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PS 148

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  1. PS 148 To Monsieur Pierre Antoine Dumas and to Monsieur Barthèlemy Artru, Curès at Boulieu and at Peaugres,(Ardèche), repectively, 1837-10-30, Ps 148,

  2. Introduction Fr. Champagnat wrote to Fr. Pierre Antoine Dumas and Fr. Barthèlemy Artru informing them that in accordance with the expressed wish of the diocesan authorities, he is withdrawing the Brothers from their parishes. The question remains, was Fr. Champagnat aware of the sudden change of attitude from the diocesan authorities towards the apostolate of the Brothers in the diocese? No body has a definitive answer to this question. For Champagnat, the most important thing is total submission to the authorities. Therefore, Fr. Champagnat mandated the Brothers in Peaugres and Boulieu to withdraw from the school. This clearly demonstrated Fr. Champagnat as a man who practiced detachment at the highest level.

  3. Letter PS148 N.D. de l'Hermitage, 30th October 1837 Father, [01] According to a letter from Fr. Vernet, superior of the Brothers of Viviers, to the archdiocese of Lyons, on behalf of the bishop of Viviers, our brothers would occasion an unpleasant clash in that diocese, one which would be a disgrace to religion; consequently, Fr. Vernet asks Fr. Cattet to tell His Lordship the archbishop, to forbid us to work in the diocese of Viviers. In the diocese of Lyons we have a great number of places impatiently waiting for our brothers.

  4. The vicars general, according to this letter, have already promised brothers from your parish to a mayor near Lyons who asked for them a long time ago. Besides the diocese of Lyons, the dioceses of Belly, Autun, Grenoble, Le Puy, Clermont (in a word, in every part of France) are asking for our brothers. [02] Our fundamental principle is to remain closely united to the episcopate. We are consequently hurrying to satisfy your worthy bishop, who, we do not doubt, has good reasons for acting thus. Please, Father, inform the mayor. You have to find yourself a schoolteacher. I would very much like to do otherwise. I am telling our brothers not to begin classes and not to make any plans unless your bishop gives a written authorization which can be presented to our archbishop. I have the honor, etc.... Champagnat

  5. SITUATIONS REVEALED BY THE LETTER The Viviers problem. • The three letters that follow all deal with same question. • However, on 20th October 1837, Fr. Joseph Vernet, vicar general of Viviers and the superior of the Brothers of Christian Instructions of Viviers, sent a letter to Fr. Cattet, vicar general of Lyons, asked him to forbid the Brothers of the Hermitage to open schools in the diocese of Viviers. It is really unfortunate that the copy of the text of this letter is not available. Therefore, we know only about it from the allusions made to it in those which follow here. • “Our Brothers would occasion an unpleasant clash, one which would be a disgrace to religion…” • We do not actually know more the real motives behind the letter than Fr. Champagnat . But obviously, 1837, was not differerent from the years that preceded it in terms of the multiplicity of difficulties which Fr. Vernet had to face in terms of trying to keep his foundation going. According to the “Chronicles” of his congregation{AFM,221, 222, 223, 224}, he found himself obliged to send away Fr. Riviere, a priest of the diocese, to whom he had entrusted the direction of the Brothers.

  6. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA OF PEOPLE MENTIONED • Monsieur Pierre Antoine Dumas was born on 8th December 1787, according to the diocesan archives of Vivers, which do not give us the place of his birth. • Bro. Avit, in the annals of Boulieu, offers more details about him. • According Bro. Avit, “Fr. Dumas, whose parents had courageously sheltered persecuted priest in Annonay during the terror, was named parish priest of Boulieu on 31st August, 1809{Ref. Vol. 2. P. 214}”

  7. Monsieur BarthèlemyArtru was the parish priest of Peaugres in the diocese of Viviers. He was born on 25th June 1805 in Annonaey After his ordination in 1828, he was assigned to work as a curate in Boulieu-les-Annonay, later, the parish priest of Peaugres in 1829. He waisted no time in asking Fr. Champagnat for Brothers to see to the Christian education of the boys of his parish,as soon as he became the parish priest. According to Bro. Avit, in the annals, “we do not know whether Father Artru went to the Hermitage, or whether the founder, while visiting the Brothers in Boulieu, also went to Peaugres, but one thing certain is that they met according to the letter written by Fr. Artru on 6th October, 1833{AFA, 213.35.2}, (Refrences, vol.2. p.54).

  8. Fr. Joseph Vernet (1760-1843) was born in Villeneuve-de Berge,Ardèche, on 20thSeptembeer, 1760 in to a Christian family. His father was a rigid honest merchant had an older brother who baptisedVernet. His mother’s name was Anne Genton. She was one of those mothers who in their simplicity, know more about raising children than all the theorizers{Vie de M. Vernet, p. 2} She raised five children, two of her three sons became priests. When the Revolution began to shake the church in France, he was driven out of the seminary in 1790 with all his colleagues. He took refuge with his family and later went to live in Viviers. He was the vicar general of Vivers,the director and founder of the Sisters of the Presentation, the founder of the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Viviers (Ref. vol. 2. ps. 492-496). • Fr. Cattet(1788-1858) was born on 4th October, 1788 in Neuville-Sur-Saone.He entered the seminary of St. Irenee on 3rd November 1806 and ordained a priest inDecember 21st, 1811. He was professor of dogma at St.-Irenee from December 1811 to 17th December 1816. He was the 3rdviicarr general of Lyons. He was in charge of the Religious communities in the archdiocese (Ref. vol. p.107)

  9. PLACES MENTIONED • Boulieu Boulieu , a rural town in the department of the Ardeche and the district of Annonay. About 1200 inhabitants of Boulieu work either at farming or in the factories of Annonay, especially, the paper mills.There is nothing special happened at Boulieu either before or after Revolution.

  10. Peaugres • Peaugres, in 1880, was a rural town of 99o people, in the department of the Ardeche, the arrondissement of Tournonon and the district of Serrieres. It is situated at 363m. altitude, 6km from Serrieres on the road to Annonay, 76km from L’Hemitage and 66km from St.-Genis-Laval. After the promugation of the law of 28th June 1833, allowing all the towns of the kingdom to establish schools, Fr. Barthelemew Artru, the parish priest and Mr. Vallas, the mayor of Peaugres, immedietly tried to do something subtantial.

  11. Viviers • Viviers in 1840 was the seat of a district of the department of the Ardeche and had about 2,500 inhabitants. The little city “rises on the right bank of Rhone, at the foot of a limestone cliff cowned by the cathedral. It has mill making twilled cloth,silk and wool. • The institute of of the Brothers of Christian Instruction finally settled and developed in Viviers under the direction of Fr. Vernet. • Lyons • Lyons, the second largest city in France, capital of the department of the Rhone, had a population of 198,748 inhabitants. Lyons was the seat of an archdiocese which after the concordat of 1802, took in the three departments of Rhone, the Loire and Ain, but was later detached in 1823 in order to create the diocese of Belley. It was in the same city[Lyons] that Fr. Champagnat’s ecclesiastical superiors were and the place he did his seminary studies and ordination.

  12. ATTITUDE OF MARCELLIN • Obedient • “Our fundamental principle is to remain closely and united to the episcopate”. • “I am telling our Brothers not to begin classes and not make any plans unless your bishop gives a written authorization which can be presented to our archbishop”. • Humility • “We are cosequently hurrying to satisfy your worth bishop, who we do not have doubt, has good reasons for acting thus” • Fr. Champagnat also exhibitestrustfulnes to the bishop.

  13. MENTALITY OF MARCELLIN ON SOME MATTERS • Fr. Champagnat was eager to contribute with the education of the young people. • “In the diocese of Lyons, we have a great number of places impatiently waiting for our Brothers” • He takes the incident as an opportunity to go to places where the presence of the Brothers are most needed. • Fr. Champagnat does not want any occasion that will bring unpleasant clash in that diocese which will be a disgrace to the religion. • Obedience to the Bishop, Fr. Champagnat allowed the will of God to happen.

  14. BIBILICAL ALLUSIONS • Do whatever he tells you (wedding at Canaan) John, 2:5. • Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven{Mt. 18.4} • Give to the one who ask of you…{Mt. 5.42}

  15. CONSTITUTIONS • The call to live evangelical obedience for the kingdom involves communities, provinces, and the institute itself in a constant search to know God’s will (constitutions, 43). • For the organization of the apostolic works, we are attentive to the voice of the pastors of the church and act in harmony with the code of canon law{const. 40.1}.

  16. PHRASES THAT IMPACT ON ME • “Our fundamental principle is to remain closely united to the episcopate”. • “I am telling our Brothers not begin classes

  17. PERSONAL REFLECTION • I pray for God’s grace to help me emulate very well the humility and simplicity of Fr. Champagnat. • Fr. Champagnat demonstrates that obedience does not necessarily mean that someone is weak. I learn from Fr. Champagnat that obedience is a virtue which I must inculcate if I want to inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, when I obey it does not mean that I am weak