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Letters of Marcellin - 183


Br. Marcellin Champagnat

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Like L. 181 above, to Bro. Hilarion, this one seems to be an answer to be shared with the brothers in the area. The Founder had started another letter on this same sheet, to Father and esteemed pastor, the superior of the H.. Since he had not gone any farther and did not want to waste an almost-empty sheet, he used it for this letter, altering what he had already written:
Monsieur et très digne pasteur..... Monsieur became Mon bien, et became très, très became frère; then he wrote the name Antoine on top of digne pasteur. But he left the date as is, which would explain why his post-script was dated only the 29th.

Paris, 24th March 1838, Foreign Missions, Rue du Bac, Nº 120.

My very dear Brother Antoine,

As you can see, dear friend, I am still in Paris, seeing, visiting, this one and that one, with no idea when my exhausting errands will be at an end. However, I hope that with the help of the prayers being said on all sides, I will attain the goal of this whole process. Yesterday I saw the head of the office responsible for everything concerning primary schools. Mr. Pillet told me that since my request had obtained favorable reports from all the university councils, he intended the next day to draft the ordinance to be presented to the Council of State and then to the king for his signature. Mr. Lachaize, deputy for the Loire, told the mayor of Lavalla, who is in Paris right now, that he would bet ten to one that I will get my ordinance. In spite of all that, I am still strongly convinced, dear brother, that we will get only what God wants, neither more nor less. However, I do not neglect any step that might further our cause. I know that in such circumstances, God wants us to make use of other men. So you can see that what I need are prayers.

Fulfill, with your co-workers whom I love very much, fulfill, fulfill, out of love for Jesus Christ, your obligations; pray and have your children pray; you know how much Jesus Christ enjoys being pestered by such innocent souls; my business here in the capital involves them especially.

I am feeling fine in Paris. I am staying at the seminary of the Foreign Missions, where I am very satisfied. I assure you that if I did not know that I would be missed a little at the Hermitage, I would ask to end my days here. I follow the schedule of the house as much as my business allows. I get up at the bell, go to meditation and the other religious exercises, to meals and to recreation. I am extremely edified by the generous dedication of these men who are destined for the far-off missions. What thoughtful charity prevails among them; they are cheerful, but not frivolous or dissipated. Whatever delays their departure upsets them but does not discourage them.

Here in Paris there is a solid core of good Christians. How I wish that our country folk, who think themselves good Christians, could see how respectful these people are in church, how faithfully and attentively they attend instructions. Above all, I wish they could see the piety and recollection with which people here approach the holy table. They are not afraid to stay in church for two or three hours, for the ceremonies are very long. And it is even the best class of people in Paris who act this way.

Brother Marie-Jubin is doing very well. He is presently attending classes for the deaf and dumb, as I do myself when I can.

I will not tell you, dear friend, how cold I have been this winter. Fuel is horribly expensive in Paris: an ordinary man can carry fifteen francs worth of wood on his back. A number of people have died from the cold.

A Dieu, dear friend, à Dieu dear Théodose, Henri-Marie and the dear cook. May Jesus and Mary be your only inheritance.

I am for life your very devoted father in Jesus and Mary,


P.S. Affectionate greetings to the parish priest and his curate. Share my letter with the brothers in Mornant, whom I embrace.

P.S. 29th March. I have just got back from the Ministry of Public Instruction, where I was informed that the ordinance had been drawn up and that the minister would sign it, perhaps tomorrow, and present it to the Council of State and finally have it signed by the king, which should not take very long. Please tell the brothers in Mornant and St-Synmphorien and tell them to keep praying.

Tell the parish priest also and give him my regards. I still ask for a share in his prayers.

A Dieu, dear friend. I think I shall be in Lyons the last day of Holy Week, but I am not sure.

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