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Home / Books / Book Series / For everyone / Praying and Acting – The Contemplative Apostle

Praying and Acting – The Contemplative Apostle

The teaching of Fr Marie-Eugene Grialou for everyone


Notre Dame de Vie is a secular Institute founded by Fr Henri Grialou, a French Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Discalced Carmelites in the 20th century. Grialou was also a noted spiritual writer and wrote at great length on the Carmelite charism as well as on a range of Carmelite luminaries.


Henri Grialou, the future Fr Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus and founder of the Institute of Notre Dame de Vie (Our Lady of Life), was born in France on December 2nd 1894. At the age of fourteen he was introduced to the autobiography of a young nun who had died at the age of twenty-four – Therese of Lisieux, which led him to an interest in Carmelite spirituality. He entered the major seminary at Rodez in 1911, however, in 1914 war broke out and he enlisted as a volunteer on the front line, taking the place of a family man. After the war he went back to that seminary. Its director was asked to translate the decree on the heroic virtues of Sr Therese of the Child Jesus, and he handed this delicate task to Henri Grialou.
While he fulfilled important positions of governance in the Carmelite Order (Definitor General 1937-1954 and Vicar-General 1954-1955), it became clear to him that a life of prayer and apostolic love should not be confined to the cloisters but should be lived by all Christians. In 1932 he had been given some land which, since the 6th century, had housed a shrine to Notre Dame de Vie. Wishing to give the world contemplative apostles imbued with prayer and action, he recognised this as the hand of Providence. It was to be an ordinary secular life that enabled people to bring Christ to places where the official Church might be absent or unable to go.
In 1961 he went himself to live at Notre Dame de Vie where he could live in the midst of his spiritual children. He died there quietly in 1967 on Easter Monday, the feast day of Notre Dame de Vie.

ISBN 9781905039654


About the author

Elizabeth Ruth Obbard was born into an army family and educated in England and Germany. After completing her schooling, she entered the Carmelite Order where she has been a contemplative nun for many years and is currently living in the Carmelite monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk. She has written and illustrated many books, particularly on the lives of saints.

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Dimensions13.0 × 20 cm


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