Charles de Foucauld, Hermit in the Sahara

1 December -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Religious, page 494

Charles Eugène de Foucauld was born in 1858 and led a dissipated life as a young officer in the cavalry. In 1883, he went on an expedition to Morocco where he developed a passion for north Africa and its ways. Four years later, he returned to the Catholic faith of his infancy and, after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, became a Trappist monk in 1890. Desiring an even more austere life, he left in 1897 and became a servant to the Poor Clares in Jerusalem and Nazareth. He was eventually ordained priest in 1901 and went to live as a hermit in Algeria, ending up at Tamanrasset. He became fluent in the local language and his care and concern for the local tribes-people made him accepted and then much loved, though he never sought converts. He composed Rules for brothers and for sisters, though none ever actually joined him. He was assassinated on this day in 1916, a victim of local religious wars. The Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart were founded in 1933, inspired by his rule for sisters. His writings also inspired René Voillaume and others to adopt a life based on his rule, eventually becoming The Little Brothers of Jesus in 1945.