Le cheminement intérieur de Marthe Robin est dévoilé grâce à la publication de son "Journal". Découvrez-le en ligne...
If the name of Marthe Robin is inseparable from the Foyers de Charité, her influence goes far beyond this founding work alone. As the bearer of an intuition that would be widely confirmed at the Second Vatican Council, Marthe's spirituality has triggered the emergence and development of a great number of initiatives in the Church. She received and gave advice to more than 100,000 people including priests, bishops, intellectuals and founders of communities. Her influence on the Church and society has been profound.
Between the ages of 27 and 29, in the years following the key visit of the two Capuchin monks in 1928, Marthe understood little by little that the Lord wanted to entrust her with a mission. Initially, conscious of her limitations, she wanted to remain hidden... But in 1933, she received a revelation from Christ and understood that the Lord was choosing her for a Work that he wanted to start at Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, with a priest whom he « would make known in his own time », a Work he called « the great Work of my love». The task was therefore to make known the love and mercy of God.
First stage: the foundation of the school
The first building block of this edifice was to be a school. A school where children can learn « to know God and to love him », in this village where militant atheism was a powerful force. For her, childhood is a favourable time in life for meeting God: she saw the school as the ideal place for « learning to live everything – work, recreation, rest, prayer, service – through love». But the circumstances seemed to be so hostile that Marthe experienced a real inner struggle before being able to talk to her parish priest, Fr Faure, about the project. The priest took some time to discern, and, once launched, the initiative did indeed encounter many obstacles. However, for the start of the 1934 school year, seven young girls made the trip to the school.
Second stage: the Foyers de Charité
The second stage would be the creation of the Foyers de Charité. It was the meeting on 10 February 1936 between Marthe Robin and the spiritual father that helped her to discern her own vocation. As for Fr Georges Finet, he found in Marthe the instrument that God was giving him to save souls. Together, they built the future Foyers de Charité on these words given by Jesus to Marthe in the following prayer:
« I want the Work to be a Foyer that is resplendent with light, charity, love, a life-giving oasis for discouraged souls, the house of my Heart open to all ».
The intuition was new. Later on, especially after the Second Vatican Council, other communities would reproduce this model of community life; but Marthe Robin and Father Finet were the real pioneers in this area. The work became an international work that spread all over the world.
A great spiritual figure of the 20th century
During the Second World War, Marthe began to receive several great theologians. Fathers Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Paul Philippe, André Feuillet and Henri Manteau-Bonamy came to see the little farm woman who had not even been able to pass her primary school certificate because of her health problems. They were all won over and influenced in their theological work as a result of meeting her.
Marthe Robin also had some great friendships with some intellectuals of the period, such as Paul-Louis Couchoud, a holder of an agrégation qualification in literature, a doctor of medicine and a notorious non-believer until his conversion, or the philosopher Jean Guitton of the Académie Française.
The greatest figure of the 20th century was not the General de Gaulle or John XXIII, but Marthe Robin.
A new lease of life for the Church
In the spiritual tumult that followed the Second Vatican Council, many future founders came to see Marthe to find out, with her help, where God was leading them. Others came to see her seeking inner renewal, or to ask for the active support through her prayer of the communities that were emerging.
Among those who visited Marthe frequently was Fr Epagneul, founder of the Frères missionnaires des Campagnes (Missionary Brothers of the Country); Sister Magdeleine de Jesus, founder of the Little Sisters of Charles de Foucault; Fr Talvas, creator of the Nid (Nest), an association that helps prostitutes; Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche. As a result, many new communities have maintained deep spiritual affection and ties with Marthe: Emmanuel Community, Community of the Beatitudes, Community of Saint John, Little Brothers of Mary - Mother of the Redeemer, Little sisters of Nazareth, Missionaries of Our Lady, "Claire Amitié", Fraternité Bethléem-Saint-Benoît, Communauté Nouvelle Alliance, L'Eau Vive, Focolare Movement, etc...
(The new Pentecost of love), I imagine that it will be both slow and silent. I think it will happen little by little. I even think that it has already begun.
As for the future, you know that I am quoted as saying many things about the future. I know nothing except the following: that the future is Jesus.
100,000 people came to meet her
This is how, over the course of the years, Marthe became a key spiritual figure despite being bedridden in the darkness of a room that she never left. During her life, she received more than 100,000 people in her room. Actresses and very simple people, ministers and truckers, composers, journalists and the farmers of the district, many priests and bishops... so many visitors from such diverse backgrounds, were among those she received and listened to.
My adorable Jesus,
may all those who come to me leave feeling comforted, when they are crying, may they be lifted up, when they are overwhelmed, may their joy continue for days with the memory of a word, a look or a smile
To enter Marthe's room was like getting a glimpse of the Father's mercy through her. And this radiating influence did not die out when she died: even today, 40,000 people come to visit the farm where she lived each year, as if they were visiting a friend to seek consolation and peace.
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