It was Marseille, October 9, 1941, and it was eleven minutes past nine in the morning. Suddenly there was like a lightning stroke: in an instant his entire being was as if it were afire. He felt, as it were, the fire of God; he was as though immersed in God, immersed in eternity, hence outside of time. In that flash of lightning in which he was in God, there was what seemed an incredible irruption into him of things inexpressible. Then it was all over and he returned to a consciousness of reality and time as abruptly as he had exited them.
He had just experienced something beyond words. Then behold, three days later, October 12, there was a second enkindling. All that he could think was that he had complete knowledge. It was 1:25 p.m. He kept his secret to himself for years, not speaking of it even to his wife. He looked upon that illumination he had received as a potential explosion contained within him.
Some years later he became interested in the life of Saint Hildegard, and he had the surprise of his life, for he was not yet able to explain what had happened to him at Marseille – that coming on fire, that immersion in eternity. Here is what was revealed by Saint Hildegard, who lived in the 12th century: "At the age of 42 years and 7 months, a light and a dazzling flash, coming from a partially open heaven, penetrated the whole of my spirit, the whole of my heart, the whole of my being... And all at once I had an understanding of the Psalms, the Gospels and the other Catholic books, both from the Old and the New Testaments." In an instant, she had the knowledge!
As of that day of illumination Raoul began writing Le Livre des Cycles (first volume), accomplishing this at one stretch – 144 chapters –, the whole being done without any planning or research. It merited him the first prize in literature. The second volume of the Cycles and the other works which followed were written in the same fashion. The first book contained in embryo all that he later wrote.
He had many talents, passing from architecture to radio broadcasting as author, then as producer, director, etc.
Once he fled to Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, arriving at the right time to make a retreat that would mark him for life. The Mass began with the general intentions, and the first stunned him: "Let us pray," the preacher said, "for those who see in history the finger of God." It made Raoul start. He followed the entire retreat – a salutary balm to the suffering that had led him to that place. Following an afternoon of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and with the other retreatants,he made, "with a zeal that was total and absolute", his act of consecration following the formula of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
After that time, the love he pledged to Mary quenched the cravings of his youth, and the Madonna made of him an apostle of multiple human resources which served her cause, sometimes in the light, sometimes in obscurity, with the same passion the cross had stilled, allowing the power of the Spirit to increase tenfold in his translucent spirit. Raoul gave himself to Mary with the love of a child, and he entered into her Mysteries with a joyous faith. He has departed, open to the Light in which every being lives again.
January 25, 1997
1977 - Raoul Auclair during a conference tour in Quebec.
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."
The paper did not arouse my interest but I accepted the invitation because I presumed, wrongly, that the conference would deal with topics such as alchemy or the heritage of ancient cultures, the type of subject presented in Atlantis.
The conference was to begin at about two o'clock in the afternoon at the auditorium of the Enfant-Jesus Hospital (there where my earthly relationship with Raoul began and ended). I arrived at the same time as he did and our eyes met just as we were about to enter the hall. I immediately recognized in this man the expected speaker, although I had never seen him either in person or in a photograph. His presence and especially the intensity of his gaze caught my attention.
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 in religion 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.
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 rise for your reward at the end of days". (Dn 12:13)
Gilles Couture, St-Rédempteur