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The Franciscan of Vézelay

Stop, why are you running?

The Father at this moment begets his son in you,

Heaven is in you, why seek it elsewhere?

                                                              A. Silesius

HE WAS "THE SPIRIT OF SPIRAL”, the one behind the logo borrowed from Christ in Glory of the tympanum of the basilica of Vézelay, the one who inspired, since its creation in 1996, this opening of the spiritual to the profane, but also the awakening of consciousness, in these times of great mutation and cosmic ascension in a new cycle of evolution.

Brother Ambroise left the terrestrial plane in the early hours of December 20, 2018, in the haven of peace of the Convent of Canclaux, in the heart of Nantes. His death at the age of 97 signified the end of his mission among men, but his spirit was more alive than ever and present in the hearts of all those who knew him or only approached him.



Brother Ambroise, it was first Vézelay, a name that tinkles like a chime in a sort of infinity, and that tradition has nicknamed Mount Scorpion. Seen from the sky, the city indeed represents a curved shape, an abdomen with seven rings, with a tail with segments, the last of which is armed with a sting.

Of all the signs of the zodiac, the scorpion is characterized by the life and death cycle. A well-defined symbol for this place of transmutation renowned for the persistence of its telluric radiations and its cosmic waves. It is the irreducible enemy or absolute ecstasy, healing in Eternal Life. One can only escape death by passing through Christ who comes to bring perfection and to open the way for the new life, Rebirth. Vézelay exists only through love, and through conquered death.

For more than forty years, Brother Ambroise was the “guardian” of La Cordelle, the small Franciscan hermitage below the ramparts of the “Inspired Hill”, created eight centuries earlier by Brother Pacific, sent there by Saint Francis of Seat to spread the word of poverty on the land of France.

It is in this place, with its stripped beauty and authentically Franciscan simplicity, not far from the high wooden cross where, on Easter Day 1,146, Bernard de Clairvaux preached the second crusade, alongside King Louis VII and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom Brother Ambroise will welcome retreatants from around the world, including personalities from the scientific, artistic and literary worlds.

It is there that, more modestly, one morning of Pentecost 1995, we will meet him, knocking, energetically, on the wooden door of La Cordelle. In a soft and playful voice, he will invite us to write to him to set a date for a retreat which, he specifies, "is done with respect for beliefs and freedom of conscience for everyone".

Winter this year will be terrible with temperatures down to minus 27 ° C, in this extreme tip of the Morvan, with wind-blown slippery paths and snow-covered oak forests. A rough country and yet, it’s as if we find our native land, bathed in a kind of mystical happiness, under the gaze of Marie-Madeleine, the patron saint of Vézelay.

In the small, overheated room, with windows surrounded by ice, Brother Ambroise is attentive, attentive to people as much as to their words. Unforgettable moments like this sharing of hearts to hearts, into which love and peace infuse, the kindness and humility of a rediscovered humanity.



Besides his hospital activity, Brother Ambroise will also be a builder, by undertaking, in the rules of the art, the restoration of the chapel thanks to subsidies allocated by the Minister of Culture, André Malraux. He oversaw until the choice of golden Burgundy stone for the construction of the new high altar.

Before taking a vow of poverty, Brother Ambroise had worked as a wood sculptor after studying at the School of Fine Arts. Artist with recognized talent, he had been contacted for a special order that would change the course of his life. To realize the “Life of Saint Francis”, the one who is still called Pierre Negrel, will study in depth the life of his illustrious character who will soon call him to join his order ...

Seized by metaphysical doubt at the end of his novitiate, he then fell seriously ill, no longer remembering his past, before “being born a second time”, as he liked to say, when he found with conviction, inner peace and a sense of vocation by crossing the doors of the Franciscan Order.

From the celestial plane where his vibration now radiates, Brother Ambroise will continue to infuse the Franciscan spirit with his simplicity, his humility and his love for the Earth and all its creatures.

And it is no coincidence that his soul chose to fly on the eve of the Winter Solstice, this time of investigation, engulfed in the night of origins, inviting everyone to wake up to the Inner Light .

"This is the chosen moment of the Christic impulse for us to sense this awakening, when the midnight sun emerges within the soul," wrote Rudolf Steiner. At the height of the night, the awakening of the Spirit is announced in those who, in the midst of darkness, raise a sun which will see the new man born from the "old man".                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                          Marc J. PANTALACCI

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