These Catholics who want to evangelize in the streets

Two works expressing a singularly similar desire… that of going to the street, to meet the Other, to “evangelize”. The first (1), written in the first person singular, brings together the fioretti of the Franciscan missions of Brother Jack Mardesic. Leaving without money or food from his Brussels convent, without a place to sleep, the Australian who has become a Franciscan crosses Europe and takes us with him to the streets of Belgium, France, Spain or Italy, to meet their inhabitants.

In a simple and pleasant style, he reveals, through unique adventures and each more burlesque than the next, his journey and especially that of others. With him, we sleep on boxes, in the middle of a square, in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica or in the squat of the Roman suburb of Gypsy Igor, who opens his door and that of his pantry. At his side too, we meet young Spanish punks coming out of prison and singling him out with irony: “What do you have under your skirt?” “… We are moved, we marvel, we lose our footing too, sometimes wondering what we are doing there, among chic people, in a medieval bure … Through these stories, the Franciscan, who distils in his work of the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, skillfully evokes the faith which dwells in him.

Odile Pruvot, for her part, surprisingly chose the third person singular while opting for a story (2) in the form of a “private” diary. This layman, member of the apostolic community Aïn Karem, tells about the commitment of a woman named Mawa, within a community, to go, one Saturday a month, to evangelize in the street. Could the portrait of the author appear behind the features of this woman? Two books, the same question, why this need to go evangelizing in the street?

(1) Walk towards the unknown. Fioretti of Franciscan missions, Brother Jack Mardesic and Claire Denoël, Éd. by Emmanuel, 180 p., € 16.

(2) If I do not proclaim the Gospel…, Odile Pruvot, Mame, 112 p., € 12.90.


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