Abbe Pierre

  • French clergyman
  • Born August 15, 1912
  • Died January 22, 2007

Abbé Pierre, OFM Cap, (born Henri Marie Joseph Grouès; 5 August 1912 – 22 January 2007) was a French Catholic priest, member of the Resistance during World War II, and deputy of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). In 1949, he founded the Emmaus movement, with the goal of helping poor and homeless people and refugees. Abbé is a French word coming from the Aramean word aba as in a spiritual father elected by monks, and is also used as a courtesy title given to Catholic priests in French-speaking countries.

It's not enough to attend church and pray every Sunday; you have to act.

People are needed to take up the challenge, strong people, who proclaim the truth, throw it in people's faces, and do what they can with their own two hands.

It's true that humanity has seen a succession of crises, wars and atrocities, but this negative side is offset by advances in technology and cultural exchanges.

The question I asked Georges has now become a general one - You, who thought you were superfluous, who thought there was no place for you in society, not only are you not superfluous, you are needed and so those who were beggars become givers.

What I would say to the young men and women who are beset by hopelessness and doubt is that they should go and see what is being done on the ground to fight poverty, not like going to the zoo but to take action, to open their hearts and their consciences.

I came from a wealthy family. I made over my share of the estate to various charities.

Those seven years in the cloister were the key to my life.

After the war, prompted by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, I entered Parliament so that a priest could speak out for the poor, as canon law at that time still permitted.

The process of my transformation came to a head with my discovery of St. Francis of Assisi during a pilgrimage I went on with a scout troop from my school.

My family background was deeply Christian.

When they are assailed by despair, young people should let universal concerns into their lives.

Illness has always brought me nearer to a state of grace.

Providence was well aware what lay ahead for me, and my Capuchin training was to prepare me for it.

Hope is not a matter of age.