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1755: Birth of Jean Baptiste III Champagniat, father of Marcellin

Marist Calendar - July

Letters of Marcellin - 067

 

Br. Marcellin Champagnat
28/08/1836


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On 24th or 25th August, along with Bishop Pompallier and Father
Chanut, who were going to take care of some business concerning the mission in Oceania, Fr. Champagnat went to Paris in the hopes of wringing out of the government the final signature needed for the authorization of his congregation. He was carrying a letter of recommendation from Bishop Gaston de Pins, written in Lyons on 24th August 1836 and addressed to His Excellency Mr. Pelet de la Lozère, the Minister of Public Instruction, in Paris (cf. biographical sketch):

Mister Minister, the valuable institution of the Little Brothers of Mary has for some time been on the point of being approved. These are elementary teachers, worthy of the greatest interest. They do a great deal of good among rural youth. They inspire their students with moral principles as successfully as they spread education among the isolated rural towns, and on that score alone, they do an immense service to society. The Royal Council of Public Instruction has already approved their statutes, on 28th February 1834, with some slight modifications which the Little Brothers of Mary accepted. There is no longer, therefore, anything standing in the way of their authorization. However, the appropriate ordinance has not yet been issued; and Fr. Champagnat is coming to Your Excellency to request this favor; I ask you to welcome him with kindness. His ardent zeal for the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary, to whom he has devoted himself completely for many long years, the success he has obtained and his perseverance in a work which is at the same time so difficult and so useful to the public, make him worthy of this favor, and of obtaining the authorization which is his greatest hope, and mine also, in the public interest.

I have the honor to be, etc....

The day after he arrived, Fr. Champagnat wrote the following letter, primarily to Bro. François, to be sure, but also to all the brothers of the Hermitage.

J.M.J.

From Paris, 28th August 1836, at the Seminary of the Society for the Foreign Missions, Rue du Bac, Nº 120.

My very dear brother,

After three days and three nights of travel, we arrived in Paris, in good health and determined to do all we could to carry out our various errands. Thanks be to Jesus and Mary, I completed the trip without experiencing, as I had feared, the pains I usually have.

We are staying at the seminary of the Society for the Foreign Missions. The worthy superior of this house received us with admirable kindness. We have adjoining rooms.

How much we need the help of the prayers of everyone in the house! I am really afraid that we will obtain nothing, since the cabinet has been changed. Will the new one be favorable to us? I have no idea. Bishop Pompallier hopes to have an interview with the king and queen. If possible, he will speak to the king on our behalf.

Dont worry about me, I feel fine. I find the people of Paris very polite; we have not heard a single insulting word. I will write you as soon as I have made any moves, to keep you abreast of everything.

Tell Fathers Servant, Matricon and Besson how much I am counting on their Masses and on them for their overall supervision. Take their advice and that of Brothers Jean-Marie and Stanislas for the more thorny problems.

You must speed up the business of the chapel as much as you can, without spoiling anything. Take care of it; work things out with Frs. Matricon and Besson, and Bros. Jean-Marie and Stanislas.

I ask you above all to see that no one is left with nothing to do. Prepare everything for the vacation; I have no way of knowing when I shall leave Paris. It seems to me I could stay here very willingly, since everything appears extremely calm.

You have my address if you need to write me.

Please accept, all of you, the assurance of the tender affection with which, my dear brothers, I have the honor to be your most devoted and affectionate father in Jesus and Mary,

Champagnat
Sup. of the M. B.

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