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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.
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
  • Other Contents is the index to other primary historical documents relevant to Marist Studies and to the history of the Catholic Church in Western Oceania.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.

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

You may access electronic versions here


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

Marist Studies experts

To write to this site you need to have an account created for you.

E-mail Merv Duffy on telling me who you are, your connection with this project and what password and username you want

Having an account means that you have access to everyone else's translations of these documents. In return we ask that you make available to us the translations that you make. If you have any difficulty adding text to the Wiki feel free to email your text to and I will put it up for you.

See the example page Girard0148 for a proposed format.

Please name documents from "Lettres reçues d’Océanie" as Girard####, i.e. as Girard followed by the document number expressed as four digits. Hence doc 148 is Girard0148.

So, if you want to check if the document you are working on has been translated, just type Girard imediately followed by the appropriate 4 digit number (i.e. with no space between the two) into the search box to the left of this.

If the page does not exist you have the opportunity of creating it and putting your translation there.

The CD of the letters we got from Charley at Suva is already out of date. He has removed a duplicate letter - formerly doc 341 which duplicated doc 414 (new numbering) and hence everything after has been renumbered. Two new documents have been added docs 1297 and 1307.

Message from Charles Girard

The editing of all 1373 documents of the Lettres reçues d'Océanie has been completed. There are nine volumes with the texts, plus a tenth volume with documents 1366-1373, followed by tables and indexes.
In the first sub-folder, v1-36-41, the first two files are: 01v1titx (title pages) and 02v1avan Avant-propos (foreword), Sigles et abréviations, Table des matières, Tables des illustrations, Structure du recueil, Critères de choix des textes, Établissement du texte et apparat critique, Utilisation de transcriptions déjà faites. In the other sub¬folders, the first two files are named: 01v2titx (title pages) and 02v2avan (Sigles et abréviations, Table des matiēres, Table des illustrations), 0lv3titx and 02v3avan, etc. The Table des illustrations for each volume lists only those illustrations which appear in that volume; the full list of illustrations appears in vol. 10, x-v20-ap, in folder 0b-avant.
The sub-folders are named: v1-36-41 (vol.1,1836-1841), v2-42-43 (vol. 2,1842-1843), ... v7-50 (vol. 7,1850), etc. The name of each file is the year(s) when the documents were written.
There is a sub-folder x-v10-ap (appendix) which will be volume 10 of the work. Its files are: 0a-v10-t (title pages); 0b-avant (Avant propos, a foreword describing the contents of vol. 10, plus the Table des matiēres and the Table des illustrations, listing all 24 illustrations which appear in the work); 1biblog (Ouvrages cites en note, bibliography with abbreviations used in citations); 2departs (Départs des missionnaires, avec les noms de tous les missionnaires partis durant le généralat Colin, dans l'ordre alphabetique, suivi des details sur les dēparts, escales et arrivēes); 3concor (Table de concor¬dance des documents entre l'édition de 1999 et celle de 2009); 4dates (Index des dates); 5bib136-8 (Index des citations bibliques for the years 1836-1838); 7thm36-8 (Index alphabétique des thémes for the years 1836-1838); 8onm36-38 (Index onomastique for the years 1836-1838); 9auteurs (list of authors with documents they wrote); 9b-provenance (list of places from which letters originated).


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