Our history


The Community was born around a pizza shared by Gérard and Jo Croissant, and Mireille and Jean-Marc Hammel, on May 25, 1973. After experiencing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the two young couples ask themselves the question: “What if we lived in a community? They decided, like the first Christian communities, to live together by putting everything in common.
They were inspired by Lanza del Vasto, founder of the Arche community in which Gérard and Jo met, by pastors Louis Dallière and Thomas Roberts, and by Marthe Robin, founder of the Foyers de Charité.


“All the believers lived together, and they had everything in common; they sold their goods and their possessions, and they divided the product among all according to the needs of each. Every day, with one heart, […] they broke bread in the houses, they took their meals with gladness and simplicity of heart. »

Acts of the Apostles 2, 44-46


From 1973 to 1981, the Community was essentially “contemplative”. Community members rarely went “outside the walls”. They were missionaries through prayer and through welcoming people from all walks of life,[virgule] attracted by the beauty of the liturgy and by the spirituality of the Community. With hospitality and almsgiving, they also welcomed the poor, marginalized and wounded by life.

This first “contemplative” phase was followed by an apostolic and missionary period, which drove the Community’s rapid growth around the world.

“Console, console my people! »

Isaiah 40, 1

“Who shall I send? »

Isaiah 6, 8


After this phase of rapid expansion, during the 2000s, the Community went through growing pains. Reforms were necessary to address structural dysfunctions in the mode of government along with the challenges of delineating the identity of respective states of life within the same community. At the same time, the Community was also shaken by the revelation of sexual abuse committed by three of its members. A long process of restructuring was then undertaken.

“Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus! »

Revelation 22, 20


This journey culminated in June 2011: the Community was erected by Mgr Le Gall, Archbishop of Toulouse, as a “Public Association of the faithful of diocesan right with a view to becoming an ecclesial family of consecrated life.” This new institutional stage profoundly modified the governance of the Community and makes it possible to honor the particularities of each state of life. Indeed, three branches have been created: a branch of consecrated brothers, a branch of consecrated sisters and a lay branch. Each branch has a superior who has authority over the life of the branch and the follow-up of its members. These three branches are united in a single community, governed by a president. Thus the Ecclesial Family gives way to a mode of collegial government in which the consent of the different states of life is required. Then on November 12, 2020, the Roman Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life granted Archbishop Le Gall the ability to erect the Community of the Beatitudes into an “Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life” under diocesan right. This step took place on December 8, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.


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Community life began in 1974 in Drôme. Friends joined the two couples and the small group settled in Cordes-sur-Ciel (Tarn) in 1975. It was there that the Community was welcomed by Mgr Coffy, Archbishop of Albi, who accompanied it in its beginnings. .

From the outset, the first members of the community were aware that they were responding to a call from God, and that this budding community was his work.

Gérard is a Protestant pastor, Jo is a Catholic and they lived in Israel. The other members are Protestant. Joined by Catholics who ask to be part of the Community, they discover the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, which leads them to individually confess the Catholic Faith during the years 1974-1975.

The Community, of which Gérard Croissant (who will soon be called Ephraim) is very early recognized as the principal founder, takes the name of “Community of the Lion of Judah and of the Immolated Lamb” . Read more about the Community name.

The first founding intuition – community life in the image of the first Christian communities, in an ardent desire to hasten the coming of Christ in glory – will quickly be enriched with constituent elements of the spirituality of the community: union with God , mystery of Israel , spirituality of the Christian East , concern for the unity of the Church, consecration to the Virgin Mary …

The Community then only includes lay people, married or single. Quite quickly, some celibates receive a call to consecrated life. Thus, from 1978, the first consecrations were celebrated (by the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience). At the same time, the first ordinations of priests and permanent deacons took place. The Community thus opens up to another fundamental aspect of its charism: the “communion of states of life. (Community life bringing together different “states of life”: married or celibate lay people, consecrated persons and clerics).

Today, the Church recognizes the “communion of states of life” as the primary charism of the Community. This reflects the Trinitarian mystery of the Church as a community of different people, each with a unique vocation, sharing the same baptismal grace, all children of God called to holiness.

These beginnings, centered on community life and a strong contemplative life, were followed by an apostolic and missionary call which was to generate rapid growth in the Community.


Compassion and evangelism in all its forms

In 1981, it was the call of Africa: founding in Morocco on Muslim land and taking over the management of the  Kabinda  hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From the summer of 1981, a first camp was organized for teenagers, premises of the  Hope-Youth  apostolate, and multiple activities for young people (pelés, journey of discernment, schools of life, missionary cooperation, etc.).

The Community is also beginning on evangelization through the media:

  • 1981, creation of   Diakonia    to evangelize via audio cassettes.
  • 1983, publication of a monthly review of spiritual life (  Fire and light  ) and launch of a diocesan Christian radio station:   Radio Ecclésia
  • and in 1984, founding of a publishing house ( Éditions des Béatitudes ).

In 1983, the house of Nouan-le-Fuzelier  was founded, the main mission of which is to welcome and preach retreats, recollections and gatherings  .

That same year, the first summer sessions also took place, first in Ars (1983 and 1984), then in Lourdes , and finally in Lisieux (from 1992). These sessions bring together crowds and particularly affect many people far from the faith.

In 1985, the Community launched “the Roads of the Lord” to meet dechristianized youth: missions on the beaches in summer, in schools and parishes. In 1990, the Community founded a house intended for the formation of brothers and sisters (and young people, in a school of Charity) with a view to the evangelization of young people.

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Community organized humanitarian and evangelization missions beyond the “Iron Curtain” in the USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia…

The international deployment of the Community

This missionary and apostolic outpouring leads to an international deployment. After the first foundations abroad (Israel in 1975, Morocco, Italy and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon in 1983, Central Africa in 1985, Germany in 1986, Gabon in 1987, Medjugorje in 1989), the period 1990-2000 is marked by many foundations in France and around the world. Many bishops all over the world request the implantation of the Community in their diocese. This is how foundations take place in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, Mali, Vietnam, the United States…

From the “Lion of Judah” to the “Beatitudes”

In this context of founding effervescence, the mention of the   Lion of Judah   in the name of the Community is not understood in certain countries where it is established. This is why, in 1991, it took the name   Community of the Beatitudes  . Read more about the Community name.



A path of ecclesial maturation

In spite of the formidable development of the first twenty-five years, in the year 2000, the ecclesial statute of the Community is still that of  Association deprived of faithful of diocesan right   attached to the diocese of Albi.

In 2002, the Community was erected as an   International Private Association of the Faithful under pontifical right  , for a period   ad experimentum   of five years.

In 2007, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on which the Community depends, invited him to a deep reflection on his identity and his canonical structure.

In December 2007, the president of  the Pontifical Council for the Laity   sent “directives” to the Community. These have the “fundamental objective of helping the different states of life which share in the charism of the Community to live it in all its fullness, while at the same time respecting the essential characteristics of each state of life in the Church.”.

The first directive questions the status of the many consecrated in the Community. The second questions the mix of life within the houses of the Community. The third deals with the place of families in the Community. Finally, the fourth guideline concerns activities involving inner healing. 

To put it simply, the question that arises is this: is the Community, which includes all states of life within it (couples, lay celibates, consecrated brothers and sisters, priests, etc.), is it a “secular” or “consecrated ”?

A vast process of discernment, which is not without internal tensions, has begun. In this context,   the Holy See   appointed Brother Henry Doneaud, op, Pontifical Commissioner in October 2010. He thus became the Superior General of the Community with full powers to govern it.

This process culminates in the decision to commit the Community to the path of being structured as an   “ecclesial family of consecrated life”  .

Revelations of abuse

Along with this growing pains, the years 2007 to 2011 were marked by the discovery and denunciation of sexual abuse and serious breaches committed by three prominent people, including the founder of the Community. These revelations will cause consternation among its members and lead to a media outburst.

A   press release   is published in November 2011, in which the Community recognizes its mistakes and asks for forgiveness from those who have suffered abuses within it. The Community of the Beatitudes, in its form and its statutes, undertakes to do everything at the heart of the Church and under its guidance, so that such abuses do not happen again.


During the years 2011-2015, the implementation of the new Statutes mobilized a lot of energy. During this period, great efforts in terms of training members and leaders are also made.

In 2015, then 2019,  the first elective General Assemblies were held  according to the new Statutes of the Community.

This process culminates on December 8, 2020 in the erection of the Community of the Beatitudes as an  “Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life”.  The Community of the Beatitudes is one of the first large communities to adopt this canonical status. This makes it possible to combine the communion between the different states of life, the essential laws of consecrated life and the specificities of the state of life of the laity, in a single community sharing the same charism, the same spirituality and the same mission. .


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