Founder of Little Brothers and Sisters of the Gospel Dies

Father René Voillaume's Communities Inspired by Charles de Foucauld

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TUBET, France, MAY 22, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Father René Voillaume, founder of the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Gospel, a fraternity inspired by Charles de Foucauld, died on May 13. He was 97.



A native of Versailles, René Voillaume's life was profoundly marked at 16, after reading René Bazin's account of de Foucauld's life. Voillaume entered the seminary of Issy-les-Moulineaux and, together with some friends, founded a religious community inspired by one of the rules written by de Foucauld.

On Sept. 8, 1933, René Voillaume and four friends took the habit of de Foucauld in Montmartre's Basilica of the Sacred Heart and then went to the Sahara in El-Abiodh-Sidi-Cheikh, Algeria. This was the beginning of the Little Brothers of Jesus, a contemplative monastic community in a mission country.

In 1956, Father Voillaume founded the Little Brothers of the Gospel followed, in 1963, by the Little Sisters of the Gospel, both inspired from the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld. Their mission is to evangelize the poorest people and those farthest from the Church.

Father Voillaume wrote: "The Fraternities of the Gospel are called to be dedicated to evangelization and to the development of the poorest and most abandoned peoples." He later wrote in his Foundation Charter of 1963 that evangelization is "inseparable" from the commitment to educate "adults, young people and children."

This spiritual family has 10 congregations and nine spiritual life associations. See http://www.charlesdefoucauld.org.