What are the Foyers?
Foyers of Charity comprise a group of lay people with a priest, who welcome retreatants to their communities to hear again the basic Gospel message of God's love for mankind. These retreats generally last for six days and are held in silence, as a way of allowing the Word of God to penetrate more deeply into the soul.
The Foyer movement is fully supported by the Church. The Statutes of the Foyers were given definitive approval by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on the 8 December 1999. At present there are more than seventy Foyers around the world, although there is not yet one in Britain. Therefore it is hoped that this website, published by the Friends of the English Foyer, will help more people to become acquainted with the Foyers, and hasten the day when a Foyer is established in this country.
This is the description of the Foyers de Charité, which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity:
Official name: Foyers de Charité
History: Foyers de Charité was instituted following a meeting between Marthe Robin (1902-1981) and Father Georges Finet, who was to become her spiritual director.
Marthe Robin, who had been ill from the age of 16, offered herself to the will of God in total abandon, entrusting herself to Mary. From 1930 she prayed ceaselessly to have a Catholic school in her native town of Chateauneuf-de-Galaure, and this was followed in 1940-1948 by the foundation of the Foyer of Light, Charity and Love — a center for spiritual retreats, open to all, and the first of the numerous Foyers de Charité that spread from France to all continents.
On Nov. 1, 1986, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Foyers de Charité as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right.
Identity: The members of the Foyers de Charité are lay men and women and priests who are called to live according to the spirit of the beatitudes at the service of evangelization, and work with the whole of the Church to reveal Christ, the light of the world, and his message of salvation.
In the spirit of the beatitudes they also place their material, intellectual and spiritual goods in common. The educational process of the members is designed to prepare them for the mission and to make them responsible for the unity and the dynamism of the association.
Formation is provided within the community, with personal meetings with the leaders (priests and laity), community meetings, courses of study of holy Scripture, theology, liturgy, catechesis and liturgical animation.
Among the formation activities, spiritual retreats open to all play an important part, as a synthesis of Christian life and faith in fidelity to the Word of God and the magisterium of the Church. At the Chateauneuf-de-Galaure Foyer a one-month formation course is held every year to enhance familiarity with the association, its charism and the way it operates.
Organization: The core of the association and focus of communion and cooperation between all the Foyers de Charité in the world, is the Foyer at Chateauneuf-de-Galaure, Foyer Center. The priest-in-charge is also responsible for all the Foyers worldwide.
Every Foyer de Charité — life community — comprises a priest and lay members, living in communion with the universal Church incorporated into the diocesan Church. The members of all the Foyers meet every year in a family spirit to share their experiences and jointly draft projects for expanding the association.
The life of the Foyers de Charité is supported by a network of friends creating the so-called Enlarged Foyer made up of the members of the Foyers and those taking part in the spiritual retreats, which testify to the light, charity and love of Christ throughout the world.
Membership: The association has 75 Foyers and is present in 41 countries.
Works: Foyers de Charité run homes to take in children in difficulty or with disabilities and for abandoned babies, schools, homes for the elderly, a diocesan spiritual centre, dispensaries, printing shop, local religious radio stations, and canteens for the poor.
Publications: L'alouette, a bimonthly magazine.