VIDEO – the Figaro Special Edition organized, in the sumptuous setting of the Collège des Bernardins, a memorable evening on the occasion of the publication of its special issue on this immense, almost contemporary French saint, canonized on May 15, 2022. On the program, a play on his life, recital polyphonic and round table. Report in pictures.
The figure of Charles de Foucauld never fails to surprise, to question. Impetuous orphan, undisciplined soldier, camouflaged adventurer in Morocco, hermit in the middle of the South-Saharan desert and, henceforth, saint of the Catholic Church: an admirable trajectory which nevertheless gives rise to some deformations. The number dedicated to him Figaro Special Edition corrects these approximations. In his editorial, Michel De Jaeghere recalls in particular the ambiguity of the admiration of certain disciples of Father de Foucauld who now make this ardent missionary “the precursor to the burial of Christian truths advocated by 1960s progressivism.” The evening organized at the Collège des Bernardins finally cleared up some of these misunderstandings. To the question “how can Charles de Foucauld inspire us today?” Father Xavier Lefebvre, parish priest of Saint-Augustin where Charles de Foucauld converted and, as such, distant successor to Father Huvelin, pastor of Saint-Augustin, replied: “We are beings who are thirsty, who seek the absolute. Charles de Foucauld is the explorer, the soldier, the panache, and at the same time a search. He goes from an attitude of “I take everything, right away” to “I give everything to God, because it is a desire for me to give myself, to place myself in his hands”. The tone of the evening was set: a deep and current evocation of the saint, led on different tables, by intellectuals, but also musicians and an actor.
Written by the composer and director Francesco Agnello, the only one on stage interpreted by the actor Fitzgerald Berthon, accompanied at the hang by Vincent Comte, exposed in a masterful way the stages of the life of the “universal brother”. A profound show leaving the essential to the music and the word, from the very texts of Charles de Foucauld, which allowed the spectators to grasp a part of the grace of the great face-to-face between the inhabited solitude of the desert and the soul of the saint.
Following great arias by Brahms (with the impressive Warum), Reinberger, Bruckner, Elgar and even Poulenc, the young singers of the talented Ephata choir moved their audience with a beautiful polyphonic interpretation of Charles’s prayer of abandonment. .
An evening with Charles de Foucauld at the Collège des Bernardins
Isabelle Schmitz, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Figaro Special Edition, then hosted a round table with guests who each shed valuable light on the knowledge of this new saint and his missionary desire: Laurent Touchagues (President of the Friendship Charles de Foucauld), recalled that this kind-hearted character was first “a rather great scholar” and that the good he had been able to do in the Sahara, he owed “first to the grace received from Christ, but also to all the sciences and all the techniques he had studied during his military life”.
Father Xavier Lefebvre depicted for his part ” child of the century What was Charles de Foucauld, who searched for the truth for a long time to find it in a God “ who will not deceive him or betray him”.
Medhi-Emmanuel Djaadi (actor) spoke of his experience as a convert from Islam, “struck by the living word of Christ”. “God spoke to me through the Gospels and for the first time I felt loved”, he confided, before calling on Christians to “provide a positive and lively image” of their faith, regretting having rarely seen a Christian take a day off on Good Friday, when a Muslim “closes his shop on the day of eid”.
The discussion therefore made it possible to return to the spirituality of the saint, the details of his life, and the depth of his relationship to Islam, a relationship of friendship for “those souls made for the light”as Michel De Jaeghere recalled in his opening speech.
The evening ended under the almost thousand-year-old vaults of the Collège des Bernardins, with a Moroccan buffet during which the spectators were able to discuss with speakers, choristers, actors and journalists, as well as the partner associations of the event: Mission Ismérieassociation for the evangelization of Muslims, French Relief, who supports the “victims of their faith in the fatherland”, and more particularly families of soldiers and harkis of French Algeria, and finally NDLS Consultingwhich supports families in their investments.
“Charles de Foucauld, a voice in the desert”, 164 pages, €12.90, available on newsstands and on the Figaro Store.