Rebroadcast of the long running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour", a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org
Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of 6, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager, and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment.
Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest.
In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”
The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916.
Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel, and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life.. Beatified on November 13, 2005.
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