12 February 1972


A French couple, Xavier and Brigitte Le Pichon, discovered the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States. On their return to France, they contacted Father Henri Caffarel. He invited them to come to his house of prayer in Troussures on 12 and 13 February to talk about their experience to about forty people. Among them were Pierre Goursat (57) and Martine Laffitte, a young medical intern. They asked, along with others, for the outpouring of the Spirit. Pierre and Martine received a powerful and straightforward fraternal communion simultaneously: they recognized themselves as brother and sister and began to pray together every day. In March, they invited some people to come and pray with them in the spirit of the Renewal. Only three people responded to their invitation…


First prayer groupe

The prayer group led by Pierre and Martine finally became too small. The group split up once, then a second time. In these prayer meetings, wonders happen. People were renewed inwardly and converted. A name would have show unity between the groups. Several members receive in prayer the name “Emmanuel”, “God with us”. The Emmanuel groups now number 500 members.


First household

Some of them ask to go further and to live truly together. A first residential household started with three people, including Pierre Goursat.

Summer 1975

First session in Paray-le-Monial

Pierre Goursat proposes to organize in Paray-le-Monial the gathering of the different prayer groups and communities of the Charismatic Renewal, which took place in Vézelay the previous year. It was the year of the three hundredth anniversary of the apparition of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary, and for Pierre it was clear that Jesus is calling them to His Heart. Jesus’ message to Margaret Mary, which shows her heart burning with love and invites her to let herself be loved and forgiven by Him, is rediscovered by Emmanuel. The latter then understands that Paray-le-Monial must become his heart.


Trip to United States of America

Some people aspire to a life together without necessarily living under the same roof. Based on what was done in the United States, founding a community of people living at home but united by common and regular commitments was born. In September, all those interested in a community life project meet for three weeks every evening and weekend for a retreat time. At the end of the retreat, almost everyone wanted to continue. The Emmanuel Community born.


First parish entrusted to the community

Over the years, numerous missions of compassion and evangelization have been developed, responding to the needs of the world and the calls of the Church: Love and Truth, for couples and families, in 1976, the magazine Il est Vivant in 1977, SOS Prayer, a telephone listening and prayer service in 1979, Fidesco in 1981, the School of Evangelisation (today the Emmanuel School of Mission) in 1984… The first ordinations of priests, the first commitments of consecrated persons, the 1980s saw the Emmanuel Community develop. In 1986, the parish of La Trinité in Paris was the first parish entrusted to Emmanuel priests.

25 March 1991

Return to God of Pierre Goursat

When Pierre Goursat died on 25 March 1991, the Community was present in about eighteen countries.

8 December 1992

Canonical recognition by Rome

The Emmanuel Community has always wanted to be part of the Catholic Church and soon contacted the ecclesiastical authorities. Recognized in 1982 in the diocese of Paris, the Pontifical Council for the Laity approved its statutes in 1992. The Holy See thus designated the Emmanuel Community as a good for the whole Church and as a valid path to holiness.


Public Association of Faithful

The Community is recognized as an international public association of the faithful. This status confirms that its missions are directed to the good of the whole Church.

3 February 2011

Audience with Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI addresses a message to the Emmanuel Community members on the occasion of an audience with members of the Council and leaders of the community.   The message 

7 April 2018

Audience with Pope Francis

About 500 members of the community are received in audience at the Vatican by Pope Francis. Click here for his speech