Charles de Foucauld “helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord,” the pope said. “I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good.”
During the meeting, held in a room off of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall before his general audience, Francis did not offer more details about the crisis he experienced as a theology student.
The pope studied theology as a seminarian from 1967 to 1969. In 1986, he spent three months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, where he began a doctoral dissertation on Romano Guardini, an Italian-born German priest.
His studies were cut short when the Jesuits called him back to Argentina to be a spiritual director in Córdoba and his dissertation was never finished.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Pope Francis called Charles de Foucauld “a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith.”
The Trappist priest condensed the meaning of belief, the pope said, “into two simple words, in which there is everything: ‘Jesus — Caritas.’”
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