Please join the members of one of our Archdiocesan Secular Institutes as we pray in gratitude for the Beatification of their Founder last November 19, 2016, Fr. Marie-Eugene.
When: Saturday, April 1, 2017
- 9:00 AM – Presentation on Blessed Marie-Eugene by Fr. Donald Kinney, OCD followed by silent prayer.
- 10:00 AM – Mass presided by the Apostolic Nuncio
- 11:00 AM – Brunch, possibility for confessions, exhibit, perhaps even a video on BME, chapel time, or conversations as guests choose
- 12:30 PM – Panel with Notre Dame de Vie DV members on charism and Carmelite spirituality for our times.
Pope John Paul II Shrine
3900 Harewood Road NE
Washington, CD 20017
About Blessed Father Marie-Eugene of the Child-Jesus, O.C.D.
Henri Grialou was born on December 2nd, 1894, into a simple family in the mining village of Le Gua, Aveyron, Southern France. From early childhood he desired to become a priest. World War I, however, interrupted his formation at the seminary. As an officer on the front lines, he experienced the powerful protection of Saint Therese of Lisieux for himself and his men. After military service, the maturing young man resolutely reset his heart upon becoming a priest.
While reading about Saint John of the Cross, he experienced an interior imperative for Carmel. Upon his ordination in February 1922, he entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites and took the name of Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child-Jesus.
Early during his religious life, he had the intuition that this spiritual tradition was meant “to be shared humbly yet broadly with all.” He believed that the integration of contemplation and daily work is every person’s calling and finds its source in interior prayer that nourishes a deep bond of friendship with the Living God (St. Teresa of Avila). He worked passionately to make known the spirit and teachings of Carmel beyond the confines of monasteries or of a few elite circles, contributing to the vibrant spiritual renewal taking place in France between the two World Wars.
A mystic, seized by the absolute of God and by the Marian grace of Carmel, Fr. Marie-Eugene remained thoroughly practical and down-to-earth. He served at the highest levels of leadership in his Order in France and in Rome, traveling extensively in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Attentive to the promptings of the Spirit in the Church and through the momentous upheavals of the 20th century, he understood that the genius of St. Therese of the Child Jesus lied in her way of spiritual poverty and daring trust in God’s Love. Hers was an answer to the thirst for God that our civilization had paradoxically heightened. In her footsteps, he became an apostle of God’s Mercy. He developed his teaching in his major work, I Want to See God, a fresh synthesis of Carmelite spirituality shaped by personal mystical experience.
Impelled to share his charism even further, he founded with Marie Pila (1896-1974) a new spiritual family: the Institute of Notre-Dame de Vie, begun in 1932 in Venasque, near Avignon, France, by the ancient shrine where Our Lady has been honored since the 6th century. The members of this international Secular Institute, living the evangelical counsels in the world, strive to prolong the mission of St. Therese to make Love known among people of all walks of life and in all fields of human activity. In addition, many associates, families, people of all ages and conditions share abundantly in the same spirit, according to a variety of modalities, participating in prayer groups, retreats, formation programs, and apostolic activities. All heed the conviction of their Founder: “The world is thirsty for God!”
Fr. Marie-Eugene, who once said that “all [his]] life was based on the discovery and knowledge of the Holy Spirit,” warmly welcomed the Second Vatican Council and worked to implement its directives. During Holy Week 1967, his earthly journey was ending. He identified ever more deeply with the suffering Christ, and entered into Life on March 27th. It was Easter Monday, the very day he had chosen to celebrate Notre-Dame de Vie, Mother of Life.
On Easter Sunday 1985, the Archbishop of Avignon, France, formally opened the cause for the canonization of Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child-Jesus. Testimonies were received worldwide, recounting numerous material and spiritual favors granted through his intercession. In December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved the decree on his heroic virtues, thus declaring him “Venerable” in the eyes of the Church. In March 2016, Pope Francis approved in turn the inexplicable healing of a baby attributed to his intercession, opening the way to his beatification, which was celebrated on the 19th of November, 2016, in Avignon, in presence of a large international gathering of the faithful. Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene’s feast day will be henceforth celebrated each 4th of February, the anniversary date of his priestly ordination.