History of the Emmanuel Community

A French couple, Xavier and Brigitte Le Pichon experienced Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States. When they returned to France they contacted Father Henri Caffarel who invited them to come on February 12th and 13th in a retreat center at Troussures France, to share their experience to about forty people. Among them Pierre Goursat (57) and Martine Laffitte, young intern in medicine. They asked, with others, about the outpouring of the Spirit. Pierre and Martine were very inspired by this and felt a strong calling to fraternal communion where they recognized each other as brothers and sisters and began to pray together every day. In March they wanted to invited more people with them to pray with the same spirit of the charismatic renewal they were so inspired by, and only three responded to their invitation.

The local prayer group led by Pierre and Martine eventually grew and the group was so large it split a first time, then a second. In these prayer groups wonders occurred. Many people were profoundly renewed and converted. To created a unity between these different groups this assembly needed a name. Many members received in prayer the name of “Emmanuel”, which means”God with us” From there, Emmanuel grew to 500 people.

Some people wanted to further their experience of fraternal life, during this time the first residential household began with three people including Pierre Goursat.

Pierre Goursat organized a gathering of the various prayer groups and communities of the Charismatic Renewal in Paray-le-Monial. This was on the year of the 300th anniversary of the apparition of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary and for Pierre it was a sign that Jesus calls them to his Heart. The message of Jesus to Marguerite-Marie, who showed his burning heart of love and invites to be loved and forgiven by Him is as rediscovered by Emmanuel who understands that Paray-le-Monial must become his heart.

A number of people aspired to a life together without living under the same roof. Inspired by what was being done in the United States, Emmanuel adopted the idea of creating a community of people living at home but united by common and regular commitments. In September, all those interested in a community life project met for three weeks every night and on weekends for a time of retreat. At the end of the retreat all or almost want to continue The Emmanuel Community was founded.

As the years went by many missions of compassion and evangelization had taken place, responding to the needs of the world and to the call of the Church. Some of the missions included: Love and Truth, for couples and families, in 1976, the magazine Il est Vivant in 1977, SOS Prayer, service of listening and prayer on the telephone in 1979, Fidesco in 1981, the School of Evangelization (now Emmanuel School of Mission) in 1984 ... First ordinations of priests, first commitments of consecrated, the years 1980 sees the Emmanuel Community unfold. In 1986 the parish of Trinity in Paris is the first parish entrusted to Emmanuel's priests

On the death of Pierre Goursat on 25 March 1991, the Community spread to 18 different countries.

The Emmanuel Community has always wanted to remain in the tenants of the Catholic Church and quickly was in contact with the ecclesial authorities. Recognized since 1982 in the diocese of Paris, its statutes were approved by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 1992. The Holy See thus designating the Community of Emmanuel as a good for the whole Church and as a true path of holiness.

The Community is recognized as an international public association of the faithful, a statute confirming that its missions are oriented towards the good of the whole Church.