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Welcome to the Marist Studies Wiki: Letters of French Catholic Missionaries in the Pacific 1836-1854

  • A place for sharing translations into English of the letters to Rome by the early French missionaries to the Pacific.

These are translations from the French by volunteers who have donated their time and expertise. If you wish to use this material for scholarly or legal purposes you would be advised to work from the French originals. The published volumes of Lettres reçues d’Océanie edited by Charles Girard can be found at: Alexander Turnbull Library, Victoria University, Massey University, Canterbury University, the University of Waikato, Auckland University, Auckland Library and the Colin Library of the Catholic Theological College, Auckland.

We have been so overwhelmed with the wealth of material being made available that the indexing system has been changed. In the navigation pane on the left you will now see several pages of contents:
Colin sig.jpg
  • Girard Contents is the key focus of the site, the translation into English of Lettres reçues d’Océanie the collection of letters from the Marist General Archive in Rome, the critical edition of which Fr Charles Girard SM has made available.
    • There is on sale a single volume "highlights" of the 9 volume set. This is entitled Lettres des missionnaires maristes en Océanie (1836-1854) by Charles GIRARD (dir.) with ISBN : 978-2-8111-0081-0 and this link will take you to the publisher's site.
  • Clisby Contents is the set of translations by Br Edward Clisby FMS which has been privately published under the title Letters Received from Oceania
  • ColinSup Contents is a collection of documents for the study of the generalate of Jean-Claude Colin. Colin is a major recipient of the letters of the missionaries and this collection includes many of his replies to those letters. The name of this comes from the way Colin, as Superior General, used to sign his letters - Colin Sup.
  • Keel Contents is the compilation published in 1993 by Fr Edwin Keel SM called a book of texts: for the study of marist spirituality
  • Poupinel contents is a place for translations from the published volumes of the letters of the Mission Procurator, Victor Poupinel.
  • Other Contents is the index to other primary historical documents relevant to Marist Studies and to the history of the Catholic Church in Western Oceania.
  • Secondary Sources is a response to the request to use this site to enable the online publication of Marist Studies materials.
  • Biographical Notes Summary information about some of the early Marists, is in continuous development (as at 2023).

Citing material from this website

In the Chicago style a footnote referencing these translations would include

1. Author (if available), "Title of the Letter," translator. Website Name, URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

For example:

1. Séon, Antoine. "8 July 1841 - Father Antoine Séon to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Kororareka," translated by Mary Williamson. Marist Studies, (accessed July 25, 2023).

You may also wish to acknowledge the French original source.

Lettres reçues d'Océanie par L'Administration Générale des Pères Maristes pendant le généralat de Jean-Claude Colin, edited by Charles Girard, Fontes Historici Societatis Mariae, 10 volumes. Paris: Éditions Karthala, 2009.

2015 Publication of "Brother Missionaries in Early New Zealand"

Brother Missionaries in Early New Zealand 2015.jpg
An in-house publication was done in late 2015 by the Marist Archives Wellington of a collection of their resources about the early brothers of the Society of Mary in New Zealand.

It is attractively presented with excellent photos and includes an index of those who were professed as Brothers and worked in New Zealand

A Piety Able to Cope by Jan Snijders

Here is the online version of the following work:

This work has now come out in Print under the title A Mission too Far ... Pacific Commitment and can be purchased from ATF Press.

Alternatively you can purchase it as a pdf file from them at A Mission too Far (pdf).

Bonus Chapters of A Mission Too Far ... Pacific Commitment

This text is published in follow-up of A Mission Too Far … Pacific Commitment written by Jan Snijders and published in 2012 with the ATF, Hindmarsh, SA. In ten chapters the book tells the story of the Marist Founder’s role in the opening of the Marist missions in the Pacific from 1835 to 1841. To continue the story Jan wrote a further chapter, 1842 Part 1: A Quiet Period in Between, that was published in Forum Novum, Volume 14, in December 2012, 78-101. On this link is a second one, 1842 Part 2: Reorganizing Things.

Now, in September 2014, we offer yet another Chapter 13 - January-August 1842: Action in the Pacific.

The story continues! In May 2015 we offer Chapter 14 - 1842-1843: The End of a Period

In September 2016 we offer Chapter 15 - 1843: Douarre and Épalle.

In July 2017 the fascinating story of Fr Forest Chapter 16 - 1843: A Visitator in New Zealand.

October 2017 the story of the next groups of missionaries arriving and of the dividing up of the region into different vicariates. Chapter 17 - Expansion 1843-4.

The Extra Chapters


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