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Letters of Marcellin - 249

 

Br. Marcellin Champagnat
08/04/1839


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Strangely enough we have only one copy of this letter in the collection of writings authenticated by the Church as a document to be placed in the file of the Process for Fr. Champagnats beatification. All our research has not succeeded in turning up the original. Like the preceding letters to brothers (LL. 244, 247, 248) it deals with spiritual direction matters. But this one concerns a painful situation which the Founder is trying to resolve, showing the brother his affection by means of the prayers he promises him, and also his confidence by the news he gives him. Despite all this, everything seems to indicate that he left religious life a few months later.

J.M.J.

N.D. de lHermitage near St-Chamond (Loire), 8th April 1839

My very dear brother,

Your letter, my very dear friend, greatly aroused my compassion. Since then I never approach the holy altar without recommending you to him in whom we never hope in vain, who can help us overcome the greatest obstacles. Never despair of your salvation; it is in good hands: Mary, isnt Mary your refuge and your good mother? The greater your needs are, the more she wants to rush to help you. Without mentioning your name, we are beginning a novena for you. I am going to say Mass again for that intention today, 8th April, feast of the Annunciation. Continue to be very open with your confessor who, I have no doubt, is a holy priest.

We are still receiving many novices from all over. We have made two establishments since Saint-Pol, or I should rather say, they tore brothers away from us for two towns (Izieux and Les Roches de Condrieu) I am leaving now to look over the building which the town of Chambon is offering us. We have had several sick brothers who are either recovered or convalescent. Brother Pemen died of smallpox a week ago. Tell Brother Jean-Baptiste, so that he can take care of what the Rule prescribes.

We are also praying for the mission in Oceania, for the members of the society who are there now and for those we are preparing to send there. We are just about to send brothers to Bordeaux. Everything is going along as usual in the establishments and at the motherhouse.

The school inspectors in the departments where our brothers are working are not hostile. Mary our good Mother takes good care of us. She knows very well that we are too insignificant to be able to carry on a struggle. At Grenoble we obtained five certificates of competence: Bro. Denis, Bro. Antoine-Régis, Bro. Gabriel, Bro. Prosper, and Bro. Sylvestre; we did not send anyone anywhere else. Bro. Jean-Chrysostôme is still dangerously ill. We do not believe he will pull out of it. Pray for him. Death upsets me deeply; whom doesnt it? The way to sweeten this last moment is to think about it often: Memorare novissima.

Adieu, my very dear Brother Marie-Laurent; I leave you in the arms of Mary, our good and loving Mother.

My best to Brother Director and Brother Africain.

I have the honor to be all yours in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Champagnat

P.S. Also tell Brother M.Pt. that we cannot give him any more brothers until 1841 at best. It would not be possible for us before then; we have made too many other commitments.

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