Born at Condom-d’Aubrac (Aveyron), April 4, 1831.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, October 14, 1855.
Oblation at Montolivet, November 2, 1856. (no. 425)
Ordination to the priesthood at Sicklinghall, December 8, 1857.
Dispensed from his vows on September 19, 1858.
Jean Pierre Ayral was born at Condom-d’Aubrac in the diocese of Rodez on April 4, 1831. After a year of theology in his diocese, he began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on October 14, 1855 and made his oblation at Montolivet on November 2, 1856. He was admitted to vows in the October 24, 1856 General Council session. Father Vandenberghe, the master of novices, wrote about him: “This is a good fellow, but he is an amorphous individual. He is sometimes a bit odd and would easily be prone to being carried away by extravagant ideas, but there is no difficulty in getting him to obey. For the rest, he his just as you see him at first blush, simple, upright and a bit ungainly in appearance.” Father Mouchette, the moderator of scholastics continued this report by saying: “I am in agreement with this report as far as virtue is concerned. I must add that, as to what has to do with the intellectual capacity of this brother that the professors are happy with him. I believe his is endowed with common sense and a sound judgment. No doubt, if one were to consider only his exterior appearance, one would hardly take him for an individual of ordinary quality, but he is adequately endowed and beyond and in addition to that, he enjoys a robust health which will enable him to engage in work that will enable him to do well.”
Jean Pierre Ayral spent one year at the scholasticate in Montolivet. Father Mouchette continued to judge him as being virtuous and regular in observance, but states that his “disposition is slow, lazy, listless. He seems to drag himself.” On June 28, 1857, the General Council decided to send three scholastic brothers to Sicklinghall in order to form a class for theology. Brother Jean Pierre was sent along with Brothers Julien Moulin and Joseph Guillard, in view of being sent to the missions in Canada. It was at Sicklinghall that he was ordained to the priesthood on December 8, 1857.
In a January 29, 1858 letter to the Founder, Father Joseph Arnoux stated that Father Ayral whose “slowness is tantamount to ponderousness” does not get along with Father Guillard and is a source of concern. In the month of April, Father Robert Cooke, the provincial, requested that this priest “who risks becoming unhinged by staying in England any longer” be recalled to France. Back at Montolivet, Father Ayral stayed only a few days and entered the Trappist monastery at Aiguebelle from where he asked to be dispensed from his vows. On September 19, 1858, the General Council decided to grant his request.
Beneath Father Ayral’s name in the Registry of the Personnel 1862-1863, we find written: “Taciturn of character, a dreamer. Specific tendency to mystic ideas. [Before] his ordination he was sent to England. Contact with the practical details of everyday life put his imagination in orbit. He was dispensed from his vows.”ù
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Oblate General Archives in Rome: Oblation formula, Montolivet, November 2, 1856. In April-May, 1858, he wrote eight long letters to Bishop de Mazenod and three to Father Mouchette in which he talks nonsense.