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Posted September 15, 2006

Book: The Life and Vision of Brother Roger of Taize
Author: Kathryn Spink
GIA Publications, Inc. Chicago, IL. 2006. Pp. 204

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

This is the authorized biography of the man who made the phenomenon of Taize possible. It is the story of a life which took Brother Roger, the charismatic founder and leader of the Taize community, from the slums of Calcutta and New York’s Hell’s Kitchen to the United Nation’s building and the great cathedrals of Europe. Brother Roger was imbued with a spontaneity and wisdom that made him the companion of popes and of little children. He was one of the best-loved Christian leaders of our time.

In August 2005, Brother Roger was attacked and killed while praying with more than 2,000 young people. His death came almost 65 years after he crossed the border from his native Switzerland into war-ravaged France and settled in the tiny village of Taize. At a time when Europe was torn asunder, Brother Roger had asked himself why such conflict should exist between people, and particularly between Christians. He found himself called to establish a community in which reconciliation and peace would be made concrete day by day. Today, thousands of young people from all over the world and from all denominations gather each week at Taize to pray, study and worship.

An Excerpt from the Book:

We spoke next of intuition, a faculty which Brother Roger saw as a gift from God ‘because it allows us to discover God through others’. ‘My life’, he told me, ‘consists of discerning in others that which torments them and that which cheers them and communicating in their suffering and their joy.’ in such a life, intuition makes it possible to understand the essential in others, to grasp without many words, to identify another’s anguish. ‘Intelligence only enables us to understand the surface of another. In the life of the gospel, intuition is there to support compassion, to make compassion possible, to avoid unnecessary dialogue. It enables us to discern the reflection of God. And that is all we can do’, he added. ‘We can try to approach the reliefs, the contours of an immeasurable mystery that is God, but we draw near to it a good deal and that is enough for me to live.’ Perhaps here too there lay a clue to Brother Roger’s reticence. Knowing itself to be poor, Taize does not profess to hold the answers to this world’s problems. It seeks only to be a listening companion to those who seek the one reality, to search with other searchers for the sources of faith, and in this respect as in all others the community and its founder are one.

Table of Contents:

1. A happy childhood is a happy life

2. A human desert

3. Towards community

4. A springtime in the church

5. Creating together

6. To the ends of the earth

7. The wonder of the common life

8. An age that counts

9. Epilogue

Information on Taize