The Universal Brother - New book by Little sister Kathleen


Little Sister Kathleen of Jesus Born in France in 1957, Kathleen was raised in Canada, joining the Little Sisters of Jesus in 1981. From 2004-2015 she was a member of the Community's formation team based in Tre Fontane, Rome, travelling extensively to give sessions to members of her Community as well as lay people and priests attracted by Charles de Foucauld. She now resides in Walsingham, England.
https://www.newcitypress.com/the-universal-brother.html
(NEW CITY PRESS, 140 PP, £14.99)






Msgr. Richard M. Liddy, Seton Hall University
Little Sister Kathleen's biography of Charles de Foucauld is very special. One not only learns details about de Foucauld's life that one had not known before, but Sister Kathleen provides many personal insights into the implications of de Foucuald's spirituality for today. In a world where Islam is so important and where poverty of all types abounds, he calls us to a universal openness. He calls us - whatever one's walk of life - to a spirituality of abandonment into God's hands, encounter with others and the nng of community, especially with the poor. In a word, he is our universal brother. I highly recommend this book.

Robert Ellsberg Editor, Charles de Foucauld: Writings
Charles de Foucauld, a modern-day desert father, invented a new style of contemplative life, inspired by the hidden life that Jesus spent as a carpenter in Nazareth. Foucauld attracted no followers in his life, which ended in 1918 in a remote corner of Algeria. Today, however, his influence extends far beyond the communities inspired by his witness. Truly, he was one of the great saints of modern times. In this beautiful and intimate account of his life and spiritual message, one of his followers, Little Sister Kathleen brings his story to life and shows how keenly his message speaks to our age.

Rev. Terrence J. Moran Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth.
Even those who are familiar with the life of Charles de Foucauld will find many new insights in Little Sister Kathleen's book. It's more than a biography: it's a guide for all of us to living the life of Nazareth; the life of "ev¬eryday holiness" as Pope Francis calls it. The Brother Charles who emerges from these pages is alive, endear¬ing, and inspiring.

Into your hands Review by SIMON SCOTT PLUMMER

CHARLES de Foucauld's life is the stuff of adventure. A French aristocrat who inherited a fortune, he ended up as a solitary priest in remotest Algeria, where he was shot dead by raiding tribesmen in 1916. That extraordinary journey - soldier to explorer, lightning conversion to membership of the Trappist Order, odd-job man in Nazareth to ordination, Beni Abbes to Tamanrasset - has been traced in many biographies.
This short book tells that story, but its value lies in the author's interpretation. A bilingual Canadian, Kathy McKee has for nearly 40 years been a Little Sister of Jesus, the largest congregation in the Foucauldian family. Much of that time she has spent teaching fellow sisters and others about Brother Charles. Her book springs from a life of contemplation in the midst of the world. She practises what she writes about.
The key is Nazareth, that despised town where Jesus spent almost all his life. In de Foucauld's eyes, that was the lowest place which, in imitation of Jesus, he sought by going down and down, from the relative security of a monastic order to a lonely presence among the Tuareg in the Hoggar Mountains of southern Algeria. His own progression was undoubtedly remarkable, but its call was to sanctify, as at Nazareth, ordinary, hidden, everyday life, wherever it may be.
De Foucauld showed heroic perseverance in the face of odds. Priest of a religion which seeks to evangelise, he made no converts. He had to accept that he would not found a new order; his role, instead, was to prepare the ground for others. Like Mary carrying Jesus to Elizabeth in the hill country at the Visitation, he had taken Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to Algeria. He had hoped to create a Christian community but came to realise that what mattered was friendship, conver¬sations, preferably on a one-to-one basis, rather than conversions. He had to give up his ambitions, in line with the prayer by which he is best-known today: "Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me what you will."
That abandonment has borne fruit most obviously in the 20 or so groups which make up today's Foucauldian family. But it speaks to a much wider audience. During his explor¬ation of Morocco, before his conversion, de Foucauld was impressed by "a people living continually in the presence of God". In the Hoggar as a priest, he was a friendly presence, a "universal brother" eager to learn about his neighbours' culture to the point of producing a Tuareg-French dictionary and a collection of Tuareg poetry. That respect for others speaks to present tensions between Islam and the Western, Jewish and Hindu worlds.
Little Sister Kathleen writes of her own experience as a young woman attracted to what was to become her vocation, first through a book by Carlo Carretto. In the epilogue she tells how, many years later, she discovered de Foucauld as a brother during an arduous walk in the Hoggar. Her insights come from long first-hand experience.