The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld is one of them.
We share in the joy of our church with the news announcing his canonization. Blessed Charles de Foucauld, pray for us!
Translation of this December 1, 1916 Letter of Charles de Foucauld:
Tamanrasset, par In Salah via Biskra
15 July 1915
Very dear friend,
Thank you for your pleasant letter of 20 April. I thank God for your good health, that of Mrs. Lutoslawski and of your son. Along with you I am praying for Poland, so afflicted (in this conflict), and that God will keep safe all of your loved ones, and that He will ensure a victorious peace founded on justice and right, and that a great calm will follow this storm.
Here the country is experiencing great tranquillity, as is Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the French Soudan, and all of French Africa. We are far removed here among the Touaregs from the war in Europe.
Ouksem (a Touareg friend of Foucauld) has left for far-off pastures. He is at more than 600 kilometers from here for an undetermined length of time…this is neither favourable to family life nor to instruction. Nomadism and barbarity are inseparable; barbarity can exist without nomadism, but nomadism does not exist without barbarity.
My close family (and friends), who are in action (in the war) are well. God has kept them from harm for the present. Of the various regions of France where I have relatives, none is occupied by the enemy.
I receive mail every 18 days, which brings telegrams, the most recent of which dates from a month ago, and letters and newspapers much older. You can understand with what impatience I await these rare arrivals and how at every hour I wonder how everything is going in this war, on which the fate of our countries, Europe, the world, the freedom of peoples and civilization depends.
From my younger days spent in the army, I still have close friends who have remained soldiers and who are all at the front. Their confidence in victory is unanimous, but not one among them will hazard a guess at a date. This war is a war of attrition, in which time is on our side and where it is to our advantage to play for time.
Goodbye for now, dear friend and brother in Christ. Let us pray together for our countries, for victory for our armies, and that justice and right will prevail.
Please pay my respects to Madame Lutoslawski.
Your affectionate and devoted brother in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Charles de Foucauld
Thank you very much for the very interesting documents from the Chamber of Commerce in Paris that you were so good as to send me.
Papal Artifacts gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Dr. Jennifer Walski, PH.D, translator.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Our entire person must breathe Jesus, all our actions. Our whole life must cry out that we belong to Jesus, reflect a Gospel way of living. Our whole being must be a living proclamation, a reflection of Jesus.
CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career. He is considered to be among the most remarkable of 20th-century holy men: an aristocrat, immensely rich, and an explorer and soldier, forever disdainful of his superiors, who argued forcefully for the French colonization of North Africa. In his youth he played a key role in this endeavor.
As a young man, he was so taken with a rare wine that he bought the entire stock for 18,000 francs at a time when the average Frenchman earned perhaps 2,400 francs a year.
He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884). Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith caused him to question his lack of faith, and he began repeating, My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.
On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search. Under the guidance of Fr. Huvelin he rediscovered God in October, 1886. He was then 28 years old. As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him: to follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth. He spent seven years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria. Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.
Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. He wanted to be among those who were, the furthest removed, the most abandoned. He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, a universal brother. In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to shout the Gospel with his life. I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?
On the evening of December 1st, 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders who were struggling against the imposition of French rule.
He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others: after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this life of Nazareth could be led by all. Today the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.
In between his devotions, he compiled a scholarly dictionary and grammar of the Tuareg people with whom he lived in a remote part of southern Algeria.
Perhaps the simplest, most profound statement ever uttered by Father Charles de Foucauld is the one on which a person could live his/her whole life: No matter what is being encountered, he said, It is JESUS in this situation.
Pope Benedict XVI beatified Charles de Foucauld on November 13, 2005. His feast day is celebrated on December 1.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood causes of 14 men and women, including Bl. Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary killed in Algeria in 1916.
After meeting with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation for saints’ causes, May 26, the pope approved a second miracle attributed to de Foucauld’s intercession, paving the way for his canonization.
De Foucauld, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, was a soldier, explorer, Catholic revert, priest, hermit, and religious brother who served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria.
He was assassinated by a band of men at his hermitage in the Sahara on Dec. 1, 1916.
De Foucauld was born in Strasbourg in 1858. He was raised by his wealthy and aristocratic grandfather after being orphaned at the age of six.
He joined the French military, following in the footsteps of his grandfather. Having already lost his faith, he lived a life of indulgence and was known to have an immature sense of humor.
De Foucauld resigned from the military at age 23, setting off on a dangerous exploration of Morocco. Contact with strong Muslim believers challenged him, and he began to repeat to himself: “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”
He returned to France and, with the guidance of a priest, came back to his Catholic faith in 1886, at the age of 28.
The saying “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone” is attributed to him.
De Foucauld realized a vocation to “follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth” during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was a Trappist monk in France and Syria for seven years. He also lived as a hermit for a period near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.
He was ordained a priest in 1901 at age 43 and left for northern Africa to serve among the Tuareg people, a nomadic ethnic group, saying he wanted to live alongside “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.”
In the Sahara he welcomed anyone who passed by, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or pagan.
He was deeply respectful of the faiths and cultures he lived among. During his 13 years in the Saraha he learned about Tuareg culture and language, compiling a Tuareg-French dictionary, and being a “brother” to the people.
The priest said he wanted to “shout the Gospel with his life” and to conduct himself so that people would ask, “if such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”
De Foucauld was the inspiration for the founding of several lay associations, religious communities, and secular institutes of laity and priests, known collectively as “the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”
At his beatification in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said that as a priest de Foucauld “put the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of his life.”
“He discovered that Jesus — who came to unite Himself to us in our humanity — invites us to that universal brotherhood which he later experienced in the Sahara, and to that love of which Christ set us the example,” he said.
On May 27, Pope Francis also advanced the cause of Bl. César de Bus, a French priest who lived from 1544 to 1607, and founded two religious congregations.
He recognized a miracle attributed to Italian Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first general superior of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, who died in 1934.
The pope also approved the first miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Michael McGivney, a 19th-century American priest who founded the Knights of Columbus. He may now be beatified.
French laywoman Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot, who lived from 1799 to 1862 in Lyon, may also now be beatified.
She founded the Living Rosary Association and the Society of the Propagation of the Faith — which later became the first of the four pontifical mission societies.
A member of the lay Dominicans, she was devoted to promoting support of the Church’s missionary efforts around the world.
She was the youngest of seven children. After losing her mother when she was 17, Jaricot took a vow of perpetual virginity and devoted herself to prayer. For many years, St. John Vianney was her spiritual director.
She was declared Venerable in 1963 by St. Pope John XXIII.
In 2013, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, then head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said: “Jaricot’s heroic virtues do not consist in a series of miraculous events, but in that fruitful fidelity to Christ, to whom she devoted herself both in good times and in those difficult and tormented moments, as well as in the long-term vision of a commitment to evangelization, so that all people get to know Christ and of the merciful love of God.”
Pope Francis also confirmed May 27 the martyrdom of six Cistercians, the Servant of God Simeon Cardon and his five companions, who were killed in 1799 in Casamari, Italy.
In addition, he confirmed the martyrdom of Cosma Spessotto, a priest and Franciscan from northern Italy who was killed in El Salvador in 1980.
Servant of God Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac, who was apostolic vicar to Sierra Leone and the founder of the Society of Africa Missions, was also advanced on the path to sainthood. A Frenchman, he died in 1859 in the West African country.