Charles Eugene De Foucauld

1858-1916. Roman Catholic missionary and ascetic. Born in Strasbourg of a distinguished and devout family, he had a somewhat dissolute army career, but was honored by the Paris Geographical Society for his expeditionary work in North Africa. Impressed by Muslim religiosity, he sought faith under the direction of Abbé Henri Huvelin and gave himself to prayer and asceticism, followed by residence in Trappist* monasteries, in search of increased poverty and self-sacrifice (1890-96). He read theology in Rome (1897), lived thereafter until 1900 with the Poor Clares* at Nazareth, and in 1901 returned to France for ordination. Thereafter he went to the Sahara, established a hermitage at Beni- Abbès, and in 1905 went on to the Ahaggar mountains near Tamanrasset in Algeria. He learned the language and engaged in dictionary and translation work, but gave himself chiefly to prayer and charitable works, winning much native affection. He was murdered in circumstances that remain obscure. Publication of his personal papers led to the founding of Little Brothers of Jesus (1933) and Little Sisters of Jesus (1936).