so kind as to pay the costs of this. His Lordship only made an evasive reply to this request, which did not allow the plan to be followed up.
However, the Vicar-Apostolic, having found, in various dioceses of France, some secular ecclesiastics who agreed to follow him to his mission, left for Rome and urged the S Congregation to put an end to his precarious situation, and to allow him to return to New Zealand , or even simply to that part of this land which would be assigned to him.
The Propaganda, after having taken the advice of Reverend Father Colin, decided, and the Holy Father approved, on the 20th June, 1848:
1. That New Zealand would be divided into two separate dioceses, having their see one in Auckland, and the other in Port Nicholson, now Wellington.
2. That the first would be entrusted to Mgr Pompallier, aided by missionaries he had obtained for himself.
3. That the second would be assigned to Mgr Viard, as Apostolic Administrator, having the Marist missionaries with him.
4. That, nevertheless, the withdrawal of the Marist Fathers from their stations, situated in the diocese of Auckland, was only to take place gradually, and as the newly-arrived priests would be in a position to replace them.
The secular ecclesiastics, led by Mgr Pompallier, were not long in themselves experiencing the difficulties and hardships which had made their precursors suffer so much; but, less patient, the majority abandoned the Bishop. Finally, it was shown in that event down to the last fact that a longer stay in New Zealand was no longer possible for the prelate, and he was recalled to Europe. [In February 1868 he embarked for France aboard a French warship, and died on Dec 20th 1870.]
Just as the Propaganda planned, the Marist Fathers gradually left the Auckland diocese to go to the Wellington diocese under Mgr Viard. It is easy to understand the painful sorrows which such separation caused both missionaries and their neophytes. They abandoned the christendoms, soaked with their sweat, and which afforded the sweetest consolation, to go to other places yet to be formed.
1852 – On the 22nd January 1852, he wrote to the missionaries at New Zealand : The Society of Mary will be able at the request of Bishops or Vicars-Apostolic, and on the conditions accepted by it, to take on a broad supervision of a school or seminary, the spiritual supervision of a town, of a densely populated district, the responsibility of making brief apostolic journeys, even individually; in short, all manner of ministry which will not deprive its subjects of the benefits of communal life. But it will not consent to taking responsibility for an entire vicariate and for thus placing itself in the necessity of having to disperse its members…. It is not in accordance with your vows that you have left: our vows do not require heroic deeds such as that one. No, you have departed because you wished to do so freely. We do not have the right to impose on you such an act of obedience. You. Have stayed in New Zealand also by choice of your will, freely. You could withdraw, return to Europe, or move to another mission, if you wished. But, beloved confrères, will you do this? My conscience will never permit me to give this advice. You will not abandon these souls, who cost you so much effort, and who, by your move, would be without pastors. Here is the occasion to say with the Apostle: ‘All things are allowable forme, but not all are appropriate.’ Your greatest glory will be to stay at your post, for the salvation of souls. Never will your zeal have appeared more selfless, nor more pure.
In 1852, Mgr Bataillon submitted to the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda among other measures: It would be good and useful to give our Procure’s House in Sydney a second aim, that of being the seminary of our missions. It is acknowledged that we will find, in our christendoms, callings to the ecclesiastic state; but at the same time, it is admitted that before raising our natives to the priesthood, it is necessary to disorientate them, in order to give them an idea of civilised lands, to expand their thoughts, to develop their faculties. The S Congregation did not wish to reach a decision without having the advice of Father Colin. The idea of a seminary or school for native children had long been part of the wise founder’s plans. He was already writing to Mgr Bataillon, 1 Oct 1847: Your Lordship informed me, in an already old letter, that you were considering founding a school, for which you asked me for three subjects who have been sent to you. This institution, which is of such high importance, is singularly well looked upon by the Propagation of the Faith, and by Rome, It is truly regrettable that lamentable circumstances have eventuated to suspend it being put into practice.