#18 - March 13, 2005

Dear Friends of the Badaliya.

This is a reminder that the first Friday in March falls on March 4th for those who are joining in the fast and prayer for world peace with members from 150 countries of The Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, Sodalité Charles de Foucauld.

Our Badaliya prayer gathering for reconciliation and peace especially in the Middle East and the Holy Land will take place on Sunday, March 13th at 3:30pm in the Catholic Chapel at Brandeis University.

The announcement by the Vatican of the beatification of Charles de Foucauld is included here as an inspiration for us as we reflect on the effects of Brother Charles life and spirit on the establishment of the Badaliya prayer by Louis Massignon in 1934. In his original statutes he suggests reading and sharing reflections on Foucauld's spiritual writings at the Badaliya prayer gatherings.

Here is an excerpt from a letter sent by Father Bouvier to members of the extended "Family of Charles de Foucauld" around the world describing how they are preparing for the coming beatification.

"Beatifications in Rome usually take place on Sundays. The custom is also to organise a prayer vigil the evening before in order to prepare our hearts. And there is also habitually a Mass the following day on Monday called "actions of grace". We share these events strongly united together.

A gathering in Paris in January included Father Maurice Bouvier, solicitor for the cause for the beatification process and the new Bishop for the Sahara, Father Claude Rault. There were representatives from diverse groups of the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld, representatives of the Bishops of Vivier, Paris and Strasbourg, the Abbot of Notre Dame des Neiges(Our Lady of the Snows), several members of the Friends of Charles de Foucald and several members of his own family. Each one spoke of the rich message of Charles de Foucauld in relation to three themes: 1. The return to the Gospels in imitating Jesus of Nazareth 2. An intense devotion to the Eucharist, always present today in Jesus among us. 3. The desire to proclaim to the most distant the gift of well being brought by the Good News of salvation. From these were drawn the central message of Charles de Foucauld".

Foucauld's spiritual message evolved out of his years of living in an isolated part of the Sahara desert and serving the Touareg people who were Berbers and Muslims.On January 12, 1916 Foucauld wrote to Louis Massignon:

"In order to love God, practice loving people; in every human being see a child of God, a brother of Jesus for whom he died, a soul to save...In the sight of God, nothing brings us to God's love better than charity towards His children".

Louis Massignon wrote:

" I feel obligated to explain to you how, through this living experience of the sacred in others, Foucauld was given to me like an older brother, and how he helped me to find my brothers in all other human beings, starting with the most abandoned ones...I needed him to communicate to me, through spiritual contact, in very simple words, by interviews and letters, his experiential initiation into the real understanding of the human condition, his experiential knowledge of the compassion which drew him to the most abandoned of human beings".

In another letter Foucauld wrote:

"Islam really shook me to the core. The sight of such faith, of these people living in the continual presence of God, made me glimpse something greater, truer, than worldly concerns. I started studying Islam and then the Bible'".

Please join us in person or in spirit on Sunday March 13th. May these words of Brother Charles and Louis Massignon be an inspiration for our Badaliya prayer as we seek to deepen our compassion for our brothers and sisters of all faith traditions.

Peace to you. Dorothy

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will soon beatify French explorer Charles de Foucauld, a witness of the Gospel among the Tuareg of the Sahara, reported the news agency Veritas.

Bishop Joan Enric Vives of Urgell, in Spain, said today that Foucauld (1858-1916) would be canonized May 15.

The prelate said that Father Josep Tàpies and six other priests of the Diocese of Urgell, shot during the religious persecution of 1930s Spain, will also be beatified with Foucauld.

Additionally, three women religious will be beatified: Maria Pia Mastena, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Face; Ascensión del Corazón de Jesús, co-founder of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary; Maria Ana Barbara Cope, of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The Vatican officially attributed a miracle to the intercession of Foucauld in January, clearing the way for his beatification.

Foucauld enjoyed success as an explorer until his conversion in 1886. He lived as a hermit, became a priest, and is known for his commitment to the evangelization of the Tuareg.

He was shot dead Dec. 1, 1916, in the midst of a skirmish among Berbers of Hoggar. He was 58.