Charles de Foucauld: early example of Muslim/Christian unity

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Growing up in Algeria, there was a martyr François Vayne used to pray to, Blesssed Charles de Foucauld. Even though he was not a saint and was beatified in 2005 by Benedict XVI, Vayne admired how he united Muslims and Christians while living in Algeria and that both shared a French origin. 

Expert, Blessed Charles de Foucauld
“I didn't have a father. When I was little, I always asked my mom about him. She didn't know what to say, but gave me a picture of Charles de Foucauld. My dad had written on the back, 'May he protect and love you on my behalf.' So Charles de Foucauld became my guide.”

Charles de Foucauld lost his faith as a teen, but discovered his vocation on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After living in France, Syria and Nazareth, he went to Algeria to live among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. 

Expert, Blessed Charles de Foucauld
“He went to live his vocation along with the poor from south Algeria. He learned their language, Tuareg and made the first Tuareg-French dictionary to understand their culture and language better.”

In fact, Francois explains the Tuareg saved his life when he was dying of hunger. Charles realized then that Muslims and Christians could be united by a “fraternal unity.” 

This image of Jesus he painted is a representation of his conviction: open arms and red heart representing God's love for all, whether Christian or Muslim.

Expert, Blessed Charles de Foucauld
“He desired a universal fraternity for everyone, to be brothers and sisters. He was modern in how he dialogued with Muslims. He was found to be an example of a Christian who loved, prayed and didn't live by the sword.”

His love fused religious barriers and was renewed in his love for the Eucharist. This altar was made by Charles precisely for adoration. 

Expert, Blessed Charles de Foucauld
“He understood the sacramental presence of God could reach out and touch those around it, without saying a word. The Eucharist had an invisible force to touch others and change the world.”

He died as a martyr for the faith in 1916 by raiders who circled his home.

While his canonization date has not yet been announced, his fame and passion for unity is already spreading throughout the world. 

Melissa Butz

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