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Fr Favre to Fr Grimes, Lyon, 5 Dec 1875

Translated by P Kiley April 2000


Lyon 5th December 1875

Dear Father

The illness and the death of our revered Founder made it necessary for me to make several trips to La Neylière. When I have been free, I’ve been obliged to write numerous business letters which were late, and I’ve had to defer until today, in spite of myself, the reply to your excellent letter. I’ve been all the happier to receive it since Fr Bigot has not written to me for a long time and since I haven’t any recent news of our houses and our Fathers from Lousiana. You must have received, towards the 10th of last month, the reinforcements that we sent you: Father Fournel, Fr Guilluien and Fr Leandre. We would indeed have wanted to make it more considerable, but the matter has been impossible for us. I hope that it will be sufficient for you for the moment, especially seeing that the number of your pupils is not considerable. When, last year, I proposed that you go to America, I knew very much that I was asking a great sacrifice of you. You made it generously and I was deeply touched by it. What touches me more is your willingness to renew your sacrifice, and, in spite of your repugnance in this distant country, you courageously do well in the difficult post that obedience has placed you. May God be blessed for it! May he fill you with grace and merits!

When you are far from the centre of the Society and when you are deprived of frequent visits from the Major Superiors, unfortunately, religious discipline tends to relax, if you don’t watch over it with much care. No doubt there are some points of the rules which must be modified a little according to the customs of the country and the needs of the climate, but these points are few and the General Chapter has taken them into account in the Statutes. To be good Religious, it is necessary always to conform as much as possible to our Holy Rules. I have always noted with sorrow that some of our Fathers in America were going hunting. It’s an exercise which is not without danger, nor without serious disadvantages. In no way is it suitable for a priest, especially a religious, and I strongly want it to be considered as forbidden amongst us, even in Louisiana. I also want those who do it through necessity, to do it secretly, in accordance with the… [word missing from the original - translator’s note].

As for the Papal Benediction, it isn’t given to all the Fathers, but only to those who ask the faculty of giving it, and I don’t remember whether you are among them. I give it to you now as well as to Fathers Benardier, Pompallier and Bellanger who could need it. It goes without saying that it is given on durante indulto and in conformity with the conditions prescribed in the Indult. I am sending you, for you and the other Fathers I mentioned, a form with the Papal Blessing, but I couldn’t sign it because of the post.

I beg God with all my heart to bless our Houses and our Fathers in Louisiana. I wish you all a good Christmas and a Good New Year. Vos cum prole pia benecicat Virgo Maria! [ May the Virgin Mary bless you and the holy people!] I have been told that Father Benardier was sick: is it true? Let me know any news.

All to you in Jesus and Mary
Fr Favre SM

[Translator’s note- some of the names of the priests are difficult to read and may not be correct.]