Among the new Saints Charles de Foucauld, the “universal brother”


In the audience with Cardinal Becciu, the Pope authorizes the decrees that will bring to the Church three new saints, numerous blesseds including some martyrs. Prominent figures include de Foucauld, an example of evangelical life and prayer

Alessandro De Carolis – Vatican City

You can become saints even after what would once have been called a “dissipated existence”. The life of Charles de Foucauld, born in Strasbourg in 1858, is an adamantine demonstration of this. The adjectives to define his first thirty years could be “joyful,” salottiero “, sensitive to female charm, bored by military life – which also occupies much of the first part of its existence – and at the same time brave in battle and excellent officer, even an excellent explorer in the years between Algeria and Morocco. Then, as often happens in the lives of many lovers of Christ who start from the peripheries of faith, a voice insinuates itself and in the young Charles takes the form of an invocation: “My God, if you exist, let him know you”.

Alone in the desert

And God makes himself known to this passionate man who is passionate about God. “As soon as I believed that there was a God, I understood that I could only live for him,” he will say one day. De Foucauld goes to the Holy Land to touch the places of Jesus with his hand, then he tries the life of a monk among the Trappists, but what he has in his heart is a new foundation. After priestly ordination, he finds the right place in an oasis in the deep Sahara. Now his new uniform is a white tunic with a red cloth heart sewn on top, topped with a cross. It houses anyone who passes by him, Christians, Muslims, Jews, pagans.

The small family

Spends another 13 years in the Tuareg village of Tamanrasset. He prays 11 hours a day, immerses himself in the mystery of the Eucharist, draws up a huge French-Tuareg dictionary (still used today). Death catches him dramatically on December 1, 1916, when his home, always open to every encounter, is sacked by marauders and “Charles of Jesus”, this is his new name, ends up killed for the “treasure” of which he always he spoke, which was actually Christ in the tabernacle. But the fame of holiness spread rapidly and today the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld – he who had no way of creating it in life – includes several associations of faithful, religious communities and secular institutes of lay people or priests scattered around the world who allow themselves to be inspired. from the “universal brother”. A man “who gave a testimony that has done good for the Church,” said Pope Francis in the Mass in the Santa Marta house on December 1, 2016, on the centenary of his death.

New Blesseds

The decrees authorized by Francis also include the miracles that will lead to the canonization of the blessed Frenchman Cesare de Bus (1544-1607), founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Christian Doctrine (Doctrinari) and of the Italian Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani (1862-1934). Furthermore, the document also recognizes the miracle that the American Venerable Servant of God Michele McGivney (1852-1890), founder of the Order of the Knights of Columbus, will bring to the altars, and the miracle attributed to the intercession of the French Venerable Servant of God Pauline Mary Jaricot (1799-1862), founder of the Works of the “Council of the Propagation of the Faith” and of the “Living Rosary”.

In addition, the decrees promulgated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will also lead to the beatification of the martyrs Servants of God Simeone Cardon and 5 Companions, professed religious of the Cistercian Congregation of Casamari – killed in Casamari, in hatred of the Faith, between 13 and 16 May 1799 – and the martyr Servant of God Cosma Spessotto, Italian, (1923-1980), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, killed in San Juan Nonualco (El Salvador).

Finally the Decrees recognize the heroic virtues of the French bishop Servant of God Melchiorre Maria de Marion Brésillac, former Apostolic Vicar of Coimbaore and Founder of the Society of African Missions, born in 1813 in Castelnaudary (France) and died in Freetown (Sierra Leone) in 1859 .

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