4 Tasting God - life at Cerdon

Soon after their ordination the newly-ordained Frs Courveille and Champagnat were at once dispatched to parishes in the Lyons archdiocese while the still retiring Jean-Claude Colin was sent to the parish of his older brother, Fr Pierre Colin, in the village of Cerdon, nestling high in the Bugey mountains in the newly-restored diocese of Belley.

As the months went by Jean-Claude Colin began to ponder the Marist project more and more. The winemaking families of Cerdon became his first flock amongst whom he could work in the spirit of Mary.

Who would lead this adventurous project? The outgoing and flamboyant Courveille? Industrious and down-to-earth Champagnat? Or the shy curate of Cerdon?

Colin began to take some important initiatives, firstly in beginning to draw up a rule of life for the Marists-to-be and then to make a visit to Paris and the apostolic nuncio of the time, exploring approval for the project.

The Colin brothers then invited two young women to come to Cerdon to begin the Sisters' branch of the Marist project. One was to become its foundress: Jeanne-Marie Chavoin.

Meanwhile Fr Champagnat was establishing the Brothers' branch in his first parish of La Valla. Always he saw Jean-Claude Colin as the leader of the Marist project. And indeed Fr Colin's Cerdon years had seen him grow into a resolute fighter for the Marist cause.

Click to enlarge image 04-01-0512-cerdon-views-fro.jpg

Cerdon - town seen from the hillside vineyards

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