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Profiles in Faith - May


As part of our initiative for the Year of Faith, Veritas is proud to present Profiles in Faith, a series of essays on the life and work of Christian men and women who lived their lives as ‘faith in action’. We encourage you to read the accounts, and to reflect on them over the course of the month. Additional biographical sources are also suggested, should you wish to find out more. 



Profile Eight: Frère Roger

Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, also known as Frère Roger (Brother Roger), was born in Provence, Switzerland on 12 May 1915. He was the founder and prior of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community based in Taizé, France.


Taizé is one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. The first international meeting for young adults was organised there in 1966, and brought together 1,400 participants from thirty countries. Today, over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing and communal work. Most pilgrims stay for a week.


From is foundation in 1944, Frère Roger and the Taizé community were devoted to furthering reconciliation between the different Christian churches. Today, the community is made up of more than one hundred brothers, from both Protestant and Catholic traditions. Through the community’s ecumenical outlook, brothers are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.


Perhaps the best known characteristic of the Taizé community is music. Taizé music focuses on the repetition of core biblical texts to simple musical lines. These are sung in a deeply prayerful mode, over and over again. The duration of songs is not timed nor the number of repetitions calculated beforehand. The intent is for the assembly to immerse itself in the music and to let itself by carried by it.


In 1986, Blessed Pope John Paul II visited Taizé to meet with Frère Roger and the community. Several thousand youth were present on the day of the pope’s visit. They had been praying in silence throughout the night, and at eight thirty in the morning Frère Roger, the other brothers and many young people came to greet the pope. John Paul II welcomed them, saying:


Like you, pilgrims and friends of the community, the pope is only passing through. But one passes through Taizé as one passes close to a spring of water. The traveler stops, quenches his thirst and continues on his way. The brothers of the community, you know, do not want to keep you. They want, in prayer and silence, to enable you to drink the living water promised by Christ, to know his joy, to discern his presence, to respond to his call, then to set out again to witness to his love and to serve your brothers and sisters in your parishes, your schools, your universities, and in all your places of work.


Brother Roger was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 1988 and wrote many books on prayer and reflection, asking young people to be confident in God and committed to their local church community and to humanity. He also wrote books about Christian spirituality and prayer. Brother Roger was stabbed to death during the evening prayer service in Taizé on 16 August 2005. Brother Alois Loser, his successor, is the current prior at Taizé.

For more information about pilgrimages to Taizé, visit


For Reflection:

  - From what you know about the Taizé community, what would most appeal to you about making a pilgrimage there?

  - How can you pilgrimage help you to ‘…drink the living water promised by Christ’?

Previous Profiles in Faith:

April 2013: Blessed Edmund Rice


March 2013: St Patrick


February 2013: Dorothy Day


January 2013: St Francis of Assisi


December 2012: St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)


November 2012: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta


October 2012: Thomas Merton


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