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Letters from Oceania received by the Marist Fathers

09/11/2009: General House

A year ago we announced the appearance of an anthology of very significant letters from Marist missionaries (S.M.) in Oceania. These letters were sent to the general administration during the mandate of Father Jean Claude Colin. The final and complete edition of these 1365 documents is available now in ten volumes, the last volume being an index. The work contains a total of eight thousand pages, all in original French. Father Charles Girard, SM, has directed this work for twenty years and finally sees them being published. The bibliographical file says: Charles Girard, SM, Director, Letters from Oceania 1836-1854, Karthla Publications-Society of Mary (Marist Fathers), Paris-Rome 2009.

We recall here what Brother Andre Lanfrey, commenting on this completed anthology, said a year ago: “This publication is of enormous importance for all Marists. It powerfully illustrates to us, in its own way, the history of our origins, and how Champagnat and Colin sent both Priests and Brothers to Oceania, and it also shows our part in the history of Oceania.”

Father P. Jan Hulshof, SM, the Superior General of the Society of Mary, referring to this powerful publication says: “On the opening of our archives and the presentation of this edition, the Society of Mary desires to offer first hand sources of our history. The historian, ethnologist and each reader, be it in Oceania, Europe or elsewhere, will find material for investigation which will allow him to understand the sense of mission which animated those men who left their own country to go to the other side of the world, they will encounter in these letters the realities that these men faced. Likewise, this work will fulfill its objective if it leads to progress in the dialogue among cultures and civilizations.”

Following the recommendations of the International Patrimony Committee, the General House of the Marist Brothers has asked for a limited number of sample copies of the complete collection. They will be sent to formation centers concerned with Marist patrimony, as well as to centers of university studies wishing to avail of this precious source of Marist history in Oceania. It will not be sent, right now, to all Administrative Units of the Marist Brothers, but is available to those who wish to order it. It costs 300 Euros, plus the shipping costs.

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Brother Pedro Herreros

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