Born in the diocese of Gap December 11, 1792
Ordained to the priesthood, May 28, 1829
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame du Laus, October 31, 1838
Oblation in Marseilles, November 1, 1839 (no. 80)
Expelled from the Congregation January 8, 1841
Died at Montgenèvre, June 10, 1863.
Joseph Ancel entered the Congregation at Notre-Dame du Laus, October 31, 1838. He was already a priest, rector of Saint-André, canon and former secretary general of Bishop Arbaud. He decided to enter the Congregation after having been submitted to an injustice at Gap. He made his oblation in Marseilles, November 1, 1839 and was sent to the major seminary of Ajaccio where he taught until June of 1840. He then obtained permission to go to Gap on some family business. The diocesan administration of Gap at that time wanted to take back the direction of the sanctuary of Notre-Dame du Laus and was looking for some means to get rid of the Oblates. The offered him the position of chaplain at the royal convalescent home at Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes). Without the authorization of the Founder, he accepted this position and then on September 13, 1840 wrote to ask for a dispensation of his vows. As reasons for asking for a dispensation, he cited the behaviour of the priests at Ajaccio who were uncharitable to him, treating him as “an old rambler,” “a graceless fellow,” etc.
Bishop de Mazenod wrote him two fatherly letters to encourage him to repent, to permit him to keep his post under certain conditions, but refused to grant him a dispensation from his vows. “In the name of the good Lord, take hold of the plank I hold out to you in your terrible shipwreck. Your salvation is at stake.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1837-1842, Oblate Writings I, vol. 9, no. 716, p. 154)
Father Ancel wrote to Rome to obtain a dispensation of his vows. It was at this point that on January 8, 1841 the General Council expelled him from the Congregation. Among the reasons cited were the following: formal disobedience, a character that was idiosyncratic and impossible to reform, erroneous ideas and rash opinions in theological matters, etc. That same day, Bishop de Mazenod wrote to Father Semeria in Corsica that they had expelled this “wilful and willing deserter.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, November 1, 1839; five letters to Bishop de Mazenod (1838-1841); Registry of expulsions and dispensations, p. 61-63.