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Witnesses of the Church of Argelia

06/03/2018: General House

Father Jean Marie Lassausse, a priest of the mission of France who lived in the Tibhirine monastery for 15 years, giving a testimony of faith and closeness to the local people in the footsteps of the Trappist monks, is convinced that the beatification of the 19 martyrs of the Church of Algeria “is extraordinary, since it recognises absolutely normal people: men and women who, like many other members of the Church, chose to remain in Algeria despite knowing that they risked their lives.”

Marist Brother Henri Vergès and Sister Paul Hélene de Saint Raymond, a Little Sister of the Assumption, were the first to be killed on May 8, 1994 in the library of Casbah. These proto-martyrs were followed by the consecrated of several other congregations, and finally by the Dominican Bishop Pierre Claveri, bishop of Oran.

“The message of these 19 religious men and women is clear,” adds Father Georgeon. “We must deepen the meaning of the presence of the Church and demonstrate that fraternal coexistence and respect between religions is possible.”

Therefore, the celebration of this beatification is to be done by fostering a great sense of belonging to the Algerian Church: a small, humble, servant and loving “guest” Church. And what is said about each of the 19 martyrs has also been deeply experienced by many other members of the Church who still live. Their lives and deaths are like an icon of the identity of the Church of Algeria. They have incarnated to the end their vocation to be a sacrament of Christ’s charity for all his people.

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Agios.Mar 15
Br Antonio Martínez Estaún, Postulator general

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