Pope Francis' special bond with newly canonized, St. Charles de Foucauld
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Pope Francis canonized 10 new saints on May 15, 2022, and of those 10 saints, Charles de Foucauld was one of them.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Charles de Foucauld holds a special place in Pope Francis' heart, as the pontiff revealed the saint's own spirituality helped him during a "period of crisis" as a theology student.
"Charles de Foucauld helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord," the pope said during a meeting with members of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld on May 18, 2022. "I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good."
Although the pope did not offer further detail on the crisis he experienced as a student, he did call Charles de Foucauld "a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith."
According to Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis studied theology as a seminarian from 1967 to 1969. In 1986, he began his doctoral dissertation on on Romano Guardini, an Italian-born German priest, but his studies were cut short when the Jesuits called him back to Argentina.
During his meeting for St. Charles de Foucauld, the French explorer who became a hermit and missionary in Algeria before being killed in 1916, the Holy Father explained he learned of the saint from an Italian priest named Father Arturo Paoli and in books by Rene Voillaume.
Quoting a 1915 letter from the martyred saint to his cousin, Francis shared, "While in the silence of the hermit life [that] we are inclined to put first works, whose effects are visible and tangible, God gives first place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience resulting from love."
"As a Church, we need to return to the essentials," the pope expressed, "not to get lost in so many secondary things, at the risk of losing sight of the simple purity of the Gospel."
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