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A contemplative missionary

« No one in Asnières will forget his great kindness, his radiant piety and his spreading zeal. »

J. Boulet, Letter of 19 September 1940

      If, very early on, Daniel's prayer was deep and intense, his supernatural life never ceased to deepen, always expressed in a missionary zeal, from his high school years with the Jesuits of the Rue de Madrid, where he took part in the work of the Propagation of the Faith and of Holy Childhood.

       An impulse of contemplation accompanied him all his life, even at the front. It was even at the front, thanks to his relative inactivity, at least in the early days, that he became aware of a certain spiritual imbalance, caused by his over-activity in the parish, which deprived him of his intimacy with Christ. On 18 December 1939, he wrote to his young confrere, Father VEUILLOT:

       « "I thank God for putting me in a situation where I can reflect and pray. My life in Asnières was
really not normal. For weeks I had to struggle to regain a sufficient interior life. This proves once again that external action is terribly debilitating and that one never takes enough time for "the only necessary" ».



       But always, it was God, -the only necessary one-, who counted above all : « And Mother CESLAS is looking for an expression which defines exactly the spirituality of Father JOËSSEL. "You see, she said to me, for him, apart from God, there was no question''. » François VEUILLOT, L’abbé JOËSSEL.


        But apostles were also needed in the field !

« I sometimes feel nostalgia for the religious life, but let us accept the will of the Good Lord, let us stay where we are, the world needs apostles. » Daniel JOËSSEL, 9 march 1937




         Two words characterise his spiritual life and his apostolate: « To climb » and  « conqueror ».


         - « To climb » : a verb borrowed from the spirituality of the Valiant Hearts with their « spiritual ascent ». For Daniel, it is the whole person who must « climb », who must constantly rise. It is not only the soul that must ascend to God, but the whole person must ascend, in all its aspects.

Le coeur Vaillant met sa joie à rendre s

       - « Conqueror » is borrowed from one of the original YCW mottos : « Proud, pure, joyful and conquering ».

            It is a question of conquering, attracting, leading, bringing up, not only the young people but
everyone we meet.

            One of the "weapons" of this conquest, to use the Teresian vocabulary, was Daniel's smile.



        Another dimension is very present in Daniel: sacrifice. He encouraged everyone to sacrifice, even the young and the children, but he reserved for himself the most severe penances. He did not do
penance for himself, but for « his children ». This was his prayer embodied in the language of the bodies.

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