Founder of the Emmanuel Community
Who is Pierre Goursat?
Pierre Goursat along with Martine Laffitte-Catta founded the Emmanuel Community in 1976.
Born in Paris, France in August 15, 1914, he lived a humble life and grew up with his mother after his parents separated early in his life. His conversion happened when he was 19 years old, while he was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. One day, he suddenly realised that he had stopped thinking about his brother Bernard, who was two years younger than him and who had died suddenly at the age of ten. It was as if his younger brother were telling him: “You do not think of me anymore because your heart has become hard; you have become proud.” Pierre fell on his knees at the foot of his sick-bed and at this moment he met Christ in a way that gave light to his whole life. Afterwards, he modified his way of living, filled with art and refinement. He decided to deepen his faith, to pray and to evangelise.
He battled with tuberculosis from which he was healed in 1944 in Lourdes, attributing his healing to the Virgin Mary. Even after his healing he battled poor health all his life.
In 1972 he met the Renewal and the Holy Spirit became his guide in everything. From this encounter started the prayer groups and followed the birth of the Emmanuel Community. For the next thirteen years Pierre worked as the leader of the new Community, helping people, forming them and offering his witness of purity, charity, faithfulness and humor through his attitude in establishing the Emmanuel.
In the summer of 1985 he was hospitalised with coronary thrombosis and in September stepped down from the government of the Community. He had began to familiarise Gérald Arbola with the government of the Community a year earlier and at his request Gérald was elected in his place.
Once he had stepped down, Pierre drew back from the scene and trusted in his successor. He continued to help the Council of the Community but very discreetly. Two rooms in the Emmanuel Community headquarters in Paris were fitted out for him and he lived there during his last years.
In his last year he prayed night and day saying, “The Holy Spirit discharged me from everything and told me, “All you have to do is pray.” That’s beautiful!”
Pierre died in the morning of March 25, 1991, both the feast of the Annunciation and Monday of Holy Week. After the funeral in Paris he was buried in Paray-le-Monial, France.
With the agreement of Cardinal André XXIII, Archbishop of Paris, the cause for the canonization of Pierre Goursat was introduced in January 2010 and on December 2015 the Diocesan Phase was officially closed at a ceremony in the church of the Holy Trinity in Paris.
In the Roman Phase, the case will be examined by an expert commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and then by the Cardinals, and if they agree, the Pope should be able to recognize the heroic virtues of Pierre Goursat so that he may be declared Venerable. Thereafter, the account of a miracle will need to be presented so that he might be declared Blessed, and then a second miracle will be needed for him to be proclaimed a Saint.
Testimonies of graces received through the intercession of Pierre Goursat
We already had two boys and when we found out we were expecting a third child, we were so happy. On July 12, 2014, during the 34th week of my pregnancy, our gynecologist told us that the ultrasound showed that the baby had most probably ceased bones growth since the 30th week.
On July 17th at 8am, the doctor called and came with the results of two ultrasounds that indicated the possibility that our child could have a genetic disease. The presumed due date was August 15th. After sharing this with some members of the Emmanuel Community, a married couple advised us to pray to Pierre Goursat. It just so happened that Pierre Goursat would have celebrated his 100th birthday that day.
My husband and I decided that our child, Augustin, would also bear the name “Pierre” and from there, we entrusted the child delivery to Pierre Goursat. Augustin was born via C-section and it went well. After all the standard tests, the pediatrician turned to my husband and said “everything seems to be ok, no further exams are needed”.
Today (February 2016), Augustin Jacques Pierre is 15months old and he just made his first steps.
One night I dreamt that my son, Thomas,came to me with Pierre Goursat. In this dream, Thomas said to me, “Mom, my brother, Pierre, is not well.” As I was on the second floor and my children were on the floor below, I had to put my ear on the floor. Wondering why this was happening and why Pierre Goursat was in my dream, I realized that he was trying to wake me up.
When I woke up, I went to check on my son, Pierre, and found him having a violent asthma attack. He was choking so badly, he couldn’t call for help. Since I am an Emergency care Doctor, I administered Ventolin and medicines which stopped the asthma attack. After a few moments, he said: “Mom it’s ok, I can breathe!” The next day I realized that if Pierre had not been there, I would not have woken up in the middle of the night to save my son’s life.
Our daughter, Valérie, grew up with the Emmanuel Community since she was 10 years old until she turned 20. Her life was shaped by Pierre Goursat through regular meetings and she admired him a lot.
On December 1994, she phoned me saying “Mom, dad and you need to pray for me and my husband. We’ve been married for 3 years and we’ve been wanting to have children, but for now, nothing is happening.” We went for a fraternity retreat in Paray le Monial (France) around Christmas time and before we left Paray, we went to the tomb of Pierre and asked him to intercede for them to have a child before the end of the year. During her prayers, Valérie was saying to the Lord: “Lord I offered you the suffering of not having a child for the last three years for all the mothers who have resorted to abortion, but now, I would like to be rewarded for this offering.”
On January 17, 1995, the following year, Pierre was born.
In May 2015, with my household, we decided to buy a property to build a multipurpose house and especially to welcome the poor. Fundraising began in August. On September 8 we paid 30 000€ for the sales agreement, but we needed to pay 300 000€more by December 8, 2015. In early November 2015, the main donor backed out of his investment. We were wondering how will it be possibile to find 200 000€ in three weeks? On November 12, I cried out to God, “Lord give me a sign!” On the same day, I received a mail an invitation for the Opening ceremony of the Causes of Beatification of Pierre Goursat. I immediately called someone to ask prayer cards of Pierre with the prayer for his beatification. On November 18, I received these prayer cards and handed them out to my household to begin a Novena. At the end of the Novena a woman wanted to talk to me after the Mass. She handed me out an envelop with a cheque of 150 000€ .
Gaëlle, 35, gave birth to a still born baby.
Knowing these events, I turned to Pierre Goursat and did a novena to ask for his intercession. During my visits to Paray le Monial, I prayed by his tomb an repeated this prayer during the Mothers’ prayer group in my village.
I was filled with joy to hear that on July 7th, 2015, Gaëlle gave birth to a son named Pierre.
I heard about a job offer as an educator for an association that runs foster homes for girls in difficulty. Since this job brings together everything I always wanted, I sent my resume and a cover letter.
In my prayers, I am used to entrust important things to Pierre because he had a charism of discernment. So I went to the tomb of Pierre and entrusted this intention.
After that, when my phone rang, it was the president of this association calling for an interview appointment.
Prayer for Beatification
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Lord Jesus, we pray for the beatification of Pierre Goursat.
Inspired by a fervent desire for the salvation of souls
and a great love for the Church,
he worked with faith and hope for the Church’s spiritual and apostolic renewal.
Lord, through his intercession,
grant us the grace of trusting you fully,
serving you generously and doing your will.
Give us a heart which is open
to adoration and overflowing
with compassion for all people.
Set us ablaze with fire and love for the evangelisation of the world.
We pray in a particular way, we entrust to you
to those who are far from you
or who do not yet know you,
we ask you to reveal the infinite love
of your meek and gentle Heart.