//A model of fraternity and friendship

A model of fraternity and friendship

Joseph Victor Edwin talks about a book he edited

on a saint who lived among Muslims

Edited by Joseph Victor Edwin, Orbis Books,2022, pp. 128.

Congratulations! Your book has won an award from the Catholic Media Association in the U.S. What is this book about?

Thanks. This book is about St Charles de Foucauld, who lived as a hermit and a contemplative and was killed by Sanusi raiders in Tamanrasset in 1916. St Foucauld lived a life of poverty and a silent presence amid Tuareg people as a friend, as their ‘universal brother’, adopting a poor, simple way of life.

It is a collection of articles on St. Charles Foucauld. Who are the writers?

The contributors to this volume include students and followers of Charles de Foucauld, both scholars, missionaries, religious and lay people, all exploring aspects of his life and message, and attempting to assess his inspiration and meaning for our times.

What is the importance of this saint for our times? 

I believe his model of contemplative life and ‘presence’ among Muslims makes him one of the great spiritual teachers of our time. St. Foucauld was beatified in 2005 and canonized as a saint in 2022. Even before this event, Pope Francis singled him out in 2020, in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, as a model of ‘fraternity and social friendship’.

How many people today would follow his spirituality?

 The Little Brothers of Jesus (founded 1933), The Little Sisters of Jesus (1936), The Little Brothers of the Gospel (1956) and The Little Sisters of the Gospel (1963) live Foucauldian spirituality which was born and developed in a Muslim environment. The spirituality of St. Foucauld demands ‘living Christ’ among Muslims using the language, categories, and gestures of Muslim cultures in so far as it is possible, without betraying the Christian or Muslim cultures.


Joseph Victor Edwin SJ (DEL) is a lecturer of theology and Christian-Muslim relations at the Vidyajyoti Institute of Religious Studies, Delhi.