He was deeply respectful of the faiths and cultures he lived among. During his 13 years in the Saraha he learned about Tuareg culture and language, compiling a Tuareg-French dictionary and being a “brother” to the people.
The priest said he wanted to “shout the Gospel with his life” and to conduct his life so that people would ask: “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”
De Foucauld was the inspiration for the founding of several lay associations, religious communities, and secular institutes of laity and priests, known collectively as “the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”
At his beatification in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said as a priest, de Foucauld “put the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of his life.”
“He discovered that Jesus — who came to unite himself to us in our humanity — invites us to that universal brotherhood which he later experienced in the Sahara, and to that love of which Christ set us the example,” he said.
After meeting with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation for saints’ causes, the pope approved a second miracle attributed to de Foucauld’s intercession, paving the way for his canonization on May 15.
This story was originally published on May 27, 2020.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.