Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Abbot Pierre

After WWII, France witnessed a flood of refugees coming from Germany, eastern Europe, and Africa.  People and babies were dying frozen in the streets of Paris.  Whole families were without shelter or any kind of jobs. It Happened that Abbot Pierre was elected deputy in the Parliament; he had served in the French Resistance whisking Jews to Switzerland.

Abbot Pierre started the Emmaus movement to finding shelter and jobs to immigrant families and enabling the downtrodden regaining dignity and offering reasons to resume living.  Emmaus refers to the two brothers in the New Testament:  They terribly disillusioned after the crucifixion of Jesus and then recaptured enthusiasm after recognizing Jesus.  In Greek, “en-theos” means “to be with the Eternal Love”.

There was a youth hostel and disoriented youth doubted of any meaning to life. Abbot Pierre started this movement to aid disillusioned youth after the war and news of the atomic bombs destroying cities in Japan, entire cities in Germany flattened, and the existence of concentration camps and the horrors that mankind experienced and witnessed.

Then, Abbot Pierre met George, a released prisoner who served 20 years of his sentence in the horrible prisons in French Guyannes (South America). Abbot Pierre was summoned to save George who committed suicide and told him: “You are terribly miserable.  I have too much dept and cannot help you financially.  But you, since you want to die and have no one to turn to, wouldn’t you help me saving the other hungry people waiting to be aided?”  George became the first member of Emmaus and before dying, 15 years later, he confessed to Abbot Pierre: “You could have given me money, work, and a house and still I would have tried again to committing suicide.  What I lacked then were reasons to live.”

People were being evicted; a woman was found frozen to death with the eviction notice in her hands.  Hungry and disillusioned people were found hiding to die in their pain and suffering; like cats and dogs.  Abbot Pierre wrote a letter to the minister of Reconstruction: “Send the troops:  They will be of no use.  Natural law supersedes written laws.  You have got to respect life before any laws.  Either you take on your responsibilities to accommodating the homeless families or I cannot see how you can prevent me from resuming building shelters with or without building permits.”

As homelessness increased during the winter season of 1954, Emmaus built without permit in abandoned lands and fitted out decrepit properties.  Abbot Pierre warned the authorities: “If you ever ask me to show you building permits then, I will march and summon the press under the slogan “Permission to live”.  Is there any laws that allow babies to die of hunger and cold?  If proprietors legally allowed erecting tents and people died frozen in these tents then, is it legal for babies and mothers to die of cold and diseases?  It is intolerable that deaths of babies is not considered a crime while not having a building permit is.  We are ready to violate any such orders till Judgement Day.  Life created laws.  Laws have no business freezing life!”

Abbot Pierre resigned from the Parliament and was forced to go begging from street to street to finding shelters for the homeless. He said: ” I cried of humiliation at first but then I discovered jubilation deep inside me for doing “what was not to be done”.  Emmaus movement started collecting cloth and food from garbage bins and the refuse of hospitals, prisons, hotels, and restaurants.

Once, Abbot Pierre and another companion were summoned to rescue a couple of very old persons trapped in an attic.  They struggled in the freezing weather and hunger to removing the couple to a decent shelter.  After a job well done, the companion asked Abbot Pierre:  “what is God?”  Abbot Pierre replied “Didn’t you just said that you feel extremely happy and that it was a great day?” (To be continued)

What subject matters for a 15 year-old writer? Abbot Pierre, Emmaus communities

How 15 year-old could write a century ago

Abbot Pierre, founder of Emmaus communities for the homeless around the world, wrote his diaries before he reached 15.

What and how can a youth find subject matters to write about at such an early age?

The name of Abbot Pierre is Henry Groues and was born in 1912.  He fell passionately in love with another beautiful male youth with a lovely soprano voice and got ill six months for his passion. Henry wrote this French poem:

Thorne, Jesus, that is the oasis

Where your heart dwell?

Thorn infested locations are your dating places;

And for so long I have been looking for you

Among roses.

Asking along the way to the flowers

“Is the Divine heart here?”

My heart is torn apart

And bleeding day and night.

May my thorny heart be your resting place.

A student was assigned to console Henry.  Henry was in bed for 17  straight days and Francois Garbit (of the same age) wrote him a letter in 1928.  It says:

“Sure there are villains on earth. I don’t know how they should affect you and render your life bad. Everyone does what he wants in life.  A few drag life in the mud. How can they dirty ours?  The villains show us how to make life ignoble. This is our lesson for making life splendid”.

We cannot make life more splendid than it is.  We can go through life wholeheartedly and then relinquish it as we received it at death.

We need pure hearts and ideals to look at life as beautiful as it is. All we have to do is interrogate life and finding a meaning to it.

Do you realize that you are complicating your dreams with vile feelings; paralyzing your activities and braking your ideal longing?

There are all kinds of love (friendship, parental love, spouses, girlfriends, carrier…).
A single love won’t cut it and no earthly love will fill your life.

Those who restrict love to a woman are senseless; who define love in order to put them at ease are egoist.  All great vices shrink life to their dimensions, and belittle life at their expense.  Life is vaster than all your dreams.

What is life at our young age?  

We are just seeking a sense to life: that’s the future. As for the present, it is working for the well-being of our family and comrades.

Life is the joy we spread among our friends. It is perpetual struggle against our pessimism and conserving the purity of our heart.

We are preparing our life and it is this period of preparation that our future life depends on.

You wrote somewhere that your life has been a total void. What?!

Between the age of 15 and 25 life is at its spring season, abundant and growing in us.

This is not the time to doing penitence for the sins of mankind.

You are now asked to fulfill the few homework required of you.  We are preparing our future unconsciously and softly.

The tiniest gestures acquire great significance later on.”




January 2023

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