From 1954 onwards
The impact of the appeal was felt far beyond France.
1955 – 1963
Abbé Pierre was invited to speak at conferences around the world. There, he revealed his experiences with Emmaus, turned the heat up on public opinion and leaders, and lent his support to all those fighting poverty. He also visited budding Emmaus organisations. Some were created after he left.
Soon after Morocco claimed independence, he responded to an invitation from King Mohammed V who turned to Emmaus to help clear its slums.
In September 1956, he spoke to an audience of 800,000 people in Cologne, Germany. He went to the Netherlands and Portugal in 1957 and to Sweden, Belgium and Austria in 1958.
In December 1958 – January 1959, he visited India where an old friendship linked him to the leaders and disciples of Gandhi, the result of shared struggles for world federalism and the struggle against poverty. He stopped off in Lebanon where his conferences received a great deal of attention.
Between July – August 1959, he visited most of the countries in South America and a few newly-formed Emmaus organisations. He forged a strong friendship with dom Hélder Câmara, auxiliary bishop of Rio de Janeiro, who shared his struggle for society’s most disadvantaged members and championed their cause before the Latino-American Catholic authorities and the Vatican.
Whilst Emmaus communities were increasingly springing up in France, Abbé Pierre continued with his meetings and conferences around the world – in Europe (including Austria, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden), in Africa (Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Senegal, Togo), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) and North America (Canada, United States), Asia (South Korea, Japan), in Lebanon and in many other countries.
11 July 1963
Abbé Pierre survived a shipwreck in the River Plate and realised how urgently the Emmaus movement needed to be structured.