Pastor Girard

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Father Marcel Girard became parish priest of Mailly-le-Château in 1959 and remained so until 1967. Very helpful and social, Father Marcel Girard quickly won the hearts. He made a small pharmacy in the rectory for the first necessities, he lent his car, he brought people with his car for their necessities.

Élise wrote about him in a letter to a friend:

Parish side, things are much better, you can easely imagine it, because you know that we have a new parish priest who this time is really, not only very nice, but very pious, very supernatural and you think well that it is to these last qualities that I attach the most value. In addition, he is very well with Father Générat, which would be one more reason to give me confidence, if he was needed.

It is again Father Girard who takes Mme Bisschop to Auxerre to see Élise in the hospital. Three weeks before dying Élise wrote to Father Générat:

I think of you. I have a very unconventional way of praying at the moment. But I believe I am in a state of offering and abandonment… Soon, the priest will to come and he brings Mum.

Father Girard quickly spotted Elise's qualities. Therefore, despite what she would have liked, he let her work without giving him any orders.

It is Father Girard who will write and spread around in the parish the affirmation, about Elise: “a sainte from among us”. We have proof of this in a letter written two weeks after Elise’s death. Here is the text:

Pastor Marcel Girard - letter of April 30, 1964

My dear S.

I kept writing to you again and again. You got ahead of me! The seminarian G. was to announce the death of Elise to you. Then Mrs. B. asked me for your exact address.

Yes! events precipitated. Doctor Roux, powerless to treat Élise, in the room since October 15, asked me to take her to the Hospital in Auxerre for more in-depth examinations. It was around March 15th. She was due home for Easter, but her condition was getting worse. It was not possible, and on the 9th, at the end of the afternoon, she expired in her mother's arms.

The consternation, the emotion, were unanimous, parochial and regional. Father Générat presided over the office and quoted a few extracts from her letters (she wrote to him quite often, as he had known her since the age of 11.)

She had given her life for the brothers…! The seminarian G. told me: she takes her secret with her… (I suppose this life “given”).

In some time (a few years perhaps) I think that we will publish a brochure: “A saint2 from among us!”

I have a few writings, but it is obviously Father Générat who is spoiled for choice, because he has the most numerous.

I am sending you a notice written by the Parish priest of Châtel-Censoir in his parish bulletin. In some time you can return it to me. Thank you.

I offer you one of Elise’s last writings, found in a small notebook her mother gave me after death. Perhaps you can make it known to those around you.

Respectfully yours, Father Girard

Pastor Girard’s sentence will remain engraved in the memory of parishioners, especially in the friends of Élise, who received it as a validation of their own opinion. In fact, they all have preserved the letters and items received from her well.

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