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Letters of Marcellin - 017


Br. Marcellin Champagnat

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This letter, like the preceding one, is a circular. Since all the circulars had to be hand-written, nothing was simpler than to personalize them by adding a few appropriate words at the end to each brother to whom they were addressed.

As a follow-up to the preceding letter, and contrary to custom, it is specified that the brothers will stay in their own houses for their vacation and retreat. The social and political climate of the time made it unwise for religious to gather in any number, and still less for them to travel, especially in their habit. For the Marist Fathers the pastoral retreats of Lyons and Belley had been cancelled (O.M., I, p. 498, note 2). Still, Brother Avit affirms in his Abrégé des Annales (p. 100) that events in no way prevented Father from giving the brothers retreat, which seems to confirm what Brother Jean-Baptiste says (Life, p. 176-177) although there is no indication whether he is writing specifically about 1830. It is not unthinkable, in fact, that even after sending this circular, the Founder finally changed his mind, since things had quieted down in the countryside, and he had received a letter that same day, 10th September 1830, from Father Colin, who was thinking of convoking all the priests to elect a superior (O.M., I, doc. 220, pp. 497-498).

Jesus, Mary, St.Joseph

Dear Brother Antoine,

Present circumstances will not permit us to gather this year at the Mother house to spend our vacation and make our retreat together. God will provide for you in that regard, we trust. Consequently, after reaching an agreement with your parish priest, you may take two weeks to make your retreat under his competent direction.

Do not announce any vacation; you may simply tell the children, when you are about to take your fifteen days, Do not come to school tomorrow; Father will announce the day when you should come back.

Do not be afraid of anything, dear friends; we have God to defend us. No one can harm us if God does not let him. Despite the rage which hell stirs up against the Church, that Church is founded on a rock and nothing can shake it. It is never more beautiful than when it is persecuted. So let us abandon our-
selves to the wise and loving guidance of Divine Providence.

Nothing new at the Mother house, nor in the other establishments; everything is going fairly well, thank God.

Tell Brother Dominique that I love him and that I pray for both of you. I hope you will not forget me in your own good prayers.

I have the honor to be your very devoted father in Jesus and Mary,

Champagnat, sup. of the M.B.

Notre Dame de lHermitage, 10th September 1830

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