London: Hollis & Carter, 1950. Second impression. Octavo, original blue cloth, cartographic endpapers, original dust jacket. About-fine book with only gentle toning to the spine, small tape stain to inside flap of the dust jacket. An excellent copy. Item #474
"FATHER, I ABANDON MYSELF IN YOUR HANDS, DO WITH ME WHAT YOU WILL" Second impression of Anne Fremantle's portrait of Charles de Foucauld, the first full-length biography of Foucauld in English. Charles de Foucauld was born to an aristocratic family in Strasbourg. He served for a time in the French Army before he recovered his Catholic faith and ultimately answered a calling in the Sahara. Foucauld spent 15 years on the borderlands between Algeria and Morocco, living among the local tribes and seeking to develop a community of Little Brothers of Jesus devoted to service. He was killed by Tuareg tribesmen on December 1, 1916. "Alone, a seeming failure by the end of his life, Foucauld was to become one of the most influential spiritual figures of the twentieth century. He was responsible for reviving the tradition of desert spirituality in our time. Rather than a retreat from humanity, he believed, the experience of being alone with God made us truly available to encounter and love our neighbor as ourselves." (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). Foucauld's spiritual aim is captured by his Prayer of Abandonment: "Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures – I wish no more than this, O Lord." Foucauld's futile attempts at founding a community would later blossom into a global constellation of fraternities and sororities.
Anne Fremantle left London during the war and emigrated to the United States to work at the British Embassy in Washington. She later settled in New York, entered the Catholic Church, and became an American citizen. Fremantle describes Foucauld as "one of the most remarkable men of his age, the most generally revered character in France, after Joan of Arc." Desert Calling was popular enough with English-speaking audiences to warrant a quick second impression, published in the same month as the first impression. Second impression: The title page bears the imprint of Hollis and Carter but the binding and dust jacket bear the Burns Oates imprint. The text is divided into three Parts and concludes with a brief Glossary, a Bibliography, and an Index. The text is illustrated with a stunning frontispiece portrait and six other photographs. With Fremantle's warm Dedication to Father M. Coudray of the White Fathers, "Vice-postulant of Charles de Foucauld's Cause." Brother Charles of Jesus was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Menendez, The Road to Rome, 568.