Brother Charles De Foucauld

North American Jesus Caritas Communities

Archive for the ‘Philadelphia’ Category

April 15th, 2015 by admin


DECEMBER 1, 1916-DECEMBER 1, 2016


100 years anniversary of the death of Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Beginning this December 1, 2015 begins a yearlong celebration of the life and death of Blessed Charles of Jesus. Shot to death, December 1, 1916 in the obscure village of Tamanrasset deep in the Sarah of Algeria, it’s hard to believe that someone who died alone could be the founder of 16 religious congregations. His spiritual children are now in every country on earth, and purposely in the most remote and poorest cities and villages.

Joined together, we are asked by the International Association Charles de Foucauld to do everything we can to use this year both for personal growth, and in some way as a country, dioceses, or whatever possible, to share his life and spirituality. The Association asks us to use this year to promote, make known and in any way to bring his life and contemplative spirituality to the attention of our people.

We have no press releases, there is no one who can charge of this endeavor. We are not organized in any way to do this. It would be a wonderful time to use Catholic magazines, newspapers and other media possible. Maybe you know someone who could aid us in this little mission. We know that Pope Francis is doing a wonderful job for the spirituality of Blessed Charles. His message of fraternal love and the rejection of paternalism is so much at the core of who Blessed Charles was.

As we say: no attitude.

Can you, will you in any way join with us the international family of Blessed Charles throughout the world to use this year to share his life with others?

We welcome any comments, or suggestions.

Br Charles Collage

July 3rd, 2013 by admin

Philadelphia Assembly June 2013

Hello Everyone,
We would like to give you a brief update on the Assembly of the North American Lay Fraternities we held last month in Philadelphia which we felt was very successful.


The Philadelphia Fraternity based at St Malachy’s Church was our hosts and it was a wonderful day! The theme of our encounter was prayer and adoration and we had a wonderful keynote speaker, Msgr. Dan McGlynn from Dover, Delaware, chaplain to the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary, who gave a wonderful talk on this topic.


Fr. McNamee, retired pastor of St Malachy’s parish, spoke on the origins of the fraternity in St Malachy’s and especially the influence of Fr. Bryan Karvelis’ life and example.


Fr. Lennie Tighe spoke on the approaching centennial of Brother Charles’ death (Dec. 1, 2016) and suggested it would be a profitable to re-kindle our understanding of the spirit of Nazareth in Fraternity by doing our “homework”: re-reading some of Brother Charles’ writings as well as his biography of which there are several available in English. Notably, the original biography by Rene Bazin is an outstanding “first hand” account of Brother Charles’ life and witness to the world. For those interested, this biography is available on-line for free!


We also had reports from the local fraternities as well as an overview presentation on the 2012 International Assembly in Bonn given by the 4 delegates who represented the Region, namely Stella Defreitas, Onalis Hernandez et ourselves.


Jim McGovern was oversaw the preparations for this Assembly, and we are attaching his brief summary of the Assembly to give you a sense of the day. In our view, there were 60-70 people in attendance. About 12 of the out of town visitors stayed at the student residences of nearby Temple University, an arrangement made possible through the efforts of Phyllis Grady. The Assembly was a wonderful opportunity to see familiar faces and spend sometime together in spirit of simplicity and true fraternity. In addition to the members of the local fraternity of Philadelphia, other attendees came from other fraternities, namely Boston, Brooklyn, Mount Vernon, Manhattan, and Montreal. A special mention goes to the longest distance traveller, Maria Castillo, a newcomer who came by bus from Dallas, Texas and is hoping to start a fraternity there.


The next Assembly of the North American Lay Fraternities will be held in Montreal, Canada. The local organizing committee is hoping to settle on possible dates very shortly, likely a 2 day event sometime in May or June.



We’re hoping to have the Annual Meeting of the Responsables/Community Representatives at Tabor in Tarrytown on Saturday November 23, although the date has yet to be confirmed by the folks at Transfiguration parish.  At our last meeting, we paid particular attention to discussions pertaining to our treasury, and the importance of having the appropriate finances to send in support of the International and Continental Teams, to help prepare the Annual Assembly and to offer some support for delegates who represent our Region at international gatherings. It is noteworthy to mention that the next proposed gathering for representatives of the Americas is being planned to meet in Venezuela in early 2015 and we’re hoping to be able to send one or two representatives from our Region. We have been made aware of the example of Brazil where each working member donates one day’s salary a year to the national Fraternity.  Everyone’s circumstances are different but we would ask everyone to be as generous as possible.


Claudio and Sylvana from the International Team have written to ask for prayers and support for the fraternities in Lebanon where the war in Syria seems to be spilling over.  We have written to assure Jacques, one of the Responsables in Lebanon, that we in Canada and US will be accompanying our brothers and sisters in Lebanon and Syria with our prayers and whatever other support we are capable of.  The latest issue of the International Bulletin (IB) is attached and Jacques has a reflection inside (he’s the young man in the picture on the front cover of the IB of a group of 3 persons looking at a lap top).



In fraternal service.


Ciro Piccirillo  and Frank O’Sullivan

Co-responsables, North American Region

Lay Fraternity of Charles de Foucauld


From Jim McGoverm, Philadelphia  6/9/13;



Crazy about writing. I just could not get this story right and because of that it is a week after the retreat that I join in all the chorus of what a wonderful time it was.

So my very weak little story is below. I love and thank you all very much.


Sirens in the background. The whirr of the fans in the room. Staples of a meditative experience on an unseasonably hot day in a church in North Philadelphia.

Sometimes I think I’ll come up with anything to be distracted when trying to meditate. Mr. Sandman is a frequent visitor also. I suppose for someone like me (and likely for a lot of amateur meditators), our keynote speaker, Monsignor Daniel McGlynn had the perfect message. His pitch to us was to not fret too much about the nuts and bolts of our meditation, but to concentrate on the one thing that sustains us all – the love of Jesus – as demonstrate by the host in the monstrance – if one is available. Like most truly spiritual people I know, Monsignor Dan expressed that so comforting concept that God already has our backs – and that in our effort to realize that, we will have our peace. His dedication to Charles de Foucald was in a similar vein…in Charles’ embrace of the silent, obedient simplicity of Nazareth, he experienced the love of Jesus in one of the most remote and forgotten places in the world.

In a sense we fraternity members from America that have been around a while, were blessed to know a priest by the name of Brian Karvalis whose Willaimsburg, Brooklyn parish embodied the hospitality aspect of Charles ministry. Father John McNamee who discovered Fr. Karvalis in a search for prelates who were really making a difference on the social scene presented some of the particulars of Brian’s charism.  Included among them having as many as 35 undocumented Hispanics living with him in the church out rectory and the setting up of between 15-20 family groups who met weekly to enhance their spiritual knowledge and connectedness. All this on the Williamstown turf and the out and out hostility of the ultra-conservative, Hasidic Jews who lived there.

Our final guest speaker of the day was Father Lennie Tighe from Boston, who very likely does more to keep alive the wonder, splendor and humility of Brother Charles’ life. Finding a biography of de Foucald some 50 years ago as a seminarian, getting around the lights out rule with a flashlight under the covers, Lennie was hooked. Today he oversees the de Foucald website with fresh pictures and information galore. (Like too galore at times.)

Then there were the wonderful pictures and presentations about Bonn, Germany where the international was last year. The incredible food and hospitality was also a staple of a great, great day.

But in the end, seems to me the highlight of the day was to camaraderie and friendships that are nurtured at these events. With a new element this year, and with the incredible effort and perseverance of Phyllis Grady, about ten out-of-towners stayed together at a dorm at Temple U. and because of that, we got to join them for dinner both Friday and Saturday night. Lots of walking on Philly streets and lots of connecting as we jammed into available cars. Sitting at an outside restaurant sharing food and stories – it was really special.

We not only ‘dared’ to meet the other, we reveled in it.