The spirituals retreats
The main mission of the Foyers de Charité is to participate in the new evangelisation through the preaching of spiritual retreats that are open to everyone.
They offer 6-day retreats, in silence, during which the participants are welcomed as if they are part of the family and receive teachings that summarise the fundamentals of the Catholic faith.
Each year, the Foyers de Charité welcome more than 50,000 people on a spiritual retreat. All adults are welcome, from the age of 17 years old, whether they are believers or not. Everyone receives the same loving welcome that is respectful of each person as an individual and their own reasons for coming on the retreat. The members of the Foyers welcome them into their community, as in a family. They make every effort to make everyone feel comfortable and free to participate in the activities proposed or not.
In 1933, Marthe Robin asked the parish priest of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure to open a Christian school for children and young girls. This would be the first foundation stone of this Work of the Foyers of Light, Charity and Love, given to her by an inner revelation. The school opened on 12 October 1934 at Châteauneuf-de-Galaure. It welcomed the modest amount of 7 young girls as boarders and half-boarders.
From the beginning, the Foyers’ schools contributed to the Work through their reliance on the charism entrusted by God to Marthe and Fr Finet. There is a deep bond between the schools and the spiritual retreats that is experienced in the Foyers de Charité through the prayer of the pupils that sustains the faith experience of the retreatants.
Today, the Foyers de Charité have a number of schools.
They offer young people a sound academic, spiritual and loving education :
- Notre Dame de la Plaine school, Châteauneuf de Galaure (France)
- Secondary school and college of the Foyer of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (France), co-educational schools;
- Saint-Bonnet-de-Galaure secondary school and college, a boys’ school that is linked to the Foyer of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (France);
- Les Mandailles secondary school and college, a co-educational agricultural professional establishment linked to the Foyer of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (France);
- Sainte Odile primary and secondary school, an establishment that is linked to the Foyer de Charité of Courset (France)
- Colombier Maria Mater school that is connected to the Foyer de Charité of Roquefort-les-Pins (France);
The Foyers de Charité develop charitable projects according to local needs
These projects complement or extend the spiritual contribution of the retreats. They take into account every aspect of people’s lives, helping them to shape their future and become integrated in society.
The charitable work of the Foyers de Charité includes the following :
- lessons in literacy
- psychological counselling;
- distribution of meals and clothing;
- accommodation of refugees in war zones;
- reception centres for children.
This charity work is the means by which the Foyers de Charité put into practice Marthe Robin‘s intuition of offering “a refuge for people in dire straits”, (founding text of the Foyers de Charité) in a spirit of welcome, compassion and service.
The following is a list of the current projects of the Foyers de Charité throughout the world
- Burkina Faso (Koudougou): technical training support to help young people get a job;
- Burundi (Bujumbura): reception centre for young people;
- Ivory Coast (Kotobi): care for lepers, dispensary open to public, etc.;
- Ivory Coast (Daloa): agricultural training;
- Togo (Aledjo) care for lepers, dispensary open to public, etc.;
- Uganda (Namugongo) dispensary open to the public, care for AIDS patients.
- Peru (Nana): a school of the city of Nana and a technical training centre for adults;
- Colombia (Zipaquira): girls’ orphanage and slum social services;
- Colombia (Paipa): school and technical training centre for abandoned or difficult children;
- Ecuador (Latacunga): literacy lessons and education among the Indian population;
- Chile (Tomé): Spanish translation and popular publishing of books and magazines;
- Brazil (Mendes): home care for very disadvantaged groups;
- Haiti (Port au Prince): school (500 pupils), medical care and assistance in the suburbs of Port au Prince
- India (Vellore): agricultural training;
- India (Gowripatnam): construction of houses for the homeless;
- Vietnam : reception centre for children.
Accomodation and holidays
In addition to the spiritual retreats, some Foyers de Charité offer accommodation for a weekend or a holiday, for groups, families or individuals.
The accommodation and holidays offered by the Foyers de Charité:
- Family holiday home of the Foyer de Charité of Baye (France);
- Maison Saint-François of the Foyer de Charité of Tressaint, at Dinard;
- The Windeck estate of the Foyer de Charité of Ottrott (France);
- Beau Site house of the Foyer de Charité of Lacépède, in Saint Savin (France);
- Foyer de Charité of Remera (Rwanda). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Les Mandailles: centre for groups.