The Association begins

The Beni-Abbes meeting in 1955, and the Association

Faced with the rapid increase in the number of groups connected with Charles de Foucauld, the need was felt for

"a meeting that make fraternal unity concrete, with respect for the diversity of vocations and in a communal fidelity to the message left by Brother Charles"
as Little Sister Magdeleine said). Also, in the context of decolonisation, some groups, particularly in France, were tempted to make Charles de Foucauld a defender of 'Christian civilisation' against the move towards independence by the peoples of the Maghreb. There was also a desire to set up a representative association that could respond and show that the message of the 'universal brother' could not be distorted or used for ends contrary to his intentions.

So a meeting was organised in Beni-Abbes, from November 14 to 16, 1955. It was led by Mgr Mercier, the bishop of the Sahara, who welcomed the meeting, and by Louis Massignon; Mgr De Provencheres, the Bishop of Aix en Provence, who had been a friend and protector of the different groups from the beginning, also took part, as did Mgr Duperray, the bishop of Montpellier, Fr Peyriguere, and representatives (often the founders) of the different groups then in existence. Sharing and prayer were the hallmark of this meeting-pilgrimage. It was decided to create the Charles de Jesus-Father de Foucauld Association. Its aim was

"to express the unity of the spirituality that inspires the different groups that claim kinship with the religious thought and spirituality of Brother Charles; to make known the personality and writings of their founder; and to defend, if need be, his memory and the meaning of his message against the distortions to which they are exposed".
It was also decided that the Jesus Caritas bulletin would be a link among all the groups, expressing their common spirituality. [Note, this Jesus Caritas News & Archive website has replaced the english Jesus Caritas Bulletin]

Today the association is known as the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld Association. It has regularly received new members. Though this is not an essential characteristic, it is worth noting that all the new groups were formed outside France - in Europe first of all, and then on other continents.