From Henri Grialou to Father Marie-Eugène

" The Holy Spirit has always thwarted my plans, but for much better! "

«If you talk about me, you must say that I was poor, that I was a simple man and that I suffered. »

1894-09-23 17:09:39

A first for Coca-Cola

First bottling of the Coca-Cola beverage, invented 8 years before by John Pemberton.

1894-12-02 00:00:00

Birth of Henri in Le Gua, Aveyron, France

Henri was the third among five brothers and sisters. His family was modest and deeply Christian. They settled in the coal-mining area of Cransac, where the father, August, was a worker.

1895-12-22 00:00:00

Invention of X-ray

Discovered in 1895 by the German physicist, Wilhelm Röntgen, who received the first Nobel Prize in Physics.

1897-09-30 00:00:00

Entrance into eternal life of Sister Therese of the Child Jesus

After a long agony, Sister Therese died in the Carmel of Lisieux surrounded by her sisters. « I shall spend my heaven doing good on earth… »

1900-12-02 00:00:00

Henri six years old

Marius, the oldest of the siblings, then Fernande, and finally Henri (the little boy at the bottom left of the photo). Not on the photo: the two younger sisters, Angèle and Berthe.

1903-08-04 03:24:26

Election of Pope Pius X

The Pope remained in office until he died on 20 August 1914.

1904-04-30 00:00:00

Discovery of the electron

The English physicist Joseph John Thomson announced the discovery of the electron. Experimenting with cathode rays, he concluded that the light rays in the cathode ray tube were composed of electrons, that is, very light, negatively charged particles. Until then the atom had been considered as the smallest constituent unit of matter. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1906.

1904-08-18 00:00:00

Death of Auguste, Henri’s father

Auguste Grialou died of tuberculosis, leaving his wife and 5 children. Henri was not yet 10 years old. Marius, the eldest brother, five years older than the other children, became the support of his mother, and was respected by the four younger ones.

1905-09-01 00:00:00

Left home for the school of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Susa, Italy

Since early childhood, Henri had felt attracted to becoming a priest. Every morning, on his way to school, he passed by the church. Later, he would say : «I often took the path going up to the presbytery, sat on the wall and looked around. This is how I decided to become a priest.»

1905-12-09 00:00:00

Separation of Church and State in France

After a bitter debate lasting nine months, the law on the separation of Church and State was passed by the Senate with 179 votes in favour and 103 against. The President of the Republic, Emile Loubet, proclaimed the new law which was published on the following day in the Official Journal. All properties of the Church were cataloged and distributed to cultural associations. This separation of the institutions was mainly aimed at combatting the influence of the Catholic Church on the vote of the French people and on the political life of the nation. Strongly encouraged by Pope Pius X, the French Catholics vigourously condemned this law.

1907-09-01 00:00:00

Henri’s return to France

Later on he told his friend Gabriel : « I can assure you that I miss those mountains because they were so beautiful» and «When I am grown up and can afford it, I’ll be a priest. »

1908-09-01 00:00:00

Studies in the Minor Seminary of Graves

Faced with the determination and insistence of Henri, Mrs. Grialou sent her son to study in Graves, shouldering heavy sacrifices to pay for the tuition fees. He spent there the 3 last years of the French secondary school system.

1911-03-01 00:00:00

Taylor published « The Principles of Scientific management »

Frederick Winston Taylor, a mechanical engineer of German origin, published a book in which he presented his organizational system of factory work. It was later called « taylorism » and was based on a scientific management of the tasks aiming at improving the speed of operation and the workers’ production. After years of analysing the productivity in his society, Midvale Steel Corporation, he recommended as a first step the division of the tasks to be executed. The managers should conceive projects and measure time whereas the workers should only perform the tasks on their own workstations. This new method achieved good results, but it was not appreciated by the workers, who considered themselves as simple machines.

1911-10-02 00:00:00

Entering the Major Seminary of Rodez

Henri often wondered if God didn’t want him to become a missionary and he told his friend Saint Hilaire in 1913 : « Pray for me that I might become like Sister Theresa God’s little thing, that He might do with me what He wants to, to wear out my life little by little here or anywhere else, or to take it from me in a different way, just as He likes. Ask Him to give me the entire acceptance of His will. »

1913-06-29 00:00:00

Second Balkan war

During the First Balkan war in 1912, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia got allied and defeated the Turkish occupant. But Bulgaria rejected the Russian arbitrage and attacked its former allies : the Second Balkan war broke out. Bulgaria was defeated and lost a large part of its territory. Those wars increased the international tensions and eventually led to the First World War.

1913-11-30 00:00:00

Charlie Chaplin’s first public appearance

After leaving England for the United States Charlie Spencer Chaplin started his career as a movie actor and played in his first film : « Making a living » by Mack Sennet. This was Chaplin’s first contract ; he was then to make about thirty films with Sennet. In 1914 he created the character of Charlot.

1914-08-03 00:00:00

First World War

It was a true tragedy that lasted a bit more than 4 years : Henri was wounded on 18 August 1914 in Lorraine. He kept a mark of it on his nose. He went back to the front and served there until the end of the war. He said he was granted a benevolent protection from little Theresa.

1919-10-01 00:00:00

Henri went back to the Major Seminary of Rodez

Henri was 25. « I have decidedly chosen to become a priest. » The first months at the seminary were difficult. Henri was among young people who had no idea of the war drama.

1920-01-10 13:46:04

Creation of the League of Nations

When the Treaty of Versailles entered into force, the League of Nations, signed on the same day on the Quai d’Orsay (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) was officially born. This international organization, whose headquarters were in Geneva, included 32 Member States. It was submitted to the authority of a permanent Council composed of France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and China. The role of the LN was to maintain peace in the world. Paradoxically, although it was drafted by the American President Wilson, the LN never included the USA. After World War II, it was replaced by the UNO in 1946.

1920-12-13 00:00:00

Imperative call to join the Carmelite Order

While reading an Abridged Life of Saint John of the Cross, Henri understood that his place was in this religious order. « I think I am going mad », he said to himself.

1921-06-01 00:00:00

Resistance to Henri’s carmelite vocation

Henri was sure of his vocation to Carmel, but he had to face the resistance of the people around him, especially the fierce opposition of his mother. « Believe me, dear mama, I can understand your grief… but we have to fulfill the will of the good God. »

1922-02-04 00:00:00

Priestly ordination at the Major Seminary of Rodez

Father Grialou meditated in front of his fellow priests : « I am a priest, a priest for eternity. These words are sufficient for my meditation. I have kept repeating them all day long, always finding in them a new happiness. »

1922-02-24 00:00:00

Entering the Carmel of Avon (Seine et Marne)

« My vocation is absolutely certain […] and I cannot resist God’s will which has been so clearly manifested. »

1922-04-03 00:00:00

Stalin first Secretary of the Communist Party

Joseph Vissarionovich Jughashvili, alias Joseph Stalin, was elected General Secretary of the Russian CP during the XIth Congress of the Party in Moscow. A former political Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Stalin, « the iron man », was supported by Lenin. But the leader of the Soviet Union said about him a few months later : « I offered the comrades to think about a way to displace Stalin from this position and to replace him by a man who would be different from Comrade Stalin in every respect, that is to say more patient, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades… ». In 1929, five years after Lenin’s death, Stalin became the uncontested master of Russia. He remained in power until 1953.

1923-02-23 00:00:00

Novitiate in the Carmel of Avon

At his Clothing Ceremony on 10 March, Father Grialou took the name of Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus. He discovered the spirituality of the Carmel saints and the universality of their doctrine. And above all he discovered silent prayer: “Silent prayer is in a certain way the Sun and the centre of all daily occupations. Every night you feel as if this were nearly the only important thing you’ve done.” “Silent prayer is nothing else than faith full of love seeking God… It is like a succession of acts of faith.”

1923-04-29 00:00:00

Beatification of Theresa of the Child Jesus

1924-08-11 00:00:00

Fr. Marie-Eugène in the Carmelite Convent in Lille

Fr. Marie-Eugène in the Carmelite Convent in Lille (11 August 1924-14 August 1928) In January 1925, Fr. Marie-Eugène became the Director of the Carmel Review and the number of suscribers increased from 300 to 2000 within less than two years.

1925-05-17 00:00:00

Canonization of Theresa of the Child Jesus

Pope Pius XI said during the canonization ceremony : « The Spirit of truth revealed to her what He usually hides from the wise and the learned to reveal it to the little ones. Therefore, according to the witness of our immediate predecessor, she had such a knowledge of the things which are in heaven that she can show a secure way of salvation for all people.

1926-08-24 00:00:00

John of the Cross proclaimed a Doctor of the Church

1928-08-14 00:00:00

Named Superior of the Convent of « Petit Castelet » in Tarascon sur Rhône

Children were educated there in the hope they would later become Carmelites. But Fr. Marie-Eugène did not believe in this mission although he accepted it obediently and tried to fulfill it as well as possible.

1929-05-19 00:00:00

Fr. Marie-Eugène’s first meeting with Marie Pila, Jeanne Grousset and Germaine Romieu

On Whitsunday, the three young women, founders and heads of the Cours Notre-Dame de France in Marseilles, came to Tarascon to meet Fr. Marie-Eugène, on the advice of the Prioress of the Beaune Carmel (Burgundy).

1929-10-29 13:33:28

Wall Street Stock Market Crash

which caused one of the deepest economic recessions in the 20th century

1930-02-18 00:00:00

Discovery of Pluto

In his observatory in Flagstaff (Arizona) the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the 9th planet of the solar system. It was the first time that a planet was discovered by a North-American scientist.

1931-05-21 00:00:00

First lectures on silent prayer at the Cours Notre-Dame de France, Marseille

In search of God, the three Heads of the school wanted to live the Carmelite spirit in the world. To answer their request Fr. Marie-Eugène gave lectures on silent prayer in Marseilles, which were attended by well known philosophers.

1932-03-04 00:00:00

Fr. Marie-Eugène was named Prior of the Convent-Novitiate « L’ermitage » in Agen

This unexpected departure obliged him to accelerate the formation of the small group. On 13 March, those who from now on would be called « the first three » made their profession in the Carmelite Third Order.

1932-05-01 00:00:00

Beginning of the foundation of the Institute Notre-Dame de Vie

First contact with Mgr. de Llobet, archbishop of Avignon, who had come for the confirmation of the children in Venasque. As he saw through the window that it was raining, the archbishop said : « It is raining, it will germinate ! »

1933-01-30 00:00:00

Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany

He was named Chancellor of the Weimar Republic after one month of intrigues. On the same evening thousands of SA marched in a parade along the avenue « Unter den Linden » (Berlin), watched by the new Chancellor. This marked the takeover of Berlin and the beginning of the opponent hunt.

1936-10-01 04:19:33

Franco called himself « caudillo »

General Franco, leader of the Spanish nationalist rebels, was proclaimed « Generalissimo » and Head of State in Burgos. Then he took the name « Caudillo » in memory of the Spanish knights who had repelled the Arabs out of Spain in the Middle Ages. Three years later, in 1939, Franco defeated the Republicans after a bloody civil war. He governed Spain like a dictator until he died in 1975.

1937-04-17 00:00:00

Fr. Marie-Eugène elected Third General Definitor of the Carmelite Order

Since he was henceforth serving the whole Order, he moved to Rome, where he stayed until 1955, except during the war.

1937-08-24 00:00:00

Creation of the secular Fraternity of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Notre-Dame de Vie, Venasque

Marie Pila was elected Superior and was successively reelected until she died on 12 October 1974.

1938-11-09 00:00:00

Germany : Night of Broken Glass

Throughout the Reich, nearly 200 synagogues and worship-places were destroyed, 7. 500 Jewish-owned stores and firms were ransacked ; around a hundred Jews were murdered, hundreds more committed suicide or died of their injuries, and 30. 000 were deported to concentration camps : all in all, the pogrom and the ensuing deportations caused the death of 2. 000 to 2. 500 people. The Night of Broken Glass was the climax of the wave of anti-Semitic violence which flooded Germany after the Nazis had come to power in January 1933. It belongs to the premises for the Shoah.

1939-09-02 22:57:22

Mobilization for World War II

Sent to the Army in the Alpes Maritimes, Captain Grialou had time to organize a group home for the soldiers before he witnessed the debacle without his Battalion being engaged in the fighting.

1940-08-06 00:00:00

Various missions in France

Fr. Marie-Eugène received from the Father General the mission to support the French Carmelite nuns who were in difficulties. He traveled wherever it was possible to go, making visits, preaching retreats, giving advice about problems in the regular life or about repairs required as a consequence of the bombings. These years in France gave him the opportunity to go frequently to Notre-Dame de Vie and to guide more directly the development of the young foundation.

1946-01-07 00:00:00

Back to Rome – Third Definitor

Fr. Marie-Eugène had an intense activity which increased more and more as he was given new responsibilities. « People seeking God are everywhere. If I only could reach them all and tell them about the infinite Love ! »

1946-08-13 09:39:06

Release of the movie Children of Paradise

It was the last film directed by Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert, and made during the German occupation in Nice. This fresco is set in the theatrical world of Paris between 1840 and 1847, where all popular theatres of the capital come together : the boulevard of Crime. Arletty, Pierre Brasseur and Jean-Louis Barrault play the role of second rate comedians, some of them have really existed. Children of Paradise largely enchanted the French audience.

1946-08-15 00:00:00

Creation of the Carmelite Intitute of Notre-Dame de Vie as a « Pious Union »

Marie Pila was elected Superior on 24 August.

1947-02-02 00:00:00

Provida Mater, an Apostolic Constitution on Secular Institutes by Pope Pius XII

1947-04-26 00:00:00

Elected First General Definitor of the Carmelite Order

Fr. Marie-Eugène made many apostolic visits throughout the world. He said himself that such an activity is only possible if you stick with a ferocious faithfulness to two hours silent prayer a day, and if the work was to heavy, he prayed longer.

1947-07-11 00:00:00

First meeting with the young men who will later become the laymen branch of the Institute Notre-Dame de Vie

Young men from Bordeaux, leaders of an organization for young people, were trying to find a frame that would correspond to their spiritual aspirations.

1947-09-21 00:00:00

Pius XII appointed Fr. Marie-Eugène Apostolic Visitator for the Discalced Carmelite nuns in France

Five years later, on 3 January 1953, the Sacred Congregation of Religious asked Fr. Marie-Eugène to organise the Federations of the French Carmelite Nuns. On the whole, he visited 142 Carmel convents in France.

From Henri Grialou to Father Marie-Eugène

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