The Missionaries of Provence compiled a hymnbook for use during their missions, and as an instrument to help the people after the mission. The first edition was published in 1818, and it was revised and enlarged regularly in succeeding years.
The first edition was a 286 page compendium of prayers, doctrinal teaching and hymns in French and Provençal for use during the missions, which illustrated the creativity of the missionaries and their ability to use all means at their disposal to bring the people to the Saviour through personal conversion. For those who could read it would have been an invaluable instrument of religious growth, and for the illiterate there were easy songs to learn and doctrinal truths put across in simple way.
The instructions for making visits to the Blessed Sacrament abounded with sentiments of closeness and friendship and are one example of the contents of this book:
Jesus Christ chose our churches to make them his dwelling: his intense love for his children did not allow him to separate himself from us. He is really present on our Altars, ready at all hours to receive our homage and our desires; ready to provide for all our needs; ready to make reparation for us with his Father. The entrance is closed to no one: we can have an audience whenever we want it, and we are always received by the one who is present … It is at that time, more than at any other, that J.C. converses, so to speak, more familiarly with his favourites; that he communicates himself intimately to them; that he opens his heart to them; that he lavishes on them the treasure of all his graces.
Recueil de cantiques français et provençaux a l’usage des missions de Provence, p. 60-61