Pope Remarks on Canonization French Saint

Source: National Catholic Register

During an audience last week at the Vatican, Pope Francis shared that learning about the lives of the saints, in particular St. Charles de Foucauld,, helped him during a period of crisis as a theology student.

“I would like to thank St. Charles de Foucauld, because his spirituality did me so much good when I was studying theology, a time of maturation and also of crisis,” the Pope said on May 18, during a meeting with members of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld.

The association’s members were visiting Rome as part of the May 15 canonization of Charles de Foucauld, a French explorer who became a hermit and missionary in Algeria prior to being killed in 1916.

Pope Francis noted he first learned about St. Charles de Foucauld’s life from the Italian priest Father Arturo Paoli and books by René Voillaume. The pope remarked that Charles de Foucauld “helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord. I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good.”

Francis did not elaborate on the nature of his crisis but encouraged individuals to study the lives of the saints as a way of finding fortitude and resolve at challenging times.

Pope Francis studied theology as a seminarian from 1967-1969, before his studies were cut short by the Jesuits who called him back to Argentina to be a spiritual director in Córdoba.

Describing Charles de Foucauld as “a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith,” Francis remarked that the saint’s life is an inspiration to modern Christians.

In a letter written by the martyred saint to his cousin Marie de Bondy in 1915, St. Charles de Foucauld said, “in the silence of the hermit life,” that “we are inclined to put first works, whose effects are visible and tangible, God gives first place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience resulting from love.”

“As a Church,” Pope Francis said, “we need to return to the essentials, not to get lost in so many secondary things, at the risk of losing sight of the simple purity of the Gospel.”

Source: National Catholic Register