Arnaud Dumouch, 2005,

Accueil histoires



Translation: Alain Queneville





« Then the King will say to those on the right: Come, the blessed of my Father, accept in inheritance the Kingdom, prepared for you since the foundation of the world. Because I was hungry you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a foreigner and you received me, naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, prisoner and you came to see me. »


Captain François Dujard Knight of the Legion of Honour

Lieutenant François Dujard is a hero of the First World War. Again and again at the head of his men, he fought with courage, and on one occasion, after taking an enemy trench, returned with 18 prisoners. In 1919 he’s promoted to captain and invested as Knight of the Legion of Honour.

In 1923, he married Blanche Jardin, a simple and honest young woman, the daughter of a bricklayer, who undoubtedly, isn’t at the same intellectual or educational level as her husband. The couple settled in Paris, and soon were the parents of two children.

In 1926, François is taken with sudden religious fervour. Every Sunday morning, he leaves for mass at about 9 am and never returns home till about 4 in the afternoon. The years pass by and François soon became chief accountant for a big pharmaceutical laboratory. He’s excels at his work and soon begins dabbling in doubtful fiscal practices which seem to be one of the French national sports.

During World War 2, he re-enlisted but this time as an instructor. He likes to march his men, posing chin forward and baton under his arm, Mussolini like.

In 1950, François’ 23 years old son goaded by his strong willed fiancée, decided to follow his father to his Sunday mass. He wasn’t disappointed: by way of mass, he ended up at the address of a certain Madeleine Boucher. It wasn’t to long before the spoke to the father about this state of affairs, reproaching him for his unfaithfulness as well as for the moral and financial abandonment of his mother. Angry at being upbraided by his son, François and his son get into a violent argument. With tones going up, hurtful things are said... They never will be reconciled

In January 1953 Blanche Dujard, François’ wife, died alone in her cold flat. François seldom came by and only saw her on rare occasions. He had moved in with Madeleine. During her funeral, father and son never spoke or even exchanged glances.

20 years later, François Dujard learns he’s has cancer of the prostate. He immediately marries Madeleine and secretly gives her everything he could of his estate and disinherits his son for as much that he could get away with. François died in 1975. His son contested his father’s estate in an epic that lasted 10 years.


Thursday, January 6th, 2000 5 o’clock in the morning

Sonia is half asleep, following her dreams with a notion to keep on dreaming. Although she is at the stage of sleep where absurdity can mingle with reality, when suddenly, a figure enters her dreaminess. She recognized François, her grandfather, immediately. He’s wringing his hands and is in tears. He seems to be calling for help. This vision is so vivid and lasted for such a long time that Sonia woke up drenched in sweat. She came away from her experience persuaded her grandfather was crying out for help, that he’s in purgatory. I’ must point out that Sonia is a practicing catholic, and that she knows her faith. She immediately had two masses offered for his soul. She prays, she especially prays from the innermost regions of her soul and speaks to her grandfather telling him: « I am here. I think of you. I won’t forget you. »


Earth as a purgatory

François began his purgatory in 1973, when he first learned he had cancer. Prior to this unwelcome bit of news he had been kept busy with his numerous activities, he had never really given any serious thought about his eventual demise. Slowly, he felt his world shrinking.

He first thought of shortening his life, frightened by the thoughts of a painful death but he found himself unable to muster the strength to carry that plan out. Strange isn’t it? We seem to die more easily when were young. Anyway, it was this lack of resolved which saved him, because he learned more about himself and who he was in the last two years of his life than he had in his whole life.

It was also in these last two years of his life he took steps to have his son pay dearly for having judged him. Nothing like one’s financial well being to make one think, proving to the very end, that he was a proud and begrudging man.

It was really difficult when the pains began. Madeleine was faithfully there. And, to top it all off, the nightmares began. Always the same one, Blanche’s young then aging face, the wife who had upbraided him for his unfaithfulness. Other patients at the hospital began complaining about this desperate patient who kept on shouting.

The hospital pastor, informed by the nurses of this patient’s nocturnal anxieties, came by to see him. They talked for a long time. François acted as everybody usually would under the circumstances, asking for opinion on the possibility of survival.

« Are you sure that there is something beyond life? » And, accustomed to these last minute spiritual searches he reassured him. He offered to hear his confession and François told him he needed some time to get ready and would probably take a while. The priest told him he’d come around again, the following day.


That night, the angels met and decided that François had learned enough in this life. Satan, who had tried to instil despair in him through his nightmares, was pushed aside. Satan, whose only ambition was to harm or hinder François salvation, had instead provoked him to, much salutary anxiety. The angels debated whether or not his confession to the priest wouldn’t bring him true repentance since his contrition was linked to fright and caution.

The Angel of Death came to pay François a visit and told him: « It’s time. Do you want to say goodbye to anyone? » François thanked him, went to his daughter, and to his son to caress his grand children who were asleep and whom he had seldom met. He then entered this passage leading to the hereafter. On the way, the angel acted authoritatively with François, communicating with him, as an officer to a second-class private, wasn’t fairing to well.


Purgatory of light

For François the meeting with Jesus was terrifying. "Stand at attention ", the angel told him. « You’re in the presence of the Son of God. » Trembling, François stood at attention. Then he saw appearing in splendour a being, of forcefulness and uprightness. The mere sight of him had struck a nerve: « Fortis and directus », had been the romantic motto of his youth. It corresponded to his ideals of nobility and honour. He felt imbued by a feeling of camaraderie, virility, serious friendship, as soldiers develop in battle when they risk their lives wedged in some forsaken corner of a no man' s land.

Then, together with this King, François travelled back in time, saw his childhood all over again. He hovered quite a while over the events of the Great War. Jesus emphasized his acts of nobility and his acts of self-denial, highlighting and congratulating him on the various circumstances where he had acted as a true leader. François experienced the feelings of admiration from certain of his men, especially the blues over which he had particularly watched over.

However, Jesus fingered various instances of fear and weakness seeming to tell him « You are but a man ». Then they got to the part of his life that was most embarrassing. When he saw his mistress again, on silk pillows, while his wife was wearing herself out with household chores, he was ashamed and simply wanted to disappear. Christ’s attitude of was not one of condemnation, But rather one of truth: « You very badly acted in this circumstance », he said, by boring straight in François eyes, with an attitude of uprighteousness and frank friendship. So he had no difficulty acknowledging this wrongdoing: « Lord, I acted in a cowardly fashion in my everyday life. »

« And your son? » François relived the discovery stage of his adultery. He now had a strong taste of the feeling of bitter disappointment and of his son’s anger for the unenviable fate of his mother. His thoughts were racing through him, understanding the reason for his hardheartedness towards his son. Next, François is bursting in sobs and tears crying out. « Lord, right up to the end I took my revenge, and disinherited him. »

Christ says to him: « François, Blanche your wife is here. Look. She had always forgiven you. She also has her weaknesses, but she was always compassionate with yours even before her death, when she learned you had deceived her.

Your son will forgive you, when he himself will be faced with his own weaknesses. Be strong now. Assume repentance for your sins for that is what true strength and uprightness are. But you haven’t reached the end of your tether yet; the angel of pride must confront you. »

So Christ faded into the background. François could feel this presence but couldn’t see him any more. Lucifer's apparition was also one of propriety, but with a very different honourableness. He was uprightness in search of self, not for helping others. He reviewed François’ life stressing very different things. He demonstrated the taste he had for power. Even in his generosity towards his young soldiers was mingled with a kind of paternalistic self-satisfaction. Lucifer was a very good psychologist. Strangely enough, he never once mentioned a word about his wife, his mistress or his son. The only thing that interested Lucifer was respectability, « strength and uprightness », which François had made his currency as a young man. « If you follow me, yours will be a royal domain. You will choose your own rules in your Kingdom. You will be a nobleman. »

In this light, François finally understood to what extent every action he took during his life on Earth been important. Identical values may carry within them selfishness or love, depending on the circumstances. After this get-together with Lucifer who showed him his world, he had become a real man. He wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.

 Hell appeared to him for what it was, with its freedom certainly, but also the primary source for one’s own misfortune and enslavement. Heaven also appeared to him effortlessly, with the heroism of complete renunciation and surrender of the total self as the source of true freedom and happiness. He knew that, if he chose Christ, he would learn everything and for a very long time.

Then, he made his choice and felt like the whole world was waiting waited for its selection.

He told Christ: « Yours is the true dignity. Lucifer’s is but a mirage and I know something of it. When I was dying in hospital, I had only two things: my misery and Madeleine. Our love was sinful but she proved to be true. The only souvenirs that kept me going in hospital were those I had of my youth; when I put my life on the line for my friends. The others, those of my selfishness, pain me to no end. And since Blanche definitely wants to forgive me, I accept her forgiveness. Also, if you want, I kneel before you, Jesus today, and surrender my all to you. »

Lucifer came back at full charge. And this time, he wasn’t looking to seduce any more. In a last hurrah he tried mightily to accuse. He pursued the theme of his despicable petty bourgeois selfishness, and his frolicking at the expense of his family.

François had been freed. He looked Lucifer up and down, as he would size up danger in his youth and said: « Everything you say is true. And I well intend paying for what I’ve done because I prefer the strength and uprightness of love to whatever you have. Without question I know love is why God created me. »


Individual Judgement

It was only at that moment when, fully fixated in his choice of love that François was judged. Christ communicated to the whole world and proclaimed, with a tone that bonded François even more strongly to him: « At the time of his death and faced with his sins, François got all fired up for love’s cause. All his sins had been forgiven because he had manifested love and repentance. The love he had shown was because much had been forgiven of him, the mirror image of a human soul. » François shuddered with all this glory of love offered to him. It felt rightfully proud to have so knelt before love.

Then, contacting him on a heart to heart basis, the Lord told him: « As sure as I exist François, today I say, you will see your God face to face. Enter now in the way you have chosen in preparation for that moment. »

Mind you now…all these events had occurred on the threshold of the hereafter. François was invited and accepted to enter full bore into this new universe.


Purgatory of fire

He made his entrance with firm resolve. His angel told him: « You have yet to learn many things. You love with all your heart and forever, but you need to know how to love. »

- I am ready, my Angel. Where must I go to learn?

- Come. » And he directed him as if conveying him on eagles' wings to a far distant part of a universe, the immensity of which François could only guess at. The angel pointed out a mountain of dizzying height, with huge rocky peaks. François enthusiasm new no bounds at the grandiose image it portrayed; a mirror like image of all the splendour he had admired in his earthly dreams.

« It is a sublime and bright place. I am going to be right at home here, said François to his Angel.

- François! You are going to suffer martyrdom here. Because a desert is a novelty its nice only at the time of its discovery. Afterwards, you burn here. » François told himself “we’ll see”.

The angel still says to him: « If you suffer too much, call. Never hesitate. We are there. » And then he left.

François found himself all alone. He began by exploring his new world. His body now had amazing properties: it flew like a bird; visit the remotest corners of his new world. Slide along faults, climb peaks…a world of dream.

At the end of weeks of exploration, he noticed his world was a huge planet. But it was strictly mineral with no visible life anywhere. At the end of fourteen days, he began getting extremely bored. At the end of three weeks, his thought, turned with obsession to the memory of our Lord, met in a short-lived encounter at the a time of his death.

At the end of month, he was wringing his hands in pain. He was alone. And mineral marvels meant nothing to him anymore. He began reliving his life, phase by phase in order to keep his mind busy. His state of mind varied from the deepest depression to the t liveliest hope. And he’d rehash the last words spoken by the Lord « As sure as I exist François, today I say, you will see your God face to face. Enter now in the way you have chosen in preparation for that moment. »

These Words were his only food and drink. « He promised, he said, and he will keep his word. » At the end of a year, François had become like a rag. He didn’t have the strength to fly. Worn down to a frazzle, he remembered what the angel had said: « If you suffer too much, call. » But he couldn’t get himself to call. He was to be strong and upright: « fortis et directus », as the Lord, and for his love. He had to accept everything and pay everything, for Blanche for Madeleine, for his son, his daughter and his grandchildren. He wasn’t going to start cracking up on such a short haul. At the end of two years, the fire in his soul had transformed it into dried out cadaver, miserably crawling along the canyon floors. So then he cried out towards the apparently empty sky: «Help, I can’t stand it here any more. Where is my angel? I am thirsty. Will someone give me an acknowledgement? »

A girl wearing a simple white dress, in bare feet, a gold rose in her flowing hair and smiling, immediately appeared before him.

« Who are you? » he asked genuinely surprised. He had expected a visit from his virile angel friend instead of this gracious and royal presence, a kingship without martial authority.

« I am Mary, the queen of purgatory. I came to encourage you, François. You are progressing.

Her simple appearance and words of encouragement were like a morning dew refreshing nature. François's soul took heart and courage.

- I don’t understand? My angel isn’t coming anymore?

- Your angel has nothing else he can teach you. But it was him who spoke to me about you. You know, you can’t love God as one loves an Army general. A little more delicacy is needed. So you’ll need to continue your progress right?

- More than ever I want to progress, Mary my queen. I shall move on. 

And François found himself alone again but reinvigorated. He felt her gracious presence near him. This vision had left him a bit confused: « A little more delicacy is needed. » the Queen had said. And so he contemplated her words, he turned it. He walked in his world continuously speaking to Mary, knowing full well she could hear him.

François accepted a visit of the Virgin Mary, or on several occasions some of her companions, one of whom was Blanche his wife. On each occasional visit, he learned more. His love was gradually purifying.


25 years still passed. François was despairing. It seemed to him like he hadn’t progressed at all in the last 10 years. Like a dried out newt, he moved around in miserableness in his hermitage and cried out to heaven and earth: « Who will help me? Who will succour me of this desert? I can never love God, as He deserves. When will He come for me? »

The angels heard his request and carried it on the earth to someone capable of receiving it. They found his granddaughter Sonia. As it should be Sonia prayed for her grandfather, as best she could. The angels, using their power, came and showed to François in a dream his little Sonia who prayed for him. He sees her thinking of him in her bed.

It was a poor prayer. But nevertheless, a prayer coming from earth, is in a manner of speaking coming from a worse purgatory than his, a purgatory where the inhabitants have never seen Christ his angels or the saints with their own eyes and its. He thought again of his granddaughter, Sonia, whom he had seen on very few occasions in her child hood « She was only a girl, » he had sincerely thought at the, being rather more interested in her brothers. This thought showed him the huge amount progress accomplished for the years of its death. He did not call Mary anymore « Queen », but « friend ", " mother », and the same « mum ». It was affected, up to tears, as a prisoner could the being after years without news of his.

So François, once more prayed, asking the invisible presences surrounding him: « I agree to stay here forever. I am a poor soul unworthy of all this love. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me. » This prayer came from a really penitent and humbled soul.

God then undeceived his eyes and he saw water. Animals began closing up on him and the uninhabited world where he had lived began to flourish. On that day, accompanied by huge crowd of admirers and who once again were visible in their glorious bodies. Now that he could François entered in the presence of God’s and saw him, face to face... having surrender all of the self.  He had died to himself.

François Dujard is buried in Courbevoie. Its tomb, in massif grey granite, and is a notable's tomb: 

François Dujard


War veteran

Knight of the Legion of Honour

Blanche Jardin, spouse Dujard


 If we all really knew what a tomb meant …

Mathew 25, 34 Luke 7, 47 Origin 21, 19