Little ones, I address you, for through his Name your sins have been forgiven…Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show — all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the one who does God’s will endures forever. 1 John 2:12-17
Born in 1938 as a French citizen, the fourth generation of French settlers in Algeria, Pierre-Lucien Cla ver ie grew up in a nurturing home. When he was ten, he joined a group of scouts that was under the direction of the Dominican Friars and learned much about Dominican spirituality. Once he finished his basic studies, he traveled to Grenoble, France, to pursue his college degree. There he encountered protests against the French presence in Algeria and opened his heart to a new understanding of the evils of colonialism.
In 1958 Pierre joined the Dominicans in Lille,(lee-la) France, and studied at a Dominican Institute near Paris. He returned to Algiers in 1962, after the Algerian war for independence, to serve his required time in the army. He refused to bear arms but did whatever other jobs were assigned to him. Then, in 1963, he returned to France to continue his studies. In 1965, he was ordained a priest.
Fr. Claverie learned Arabic and studied Islam so that he could better help the people in Algeria after the war. From 1973 to 1981, he started a school to help prepare Christian missionaries who wanted to work in Islamic areas. The study of Arabic and Islamic history soon became popular with Muslims who lived in the area and who wanted to know more about their own culture. During this time and afterward, Pierre worked to help facilitate dialogue between Muslims and Christians as he realized that true communication about religious beliefs could lead to peace.
In 1981, Fr. Claverie was chosen Bishop of Oran, Algeria. Working tirelessly to improve the lives of all those around him, Bishop Claverie built libraries, schools for both women and men, and health centers to help those with special needs. The Algerian Civil War broke out in 1992, and most of the Catholic priests fled the country. Bishop Claverie considered himself both Algerian and French, so he did not leave but stayed to seek peace and care for those entrusted to him. He focused on respectful dialogue.
As Bishop Claverie was entering his home with his friend and driver Mohamed Bouchikhi on August 1, 1996, a bomb planted by anti-Christian forces exploded in the entrance, killing them both. Pierre-Lucien Claverie laid down his life for peace among religions. During his funeral, Muslim mourners called Bishop Claverie the Bishop of the Muslims. His beatification was celebrated in Oran on December 8, 2018.
Blessed Pierre-Lucien Claverie is our thirty-second Ornament of Grace.
Observing the Beautiful Ornaments
Can you listen to protesters and try to understand their point of view without bias?
How can you, like Blessed Pierre Claverie, use your voice for peace among people of differing beliefs?