of the Beatitudes was founded on May 25, 1973, at Montpelier in
Southern France and community life began on September 9 of the same
year, first at Soyons then at Valence.
Founder, Gerard Croissant (Br. Ephraim), was born on February 17, 1949
into a Protestant family in Eastern France. He belonged to the "1968
generation" in search for new ideas, freedom and community life! He
chose to study Theology rather than arts. Several encounters led him to
his vocation to found the Community of the Beatitudes. His main
influence came from Lanza Del Vasto from the "Communaute de
l'Arche". From him he realized that community life and family life were
not only compatible but enriching. In this Community he met his wife,
Jo. He also started there his ministry as a Protestant preacher and
discovered the Charismatic Renewal, leading him to a radical
with another couple, Jean-Marc and Mireille Hammel, they decide to
start to live together. " The Community is not the fruit of a project
or a desire; it is and remains an evidence coming from somewhere
Community life starts in Soyons in 1974, then in Valence
Gerard is in charge of a protestant parish. In prayer, he receives the
Rule of Life for the Community. It is articulated around three poles:
prayer, poverty and obedience. This rule remains the base of formation
for anyone who enters the Community of the Beatitudes. During this same
year, he discovers the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and the apostolic
May 75, the tiny Community moves to Cordes in the Diocese of Albi, in
an old ruined convent. The Most Reverend Bishop Coffy adopts this new
daughter of the Church, and Gerard becomes Ephraim. A few years later
he is ordained a permanent deacon.
The primitive Christian Community as it appears in the Acts of the Apostles
was adopted as a model: prayer, sharing of the goods, charity,
testimony and fervent waiting of the Kingdom to come. However, the
purpose wasn't to copy the past. A Community always appears in the
History of the Church to answer to one of the world's needs. It is a
sign of hope for its generation.
Daughter of Vatican II, new form of consecrated life
The Community wants to show what Vatican II reminded, that holiness is for
all! The Community thus gathers all kinds of persons: families, single
people among whom some are consecrated, widows and widowers, divorced,
sick and healthy, wise and poor! All have received the same call from
God to leave everything to offer Him themselves in prayer and fraternal
life. Each chose to commit in the way of poverty and obedience and the
respect of the Community's Rule of life.
The Lord is coming! Eschatological vocation:
Maranatha! watch and pray and fight with Mary. The Council's acts
start with this
sentence: "in these final times". The first brothers and
sisters were struck by the urge of the Kingdom to come. Thus the vocation of the
Community is eminently eschatological. Worldly withdrawal
characteristizes the Community in contrast to other new communities.
The contemplative style of life motivates this withdrawal. We want to
be watchers and fighters waiting for the coming in Glory of Christ and
helping the world to hope. Prayer inspired by the Carmelite tradition
is the priority in the Community of the Beatitudes. The community is
consecrated to the Virgin Mary.
Anticipation of the Kingdom to come. Liturgy and fraternal life:
"Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the
of David, has triumphed;" (Revelation 5,5).
This text was the foundation of the Community and explains its first
Community of the Lion of Judah and of the Slain Lamb.
If Christ is risen, then He is victorious forever and eternal life is
already started on earth. We want to anticipate Heaven on earth as much
as possible. This is why Liturgy is so important to us as well as
Sacraments, the simple beauty of our houses, the white liturgical
clothing, our taste for festive celebrations… Fraternal life
place for learning charity, that same charity we'll share in the
Kingdom is in your midst! Console my people
works Anticipation of the Kingdom is not only praying but also showing
God's people the signs of the Kingdom: healing, forgiveness of
preaching of the Good News. Very early in the history of the Community
we started compassionate works such as the opening of medical practice,
hospitals, Mother of Mercy to help women confronted to abortion, the
Cottolengo house to help the dying… All these works are the
of our contemplative life.
They are the Christian teaching par excellence. They show how to put into
action the commandment of love Christ left us. They show the way to
true happiness… In 1991, we changed our name into Community
Evangelization and Missions
The goal is to tell people of our time the mercy of our God, to introduce
them into the knowledge of Christ. As St. John Mary Baptist Vianney
says, one of our patron saints along with St. Seraphim of Sarov and St.
Joseph, " The only happiness on earth is to love the Lord and to know
that He loves us." This is how conversion starts.
In the steps of St. Therese of the Child Jesus:
"In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love" The Community wants
to be a testimony, all over the world, that "the civilization of love"
is possible. The world today needs saints more than words of saints.
Council Vatican II gave back holiness as the duty of all Christians and
there is no holiness without prayer, without conversion, without
fraternal life, without poverty of heart. This is the spirituality of
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, doctor of the Church, that we teach to
be love in the heart of the Church and missionaries of the Father's
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'come! Maranatha!'" (Revelation 22: 17)