He also highlighted “the role of the missionary year he wanted as an integral part of the path of preparation” to serve in the diplomatic corps.
The Vatican announced in February 2020 that Pope Francis had called for priests in formation for the Holy See’s diplomatic service to spend a year in missionary work.
He said it would be an opportunity for the priests to share “with the missionary churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity.”
Vatican News reported that the first four students will leave at the end of this academic year on yearlong placements in Brazil, the Philippines, Madagascar, and Mexico.
Charles de Foucauld, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916.
Benedict XVI declared him a blessed in 2005 and Pope Francis canonized him on May 15.
Days after the canonization, the pope disclosed that learning about the saint’s spirituality helped him during a period of crisis as a theology student.
“I would like to thank St. Charles de Foucauld, because his spirituality did me so much good when I was studying theology, a time of maturation and also of crisis,” the pope said on May 18.
He also paid tribute to him at the end of his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti, in which he described the Frenchman as a “person of deep faith who, drawing upon his intense experience of God, made a journey of transformation towards feeling a brother to all.”
He said that the saint “directed his ideal of total surrender to God towards an identification with the poor, abandoned in the depths of the African desert.”