“Jesus climbed the mountain and said, Blessed are the poor in spirit!”
The Community of the Beatitudes is a Catholic community present in twenty countries. It brings together in the same family consecrated sisters, brothers, priests and lay members, married or single, who share a fraternal life, a prayer life and mission. They wish to follow Christ on the path of the Beatitudes.
I come from St Germain-en-Laye and am the fourth child of a family of five. I was brought up in a practising, united and loving catholic family. The activities I was most passionate about were scouting and sport, especially sailing in Britanny. I grew up peacefully, without any major worries or questions, supported as I was by some good tutors : my family, friends and the scout movement. However, my faith, received simply as part of my education among other subjects, was superficial.
Aged 21, I went abroad for three years to finish my studies and to work. This time abroad, far from my dear ones, proved to be an unsettling and very difficult experience which led me to become more mature, both on a personal and spiritual level. God used this situation as a springboard.
Back in France, an inspired word, a providential meeting with a priest, my involvement with handicaped children … paved the way to my returning to God. Finally, the most important event was a retreat I participated in with the Community of the Beatitudes.
During those few days I experienced a « turn around », an inner upheaval which is called a conversion. What seemed to me until then neither possible nor desirable became for me a way of life and happiness. I received a calling to the priesthood, loud and clear, at the Community of the Beatitudes. I left Paris in order to live one then two years in the Community. Everything was clear to me : that is where I was to be, for God found me again and called me there. I have been in the Community for sixteen years and a priest for six years.
From the day I peacefully accepted my calling I am aware that my happiness depends on my total surrender to God.
The intuition I received during that short retreat, a long time ago now, is confirmed at every moment : God is faithful and a source of deep joy.
When God call, it’s for life !
Bart and Veerle
We got married in 1993 and have three children. We are Belgian nationals, of flemish origin and live in Flanders (Belgium).
We met the Community as « tourists » while visiting the Abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou. We were immediately struck by the joy, the beauty of the liturgy and the communion of all states of life.
In our spiritual quest we had been searching for quite a while ! And it is in the Community that we truly met Christ ! Whaoo ! What a change in our life. We discovered a diversity, both in prayer and in spirituality : Byzantine Vespers, entry into the Shabbat, Israeli dances, Charismatic Renewal, Carmelite spirituality. The international dimension of the Community broadened our vision of the world tremendously..
What we like in the Community is this equilibrium between a contemplative life and an active mission orientated outreach. It is expressed both through inner quiet prayer, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and through praise and charismatic prayer.
What lovely unity !
Bart and Veerle
Sr Eva of Jésus
I’m Austrian and have been in the Community of the Beatitudes for 22 years. Before following the Lord’s calling I was a law student intending to train as a diplomate. The Lord made good use of my attraction for different countries and cultures by calling me as His ambassador to… Peru, to proclaim His love as a missionary.
How did it come about ? My path toward consecrated life started with a Mass celebrated by the Community of the Beatitudes in Lisieux. Touched by the beauty of the liturgy, by the joy of its consecrated members singing and dancing before God, I immediately knew that Jesus was inviting me to join in that joy.
A consecrated sister gave me a booklet on the Community’s mission in Peru. It must be said that I had been looking for quite some time for a location to experience a missionary activity. That is when my adventure with Jesus started.
After working as a « volunteer » I decided to join the Community in Peru. Having worked on several evangelization projects in different countries, I am now back in Peru. I can only admire God’s faithfulness, His love for me which sustains me and the joy of having given my life to Jesus.
I can see every day the marvels God achieves in the lives of the poor who cry out to Him. Jesus is present : He consoles the afflicted, He strengthens the weak, He heals the broken-hearted, where there is despondency He gives hope. My joy is to be His little instrument, a witness of His mercy and of the joy experienced when giving one’s life to Jesus !
Sr Eva of Jésus
Sr Thérèse of the Holy Face
My name is Sr, Thérèse of the Holy Face (a reference to the face of Christ for the uninitiated). I am a French national from Guadeloupe (West Indies). I have been a member of the Community for 20 years. Jesus came and plucked me from university in Paris where I was studying mathematics.
From early childhood I received a basic religious education. When I left my island for mainland France I entered, at every level, into a phase of autonomy to which my faith was not imune: what sort of a Christian was I? Who was Christ for me? What importance did the Eucharist have in my life? Was it simply a tradition I had to carry on with?
With all these questions going through my mind, I came across a prayer group which became the channel of a significant spiritual experience. I discovered a living God not at all distant from my life. I can share two elements of that experience: in front of Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament I tasted God’s infinite love for me, I had met Someone who loved me in a unique way. Furthermore, when a few members of the prayer group prayed for me, I saw my whole life in an instant and was made aware of God’s faithfulness at various moments of my life. I had touched something of God, something great and beautiful that nothing and nobody could rob me of. Not only was I convinced of God’s existence but I knew from within that He was in me and with me.
Faced with such Love a calling to religious life (first experienced at about 12 years of age) resurfaced in my heart: a desire to give my whole life to God in order to love Him and make His Love known.
During the time of discernment that followed I providentially met a person at the Faculty who was going on a retreat with the Community. I decided to go on that same retreat as well to find out God’s will for me. I have not been disappointed!
I was struck by the liturgy, the fervent praise expressed in this community, the quality of fraternal life, the beauty of God emanating from the very simple quality of life, as well as its evangelisation outreach. I, therefore, chose the Community because it was apparent to me that my great desire to give myself to God could find its full expression in a life where contemplation and mission intermingled so strongly.
Religious life for me is a means to love to the full. It is a way that shows that God exists and that it is worthwhile to consecrate one’s whole life to Him. Every day I learn to surrender and let myself be enlightened by God and to become ever more available and ready to make Him known and loved. “The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes. So it is with everyone begotten of the Spirit (Jn 3,8). To follow Christ is an adventure : letting God constantly surprise us and remaining open to renewal in the Spirit…
Sr Thérèse of the Holy Face