Charles de Foucauld: Prophet of Universal Fraternity

By Giancarlo Pani SJ, 14 May 2022
Last living photo of Charles de Foucauld circa 1915. Image: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division/Wikimedia Commons.


Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Charles De Foucauld, considered to be one of the pioneers of interreligious dialogue, together with six other Blesseds, during a Canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on 15 May.

“In the desert we are never alone.”[1] This affirmation comes from someone who loved the Sahara, Little Brother Charles of Jesus, Charles de Foucauld, and it embodies the essence of his life in the desert, where he lived in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, his own “treasure.” It embodied the presence and humility of God, but was also the sacrament of love. He had chosen to “take his place as close as possible to Jesus of Nazareth, among the least, even if it meant being hidden and ‘useless’ in the immensity of the desert.”[2]

Paradoxically, in 1916, that “treasure” was the cause of his death. Among the marauders of the desert of Tamanrasset in the depths of the Sahara, the rumor had spread that Brother Charles was hiding money and weapons. He had built a fort around the hermitage to protect the people who lived there. However, on December 1, robbers managed to enter the hermitage by deception. In the confusion of the assault, one of them shot him, but they found almost nothing in the humble dwelling. When he was killed, he was alone, and was ignored by all. His death did not bear the mark of “hatred of the faith,” but was caused by his simple and non-violent way of living among the Tuareg. In any case, there was silence for years over his existence, his memory and even the places where he had lived. Brother Charles had not even managed to carry out any part of the project he had at heart: to found a religious institute inspired by the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth.

Benedict XVI called him a “living exegesis of the Word of God”[3] and on the day of his beatification, November 13, 2005, he reiterated that his life was “an invitation to aspire to universal fraternity.”[4] On May 15, 2022, Brother Charles of Jesus will be canonized by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s.

An ‘unruly’ youth

De Foucauld’s biography may be divided into two periods, the first 28 years and the last 30, the latter of which begins with his conversion in 1886. He was born in Strasbourg on September 15, 1858, to a noble family and inherited the title of Viscount of Pontbriand. Much loved by his parents, he reciprocated their affection. The atmosphere of family love and tenderness would mark his future life. It is not by chance that when he had to choose his name as a religious, he put the Latin Caritas[5] next to Iesus.

At the age of six he lost his father and mother. He was then brought up in Nancy together with his sister by his maternal grandfather who was a colonel. He chose a good school for him and sent him to study with the Jesuits in Paris, where young men were prepared for examinations at the Polytechnic and the Military School of Saint-Cyr. Charles’ was expelled from the school in his second year for laziness and lack of interest in his studies, though he retained fond memories of the religious teachers. In 1876 he managed to enter the Military School of Saint-Cyr, but he did not progress very far. After two years, when his grandfather died, he received a large inheritance; showing few scruples, he squandered much of it in a short time.

Joyful and sociable, refined and elegant in his dress, a lover of good food and cheerful company, he lived the life of a rowdy young man. However, when he was not engaged in amusements or in military exercises, he threw himself headlong into reading not only the Latin and Greek classics: Horace, Martial, Lucian, Aristophanes, his favorite, but also Montaigne, Villon, Voltaire, Rabelais, and even Ariosto.

At the end of the course, he ranked last. However, he managed to join the IVth Hussars as a second lieutenant. They were stationed as the garrison at Pont-à-Mousson. In 1880 he received his first punishment “for having gone for a walk in the city, during the week of service, in plain clothes, with a woman of bad habits.”[6] While he was still in prison, his regiment was sent to Algeria, first to Bône, then to Sétif. The commander ordered him to send back the woman he was living with to France, but Charles refused. In the report we read: “The woman, who does not live with him, is not a soldier, so she is free to do what she wants; as for him, he visits her only outside the hours of  service.”[7] In any case, he allowed no one to interfere in his private life. This  resulted in an increase of the punishment to 30 days in prison, with the consequence that he was placed in a state “of retirement by dispensation from employment.”[8]

Charles wrote to a friend: “I had myself caused my retirement (an affair with a woman). Sétif was a bad garrison town  and the profession bored me.”[9] Later, he himself would affirm: “Every good, every good feeling […] seemed to have radically disappeared from my soul: only egoism, sensuality, pride and the vices that go with it remain. […] I did evil, but I did not approve of it or love it.”[10] However, the report of these events must be treated with care. The testimony of Madame Doucet-Titre, who hoped to become his fiancée, sheds some light: “As for believing the extraordinarily disreputable behavior of Charles de Foucauld as a young man, I cannot admit it. That, like all adolescents, there was curiosity and ferment in his soul, may be true, but at 25, there was certainly nothing left of the child.”[11]

The explorer of a forbidden country

Charles’ new life was short-lived. He learned that his regiment was about to leave for Tunisia to put down a revolt. Something unexpected happened to him. He immediately applied to rejoin the army and was accepted. He forgot the comforts and the woman. At 22 years old he changed his life, something sudden and almost inexplicable. Disappointment in love? Desire for a new life? Patriotism? Passion for Africa? Hard to answer. In any case, in the new regiment he was always in a good mood. He endured hardships and privations; he was energetic, courageous, a lover of danger and risk. To his former friends he seemed unrecognizable.

However, an unforeseen event occurred. At the end of the expedition, he asked for leave to r travel in the south of Algeria; he was fascinated by the world of the Arabs.

Unfortunately the response was negative: the military authorities considered him inept. He flew into a rage and left the army forever in 1882, his military career ended, not without some regrets. He had met people of valor and had become friends with Laperrine, Motylinski and other young and courageous officers with whom he shared his passion for Africa. He had faced adversaries and learned to respect them, but he was eager to get to know them. The seemingly infinite spaces of the desert and the men who inhabited it represented for him a mystery that pushed him to risk the forbidden. He fell in love with Africa, the largely unknown and mysterious Africa, in particular with Morocco, little known until then. The explorer in him emerged powerfully, without hi ignoring the dangers and risks to be faced. He knew that the Europeans were hated there, and that the Sultan had given orders to his warriors to cut off the heads of anyone who dared set foot there.[12] So he carefully prepared himself for the exploration of the immense Moroccan territory, studying in Algiers the texts already published and relying on the experience of the librarian of the city’s museum, his friend and valuable advisor. He studied Arabic, as well as the geography and ethnography of Morocco, learned to draw maps and to use the instruments for scientific surveys: the sextant, compass, barometer and thermometer.

The adventure of Morocco

After a year and a half of preparation, Charles finally left for Morocco and landed in Tangier, the only point of entrance. He had to disguise himself as a Jew and change his identity: he had become Rabbi Joseph Aleman, a refugee from Moscow; his companion was a certain Mordechai, an elderly rabbi who had abandoned the Scriptures for trade and smuggling, and now reduced to being a clandestine guide.

The exploration lasted about a year, involving precarious and dangerous situations. The country was full of marauders who preyed on the peasants and robbed the travelers, especially if they were Jewish merchants. They did not hesitate to kill if they did not find money or valuables. It was necessary to travel in a caravan, regularly turning to a local to be guided to the next tribe, always obliged to pay generous compensation. Blackmail and humiliation were the order of the day. There was the constant danger that his identity would be discovered. There were also conflicts with Mordechai, who wanted to choose less risky destinations for them. In addition, Charles had to submit to the Jewish community’s prayers, meetings, observance of the Sabbath. He was even obliged to observe Ramadan. It was problematic to work in such conditions, to write reports, make astronomical observations, carry out precise measurements, which were often done in secret.

There were dramatic moments: the poor state of communications, the precariousness of the mail, the difficulty in receiving money from Europe.

The fruits of his exploration were an impressive scientific work, at once geographical, military and political, published in two volumes: Itinéraires au Maroc (1887) and Reconnaissance au Maroc (1888).[13] They earned him the gold medal of the Société de géographie in Paris. In one year, Charles had added another 2,250 km to the 689 km covered by his predecessors. He had perfected the study of astronomical geography, and where only a dozen mountain altitudes had previously been indicated, he recorded about  3,000.[14] This opened a new era in the French knowledge of Morocco. On the occasion of the award of the gold medal, the orientalist and geographer Henri Duveyrier said: “One is uncertain whether to admire more these beautiful and useful results, or the dedication, courage and ascetic self-denial through which this young French officer has achieved them… sacrificing more than his own comfort, having formulated and maintained until the end more than a vow of poverty and misery.”[15] These were prophetic words, pronounced by a non-believer who was unaware of the subsequent developments in de Foucauld’s life.[16]

Certainly, for Charles this was a wonderful adventure. His self-denial and sacrifice in the challenges of  Morocco had made him a new person, responsible, attentive to the essential, open to values, above all free, capable of forgetting himself for others.


Later, de Foucauld would write of himself that from 1874 to 1886 he had remained “without denying anything and without believing anything, despairing of the truth, and not even believing in God, no proof seeming to me sufficiently evident.”[17] How could he overcome his despair of ever reaching the truth? He himself answers, “I cannot but attribute it to one thing: the infinite Goodness of Him who said of Himself, ‘that He is good, because His love is forever’.”[18] “In the beginning, faith had many obstacles to overcome. I, who had doubted so much, did not believe all in one day. Sometimes the miracles of the Gospel appeared incredible to me, sometimes I wanted to mix passages from the Koran into my prayers. But divine grace and the advice of my confessor dispelled these clouds.”[19] The mention of the Koran is singular. De Foucauld had been shocked, in the campaign in Tunisia, not only by his companions dying, but also by the Muslims he had seen praying: five times a day they knelt, humbling themselves with their heads to the ground, and proclaiming: “Allah Akbar, God is great, the greatest.”[20] Charles understood that these praying men were living in the presence of God. Although attracted to the religious spirit of Islam, he rediscovered his Christian roots.

L’Abbé Huvelin

Conversion was not a bolt from the blue. If Islam helped him discover the value of prayer, his soul was open to religious experience, wherever it was. On the path to grace, de Foucauld recalled being attracted by the virtues, especially by their beauty in those who witnessed them, hence the interest in deepening the roots of the Catholic faith in himself. Finally, there was the encounter with a priest who later became his spiritual guide, Abbé Huvelin, whom Charles had met at his sister’s wedding. “If there is joy in heaven at the sight of a sinner who converts, there was joy when I entered the confessional! […] I asked for lessons in religion: [the abbé] made me get down on my knees and confess, and invited me to take communion. […] And from that day my whole life has been a concatenation of blessings.”[21]

In a letter written some years later, addressed to Duveyrier, the friend who was disconcerted by the radical change, he wrote: “I felt a need for recollection. […] I then made this strange prayer: I asked that god, in whom I did not believe,  make himself known to me, if he really existed.”[22]

The people he met respected his freedom, did not proselytize, and were his friends and authentic witnesses to the Gospel. After his conversion, de Foucauld thought of becoming a monk, but his family and Abbé Huvelin encouraged him to marry. He preferred to wait. “As soon as I believed that there was a God, I understood that I could do nothing else but live for Him. My religious vocation came at the same time as my faith. God is so great! There is such a difference between God and everything that is not him.”[23]

But what should he do? Listening to a sermon given by his spiritual father, de Foucauld was particularly struck by a description of Jesus’ life: “Our Lord has so occupied the last place that no one has ever been able to take it away from Him.”[24] Writing to a cousin, he ended: “The last place is something from which I am not detached… Our Lord has kept too much of it.”[25] To get to know the Gospel better, Abbé Huvelin advised him to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The upheaval of Nazareth

De Foucauld arrived in Jerusalem in mid-December 1888 and spent Christmas in Bethlehem, where he attended Midnight Mass. Emotion and joy marked the beginning of the pilgrimage, but in Nazareth something shocking happened. He discovered “the humble and obscure existence of the divine worker. It was a decisive shock, a kind of call, but above all an answer to the question that he had been asking himself since the first day of his conversion: What am I to do?”[26] He seemed to see God walking in the midst of men, doing humble and humiliating work, tiring and hidden. He was the poorest of those at Nazareth, the most despised. De Foucauld was not attracted by the beauty of the carpenter’s work, nor by the family and intimate life of Nazareth, but only by the last place that Jesus had chosen. This is the core of his conversion. Now that he had known notoriety, that he had seen the success of his books, that he had received the gold medal, the internationally renowned explorer wanted to change his life, and he had found the model: Jesus living in Nazareth.

Back in Paris, he made his second great choice after Morocco,  to enter a Trappist monastery to follow his vocation. After a course of spiritual exercises, he decided to enter the novitiate.

For seven years he lived as a Trappist: first at Notre-Dame des Neiges and then at Akbès in Syria, one of the poorest of the Trappist monasteries. Everything was going well, but something made him uneasy: he did not find in the monasteries “the life of poverty, of abjection, of real detachment, of humility, and even of the  recollection of  Our Lord’s life in Nazareth.”[27]

Some episodes could be considered banal, but they helped him to reflect. In the Trappist monastery butter and oil were allowed as condiments: his was singular, but very clear: “A little less mortification means a little less given to the good Lord. A little more spending means a little less given to the poor.”[28] He was also troubled by the construction of the new monastery that replaced the dilapidated cottages in which they lived. Once he was sent to pray for an Arab Catholic who had died in a village near the Trappist monastery. Brother Charles was impressed by the hovel in which the poor man lived alone, in poverty that put the Trappists’ poverty to shame.

When it came to pronouncing the solemn vows, he asked twice to postpone them. Finally, the superior of the Trappist monastery understood that he had to release him from his first vows, so that he could follow the path to which the Lord was calling him. In January 1897, a new path opened up for him. The road to Nazareth opened wide: he wanted to enter “a poorer, lower condition, less gentle in nature, more like that of the Divine Worker.”[29]

The hermit of Nazareth

The following February, Charles landed in Jaffa. He tried in vain to find work with the Franciscans, and finally he was received as a servant and sacristan by the Poor Clares of Nazareth. He lived in the tool shed on the outskirts of the monastery, and was paid sufficient for his bread. Finally he felt close to the life he had dreamed of, and he also began to write a draft of what could be his future: “To follow and imitate Jesus in the hidden life of Nazareth, to dwell at the feet of Jesus present in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to live in mission countries.”[30]

By chance he learned that the Poor Clares of Jerusalem were in financial difficulty because of an enormous debt, which would mean the loss of the monastery. He did not think of being a beggar, but he wrote to his family in France for help, and managed to have the debt paid off. The abbess of Jerusalem wanted to meet him to thank him. He went there and had several conversations with her. She urged him to ask for the priesthood; perhaps she already imagined him chaplain of the monastery. He wanted to reflect on it, without promising anything. But for some time this had been his desire: to imitate Christ also in the priestly ministry.[31] He confided in Abbé Huvelin.

Meanwhile an unfortunate affair occurred. A part of the Mount of Beatitudes was for sale, and he thought it might be a place to live as a hermit and priest. The advice of his spiritual father arrived late this time, but it was clear: he should not be interested in it; it would be better for him to remain in Nazareth; the life of hiddenness that he was seeking was lacking. The purchase was not a sign from God.

De Foucauld instead chose to buy the land and then donate it to the Franciscans. The request for money from the family was refused. So he wrote to them that he was going to become a beggar to obtain the sum. The family saw the letter as blackmail and gave him the money as a loan. However, Charles did not realize that he was being cheated by the supposed sellers. The affair lasted a long time, but de Foucauld was unable to get back anything of the large sum he had paid.

The priesthood

At the age of 43 came the turning point of priesthood. De Foucauld went to France to speak directly with his spiritual father, who encouraged him, directing him in his studies but without abandoning his attraction to the East. In the retreat for the diaconate he no longer considered himself a “hermit” but a “little brother of the Sacred Heart.”[32] He was ordained a priest on June 9, 1901. Although incardinated in France, he would have liked to exercise his ministry in Morocco, where there was not a single priest. The bishop introduced him to the new apostolic prefect of the Sahara, Msgr Charles Guérin, who wanted to meet him personally.

At the end of 1901, Charles embarked for Algeria, where the bishop was planning a mission in the Sahara, right on the border with Morocco. The military governor gave permission to enter, and Charles finally arrived in Béni-Abbès (about 1,200 km south of Algiers), where he was well received by the military, housed and celebrated his first Mass in the Sahara. He bought the land to build a chapel and began caring for the poor.

His vocation was becoming clearer. He now called himself Brother Charles, and not “Father,” in order to be a brother to all. The vow to observe clausura which he had once taken was transformed into an ever wider, more generous, more unarmed “vow of openness.”[33] He wanted to establish a community of prayer and hospitality “to spread the Gospel, Truth, Charity, Jesus.”[34] In short, it was a synthesis of monastic life and missionary aspirations, which had as their foundation Eucharistic adoration and hospitality. Only two months after his arrival he was already fighting to abolish slavery; he intended to open one hospital for civilians and one for the military, to visit the poor in their homes, to improve the distribution of medicines and alms, to make progress in the spiritual guidance of people.[35]

In the meantime, he formulated the conditions for admitting possible new brothers, of whom he dramatically felt the need: “1) To be good religious and above all obedient (or willing to be so). 2) To be ready to die of hunger and to lack everything with joy for Jesus. 3) To be ready to have one’s head cut off with great joy for Jesus.”[36] The third condition is formulated in no uncertain terms. In that region, bordering Morocco, murder was a daily risk. For Brother Charles, it was a constant thought: “In every minute, live today as if I were to die a martyr this evening.”[37]

The new life was a great discovery: Nazareth is not only in the Holy Land, but it can be “elsewhere.” It is where one practices obedience and helps one’s brother, where one embraces the cross and lives the hidden life of Jesus’ family.

Brother Charles also thought of a women’s fraternity, the “Little Sisters”: “Among the sedentary inhabitants of the ksour, it would be easy to allows the Gospel to penetrate, easy with sisters, very difficult, almost impossible, without them.”[38]

A new mission: Tamanrasset

Unwittingly, Brother Charles inaugurated a new ministry. Before, he received visits, now he himself visited people, especially the poorest and the elderly. As he traveled south from Béni-Abbès, he began to approach the Tuareg, a people and a world different from the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria, who until then had been unapproachable. He immediately noticed that their language had similarities with Berber, which he knew in part. He began to take notes, as he had done while exploring Morocco, and to draw up what would later become a Tuareg-French dictionary to facilitate the work of the missionaries.

Colonel Laperrine, his old companion from his military life who was in charge of the region and with whom he had joined, was able to come into contact with the Tuareg and socialize with them. Brother Charles also established an initial meeting; he was aware that it was not a matter of evangelization, but “of preparatory work: to create trust, friendship, familiarization, brotherhood.”[39] In the little time he had available, he took care of the sick. He built a sort of chapel, surmounted by a cross, where he celebrated Mass every day and exposed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. He noted in his diary: “The Holy Host takes possession of its territory,”[40] the country of the Tuaregs. He also noted that there was much prejudice and distrust toward the French.

In addition to the peace treaty with Moussa, the head of the Tuareg region, Colonel Laperrine wanted the military to be stationed there, French law to be respected, and the regular payment of a tax. This created a difficult situation, and Brother Charles did not receive permission to remain there, this perplexed him. Life in Nazareth seemed to call him to the clausura of Béni-Abbès, yet he was the only priest who could go among the Tuareg, a neglected people.

In 1905, the colonel invited him to go with him to a new Tuareg village, Tamanrasset, 2,600 km south of Algiers. In the meantime, Moussa accepted French protection and also granted the right to settle to the “Christian marabout,”[41] as Brother Charles was called, and even decided on the site of his settlement.

So Brother Charles became a hermit in Tamanrasset, living a time of extreme solitude (the mail arrived and departed once a month). He built a small chapel where he could celebrate Mass, reserve the Blessed Sacrament and pray. He cared for the sick and created a relationship of trust with people. There was even a sudden visit from Moussa to Brother Charles because he wanted advice on what he should say to the colonel; it was a sign of trust in the marabout.[42]

Shortly after, the linguist Motylinski, whom he had met during his military service, went to Tamanrasset to begin a rigorous work of linguistic, historical and sociological reconnaissance. Local poems and stories were written down. It was also discovered that the Tuaregs may have had very ancient contact with the Christians of the first centuries: they knew the term “Easter” and the “angels.”[43] Brother Charles began to translate the Gospels into their language.

The surprises of a hidden life

After a trip to Algeria, on his way back to Tamanrasset, Brother Charles found a Tuareg collaborator, Ba Hammou, Moussa’s secretary, who knew the language of the country well.[44] This was an opportunity to review the work done under safe guidance.

In 1908, an illness – perhaps scurvy – struck the marabout so severely that he believed he was close to death. The person who seemed invulnerable revealed his frailty, and moreover did so in a difficult period of drought and hunger. But the unthinkable happened. The Tuareg took care of him;  Moussa learned that Charles was seriously ill and made sure that he received some precious goat’s milk, one of the few foods that could be found and that he needed. In human suffering everyone finds themselves and others close, and Brother Charles would remember this as “a sign of goodness and equality in  common frailty before death.”[45]

One fact to note is Moussa’s trip to France, with two nobles and an interpreter. Among the many visits, he also met de Foucauld’s sister. His wonderment was great at the standard of living and comfort of the French. The Tuareg chief sent a letter to the missionary with a note: “I have seen your sister and also your brother-in-law. I have visited their gardens and their houses. And you, you are in Tamanrasset like a pauper!”[46]

While Brother Charles continued his daily work, he had the courage to criticize France, which exploited the indigenous peoples, did not respect them, and did not care about their education. In his opinion, respect and care must not be missing from the proclamation of the Gospel.

Moussa was not spared either: the missionary denounced his rapacity and daily lies. Lies are contrary to God, who is truth. In particular, he reproached others for their hostility to progress, “because ignorance and barbarism are more conducive to the preservation of their power. They want the perpetuation of the old abuses, a regime of injustice and ignorance.”[47] He recommended education and the teaching of French.

With regard to ordinary people, Brother Charles “tries to make himself loved, to inspire esteem, trust, friendship, to till the soil before sowing it.”[48] If one asks how many baptisms he administered in Tamanrasset, the number is insignificant. Yet here, a new way of being Christians, monks and consecrated persons in mission lands was born. The core of inter-religious dialogue is not proselytism, but witness: living the relationship with the other in order to communicate  that freedom which  is dearest to us, the witness which is essentially “martyrdom.”

De Foucauld was not killed because he was a Christian, but because of a robbery that went wrong. Yet, from his experience in the desert several religious groups were born, the best known of which are the Petits Frères, the Petites Sœurs and the countless lay associations that are inspired by his charism.[49] On December 1, 2016, 100 years after his death, Pope Francis praised Brother Charles: “He gave a witness that did good to the Church.”[50]

Giancarlo Pani SJ is the Deputy Director, La Civiltà Cattolica.

Reproduced with permission from La Civiltà Cattolica and Gianarlo Pani SJ.


DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 6, no.5 art. 9, 0522: 10.32009/22072446.0522.9

[1].    J. L. Maxence, Il richiamo del deserto. Charles de Foucauld, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Padua, Messaggero, 2005, 9.

[2].    P. Poupard, “Prefazione”, in R. Bazin, Charles de Foucauld. Esploratore del Marocco, eremita nel Sahara, Milan, Paoline, 2005, 10. Cf. P. Vanzan, “Charles de Foucauld: testimone di Cristo nel deserto”, in Civ. Catt. III 2006 136-144.

[3].    P. Martinelli, Vite meravigliose. Francesco d’ Assisi, Luigi Maria de Montfort, Charles de Foucauld, Teresa di Lisieux, Adrienne von Speyr, Paolo VI, Milan, Holy Land Editions, 2021, 123.

[4].    Benedict XVI, “Beatificazione dei servi di Dio: Charles de Foucauld, Maria Pia Mastena, Maria Crocifissa Curcio”, November 13, 2005.

[5].    Cf. P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld1858-1916. Biografia, Cantalupa (To), Effatà, 2018, 21.

[6]  .   Ibid., 77f.

[7]  .   Ibid., 81.

[8].    Ibid., 82.

[9].    Ibid., 83.

[10].   Ibid., 71 f. The last observation dates back to November 1897, during the retreat in Nazareth with the Poor Clares.

[11].   Ibid., 74. This testimony was given in 1927 and is in the archives of the postulation: it refers to 1885.

[12].   Cf. A. Pronzato, Il seme nel deserto. Charles de Foucauld. I. L’infanzia. La giovinezza scapestrata. Il Marocco. La conversione. La trappa. Nazaret. Beni Abbès, Milan, Gribaudi, 2004, 42.

[13].   Cf. the first great biography of de Foucauld, which contains many pages of his report: R. Bazin, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 62; 114; for the diary of the journey, 20-97.

[14].   Cf. A. Pronzato, Il seme nel deserto…op. cit., 101.

[15].   Ibid., 102.

[16].   Cf. A. Chatelard, Charles de Foucauld. Verso Tamanrasset, Magnano (Bi), Qiqajon, 2002, 31.

[17].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 137.

[18].   Ibid. Cf. Ps 106:1.

[19].   Ibid., 137f.

[20].   L. Rosadoni, Charles de Foucauld. Fratello universale, Turin, Gribaudi, 1966, 53.

[21].   C. de Foucauld, La vita nascosta. Ritiri in Terra Santa (1897-1900), Rome, Città Nuova, 1974, 101.

[22].   A. Chatelard, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 35.

[23].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 143f.

[24].   R. Bazin, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 116.

[25].   C. de Foucauld, Lettres à Mme de Bondy. De la Trappe à Tamanrasset, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 1966, 36.

[26].   A. Chatelard, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 42.

[27].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 185.

[28].   Ibid., 184.

[29].   Ibid., 207.

[30].   Cf. ibid., 254f. For the life of Nazareth, cf. C. de Foucauld, Pagine da Nazaret. La mia vita nascosta in Terra Santa, Milan, Edizioni Terra Santa, 2016.

[31].   Cf. P. Martinelli, Vite meravigliose…op. cit., 133.

[32].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…, op. cit., 324.

[33].   Cf. Brother Michael Davide, Charles de Foucauld. Esploratore e profeta di fraternità universale, Cinisello Balsamo (Mi), San Paolo, 2016, 76.

[34].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…, op. cit., 354.

[35].   Cf. ibid., 364.

[36].   Ibid., 366f.

[37].   Ibid., 367.

[38].   Ibid., 370. The ksour are the houses of a village protected by ramparts, which are entered by a single door.

[39].   Ibid., 411.

[40].   Ibid., 418.

[41].   Ibid., 446. The term denotes a saint, a hermit, a man of God.

[42].   See ibid., 469.

[43].   See ibid., 477.

[44].   Ibid., 497.

[45].   Ibid., 518.

[46].   Ibid., 571. Cf. M. Carrouges, Charles de Foucauld. Esploratore mistico, Rome, Castelvecchi, 2013, 5.

[47].   P. Sourisseau, Charles de Foucauld…op. cit., 608.

[48].   Ibid., 611.

[49].   The Association “Spiritual Family Charles de Foucauld” has about 20 groups: cf

[50].   Francis, “Sulle tracce di Charles de Foucauld”, homily at Santa Marta, December 1, 2016.


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