Abbe Pierre


August 12, 2022

Henri Grouès, better known as Abbé Pierre (born August 5, 1912 in Lyon, died January 22, 2007 in Paris) - French Catholic priest, member of the Capuchin Order, founder of the Emmaüs movement, which aims to help the poorest, homeless and refugees, decorated with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.

Curriculum vitae

Henri Grouès was born to a wealthy family of silk merchants in Lyon, the third of seven children. His parents were very religious, his father was a member of a religious brotherhood caring for the poor. In 1931, Henri renounced his family fortune and joined the Capuchin Order, where he took the name: Philippe. In 1932 he was transferred to the monastery in Crest, where he was ordained in 1938. In April 1939 he became the vicar of the parish in Grenoble. After the outbreak of the war, he joined the army as a young priest. Some sources say that after the defeat of France, he returned to Grenoble, where in 1942 he met two Jewish children whom he helped to get to Switzerland by creating false documents for them. Later, he also started working in the French resistance movement, where he adopted the pseudonym, also used later: "abbé Pierre" (Polish: "Father Piotr"). In 1944 he went to Spain and later joined de Gaulle in Algiers. He became an important figure in the resistance movement, and his political career continued for several years after the end of the war. In the years 1945-1951 he sat as a deputy of the Meurthe and Mosel departments in the French National Assembly.

Charity work

In 1949 he founded the Emmaüs association, which aims to help the poorest, especially the homeless. The network of "Emmaüs communities" sells items received from donors, the profits are used to build housing for those in need. Abbé Pierre's activity was especially noticed during the exceptionally cold winter of 1954, when many homeless people died of the cold. On February 1, 1954, Abbé Pierre made an appeal to the French on Radio Luxembourg calling for a "revolution of goodness" (insurrection de la bonté). About 500 million francs were collected then to help the homeless. Since then, Abbé Pierre has enjoyed exceptional popularity among his compatriots, who often called him "the hero" or "righteous". He was ranked first in the most important personality of the year polls many times.

Statements and controversy

In 2005 he published a river interview with Abbé Pierre Mon Dieu ... pourquoi? (Polish edition. My God ... why?), in which the 93-year-old priest presented his vision of the Church and the world. However, his confession of sexual experiences after ordination as a priest attracted particular attention of the media. In this interview, he also expressed his doubts about the validity of the celibacy order for Catholic priests and the prohibition of the ordination of women. He also expressed great understanding for homosexual relationships and their willingness to raise children. He also denied the official teaching of the Catholic Church on contraception. The first Polish translation of Abbé Pierre's thoughts is a book that is a collection of selected statements from the years 1954–1955 Abbé Pierre calls (pp. 263), published by the Bookstore of St. Wojciech in 1958, translated by Sr. Katarzyna of Laski.


External Links

Abbé Pierre Foundation Emmaüs International The Emaus movement in Małopolska