Emmaus International

Heritage

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Abbé Pierre’s message - Christmas 1955

During a Christmas special edition of the review Faim & Soif, Abbé Pierre reminds us in strong terms, one year after his resounding appeal in Winter 1954, of the importance of fighting against poverty and helping the most vulnerable, with special emphasis on not losing the energy of our initial ‘uprising’. He also talks about consolidating the Emmaus movement and the emerging links with organisations in other countries, such as Canada, Argentina, Peru, Japan, Denmark, India and a number of countries in Africa, at a time when the struggles led by the Emmaus movement started to resound internationally.

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Abbé Pierre's speech, Namur - 1984

From 4 - 6 October 1984, Emmaus International organised its 5th General Assembly in Namur, Belgium, based on the theme ‘Emmaus today’ the presence of young people in the movement and ‘the new poor’ in the so-called ‘developed’ countries. In his opening speech, Abbé Pierre discusses the changes in society and the necessary ways the movement must adapt. In this extract, he speaks more specifically about the development of ‘free time’ and the best way to use it.

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The housing war - 1955

After the Second World War (1939 - 1945), France faced a serious housing crisis. Overwhelmed by requests from homeless families or those in substandard housing, the Emmaus association, created in 1949, came to their aid, rehousing them and launching emergency housing projects. Thus, from the start of his work until the end of his life, Abbé Pierre made the fight for decent housing a major focus of his work. We can find it in many of his writings, particularly this handwritten text, “the housing war”, [1955].

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Against the "Globalization of Poverty" - 25th September 1999

In September 1999, the General Assembly of Emmaus International met in Orleans, France. During this event, Emmaus also celebrated the movement’s 50th anniversary under the theme “Emmaus, we can change the world”. On this occasion, assembly participants released a message “against the globalisation of poverty”, calling on each individual around the globe to be responsible in fighting against the causes of poverty and helping the most excluded.

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Appeal from San Francisco - 11 May 1955

Following the appeal of 1st February 1954 and the resonance it had internationally, Abbé Pierre was asked to speak at conferences in many places around the world. In 1955, Abbé Pierre travelled to North America. He gave several lectures in Canada and the United States and met with public figures, individuals and associations influenced by his work or which shared the same goals. On 11 May 1955, whilst giving a speech in San Francisco, Abbé Pierre made a passionate appeal to humanity for voluntary action to fight against the poverty and suffering of mankind.

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