Letter to Bérenger Saunière, 24 January 1908

Added on 18 November 2017

J.M.J. [Jesus-Mary-Joseph]

Carcassonne, 24 January 1908
The Feast of the Holy Family!

My Dear Friend,

For several days now I have had the intention of writing to you to tell you that I have now withdrawn to 15 Maison d'Espierres in Carcassonne on the Place des Herbes [now Place Carnot], since I found my stay at Couffelens too monotonous.

Anyway, I found myself reading in the Gazette du Midi about your appointment to Coustouges. I really am lost in conjecture since I cannot make head or tail of this assault on your position in Rennes. This is really quite a grave decision and one which to me is quite puzzling.

Without doubt I have given you the benefit of some friendly reflections on the subject of your grand designs and the gigantic building works that you have undertaken. Without doubt also a priest might have used the incalculable sums that have been expended for other purposes, but in this situation I saw only a building mania [literally ‘manie de truelle’ = ‘trowel mania’] and a mania for doing things on a huge scale. I have always excused you by giving you due credit for the fact that you began your building works with the House of God, which you have certainly turned into a gem. Other people would have been less charitable in their assessment.

Whatever the case may be my dear friend, I retain the happiest possible memories of your generous hospitality and of the care that you brought to your services. Also I do sympathise with you, and in my prayers I shall not forget to ask that you always remain worthy of your vocation. ‘Sursum corda’ [Lift up your heart]. I hope that you will understand what I mean and that you will reply to me with the words ‘Habeo ad Dominum’ [I am lifting up my heart to God]. That is certainly my sincerest wish and my friendliest intention for you in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Yours, as teacher and friend,


PS My best regards to Marie and her parents.

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