The Wisdom of Charles de Foucauld

Book Collects 422 Phrases of the Soon-to-Be-Beatified

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 19, 2005 ( The Vatican Publishing House has compiled a book of sayings of Charles de Foucauld, the adventurer-turned-monk who will be beatified Nov. 13 in Rome.

«Io semino, altri raccogieranno» (I Sow, Others Will Reap) contains 422 phrases of wisdom from the French religious.

Born in Strasbourg in 1858, Charles de Foucauld undertook an adventure in the Moroccan desert in 1883 for which he was awarded the gold medal of the French Geographic Society.

His religious conversion occurred in 1886. He went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1888.

After de Foucauld’s experience as a Trappist in Syria and as a hermit in Nazareth, in 1901 he was ordained a priest. To imitate Jesus’ hidden life in Nazareth, de Foucauld went to live in Tamanrasset, in the heart of the Sahara Desert.

De Foucauld wrote several books on the Tuaregs, members of a Berber people of the western and central Sahara. He founded the Union of Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Heart that was committed to the evangelization of the Tuaregs.

In December 1916 de Foucauld was shot dead in the midst of a skirmish among Berbers of Hoggar. He was 58.

Here are a few of the phrases collected in the book.

On adoration: «Adore the Blessed Sacrament should be the center of every person’s life.»

On love: «The more you love the better you pray.»

On apostolate: «Every Christian should be an apostle. This is not a suggestion; it is a commandment, the commandment of love.»

On the cross: «The more we embrace the Cross, we draw closer to Christ who is nailed to it.»

On an examen of conscience: «Ask yourself in each situation: ‘What would the Lord have done’ and do that. This is the only absolute rule.»

On the Eucharist: «The goal of every human life should be the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.»

On the Gospel: «If we don’t live the Gospel, Jesus does not live in us.»

On faith: «Faith is incompatible with pride, vanity and the desire of esteem of others. To believe, we must humble ourselves.»

On Jesus Christ: «Only Christ Jesus deserves to be passionately love.»

On the imitation of Christ: «When you love, you imitate.»

On prayer: «May our lives become a continuous prayer.»

On poverty: «We do not have an appearance of poverty, but rather the poverty of the poor; the poverty that in a hidden life does not live off of rent or donations but only off of manual labor.»

On priests: «The priest is a monstrance whose obligation is to show Jesus. The priest must disappear so that others can see only Jesus …»

On holiness: «Sanctifying ourselves we will sanctify others.»

See the Vatican bookstore’s site at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation