C o m m u n i t i e s o f J e r u s a l e m

Questions for brother Pierre-Marie

Personal background

The Jerusalem Community: a calling, an intuition

The founding years
The spirituality of the Jerusalem Community
A place, a mission within the Church
A "new community"??
Lay people and the Jerusalem Community"
In the heart of the city, at the heart of the world
The name "Jerusalem"
Some figures

How did the call come to you to found this community? What was going on in your life at the moment the call came?

I had been a priest for ten years at the time. Then came the extraordinary events of May 1968. It was a time of searching for meaning, when the very fabric of Church life and society in general seemed to be unraveling. As a priest I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical year. Rather than go back to university, where I had just come from, I left for the desert with the approval of the Archbishop of Paris. It was a wonderful time for me, a time of prayer, silence and solitude close to God, with the Bible and Eucharistic monstrance for sole companions, the sun in the day and the stars at night. Assekrem is a mountain peak in the Hoggar chain; there, I built a hermitage of dried stones with my bare hands in a lunar landscape of such strange beauty. "Bare earth under a bare sky, where one is pared down to the bare essential." I was very happy there! But little by little it came to me that the real desert of today's world, where people thirst for spirituality and genuine love, is in the heart of urban metropolises. So I came back to Paris wanting to be an "urban monk". The immediate approval of Cardinal Marty turned that wish into a mission. And everything took off from there.
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