“Several times he (Br. Jean-Pierre) confessed the weight of a question that always accompanied him: ‘Why had the Lord allowed me to stay alive?’ Over time, he had perceived that his destiny as a ‘survivor’ of the massacre coincided with the mission of ‘witnessing the events of Tibhirine and making known the experience of communion with our Muslim brothers, which we continue now here in the monastery of Midelt, in Morocco,’” Agenzia Fides reports.
The monk and Amédée are said to have identified themselves as “the little remnant” of Tibhirine in their new home.
“Our presence at the monastery was a sign of fidelity to the Gospel, to the Church and to the Algerian population,” he says in the Agenzia Fides report.
The information service of Propaganda Fide explains that the Tibhirine Trappists did not want to become martyrs, adding, “But in fidelity to their monastic vocation they wanted to share with all Algerians the risk of being the target of blind violence, which in those years bloodied the country and multiplied the massacres of innocent people.”
“As French they could leave, but they didn’t,” Agenzia Fides reports.
(Story continues below)
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The two survivors stood out for the way in which they encouraged peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims.
Br. Jean-Pierre is said to have once told a French journalist, “In Tibhirine, the monastery bells rang and the Muslims never asked us to silence them. We respect each other in the very heart of our common vocation: to adore God.”
He is also said to have admitted to waking up to pray at a time that Muslims prayed.
“In Morocco… we live this communion in prayer, when we get up at night to pray, at the same time when our Muslim neighbors are awakened by the muezzin.”
He added, “Fidelity to the appointment of prayer is the secret of our friendship with Muslims.”