Jacques de Jesus

Lucien-Louis Bunel, a Carmelite friar known as "Jacques de Jesus," was the headmaster of a French prep school during the second world war.  The three Jewish boys he was hiding in the monastery were discovered by the Gestapo and they, along with Bunel, were transported to Auschwitz and executed.  Bunel would be named by the state of Israel "Righteous Among the Nations." The 1987 movie Au revoir, les enfants was based off the life of Julien Quentin, a twelve-year-old student under Bunel.

But the lasting part of Bunel's legacy are the letters he wrote as a military chaplain to his troops along the Maginot Line.  Prior to becoming headmaster, Bunel was conscripted into the French military. Here is an excerpt from one letter, dealing with fatherhood:

You see, after the age of eight or ten, without any notice, your son will spy on you. One day or another he will have heard some of his friends, who have lost all respect for their fathers, mock them by exposing their lies and by perhaps revealing the seamy side of their private lives. Your son, back home, will silently keep an eye on you. He will listen to you talk, he will investigate your life with an amazing, childlike anguish, until he is able to form an opinion. Then one day he will throw himself into your arms effusively, with tears maybe, covering you with caresses. You will not understand, but he will have learned with a delirious joy and exciting pride that you are not like the father of his friend, that you did not lie, that you, his father, were honest, decent, and pure. Your son will then be so completely proud of you!

I wonder if our Lord had a similar experience with his father Joseph.


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