Life of Pierre Goursat
and the Emmanuel Community
1914 - 1941
– Pierre Goursat was born on August 15 in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption.
– He was baptized in the church of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule on September 6.
– Birth of his brother Bernard August 1st.
– Separation of the parents of Pierre Goursat.
– Bernard Goursat died of an intestinal obstruction on July 14.
– Pierre Goursat is treated for tuberculosis at the Plateau d’Assy sanatorium in the Alps, where he experiences a strong religious conversion.
– Studies at the École du Louvre and the École Pratique des Hautes Études.
– Pierre Goursat assists his mother, who is seriously ill.
1914 Death of Pope Pius X (August)
Election of Pope Benedict XV (Giacomo della Chiesa) (September)
First World War
(August 1914 – June 1919 in France)
1921 Legion of Mary founded in Dublin (Ireland) at the initiative of Frank Duff
1922 Death of Pope Benedict XV (January)
Election of Pope Pius XI (Achille Ratti) (February)
1923 “Conversion” of Father Henri Caffarel, at the age of 20
1925 Father Joseph Cardijn founded the YCW (Young Christian Workers) in Belgium
1927 Introduction of the YCW in France by Abbé Georges Guérin where Abbés Jacques Goursat and Henri Caffarel were chaplains
1933 Beginning of the mission of the venerable Madeleine Delbrêl, in Ivry, at the age of 30 (October 15)
1939 Death of Pope Pius XI (February)
Election of Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) (March)
1940 - 1970
– Pierre Goursat discovered the Legion of Mary in Nevers through Veronica O’Brien.
– Death of Pierre’s mother, Marie Goursat, on September 8.
– Pierre Goursat takes over his mother’s boarding house, which he runs until 1949.
– Pierre met Cardinal Suhard for the first time in March. Numerous meetings followed until 1949 – the cardinal became Pierre’s spiritual director.
– Pursued by a German officer, Pierre Goursat is providentially protected by the Virgin Mary.
– Pierre opens a religious bookshop and a publishing company.
– Pierre Goursat collaborates with the Catholic Center of French Intellectuals, of which he is a member of the steering committee.
– Pierre Goursat sells the boarding house and moves into the presbytery of the parish of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule. He wrote for the Revue internationale du cinéma until 1951, when he founded the Cercle français du cinéma, which organized public debates after film screenings.
– Pierre Goursat works for the French Catholic Film Office (OCFC), of which he is the general secretary.
Second World War (September 1939 -August 1945 for France)
1943 Creation of the Focolare Movement by Chiara Lubich
(In Trento, Italy)
1947 Events of the Bouchard Island (December 8-14)
1958 Death of Pope Pius XII (October)
Election of Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) (October)
Vatican Council II (October 1962 – December 1965)
1963 Death of Pope John XXIII (June)
Election of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) (June)
1964 Birth of the Neocatechumenal Way in Madrid, founded by two lay people: Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández
1968 Foundation of the Community of Sant’Egidio by a young student, Andrea Riccardi, in Rome
“May ’68 Series of violent student demonstrations and numerous strikes in France (May-June)
1971 - 1984
– On August 15, Pierre renewed the private vow of chastity that he had already made with Cardinal Suhard.
– In October, Pierre Goursat buys a barge to turn it into a drug prevention center for young people.
– At Father Caffarel’s home in Troussures (Oise), Pierre Goursat met Martine Laffitte, a medical intern.
– During a weekend organized by Father Caffarel in Troussures on February 12-13, Xavier and Brigitte Le Pichon spoke about their experience of the Charismatic Renewal.
In October, Pierre Goursat buys a barge to turn it into a drug prevention center for young people.
– During a weekend organized by Father Caffarel in Troussures on February 12-13, Xavier and Brigitte Le Pichon testify about their experience of the Charismatic Renewal. Pierre Goursat receives the outpouring of the Spirit with Martine Laffitte, on Sunday 13 February.
– Following this meeting, Pierre and Martine prayed together every day. In May, a prayer group was formed with Françoise Malcor, Francis Kohn and Pierre-Marie Chaboche who were the first to join Pierre and Martine.
– The prayer group grew from five to about 500 people. Several groups are then formed and coordinated by the original group.
All of these prayer groups were given the name “Emmanuel” in March. Pierre is the leader.
– While beginning a residential community life with Hervé-Marie Catta and Jean-Marc Morin in the rectory of Gentilly, near Paris, Pierre had the intuition to give their small group the name “Fraternity of Jesus” in October.
– For the first international gathering of the charismatic renewal in Rome for Pentecost, in May, Pierre Goursat is responsible for organizing the trip of one thousand participants from the French renewal.
– In September, the residential community life of Gentilly moves to rue Gay-Lussac in Paris.
– First meeting of the “Brotherhood of Jesus” in a religious community in Bonnelles (near Paris), with Pierre, Martine Laffitte, Hervé-Marie Catta, Jean-Marc Morin, Françoise Malcor, Francis Kohn and Dominique de Chantérac, on March 1st.
– First retreat of the “Fraternity of Jesus”, with the brothers and sisters gathered in March, as well as Claude and Danielle Proux, near the abbey of Aiguebelle in the Drôme, around Easter.
– Organization of the first two summer sessions in Paray-le-Monial from July 12 to 23.
– Pour la Pentecôte, Pierre organise avec le cardinal Suenens un rassemblement international du Renouveau charismatique à Lourdes du 4 au 7 juin.
– Pierre lance les premières rencontres « Renouveau et monde ouvrier » en octobre.
– Second retreat of the “Fraternity of Jesus”, gathering about thirty people during a weekend in Etiolles, near Paris, in February.
– Pierre and his brothers are organizing two charter trips to the United States (July 27 to August 17 and August 3 to 23) with about 80 members of the French Renewal to visit the larger, older American communities of the Charismatic Renewal.
– On their return from this trip, Pierre and his brothers invited about forty brothers and sisters to a retreat-formation called “The Three Weeks”, every evening from 6 to 10 p.m. during the month of September. It marked the beginning of the community life proposed to the members of the Emmanuel prayer groups.
– About sixty people made their first commitment to the Emmanuel Community with the Spiritan Fathers in Chevilly-Larue (Val-de-Marne) on June 18.
– First “consecrations” in the “Fraternity of Jesus” during a retreat at Paray-le-Monial with the Cenacle Sisters in December.
– In June, Pierre Goursat moved to the barge on the bridge at Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, where he works and lives in a residential community with his brothers and sisters: Hervé-Marie and Martine Catta (Laffitte), Francis Kohn and Charles-Éric Hauguel.
– First training sessions, in November, in the animation of songs and liturgy, organized by the Emmanuel Community.
– Creation of Renouveau-Service, in December, to publish and distribute religious books, training and song recordings.
– Launching of SOS-Prière, a telephone listening and prayer service, on March 14.
– In October, Pierre and his brothers opened a house in the Oise region of France, “L’Arche de la Colombe”, to welcome young people in difficulty.
– In December, Pierre Goursat founded the John Paul II Center in Paris to train lay people (courses in Bible, philosophy, theology, etc.). The courses take place in the premises of the Dominican friars of the Annunciation convent, 222 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.
– At the request of cardinal Suenens, Pierre Goursat was present in Rome in October during the bishops’ synod on the family with a team of brothers and sisters from the Emmanuel community.
– Pierre Goursat, with several brothers and sisters of the Emmanuel community, was received by Pope John Paul II in Rome on October 2.
– 15 young men and women make their first vows in celibacy “for the Kingdom” at Paray-le-Monial on January 3, during a retreat of the “Fraternity of Jesus”.
– First profession in the Missionary Fraternity of the Heart of Jesus of members of the Emmanuel Community who are preparing for the priesthood, in several places of formation, on February 26 and 27.
– Birth of the Emmanuel Community in Italy, in March.
– Pierre Goursat founds, with brothers and sisters of Emmanuel, in July, Fidefco, a missionary cooperation organization which, at the request of the bishops, sends young Emmanuel volunteers to serve their brothers in the Southern hemisphere.
– Approval of the first statutes of the “Fraternity of Jesus” as a diocesan association (for two years) by Bishop Jacques Delarue of Nanterre, on June 28 – the Mont Thabor barge in Neuilly, where Pierre and his brothers and sisters lived and worked, was part of the diocese of Nanterre.
– Birth of the Emmanuel Community in Belgium, in November.
– Archbishop Lustiger of Paris recognizes (for two years) the statutes of the Emmanuel Community and those of the Fraternity Missionary of the Heart of Jesus (FMCJ for priests, unmarried deacons and seminarians), as diocesan associations, on December 8.
– Birth of the Emmanuel Community in the Netherlands, in March.
– On March 13, John Paul II inaugurates the San Lorenzo International Center in Rome, which will welcome young people from all over the world. The Pontifical Council for the Laity entrusted the coordination and animation to the Emmanuel Community.
– Archbishop Panafieu of Aix-en-Provence approves the statutes of the “Fraternity of Jesus”, the Emmanuel Community and the Missionary Fraternity of the Heart of Jesus.
– Fidefco becomes Fidesco.
– In October, Pierre Goursat, with his brothers and sisters of the Emmanuel, founded the International School of Formation and Evangelization (EIFE) for young people aged 18 to 25. In December, he also founded, with other brothers, the Samuel Center for the formation of catechists.
– Birth of the Emmanuel Community in Germany, in May.
– Cardinal Lustiger gives the priestly ordination on June 23, in Paris, to Dominique de Chantérac and Dominique Rey, the first priests of the Community ordained within the framework of the statutes of the FMCJ (Bernard Peter had been ordained priest in Zaire on April 3, 1980); Edouard Marot is ordained in Brussels by Cardinal Danneels in September 1984.
– 1st international youth forum at Paray-le-Monial in August.
– Birth of the Emmanuel Community in Spain.
1973 The Jesuit priest Laurent Fabre establishes the Chemin Neuf Community (in Lyon)
Two couples establish the Lion of Judah Community (which became the Community of the Beatitudes in 1991)
1st meeting of the French Charismatic Renewal at the Dominican convent in Toulouse at Easter
1975 Pope Paul VI meets the participants of the international gathering of the Charismatic Renewal in St. Peter’s Basilica and participates in the reception of the Renewal in the Catholic Church
1978 Death of Pope Paul VI (August 6)
Pontificate of Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani)
Election of Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla)
1981 Death of Marthe Robin (February 6)
1983 The new code of church law (canon law) allows for the creation of “associations of the faithful”
1985 - 1991
– Following a myocardial attack on July 13 in Paray-le-Monial, Pierre was hospitalized.
– He then left to rest and pray in Lourdes.
1985 – Bishop Armand-François Le Bourgeois of Autun entrusted the Emmanuel Community with the direction and animation of the shrine of Paray-le-Monial (Saône-et-Loire) on October 20.
– Resignation, on December 8, of Pierre Goursat from his responsibility for the Emmanuel Community. Gérald Arbola succeeds him.
1985-1987 – Birth of the Emmanuel Community in Austria, Ireland, Guinea-Conakry and Zaire.
1986 – Pierre Goursat, with the leaders of Emmanuel, meets Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial on October 5.
1986 – Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, and Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, approved the statutes of the “Fraternity of Jesus” on April 18. Cardinal Lustiger approved the revised statutes of the Emmanuel Community on June 10.
– Pierre Goursat announces the foundation of the “Glorious Cross” on July 27, for the sick and disabled members of the Community.
– In September, Cardinal Lustiger entrusted the parish of the Holy Trinity in Paris to priests of the Emmanuel Community. Francis Kohn was appointed parish priest, with Dominique de Chantérac and Jacques Benoit-Gonin as vicars.
1988 – Albert-Marie de Monléon, responsible for the priests and seminarians of the Emmanuel Community, was named Bishop of Pamiers on August 5.
1989 – Pierre Goursat broke his leg at Paray-le-Monial during a session on July 27.
– He was taken to the Trousseau Hospital in Tours, where he was operated on by a community brother, Étienne Gaisne, on July 31.
1990 – Birth of the Emmanuel Community among the Travelers, in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Canada, Peru and Rwanda.
1991 – Pierre Goursat died on the barge on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation.
– Cardinal Lustiger presided over the funeral Mass on March 27 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris, co-celebrated by several bishops, including Bishop Albert-Marie de Monléon, who gave the homily; they were surrounded by many priests and faithful.
– The next day, March 28, Pierre was buried in the cemetery of Paray-le-Monial.
1991 – The Emmanuel Community co-organizes with the Focolare, Schoenstatt and Communion and Liberation the 1st Congress of Movements in the Former Communist Countries of Europe, in Bratislava, Slovakia.
– Cardinal Lustiger approves the statutes of the Emmanuel Community and the “Fraternity of Jesus” on June 7.
1992 – The Holy See recognizes the Emmanuel Community and approves its statutes (ad experimentum, for 5 years), as a “universal association of the faithful” on December 8.
1994 – Assassination of Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba, founders of the Emmanuel Community in Rwanda, along with 6 of their children, during the Tutsi genocide on April 7.
– Markus Gehlen succeeds Gerald Arbola as moderator of the Emmanuel Community and the “Fraternity of Jesus” on June 4.
1998 – The management of the shrine of Notre-Dame-de-la-Prière, in the church of Saint-Gilles, in the parish of Ile-Bouchard (Indre-et-Loire), is entrusted to the Emmanuel Community in June.
– The Holy See, by decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, recognizes the statutes of the Emmanuel Community on December 8, as a private international association of the faithful.
2000 – Dominique Vermersch succeeds Markus Gehlen as moderator of the Emmanuel Community and the “Fraternity of Jesus” on December 30.
2009 – The Emmanuel Community is recognized as an international public association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
– The Holy See thus recognizes that the Community works for the good of the Church and not only for the good of its members.
– Laurent Landete succeeds Dominique Vermersch as Moderator of the Emmanuel Community and the “Fraternity of Jesus” on July 12.
2010 – Opening of the cause of beatification of Pierre Goursat in Paris on January 7.
2015 – Closure of the diocesan phase of the investigation.
Opening of the cause of beatification of Cyprian and Daphrose Rugamba in September.
2016 – The church and convent of the Trinity on the Mounts in Rome are entrusted to the Emmanuel Community.
2017 – Creation of the clerical association of the Emmanuel Community.
– Michel-Bernard de Vregille succeeds Laurent Landete as moderator of the Emmanuel Community and the “Fraternity of Jesus” on July 27.
– The statutes are updated to integrate the creation of the clerical association and to ensure the communion and the good functioning between the two associations.
– These new statutes were recognized on August 15 by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
1986 Moysés Louro de Azevedo Filho founds the Catholic Community Shalom (Fortaleza, Brazil)
1991 Dissolution of the USSR (December) and end of the cold war with the United States
2005 Death of Pope John Paul II (April 2)
Election of Pope Benedict XVI (April 19)
2013 Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI (February 28)
Election of Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) (March 13)
2019 Pope Francis officially launches CHARIS (International Service of Catholic Charismatic Renewal) (June 8)