1- In memory of Rene Voillaume 1905 -2003, Introduction

Brother Rene VoillaumeBrother Rene Voillaume

Brother Rene Voillaume, speaks to us as a brother, talking about his life and sharing with us some of his reflections and the insights that have given him light for his life and his searching.

These texts are presented under three headings:

'In the footsteps of Jesus, following Brother Charles', which describes the orientation that guided his long and fruitful life.

'Landmarks', a brief autobiography made up of non-dated texts which are extracts from the book he wrote because he 'believed that it was his duty to give witness' to what he was 'not afraid to think of as a spiritual adventure of our times' (from Charles de Foucauld and his first disciples, Paris, 1998).

'His Message' some of the chief characteristics of his spiritual legacy.

The large family of those who have found a guide for their Christian life in Charles de Foucauld extends far beyond the boundaries of our fraternity of our communities, and includes lay people, priests,religious brothers and sisters in every country. There is a special 'something' in his life that has attracted us and drawn us together.This 'something' focuses on an attachment to Jesus of Nazareth, a respectful attention to every person, in particular those who are least respected in our societies of today, and the certainty that, in order to encounter the face of God, one does not need to seek any path other than that which Jesus himself took, the path of ordinary life. We have received this 'something' from Brother Charles.

Our joy at his beatification is primarily for us joy in seeing the Church recognise that the path followed by Charles de Foucauld is an authentic path of the Gospel and that we can take Brother Charles as a sure guide. He himself gives us a key for rejoicing in the event of his beatification with thanksgiving. To use his own words:

'Let us look at the saints, but let us not tarry in contemplating them; let us contemplate with them the One whose contemplation filled their lives. Let us benefit from their example taking from each of them what seems to us to conform most closely to the words and example of our Lord Jesus, our only and true model, using their lessons in this way, not to imitate them, but in order to imitate Jesus better.'

Marc Hayet, Prior of the Little Brothers of Jesus