Abbé Pierre Henri Grouès

Abbé Pierre Henri Grouès

Birth
Lyon, Departement du Rhône, Rhône-Alpes, France
Death 22 Jan 2007 (aged 94)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Esteville, Departement de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France
Memorial ID 20839234 · View Source
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Religious Leader. Founder of the Emmaus Movement, Abbé Pierre was repeatedly voted as France's most popular man. Born Henri Marie Josepp Groues as one of eight children to a well-to-do family, he exchanged the prosperous comfort of his home to a humble cell when he entered the Franciscan Capuchin Order at nineteen years of age. Ordained priest in 1938, during the Second World War he was a member of the French Resistance, operating under various assumed names, aiding several Jews and politically persecuted people escape to Switzerland, including Jacques de Gaulle, brother of future French President Charles. Soon becoming the unofficial spokesman for the homeless, in 1949 with the help of a former convict and his lawmaker's salary, he opened what was to be the first Emmaus community house in Neuilly-Plaisance, northeast of Paris. With the name referring to a Biblical location where Jesus appeared and was sheltered after his Resurrection, the movement was aimed at helping the homeless to find shelter and is currently present in thirty nine countries. He rose to fame during the winter of 1954 after issuing a radio appeal on behalf of the homeless when a three-month-old infant froze to death in a bus that served as the family's home and after a woman died on a Paris boulevard with an eviction order clutched in her frozen hand. Within minutes of his appeal, millions of francs poured in. A hotel, train station and army trucks were commandeered to collect tons of donated supplies that included jewels and fur coats. Founding the Abbé Pierre Foundation in 1992, along the years he was decorated as officer, commander, grand officer and ultimately with the grand cross of the Légion d'honneur. Praised by President Jacques Chirac as a "living legend", topping polls as France's most beloved public figure year after year, he actually asked to stop being nominated to allow "someone from the younger generation", with his successor becoming football player Zinedine Zidane. Authoring various publications along the years, his 2005 book "Mon Dieu ... Pourquoi?" suggested he had sex as a younger man, that he favored allowing priests to marry, supported unions of gay couples and the ordination of women to the priesthood. His death at 94 years of age following a lung infection on Monday, January 22, 2007, united France in paying homage to a unique character who brought together many opposing factions. Laid out in state at the chapel of the Val de Grace military hospital where hundreds of people paid their respects, his funeral mass, presided by the Archbishop of Paris, Msgr. Andre Vingt-Trois, was said at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Successively he was privately interred in a small cemetery in the Normandy village of Esteville.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 8 Aug 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 20839234
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Abbé Pierre Henri Grouès (5 Aug 1912–22 Jan 2007), Find a Grave Memorial no. 20839234, citing Cimetière d'Esteville, Esteville, Departement de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .