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Until the picture was displayed in what looks, according to the frames specialist Tim Newbury, like a mirror frame or girondole, made in a neo-mannerist English style, circa , but it was not likely to be original. Its current oval gilded profile frame was made by John Davies Framing Ltd, London, in the summer of Three hundred years after his death his relics were translated to Constantinople, and the widespread cult of the saint began — all the up north to Novgorod.

Alexei Lidov Moscow: Indrik, , pp. The people were late and the church was empty. Therefore, those who happened to be with him there suggested not to light too many candles but to use one small light, enough to kneel before the Bishop. The subject of St Spyridon standing inside of its glass-windowed ornate shrine, or inner sarcophagus, apparently emerged in the late 17th century and enjoyed widespread diffusion in the Ionic-Adriatic area, especially in the 18ththcenturies.

Vinogradov and D. Pospelov St Petersburg University Press, , pp.

Onassis Foundation does. Leo Papadopulos and G. Consacrata all'immortal merito dell'illustriss. A bearded, tall-hatted priest clad in black robes flapped like a crow in the gloom, making the crowd form into a single line that filed down the church, past the great silver coffin, and out through another door into the street. The coffin was standing upright, looking like a silver chrysalis, and at its lower end a portion had been removed so that the saint's feet, clad in the richly-embroidered slippers, peeped out.

As each person reached the coffin he bent, kissed the feet, and murmured a prayer, while at the top of the sarcophagus the saint's black and withered face peered out of a glass panel with an expression of acute 20 Bakalova and Lazarova, Mahoney, Six years in the monasteries of Italy, and two years in the islands of the Mediterranean and in Asia Minor: containing a view of the manners and customs of the popish clergy in Ireland, France, Italy, Malta, Corfu, Zante, Smyrna.

With anecdotes and remarks, illustrating some of the peculiar doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle, , and Boston: Jordan, Swift and Wiley, , p. The passage is also cited in full in Bakalova and Lazarova, pp. It became evident that, whether we wanted to or not, we were going to kiss Saint Spiridion's feet. The locals report that sometimes the silver coffin, within which the actual reliquary is usually kept, cannot be opened.

This means that the saint is away on a mission, helping the needy, as proved by the fact that his velvet slippers get so worn out through travelling by foot that they have to be changed every year during a solemn ceremony. The old slippers are then cut up and distributed about the local devotees and the pilgrims. I have not been able to find its source, which may well have been lost. What makes the icon unusual is its compact size During the whole of summer, Fr Champagnat slept on a balcony and in the open air.

As at Lavalla, all ate rye bread, cheese and vegetables given by the good people. They drank water from the Gier. Fr Champagnat himself woke the Brothers at 4. They said prayers, made their meditation and heard Mass, then they worked the whole day. First of all, they built an oratory in brick covering square metres at the spot where the arbour on the way to the cemetery now ends. A chest of drawers served as an altar.

This place was well wooded. A bell hanging from an old oak tree beside the oratory announced the times for the daily exercises. That same bell still announces them in in the belfry of the house. Champagnat gave the signal for rising, silence was observed during work and every hour, to remind everyone of the presence of God, -- a favourite practice of Fr.

His is one of the few portraits selected for inclusion in the Life of Father Champagnat. The bookseller mentioned in the following extract from the Life is Mr. Rusand and the lender with whom he went surety was Mr. He would ask a generous neighbor, Mr. Bassons, if he might provide dinner for the important guests. And this is what they did on this occasion. Brother Jean-Baptiste tells it this way:.

Study as well as work! His advice, exhortations and instructions revolved around the practical steps to acquire the religious virtues, to correct their faults, to receive the sacraments worthily to attend the Holy Mass, to foster the charity which should exist among them, to practise fraternal correction which he called the daughter of charity, but mainly he directed his efforts towards instilling in them a solid devotion to the Blessed Virgin, his model, whose virtues they should constantly strive to imitate, among others her deep humility.

He also attempted to cultivate in them a great zeal for the salvation of the children and he returned to this with great frequency. During the building, the first Prospectus, July, An absolutely basic document in the development and history of the Little Brothers of Mary was prepared and printed even while the construction of the Hermitage took up time virtually every day.

The evolution of this 4-page document, refined through several drafts, is a story in itself, and can be studied in the formal histories of the Institute. Suffice it to say here that this document is the first to try to crystalise the aims and purpose of the new Institute. And so, a facsimile The reader is invited to glance through it with a view to understanding the emerging clarification of the essential direction of the Brothers. Carriage provides a happy distraction Presumably tools would have been downed when a carriage arrived from the town of Chavanay in November , to take two Brothers there to begin a school.

There would have been farewells when earlier in the month three Brothers, -Louis, Cyprien Furet and Augustin -- had set out to establish a school in Charlieu. But the principal citizens of Chavanay had personally come to convey the Brothers, by coach, to their town! There they pray and work, in silence and in mutual affection.

And Fr. Champagnat is always the first in everything, the most edifying of all. He draws everyone to him by the love and veneration he inspires. They have finished the large building near the river, and they are making a chapel above the rock; they will enter it through their top-storey rooms. It is said that the archbishop of Lyons is helping them, and several others.

It is truly a scene of the Druids of ancient times. Some are in the Wood , the others in the field. They are all at Vespers. Really now this ought to be put in the magazines. They have an organ like the singers of Paris. Masons laid the stones, using trowel, hammer and right-angle brace, assuring the level and solidity; assistants used an iron ramrod to set smaller stones in the irregular cavity, filling all the interstices with mortar and levelling for the next layer. Iron cramps were used in places to strengthen corners and other points of stress.

All were young men, years of age; all worked in silence and with zest. The nature of the stone on the site favoured this manner of building; most of it being hard schist. He died at Boulieu, and there not being a cemetery at the Hermitage at that stage, was buried elsewhere. The community numbered 20 Brothers and 10 Postulants. Owen Kavanagh after perusing old entry registers at Lavalla and from Br. It may be incomplete. Whichever were postulants and which Brothers, the names make more vivid that real, live, young men were these early pioneers of the Little Brothers of Mary.

First sketch of the Hermitage While this sketch is said to be the first sketch, made by Father Bourdin, SM, who lived for a time at the Hermitage, an explanation below it, along with the other more professional sketch below, tells of possible inaccuracies in the representation. It is suggested that Father Bourdin may have done the sketch from memory at a later time, rather than standing in front of the recently completed Hermitage building.

As can be seen by the other accompanying sketch, that wall was that of a building in front of the main building. Later diagrams show that this building housed, amongst other things, a hay loft. The other sketch of unknown origin clearly shows the five storeys. The others along with the Father and the workmen busied themselves with making floors, partitions, doors and the casement windows.

The building, begun in May, was completed one year later. No one noted down anywhere what it cost, nor the gifts received, except for the francs given by Bishop de Pins. Br Jean Baptiste believed that it cost more than 60, francs including the purchase of the land. Temporary chapel replaced The earliest chapel within the house only lasted in use as a chapel for two months. Following that a more suitable chapel was built and furnished. It was 8 metres long and 5 wide. It had three windows facing the inner courtyard.

It served as a chapel for only three months, that is to say, from the time of the arrival of the community at the Hermitage until the blessing on 13 August of the more suitable chapel, which was to replace it provisionally. Dervieux, Parish Priest of St. Father Dervieux waxed eloquent about the solemnity of the occasion:.

Bedoin, parish priest of St. Champagnat, priest, we the undersigned. The present compiler of this history believes that the images of the Stations reproduced here are photos of these very Stations that Monsignor de Pins presented to Father Champagnat back in Stations of that shape appear in the earliest sketch and numerous photos of the chapel up till the s.

They were replaced initially in and stored in the attic, and were photographed there almost 70 years later. One related to Father Jean Claude Courveille, one the departure of some key Brothers, the departure of his priest assistants and concerns regarding finances. Add to that a serious bout of ill health for Father Champagnat that worried the Brothers and his dearest friends. Champagnat thought that at last he could enjoy some rest and take some time with his Brothers. But what follows is a very truncated version in order to give the reader some insight into what must have been tearing away at the emotions of everyone living at the Hermitage during and First community at the Hermitage The first occupiers of the Hermitage were Father Champagnat, Father Courveille, 20 Brothers and 10 postulants, all of whom came down from Lavalla in May Anxiety, upset and distress surrounding Father Corveille The tragedy of this story is heightened by the fact that it was Father Jean Claude Courveille who had the original idea of founding a religious society dedicated to Mary.

It was he who agreed to come to live at the Hermitage with Father Champagnat to assist him, and who had been so helpful in the purchase of the property on which the Hermitage was built. Part of the story is that Father Courveille believed that he was the superior of the Brothers and resented the love and affection that the Brothers had for Father Champagnat, and the way they saw Champagnat as their superior. Wanting to be approved by the Brothers as their superior, Father Courveille organized a vote amongst them as to whom they would choose as superior between himself, Father Terraillon and Champagnat.

The Brothers overwhelmingly voted for Father Champagnat, much to the upset and discomfort of Courveille. During Father Champagnat set himself the task to visit the Brothers in the various towns and hamlets where they had set up schools. As a result, Father Courveille was left in charge at the Hermitage. Reports are that his management of the Brothers was harsh and demanding.

And almost immediately he became very ill, so much so that it was believed that he should make a will … which he did. So ill was he that he accepted the invitation of Father Dervieux at St. Chamond to stay with him in order to better recuperate. This prolonged the opportunity of Father Courveille to mishandle the management and leadership of the Brothers back at the Hermitage. Brother Sylvestre tells a little more about the time Fr. Champagnat, which was quite long, M. Corveille did not give up and attempted by indirect methods to seize once again the title of Superior that he had lost.

He wrote during this time bitter letters to some of the Brothers in various houses because they had not supported him, and he showed his annoyance to everyone in the Mother House. When Fr. Champagnat returned he took the opportunity to censure him for the way he directed the Brothers spiritually and temporarily. He removed him from the administration of the house and took charge himself of the moneybox whose contents often indicated that he was more qualified in emptying it than filling it. And who was blamed for this? Always Fr. Je vous en conjure, mes tres cher enfants, joingnez-vous a nous pour prier instammant le divin Jesus et la divine Marie notre Mere, de vous conserver un fils qui nous est sic her et a vous un pere qui ne doit pas moins vous etre cher.

His report to the Archbishop was very critical. Naturally this had deepened the gulf between Father Champagnat and Father Courveille. The sketch is from an booklet.

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For Marcellin, who had for so many years regarded Courveille as the logical superior of the general society of Marists, that is, of priests, brothers and sisters, the whole world must have seemed upside-down. Stephen Farrell finishes this section of his treatment with a thoughtful summary on page and following. But we do, happily, have a signature, as reproduced earlier. The heart-breaking loss of two valued and special Brothers A particular sadness for Champagnat was the departure of Brother Jean-Marie in But when he opted to return to the Hermitage Father Champagnat welcomed him back and offered him the directorship of a school which he continued in for only one year.

Trying to accommodate him, Champagnat offered him a choice of appointments, which he refused. We noted earlier how he would want to deprive himself of much of his clothing and he would also deprive himself of so much food that he was literally ruining his health. Pursued by the idea of chimerical perfection he used to wear hair shirts, whip himself and would pray for hours out in the cold wintry conditions with arms outstretched.

He now refused to accept any responsible position. Marcellin, who had a great affection to him, tried to get him to become more normal and, hence, more acceptable to his confreres. His efforts were to no avail and Jean-Marie, in this same month of October, had to be dismissed from the institute. However, he was becoming very independent and was a nuisance to his confreres. Father Champagnat recalled him from his position in the school back to the Hermitage and put him in charge of buying and selling, a task he disliked.

So, when an opportunity of leadership was offered by a priest planning to set up an orphanage came along, he took it.

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When he spoke to Champagnat about it, Champagnat urged him not to go. He did leave, however, without even a goodbye. Add to this … three other Brothers, including Brother Dominique, whom Marcellin had spent much energy in trying to help, went to join Father Courveille who, after spending a little time at the Trappist monastery, had left with the idea of founding a congregation of his own. These matters would have been uppermost in the hearts of Champagnat and all the Brothers at the Hermitage over this period during and With his departure that left only Father Etienne Terraillon who had joined him at the instigation of Monsignor Pins in late He, now, also deserts Champagnat.

Avit get on well with Terraillon. Hence it is not surprising that Terraillon, who had also found himself over-loaded with duties after Courveille had left, took the first chance that came his way to withdraw from the Hermitage. Thus, at the end of October [] he used the pretext of having to preach a series of jubilee sermons to abandon the Hermitage, never to return. A cry from the heart springing from these trials We can learn something of the anguish of Father Champagnat where he spills out his cares before one of the Vicars General, Father Barou, in May of I will tell you very frankly that I am always pleased to see you.

I am writing to you with a great deal of confidence to inform you of my problems and explain my situation very simply. I am alone here, as you know, which leads me to think a great deal about persons who might be attracted to this work and who would help it along. The public, which nearly always talks without knowing the facts, blames me, first of all, for the departure of Fr. Courveille and Fr.

All these events upset me, it is true, but they do not surprise me, because I expected hard trials and I expect even more of them. May the holy name of God be blessed. I still firmly believe that God wants this work; but alas, perhaps he wants other men to found it. The terribly sad affair of the one who appeared to be its leader is one of the most terrible efforts to which hell ever gave birth, to overthrow a work which it saw would do it harm.

In a few words, here is my situation; you will do whatever you think is good for the greater glory of God. I imagine that by the end of August we will be more than eighty, seeing the large number of persons who are asking to enter and the large number we already have. By All Saints we will have sixteen establishments which it will be imperative to visit at least every two or three months, to see if everything is on a firm footing; if any of our brothers has made any dangerous acquaintances, in order to terminate them from the outset; if the Rule is observed; if the children are making progress, especially in piety, and to consult with the parish priests and the mayors for the payment of what they owe us ; in a word, to see that our brothers do not lose in any way the spirit of their vocation.

I will not tell you about the accounts that have to be kept, the letters to be written, arrangements to be made, debts to be paid or collected, the temporal and spiritual maintenance of the house. We presently have nearly two thousand children in our schools. That, it seems to me, ought to deserve some consideration. Everyone agrees that it is of the utmost importance to train young people well.

It is therefore very important that those who work at this excellent undertaking be themselves well trained and that they not be left to themselves once they are sent out. While waiting for a suitable helper, one who loves this work, who asks only for room, board and clothing, I recommend myself to your good prayers, for I see more than ever the truth of the prophecy: Nisi Dominus aedificaverit He would not only not ask for anything, but he has told me that he would even give us his patrimony of 20, francs. While Br. Sylvestre gives the same credit to Br.

Stanislaus, he includes others in helping the fledging Institute through these dark times. Gardette, superior of the Major Seminary and out excellent Brother Stanislaus had all made a major contribution to the settling of the institute while Fr. Bochard, undoubtedly with the best intentions in the world, the parish priest of La Valla and Fr. Courveille, probably deceived by the devil, were on the brink of destroying it. Our gratitude goes out to the first three and God will judge the other three.

A note about Brother Sylvestre who is often quoted Brother Sylvestre was born Jean Felix Tamet in and approached Father Champagnat to become a Brother when he was just a young boy of only 12! Being so young and having a lively manner he was quite mischievious in his early months and years, sometimes behaving childishly. But Father Champagnat saw great goodness in him and guided and encouraged him as he matured. After profession he was entrusted with a number of small schools and from time to time assisted in the training of the Brothers, both at the Hermitage and at a neighbouring establishment for initial and teacher formation, La Grange Payre, not far from the Hermitage.

He retired from the classroom in , the year that he died. Part of the process was to gather recollections of people who knew Father Champagnat, and such memoirs were called for. Brother Sylvestre accepted this invitation and filled twelve notebooks with his recollections. They have been put together in a book, and it is from this book that the various quotations are taken. Champagnat join the Brothers to their holy state by means of their religious vows. This was done to keep them in their vocation in spite of the difficulties, sorrows and hardships that could discourage them and force them to return to the world.

Already from the beginning they had consecrated themselves by means of lay promises, but not vows, to teach the catechism to the country children, including other elementary knowledge such as reading, arithmetic etc. They also promised to obey their superiors, to practise chastity and own nothing personally.

As can be seen, these were the three basic vows of religion, but realising that a simple promise was not sufficient to guarantee their perseverance in the Institute and wishing to follow the advice of Monsignor [de Pins] who had encouraged him to allow the Brothers to make the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, he finally decided to take this step which really constitutes the religious state. Lighthearted jokes, tricks and amusing incidents Lest the reader come to think, given the very detailed timetable of duties and the gloom associated with the sorrows of particularly late and , some insights into the lighter side of life at the Hermitage will be given here.

Goyo has brought to life with his illustrations a couple of incidents involving Brother Sylvester. Very fickle, he was guilty of many thoughtless actions, which brought him many reprimands. A child, a brother of Br. Gregory, had made his First Communion and took the habit the same day, at the age of 9, that same year and had received the name of Br Basile. One day he asked Br. Sylvester to cut his hair. He agreed to do so. Father was absent and would be away for a fortnight, people said.

But the Father returned the following day and presided at the Chapter of Faults. Br Basile, wearing a calotte stepped forward to declare his faults. Having told him to take it off, the Father saw the tonsure and wanted to know who was responsible for it. Br Basile at first mumbled something but finally mentioned Br. The latter confessed he was guilty of numerous thoughtless actions, including the tonsure prank. When the time for fraternal admonition came, the older Brothers mentioned a litany of his faults. Sylvestre felt sheepish. For a few days he was very serious, at the end of which time the Vicar General came to the Hermitage and called the Brothers together.

By order of Fr. Champagnat, Br Sylvestre had to confess his fault humbly. He then embraced him and told him to put on his soutane again. In one he was to look after a couple of goats, and to control them he tied them together. However, he got entangled in the rope and Sylvestre and the goats all fell in a heap together.

In another incident the young Sylvestre thought he would surprise a companion in front of him going up the stairs by jumping on his back and urging him to carry him up the stairs. Only at the top did he realise it was, actually, Father Champagnat! Recreations of the time We learn of these pranks and adventures from Brother Sylvester himself who, as mentioned earlier, wrote a substantial memoir of the time of the Brothers up to the death of Father Champagnat in As a result he did not approve noisy recreations, immoderate laughter, childish behaviour, physical contact or any great restlessness.

Alexis about whom it was said that if there were no bowls in Paradise, he would not remain there! Usually Fr. Champagnat played backgammon with the chaplains. Over the years various images in the same style were created with the child Jesus in some cases shown as sucking his thumb and in others, his index finger. Interestingly research shows that the Brothers at the Hermitage, between and had moulds made of the image and they produced copies of the statue for use by the Brothers and for sale!

Well remember you are the mould of the Brothers of the whole Congregation, in fact. What they lacked in these departments they made up for in zeal and affection for Father Champagnat. But there was much to learn. The reader may be astonished to glance through the detailed schedule of activities gleaned from notebooks of the time. But irrespective of the exact date it is indicative of the sort of routine followed at this time. Lord Jesus, when shall I be all yours and completely at one with your heart? As soon as we are dressed everything is put in order around our bed and we go to the chapel to adore the Blessed Sacrament.

The subject for meditation will have been prepared the evening before. Think of the fact that there are many poor people who have nothing to eat. Each one will be sure to go promptly to his allotted task, accepting it from God after his sin. That work must be accepted for what it is, a painful and humiliating experience showing that we are sinners.

After grace you go to the chapel in twos, with head uncovered reciting the Miserere Mei. Do not join company for the sheer pleasure of it with any Brother because you prefer him. Avoid shouting and loud laughter such as smack of worldly persons. Above all, avoid like the plague all kinds of coldness, petty aversions, scandalmongering, mockery that hurts, in a word anything that might wound, be it ever so little, that charity and good manners befitting a religious society.

Each one should be careful to accuse himself sincerely and humbly and with a real desire to correct his faults. When saying the rosary you will think about how many great people have said it: kings, great saints like St Francis de Sales. There must be silence throughout the meal, modesty, temperance in eating, tasting God in the savour of the dish and the gall of the Passion in those which may be badly seasoned and not at all to your taste, practise some little mortification, listen attentively to the reading and then thank God with respect and attention, consecrating to God the strength you have regained through the food.

Newcomers immediately introduced to Humility It is interesting to note the enormous emphasis Father Champagnat placed on humility on those who asked to join his Brothers. These two works were favourites of his and he read them and meditated on them throughout his life. He continually humbled those in whom he noticed vanity or selfcomplacency, and he would sometimes allocate humble tasks to those he thought were giving themselves airs.

In this way, this book became part of the furniture of the Hermitage in the early decades, and its teaching of self-belittlement, part of the fabric of community life at the Hermitage and that of the early society. Hermitage like a little town Very soon a wide variety of trades and activities developed at the Hermitage. Nail making Legendry in the history of the early Brothers is the making of nails in order to scrape together some revenue to be able to subsist on. Chamond, Antoine Etienne Thiolliere, and it is presumed that he assisted in the provision of the metal to make the nails and then gathered them for sale or purchased them himself.

In the Summer time young boys would be expected to work on the farms that they lived on rather than going to school.

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So, there was no school during those months. It was during this time that various industries were undertaken to make some money. The accompanying article, The Craft of Nail Making is by Brother Alexandre Balko, who did an enormous amount of research into the early years of the Brothers. Financing all the activities The accounts show numerous businesses, tradesmen and suppliers being regularly paid.

Where did this money come from? When a young man presented himself to join the Brothers it was expected he would pay a certain amount. Lists of the income from that source are extant. Some things that the Brothers made in the different tiny industries were sold and this became another source of income. And generous benefactors also contributed. Then in some government money was made available.

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Chamond replied to a request from the new Director of the Academy of Lyons asking details about the Hermitage and its conformity to new laws. He also set up a ribbon workroom in the apartment where the temporary chapel had been located the year before. There he kept busy the Brothers and the postulants who could not do anything else.

Account books reveal day-to-day expenses Daily life can be visualized while perusing the account books of the time. In , for example, total expenses were 20, francs. Various travel expenses are accounted for. There is record of Father Champagnat compensating Brothers arriving at the Hermitage for any expenses incurred in travelling there. Who was Philippe Arnaud?

And his place in the story Philippe Arnaud is mentioned in the above segment on expenses at the Hermitage in , as being a nephew of Father Champagnat, and coming to the Hermitage as a carpenter. The portraits shown here are of Philippe and his wife Jeanne, in later life. He dwelt at the Hermitage for a period, and his room is shown in an extant diagram, and along with his wife a son and two daughters are shown to be at the Hermitage at the census of The Patouillard family owned and operated the mill buildings on the opposite side of the Gier.

Champagnat, who confided in him about many important matters. Retreat of A retreat preached by Father Champagnat in the recently completed Hermitage during gives a most interesting insight into attitudes of devotion and the spirituality of the time being inculcated into the Brothers. The reader is alerted to the fact that details of the retreat that have come down to us are from the notes and memories of Brother Francois only.

The following will give just a glimpse into this particular Retreat and the reaction of one of the principal retreatants. It is impossible that hearts, even the purest and the most religious, do not contract a little of the contagious dust of the world St. Leo the Great. It is therefore a necessity to renew oneself interiorily at certain periods in order to make up for, by a redoubling of fervour, the losses which the soul is ceaselessly faced with.

To stir myself to make my retreat better I must consider: a. The graces I have received from God; b. Since I receive so many benefits, I must render gratitude. There is much more recorded by the young Brother Francois of this retreat, but this will suffice as a reminder that a very serious retreat was carefully followed during , the final year of the building of the Hermitage. New cemetery and first burial, ; deaths at early age Early in Father Champagnat had been granted permission by the Archbishop of Lyons to begin a cemetery for the burial of the Brothers at the Hermitage, and later that year the first Brother, Brother Come Pierre Sabot , was buried in the Hermitage cemetery.

Father Bourdin, who was staying at the Hermitage at the time, spoke some words at the graveside, drawing parallels with the natural surroundings: the loneliness of Enthusiastic young priest arrives to help, , and attracts two others This enthusiastic young priest is Etienne Seon pictured right. He liked what he saw and Father Champagnat liked him. Furthermore, Champagnat asked the Vicar General of the diocese for him, and this was granted. However, when he arrived there was a small misunderstanding and he left to try to join the hoped-for Society of Marist Priests being planned by Father Colin.

When this did not work out as planned Seon returned to the Hermitage where he was to become a staunch supporter and helper of Champagnat. He was always perfectly one with him and assisted him greatly in the formation of the Brothers and in the administration of the temporal affairs of the Society.

So now, from being alone in early , Champagnat has one excellent, enthusiastic, assistant after May , and by the end of has three! Grand welcome for key patron and supporter, Monsignor Gaston de Pins, As mentioned earlier, Msgr. De Pins was central to Champagnat being able to build the Hermitage in the first place, both by his encouragement and financial assistance. And so, to honour him on his first visit to the Hermitage, Father Champagnat and his new assistant priest, Etienne Seon, erected a pavilion in the courtyard decorated with greenery.

After words of greeting they proceeded to the chapel for a prayer and thence to bless the whole house beginning with the dormitory of Our Lady. Rouchon, the parish priest [of Valenboite] was a worthy and venerable priest who at the same time as Fr. Champagnat tried to found a similar congregation. When he encountered a shortage of candidates, and his numbers were going down rather than up he decided to join Fr. So, he came to La Valla [does he mean the Hermitage? But when Fr. Champagnat that contrasted so much with their bourgeois way of life and studied manners, and having looked around, they left without any explanation.

Their household linen was of the coarsest kind. The Brothers did all their travel on foot, no matter how long and painful the journey. For more than twenty years, no Brother used a trunk to transport his personal belongings; a rough cloth bag served the purpose. There Some more building, — the Infirmary Father Champagnat was always greatly concerned for the welfare of sick Brothers and was very keen that a suitable infirmary be built. Some of the records tell of a building of for this purpose.

It ran from the corner of the house, parallel to the river, and then ran back at right angles between the yard and the garden, near the path leading to the cemetery. They put the bakery there and that is where the bread for the community was made. Several Brothers took their turn in doing the baking. They had never learned the trade but the bread was quite as good as that eaten at Lavalla.

The water of the Gier was as excellent for making bread as for drinking. This building also contained the cowshed and stores of various kinds. Shortly afterwards they put the place for carding the wool there. And interestingly, both of them died in the same year, Champagnat] built a second, roomier and more suitable. From there the sick had easy access to a the chapel of which was on that floor, and b to the outside courtyard, the rocky yard which is still used today [date unknown]. He placed one of the senior Brothers in charge and saw that he got the lessons needed to equip him to fulfil his task perfectly.

Several other devoted and very kind Brothers were given him as assistants, to serve the sick under his direction. The absence of documents precludes an answer; most likely it was the same as for and Our establishments which now number 16 are progressing satisfactorily. The Mother-house where we are contains about 50, both Novices and Brothers, and is doing equally well. However the needs are still great here.

We still pay each year 1, francs in interest; nevertheless we paid something off our old debts last year when you kindly gave us a helping hand, but the previous year we were short of money. I fear for this year, because apart from the fact that we have very many sick, we have a great many people on our hands. But for nearly two months now we have not had any orders for work. At present several of The accompanying sketch is found in black and white in the biography of Father Champagnat by Br.

The original colour sketch is in the archives. The rabat was adopted, and also the cord. For professed Brothers, on the day of their profession they were presented with a metal cross set in ebony. The rabat was only given to the novices on the completion of the novitiate. Brother Avit explains that Father Champagnat encouraged various prayerful reflections while putting on the different items of costume. Putting on their cross every morning and seeing it on their chest was to indicate to the Brothers that they are dead to the world and they should not stop following the crucified God.

The cord with which they were girded must not cease to remind them that their will should always be consistent with that of God which is manifested by the Rule and their superiors and that they must obey. The sight of the whiteness of the rabat was to remind them of the purity of intention with which they must conduct all their actions. Champagnat put him in charge of the cobbling department. Poorly tanned leather, still adorned with most of its hairs, was the usual raw material. Chanut, a Marist priest, wrote to Fr. Champagnat to introduce to him one of his nephews, aged 14, who was not able to pay for his Novitiate, but was to turn out to be a good subject.

He also informed the Founder that Br. Hugo: La France pittoresque, Vol. II, Paris, The soutane had to last for two years, the cloak and the hat five years, and each Brother received two pairs of stockings to last a year. At that time no one asked for clothing before the appointed time, nor did anyone have a trunk or a bag with a lock. Nor were the shoes in any way dainty.

You could often see bits of hair on the uppers where the leather had been badly tanned. He tried to instill in the Brothers that their religious costume was sacred and should be treated as such. The Brothers continued to wear knitted ones. At the period we have come to, Fr Champagnat modified the soutane.

Hooks and eyes as far as the waist replaced the buttons and then it was sewn down to the bottom. To get rid of these inconveniences which might become serious, the Founder wanted to introduce cloth stockings. Nevertheless, he handled the situation carefully. They were first required to be worn only when the wearer was going to receive Holy Communion. The new spelling appeared preferable to him and he suggested its use to the Brothers.

Almost all of those accustomed to the old method rebelled against this. Champagnat urged them to try it for a year during which time he would he consult a lot of competent men. At the end of the year most of the Brothers had tried the new spelling only half-heartedly and were still not in favour of it. Champagnat pointed out to them its advantages and wanted it to be adopted. They were much more unhappy about the cloth stockings. Some dissident members worked up the others. People outside are laughing at them. Very patiently the Founder showed them that these reasons were frivolous, that cloth stockings lasted twice as long as the others and were consequently cheaper.

He himself had worn them during his long journeys and had found them quite good. These latter got together, moved quietly, and won over to their cause a certain number of Brothers and one of the chaplains. Proud of their success and learning that the Vicars General were going to visit the Hermitage, they drew up a petition, had it signed by their supporters and surreptitiously by many others who did not even know its contents.

One of them afterwards met one of those who had signed, reproached him for his conduct and persuaded him to see the Founder. The latter required him to ask pardon of the assembled community. This act of humility, turned into ridicule by the rebels, won back the majority of Brothers who had followed the ringleaders at first. To put an end to the spirit of revolt, the Founder called together those Brothers who had opposed the rebels. He asked them to prepare an altar secretly in the chapel, light it up brightly and place a statue of the Queen of the house on it.

This was punctually carried out. When they went to the chapel as usual at 8. So, kneeling before Jesus Christ and in the presence of Mary our Mother, we ask you for the cloth stockings and the soutane with the hooks and eyes and sewn up to the waist, promising to wear them all our life. We also promise to follow in our teaching the regulations which you have laid down for us, particularly that of using the new pronunciation of the consonants.

Finally, in the points mentioned above and in everything else we will have no other will but yours. Father asked them if they wished to join the others. They coldly replied in the negative. They were dismissed the next day. However, this sign no longer appears at the base of the statue and seems to have been painted over!

The photo by Marconi of this statue, reproduced in the Bicentenary Edition of the Life of Champagnat, shows this inscription on the base. From the year these games usually took place on the large recreation ground that had just been formed. Out of reverence no games were played on the important feast days … they merely walked and talked. Under the name of barres, this game is mentioned in 14th-century French writings and may have been one of the most popular games in medieval Europe. The game continues to be played, although less frequently in the 21st century than in previous centuries.

Also on the net a teacher describes the game in detail: The class was divided in half and a line of chalk was placed down the middle between the two teams. About feet in back of each team a large square prison was drawn on the ground using chalk. Each team picked one person to be the prisoner of the other team usually someone who could run fast. If the team member was caught by the opposing team, they also became a prisoner needing rescue.

So each team was busy both trying to rescue their own prisoners and protect the prisoner s from the opposite side from getting rescued. At the end of recess, the team with the most prisoners won. Brother Avit, at the time of the death of a Brother, would often recall a little of his work and manner. Later he was bell-ringer for 30 years after the death of Br Jean Joseph. Like him he always had the bell-rope in his hand when the hour was about to strike. On the very day of his death he rang the rising bell.

He instructed them as much by his example as by his words. After relinquishing this task he carried out the lowest housework with perfect humility. The transgressor would be obliged to kneel in the dining room at mealtime holding the broken plate. After a little time, he was allowed to resume his seat and take the meal. Interestingly these two practices were still in vogue in the Novitiates in Australia up to the s and s. The accompanying painting may help give some idea of the living arrangements of the young men in these early days.

Assistant Chaplains s It is a little hard to keep track of the assistant Chaplains who joined Father Champagnat at the Hermitage in the early years as they came and went.

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The following will attempt to give some acknowledgement to those who assisted Champagnat in conducting the Hermitage, administering the sacraments and, presumably, in various teaching and formation roles. The following extracts are from Br. On ordination, he was offered several distinguished posts; these, he generously declined, preferring the poor, humble and hidden life of the Brothers at the Hermitage to all the temporal gains promised him elsewhere.

These in turn were succeeded by Fathers Matricon and Besson, both of whom did so much for the Brothers. A most fulsome tribute to him is found in Vol. He was a simple, upright, unaffected man without malice or bitterness. He lived quietly, was calm and obliging and totally dedicated to his duty. He paid no attention to what was happening in the world, accepted all privation, and was devoted to the Brothers to whom he dedicated his whole heart, all his time, and all his prayers. He lived like one of them and shared their joys and their sorrows with admirable sincerity. I knew them, and I can assure you that they were true sons of Fr.

Champagnat through their humility, simplicity and family spirit, a spirit that Fr.


Champagnat inspired in them and that has become the distinguishing feature of the Society of Marist Fathers and of the Little Brothers of Mary. His fortune was made in the metal manufacturing trade in and around St. Paul Sester, in his notes in Vol. Champagnat, our Founder, and for thirty-six years, those of his two successors. His abundant alms constantly came to our aid and helped us overcome our most trying needs. Genis-Laval, M. Thiolliere continued his generous assistance.

Any visitor to the Hermitage in the time of Father Champagnat and the years following would have noticed the Postulants, Novices and Brothers visiting the chapel for very short periods at all times during the day. The idea was to call in to speak briefly in prayer to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. Who is this Brother Avit who is so often quoted?

Henri Bilon, who became Brother Avit in , was born in and died in You will note that he was born two years before Father Champagnat died, but lived on for most of the rest of the century. He was elected a member of the General Chapter of and in was appointed Assistant, a pivotal role in the senior administration in the institute. He set up a Novitiate and was responsible for the establishment of several new foundations. Due to failing eyesight and poor health he was relieved of his responsible duties, at his request, in However it was then that he threw himself into his work of collecting and recording the history of all the houses of the Institute.

However, Brother Avit was not going to waste his time. Now [] practically unable to read or write he would make himself a chronicler. For two or three months of the year, he would travel around the districts through which he had journeyed in the past, going from one establishment to another, gathering the documents which, combined with what his strong memory recalled, would comprise the General Annals of the Institute and of the houses, including establishments which had already been closed.

With his supply of notes, he would come back and close himself off in his room where, with the help of his secretaries, he would put everything in order, giving himself over to the task of writing, with assiduity, patience and strong opinions. He worked in this way for ten years. Part of the folklore of the Hermitage is the dramatic story of the speedy expulsion of a postulant in its very early years. He had committed an offence of a sexual nature, something that was particularly abhorrent to Father Champagnat, and about which he wanted to give a very clear signal.

Something similar had happened at Lavalla earlier. Early schools The accompanying map shows the schools of the early years of the Institute. At one stage Father Courveille demanded he take over the finances! Father Champagnat adopted this practice for the Brothers. The Office consists mainly of the Psalms of David from the Old Testament with short introductory prayers, hymns and occasional prayers related to the Seasons of the year: Pentecost, Easter etc.

However, to the surprise and interest of the twenty-first century reader, the custom in the nineteenth century was to recite the Office in Latin.

File history

Virtually all the young men joining Champagnat had no knowledge of Latin; some, moreover, could neither read nor write. Naturally there were objections to the Brothers reciting prayers in a language they did not understand. So, visitors to the Hermitage would have heard, at various times of the day, the Brothers reciting the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Latin. This practice continued around the world for more than years and the present compiler of this History recalls reciting it in Latin without understanding it in the late s and into the s. The Second Vatican Council of the mid s Though the pages reproduced here are from a printing in , the arrangement of prayers etc.

Having shared the vagrancy life for some 13 years the boy was sent adrift to fend for himself. Finding it hard to endure the awful conditions of factory life, he wandered about in need till he sought relief from his cousin the Vicar-General Cholleton who provided for him, and noting his qualities placed him in the minor seminary of Verrieres. Naturally John found this sedentary and disciplined life little to his liking; he did not settle down and several times ran away.

What to do with him, he pondered? Ah ha! Father Cholleton knew the only person who might succeed with his wayward cousin, so he asked Father Champagnat if he would take him in at the Hermitage. Though Father Champagnat was enduring the trials of the recent loss of three well-loved Brothers, he agreed to take the boy in out of gratitude to the Vicar General who had always been a very staunch supporter. Indeed, he went in to St. Chamond to meet the train bringing him in from Lyons.

While some aspects of life at the Hermitage pleased him, he was not entirely happy and was inclined to leave. Father Champagnat reasoned with him, restrained and encouraged him. His levity and mischief-making shocked some of the Brothers in the Hermitage community, but his skill in games made him a favourite with the other postulants.

He had bought with him his soutane from his time at the minor seminary of Verrieres, and one day when Father Champagnat was away he put it on and paraded around like a young priest! When Father Champagnat heard about this incident he frankly and patiently advised him on his behaviour. He took steps to curb his silliness with acts of self-sacrifice, of piety and acts of charity. I give them up. You can throw them into the Gier. Keep them. In spite of misgivings he was first of all allowed to attend frequent Communion and he showed a natural inclination to help others and developed, also, an obvious prayerfulness.

As a mark of encouragement and a sign of progress, in June Father Champagnat chose John specially to present the formal address of welcome on the solemn occasion of the visit of Archbishop de Pins of Lyons, the great supporter of Father Champagnat and the Brothers. And then at the retreat in October he was judged worthy of receiving the religious habit, taking his Baptismal name, John, as his Religious name. As time passed he showed himself to have great zeal for the religious ceremonies, for serving Mass, for practising humility and for trying to live in the presence of God. He was appointed to Lavalla where he astonished the parish priest by his zeal and his ability in teaching catechism.

But his infirmity began to get the better of him and he asked if he could return to the Hermitage to do some work there. He worked for some time in the cloth workrooms where his kindness made him popular with everyone. The caption for the third painting is: Depiction of the fighting in the streets of Lyon in front of Saint-Nizier church during the revolt.

They help bring to mind the violence and instability of the time. As mentioned above, this painting to the left recalls the scene of the disturbances in Lyons, the nearest city to the Hermitage. The background to the uprising of and change of government is something that the reader might like to consult on the internet. Champagnat to buy them suits which they could wear when necessary. Champagnat concerned about these threats that he arranged a ceremony for the new taking of the habit which took place on August 15 th, the feast of the Assumption.

One Sunday neighbours came to tell Fr. While this did not eventuate, the Hermitage became a matter or rumour and suspicion, and before long the authorities came knocking. This leads to the famous story of Father Champagnat and the axe. The accompanying paintings by Goyo and J.

Conti bring the scene vividly to mind. Officers of the revolutionary force arrived at the Hermitage with the accusation that it was hiding anti There was talk, too, that the Hermitage was filled with arms and that the Brothers had military drill each evening. But Father Champagnat insisted that they see inside that room so that there would be no lingering suspicion that one room had not been searched.

He sent for an axe and broke down the door so there would be absolute certainty that there was nothing to find. When the inspectors were satisfied there was nothing hidden, Father Champagnat invited them to stay for some refreshments — which they did — and they left promising not to disturb him again. While some of the Brothers and clerical advisers were very nervous about appearing in public in their religious habits etc. Subsequent life and death of the Attorney, M.

Jean ValentinSmith Br. Between his retirement in and his death in he wrote an impressive number of works; one biographer mentions 33 of them. On the day of his death he got up and worked as usual, but he dictated instead of writing for his hand had begun to shake. Several days before he had prepared himself for death in a Christian manner. Finding that he could no longer speak, he let himself be carried to his bed where he died, his eyes turned towards the crucifix hanging near his bed.

Newspaper article, 1st September The favourable newspaper article referred to from has never been found. The present compiler of this history attempted to find a facsimile of the actual article but, while very many issues of this newspaper are posted on the net, he was not able to find the one Br. Gabriel Michel was able to find. Note that following the translation of the text are notes commenting on various aspects of the contents of the article.

Farrell with illustration by Goyo. And he signals out the year If God does not permit it. Further political instability, , When the reader realizes that the events described in the following passages taken from the net were not very far from the Hermitage, it would be easy to understand the anxiety caused by these uprisings. The number of dead and injured is emphasized to draw attention to the magnitude of the disturbances. They forced the few weavers still at work to close their workshops, harassing the National Guard.