Discovering Charles de Foucauld in the Farlete Grottos
“There I spent three days in a grotto, the grotto of St. Caprasio, alone, without food, studying Charles de Foucauld, who gave me a way of living in the presence of the Lord.”Kiko in the Beginning of the Year Convivence 2016-17
Before beginning a trip through Europe and to prepare for it, Fr. Aguilar wanted to take Kiko to the desert of Los Monegros, in Farlete (province of Zaragoza), where the Little Brothers of Charles de Foucauld were located. Here Kiko was able to meet Father R. Voillaume, founder of the Little Brothers and read the life of Charles de Foucauld, being fascinated, above all, by the discovery of the hidden life of Jesus and the Family of Nazareth.
A Dominican theologian had been awarded a grant by the Juan March Foundation to look for points of contact between Protestant and Catholic art, with a view to the Second Vatican Council. I was invited to go with him […] Before starting the trip, as the Dominican theologian knew the Little Brothers of Foucauld, he told me: “Kiko, before starting this trip, which will be very tiring, because we have to travel through many nations, I would like to invite you to go to the desert of Los Monegros, to Farlete, in the province of Zaragoza” […]. We went and spent a week in retreat, preparing ourselves for the trip. In that desert, which is very beautiful and has several grottos […]. I remember I was there for three days in the “Cave of San Caprasio”, helping out. There I learned about the life of Charles de Foucauld. I spoke with Father Voillaume and I was very impressed by the hidden life of the Family of Nazareth and the great love of Charles de Foucauld for the real presence of Christ. In Tamanrasset (Algeria) he spent hours alone before the Blessed Sacrament.
K. Argüello, El Kerigma. En las chabolas con los pobres, Madrid: 2012, p. 29-30
When Kiko went to the shantytowns of Palomeras Altas, he was following in the footsteps of Charles de Foucauld in the hidden life of Christ, without any social assistance program. Kiko says: “I didn’t go there to teach those people to read and write, nor to do social work or even to preach the Gospel. I went there to place myself at the side of Jesus Christ. Charles De Foucauld had given me the formula to live among the poor as a poor person, silently. This man knew how to live a silent presence of witness among the poor. He had as his ideal the hidden life that Jesus lived for thirty years in Nazareth, without saying anything, in the midst of men. This was the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld: to live in silence among the poor. Foucauld gave me the formula to realize my monastic ideal: to live as a poor man among the poor, sharing his house, his work and his life, without asking anything from anyone and without doing anything special. I never thought of setting up a school or a dispensary or anything like that. I just wanted to be among them, sharing their reality.”
Shacks in Palomeras Altas, Madrid. a.1964
Brother Charles spent long hours of contemplative prayer before the tabernacle and had a dream:
“I believe it to be my duty for acquiring the probable site of the Mount of Beatitudes, to secure its ownership to the Church, by ceding it afterwards to the Franciscans, and also to endeavor to build an altar where, perpetually, Mass will be celebrated every day and Our Lord will be present in the Tabernacle…”
The dream of Blessed Charles de Foucauld came true in 2008, when a chapel with the constant presence of the Holy Eucharist, day and night, was inaugurated at the Domus Galilaeae International Center, located on the Mount of Beatitudes (Korazim – Galilee), for the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in this place. A place that is reflected in the Lake of Galilee and that was embellished by the preaching of the Sermon on the Mount of the Lord, by the dream of Charles de Foucauld and also by an original architecture, brilliant work of Kiko Argüello.