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A twentieth century giant

I am working on a talk about Blessed Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus (1894-1967), to be given on 3 February, the eve of his Feast Day. The more I study Marie-Eugene, the more I become aware of his huge talent as well as his huge devotion. When he was growing up, the name of the recently deceased (1897) Therese of Lisieux was already becoming widely known, but he was one of the most tireless promoters of her message, a message which he absorbed into his blood stream. In his two volumes I want to see God and I am a daughter of the Church, he produced a synthesis of the thinking of the three Carmelite greats, Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux. Many Carmelites are inclined to favour one or perhaps two of the three, but Marie-Eugene shows perhaps uniquely that the three are one and that they each alike embody the spirit of Carmel but with different nuances. Alongside his writing, Marie-Eugene was a tireless speaker, teacher, and retreat leader and in addition to all this in the 1930s he initiated the international Carmelite movement known as Notre Dame de Vie ('Our Lady of Life'). This is a secular institute in the Catholic Church consisting of consecrated women, men and diocesan priests living the Carmelite charism in the world. The spirit of Carmel continues to give birth to new communities and new works.

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