Bl Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus - Memorial date - 16 January
Fr Marie-Eugene was born Henri Grialou on December 2, 1894, into a simple and deeply Catholic family in a mining village of the Southwest of France. From early childhood he desired to be a priest.
When his formation was interrupted by World War I, he served as an officer on the front lines, and for himself and his men he felt the powerful protection of St Therese of Lisieux. This Carmelite nun, now proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, was famous for saying "My vocation is to be love in the heart of the church" - a sentiment which inspired and moved Henri, and his love for her and her teachings continued his entire life. Fr Marie Eugene did not hesitate to write of her (in the time before her canonisation while she was still Bl Therese) "It seems to me that the mission of the little Blessed is to spread divine love in souls in the form which God wills for our times."
In 1920 he discovered the writings of St Johnof the Cross, a saint who belonged to the Carmelite monastic order and who lived in 16th Century Spain. His writings and poetry are famous for their mystical character, for their insight into prayer and intimate contact with God through contemplation, and for the deep mark of love created in the soul by close contact with it's creator.
Deeply inspired by his discovery of St John of the Cross, Henri Grialou felt a deeper call beyond his vocation to the priesthood, to that of monastic life, specifically as a Carmelite monk
Upon completing his seminary studies after World War I, and his ordination as a priest in 1922, he entered Carmel and in religious life he took the name of Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, indicating his dedication to Our Lady, and the depth to which he was inspired by St Therese, who took the name of Sr Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.
A man seized by the absolute of God and by the Marian grace of Carmel, he worked at making known the teachings of the Carmelite saints, believing the ways of contemplation and sanctity are open to all Christians living an ordinary life in the midst of the world.
His major work, I Want to See God and I am a Daughter of the Church provides a rich synthesis of Carmelite spirituality shaped by personal mystical experience; it is a study of the three great luminaries of the Carmelite Order, St Terese of Avila, St John of the Cross and St Therese of Lisieux. Its two titles, I Want to See God and I Am a Daughter of the Church, words attributed to St Teresa of Avila, are like a twin call to everyone.
Called by God to share his charism with many, he founded the Institute of Notre Dame de Vie with Marie Pila in 1932 in Venasque, France, while serving at the highest levels in his Order and travelling extensively.
Fr Marie-Eugene's whole life was marked by the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady. He died on Easter Monday, March 27, 1967, the very day on which he loved to celebrate the Easter joy of Mary, Mother of Life.
Cause for Canonization
On Easter Sunday 1985, the Archbishop of Avignon, France, formally opened the cause for the canonisation of Fr Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus. Testimonies have been received worldwide, recounting numerous material and spiritual favors granted through his intercession.
On 19 December 2011 Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Fr Marie-Eugene, thus declaring him "Venerable" in the eyes of the church.
Fr Marie Eugene was declared Blessed at a Mass in Avignon on November 19, 2016.