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His smile


          No scriptural portrait of Father JOËSSEL omits his smile - few photographs show him without one - a smile that expressed a little of his soul and revealed all its richness.


          Already in his youth, he knew how to smile, perhaps to annoy his brother, who says: « We often played with the electric railway and with what we called table tennis, which we played on the dining room table, the ends of which were in a semi-circle, which increased the difficulty.

         We were about the same strength and we took turns winning. When I lost, I showed my bad temper: whether he lost or won, Dani had a wide smile which increased my exasperation. »


            Thereafter, Daniel always seemed to smile, as many witnesses point out:

Daniel, « whose smile was so infectious that it was a comfort and edification to all who approached
him », « his luminous smile »
, his « good smile ... which gave away a bit of his ardent soul », his « affec-tionate smile » sometimes « sharpened with malice », « conquering smile », did not smile only because he had a happy nature. « "One of his main points of resolution and meditation was joy. He repeated to me, a few days before the war: "I work to always keep joy, to always keep smiling." VEUILLOT reports, going so far as to describe Daniel as "the apostle of the smile ».

            « His open and conquering smile will remain legendary.»


            Each chapter of François VEUILLOT's biography evokes this smile, often several times in passing, sometimes stopping there: « And then, all these gifts of nature, enlarged and cultivated on the supernatural level, revealed themselves to the young in the attractive clarity of this smile which immediately became popular: perpetual, but not fixed, and on the contrary, singularly mobile and expressive; open, but by no means placid and, far from it, often sharpened by a sparkle of prankish affability. In sketching the portrait of the man, I have already had to evoke this smile, and I have discovered in it, under the reflection of a happy character, the resolution of a virile soul: never forced, but sometimes courageously desired. » (p. 133)


            His smile... until the hour of death when his last gesture, like a last word, was a broad smile to the weeping priest who was assisting him.

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