Charles de Foucauld

A Retreat on the theme of “Laudato Si” at Villa La quite, upper di Foligno ,

(Italy. July 2017)

Please read the reflection written by Mee Kuon Cheong:

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and Jackie Pereira:

Abbey Santa Croce in Sassovivo .

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THE Charles de Foucauld GARDEN PARTY  AT ST ANSELM’S RECTORY,

Saturday 3rd June 2017

The Southall fraternity was delighted to welcome the Little Sisters of Jesus, members and friends to this event. Sr. Pat and Sr. Claire are from Hackney and Sr.Cecile  is from Portobello. They looked marvelous in their hats, sitting in the garden in the glorious sunshine.

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Sr. Pat read a short reading on the theme of creation from the Bible before our meal.   

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St. Dominic Retreat Centre, Ennismore, Ireland

 
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Members and Friends of the Fraternity

While having our food, our visitor Henriques, described his 33 mile walk from the suburbs of Barcelona to the Benedictine Abbey in Montserrat to raise money for the local charity for the homeless in Southall known as “HSSH” – Hope for Southall Street Homeless. He found the last stage of the uphill walk to the Abbey very painful but once there, appreciated the beauty of the place.

 

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Joy of knowing Blessed Charles

Mark, another visitor spoke of his volunteering youth work in the Parish. His love of drama has helped him to produce numerous skits with the youth. The latest one was performed on 1st of June with the script written by Brother Thayriam, SJ. It was on Mary Magdalen at the empty tomb, the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, the healing of the crippled man by the disciples and saying no to the seven deadly sins. Four young people joined us for the meal and one of them stayed for our meeting. 

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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – a banner at St Anselm’s Church

We continued our meeting with readings and gospel for the Mass of Pentecost. We discussed a variety of gifts. Someone has the gift of singing and another one the gift of speaking the truth. Two persons said they received the gift of seeing the hand of Jesus in helping them through their difficulties. Another person spoke of the gift of listening to the Holy Spirit who helped her to deal with a fire alarm in the exam hall.

We finished our meetings with prayers for the various needs of our members, the parish and our absent friends. Sr. Pat lead the Prayer of Abandonment.

 We left the meeting with a blessing from Fr. Gerard, S.J, wonderful memories and numerous photos recording our day.

Written by: Mee Kuon Cheong

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 THREE DAY RETREAT ENNISMORE DOMINICAN RETREAT HOUSE, CO. CORK

ChdeF.retreat.1The Dominican Retreat House at Ennismore is a beautiful building, very clean and comfortable, with many rooms for meetings.  Food was very good and plentiful and the grounds were beautifully landscaped to nurture and develop a sense of the sacred and give a contemplative dimension to our Christian Spirituality. It is an oasis of beauty, peace, hospitality and welcome.  In the distance, nesting between the framework of the trees one can see the estuary of the river Lee where it joins Cork Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Our day commenced with Morning Prayer and Mass.  We had our own meeting room which was bright and just the right size for our group.  Various themes were introduced by our Retreat Leader, Sr. Jennifer, to ponder over. We discussed who is the God that we relate to and the various Biblical images of God that we often refer to? There was a reflection on Psalm 139 and an in depth consideration of the Lord’s Prayer. We shared our thoughts on the Story of the Prodigal Son and Sr. Jennifer gave an inspiring account of her Apostolic work among the prostitutes.   

At the conclusion of our Retreat we were taken on a sightseeing tour of the surrounding countryside and beauty spots.  We were shown the smallest church in Cork, called the Oratory.  The Altar in this church was made of an enormous tree stump and the tabernacle door was made of a slice of wood from the same tree – it was a beautiful church, very clean and bright and modern.  Before our departure, we were taken for another meal before our flight – the Irish certainly know how to eat.  Fantastic hospitality.

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When we were 15 minutes out of Cork airport, it was announced with much regret that we would have to return to the airport because birds had unfortunately flown into the jets of the aircraft and this would require checking out by the engineers.  Being used to Irish humour, I thought at first, this was just a joke.  Thank God, we were only delayed by half an hour and the pilot made up considerable lost time. 

Thank you Bl. Brother Charles de Foucauld, our mentor, for making this a wonderful retreat, allowing us to find peace and refreshment.

 Kathy Carroll, Fraternity Member

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The Blessed Charles de Foucauld Southall Fraternity usually organises its meetings in the Rectory of Saint Anselm’s on the first Saturday of each month (except August). If not stated otherwise the time is 12 noon – 3:00 PM.

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Photo: Bible and Charism Meeting in Hackney

For more details please contact:

Ms Cynthia John, Tel: 020-8843-2827.

Ms Mee Kuon Cheong, Tel: 020-8571-0413.

A MESSAGE FROM MOIRA – THE NEW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LAY COMMUNITY OF CHARLES DE FOUCALUD IN BRITAIN

Dear Everyone,

 
Some of you will know that on the 25th March (Feast of the Annunciation), I said ‘yes’ to the request to become the new ‘responsible’ for the Lay Community of Charles de Foucauld in Britain. 
 

I took on the role at a meeting in Hackney attended by 15 community members , including 5 Little Sisters.  At the bottom of this email you will see a photo from the lovely sunny day we met – for those who don’t know me, I am the person on the far right of the photo. 

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Moira standing , first person the right-hand side

 
I was ‘confirmed’ in my new role by my guardian angel and former Responsible, Louise Russell, who has given such joyful and sensitive service to us all over the years of her tenure.  I want to thank Louise here on behalf of us all for all she has done and meant to us. Watch this space……..    
 
For those of you who weren’t able to make the meeting, or don’t know me, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.
 
I have known the Fraternity of Charles de Foucauld since I was a 4 year old child in Leeds – that’s 64 years ago ! So Charles has been part of my family and consciousness since then, and over the years I have grown to know him better and love him and his witness to us more and more.  I am the mother of 5 children and a granny to 5 children. I worked for over 35 years in the NHS as a Clinical Psychologist before retiring, and drew a lot of strength and inspiration from the life of Brother Charles and especially from the living witness of the many Little Brothers and Sisters I have met and known down the years.     
 
Getting to know each other is part of the reason why I am writing to you all.  Although I have been a member of the family for all those years, I have not been an active member of the Lay Community for all that time and so want and need to get to know much more about how things are working in the Community at the moment. I am therefore planning to visit all active lay fraternities, if possible before the Autumn, and am also happy to meet anyone who would like me to visit them, especially our ‘lone’ family members. I would also be very happy to meet or communicate with anyone who has ideas about how the fraternities should/could develop or would like to set up a group of their own.
 
Most importantly I would like to find out how you are, and what hopes you have for the future of the Lay Community in Britain.   As a country we have, sadly in my view,  decided to withdraw from Europe and the amazing project of the last 50 years to bring together previously warring neighbours.  But happily we are still members of the world-wide family of Charles de Foucauld, and especially close to our European brothers and sisters.  We are  people who share a love of Charles and wish to follow his life of friendship with Jesus and all those special friends of Jesus, those who are especially close to His heart – those on the margins of our society, the poor, the broken-hearted, the refugee, the asylum seeker, the lonely….
 
As I take up this role, I feel humbled by the trust and hope placed in me, and being aware of my own limitations, I am acutely aware that I will need the support and guidance of all of you. 
 
I am also asking myself questions as I take up this challenge. I would like to share these with you for any thoughts you might wish to share :
 
What is our purpose as fraternities ?  What special witness are we called to give in the Church and to the world at this particular point in the history of our society in Britain and the world?  What is our unique gift ?  Many of us are older, hopefully wiser that our younger selves, and maybe are asking ourselves what are we handing on to our children and grandchildren and those younger than us as a vision of a life well lived ?
 
I know I have hope, but not rose tinted spectacles – it is a hope that tries to look at the world as it, not resigned to the way it is but wanting it to be a better place for all.  So for me the basic question is how do I live now in order to become a universal friend as Charles aspired to be ? 
 
That’s enough from me, now it’s over to you……
 
So, as a first step in getting to know you, my brothers and sisters, could I ask you to reply to this email, simply telling me whether or not you are happy to remain on the mailing list and be contacted like this.  I am of course be very pleased to receive any thoughts you might want to share at this time, either prompted by my questions, or anything else.  
 
Praying for Easter blessings on us all and courage as we continue our journey in the company and friendship of our brother Charles and each other.
 
Yours
 
Moira (Potier)

To learn about some of our past activities, please click on the links provided below:

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THE CENTENARY YEAR OF CHARLES DE FOUCAULD

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IN 2016 WE COMMEMORATE THE CENTENARY OF THE DEATH OF CHARLES (1ST DECEMBER 1916) – “A UNIVERSAL BROTHER.”

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A MODEL OF HOSPITALITY

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CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (1858-1916; also known as Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg (France) on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.

ChdeF1He lost his faith as an adolescent.His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he could be strong willed and constant in difficult situations. He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884). Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith questioned him and he began repeating, “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”

On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search. Under the guidance of Fr. Huvelin he rediscovered God in October 1886.He was then 28 years old. “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”

A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him: to follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth.He spent 7 years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria. Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.

Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. He wanted to be among those who were, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, “a universal brother.” In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to “shout the Gospel with his life”. “I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

On the evening of December 1st 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders who had encircled his house.

He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others: after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this “life of Nazareth” could be led by all. Today the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld” encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.

(Information provided by the Vatican resources)

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Prayer of Abandonment

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.

–Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)