The "Family" is still growing

August 15, 1966 is the official 'birthday' of the Little Sisters of Nazareth, in Ghent, Belgium. They are a group of young women, active in the working world through their membership in the Young Catholic Worker movement, who want to live both the message of Charles de Foucauld and that of Cardinal Cardjin, and find a form of
religious life marked by sharing the life of worker environments, and
proclaiming to every person they meet, through their life and activity,
that "your life is worth more than all the gold in the world". 

Also in the early 1960s, in Catalonia (Spain), The Spiritual
Itinerary of Charles de Foucauld
(by J.F.Six), and Father Peyriguere's
letters made a strong impression on Pedro Vilaplana. He became the
focus of a community of young people who consecrated themselves to the
Lord, either in married life (each household constituting a fraternity)
or in celibacy, in small fraternities. The first commitments were made
in 1968, constituting the Comunitat de Jesus

In 1969, in the diocese of Foligno, the bishop gave official
recognition to a new community that had started in his Diocese: la
Comunita dei Piccoli Fratelli di Jesus Caritas
, founded by Giancarlo
Sibilia. This included priests who wanted to live in a monastic
community with strong fraternal ties, while serving in various pastoral
ministries for the dioceses.

Thousands of miles from there, in Haiti, the Little Brothers
and Sisters of the Incarnation
were formed (the Brothers in 1976, the
Sisters in 1985) with Franklin Armand and Emmanuelle Victor. In that
country marked by difficulties of all sorts, they wanted to be
"peasants with the peasants, for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel", and
work for the development and evangelisation of the rural
world. 

In the diocese of Bangui (Central Africa), a religious
community of women began in 1977: the Little Sisters of the Heart of
Jesus
. In one of the poorest countries on the planet, shaken by
political troubles for years, a fraternal presence given to prayer,
welcoming every person, and placing itself at the service of the
people, constitutes a welcome haven of peace.

In 1980, in Canada, a monastic community, Little Brothers of
the Cross
, was founded by Father Michel Verret (Brother Michel Marie of
the Cross). Following Charles de Foucauld, they wanted to lead a
fraternal 'family' life in the setting of a monastery, ready to welcome
and accompany everyone who comes to their door. 

The most recent group to join the family was founded in
Vietnam in the early 1980s, with a view to at becoming a Secular
Institute. The Vietnamese name, whose acronym is IMJS, means Secular
Institute of the Missionaries of Jesus-Servant. The group includes a
branch for men as well as one for women, and also a branch for
associates. 

This is a rather large family for a man who died alone! And
the family of those who find inspiration for their lives in Charles de
Foucauld is not limited to the membership of the association. Other
groups exist, which are often integrated in the 'Family' at a local
level. Some groups have disappeared, others are being created. And many
people who are not part of any organisation recognise in Charles de
Foucauld a beloved personality, inspired by the spirit of the Gospel
and a humanity that touches them and sets them on their way. 

As for the Association, it now holds its Assembly every two
years. That is an opportunity for the leaders of the different groups
to meet and exchange. In between the meetings, a team elected by the
Assembly ensures coordination. For many years, for as long as they
lived, people such as Mgr de Provencheres, Father Voillaume, and Little
Sister Magdeleine have powerfully marked these meetings and the life of
the Association. Today, the leaders, who change regularly, keep to
these regular meetings: together, they are trying to deepen the message
of Brother Charles, and to discover the wealth and diversity of the
responses given by each group. They recognise each other as different
but inspired by a common spirit, like a rainbow that needs all its
colours to display its full glory!