Published on July 12, 2007
Many young people not only from Europe but also more and more from other continents come to Taize with vital questions: How can I find meaning for my life? How is God calling me?
We want to be for them people who listen, never spiritual masters. Words of Brother Roger
Everything began in 1940 when, at the age of twenty-five, Brother Roger left Switzerland, the country where he was born, to go and live in France, where his mother came from. About Taizé Its beginnings
For years he had been an invalid, suffering from tuberculosis. During that long illness, the call had taken shape in him to create a community where simplicity and kind-heartedness would be lived out as essential Gospel realities.
When the Second World War started, he had the conviction that he should begin at once to offer assistance to people in difficult straits, just as his grandmother had done during the First World War.
Brother Roger was able to buy a house in Taizé that had been uninhabited for years, with the outlying buildings. Among the refugees they sheltered were Jews.
In order not to put any pressure on those he was sheltering, Brother Roger would pray alone; he often would go into the woods near the house to sing. So that none of the refugees, in particular those who were Jews or agnostics, would feel ill-at-ease, it was explained to each of them that it was better for those who wished to pray to do so alone in their rooms.
In 1942, they had been found out welcoming refugees and had to leave Taize for a while. In 1944, Brother Roger was able to come. This time he was no longer alone: they were four brothers.
Today, the Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from more than twenty-five nations.
Brother Roger died on 16 August 2005, at the age of 90, killed during the evening prayer. Brother Alois, a German Catholic member of whom Brother Roger had chosen many years ago as his successor, is now the prior of the Community.
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