Fr. Henri-Antoine Groues
(1912-2007), for 17 years annually voted the best known and most respected person in France, died Jan. 22 at the age of 94 of an acute lung affliction. For more than 65 years he answered to the name l'Abbe Pierre
, a code name assumed during his work with the French Resistance, during which he helped numerous Jews and politically persecuted to escape to neutral Switzerland. After the War he involved himself in championing the rights of the desperately poor and homeless people and forced many politicians including Mitterand and Chirac to deal more concretely with homelessness. He and others founded the ragpickers of Emmaus movement which has subsequently spread to numerous nations of the world. Less well known are the eight years (1931-39) when he was known as Frere Philippe de Lyon, O.F.M.Cap.
He left the Capuchins just months after his ordination because of severe lung infections, which made the austerity of our French confreres too difficult to bear. He was incardinated in the diocese of Grenoble, but kept in touch with the Capuchins and in his later years has spent extended periods of prayer in a Capuchin friary in Normandy. For more information, see Wikipedia
and Jo Siedlecka's 2003 article
from Bible Alive magazine.