Blessed Charles de Foucauld
"My good Mother, Mother of Perpetual Help, to whom I confide and consecrate myself to you now as I did some years ago, you have helped me so much by faithfully guarding and leading me. My dearest Mother, keep me always close to you... I entrust myself to your care as a helpless little child… I abandon myself to you like a baby in your arms... Guard me, guard my heart, and grant that night, day and always, both myself and those whom Jesus has entrusted to us here, may...share unceasingly your love, your contemplation, your adoration in our Lord."
Charles de Foucauld was born on September 15, 1858, in Strasbourg, France. At the age of six, he was left an orphan. He and his sister were taken care of by his grandfather. Between 1872-1875, he studied with the Jesuits in Nancy and Paris. In 1876, he joined the military academy. He was sent as an officer to Setif, Algeria in 1880, to be dismissed only a year later for improper conduct. He learned Arabic and Hebrew, and in 1883 went on an expedition to the Moroccan desert. Afterwards, he explored Algeria and Tunisia, later returning to Paris in 1886 to work on his book about Morocco. It was during that time, in 1886, that he underwent a deep conversion. Having reflected on Islam and its followers, he thought that they took their faith seriously. He, on the other hand, had left his faith, squandering money and going on adventures. It was then that he began to pray, “Lord, if you exist, let me come to know you.” One of his friends took him to Fr. Huvelin, who ordered him to confess. He obeyed and came out a new man. He said, “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for Him alone. My religious vocation dates from the same moment as my faith: God is so great.” From that moment on, he lived a very simple life, sleeping on the floor and praying for many hours each day. He joined the Trappist monks but ended up leaving because his heart and his calling was in Africa, where the people still did not know Christ. He went to the Holy Land and afterwards returned to France to study for the priesthood. He was ordained on June 9, 1901. At the end of the same year, he went to live in Oran Sur, near Morocco to establish an order to evangelize Moroccans. In 1902, he began to buy slaves in order to free them. In 1904, he dedicated himself to the evangelization of Tuaregs. Eventually, he settled in the Saharan Desert in Tamanrasset in Hoggar, Algeria. In 1909, he founded the “Union of the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Heart” to evangelize the French colonies of Africa. He was shot and killed on December 1, 1916. He was beatified on November 13, 2005.