Popularly known as the founder of the Emmaus movement, Abbe Pierre, a French Catholic priest gave his life serving the poor, homeless people and refugees. A man of virtues, Pierre renounced everything at the mere age of seventeen and set on the road to service of mankind. He was also member of the Resistance during World War II, and deputy of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). Though founded in 1949, it was not until 1954 that Emmaus movement became popular. A radio announcement by Pierre calling upon the generosity of French towards the homeless people who were dying of cold gave him an overnight popularity. Such was the effect of his appeal that the Emmaus movement today has its presence in 36 countries spread over 4 continents. To know more about the life and career of Pierre, read through the following lines.
- Born as Henri Grouès to a wealthy Catholic family, Abbe Pierre was the fifth of the eight children.In 1931, Pierre joined the Capuchin Order renouncing his inheritances and offering all his possessions to charities. He was then known as frère Philippe (Brother Philippe).Next year, he entered the monastery of Crest and served in the same for seven years.Due to health complications, Pierre could not continue in the monastery of Crest and hence, took up the position of chaplain in the hospital of La Mure and later, at an orphanage in the Côte-Saint-André.Meanwhile, in 1938, he was ordained as the Roman Catholic Priest.Career
- During World War II, Pierre was mobilised as a non commissioned officer in the train transport cops.Later, Pierre was elected as deputy for Meurthe-et-Moselle department in both National Constituent Assemblies as an independent close to the Popular Republican Movement (MRP), mainly consisting of Christian democratic members of the Resistance.In 1946, he was re-elected as a member of the National Assembly. Next year, he became vice-president of the Confédération mondiale, a universal federalist movement.In 1950, he denounced the political and social attitude of the MRP party and instead joined the Christian socialist movement.He forgo his political career to take up his first vocation, that of a priest and involved himself in helping homeless people. However, he did not give up his political career completely and whenever need be, gave strong stances on various subjects.In 1949, Pierre founded the Emmaus movement, whose main aim was to help the homeless people. For the same, he bought a run-down house in the posh locality of Neuilly-Plaisance and repaired the same to make it the first Emmaus base.Awards & Achievements
- For his contribution in war, Pierre was awarded the Croix de guerre 1939-1945 with bronze palms and the Médaille de la Résistance.During his life, Abbe Pierre was awarded and honored for his works many a times. He was offered the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples in 1991.He held the distinction of having being voted as the most popular person of France.In 1998, he was made the Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec while in 2004, Pierre was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor by Jacques Chirac. In 1981, he was Officer of the Legion of Honor. In 187, he became the Commander of the Legion of Honor, while in 1992, he was Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.In 2005, Pierre stood third in a television poll to choose Le Plus Grand Français (The Greatest Frenchman).Personal Life & Legacy
- Pierre remained active even in his last days until his death on January 22, 2007. He was buried in a cemetery in Esteville.His funeral was held on January 26, 2007 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
ABBE PIERRE TIMELINE1949:
Founded the Emmaus movement. EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.1991:
Awarded the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood. EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.1998:
Made Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.2004:
Awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.2007:
Abbe Pierre breathed his last on 22nd January. EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.
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Books by Abbe Pierre
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