Our friend Raoul died on January 8, 1997, during the octave of the Epiphany, at the age of ninety years and ten months. He passed away at 4:25 p.m. at the Enfant-Jesus Hospital in Quebec City, in the presence of his priest, Father Victor Rizzi and Brother Renaud Vallerand whom he affectionately called "his guardian angel". Like others of his friends, I had spent a few hours with him during his agony, contemplating his beloved countenance and holding his hands swollen through uremia. I hoped to help him, soothe his pain and calm his anguish. On the afternoon of his death, as I went about my usual tasks, I knew that Raoul was dying and I was afraid I would arrive too late to also witness his last breath. Although I had asked for this grace, I arrived at the hospital a half hour too late. That is the nature of things. I thanked God for having been able to be there to bid him my last goodbye, to ask for his blessing and to thank him once again for having accepted me as one of his friends, after having served as the intrument of my conversion.
That was nearly twenty years ago, April 3, 1977, and I was thirty at the time. The Church was celebrating Palm Sunday, at the beginning of Holy Week. I had renounced Christ, the Immaculate and the Church some fifteen years earlier, after having tainted the sacred waters of my baptism. Raoul had been invited by the Army of Mary to come to Quebec and present a series of conferences. At that time, he was still living in France and was an honorary member of the review Atlantis (an archeological, scientific and traditional review). Jacques d'Arès, director of the review, having been informed of this by Raoul, had suggested to him that he invite the Quebec subscribers to attend his conferences. This is what Raoul did by sending me a personal invitation written on the frontispiece page of the paper Marie of March 1977, of which the title was "The Lady of All Peoples".
1977 Raoul, during a
conference tour in Quebec.
I walked into the hall and cast a glance about it. I saw and I am using the thoughts and words of that time a group of old ladies chatting and I thought I had fallen into a trap. A few ladies were at the door, and although at the time I was sporting a long beard and had very long hair, one of them (I later learned that they were Clémence Dumas and Fernande Levasseur) greeted me politely and asked me if I wanted to subscribe to the paper Marie which I recognized in fact as being like the one of the invitation. I replied in the negative, jokingly, for I wasn't interested inreligion and I wasn't practising. Clémence insisted, stating in a tone which accepts no reply: "Subscribe; you won't regret it." Annoyed but also won over by her kindness and her assurance, I accepted.
Shaken, I began to experience an interior suffering unknown to me.
Then came time for the conference. Father Philippe Roy presented Raoul Auclair from Paris as a renowned French writer, poet, philosopher, guest speaker and Marian theologian. Later, Raoul would only glory in the title of "Knight of Mary".
Raoul walked over to the microphone. The audience became absorbed in an impressive silence. Then, Raoul began, saying in a strong and inspired voice: "Be on guard. Let no one mislead you" (Mt 24:4).
I was instantly converted. Fifteen years of a renegade life had just melted in the illumination of this "moment of eternity". And I say this so that there may be no mistake; this occurred without any convulsive start, without any psychic exaltation, as if nothing had happened. I say this to render homage to Raoul and to give witness to the Truth. Yes, in that instant, without reflection and without effort, I had found again my faith in everything that the Holy Catholic Church teaches and believes.
Like a prophet, Raoul continued on the theme of the end of the times and on the Marian eschatological apparitions. I drank great draughts of his words, those words so ancient and yet so new to me.
Thank you, Raoul, my friend. In expressing my gratitude, I cast a spiritual regard on the superior waters so brilliantly described in your books and I give thanks to you and to God and Mary for the resurrection of my spiritual body, a greater miracle than the resurrection of a physical body. And I know that I owe this to Raoul's inspired words and to the sufferings of so many souls who prayed for me. Many of us have also been captivated by Raoul Auclair's writings, he who was called to become the greatest theologian of all times according his formula of blessing as a son of Mary, as indicated in Life of Love.
I leave to others the task of speaking of him as a writer. I read his books and they always nourished my soul and my mind. I will simply stick to describing the simple and joyful man I knew. Whenever I expressed surprise at the inconceivable novelty and the grandeur of what he wrote, and tried to discover the source of his inspiration, he would humbly reply that the knowledge of "these things" had been given him by God as an infused knowledge. One day, at some point, Mary will most certainly bring forth a soul who will write his biography and lift the veil covering that part of the mystery which surrounds Raoul Auclair. But what is really his own is his style, the way in which he stated these sublime truths. And what beautiful writing, always with a play on words and corresponding to the beauty and order of the divine Work of Creation.
Raoul Auclair is, with Léon Bloy whom he called his spiritual father, one of the greatest Catholic French writers of this century.
The entire world will admire in the future his work as an eschatological writer, but who will remember the intelligent, sensitive and generous man? Who will recall his frank and resounding laughter when the distinguished Frenchman poked fun at the rustic Quebecer in a humorous way? Whether it was in the warmth of the living room of his apartment on twenty-sixth street in Limoilou or around the table at one of the capital's fine restaurants or even during the friendly meals shared with our families, Raoul also conversed simply with us. We were charmed by his thoughtfulness and the erudition of this Frenchman from France whom we would poke fun at occasionally to set him off the track.
As soon as we came into contact with Raoul's likeable personality, we always felt elevated and touched by the nobleness of his manners.
1985 Seated in his living room in
Quebec City, Raoul, a music lover, takes
time to relax.
We were also able to appreciate his many human qualities, for Raoul was a well-informed music lover, a botanist, a cook and an artist. He made us discover the beauty of nature in all that was beautiful, good and true within it.
We would have to retrace the main events which marked his life in France before he moved to Quebec in order to discover the striking richness of the relationships he maintained with the great ones of this world as with several authentic mystics.
It is impossible to paint a finished portrait of Raoul, this accomplished man, in a short posthumous homage. Perhaps it suffices to say that Raoul Auclair was a man predestined and that he lived as a total man by revealing to us a total earth. Now that he has introduced us to an understanding of the paths leading from God to Man, it no doubt remains for us to enquire about the path which leads from Man to God.
A strong feeling of gratitude comes over me as I think of Raoul who, from on high, can look upon our miseries with his eagle eye and see unfolding the mystery of the Co-Redemption. An idea of Raoul's refinement can be glimpsed in reading the dedication he wrote in his book, L'HOMME TOTAL DANS LA TERRE TOTALE, for our fourteen-year-old son, whom he did us the honor of accepting to be the godfather. It reads: "One day you will read this book and you will find in it your godfather's soul. And I will look down upon you from my heavenly balcony."
Is not the story of the conversion of a soul, dazzled by Raoul Auclair's enlightened words, a message of hope for parents whose children have wandered away from God? If you have a son or daughter engulfed in the darkness or ensnared in Satan's fangs (and this is not just an image), never give up hope. I myself was in this darkness, most unhappy and alone, and the miracle took place. Your child too is unhappy, but you can believe that at the hour set by the Immaculate, he will wash his clothing in the blood of the Lamb. I give witness to this as a tribute to Raoul Auclair, in homage to the Lady of All Peoples and for my brothers and sisters in the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary who may perhaps find in this a reason to hope.
In closing, let us address to the prophet Raoul these words which a man dressed in linen standing above the waters of the river addressed to the prophet Daniel: "Go, take your rest, you shall risefor your reward at the end of days" (Dn 12:13).
Gilles Couture, St-Rédempteur
© 1998 - Tous droits réservés : PAVILLON RAOUL AUCLAIR INC., Québec, Canada