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The last summer camp

      Every summer Father JOËSSEL organises a camp.

It is an opportunity to unify the different youth movements which Father MULLER has entrusted to him, but above all to immerse them in a one hundred percent Christian bath, to "take them in hand" so that they can then "radiate Christ". It is for him a privileged field of apostolate, where he puts all his soul, his "masterpiece" will write François VEUILLOT in La Semaine Religieuse de Paris.

      The summer camp of 1939 took place in Laps, Auvergne. It was to be the last one led by Father JO since at the end of August he received his mobilisation order and had to leave hurriedly to join his regiment.

      The newspaper La Croix d'Auvergne, published on 27 August 1939, gives an account of this summer camp.

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      Summer camps. -- "Here", a blue sky, a green setting, on the horizon, the snowy Dores ; "here', healthy air, abundant pure water, multiple tours ; "here", a large unoccupied house where rats gnaw on the bottom of the doors to get into the forbidden rooms ; "elsewhere', oxygen breathed three times, bitumen, asphalt, the semi-certainty of being run over when crossing the road. If we offered this "here" to this "elsewhere". The summer camp ? A phenomenon? Possible, certainly a fine work for the formation of a healthy soul in a healthy body, when it is christianly thought out.

      The idea was nice and good, but its realisation did not stand alone. Three quarters of a century leave their mark, even on a beautiful building, and the health department has specific requirements, which are much higher than they were seventy-five years ago. Can it be done ? At least we will do everything we know.

      Advertising first... And the requests keep coming : the Midi, the West, Paris. Who will win ? The fastest and most resourceful. Father JOËSSEL, vicar at Asnières. And then there was the beautiful, simple, cordial and generous impulse of the Congregation of the Misericordia of Billom, the owner, to put the rooms in order.

      -- There is little time, it will never be ready!

      -- Yes, yes," says the contractor, "and he keeps his word.


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      And now the big house laughs with all its open windows, where the slender figures and the brown beret of the youngest, the thick muscles and the funny cap with a moving pom-pom of the elders, appear and then disappear.
     -- But we have not only given, we have also received much. Messrs. the priests of the Colony, Father JOËSSEL, director, and Father VEUILLOT, who bears an illustrious name, were kind enough to ensure -- and with what authority -- the parish service, thus providing the parish priest with a much needed rest. Young and old alike gave us the example of their piety, their flexible discipline, their collaboration in parish services, their singing, their smiles. Each has been rejuvenated by their youth, revived by their life.
     Then spontaneously, graciously, on the evening of the Assumption, the Colony offered us the charming treat of a campfire. In the dancing glow of the burning shoots, with the crackling of the sparks, we were given an interesting series of songs, movements, skits and jokes.
     "One is not bored, but the hours must go by and one continues to applaud the Chinese ban, the little tenor, the farce of the mother-in-law, the indescribable mimics, the agile -- oh, so much -- movements, the spirit of the stage director and his accomplices.
     Mr. canon MULLER, parish priest of Asnières, who arrived a few hours ago, presided. He had extremely kind words for the townspeople.
     And, suddenly, on Wednesday, to put the seal on the work of our goodwill, the good news: His Excellency the Bishop of Clermont will visit the summer camp, accompanied by His Excellency the Bishop of Agen. The reception was a joyful one: the Bishop of Clermont is a much loved leader in the diocese.

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The Bishop of Agen arrives with such a good reputation. Both did not disappoint: kind, fatherly, smiling, witty, humorous, eloquent. They made the names and dedications that keep the charity alive applauded and gave valuable advice.
     The colony was joined, despite his tiredness, by Father JOAL, the devoted parish priest, and also by General JACOMET, the cantonal president of the Union of Catholics, Messrs COSTE and VOISSET, members of the parish council, Mr CHOSSIDIÈRE, vice-president of the local section of the U.N.C. and many parishioners.
     On the bowed heads, Our Lords the Bishops raised their hands to bless and this blessing remains as a pledge of the divine call for the charity of the colony, for those who have received it and, beyond them, according to the Bishop's statement, for their parents, families and loved ones.

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