At the School of Martyrs
On 8 December 2018, H. Em Giovanni Cardinal Angelo Becciu , prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, beatified 19 martyrs in Oran, Algeria. Among them there were also 7 Cistercian monks who lived in the monastery of Our Lady of the Atlas in Tibhrine. As it is known on the matter of these monks, now recognized as blessed by the Church, a famous film was made: Of Gods and Men for us Christians to appreciate their life.
To learn more about these new martyrs that we have had, in the College we had a guest Fr. Diego Sarrió, lector of the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Fr Sarrió, before being rector of PISAI, spent some years as a missionary in Algeria in the early 2000s and, being a white Father, he is a brother of some martyred and proclaimed blessed religious together with the monks of Tibhirine. Thanks to his experience, he was able to provide us with a picture of the complex situation that characterized Algerian society in the second half of the twentieth century and the position of the Catholic Church in those complex dynamics.
Again to deepen our knowledge on these figures of heroism and loyalty as the Cistercian monks of the Atlas were, we also had the pleasure of listening to the words of François Vayne, journalist and director of the Communication Department of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Him, a French born and raised in Algeria, had the opportunity to meet and grow with the monks of Tibhirine, on whom he also wrote a book entitled: Simply Christians. The life and message of the blessed martyrs of Tibhirine. It was very nice to hear from him, with the precision and warmth of the eyewitness, how the life of the Algerian Christians and of the new martyrs took place, which gives us examples of heroism and fidelity to the Lord and to the Christian vocation.