Emmaus International

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The Earth does not belong to us

In his book Testament, published in 1994, Abbé Pierre dedicated a chapter to the Earth, this “Earth which does not belong to us” but that we must look after. Far from being a pioneer in the field of ecology - as he himself admits in the text - Abbé Pierre nonetheless delivers his message, calling on humanity to preserve, halt and reverse the harm caused to the Earth. Almost 30 years later, this message is still relevant and a source of inspiration, as the environmental disaster gets worse.

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Speech made by Abbé Pierre at the International Labour Office, Geneva (1955)

After his appeal in Winter 1954, Abbé Pierre embarked on a series of trips around the world to spread his message and his work. In 1955, he travelled to the United States where he met President Eisenhower, to whom he gave an autographed copy of the English translation of his book "Abbé Pierre and the ragpickers of Emmaus". Shortly after his return, he held a conference at the International Labour Office in Geneva to talk about this journey and to share his thoughts on the state of the world of work at the time and ways to improve it. These thoughts were informed by his recent travels. Here is the transcript of his speech.

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The origins of Emmaus (1975)

During a speech he gave at Emmaus Laterina in Italy on 26 October 1975, Abbé Pierre reminded us of the importance of the communities in the foundation of Emmaus: the wealth brought by the diversity of companions and their opinions, the political impact that communities can have on issues such as housing and the importance of being vigilant in order to maintain balance within the communities. Being careful not to strive to perfect community life and its way of working, so that the least skilled and the least stable can always find their place. Being careful not to transform the communities into businesses and to make sure the work is adapted to the people, and not the other way round.

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Poetry: Abbé Pierre’s hidden talent

Today as we celebrate World Poetry Day, it is the perfect time to discover some of Abbé Pierre’s writings that not everybody knows about. From adolescence to adulthood, Abbé Pierre never ceased to write poetry to express his outrage at injustice and his wonder at the beauty of nature.

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