En vue de Dieu Seul. [ePub]

by Charles de Foucauld

Blessed Charles Eugène de Foucauld was a French Catholic religious and priest living among the Tuareg in the Sahara in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916 outside the door of the fort he built for protection of the Tuareg and is considered by the Catholic Church to be a martyr. His inspiration and writings led to the founding of the Little Brothers of Jesus among other religious congregations. He was beatified on 13 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. Charles de Foucauld was an officer of the French Army in North Africa where he first developed his strong feelings about the desert and solitude. On his subsequent return to France and towards the end of October 1886, at the age of 28, he went through a conversion experience.
In 1890 he joined the Cistercian Trappist order first in France and then at Akbès in Syria, but left in 1897 to follow an undefined religious vocation in Nazareth. He began to lead a solitary life of prayer, near a convent of Poor Clares and it was suggested to him that he be ordained. In 1901 at the age of 43 he was ordained in Viviers, France and returned to the Sahara in Algeria and lived a virtually eremetical life. He first settled in Beni Abbes, near the Moroccan border, building a small hermitage for ‘adoration and hospitality’, which he soon referred to as the ‘Fraternity’.
Later he moved to be with the Tuareg people, in Tamanghasset in southern Algeria. This region is the central part of the Sahara with the Ahaggar Mountains (the Hoggar) immediately to the west. Charles used the highest point in the region, the Assekrem, as a place of retreat. Living close to the Tuareg, and sharing their life and hardships, he made a ten-year study of their language and cultural traditions. He learned the language and worked on a dictionary and grammar. His dictionary manuscript was published posthumously in 4 volumes and has become known among Berberologues for its rich and apt descriptions. He formulated the idea of founding a new religious institute, which became a reality only after his death, under the name of the Little Brothers of Jesus.
On December 1, 1916, he was shot to death outside his Tamanrasset compound, by passing marauders connected with the Senussi Bedouin; this act is to be seen against the general background of the uprising against French colonial power, World War I and famine in the Hoggar. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 13, 2005 and is listed as a martyr in the liturgy of the Catholic Church.

06.03.2015

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