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Charles de Foucauld, desert hermit and writer of "The Prayer of Abandonment," was torn between his ambition to do great things and his desire for the hidden life. His story, told here in verse, accompanies him through North Africa and the Middle East as he becomes a cavalry officer, geographer, pilgrim, Trappist monk, priest, abolitionist, translator, fort-builder, and martyr. Pope Benedict beatified this French priest who was martyred in 1916 while living in Algeria.
Number of Pages: 112
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Series: Paraclete Poetry
Charles De Foucauld: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Robert EllsbergCharles De Foucauld, Robert EllsbergOrbis Books / 1999 / Trade Paperback$17.10 Retail:
$19.00Save 10% ($1.90)
Desert Fathers: Saint Anthony and the Beginnings of MonasticismPeter H. GorgIgnatius Press / 2011 / Trade Paperback$15.26 Retail:
$16.95Save 10% ($1.69)
"Each year I read more books than I can possibly review here are 5 of the finest and most memorable of that bunch. They are worth your money, your time, and your attention.
A book of poems that fictionalizes the life of Trappist monk Charles de Foucauld. Beautiful verse, full of pieces like "The Pangs of Wanting:" "I deliver my body to the church, / though I cannot imagine what penance might relieve / these pangs of wanting." Later: "I take first communion…My tongue licks up the bread: a whisper / of paper on my teeth…His torn body in my stomach, / his blood in my spit, I almost vomit; I almost sing." More collections about God like this one would be very welcomed."Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
Born in 1858 to a family of French aristocrats, Charles was torn between his ambition to do great things and his desire for the hidden life, between public service and private prayer. Charles of the Desert uses elements of fiction and poetry to follow him to Morocco, Syria, Israel, and Algeria, as he becomes a cavalry officer, explorer, geographer, pilgrim, Trappist monk, priest, abolitionist, translator, folklorist, hermit, fort-builder, and martyr. Throughout these travels and transformations, Charles searched for a vocation that would reflect his convictions and his experience of God. In his last fifteen years, he settled in a remote part of the Sahara, and focused on self-denial, contemplation, and charity. He claimed the nomadic Tuareg as his brothers, the desert as his earthly home.
The Christian hermit and martyr Charles of the Desert (1858-1916) is a complex, puzzling character. William Kelley Woolfitts new book of poems Charles of the Desert develops a full portrait of this mystifying cleric from childhood in 1863 to his last day in Algerias Hoggar Mountains. The poems, written in first person, proceed on a timeline, zigzagging geographically from France to the Holy Land to Algeria.
For over a decade, Père Charles lived a stringent life in the Sahara, a life that would kill most of us. He lived and worked among the Tuaregs, who saw him at best as an eccentric, at worst as an enemy. In 1916, he was assassinated by rebels attempting to rob and kidnap him. He left to the world a four-volume dictionary of the Tuareg language, a new orderthe Little Brothers and Little Sisters of Jesusand a public fascination for his austere life among the Muslims, whom he hadnt been able to convert.
How hard his life must have been. Yet by some firsthand accounts, he was "luminous," "peaceful," and "pure."
Woolfitts formal poems are intriguing for the ways they develop Charles and those around him...[and] are marked by a physicality of diction, the blunt words juddering next to the softer expressions.
The poems also unveil the many iterations of Charles, as he searches for an authentic identity: Charles the profligate, the soldier, the injured child, the peasant. We also encounter Charles the escapee, the refugee, and the wanderer, before he finally becomes the devoted priest.
Woolfitts collection evokes our holy connection to the astonishing and sometimes terrifying forces around us and beyond us.
Rebecca A. Spears, Image Journal