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20 June 1885 - Bishop Luck to Father Soulas

Translated by Miss M Lindsay 1986, reviewed Elizabeth Charlton 20231110


20 June 1885

My very dear Father [Soulas]
I have remained silent for a long time, although I received your letter of March 6 with great pleasure. I thought to be able to inform you of the arrival of my missionaries for the Maoris - but unfortunately I am not yet in a position to be able to do so. I thank you a thousand times for your kindly cooperation with my plans and particularly that you were willing to receive the new missionaries as the true missionary you are. I am convinced that your experience will be of greater value to the new arrivals than all the theories in the world, and that the acquaintance they will make with the already Christianised Maoris will serve in several various ways: whereas if they were going to demoralised Maoris, and who have almost forgotten Catholicism, the impression made on them would have been sad.
I have managed to obtain the promise from the General of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Good and Perpetual Succour. to send me immediately six Sisters - if I am in the position to pay the travel costs and to guarantee their maintenance. I have just had recourse to the Minister, Mr Ballance, to know what he will do - although I doubt strongly that he will be prepared to do anything. The Sisters were founded on Mauritius for coloured/mixed race and four of the six Sisters who should be coming would be Creole. It seems to me that brown-skinned Sisters would manage wonderfully among the Maoris! What do you think, Father?
The Fathers who should be arriving for the Maoris will not be completely subject to my jurisdiction, such that the unity of action which I would desire will not depend completely on me, but if they are going to spend some months with you at Hiruharama, I think this would be the most appropriate course to success. As regards the prayer books, I hold 200 or 300 copies of the edition printed in Napier. Then I am having printed a new edition of Monsignor Pompallier’s book in Rome at Propaganda’s expense. I hope to have three or four thousand copies: the catechism also will be reprinted in Rome at the same time as the “Ko Te Ako”. [Bishop Luck had the printing cancelled after receiving a letter from Soulas – see MAW HD5 83-84 18850723 Luck-Soulas]. the little difference that exists is only a matter of the way of writing the holy names of Jesus and Mary and certainly there should be no great difficulty there.
I hope that your plan of the Third Order succeeds as you desire. Have the young girls of this colony sufficient dedication and spirit of the mortification to submit to the deprivations and sacrifices of a life such as that of the missionary life amongst the Maoris? If they do thus, I am pleasantly surprised, and I thank the good God with all my heart for it.
I would be delighted always to have your news and to share with the joy of your success.
I went - two months ago - to visit a catholic pa - where Father McDonald has been for several months. I administered confirmation to about 50 Maoris - and I was greatly edified by everything I saw. This place is named Opanake, and is in Maori territory, 30 miles from Dargaville and 20 miles from Hokianga. I hope to go to Whakatane shortly where Father Lannuzel cares at once for both the Maoris and Europeans.
I recommend to your good prayers, and so to those of the Sisters and your dear Maoris, the success of my efforts for the Maoris of my diocese. With the good God’s help, I hope that something will be done by means of the missionaries and Sisters.
Accept, my dear Father, the expression of the interest I take in your works and of my very sincere respects.
John Edmond Luck
Bishop of Auckland