Seventy years of the foundation of the Holy Desert of Roquebrune (France)

Seventy years of the foundation of the Holy Desert of Roquebrune (France)

On Pentecost Monday (May 21, 2018), the brothers of the Province of Avignon-Aquitaine celebrated the 70th anniversary of the foundation of their Holy Desert. The project was discussed during the General Chapter of 1947, and Blessed Father Marie-Eugene of the Infant Jesus was charged with carrying out this foundation, which also occurred on a Pentecost Monday, at that time (1948), May 17th. This is the date of the annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Mercy, venerated since the 17th century in the shrine of the new Desert. For approximately 50 years, the Holy Desert of Roquebrune (in the department of Var in Provence) was attended by the four Franco-Belgian provinces: Avignon-Aquitaine, Paris, Flanders, and Brabant.

From 1996, the house became exclusively dependent on the Province of Avignon-Aquitaine. There are seven hermitages on site built by Camaldolese monks around 1925 and a large, Provençal-style building (originally a stronghold) from the beginning of the 19th century. It also includes an ancient Marian shrine rebuilt in the 17th century. The property, encompassing more than 60 hectares (two hills), is located in the isolated Massif des Maures. It offers a beautiful view of the Mediterranean and the Bay of Saint-Raphaël.

On Pentecost Monday, the hermits organized a meeting to commemorate the event, which coincided with the celebration of the first liturgical feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, now, precisely, celebrated on the day after Pentecost. A beautiful and providential event, highly symbolic and pertinent to Carmelite spirituality. Father Henri of the Infant Jesus, Provincial of Avignon-Aquitaine, presided over the ceremony this year, in which he celebrates his Silver Jubilee of religious profession.