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Fr Colin to all the Priests of the Society (in NZ?), ??, after June 1848?

Translated by M Lindsay, corrected by Fr Gaston Lessard SM

HD2/4 (a.i)

1. You are aware of the serious events which have taken place in France; King Louis-Philippe overthrown[1], the Republic proclaimed, trade held up, the opposing parties, the general unrest. All that can only reduce the income of the Propagation of the Faith. Already your grant for 1847 has only been for 40,000 francs; take precautions accordingly and avoid new ventures.
2. In the general retreat of 1847, consisting of more than 80 members, that which follows was decided upon as a point of rule: The Priests of the Society of Mary may accept the episcopacy in the missions. The Society itself encourages them to do so, but they cease from that time on to belong to the Society unless, at their formal request, the Society thinks fit to regard them as members. Consequently, the Society will not, as far as they are concerned, undertake either to provide priests, or to manage their affairs in Europe. This measure has been deemed necessary in order to avoid overburdening the Society. Everyone pay close attention to this point.
3. I advise the Fathers Baty, Forest, Pezant, Petitjean and Bernard to follow Bishop Viard immediately into his diocese at Port Nicholson.[2] The other priests of the Society will await the arrival of Bishop Pompallier so as not to leave the faithful without pastors, and later they will go with all the Brothers to the diocese at Port Nicholson.
4. I wish very much that you may assemble together and have a good retreat as soon as possible after making the necessary arrangements with Bishop Viard.
5. I urge you earnestly, in this retreat, to please select by secret ballot three members, the name of whom you will send me promptly in order that I might appoint one of this number permanent visitor, responsible for attending to the preservation of the spirit and rules of the Society. You will come to an understanding with Bishop Viard in order to carry out this election as quickly as possible.
6. I have requested Bishop Viard not to place you separately in his diocese, I wish, if possible, for you to be four to a station and for one to be Superior. This way you will incur less expense; you will visit in turn and more easily the tribes nearby without having to leave your House unoccupied.
This letter will be sent to all the Priests of the Society who have taken their vows. I embrace you all, Fathers and Brothers, with much affection and remain, more than ever, dear confrères,
Your very humble and devoted servant,
Colin, Superior

HD2/4 (contd)

Dear confrères
If I might be permitted to fill the page, and add a word to each of you as a token of my fond regards. I thank the Fathers Baty, Forest, Petitjean and Comte, they have written to us quite frequently still. I wish they had not broken off their letters more than two years since. Let the Fathers Pezant and Bernard also receive my thanks for the last letters they sent me, dated 1846. They have been of great use to me. The Fathers Petit Maxime, Séon, Garin, Reignier, Moreau, Lampila have written occasionally but much more seldom; have they forgotten that they are children of the family, and that nothing maintains union more than the frequent relations which members of the same family have together?
I offer my respects to Mr Rozet, I know that he does not consider himself to be part of the Society. I am therefore less surprised by his silence. Recently, I have written a couple of words to my good Mr Yvert to assure him again of my fond regard. Let the good and very dear Brothers Elie, Florentin, Luc Macé, Euloge, Emery, Justin, Claude-Marie, Basil and Michel also receive my fond regards.
We forget neither one nor the other of you. The Society of Mary has increased at an unexpected rate. I do not tell you of the Martyrs of New Caledonia and San Cristobal. You have heard the news before us.
Your very humble and quite devoted servant,
Colin, Superior
PS. The Members of the Society would do very well to write the history of the Mission in New Zealand, or at least, gather the material for this history. Bishop Pompallier, in his report to Rome, entered an account of the already fairly good income returned by the mission, of lands purchased. What is the real value of the Mission’s funds? What is the value of land purchased? A report from you based on the truth would be useful.
  1. February 1848
  2. Pius IX erected the diocese of Wellington on 20 June 1848