Charles de Foucauld
||"I have lost my heart to this Jesus
of Nazareth, crucified 1900 years ago and
I spend my life trying to imitate him as
far as my weakness permits."
Charles de Foucauld was born
in 1858 of a very Christian family,
motto was "Never backwards".
lost his parents when he was
six and the
grandfather raised him and his
In his adolescence he gave way
to the religious
skepticism and positivism that
of the period and he lost his
faith. He immersed
himself in a world life of pleasure
He was an officer at the age of 20 and was
sent to Algeria. He made a mess of his military
life. Once on sentry duty, as a prank, he
left his post to disguise himself as a beggar.
He even managed to bring with him, a young
woman of dubious repute called Mimi. Three
years later he left the army and undertook
a scientific expedition to Morocco, risking
his life in the process.
However God always finds a way. His
with the Muslim faith, his interior
for truth and the kindness and tactful
of his cousin brought him to a rediscovery
of the Christian faith. It was a total
definitive conversion. He was 31 years
"As soon as I believed God existed,
I understood that I could do nothing
but live for him..."
One truth stuck in his mind. "Jesus
took the lowest place in such a way
no one has ever been able to take it
from him." Let me be there… at
but last place, he reasoned.
Following this discovery he made a
to the Holy Land at the end of 1888.
reality of the Incarnation dawned on
"Walking the streets of Nazareth,
Our Lord, a poor craftsman, had walked
me made me discover the humble and
existence of the divine workman of
Nazareth became a key element in his
At first he thought that he should
cloistered life - hidden with Him alone.
So he entered La Trappe in 1890. He
there 7 years emptying his heart of
was overly human so that it might beat
God alone. Jesus of Nazareth had stolen
But God spurred him on. In his constant
he left the security of La Trappe and
to Nazareth where he lived four years.
was a time of prayer characterized
and loving contemplation of the Eucharist.
He discovered the joy of spending long
day and night before the Tabernacle.
- prayer - adoration - Gospel meditation
- humble work."
The journey from Nazareth to Ein Karim
journey is short. He soon discovered
the hidden life in Nazareth necessarily
to the mystery of the Visitation: taking
Jesus to others in silence as Mary
And so he left Nazareth. He was ordained
a priest at Viziers, France in 1901.
ready to respond to the impulses of
Spirit, at age 43 he found himself
Sahara. "To continue with the
life of Jesus in the Sahara, not to
but to live in solitude and poverty
the humble work of Jesus." His
became a beehive from dawn to dusk.
want everybody - Christian, Muslims,
- to get used to seeing me as their
a universal brother. They are already
to call my house 'the fraternity' and
Two years later he was again traveling,
time to Hoggar, a mountainous region
far south of the Sahara, inhabited
by a nomad
population, all Muslims, called the
It was not easy. He wanted to reach
"When people see me, they must
to say 'because this man is good, his
must be good'. If anyone asked me why
gentle and good, I have to say, "Because
I serve One who is far more 'good'
am." This was his apostolate.
And this was his prayer. "Father,
abandon myself into Your hands; do
what You will. Whatever You do I thank
I am ready for all, I accept all. I
myself into Your hands, without reserve
with total confidence, for You are
And yet, we all know it. Goodness many
is not appreciated. On the evening
1, 1916 some Tourages surprised and
him. They sacked the hermitage and
man set to guard him panicked, shooting
Charles accidentally. His body was
buried in a ditch near the fortress.
58 years old.
"Whatever motive for which they
us, if our heart is ready to an unjust
cruel death as a blessed gift at Your
if we do not resist, in order to obey
words 'Offer the wicked man no resistance',
then, whatever reason they have for
us, we shall die in pure love."
Life is a song; sing it.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright