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Blessed Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus OCD (Henri Grialou)

Henri Grialou (1894-1967) has been much in my thoughts of late because I am working on a talk about him. Born into a very poor family - his farmer was a miner in Southern France - he entered Carmel in 1922 and enjoyed a hugely fruitful ministry. He not only held various senior offices in Carmel but founded the Secular Institute Notre Dame de Vie ('Our Lady of Life'), based in Venasque in Southern France but with branches in other countries. He was an early proponent of such movements - involving associations of devout lay persons - which flourished hugely in the 20th century (Notre Dame de Vie also has an arm for priests). He is probably best known in the English-speaking world for his synthesis of Carmelite spirituality in I want to see God and I am a daughter of the Church. A volume of his talks has been published in English translation this year entitled John of the Cross: a Living Flame. He took as one of his missions in life the promotion of John's greatest disciple - St Therese of Lisieux. He recognised her greatness from early days when there was still a degree of scepticism about her, for he was a man of truly prophetic vision.

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