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Introduction fc 
Rev. John I 




By Peter Beach and WUUam Dunphy 

"In 1952 twenty Benedictine monks 
left the Abbey of En-Calcat in south- 
western France and sailed to Casa- 
blanca, Morocco. . . . Near the Berber 
town of Azrou on a plateau in the 
Middle Atlas Mountains, they built a 
monastery and called it the Priory of 
Christ the King. In time, it came to be 
known as Toumliline, Lhe name of a 
nearby spring." 

So begins die story of the most ex- 
traordinary monastery in the world: 
Toumliline, the only community of 
Christian monks in all of Moslem 
North Africa. It is the story of strict, 
cloister-bound contemplatives who ar- 
rived on the eve of three -and-a-half 
years of revolutionary terror, and won 
the love and respect of their warlike 
Berber neighbors. 

account of the achievements of these 
gentle, brave men: the cooperative 
farms they created for nearby Berbers, 
the orphanage they established for 
stray Moslem children, the dispensary 

(Continued on back flap) 
Jacket design bt/ Ben Fcder Inr 

'UGAL ^ 



A Christian Adventure in Moslem Morocco 


Introduction by REV. JOHN La FARGE, S.J. 


Copyright 1960 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 

All rights reserved, including the right to repro- 
duce this book or portions thereof in any form. 

Published simultaneously in Canada by 
Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, "Limited 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-12011 

Nihil obstat: Paul E. McKeever, S.T.D. 
Censor Librorum 

Imprimatur: Walter P. Kellenberg, D.D. 
Bishop of Rockville Centre 
May 13, 1960 

The nihil obstat and imprimatur are official 
declarations that a book or pamphlet is free 
of doctrinal or moral error. No implication 
is contained therein that those who have 
granted the nihil obstat and imprimatur 
agree with the contents, opinions or state- 
ments expressed. 

Printed in the United States of America 

To Susan, mother of five, and Kathleen, 
mother of six, who have graciously offered 
to write the next book while we stay home 
with the children. 

-The Authors 


The monastery of Toumliline is a house of prayer and 
peace in the heart of the Maghreb, Islam's historic center 
in North Africa. Twenty contemplative Benedictine monks 
of En-Calcat, in Southern France, came in 1952 to this 
fountain in the heart of the Middle Atlas mountains with 
no preconceived ideas as to what form their work might 
take. They settled in a completely non-Christian territory, 
with Berber shepherds and small farmers as their neigji- 
bors. Expecting no converts to Christianity, they continued 
their full monastic life. Out of this project grew Toumli- 
line's annual series of international conferences. These 
are made possible by the farseeing direction of the mon- 
astery's enterprising Prior, Dom Denis Martin and his 
assistant, Dom Placide Pernot. The conferences were aided 
by the taste and genius shown in equipping the physical 
and cultural setting and by the cooperation of the mon- 
astery's many friends, near and far, as well as by the high 
patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed V of Morocco 
and distinguished officials of his government. 

At my own visit to Toumliline, in the summer of 1958, 
I was deeply impressed by the way this entire enterprise, 
with its many ramifications, turns upon two age-old hinges: 



divinely motivated faith and divinely inspired charity. This 
faith in a crucified Christ, unceasing worship of a Triune 
God, is practiced in a non-Christian world, practiced 
quietly and openly. The doors of the monastery chapel are 
wide open, its hourly Opus Dei, the "work of God" or di- 
vine service, is public property. The monks do patient 
manual toil among peoples to whom such work by learned, 
cultivated men, is foreign. They practice their charity in 
the troubled spiritual atmosphere of contemporary Africa, 
where problems of human division are steadily piling up 
on every horizon. All the fundamentals religions, social 
organism, economy, family relationships "and many others 
interlocked, are today in process of swifter change in 
Africa," says an outstanding Protestant missionary and 
veteran student of Africa, Dr. Emory Ross, "among more 
millions of people . . . than has ever been known before/* 
When you travel by plane on a bright summer day, you 
are often fascinated in watching the huge, radiantly white 
cumulus clouds as they drift by your window. If you are 
new to such travel, you have a sense of having invaded a 
strange world with its grotesque shapes and suggestion of 
increasing accumulations and gathering storms. Yet the 
clouds are but a symptom. The real forces are invisible 
columns of heated air that rise from the ground far below, 
and become noticeable only when they encounter the 
cooler upper atmosphere. The daily press today is full of 
storm clouds that hang and drift over emergent Africa: 
glittering with radiant hopes, yet menacing as political 
thunderheads gather and coalesce and harbor dread flashes 
of racial and religious hatred. As in the case of the physical 


world, the real forces are unseen. They lie in the invisible 
realms of human thought and emotion. Only the grace of 
the Holy Spirit can reach into the hidden realms where 
these vortices germinate. It is Toumliline's idea to bring 
the grace of the Holy Spirit to bear upon this increasing 
menace of conflicting human aspirations, by encouraging a 
free dialogue of minds linked together despite profound 
differences- by a fundamental concern for man and for the 
Divine Law in its application to human affairs. 

As their directors have been most careful to point out, 
the international conferences do not in any way favor a 
spirit of syncretism a minimizing or compromising of es- 
sential and irreconcilable differences. Christians, Jews, and 
Moslems confer neither arguing their basic beliefs, nor 
attempting to water them down. 

The significance of the meetings at Toumliline is aided 
by the favorable atmosphere in which they are conducted. 
In the first place, they are a joint conference of Moslems 
and non-JMoslems, on matters of common interest, held in 
an atmosphere of entire and mutual good faith. It is not 
merely a question of being willing to converse with one 
another, but something deeper: a conviction on the part 
of each participant that those of the opposing faiths have 
something to contribute toward unraveling problems com- 
mon to themselves and to the world. The participants, 
therefore, are intellectually present to one another, in the 
finest meaning of such a word. 

But their mutual presence is made possible by another 
presence, that of the living Church, in the persons of the 
monastic community, as their host, as their companion, as 


a continual wellspring of prayer, worship, ceaseless labor- 
hard, manual labor as well as intellectual toil and over- 
flowing charity. The Mysteriwn Dei, the Divine Mystery 
of liturgical adoration, praise, and Eucharistic Sacrifice, is 
each day enacted in their midst. Yet it lays claim only by 
silent invitation, not by compulsion or exhortation. In the 
midst of the harsh and cruelly contradictory problems of 
the North African and Middle Eastern world a divine and 
visible Work is performed. 

The friends of Toumliline are under the impression that 
this haven of peace, piety, and perfect hospitality will be- 
come a sort of crossroads for the study and discussion of 
the deeper problems of all Africa. 

The conferences do not rely upon some magic formula 
or sudden adoption of absolute virtue. They do not attempt 
to reform new legislatures, reconcile labor and manage- 
ment, or banish communism overnight. They do not expect 
sudden change, or dramatize the meeting of persons of 
widely differing class, nationality, or religion, or promise 
immediate divine guidance. Their outcome, whatever it 
may be, resides in the gentle operation of the Holy Spirit, 
who often sows in men's hearts seeds that will fructify only 
long after they are dead and gone. In the meanwhile, their 
visitors help to cultivate a fragrant garden of wisdom. "As 
I watch Brother Jean-Michel, the gardener/* said a young 
Moslem professor to me one day, "I see God's hand at work. 
These are true men of God." That knowledge, it seems to 
me, is enough to justify places like Toumliline. 




XN 1952 twenty Benedictine monks left the 
Abbey of En-Calcat in southwestern France and sailed to 
Casablanca, Morocco. They went 150 miles inland and 
stopped. Near the Berber town of Azrou, on a plateau in 
the Middle Atlas Mountains, they built a monastery and 
called it the Priory of Christ the King. In time, the monas- 
tery came to be known only as Toumliline, the name of a 
nearby spring. 

The terrain around the monastery was rugged. It was 
studded with mountain tops and was alive in early year 
with grass and flowers and grey, slow-moving masses of 
sheep. It was a place of bright sunshine and strong winds 
and of low-flying cumulus clouds that scudded across val- 
leys and scrambled over peaks on the way south to the 

Settling in Morocco the twenty created the only com- 
munity of Christian monks in Moslem North Africa. 

Why had they left En-Calcat? 

They left because they were ordered to Morocco by their 
Abbot . . . because they were invited to Morocco repeatedly 
by the Archbishop of the country . . . because they were 



specifically asked to settle in the land of the Moors by Pope 
Pius XII. 

The monks had arrived in Morocco at a bad time. The 
country was on the verge of revolting against France. In 
fact, Morocco's struggle for independence and the crisis of 
conscience this created for many Frenchmen closely paral- 
lels the tragedy today in Algeria. 

And yet the monks had arrived in Morocco at a good 
time, too, for the political upheaval ahead gave them a 
chance to prove, as one Moslem said, that "all Frenchmen 
are not evil/* 

And the monks did prove this in a hundred ways. They 
did it, for example, by giving tea to political prisoners of 
the French in the face of orders that forbade all contact 
with them. The word spread: 'The monks of Toumliline are 
men of God! They are true Moslems!" 

With the same spirit that has animated the Benedictine 
Order for more than fourteen hundred years, the monks 
built a clinic for the Berbers who lived in the mountains 
around the monastery, started an orphanage for Moslem 
children, began farm cooperatives for their Moslem neigh- 
bors, created a hospice for Moslem students, and for these 
same students instituted an annual international summer 
seminar, which Professor F, S. C. Northrop, of Yale, called, 
"one of the most constructive developments in the contem- 
porary world." 

And through it all the monks never proselytized, main- 
taining that their work was to be Christians and nothing 
more. Thus the heir of the Sultan of Morocco could say to 


the children of Azrou: 'Trust these fathers: for even as your 
own f athers, they will teach you nothing but good/* 

This then is Toumliline today, a community of strict con- 
templatives shaped by circumstance into a powerful instru- 
ment for social good in Morocco. 

But the story of Toumliline is much more than a report 
of good deeds done by good men. It is the story of twenty 
brave Benedictines who kept their integrity and identity as 
Christians and monks in a Moslem land in spite of dangers 
and threats and pressures. 

It is the story of Dom Marie de Floris, the Abbot of En- 
Calcat, who gave shelter to hundreds of hunted men and 
women during World War II. 

It is the story of Brother Jean-Michel Reder who spent 
the war years forging identity papers for Jews in Amster- 

It is the story of Dom Aime Tessier who quietly finished 
his lunch while a band of Berbers argued how they would 
kill him. 

It is the story of Dom Gilbert Combes who was told by 
a Berber horseman, "Soon we will kill all Frenchmen/ 7 

But the story of Toumliline is especially the story of Dom 
Denis Martin, who headed the monastery from the begin- 
ning and who once defied and threatened the High Com- 
mand of the French Army when an attempt was made to 
draft some of his monks. 

Dom Denis Martin, born Pierre Martin, is a rather tall, 
large-nosed, wide-shouldered, big-chested man with light 
blue eyes shielded by bristling eyebrows. The impression 
he gives is both of repose and alertness. A simple man, he 


is at the same time a complete sophisticate. He is a gentle 
person, capable of unbelievable bluntness. He trusts every- 
one and trusts no one. By training he is an intellectual, by 
disposition an artist and doer. 

Dom Denis was born in La Rochelle, France, in 1907, 
the son of a doctor. His parents, he says, "were transformed 
with joy" at his birth because they had lost three of their 
children that year. One of his earliest memories is of 
family outings to a lake near Bordeaux, where he would 
sit for hours under the hotel window of Claude Debussy 
as this close friend of his parents practiced the piano. 
Later, when soir&es were held at home in La Rochelle 
or in their Paris apartment, young Pierre always started 
the evening by playing for the guests. "I remember," he 
says, "how furious I would get, because just as soon as I 
finished at the piano my parents would send me to bed/* 

As he grew older, all Pierre's teachers pointed him 
toward a career in writing. At 21 he was ambitious, proud, 
and disappointed. His academic career had been marked 
by mediocrity, in part because of ill-health, in part because 
he wrote continuously and with little success. 

One day his cousin Gisele introduced him to Abb6 Jean- 
Pierre Altermann, the spiritual adviser of Charles Du Bos 
and Franois Mauriac. The meeting changed his life. P&re 
Altermann told him, "My friend, you complicate things. 
There is only one thing that really matters and that is to 
love God. You are made for that!" Pierre Martin decided 
that he might have a vocation. For three years, though, he 
worked at his writing while half-heartedly investigating 
the Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans. He went to Eng- 


land for a year and then returned to Paris, still floundering 
and undecided. In 1931 Father Altermann told Pierre that 
one of his proteges was being professed at the Abbey of 
Saint Benedict of En-Calcat and asked him to go along to 
the ceremony. Martin agreed. "I arrived at En-Calcat/' he 
recalls, "and found the whole place in abominably bad 
taste, and I knew with certitude and tranquility that 
this was to be my home." 

His novitiate had only begun when his widowed mother 
died, leaving him to care for his brother Michel, eighteen, 
and his sister Odile, thirteen. For a time it looked as if 
Martin would have to leave the monastery, but a dispensa- 
tion from Rome allowed him to continue at En-Calcat 
while overseeing the education of his charges. He rented a 
home in Dourgne, three miles from the monastery, filled it 
with furniture from his mother's Paris apartment to create 
a familiar atmosphere, and had Michel and Odile move 
into it from Paris. For six years Michel and Odile lived 
there under the direction of a governess their brother had 
hired, seeing Pierre, now named Denis, one hour every 
Sunday. Eventually, when they had grown up, both Michel 
and Odile entered the religious life, the first at En-Calcat, 
the second at Saint Scholastica, a convent close to the 

Martin's health, which had never been good, somehow 
thrived under the observance of the Rule of St. Benedict. 
He took his permanent vows as a Benedictine in 1937, and 
one year later was ordained a priest. When he was mo- 
bilized in 1940, army life made him realize how profoundly 
he had been transformed by his eight years in the mon- 


astery. At the request of his comrades, this monk-turned- 
artillery-sergeant gave lectures on the tenets and tech- 
niques of the Nazis, and when France fell, he led his fellow 
soldiers in taking a vow to remain true to France and to 
their Faith. Shortly after this, Dom Denis returned to 
En-Calcat and to his life as a Benedictine. 

A Benedictine is a priest or brother who lives in a clois- 
tered community that follows the "Rule for Monasteries" 
written about A.D. 530 by the Italian, St. Benedict of 
Nursia. Each community is self-governing, though it does 
belong to a congregation that is usually founded along 
national lines. The sum of these congregations we know as 
the Benedictine Order. 

Today there are twelve Benedictine congregations with 
233 monasteries and 11,500 members. This is a far cry from 
the 37,000 monasteries thriving at the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, but it is more impressive than the fifty 
that were surviving in the early 1800's, The reasons for the 
decline of the Order were the Reformation, the feudal 
practice of appointing laymen as the heads of monasteries, 
and the rampant anticlericalism of the French Revolution. 

Historically, the Benedictine Order has always been 
more of a movement than an organization. It is a move- 
ment that has shown at various times tremendous creative 
force. The Benedictines are credited with Christianizing 
most of Western and Middle Europe, and they are the ones 
who singlehandedly preserved the literary treasures of the 
ancient world and passed them on to the nations that 
evolved out of the shambles of the Roman Empire. 

Each Benedictine community considers itself a family. 


Hie family has as its father an abbot (if the community 
is an abbey) or a prior (if a priory, as is Toumliline). The 
security of the family is guaranteed by three vows peculiar 
to the Order stability, obedience, and conversion of 

The vow of stability is a monk's promise that he will 
stay in the monastery he enters until he dies or is sent to 
another monastery by his abbot. The vow of obedience is 
made to the abbot and gives substance to his authority. 
The vow of conversion of morals is a monk's pledge to per- 
severe in his attempts to advance in virtue. 

The life that a Benedictine embraces when he takes his 
vows is one of prayer and work. He devotes about five 
hours each day to the chanting of the Divine Office; the 
remainder of his waking time is spent at work. Since each 
community is meant to be self-sufficient, the labor of a 
single monk may vary from instructing a novice in philoso- 
phy to harvesting a field of wheat, or to repairing shoes. 

But what is it that brings a man to give up family 
and friends and even country, as did the monks of Toumli- 
line, for the monastic life? What is he after? How does he 
hope to achieve it? 

Part of the answer is in the stirring Prologue of Saint 
Benedict's Rule, Across the centuries we hear him say: 

Listen, my son, to the precepts of the Master and in- 
cline the ear of your heart. Willingly receive and ef- 
fectively carry out the admonitions of your loving 
Father, so that by the labor of obedience you may 
return to Him from whom you have departed by the 
cloth of disobedience. 


To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, who- 
ever you may be, who are renouncing your own will 
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and 
are taking up the strong, bright armour of obedience. 

Another part of the answer can be found in what Abbot 
Marie de Floris, head of En-Calcat, once said to men just 
making their vows: 

My friends, why have you come to the monastery? 
With Saint Benedict, we reply immediately: to hunt 
for God! 

From now on this will be your life: you will be God- 

If someone ever asks you what your profession is, you 
will be speaking the truth if you say: I am a God- 

More than ever before the world has need of God- 
hunters, even though it may not understand this, and 
even though the apparent uselessness of your life 
scandalizes it. 

Hunting God is a great adventure. The means you use 
are prayer, faith, hope, and charity devices that often 
seem contrary to the tendencies of our own nature. 
God loves Himself to be searched out. We can truth- 
fully say: You are indeed a hidden God. 
Yours is a dangerous adventure. Adventures in the 
world that go awry can always be corrected. But the 
adventure that you are starting out on will be utterly 
disastrous if it ends badly. For if you do not find God 
in the monastery, everything is lost, defeat is total. 


'ON'T worry about me," the young Benedic- 
tine novice wrote his parents. "I am at peace. If I am sick, 
there is the infirmary. If I die, there is the cemetery/* 

With these words, the founder and first abbot of the 
Abbey of Saint Benedict of En-Calcat, Dom Romain 
Banquet, announced in 1882 he had entered a monastery. 
And although he died a quarter of a century before En- 
Calcat created Toumliline, Dom Romain might still be 
considered the father of the Moroccan venture. For this 
short and powerfully built man with the stern look and the 
regal stance gave his monks the feeling of being the elite 
of the Benedictine Order. He filled them with the superb 
self-confidence that allowed twenty of the community to 
eventually sail off to Moslem Morocco convinced they 
could retain the integrity of their monastic life. The image 
of the Benedictine that Dom Romain held up to his com- 
munity was of a person completely virile in mind and 
manner. He thought of the monastery as a place where a 
man could perfect his manhood, and often said that a monk 
without courage could do nothing in the service of God. 



He believed and taught that Heaven fell only to the 

And yet it was more than the discipline of the cloister 
and the powerful personality of Dom Romain that shaped 
the monks of En-Calcat and moulded them into material 
equal to the challenge of Toumliline. For almost all of 
these men had had their characters tempered by war. In 
1914, thirty-three En-Calcat monks voluntarily joined the 
French Army as soldiers. They did this in spite of the fact 
that they were then living in banishment in Spain, where 
they had gone after being driven from their homeland 
during the last wave of French anticlericalism in 1903. This 
decision to return to France was in line with a statement 
made by Dom Romain shortly after the beginning of the 
war. "My children," he said, "always be French Catholics, 
French monks, French in Thomistic philosophy, French in 
Thomistic theology, French in things intellectual, literary, 
artistic. This is the way to serve the Church/' Eleven of 
the monks of En-Calcat who listened that day to Dom 
Romain died fighting for the country that had rejected 

When World War II started, fifty-one monks of En- 
Calcat the community had been re-established in France 
in 1917 answered the call to arms. When the German 
blitzkrieg smothered France in 1940, forty-four of them 
returned to the cloister. Of the rest, six remained behind 
as prisoners of war and ended up in Germany as forced 
laborers; the fifty-first lay dead at Dunkirk. Finally, with 
the liberation and limited mobilization, a group of the 
younger monks joined the advance of General Leclerc's 


forces into Germany. All of them survived to resume their 
lives as Benedictines. 

World War II did not really end for the monastery until 
1948. In the summer of that year the third Abbot of En- 
Calcat, the thirty-nine-year-old Dom Marie de Moris, 
stood in the prisoner's dock at the Palais du Justice in Paris 
charged with giving refuge to Frenchmen accused of col- 
laborating with the Germans. Dom Denis Martin, the 
future head of the Monastery of Toumliline, found himself 
deeply involved in the incident. This affair capped the 
years of special training that prepared Dom Denis for the 
danger that lay ahead in Morocco. 

This training started in 1940 when Dom Denis ex- 
changed his army uniform for his Benedictine habit. At 
that time he was asked by his abbot to reorganize the 
monastic life of En-Calcat's lay brothers. The task brought 
him a much clearer understanding of the concept of the 
Benedictine community as a family. 

It had been the custom for centuries to treat these men 
as second-class monks, even though they took the vows 
of stability, conversion of morals, and obedience that all 
Benedictines did. The reason for this inferior status was 
that the lay brothers were not considered intelligent or 
cultured enough to profit from the riches of full monastery 
life. In a radical reform which other Benedictine priories 
and abbeys in Europe eventually followed, Dom Denis 
brought these men back into the full life of the community. 
He had them participate at choir in all the offices of the day 
and gave them a part in the daily intellectual work at 


While lie was working out this reform, Dom Denis was 
also ordered to write a biography of Dom Romain Banquet, 
who had died in 1929. The difficulty of the assignment was 
compounded because Dom Denis could not leave his mon- 
astery to track down documentation in Italy and Occupied 
France. Nonetheless, the priest says, 

the work was a great grace to me. It put me in close 
contact with the mind of Dom Romain, who had been 
led little by little by God to make a monastic reform. 
The work also put me in close touch with the forces 
that shaped the man and with the sources from 
which he drew his ideas. Dom Romain's motto was 
The Rule, only the Rule, the whole Rule," and 
he gave me many a key to the understanding of 
what Saint Benedict had written. Of course, this led 
me to re-study the sources that Saint Benedict himself 
had used: the writings of the Fathers of the Desert, 
Saint Basil, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine, and Cas- 
sian. I read and reread them all with a passion. I 
wanted to have a complete grasp of the intellectual 
milieu in which Saint Benedict lived; I wanted to 
understand the background of his ascetical and mysti- 
cal thougjit about the religious life. 

The manuscript took two years to complete and today 
circulates only within En-Calcat. Dom Romain had had his 
share of disagreements with ecclesiastics over his reforms, 
and "the work is so intimate," Dom Denis explains, "it 
would still upset many people on the outside." 

The education of the future head of Toumliline took a 
new turn when the Germans invaded Unoccupied France 
in 1942. During the next three years literally hundreds of 


Allied agents, Jews, escaped prisoners, Communists, 
Socialists, and Free Masons knocked on the monastery 
door and asked for refuge. The newly elected Abbot, Dom 
Marie de Floris, acting mainly through the monk he had 
appointed Guest Master, took them in and then arranged 
their escape to freedom. The Guest Master was Dom 

En-Calcat, because it was only seventy-eight miles from 
the Spanish border, must have seemed an ideal place to 
those on the run from the Germans. But just how ideal it 
was is something most of them do not know even today. 
It was inevitable that the Germans would assume that 
En-Calcat was giving asylum to their enemies. Time after 
time they staged surprise raids on the monastery but never 
found anyone they were looking for. One reason for this 
was that Dom Marie de Moris had an informer in the 
Gestapo itself, who always forewarned him of the raids. 
Dom Marie never learned the identity of the informer, for 
he contacted the Abbot only through a retired French 
police officer who was pretending to collaborate with the 

Another reason the Germans never caught Dom Marie 
or Dom Denis was that the monks had connections with 
the Maquis, and once alerted to an imminent raid, they 
could clear En-Calcat of people hiding there. Usually this 
was easy to arrange, since the monastery was a regular 
meeting place of the leaders of the local Maquis, whose 
base of operations was the Black Mountain, a high, 
wooded, massive, flat-topped mountain that bordered on 


The relationship between the Maquis and the monastery 
involved much more than the saving of lives. One of the 
monks, Dom Henri de Morant, was their chaplain. A big- 
nosed, big-faced, heavy-boned priest, he ended the war 
with a cassockful of medals and a special citation from the 
French Government that commented on his 'legendary 
scorn of danger/* Another side of the relationship devel- 
oped simply because the business of the Maquis was 
sabotage and assassination. This involved them in occa- 
sional crises of conscience. Their solution in such cases 
was usually the same they consulted the Abbot. This 
always caused Dom Marie intense agony, for, while he 
willingly gambled with his own life and the lives of his 
monks in his game of wits with the Germans, he shrank 
from the function of executioner. 

Dom Marie was perfect for the part he played during 
the war. It demanded the courage of a martyr and the skill 
of an actor, and he had both in abundance. An immensely 
self-possessed person, he never questioned his ability to 
outthink the Germans. The pose he assumed when he 
talked to his inquisitors was that of the monk too ab- 
sorbed in monastic affairs to trouble himself with the un- 
pleasantness going on outside. His native calm was inter- 
preted as the cultivated otherworldliness of the monk. 
And quite aside from the tonsure and black Benedictine 
habit, his whole presence was that of one not even belong- 
ing to the twentieth century. His face seemed lifted from 
a tapestry. It was marvelously homely and medieval and 
mobile. His black eyes were deep set, and his nose was 
short and blunt and had no dip in the bridge. Even his 


voice did not have a contemporary ring. It was deep and 
richly modulated. And he carried himself as if he came 
from another age, walking like a prince sure that every 
foot of ground he touched either belonged to him or should 
belong to him. 

As accomplished as he was, however, at the game of 
Gestapo hide-and-seek, he came close to losing his peace 
of mind at one point during the war. The Maquis arrived 
one night with a problem of conscience they had not been 
able to resolve. Was it permissible, they asked the Abbot, 
to blow up a German troop train scheduled to pass through 
Mazamet, a town twelve miles from En-Calcat? Dora 
Marie, sick with the thought of dooming hundreds of men 
to their death, sat for a long time nervously rubbing his 
forehead. And then before he gave his answer, he insisted 
his visitors show him documents which proved they were 
officially connected with the Free French. He knew, of 
course, that they were; and they were perfectly aware 
he knew. Nonetheless, they went through die charade, ob- 
viously as troubled as the monk. Finally, the Abbot said 
simply that they did have the right as soldiers to destroy 
the train. As the Maquis filed out of his office, the Abbot 
turned to Dom Denis and said over and over again, "It was 
very difficult, it was very difficult.** 

Of all the episodes in which Dom Denis was involved, 
the most improbable took place in late 1943. It began 
when Brother Michel-Benoit, the monastery's seventy-two- 
year-old Gatekeeper, took the priest aside and told him 
that two men at the entrance demanded to see the Abbot. 
Brother Michel-Benoit, an ex-cavalry officer who had 


covered himself with glory in World War I, pointed out 
that neither man was French. "They are scared," he added 
in sign language. 

The priest went to the gate to talk to the men. They 
immediately asked for a place to hide. One of the two 
identified himself as a German, the other as a Czech. The 
German, bald-headed and middle-aged, explained that 
they had escaped the day before from a prison in Castres, 
nine miles northeast of En-Calcat, during a general break. 
Without offering any more information, and without ever 
being asked any, he cryptically announced that he had 
been saved just in time his execution had been personally 
ordered by Hitler. The Czech in turn told of being taken 
from his home and shipped to France as a laborer. He 
said that he had escaped and had gotten as far as the 
Swiss border before his capture. The Czech was young, 
no more than twenty. 

When the men told the priest they were hungry, Dom 
Denis brought them into the refectory. He watched them 
as they ate, curious to know how genuine their appetites 
were. Excusing himself, he next went to a phone and called 
a priest in Castres, who confirmed the story of a prison 
break. He then made his report to the Abbot. Dom Marie 
asked if the men seemed to be telling the truth, and when 
his Guest Master nodded yes, said to accept them into the 
monastery. He repeated what he always said on such 
occasions: 'Tell no one." 

Brother Michel-Benoit found Dom Denis in the refec- 
tory. Speaking once more in sign language, he 
that this time two women were at the gate and that they, 


too, wanted to see the Abbot. Dom Denis signalled that 
they should be brought into the parlor. 

Without any preliminaries, the older o the two women 
approached Dom Denis when he walked into the room 
and said, "I'm a captain in the British Intelligence Service. 
My friend works for the same organization. Can you 
hide us?" 

The startled priest stared at the self-proclaimed spy, 
then turned around and closed the door he had just 

"You are spies, you say, but what is this to me?" 

"We need help. We escaped yesterday from the prison 
in Castres." 

The women hardly looked like escaped prisoners. The 
one who identified herself as a British captain had on a 
full-length fur coat and her faced was plastered with rouge 
and powder. The second woman, who had yet to say a 
word, wore a dark, tight, tailored suit. She, too, was 
rouged and powdered. If anything, they had the appear- 
ance of prosperous streetwalkers. 

'Why did you come here?" 

"We were told that if we were ever trying to get out of 
France, this was the place to come. We understand that 
a number of British agents have hidden out at your 

"If you are agents, why weren't you shot?" 

"I don't know," the woman in the fur coat said. "We 
were caught a week ago and we weren't even questioned." 

'Where did you spend the night?" 

"In a ditch," the same woman answered. 


"In those clothes?" 

"We stopped at a farm this morning and told the owner 
we were hikers and that we would like to clean up and 
have breakfast." 

"He believed you, of course/* 

"He didn't ask us any questions." 

Dom Denis turned to the silent second woman and 
asked, "What is it you expect me to do?" 

"Help us get to England/* she replied. 

"I was in England once," the priest said. He suddenly 
switched to English, "I lived in London for almost a year. 
It was shortly after my father died. I worked for an insur- 
ance company in London and I was quite miserable." 

The woman smiled and then answered in English, "Some 
people are not cut out for the insurance business." 

"Would you excuse me a moment?" the priest asked. 

Leaving the door behind him open, Dom Denis hurried 
to the refectory where the German and Czech still sat. 

'Were there any women in the prison at Castres?" 

"Three of them," the German answered. "I heard that 
two of them were English." 

"Did you know their names?* 

"One of them was called Maxine, I believe." 

Dom Denis then explained that two women who had 
just come to the monastery claimed they had escaped from 
Castres. He asked the men if they would walk by the door 
of the parlor to see if they recognized either of them. He 
brought the men down the hall and pointed to the parlor. 
They quickly passed the priest, peeked in as they went by 


the open door, then looked in again as they returned to 
Dom Denis. 

"Yes," the German whispered, "they were at Castres." 

"Go back to the refectory. Ill see you in a little while," 
Dom Denis said as he walked toward the parlor. 

"Which one of you is Maxine?" he asked as he closed the 
parlor door. 

"I am/ 3 the woman in the fur coat laughed. She grew 
serious as she said, "May we stay?" 

"Yes. But I don't want any more information from you, 
and I don't want you to offer any. I think I will be able to 
arrange to get word to the British you are here. Until they 
make arrangements for your trip to England, you will 
stay here." 

"Where will we hide?" Maxine asked. 

"Hide? You won't have to hide. There's a retreat for 
women going on at the monastery. You, too, will make a 

"What is a retreat?" Maxine wanted to know. 

It was the monk's turn to laugh. "Groups of Catholic 
women occasionally come to the monastery to pray and 
meditate. You will take your meals with them and lodge 
in the same guest house. Observe what they do and imitate 

Maxine and her co-spy, Dom Denis recalls, stayed in the 
guest house for two months, joining one group of re- 
treatants after another and becoming "examples of piety 
to everyone." Finally, the British notified the Maquis, who 
in turn notified Dom Denis that a plane would land on the 
plateau of the Black Mountain to pick up the women. At 


the appointed hour, Dom Denis had the women driven in a 
monastery truck to the landing strip improvised by the 
Maquis. Just as they were about to start on their way, the 
monk asked the two spies to have a message transmitted 
over the BBC when they got back to England. He ex- 
plained that he had to make sure his lines of communica- 
tions with the British were still intact. 

Two days later, a neighbor who had been asked by Dom 
Denis to monitor the BBC came to the monastery to see 
the priest. 

<f l can't make any sense out o it, but I did catch the 
message you asked me to listen for/* he said. He repeated 
what he had heard: "Bob ne -fait plus pipi au lit? which 
translates "Bob doesn't wet his bed any more/* 

This incident was one of the many showing the com- 
bination of ingenuity and ingenuousness that marked the 
operations of Dom Denis and Dom Marie during the war. 
But precisely how cautious Dom Marie had been didn't 
come home to the future prior of Toumliline until the 
Germans had been driven from the region of En-Calcat. 
For seventeen men then emerged from the monastery, all 
of whom had no legal existence. Dom Denis had been 
aware of the presence of sixteen of them. What surprised 
him was that the seventeenth man had been hidden right 
next to the Abbofs cell for two years without the Abbot 
ever mentioning it. 

Giving refuge to the hunted, however, did not stop for 
En-Calcat when the war ended. For peace only intensified 
the search for those who had collaborated with the Ger- 
mans. Some authorities say as many as 100,000 Frenchmen 


were killed by other Frenchmen during the war and up 
through 1948. Officially the count was only 10,000, but 
this is hard to accept since it embraces an admitted 
5,234 killed before the Liberation. One figure, though, 
stands scrutiny 39,000 people were sentenced to prison 
for collaboration by the courts from 1944 on. The prison 
of Saint-Michel in Toulouse, 40 miles from En-Calcat, was 
packed with more than a thousand men and women. 

During this period the Communists made their strong- 
est bid for power in France. Their stepping stone was the 
National Assembly, in which they had the largest repre- 
sentation of any party, 183 out of a total of 618. Alleged 
rightist plots were constantly being nipped in the bud by 
the Socialist Minister of the Interior, Edouard Depreux. 
And while the collaborators were being tracked down, 
En-Calcat still gave refuge to anyone knocking at its gates, 
as did other monasteries in France. It was inevitable that 
Minister Depreux would discover the "Conspiracy of the 
Soutanes," as he called it. En-Calcat became one of his 

Three times the police invaded the monastery looking 
for collaborators, printing presses, arms. They found 
nothing. A fourth time the Surete Nationale sent men from 
Paris and occupied En-Calcat off and on for a week. They 
arrived March 16, 1946, and immediately posted guards 
with submachine guns outside the chapel door and 
watched the monks parade past, hoping to spot a collab- 
orator hidden under a cowl. When they interrogated the 
Abbot, they demanded to know if it was true that a tunnel 


connected En-Calcat with, the convent of St. Scholastica, 
three miles away. 

"Of course it's true!" de Floris said. "How else can you 
explain the presence of the Black Mountain? It is the dirt 
we dug up when we made the tunnel/* 

The police then went to St. Scholastica and demanded 
entrance. The nuns refused to let them in. By this time 
Dom Marie had showed up. "You realize that the nuns are 
cloistered/* he warned them. "If you enter the convent, 
those Catholics among you, and there must be some, will 
be automatically excommunicated/' The police didn't 
argue. They returned to En-Calcat and continued their 
search. Finding nothing, they promised to return the next 

What happened following their departure was part 
comedy, part melodrama. For some reason, Dom Floris 
hesitated to destroy the letters that showed the monastery 
had in fact given haven to people accused of collabora- 
tion. The next morning he thought better of it. He sum- 
moned Dom Placide Pernot, a young monk who was to 
play a major role in the story of Toumliline. Dom Placide 
enjoyed the assignment the Abbot gave him, as we can tell 
from his own description of it: 

At about seven in the morning, the Abbot told me 
he intended to destroy many letters. He rushed 
through his filing cabinets and gave me handfuls of 
paper that I piled into several waste baskets. With 
my booty I rushed to the furnace underneath the 
monastery church. Paper is hard to burn when it is 
tight, so I had to take the paper piece by piece and 


crumble it before throwing it into the fire. The Abbot 
had been in such a hurry that among the things he 
gave me I found several bank notes. I even threw 
these in. In the middle of my work, someone came to 
warn me that the police had begun their search. I 
hurried even faster. At one point I went out to see if 
the chimney was smoking very much. If it had been, 
this would have been bad since the heating system 
was not supposed to be on that time of year. The 
smoke, however, was not visible. A much greater 
danger was the smell. Of course, as I was throwing 
the paper into the furnace, I had to leave the door of 
the furnace open. Soon the odor of burnt paper began 
to spread through the basement and into the whole 
monastery. But these policemen were such blockheads 
they didn't notice. And when they finally came to the 
basement, they didn't even see the huge pile of ashes 
in the furnacel 

After the police left this day, the Abbot wrote the re- 
gional prefect of police. Tor the fourth time since the 
Liberation, [he said] our abbeys of Dourgne have been 
visited by the French police. The agents of the Surete 
Nationale have just invested our monasteries . . . and they 
have disturbed the entire countryside. And for the fourth 
time results have been negative. They did not find the 
legendary tunnel, nor the clandestine printing press, nor 
a secret radio transmitter nor the 'malefactors' they looked 
for.** Dom Marie demanded the searches stop. 

The letter produced results a month later. On April 21, 
the Abbot was summoned to Paris by the Ministry of the 
Interior. Pere Hilaire Martin, his secretary, went with him. 
For four days it was as if they had passed out of existence. 


On April 25 the Prior received a call from Paris informing 
him that both were in Sante Prison in the capital. Two days 
later Paris papers published a communique announcing 
that "the Abbot of En-Calcat, eighty-six years old (sfc/), 
and Dom Hilaire Martin, called to Paris to be questioned 
on the subject of collaborators pursued by the police, have 
been imprisoned for having hidden criminals/* 

The next day a letter arrived from the Abbot. He wrote 
that the police had not told him what the charges against 
'him were. He told that he was not allowed any informa- 
tion from the outside. He said he loved the solitude and 
asked for books. "No letters, no visitors/* he wrote, "just 
God/* And then he appended a note telling what happened 
the first night he spent in his cellthe other prisoners at 
Sant6 had serenaded him with bawdy Parisian songs. The 
Abbot reported he had been greatly amused by the 

Dom Denis concluded that the quickest way to get the 
Abbot and Dom Hilaire out of prison was to compile affi- 
davits from those people who had found refuge in the 
monastery during the Occupation. The job seemed im- 
possible, since he and the Abbot had deliberately not 
kept records during the period. The first affidavit, however, 
was easy to arrange. It came from the Socialist mayor of 
Dourgne, who in the spring of 1944 had occupied a cell in 
the monastery while the Gestapo, who had machine- 
gunned his wife to death, searched the countryside for him. 

The mayor, when Dom Denis saw him, agreed to write 
out a statement. When he finished and handed it to the 
priest, he told the monk he was still, of course, very angry 


at En-Calcat. Dam Denis asked why. C You all voted 
against me!" the mayor shouted. 

Within eight days the priest, working from memory and 
picking up leads as he went, accumulated a dossier of 
one hundred and fifty affidavits. Only one man who owed 
his life to the monks refused to acknowledge this in writ- 
ing, explaining it would be politically inexpedient to do 
so. Dom turned the documents over to the Minister of 
Justice, having made beforehand, however, two sets of 
photographic reproductions. One he sent to Robert 
Schuman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the other he kept. 
One typical statement it was from a British agent Dom 
Denis located in Pariswent: 

Not only did you save me, not only did you give me 
shelter and nourishment, but you did so without pos- 
ing any conditions. You demanded nothing of me. 
You did not concern yourself at all with either my 
political or religious opinions. You did not even ask 
if I had any. It satisfied you that I appeared to be on 
the side of right and of truth, that I was a persecuted 

On May 23rd the Abbot and Dom Hilaire were given 
provisional release. Dom Hilaire stayed in Paris to make 
arrangements for their defense while de Moris drove back 
to En-Calcat. When Floris got out of his car, the monks 
lined up and embraced him one at a time, then escorted 
him to his cell chanting the Psalm of Liberation: 

When the Lord gave back Sion her banished sons, 

we walked like men in a dream; 
In every mouth was laughter, joy was on every tongue. 


A letter from the Abbot General of the Benedictines of 
the Primitive Observance, Dom Emmanuel Caronti, was 
lying on Dom Marie's desk. It congratulated him for 
having given help to everyone who had come to the mon- 
astery. "Your fatherly conduct/* it said, "is that which He 
imposed in the Gospels: charity, charity to all, without 
distinction based on race or ideas. You have done well to 
affirm this principle of your life in front of the authorities/* 

The authorities themselves decided it would be wise to 
postpone the case as long as possible. Responding at last 
to the repeated demands of the attorneys representing the 
two monks, the trial began at 1:15 P.M. on April 16, 1948, 
eleven months after the release of Dom Marie and Dom 
Hilaire. The charge against them was that of "having 
knowingly hidden out persons who had committed a crime 
or who they knew were being sought for having done so 
by the courts/* 

The prosecutor had just gotten to his feet to begin his 
presentation when a man dashed in the courtroom and 
asked to speak to the presiding judge, a man named 
Vinon. The two men whispered together for a moment, 
then Vinon announced to the packed room that the 
Minister of Justice had directed that the charge against 
the monks be dropped. The spectators cheered. 

The Abbot, however, spoke quietly to the two who 
represented him, a Monsieur Chresteil and a Monsieur 
Brachet. Chresteil nodded his head and smiled. 

"My clients," Chresteil said to the President of the 
Court, ^practice charity. They do not solicit it/* 

The prosecutor began his case. He argued that not since 


the sixteenth century did the Church have the legal right 
to grant asylum. Chresteil, when it came his turn, agreed 
that this was true. But we are assuming, he said, that law 
is the refuge for all citizens, and when the law of man is 
suspended by circumstances, as it had been during the 
early days of the Liberation, the Divine Law nonetheless 
exists, and the primary part of this law is charity. 

The real point in the case emerged: did those accused of 
collaboration in the first days of the Liberation have a 
chance to prove their innocence? The judgement of the 
Court was that they did not. The final decision was 
acquittal pure and simple. 

As one monk commented at the time, the case reaffirmed 
the right of all men and of all Christians, and especially 
of priests, to offer hospitality to anyone asking for it, 
without committing the indiscretion of asking why the 
person was there. 

But what the monk did not know was that the trial 
ended the years of training the community needed before 
it was ready for Morocco. 


'URING the post-war years that the monks of 
En-Calcat practicedand defended Benedictine hospi- 
tality, they received several overtures to establish a new 
monastery in the French protectorate of Morocco. The 
first came from Jean Imberti, president of the powerful 
Association of French Employers in Morocco and lifelong 
friend of Dom Denis Martin. In a letter to Father Martin 
dated February, 1945, he predicted an enormous economic 
expansion in Morocco. "We are building a new France 
here in Morocco/' he wrote, "a new France that greatly 
needs Benedictines to help us achieve the dreams of 

Indeed the postwar period did see the building of a new 
France in Morocco. French capitalists, plagued by para- 
lyzing general strikes at home, poured hundreds of millions 
of dollars worth of investments into the country. The 
emergence of the Communists as the largest single French 
political party further encouraged this flood of money. 
Morocco's mining industry more than doubled its prewar 
output, making it the world's second in production of phos- 
phate, fifth in manganese, seventh in lead. The port of 



Casablanca sprouted glistening white skyscrapers and 
handled more shipping than Marseilles. French war vet- 
erans hurried by the thousands to stake out their claims in 
Morocco, while patriots at home preached that Morocco 
must be the showcase of the restored prestige and self- 
respect of a France humiliated in 1940. The first postwar 
Resident General of Morocco, appointed by General De 
Gaulle, proclaimed Morocco "a conservatory of the gran- 
deur of France' 7 and said it had "an exceptional value in 
demonstrating the place France can and must occupy in 
the world." 

But the new Morocco hardly fulfilled the dreams of 

General Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, conqueror and 
first Resident General of Morocco, did dream a dream 
for Morocco. This veteran of colonial wars in Indochina, 
Madagascar, and Algeria wrote a friend, "I dreamt of 
creating, of bringing to life countries asleep from the be- 
ginning of time. I dreamt of breathing the fire of life into 
them, of showing them the riches they had but were 
ignorant of. In Morocco, what a joy there has been in 
giving them desire, in quickening the blood in their veins/* 

If Lyautey was right and if at the beginning of the 
twentieth century Morocco had been asleep, she was soon 
stirred awake by the game of colonial grab bag in Africa. 
For Morocco was too rich and too well placed strategically 
to escape the attention of Europeans. The British wanted 
control over her because she stood opposite Gibraltar, 
while the French looked on her as a natural and attractive 
addition to their North African holdings of Algeria and 


Tunisia. Hovering in the background were the Spanish 
who had fought the Moslem Moors for centuries and 
wanted to settle old scores. 

But it was France that eventually came away with the 
prize. In a series of secret agreements, she agreed to recog- 
nize Italian influence in Tripolitania (Libya) and British 
influence in Egypt for a free hand in Morocco. These agree- 
ments satisfied all parties except Germany which was 
battling Britain and France for new markets and sources 
of raw materials. For a time it looked like war. But then in 
1906, President Theodore Roosevelt pressured the powers 
into holding a conference at Algeciras in Spain. Here thir- 
teen nations, including the United States, solemnly affirmed 
Morocco's independence and territorial integrity. 

This maneuver checked France only momentarily. The 
following year, after the murder of a half-dozen French 
citizens, France occupied two Moroccan cities, arguing 
that the Sultan could not maintain order in his own coun- 
try. When a new Sultan asked the French to withdraw, he 
was assured that the occupation was only provisional. The 
discouraged Sultan replied, "Allah called the creation of 
the world provisional." 

Once again Germany protested, and to back up the pro- 
test sent a warship to Morocco in 1911. The French in turn 
traded territory in West Africa for Germany's indifference 
to happenings in Morocco. Then promising part of the 
prize to Spain, France took the final step. In March, 1912, 
their Minister at Tangiers went to Fez and signed a treaty 
with the Sultan establishing a French protectorate over 


The "Treaty of Fez" contained only nine articles. In it 
the Sultan agreed to set up a new Moroccan government 
incorporating all administrative, judicial, educational, and 
military reforms the French might suggest. In addition, he 
gave France complete control over Morocco's internal and 
external security as well as the right to act as his sole repre- 
sentative in other countries. In return, the French promised 
to protect the person and throne of the Sultan "against all 
dangers'* and to safeguard the exercise of the Islamic 
religion and religious institutions. 

Riots broke out in Fez following announcement of the 
treaty. The French countered by calling in General 
Lyautey to restore order. This improbable mixture of 
colonial-administrator and military strategist stayed on 
until 1925 as Morocco's first Resident General. 

Lyautey brought to his job a theory of colonial adminis- 
tration formed and refined during years in Indochina and 
Madagascar. His colonial credo contained three principles: 
the European cannot substitute himself numerically, but 
he can control; since in every society there exists a born 
ruling class, without which nothing can be done, this con- 
trol must be exercised through that class; military pacifica- 
tion of a country was meaningless unless combined with 
the building of roads, telegraphs, schools. 

This theory of "civilization by conquest" appealed to 
Lyautey because of his own aristocratic background. But 
also, as this veteran of many battles with army bureaucracy 
once remarked, it has special appeal "because it is dis- 
tasteful to the military mind, which is a powerful argument 
for its good sense.** 


He applied Ids principles to Morocco, a country cer- 
tainly medieval by European standards. From the eight- 
eenth century a series of militarily weak Sultans had been 
able to maintain effective control only of the region around 
the fabled city of Fez and a few coastal settlements. Along 
the coastal plains and in the Bif and Atlas mountains, 
authority was exercised by marauding Berber chiefs. Mer- 
chants and artisans lived in hundreds of walled towns and 
paid "protection money" to one or another of these Berbers. 

From his years spent in Algeria, Lyautey had an im- 
mense admiration for the fiercely independent Berbers. 
Their way of life, he said, "endows the eye and certain 
sides of the intelligence with a sharpness that awes Euro- 
peans. A Berber tribe is by birth a regiment.** Another 
French General who took part in the conquest of Morocco 
and later became a Resident General, Augustin Guillaume, 
paid his Berber opponents this tribute: 

The dominant sentiment in the Berber which eclipses 
all others, is his innate love of independence. His 
instinctive horror of all forms of constraint and all 
domination explains his desperate resistance to for- 
eign penetration. Though deeply attached to his 
property, the Berber nevertheless does not hesitate to 
sacrifice it entirely in this struggle. Each one defends 
his territory to the end with a tenacity which may 
cause surprise but which compels admiration. As soon 
as he is old enough to bear arms the Berber takes part 
in the struggle. Contempt for death stimulates his 
pride. He is always ready to defend the tribal soil or 
to rush to the attack at the call of his brethren. He is 
an incomparable warrior, indisputably the best in 
North Africa. 


No one knows for certain the origin of Morocco's indige- 
nous Berber-speaking people. While only some are blond 
or red-haired and blue-eyed, almost all have features and 
complexions similar to the Mediterranean peoples of Spain, 
Provence, and Italy. There are historians and anthropolo- 
gists who believe they came from Europe across the 
Iberian peninsula. Others feel their original home was 
either the Middle East or West-central Africa. 

Some things about the Berbers, however, are certain. 
One is their ability to assimilate rather than to be assimi- 
lated by the waves of invaders punctuating their thirty-two- 
century-old history. First caine the Phoenicians, followed 
by Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzan- 
tines, the Arabs, and, finally, the French. 

Another certainty is the Berbers* ability to do their own 
invading, explaining an old Berber's recent complaint, 
"The trouble with people nowadays is they don't like to 
fight." In the third century B.C., Berber troops fought 
beside Hannibal when he marched over the Alps and into 
Italy. A Berber chieftain, Ibn Tarik, led an invasion of 
Spain in A.D. 711, and gave his name to the Rock of 
Gibraltar, a corruption of the Arabic Jebel Tarik or Tarik's 
hill. On another occasion, a Berber army brought off the 
only successful invasion of Egypt from the West, a feat 
even Rommers Afrika Korps could not accomplish. 

Whereas the Phoenician and Carthaginian invaders 
stuck close to their coastal trading ports, the Romans 
moved inland to the rich plains of central Morocco. Ruins 
exist to this day of the once thriving city of Volubilis, 
from which Roman legions marched forth to check rebel- 


lious Berber tribesmen as far south as the Sahara. One 
Berber, Juba II, went to school in Rome, married a 
daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra, and returned a pro- 
vincial governor. 

Since the Berber language has no written form, what we 
know of the hill people of North Africa during the eight 
centuries of Roman and Byzantine influence is restricted 
to vague reports of forces attacking and then withdrawing 
from the Roman frontiers. The very name we give them 
today comes from the Roman use of the Greek word bar- 
bams, those outside the pale of civilization. These people, 
however, called themselves Imazighen noble or free men. 

Of all the invasions of Morocco, only the Arabic from 
the seventh to the eleventh centuries and the French in the 
twentieth century drastically altered the country's history. 
When the Prophet Mohammed died in A.D. 632, less than 
half of Arabia itself had accepted Islam. Yet exactly one 
hundred years later, the Franks under Charles Martel beat 
off a band of raiding Moslems a hundred miles south of 
Paris, while 6,000 land miles to the East, Moslems were 
pushing into India. One Moslem general, Okba ben Nafi, 
swept across North Africa and captured the last Byzantine 
stronghold there in A.D. 682. Legend says this same gen- 
eral rode into the Atlantic surf on his white charger, call- 
ing on Allah to witness that there were no lands further 
west to convert to Islam. (The Arabic name for Morocco, 
Maghreb el Aksa, means the land furthest west.) 

The Berbers, many with a veneer of Christianity or 
Judaism over their basically animistic religion, fought 
back, killing General Okba as he returned from the coast. 


Twenty years later another Arab army swept into Morocco, 
apparently with more success this time, because we find 
the subsequent Arabic invasion of Spain led by the Berber 
Ibn Tarik. 

The religion of the invaders, Islam, spread slowly but 
surely among the Berbers, although it was often grafted 
onto local practices. On the other hand, the political 
authority of the invaders was challenged time after time 
by the Berbers. One successful Berber revolt brought on 
a second Arab invasion that stamped Morocco with the 
Arabic culture it has to this day, for instead of sending just 
tens of thousands of armed horsemen, hundreds of thou- 
sands of Bedouin men, women and children moved into 
North Africa. The success of this immense invasion is 
shown in today^s language statistics. Since the Bedouins, 
like the rains in Spain, stayed mainly in the plains, moun- 
tainous Morocco still remains almost fifty per cent Berber- 
speaking while in accessible Tunisia less than two per cent 
speak Berber. 

Five centuries of successive Arabic and Berber dynasties 
brought Moroccan culture to full flower. This was the 
period that developed Moorish architecture, best typified, 
perhaps, by the AJhambra in Granada. While Europe was 
emerging from the "dark ages," the Karaouine University 
in Fez attracted scholars from all over the world. At one 
point the Moroccan political domain extended from Sene- 
gal in West-central Africa to Algiers and across to the 
Catalonian border in northern Spain. 

By the sixteenth century Spanish, Portuguese, and Turk- 
ish armies were shutting off Morocco from the rest of the 


world. This isolation was gradual though, for we find one 
Sultan, the legendary Moulay Ismail, negotiating to add 
a daughter of Louis XIV to his harem of 4,000. Another 
Sultan, Mohammed ben Abdallah, corresponded with the 
first President of the United States. George Washington 
sent a copy of our Constitution to the monarch, who in 
turn established diplomatic relations with the new repub- 
lic. The Sultan's son later presented the United States with 
a palace which to this day houses its officials in Tangiers. 

Although France managed to wrest control of Algeria 
and Tunisia from the Ottoman Turks by the end of the 
nineteenth century, independent Morocco remained a 
land of mystery. There was some economic penetration of 
Moroccan ports by European traders, but travel to the 
interior was impossible without a strong military escort. 

This combination of danger and mystery appealed to the 
jaded appetites of the unpromising twenty-four-year-old 
Vicomte Charles de Foucauld, then serving with the 
French Army in Algeria. He asked his superiors for per- 
mission to make a reconnaissance mission through Morocco. 
They turned him down, feeling that a man they once sus- 
pended "for lack of discipline and notorious misconduct" 
he had tried to pass off one of his mistresses as the Vicom- 
tesse de Foucauld to the society-conscious circle of officers* 
wives lacked sufficient character and stability. De Fou- 
cauld surprised everyone by resigning his commission and 
devoting the next eighteen months to a program of physi- 
cal self-discipline and the study of the Arabic, Berber, and 
Hebrew languages, astronomy, and the use of geodetic 


He made the eleven-month trip through Morocco in 
1883-1884 disguised as a rabbi. To go as a Christian was 
impossible. To go as a Moslem might mean detection and 
death. Morocco's Jewish community, however, was segre- 
gated in Mellah (separate walled quarters) and was en- 
gaged in commerce, giving De Foucauld both seclusion 
and an excuse to travel. 

The results o his journey he narrowly escaped death on 
several occasions were published in his Reconnaissance 
au Maroc and contained a wealth of military information. 
Almost 1,000 of the 1,400 square miles he mapped were 
mostly blank spaces on French Army maps. Later General 
Lyautey and his officers were to make use of this book 
in their conquest of Morocco. 

De Foucauld's adventure was much more than a suc- 
cessful intelligence mission. To a friend he wrote: "The 
sight of the Moslem Faith, of these souls living in the 
continual presence of God, gave me a glimpse of something 
vaster and more real than worldly preoccupations.^ Two 
years later he became a Trappist monk. He remained, 
though, concerned about the Moslems and thought of their 
possible conversion. "The word is much," he said, "but 
example, love and prayer are a thousand times more. Let 
us give them the example of a perfect, divine life. Let us 
love them with that all-powerful love that can make itself 

Given permission to leave the Trappists, he lived for 
three years a solitary life of poverty among the Moslems 
of the Holy Land. Returning to France where he was 
ordained priest, De Foucauld resolved to live among the 


Moslems of North Africa. He proposed to settle as close 
as possible to the Moroccan border against the day it was 
opened up by the French. Although he never again set 
foot in Morocco, he lived among the Berbers in the Alge- 
rian Sahara until murdered by some of them in 1916. 
In notes he left, Father de Foucald asked: 

To make the Moslems come to God must one try to 
excel in certain ways they esteem: for example, in 
being audacious, a good rider, a good shot, generous 
in a somewhat lavish way? Or must one practice the 
Gospel in abjection and poverty, going barefoot and 
without baggage, working witfi one's hands, living 
poorly like a small workman? It is not from the Ber- 
bers we must learn to live but from Jesus. The Mos- 
lems are not deceived. Of a good rider, a good shot, 
they say, "He is worthy to be a Berber." But were 
a missionary to live the life of St. Anthony in the 
desert, they would say, "He is a saint/* 

Charles de Foucauld's life and death has inspired many 
French men and women to share their lives with North 
Africa's Moslems. He himself dreamed of recruiting lay 
missionaries who would neither preach nor teach, but 
would simply show forth Christ in their daily lives. Today, 
The Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, founded in 1933, 
The Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and The Little 
Sisters of Jesus, both founded in 1939, lead lives of con- 
templation and service while sharing the poverty of their 
Moslem neighbors. One such group of sisters fives in a 
Berber tent near Toumliline. 

A French Jesuit, Father Guillou, who had gone to 
Morocco inspired by the ideas of Charles de Foucauld, 


issued the second invitation to the monks of En-Calcat to 
come to Morocco. In February, 1947, Father Guillou went 
to En-Calcat with a proposal for the Abbot, Dom Marie 
de Floris. He told Dom Marie of his having resigned as 
Director of the Agricultural School at Angers to recruit 
agricultural technicians as lay missionaries for Morocco. 
"I want to create two centers/* the Jesuit said. "One, al- 
ready begun just outside Rabat, will be a center of agri- 
cultural life comprising a model farm and a technical 
school. The other would be a center of spiritual life, 
preferably a community of Benedictine monks." Father 
Guillou then offered five hundred acres of land to En- 
Calcat for the proposed monastery. 

The Abbot did not reject the offer out of hand. He men- 
tioned that En-Calcat had already been asked by the 
Benedictine Bishop of Copenhagen to consider a founda- 
tion in Denmark. He further said that no En-Calcat f oun- 
dation could be tied to any project that would interfere 
with the contemplative life of his monks. In any event, the 
Abbot pointed out, assuming the Danish proposal was re- 
jected, those investigations plus the ones on Morocco would 
mean that it would be at least three years before they could 
give a final answer. 

The prospect of a three-year delay by En-Calcat dis- 
couraged a group of wealthy French colons and army 
officers also hoping to see Benedictines in Morocco. They 
asked Msgr. Am6dee Lefevre, the Archbishop of Rabat, to 
make arrangements elsewhere, and soon a Benedictine 
monastery did exist in Morocco. The Abbot of En-Calcat 


was informed of this and dismissed from his mind the pos- 
sibility and need of a second foundation. 

For a number of reasons the new Moroccan monastery 
failed. Once again overtures were made to En-Calcat, this 
time through a good friend stationed in Rabat, Colonel 
Guillaume de Tournemire. In a letter to the Abbot dated 
January 29, 1950, the Colonel explained his role as inter- 
mediary for the Archbishop of Rabat. Because of the deli- 
cate situation following the failure of the first Benedictine 
community in Morocco, he said that Archbishop Lefevre 
would prefer the official initiative for a new foundation to 
come from En-Calcat. De Tournemire suggested a possible 
location for a monastery was at a place called Toumliline 
where a small school for boys was in financial difficulties. 
If the monks would take over the school, the Colonel wrote, 
a layman would make them an initial gift of $15,000. 

Dom Marie de Floris waited a month before answering 
De Tournemire's letter. In a chatty note which included 
news of the academic achievements of the Colonel's son in 
the monastery school, the Abbot asked for time to think 
over the invitation. He explained that En-Calcat's investi- 
gation of a possible foundation in Denmark would be com- 
pleted within four or five months. Should they decide 
against Denmark, he promised, they would at least con- 
sider Morocco. There was one prior condition, however. 
The Abbot insisted there be a full clarification of the status 
of the monastery that had failed in Morocco, since it had 
been under the authority of a Benedictine congregation 
other than his own. He wrote: 'We will never agree to take 
on the odium of establishing a foundation that would be 


'the rival* of another. The Golden Rule ought to govern 
the relations between all honest men, and consequently, I 
like to believe, the relations between ecclesiastics and 

Later as he was discussing with Bishop Johannes Suhr 
of Copenhagen a possible Danish foundation, a personal 
message came from Pope Pius XII urging de Floris to at- 
tempt the Moroccan foundation. In mid-October, 1950, 
the Abbot flew to Morocco. 

In his notes on the trip Dom Marie de Floris mentions 
he detected a certain snobisme in the desire of many lay- 
men who wanted Benedictines in Morocco. "They have not 
understood, to hear them speak, the essentials of the mo- 
nastic vocation and its bearing on a foundation in a Moslem 
country/' But their desire for a foundation was "profound" 
and, he wondered, "is it absolutely necessary that the laity 
have grasped and understood these essentials when certain 
monks themselves have not done so?" 

In the first of three conversations with Archbishop 
Lef evre, the Abbot of En-Calcat insisted his monks would 
not accept any ministry which would require them to re- 
main outside the cloister. The Archbishop requested that 
the new monastery have a guest house where priests and 
members of Catholic Action groups could come for retreats. 
A difference developed between them over the location of 
a monastery. The Archbishop disclaimed the invitation to 
Toumliline contained in the letter sent by Colonel de 
Tournemire. While agreeing that the mountainous region 
of Toumliline was perfect from the standpoint of solitude, 
climate, and beauty, he felt it was too isolated. He pro- 


posed a property along the Atlantic coast between Rabat 
and Casablanca, the two cities that contained nearly 
seventy-five per cent of the Catholic population of Mo- 
rocco. In turn, Dom Marie insisted on a more remote loca- 
tion to insure monastic solitude. 

A second interview later the same day took up some of 
the problems inherited from the earlier Benedictine foun- 
dation. Then Msgr. Lefevre again proposed the coastal 
location for the En-Calcat foundation. The Abbot felt that 
the Archbishop's preference in locations was due to his 
previous experience as chaplain to The Young Christian 
Workers movement in Paris. Deeply concerned with the 
social and moral problems of the workingman, the Arch- 
bishop was anxious to establish a center of spiritual repose 
and influence in the vicinity of Casablanca, the commercial 
and industrial heart of Morocco. Dom Marie was sure he 
could convince the prelate that such a center and the pro- 
posed foundation were not compatible. As the talk finished, 
the Archbishop passed on an offer by a Catholic layman 
to give the monks six hundred acres of land and financial 
support if they would open a "Boys Town.** The Abbot 
rejected the offer immediately and the Archbishop agreed 
that this seemed wise. 

A week later the Abbot had a final interview with Msgr. 
Lefevre to summarize the points they agreed on. The 
Archbishop promised to let the monks lead their monastic 
life without asking them to perform any ministry incom- 
patible with that life and asked only that they build a 
guest house for retreatants and that they interest them- 
selves in the spiritual formation of his diocesan clergy. He 


also asked that de Floris consider building a home for aged 
priests near the monastery. The Archbishop bluntly ad- 
mitted that he could offer the monks little in the way of 
financial support. He said he was delighted, however, with 
their plans to earn their own living, if they came to North 
Africa, by manual labor, <c an excellent example for the 
Moroccan people and especially for some Europeans in 
Morocco." He finally proposed that their disagreement over 
the location of the new monastery be settled only after a 
monk sent by the Abbot investigated all possibilities and re- 
ported on them. Both men then agreed that the foundation, 
if it were to be made, be delayed one or even two years. 
For the Archbishop, the added time might help erase the 
impression left by the failure of the earlier Benedictine 

Early in 1951, Dom Marie sent his Cellarer to inspect 
the locations suggested for the monastery. He recom- 
mended Toumliline. In March the same year the Abbot 
returned to Morocco for final discussions with Msgr. 
Lef&vre, who now agreed to the Toumliline site. The 
monks could have the buildings and equipment of Toumli- 
line and the use of its 125 acres of land if they would 
assume its debts of seven million francs ($20,000). The 
Abbot returned to En-Calcat on Wednesday of Holy Week 
wondering where he could get the money. 

The problem was actually crucial, for the Abbot knew 
that En-Calcat could not afford the amount. He was dis- 
appointed that one of the laymen he had met in Morocco 
had not offered to assume the debt. He had assured the 
anxious Archbishop, however, he would try in every way 


to get the money, for the Abbot was now the man most 
convinced that there should be an En-Calcat foundation 
in Morocco. 

Three days later, on Holy Saturday, the Gatekeeper 
called Dom Marie to say a visitor wanted to see him. The 
Abbot recognized the tiny grey-haired woman he found 
in the monastery parlor as the recently widowed Madame 
Edmond Barbaro of Marseilles. She had a brisk business- 
like manner. 

"Is it true that you intend to start a monastery in 

"Yes, but why do you ask?' 7 
"I am interested in such a foundation." 
She handed him a small package wrapped in brown 
paper, shook hands quickly and left. Dom Marie opened 
the package. Inside he found seven million francs. 

During Chapter that night, the monks of En-Calcat voted 
unanimously in favor of a foundation of Toumliline. 

In July, Dom Marie sent his sub-Prior, Pierre de la 
Jonquiere, and another monk-teacher, Jacques de Gharry, 
to Toumliline to run the school inherited with the loca- 
tion and to prepare for the arrival of monks from En-Calcat 
the following year. Some weeks later the Abbot approached 
Father Denis Martin. 

"I must go to Toumliline tomorrow. I would like your 
advice on some points, so you will accompany me/' 

As they drove from the monastery the next morning, the 
Abbot turned to Father Martin. 

"Are you glad to come on the trip?" 
"Of course." 



"I'm serving you." 

The Abbot looked Father Martin in the face. "You do 
not understand why I am taking you with me?" 

The future Prior of Toumliline replied, "I understand 


J-HE conversation switched suddenly from the 
wines of Beaune to insurrection. Colonel Marcel Clesca, 
commander of the French troops in Azrou looked at Dom 
Denis and said, "Let me acquaint you, Father, with my 
plans in the event of a Moroccan uprising. The whole 
French community in Azrou, civilians and soldiers, will 
gather in the court of the Berber College and carry on its 
resistance from there.** 

It was midmorning August 28, 1952. Dom Denis had 
arrived at Toumliline late the evening before from En- 
Calcat, preceding his monks by five weeks. He listened 
carefully as the pleasant-voiced, sixty-year-old, red-faced 
Colonel explained the possibilities of revolution in Mo- 
rocco. When the officer paused, Dom Denis shook his head 
from side to side. 

"There is something you must understand," the priest 
said quietly. "We will not take refuge in the college or any 
place else. We shall not leave the monastery/* 

"Even if it prevented the massacre of your monks?** 

**We accept the risk, but in no event will we link our 
cause with the French Army.'* 



"How will you defend yourselves?" 

"We are not people who defend themselves." 

"Well, in that case we will defend you/* 

"If you send troops to the monastery, we will hide in the 
woods. Under no condition will I allow myself and my 
monks to be protected by troops/* 

Clesca pointed to a town on the map hanging on the 
wall behind his desk and said, "This is Setif, in Algeria. 
Recently two priests were murdered there. And who killed 
them? Their Moslem servants. You don't know these 
people. They will do the same to you even though you 
suppose they are your friends." 

"It is my choice and my responsibility," Dom Denis in- 
sisted. "I wanted you to know my precise position/* 

"I understand your position, but how will your monks 

"My monks? If only you knew them! They ask only one 
thing, the chance to bear testimony to their faith.** 

The list of monks assigned by Abbot Marie de Floris to 
Toiunliline had been read at Chapter on July 16. It in- 
cluded twenty men, fifteen priests and five lay brothers. 
Not counting Dom Denis Martin, the priests were Jean- 
Marie Martin (no relation to Dom Denis), Fulcran 
Hebrard, Jacques de Gharry, Odon Lacassin, Anselme 
Foerster, Charles Lyonnet, Aime Tessier, Mayeul Coquin, 
Edouard Lebel, Pius Aymard, Victor de Champlouis, Jean 
de Chabannes, Gilbert Combes, and Ambroise de Tourne- 
mire, brother of Colonel Guillaume de Tournemire. The 
lay brothers were Eugene Carme, Cyprien Doutte, Maurice 


Tournier, Jean-Michel Reder and Marie-Antoine Varguet 
The monks had not been chosen on the basis of superior 
talent. Rather, it was on the conviction that each was 
completely adjusted to monastic life. Yet each of them did 
have special qualifications that would allow them to con- 
tribute to Toumliline. Land had to be cleared and planted 
in Morocco, and Dom Aime, a smiling, humble, and thor- 
oughly stubborn man, had been in charge of the farm at 
En-Calcat. A library had to be established, and Dom 
Fulcran was the man to see that this was done right. There 
had to be a teaching staff at the monastery for the young 
students at Toumliline and for future novices, and Dom 
Jean-Marie (named sub-Prior of Toumliline), Jacques, 
Odon, Fulcran had among them advanced degrees in the 
sciences, letters, theology, canon law, philosophy. And 
although none of the monks knew the language of the 
Berbers, three of them did speak Arabic fluently. They 
were Dom Gilbert, Dom Ambroise, and Dom Jean, the 
first one having grown up in Morocco, the other two 
having spent between them sixteen years in the Middle 
East. Then, too, a complex of buildings had to be con- 
structed at Toumliline, and the avant-garde architect, 
Brother Jean-Michel, one of the monks to receive advance 
notice he was going to Morocco, had been working on 
blueprints for months. 

In a quiet, happy, Benedictine way, each of the monks 
selected for Morocco was formidable. Each of them had 
been schooled in privation and danger and had emerged 
tougher and yet more human for the experience. Each 
of them had been trained for years in the art of self- 


discipline, and while in personality the twenty ranged 
from the naturally reserved to the self-assertive, they all 
shared a facility for getting along with others and for 
subordinating themselves to the good of the monastic 

Of the monks selected by Dom Marie de Floris, perhaps 
the least typical were Brother Jean-Michel Reder and Dom 
Fulcran Hebrard. The former, who had come to En-Calcat 
in 1947, had only been a Catholic since 1944, whereas 
Dom Fulcran, though he had entered En-Calcat just five 
years ahead of Brother Jean-Michel, had been a secular 
priest for twenty years before he became a Benedictine. 

Brother Jean-Michel was born in 1913 in Amsterdam, 
Holland, and was schooled in Berlin. When Hitler came to 
power he left Germany for England. After a year in Britain, 
he returned to his family in Holland and began his formal 
training as an architect. The year he opened an office 
in Amsterdam, Germany invaded his country. Three times 
he and a friend tried and three times failed to escape to 
England. They had already made plans for a fourth at- 
tempt when Reder announced without explanation he 
would stay in Holland. His companion went on alone and 
reached the safety of the British Isles. The future monk, 
for his part, went back to Amsterdam, reopened his busi- 
ness office and for the next three and a half years eked 
out a living designing an occasional house. It did not seem 
to trouble him that right next door was the headquarters 
of a German commercial firm busy with shipping Dutch 
foodstuff to the east. The personnel of the German concern 
were amused by the bespectacled, skinny, blue-eyed 


Dutchman who always addressed them in their own lan- 
guage. They may have even felt a little sorry for him 
because he worked such long hours. 

However, it was not only architecture that occupied 
Reder. For he was operating a flourishing though entirely 
unprofitable trade as a forger for the Dutch underground. 
His specialty was creating identity papers and food cards 
for Jews in Amsterdam. As a sideline, he guided many of 
them out of the city to hiding places in the provinces. 
Those who knew him well realized that it was his love 
of Jews that had kept him in his homeland. He had grown 
up among them and did not want to desert them. His 
concern was, of course, well founded ninety per cent of 
the Jewish population in Amsterdam was killed by the 
Germans during the Occupation. 

The future Benedictine had a flair for clandestine work. 
When the time came that he could not have lights in his 
office because of a power shortage, he calmly tapped the 
cable that supplied the German office next door. And when 
on occasion he was hiding Jews in his own quarters while 
preparing forgeries for them, he fed them by robbing sup- 
plies from his Nazi neighbors. At times, too, his knowledge 
of German came in especially handy. While returning to 
Amsterdam on a train after dropping off two Jews at a 
hideout, he heard two Dutch quislings loudly threaten a 
woman with arrest by the Gestapo if she didn't cooperate 
with them. After that, the only sound in the compartment 
was the weeping of the woman. Suddenly an authoritative 
voice boomed out in German, "Nobody is arrested by the 
Gestapo unless I give the order/* The two quislings looked 


over at Reder it was he who had spokenand quickly 
changed their seats. When the train arrived at its destina- 
tion, they ran. 

When he reached his office that day, he heard that the 
Germans were searching the area in which he had hidden 
the two Jews. He felt especially responsible because they 
were two ancient and helpless women. And then he re- 
membered the oriental cast their features had and this 
gave him the idea to forge papers identifying them as 
Indonesians, who were fairly common in the Netherlands. 
The next morning he was back at the hideout with the 
documents. He was so proud of the work that he insisted 
they come back to Amsterdam with him so that he could 
find rooms for them. Frightened as they were, the women 
agreed. When they reached the capital, Reder registered 
them at a relatively elegant hotel, where they stayed right 
through to the end of the war. 

It was toward the middle of 1944 that Reder, now on the 
run, entered the Church. And when peace came, he told 
his spiritual adviser that he wanted to enter a monastery. 
The priest argued against it, saying that the decision should 
be postponed until he had lived long enough in the world 
as a Catholic. In 1947 he was vacationing in southern 
France and happened to visit En-Calcat. He asked if he 
could stay. Abbot de Floris said yes and put him in the 
charge of Dom Denis Martin, who was back at his old 
task of directing the brothers of the community. 

The route that Dom Fulcran, the second of the two 
least typical of the monks, followed to the monastery was 
longer but more direct than the one taken by Jean-Michel 


Reder. Born in 1895 near Montpellier, he had visited the 
monastery once or twice during his childhood. When he 
was nineteen, World War I started and he joined the 
French Marines. On April 25, 1915, fighting at Gallipoli, 
he lost a leg. After recuperating at Alexandria, he re- 
turned home and announced that he wanted to join the 
Benedictine community at En-Calcat. His parents talked 
their quiet son into entering, instead, a secular seminary. 
After ordination, he was attached to a secondary school 
at Beziers, which is about 30 miles south of Montpellier 
along the Mediterranean coast. His teaching of mathe- 
matics and science was interrupted only by periods of 
additional university study. Eventually he became head of 
his school, though he still dreamed of the monastery. His 
bishop knew of this but wanted the priest to stay where 
he was. In 1941, Father Hebrard at last formally requested 
permission to enter En-Calcat The bishop asked him to 
wait a year. In 1942 Hebrard repeated his request and this 
time it was granted. The next year, on November thir- 
teenth, Father Hebrard, taking the name Fulcran, was 
formally professed as a Benedictine, twenty-seven years 
after he first expressed his wish to join the Order. And 
when another nine years rolled along and his name 
was listed among those assigned to Toumliline, the 
happiest monk at En-Calcat was Dom Fulcran. He no 
longer regretted the years outside the cloister. He felt 
that the adventure ahead would repay him for whatever 
he might have missed. The tall, thin, limping monk with 
the blue eyes and the narrow face and the deep, rolling 
laugh decided he would write down everything the future 


monks of Toumliline did and saw. And with his chronicle, 
the oldest man of the twenty showed he was the youngest 
at heart. 

The day before the monks left for Morocco, Dom Ful- 
cran started his history. 

On October third, on the feast day of St. Teresa of 
the Child Jesus, Father Abbot and Dom Elie left En- 
Calcat for Port Vendres (on the Mediterranean, close 
to the Spanish border) to take care of the formalities 
of our embarlonent and to spend a few minutes with 
the Abbot General who came to see us off. In the 
evening, at the end of Chapter, we all lined up and 
received the embraces of our brothers. There were 
some tears. The Prior put it quite well when he said 
we are generally not demonstrative, though in our 
hearts we may weep. Came Compline and complete 
silence. Despite the curfew, we travelers still had 
things to take care of. 

The night was short and it was difficult to sleep. The 
bell for Matins rang and we went quickly to the sac- 
risty to celebrate our last Mass at En-Calcat. There 
was a substantial breakfast. Pere Thibaut, who was in 
charge of serving us, looked over us silently. He served 
us three, four, and five pancakes and a huge piece of 
cheese. We went quickly to the yard of the novitiate. 
The truck was there, the floor loaded with trunks and 
packing cases all the way to the endgate. Most of our 
brothers came after Matins to say, without speaking, 
a last goodby. We left at the scheduled hour, 4:00 
A.M. With Dom Jean-Marie, the sub-Prior, we recited 
Matins, followed by "Benedicamus Domino/* Our 
tongues were untied and we awaited the coming day 
for Lauds. 


The trip to Port Vendres delighted Dom Fulcran. He 
wrote that after a short stop at Lezignan, "we recited 
Lauds and awaited the sun for Prime. At Narbonne it 
lighted the tops of the houses and we prayed to God to 
bless our day." And then after a sharp turn in the road 
beyond Argeles, they stopped to eat "before a marvelous 
satin sea." The monks recited Tierce and "lunched joyously 
. . . forgetting that we had already feasted shamefully that 
morning." They arrived at Port Vendres on schedule, met 
with Dom Marie, and boarded the ship. As soon as they 
had stowed their luggage in their third-class cabins, they 
climbed the almost vertical ladders to the deck, timidly at 
first and then quickly and eagerly. They saw the Abbot 
General on the pier and waved. At that moment a ship's 
officer raced madly toward the ship and made it aboard 
as the gangplank was hauled up. There was a long blast 
on the ship's horn, "the capstans started to whirl, and the 
Azrou, released from the dock, moved out under its own 
power. Adieu France!** 

Minutes after the Azrou cast off at noon, the ship's bell 
announced lunch and the monks descended to the third- 
class dining room. The roll of the ship did not prevent 
them from doing justice to the fare. As soon as coffee was 
downed, the monks raced to the deck again to catch sight 
of the Spanish coast: the colors and foliage, the cliffs and 
lighthouses and villages all excited them as they identified 
settlements and points of land by a map Dom Jean had 
brought with him. For a closeup view of the sights, the 
men used a pair of 7 X 50 binoculars supplied by Dom 
Odon, who was still back on the mainland preparing his 


doctoral defense. The afternoon was interrupted only by 
the canonical hours observed by the monks on the fantail 
of the ship. Vespers were sung that evening as the lights 
of Barcelona passed by. 

The next morning the monks said their Masses in their 
cabins, using improvised altars set up on the wash bowls. 
Later in the day the captain let Dom Jean-Marie take a 
turn at the wheel. It was something of a climax in the 
priest's life: he had been an honorary French Navy chap- 
lain for twenty years and had never sailed before. For Dom 
Fulcran, this first full day aboard ship brought back mem- 
ories of his last ocean voyage in 1915. 

On October Sixth the monks celebrated Mass early so 
that they would not miss Gibraltar. They breakfasted and 
hurried on deck. "And there it was!" Fulcran says in his 
chronicle. "But it was not the profile and this disconcerted 
us since this was the way it had always been represented 
in pictures." 

The ship moved slowly because it was not due in Tan- 
giers until ten the next morning. Porpoises came alongside, 
flipped effortlessly out of the water, dove again. The ship 
hit a fog bank and did not emerge until Gibraltar was far 
behind. And then: "We were all eyes when we saw the 
coast of Africa, our new fatherland." Reaching port, the 
Azrou tied up near three American destroyers and an 
American submarine. 

The first thing that caught the monks* attention when 
they reached shore was a huge banner strung across the 
front of a hotel that read, 'Welcome U.S. Navy!" At the 
sight of this, Father Jean suggested to the Abbot that 


they send a telegram to the Sultan of Morocco announc- 
ing their arrival in the country. The Abbot turned down 
the idea. The monks then divided into two groups, one 
under Abbot de Floris, the other guided by Dom Jacques. 
Jacques' group made its way to one of the landmarks of 
the city, the Sultan's Tangiers palace. 

It was the palace of Sleeping Beauty, [wrote Fulcran]. 
We went into a garden of dreams, of little walks 
paved with brick set in the earth in the Roman style. 
The paths crossed each other under shade trees thorn 
apple and bougainvillea. Then there was a second 
garden which was even more beautiful. In the wall 
was a loge of complicated and multicolored stucco 
and chiselled cedar. A path led to a door that opened 
onto a staircase. We saw a patio worthy of the Ara- 
bian Nights. We climbed the staircase and discovered 
a pool and palm tree that we had seen from the ship, 
its plumes dominating the whole city. 

Leaving the palace, the monks next visited the medina, 
Tangiers 5 native quarter. They heard singsong voices and 
looked through a battered brown doorway to see Moslem 
children reciting verses from the Koran. The Moslem in 
charge of the class glanced at them once and paid them no 
further attention. Later, on their way back to the ship, 
a young Moroccan, seeing Dom Jean, saluted him as "El 
Presidente" because of his beard. 

The ship got underway again at 5:00 A.M. and the 
Azrou pulled out of Tangiers and steered for the Atlantic 
and the port of Casablanca. The monks again lined the 
rail. They saw Gibraltar standing to the east; to the north- 
west, Trafalgar. 


Within the hour the ship passed Cape Spartel, the point 
of land that divides the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. 
It turned southwest and steamed straight for Casablanca. 
A haze was on the water and the monks that lined the 
rail were barely able to make out the shape of another 
vessel moving on the opposite course. And just as hap- 
pened when the Azrou shoved off from Port Vendres, the 
dinner bell dispelled sentimental reflections. 

The next morning we were awakened by the si- 
lence. [Fulcran writes]. No more wind, no more vi- 
brations. However, we did not cry out like Tartarin 
"Mercy! We are sinking!" for we had been told we 
would arrive in Casablanca in the middle of the night 
and would wait in the roadstead for daylight before 
entering port. From the deck we contemplated the 
lights of the big city. We heard the whistle of a loco- 
motive and the distant clatter of a train. After a few 
minutes we went below to say our Masses in order to 
be ready to disembark when dawn came. 

A crowd greeted the monks as they filed off the ship. 
Among it were Dom Denis and Colonel de Tournemire. 
Reporters surrounded the Abbot and one asked, "Why 
have you come to Morocco?" Dom Marie answered him in 
a single sentence. "We have come to lead the monastic 
life." Dom Gilbert then drove off toward Toumliline in 
the monastery's truck with all the heavy baggage aboard, 
while the rest of the monks piled into a Peugeot 203, a 
rented Chevrolet, and a second truck and headed toward 
Rabat sixty miles away. There they were received by 
Monsignor Louis Amedee Lefevre, Vicar Apostolic of 
Morocco and Archbishop of Rabat. The short, silver-haired 


prelate embraced each of the monks and then led them 
into his chapel, where he talked to them of the importance 
of the day to the Church in Morocco. He then led them 
into his dining room where "he treated us 'in all humanity' 
according to the precepts of Christian charity/' as Fulcran 
recorded it. "We paid him honor and then left without 
delay (for Toumliline), for the road was long/* 

Their immediate destination was Meknes, ninety miles 
almost due east of Rabat. Along the route they stopped 
for lunch in a stand of cork trees, then quickly took to the 
road again. 

All was new [wrote Fulcran], all was beautiful. We 
could not get our fill of the cork trees, of the little 
noualas (cone-shaped straw huts). Then came im- 
mense fields and finally we saw from afar a city 
(Meknes) that is all white. We circled the native 
quarter with its ramparts and an admirable gate and 
came to the European section of the city where we 
stopped for gas. Then we started out on the road for 
Azrou about fifty miles toward the south. 

The route took them to a plateau overlooking the rich, 
rolling farmland that rings Meknes. They went higher still, 
past austere fields strewn as far as they could see with pitted 
volcanic rocks. They passed a deserted French fort, which 
one of the monks at En-Calcat had helped man in 1913. 
Suddenly they looked to their right and 'caught sight of 
the incredible Adarouch Valley. They stared at the view as 
they descended the plateau to the very edge of the 
horizon was an assembly of grey, dead volcanoes rising 
out of the valley floor. The road led away from the vista 


and worked its way down from the plateau and deposited 
the travelers in the Tigrigra Valley of Azrou. "We stopped 
at a beautiful fountain/' said Fulcran, "where a Berber 
was showering his black horse with buckets of water. We 
drank, we were insatiable. Evening started to fall. As we 
approached Azrou, Pere Jacques pointed to Toumliline." 

The tiled red roof of the building that was to be their 
home disappeared as they passed through Azrou. The 
town was alive with Berbers come to celebrate a Moslem 
feast. The caravan climbed once more for four miles and 
then stopped on a plateau that hung a thousand feet over 
the valley they had just driven across. The sun was setting. 
Thirteen hundred miles from En-Calcat, in the center of a 
forest of giant cedars and oaks, the new community began 

O God, come to my aid; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. . . . 


X REMEMBER the first days [says Father 
Martin]. We were living in a temporary barrack on 
the site of a former summer camp. Among the workers 
who were converting it into a monastery were laborers 
who came from Tafilalet ( an oasis on the edge of the 
Sahara), stone masons from Meknes, carpenters from 
Azrou. They were of varied racial origins. Some were 
Negroes, the descendents of slaves imported from the 
south. Others were blond and blue-eyed. But most of 
them had the fine and regular features of the Medi- 
terranean peoples of Spain, Provence, and Italy. One 
of our monks ( Dom Fulcran), originally from Lodeve, 
a little town in the south of France, remarked that 
these men used the same proverbs and told the same 
stories as the people of his own locality. Thus we felt 
we had never left the Mediterranean world and so 
would not be strangers here. The picturesque clothing 
of our new neighbors and their language Arabic 
and Berber- did not more than remind us that we 
were no longer in France. What we were struck by 
was their gentleness, their respect for the monks as 
marabouts. Manifestly they had a sense of the sacred. 
Once aware of our monastic silence, they made a 



particular effort not to disturb it. These were people 
of delicate sensibilities. 

How meaningful were these first impressions! How 
curious we were about these men, still unknown to us, 
who we felt belonged to a kind of natural aristocracy 
of a race ancient and at the same time new; these 
people were stately, dignified, extremely sensitive in 
their perceptions, subject consequently to swiftly 
changing moods and yet reserved and guided by an- 
cient traditions. We felt in them a complex past, a rich 
antiquity which had suddenly undergone a great up- 
heaval through its contact with the West. It was not 
long before they began to confide in the monks who 
directed the work, and to ask them for advice. Thus, 
not only did we learn their problems but little by little 
we found ourselves engaged in seeking solutions. Our 
lives were becoming immersed in theirs with the 
whole life of their land. And now we were pris- 
oners. . . . 

These are the impressions of a man who looks back to 
October 1952 and remembers only the joy and excitement 
of his first days at Toumliline. But there was much more 
than this to recall. There was the hard work, with the 
monks sweating side by side with the Moroccans as they 
fought to complete the monastery before the snows came. 
There was the lack of conveniences and privacy and soli- 
tude. Most especially, there was the fear that the military 
would try to use the monks to strengthen the French 
political position in the Azrou area. 

The first night at Toumliline after supper and after 
Compline had been chanted, Dom Denis told Abbot de 
Floris of his talk with Colonel Clesca and of his refusal 


to be protected by the French soldiers in the event of an 
uprising. Dom Marie agreed Dom Denis had been right 
to take the stand he had. The Prior then took out two 
pages of notes and studied them for a moment. 

"There was another incident. The same afternoon after I 
told Colonel Clesca we would not allow ourselves to be 
protected by soldiers, we had visitors at the monastery, 
three young men and three women. Moroccans. I showed 
them around. They were extremely polite and thanked me 
before they drove ofiE. Within the hour Colonel Clesca 

At this point the Prior picked up his notes and started 
to read. 

Clesca said: "Mon pere, you have received some 
young people at your monastery, I warn you that one 
of the men is a militant Communist. You do not know 
this country and the people. So I am at your disposal. 
Every time you receive someone, you have only to call 
me and I will tell you who they are." 

De Floris smiled as he asked, "And what did you say?" 

"I was quite polite. I told him I would receive everybody 
who comes here without asking who they are. I also said 
I would not ask anyone for information, especially the 

"How did he react?* 

"He insisted he was only trying to help. But I feel the 
military are so preoccupied with politics that even though 
they may want to help us, and I don't doubt it, they also 
unconsciously want to lead us and use us." 

"Naturally. The country is heading for a revolution." 


"If there is one., do you think we will survive?" 
"I don't know. Perhaps. It will be difficult; but that is 
one reason I chose you as Prior." 

At 2:30 A.M. the next morning, Father Edouard, a 
lawyer turned Benedictine, crawled out of bed, put on his 
soutane and hooded scapular and, using a flashlight, 
steered his way past the cots where the other monks slept 
and walked through the door into the darkness. He 
stopped and filled his lungs with the cold air. The bite of 
it reminded him of the hundred nights he had spent camp- 
ing in the Maritime Alps, skiing, and climbing. But the 
sounds here were different, he thought, and the smells dif- 
ferent, too. The scent from the cedars and oaks was so 
much a part of the night he felt that if he reached out he 
could touch it. It was a musky physical presence. The 
night itself was an immense silence filled out at the corners 
with the tread of an animal prowling the mountain side 
directly in front of him. Leopard? Boar? Jackal? With his 
mind's eye he looked beyond the mountain and saw the 
vastness of the African continent that spread to the south. 
His flashlight picked out the bell that hung from the lowest 
branch of a squat, green-speckled oak standing a few yards 
from the door of the barrack. He grabbed the rope tied to 
the clapper and swung it quickly back and forth: it was 
time for Matins; the first monastic day had begun at 

After sunrise and the singing of Lauds, the monks, as 
they worked, began to examine their surroundings. They 
discovered they stood on a fan-shaped, thirty-acre shelf of 


land that cut into the face of the mountain. The summit 
of the mountain, trimmed with stunted, twisted oak and 
cedar, was several hundred feet overhead and blocked 
out a good part of the southwestern horizon. The front 
of the shelf dropped ninety feet to the Plain of Ajellab, a 
thousand acres of meagre grazing land crowded with grey- 
black basalt boulders. From the plain, in actual fact a 
plateau, they could look down into the streets of Azrou, 
a mile below. From Azrou, the main highway to the Sahara 
wound up the hill, passing a mile east of Toumliline. A 
piste (dirt road) began there, twisted along the side of 
the hill, turned and ran along the lip of the thirty-acre 
shelf on which the monastery was located. Past the mon- 
astery, it resumed its upward climb along a ridge to a pass 
that led deeper into the Middle Atlas. About half a mile 
above the monastery, the road went past a rock spring 
called Toumliline, a name that was to identify the Benedic- 
tine community. Looking out over Azrou, the monks had 
an unobstructed view of the Tigrigra Valley, which ran 
east toward the eleven-hundred-year-old city of Fez fifty 
miles away. From the valley floor rose row on row of 
mountains, some cone-shaped, some with blunted summits. 

The colors of the landscape were sombre, light grays 
and dark, browns and greens and blacks. And yet the view 
was totally exhilarating. The sky, so light blue it looked 
as if it had just been rinsed in rain water, dominated every- 
thing. Standing on the shelf, the monks had the impression 
of guarding the battlements of Berber country. 

The history of the area bore out this impression. In the 
nineteen-twenties and early thirties Azrou had been an 


advance post of the French Army, which had used the 
town as a supply depot for a string of forts that ran south 
through the Middle Atlas. These forts protected the lines 
of communication with the southeastern part of the coun- 
try, which spilled over into the Sahara. At one time the 
Foreign Legion had built a post on the very shelf of land 
where the monks now were. The function of the post had 
been to prevent Berbers from riding, as they occasionally 
did, to the edge of the plain of Ajellab in order to shoot 
at the French on the streets of Azrou. And although by 
1952 the Berbers had long given up this game and satisfied 
themselves with ambushing an occasional military convoy 
on its way to one of the Middle Atlas forts, Azrou was on 
the very edge of what was officially called an "area of 
inquietude/ 7 It was forbidden to travel into the mountains 
from Azrou after dark. Some roads could not be traveled 
at all unless the French Chef de Region in Meknes gave 
his permission. In 1952 the military head of the region was 
Lieutenant General Roger Miquel. 

In the post- World War II wave of optimism that 
caught up the French in Morocco, a business man from 
Casablanca had decided that the shelf where the Legion 
post stood was a perfect site for a summer camp. He 
started a long wooden two-story building somewhat Tudor 
in style. The job was never completed he went bankrupt. 
In 1950 the pastor of the French community in Azrou 
rented the unfinished building, put in a dormitory and two 
classrooms on the first floor, then established a school for 
about thirty wild French boys of high school age, the 
children of colons and Army officers. He was relieved when 


he found out En-Calcat had not only bought the building 
but also had agreed to continue the school. The Abbot had 
made this decision in part because the Archbishop of 
Rabat requested it, in part because income from the school 
would help support the new monastery. But the need to 
board the boys complicated the construction that had to 
be done at the monastery. Dom Denis and Dom Marie de 
Floris had decided to let the boys occupy their old dormi- 
tory, using the rest of the first floor for a refectory, a Chap- 
ter room (i.e., the place where the monks meet and talk 
over "family" business ), and an office and cell for the Prior. 
It was planned that the loftlike upstairs would be cut up 
into cells for the community and visiting clerics. 

But while the monks had no cells, at least they had a 
chapel. It had been designed by Brother Jean-Michel. 
Sub-Prior Jean-Marie, writing back to his younger brother 
at En-Calcat, described it as "very simple, very modern, 
very white/* And Father Fulcran in his chronicle wrote, 
"It is really a nice chapel, though, of course, it is only a 
low-ceilinged hall." Jean-Michel had designed wooden 
crosses for the small side altars where the monks said their 
Masses, and these especially caught the eye of Father 
Fulcran they looked Merovingian to him. The cross on 
the main altar was of the same type and had etched on it 
an extremely abstract praying Christ. The altar itself was 
a simple wooden table on a cylindrical base, and on the 
steps that led to it were two large and thick white Mo- 
roccan carpets with intricate abstract Berber designs 
woven into them. Choir stalls took up half the chapel and 
each of the two sections faced a row of windows. "I see 


caravans on the dirt road, twisting and turning as they 
follow the route, and all this is like a projection from the 
texts of the Old and New Testaments which we are sing- 
ing in the liturgy/' Jean-Marie wrote his brother back in 

Outside the chapel all was confusion and noise. Fifty to 
sixty Moroccans labored at Toumliline and though they 
went calmly and quietly about their work, their entire 
families would show up at mealtime to prepare food for 
them. The sound of rocks being chipped and wood sawed 
and nails hammered blended with die chatter of crying 
children and gossiping wives and the sizzling of lamb cook- 
ing over charcoal fires. When the monks would stop work- 
ing and file into chapel, they would run an obstacle course 
of timber and tools and babies and baggage and books. 
Tired and overworked and overwhelmed, the monks loved 
every minute of every day. 

The monks had arrived on a Tuesday and the following 
Sunday was the first time they took a deep breath. Father 
Fulcran describes the day this way: 

October 12. Our first Moroccan Sunday. The men 
are at work. Among them are, alas, two Europeans. 
Some visits. We made the porch into parlors (it is 
outside, but the weather is so pleasant), the same 
porch where we had unloaded our luggage. Father 
Abbot insisted that we immediately have the enclosure 
and yesterday we started to carry the stones for the 
wall. For the moment the wall consists of a row of 
stones on the ground, but it is sufficient and we faith- 
fully keep silence outside. I sang the conventual Mass 
this morning. Incense goes up. The chapel is filled 


with smoke like tibe Temple on Dedication Day. At 
lunch Father Abbot tells us it is fitting to rejoice. In 
honor of the day, Father Gilbert made us some coffee. 
We go out to drink it in the shade of the oaks above 
the road. Meanwhile the youngest monks explore the 
woods. They return full of enthusiasm. They saw a 
monkey . . . and the colonel who commands at Azrou. 
In the evening after supper there is a conference by 
Father Abbot on a subject he has been developing: 
the importance of this foundation and our responsi- 
bilities. He speaks of the necessity for us to be saints. 
It is the one and only way for us to reach the natives. 
Father Gilbert then tells us that he had explained to 
a Berber about their presence at Toumliline, saying to 
him that in coming there they had given up country, 
friends, and relatives. He says this touched the Berber 
but also scandalized him: "No/* the Berber said, 
"Allah does not ask that, it is not true." Hearing this, 
Father Abbot then tells us that the future of our 
foundation depends on our giving. We must be abso- 
lutely docile to grace. 

The next day the Abbot and Dom Denis left for a meet- 
ing to pay their respects to the Caid of Azrou. Afterwards, 
they went from there to Meknes and Rabat to see the Arch- 
bishop. The same day the first rain fell, and this threw the 
monks into a panic because they feared for the books on 
the porch. But the rain was light. ("Thank Heavens," 
wrote Father Fulcran, "God tempers the wind to the 
shorn lamb and we get away with fright alone/') On 
Wednesday night the monks held their first Chapter. The 
same day the monks moved from the student dormitory 
into their cells, even though the cells had no doors, no 


glass in the windows, no light. But the love of solitude 
was strong. The morning following, the Abbot, sick with 
the flu, and Dom Denis returned from Rabat. As evening 
fell that day, a Peugeot 203 stopped at the monastery and 
Fathers Placide, Hugh, and Colomban, sent from En- 
Calcat to help Toumliline for a while, piled out. They 
arrived just in time to fill the gap left by Father Abbot, 
Brother Marie- Antoine, down with fever from overwork, 
and Father Jean-Marie, who had an abscess on his ankle. 

As the days drew closer to the day of inauguration, 
October Twenty-sixth, it rained much of the time. On the 
twentieth, the monks finally started taking their meals in 
the refectory, a spacious room with many huge windows. 
The same day Father Eugene stopped working because 
a beam dropped on his foot. Finally on the twenty-fourth, 
the Abbot, out of patience with the generator, ordered 
Father Gilbert to go to Meknes and rent one. On the 
twenty-fifth the young students reported to the monastery 
and started classes. ("The children are fine," said Father 
Fulcran, "but they ignore discipline/*) That night the 
monks worked into the night clearing the porch of books 
and stacking them in huge piles along the walls of the 
Chapter. Praying for fair weather, they saw the stars hide 
under an overcast. 

And then the twenty-sixth dawned. . . . 

"The weather was grand," wrote Father Fulcran. "Many, 
many people and much friendliness, and God, for Whom 
we came, was here with us in the person of the Apostolic 
Delegate/' With the Archbishop came Father Albert 
Peyriguere, a theologian and one of the most remarkable 


Frenchmen in North Africa. A bearded man with a trunk 
and head that looked as if they were carved out of rock, 
this sixty-six-year-old priest was known as the Hermit of 
EI-Kbab. He had lived among the Berbers for twenty-six 
years, in fact he was an elder of a Berber tribe. Every day 
he would say Mass in El-Kbab, and the rest of his time 
would be spent caring for the sick or handling whatever 
tribal affairs were assigned him. He was one of the few 
Frenchmen who knew Berber fluently. Wounded four 
times during World War I, he was an irascible, erudite, 
kind, and totally loveable man, revered by the Berbers and 
feared by the French military. 

After the Archbishop and Peyriguere came, the other 
guests started to arrive. General Roger Miquel and his 
staff, along with Colonel Clesca and three of his officers, 
appeared. (Clesca had arranged for five policemen, three 
of them white-garbed Berber mokhaznia with submachine 
guns, to direct traffic. ) At 10:30 A.M. Father Edouard rang 
the bell and the community assembled around Archbishop 
Lefevre, who led them in procession to the door of the 
chapel where Dom Denis, as head of the new community, 
greeted him. The procession then went into the chapel 
singing the antiphon, "Sacerdos et Pontifex." Father Pius 
played the organ as the community stopped in front of the 
throne prepared for the Archbishop. Vases of roses were 
on the main altar and along the window sills. His Excel- 
lency blessed the chapel after singing the collect of the 
day at the altar, then he left, again leading the community 
in procession. He then proceeded with the blessing of the 


buildings. After the blessing, the Archbishop said a few 
words to the community defining their purpose: "neither 
pastors nor chaplains, but men of prayer." Then followed 
the High Pontifical Mass. When it came time for Com- 
munion, the Archbishop had to break the hosts into three 
and four and five pieces because he had not expected so 
many at the Mass. The size of the crowd was too great 
to allow everyone inside the chapel, and many people 
heard Mass by looking through the opened windows. After- 
wards, dinner was served: hors d'oeuvres, lamb roast, 
string beans, cheese, and dessert. As the meal was finish- 
ing, the Abbot stood up and delivered a quiet talk that 
caused some tears. He addressed himself first to the entire 
gathering. "Your presence here," he said, "is a mark of 
friendship which has cost you time and trouble. In ex- 
change I can hardly give you more than a kind word, the 
best of gifts, Scripture tells us." 

He then told everyone about the visit he and Dom Denis 
had had with the Pope the previous June. 

I told hm> of our Moroccan foundation our desire to 
reply to the call that the Church has long addressed 
to monastic communities to carry into mission coun- 
tries the stable example of the perfect Christian life. 
The Pope blessed our plans and our efforts. He as- 
sured us he would watch over our beginning through 
his paternal prayer. Several times he repeated to us, 
"Prayer and example are the forms most urgently de- 
manded of the apostolate in Moslem countries/* 

The Abbot then referred to the reason for their apparent 
delay in deciding to come to Morocco. 


In his spiritual testament [Dom Marie said], the 
founder of En-Calcat, Dom Romain Banquet, told his 
sons to "temporize" when the question of a foundation 
came up. "My children/' he recommended, "do not 
hurry to create a foundation; be prudent, be more 
than prudent when it comes to a foundation." He said 
that the most authentic sign of the will of God was 
the benevolent welcome of the Ordinary. 

The Abbot looked directly at the Archbishop as he 
said, "Concerning the Toumliline foundation, this sign 
has been amply verified. Not only did you welcome us; not 
only did you encourage us; you called us." 

When it came to refer to General Miquel and Colonel 
Clesca, he told them politely and firmly that Toumliline 
would be independent of them. "I thank you for coming/' 
he said to Miquel. "Your presence here proves your per- 
sonal benevolence and we are touched by it." He went on 
to say that France, insofar as it wanted to devote itself to 
the work of education and the solving of "human prob- 
lems/* had every thing to gain from the presence of the 
Church in Morocco. Turning to Colonel Clesca, he con- 
tinued his thought: 

And that is why, Colonel, you can be happy about 
the monks establishing themselves in your territory. 
Deep down, we come to labor in the same essential 
work to which you have consecrated your career: to 
aid man, every man, to improve himself. But we shall 
work at this in a different manner and on a different 
plane and in full, reciprocal independence. 

Next, he talked of his monks . . . "but with the greatest 
reserve. Monks love anonymity; they should only leave 


work without signatures." He promised that the com- 
munity "would do everything to fulfill what is expected of 
it." Looking once more at the Archbishop he said, 

the day on which the decision was made to send 
monks to Morocco, I promised I would not send any 
of my sons over whose departure I would not weep. I 
believe I have kept my promise. But I must let you 
judge this for yourself on the basis of their work. 
What I can say is that the monks of Toumliline, under 
the leadership of their prior, who has all my confi- 
dence and the confidence of his brothers, reached 
Morocco with joy, with a lifting of their spirits, with 
total good-will. 

Dom Marie ended up by saying, 

Our whole vocation is summed up in the admirable 
cry of Isaiah: "Super muros tuos constitui qui toto die 
at tota nocte nan tacebunt laudare nomen domini?* On 
these mountains that dominate the plain where two 
peoples meet, see one another live, search for under- 
standing, the Church has established her guardians 
who night and day will not relax from praising the 
name of the Lord and sending to heaven the powerful 
prayer of tears and sacrifice. 

After the Abbot sat down, the Archbishop "answers very 
kindly/' as Father Fulcran put it. "Then more conversa- 
tions. At 4:30 P.M., pontifical vespers. Fewer people. 
Afterwards, His Excellency takes us to the Toumliline 
point and speaks most openly with Father Abbot and the 
fathers while smoking cigars and cigarettes. He takes 
Father Abbot, Father Prior and Dom Pierre to supper at 
Colonel ClescaV As they leave the monastery, General 


Miquel, and Pere Peyriguere are asked to sign the guest 
book. The General defers to the priest, and Peyriguere 
writes, "To those who have waited for so long, the great 
dream of Father de Foucauld has at last become a reality/* 
Miquel then neatly penned the words, "With all my grati- 
tude and admiration.** 

From the time of the inauguration, things went rather 
smoothly for the monks. The only unhappy note was struck 
November Fourth when the Abbot, just about to depart 
for En-Calcat, informed the community that Father 
Placide had developed tuberculosis. He told the com- 
munity that the young monk would stay in a sanitarium 
at Azrou until the doctors would allow him to return to 
France. Two days later the Abbot and the monks who had 
come with him to temporarily help the community at 
Toumliline departed for home. The same day nine of the 
priests began classes in Arabic and Berber at the French- 
Berber College, a move that astounded and somewhat 
scandalized the French community in Azrou. 

The last day of the year was logged in these words by 
Father Fulcran: "Snowbound. Father Gilbert managed to 
ski down to Azrou and get food. Very difficult." The next 
day he wrote: "January 1, 1953, Snow, isolation, and 
silence." Turning slightly less poetic, he added: "The 
Colonel has invited Father Prior for cocktails. Excellent 
reason not to go." 



day early in the new year, a small Euro- 
pean car pulled up to the monastery. Four tall men stepped 
from the tiny car with great dignity. With their flowing 
brown and white robes and turbans, these elderly Mo- 
roccans looked like Old Testament patriarchs. Their dis- 
tinctive turbans informed Father Martin that they were 
from the Beni M'Guild tribe whose headquarters was 
Azrou. From the deferential way some Moroccans near 
the gate saluted them, the Prior guessed they were im- 
portant officials of the tribe and hurried to open the gate. 
Introducing himself, he bid them welcome. Each in turn 
introduced himself and shook hands with Father Martin, 
adding the characteristic Moslem gesture of touching his 
own heart and lips. 

Sipping glasses of steaming hot mint tea Father Martin 
had quickly adopted this traditional Moroccan gesture 
of hospitality the guests exchanged pleasantries with the 
Prior. Father Martin realized that theirs was more than 
a mere courtesy call and wondered when they would 
get to the point. 

"Why are you here?" 



"We came here to live our monastic life.*" 

"Why did you come here to Toumliline?" 

"Because we were told to come." 

'Who told you?" 

"Our superior, the Abbot of En-Calcat, the monastery 
in which we formerly lived." 

"Who pays you?" 

"No one pays us, unless you count the contributions of 
Christians from all over." 

"Doesn't the French government or the Resident Gen- 
eral pay you?** 

"Not at all!" 

After the Moroccans left, Father Martin was sure they 
were not convinced by his denial of official French support 
and control. One thing was certain: normal relations with 
either their Moroccan neighbors or the Catholic French 
community were impossible if the monks were identified 
with any political position. 

Shortly before this conversation an incident took place 
which revealed to Father Martin how little he knew of the 
complex political situation in Morocco. It involved the 
bloody Casablanca riots of December, 1952, coming only 
six weeks after Toumliline's formal opening. French au- 
thorities in that largely European city had ordered police 
to fire into a crowd of Moroccans demonstrating against 
the assassination of a Tunisian nationalist by colon orders. 
The ensuing riots lasted for three days as French Legion- 
aires joined the police in suppressing the Moroccans. While 
official French figures listed thirty-eight Moroccan dead 
and seventy-nine wounded, eyewitness reports put the 


Moroccan casualties closer to one thousand dead and 
several thousand wounded. Some nuns who lived next 
door to the police station where the riots began described 
the event to Father Martin. They insisted that the Moroc- 
can crowd of men, women, and children demonstrating in 
front of the police station was orderly. It was not until the 
police suddenly opened fire, they said, that the crowd went 
wild and stormed the station. 

The Prior was shocked by their account and, accom- 
panied by Father Jean-Marie, went to the Casablanca 
home of an army friend for an explanation of the differing 
reports. When his friend, a colonel, learned what was 
troubling the Prior, he picked up the phone and called 
Rabat to arrange an appointment with the Director of 
the Interior, M. Vallat. Next morning, seated in the offi- 
cial's spacious office, Father Martin demanded to know 
what really happened in Casablanca. It was actually a 
show of French force, the Residency official said. For 
several years, he explained, nationalist sentiment had been 
growing steadily, its leaders too bold. "We felt," he said, 
"that all Morocco was being infected with this disease. At 
Casablanca we simply lanced its core/ 7 

The blood drained from the Prior's face at these words. 
Father Martin abruptly stood up facing the official and 
seemed struggling to control himself. Suddenly he slammed 
his fist on die man's desk and said slowly, "Do not say 
another word to me/' The Prior turned and walked out of 
the room. Father Jean-Marie hurried to catch up with him 
while the official sat in stunned silence. 

When they had returned to the monastery, Dom Denis 


told his monks of the incident and explained to them how 
necessary it was for him to become one of the best in- 
formed men on this complex political picture. "Politics 
does not interest me, it is not my job/' he said. "But 
I must know what is happening so that people do not 
use us." 

Father Martin was fortunate in being able to call on 
some of the best possible tutors for his Moroccan political 
education. For the French point of view he had many 
friends in different army and administrative circles, includ- 
ing General Jean Oli6, deputy of the Resident General, 
Augustin Guillaume. A cousin, General Marie-Antoine 
d'Hauteville, who had passed his entire career in Morocco 
and was administrative head of the Region of Marrakech, 
came often to Toumliline and sent the Prior regular reports 
analyzing political developments. 

For the Moroccan point of view, Father Martin's source 
was one of the Sultan's closest advisers, MTBarek Si Bekkai. 
Introduced by a mutual friend, they soon became close 
friends, exchanging visits to Toumliline and Sefrou, a 
nearby town where Si Bekkai was Pasha. 

As he listened to his "instructors" and read all the litera- 
ture he could get on the subject, Father Martin came to 
believe that the growing French-Moroccan enmity had 
been generated in part by the outcome of a struggle be- 
tween two antagonistic French interpretations of the way 
to run their protectorate. For a while, the views of the 
first Resident General, Lyautey, prevailed. Lyautey had 
been captivated by Morocco. 


The more I see of the natives, the longer I live in 
this country, the more I am convinced of the greatness 
of this nation. While in other parts of North Africa 
we found nothing but a society crumbling into dust 
as a result of former anarchy and lack of power, here, 
thanks to the permanent power assured by all the 
dynasties following one another continuously, thanks 
to the maintenance of essential institutions in spite of 
revolutions, we found a stable empire and with it a 
great and beautiful civilization. . . . 

General Lyautey wanted to preserve those elements of 
this traditional Moroccan civilization that were com- 
patible with what he thought to be the realities of the 
twentieth century. His program of "civilization by con- 
quest" called for a gradual military pacification of Morocco 
which would carry along a great belt of civilization "like 
a spreading stain of oil." To accomplish this he favored the 
concept of indirect French administration, along with 
strengthening and controlling the Moroccan Sultan and 
his Maghzen (government). He proposed to educate a 
Moroccan elite that would eventually assume control of 
a country bound to France by the strongest economic and 
cultural ties. 

Many incoming French colons, administrators, and tech- 
nicians opposed the policies of Lyautey. They regarded the 
Moroccans as a backward, conquered people and acted ac- 
cording to the principle "To the victor belongs the spoils." 
In a report to the French government in 1920, Lyautey 
warned of the consequences that would follow adoption 
of the settlers' program. He noted that administrators and 
clerks coining from France and military officers coming 


from Algeria seemed "to have direct administration in 
their blood/' Because of the Moroccans' different mentality 
and habits of living, Lyautey said, "nearly all French 
administrators tend more or less to regard the Moroccans 
as an inferior race." 

The resignation some may recall of the aging Lyautey 
in 1925 brought about an intensification of this policy of 
"direct administration." According to the Treaty of Fez, 
which governed every aspect of the French presence in 
Morocco, France was simply to institute reforms in the 
Sultan's government. In practice she set up a parallel gov- 
ernment of French administrators leaving the Moroccans 
purely nominal control. The Resident General dictated the 
choice of Sultans, and the French Secretary-General effec- 
tively superseded the Moroccan equivalent of a prime 
minister. The authority of the Sultan's representatives at 
the regional and local level ( governors, pashas, and caids ) 
was actually exercised by and through the French Chefs 
des Regions and Contrdleurs Civils. 

The European population, which had grown from sev- 
eral thousand to over 350,000 demanded and received a 
disproportionate share of Morocco's newly exploited 
wealth. Families of about five thousand colons settled on 
the richest sixth of the cultivatable land, while over a 
million Moroccan farm families shared the rest. French 
skilled labor, technicians, and engineers filled all but the 
lowest jobs in the French-created commercial, mining, and 
industrial enterprises. 

One French lawyer-writer, Paul Buttin, who has lived 


in Morocco since 1920 discussed the attitude of many o 
these Europeans in his book, Le Drame du Maroc: 

One of their principal faults lies in equating their 
own interests with those of Morocco and France. They 
live in Morocco as if they owned it, as though it were 
a part of France. They know next to nothing about the 
history and individual personality of the country. 
They know Moroccans only as domestic servants, 
office clerks, and manual laborers, and then imagine 
themselves to possess an intimate knowledge of the 
Moroccan mentality. 

Other Frenchmen, however, inspired by the dreams of 
Marshal Lyautey and Father Charles de Foucauld, worked 
to educate Moroccans for the day they would take over 
their own country. Dedicated teachers, doctors, agricul- 
tural specialists, and army officers opened up the twentieth 
century world of technology and science for new genera- 
tions of Moroccans. The nucleus of an intellectual elite was 
formed, imbued with the traditional French ideals of lib- 
erty, equality, and brotherhood. In the 1920 report of 
Lyautey quoted above, he had warned that unless the 
authorities encouraged this elite to become leaders with 
the French, they would become leaders anyway, opposed 
to the French. When colonial-minded Frenchmen ignored 
the talents of this new class of educated Moroccans, 
Lyautey's prediction came true and Morocco's independ- 
ence movement was born. 

As had happened many times before in Morocco's his- 
tory, Islam became the rallying point of opposition to for- 
eign domination. Many of the country's greatest dynasties 


came to power as restorers or defenders of orthodox Islam. 
In 1930, the young nationalists seized on a governmental 
edict known as the "Berber Dahir." This law, prepared by 
the French and dutifully signed by the twenty-year-old 
Mohammed V, removed the Berber population of Mo- 
rocco from the jurisdiction of the Sharf a, the Islamic law 
regulating the lives of believing Moslems. The dahir also 
gave judicial competence to certain Berber tribal councils 
and even put matters of a penal nature involving Berbers 
under the French code of justice before reserved exclu- 
sively for non-Moslems. 

Considering the religious and social importance of 
Islamic law, this measure not only struck at the sovereign 
power of the Sultan, but also at the very Islamic structure 
of Morocco. The young Moroccan intellectuals rallied to 
the defense of Islam. Supported by groups formed through- 
out the Moslem world, these Moroccans claimed the "Ber- 
ber Dahir* was a move by "the eldest daughter of the 
Church to force millions of Moslems to embrace the Chris- 
tian religion/* (It was this suspicion that accounted for 
the attitude in 1952 of many Moroccans toward Toum- 
liline. They simply assumed that the monks' coming to 
Toumliline in the very heart of Morocco's Berber-speaking 
country was part of this Franco-Christian policy. ) In actual 
fact, the dahir was but another political move by the pro- 
tectorate. Using the age-old technique of "divide and 
rule," they were playing on ancient differences between 
the rural tribes who were more casual in their practice of 
Islam than the Arabic-speaking more Islamicized towns- 


The French directed the Sultan to reassure his people 
that the purpose of the dahir was not the Christianization 
of the Berbers. However, the oulema (religious scholars) 
of Fez, traditional interpreters of Islam in Morocco, or- 
dered special prayers reserved only for times of peril to 
be recited in the mosques. In Fez crowds gathered at the 
holy shrine of Moulay Idriss, first Moslem King of Morocco, 
asking God not to separate them from their Berber 

Following this, the young intellectuals formed a group 
which they called Moroccan Action. By 1934 they had 
drawn up a "Plan for Moroccan Reforms'* which demanded 
that France live up to the Treaty of Fez by abolishing all 
traces of direct French rule and granting equality of oppor- 
tunity and treatment for Moroccans in the government. 

The growing strength of the nationalists concerned the 
Residency which forced the Sultan to outlaw the Moroccan 
Action in 1937. One of the nationalists, Allal el Fassi, a 
spellbinding preacher of a twentieth century Islamic 
Renaissance, promptly organized The National Party for 
the Triumph of Reforms and issued a call for the faithful 
to defend Islam. The Residency countered by exiling Allal 
el Fassi to French Equatorial Africa for nine years. 

The outbreak of World War II and the defeat of France 
raised the hopes of the otherwise subdued nationalists for 
eventual independence. The landing of American troops in 
1942 and a Casablanca conversation between Sultan Mo- 
hammed V and President Roosevelt during which the 
American Chief Executive spoke of ending French colonial 
exploitation in Morocco caused nationalist hopes to soar 


even higher. However, when the new Gaullist officials in 
the protectorate proved every bit as intransigent to na- 
tionalist demands as their Vichyite predecessors, the 
nationalists formed a new party called, significantly, the 
Istiqlal or Independence party. In January 1944, they fired 
off a manifesto demanding independence for Morocco. The 
Resident General replied by repeating General de Gaulle's 
affirmation that Morocco was "indissolubly united" to 
France, and imprisoned Istiqlal supporters and exiled its 

Support for the nationalists now came from an unex- 
pected source, Sultan Mohammed V. The French had 
passed over his two elder brothers and chosen him in 1927 
precisely because of his youth. Gradually, however, the 
young Sultan became aware of his political power as the 
legitimate sovereign. In a speech given April, 1947, the 
Sultan defied the Resident General and proclaimed to the 
world "Morocco's ardent desire to acquire her full rights." 
From that moment his days as Sultan were numbered. 

Within a month Morocco had a new Resident General, 
"a man of strength/' General Alphonse Juin. This success- 
ful soldier, born in Algeria and married to the daughter of 
a wealthy colon, called for a show of French strength. He 
served notice on the Moroccans that he was coming "to 
re-establish order . . . with energetic measures/* The Sultan 
fought back by refusing to sign any of the dahirs prepared 
by Juin, effectively nullifying the machinery of Moroccan 
government. As an added touch, the Sultan never shaved 
on days he received the Resident General. 

The infuriated Juin planned with El Glaoui, the Pasha of 


Dom Denis Martin, Prior of Toumliline 

Dom Placide Pernot presents volley-ball trophy at 
1957 Cows 

Dom Charles Lyonnet takes blood sample froir 
tattooed Berber woman 

Mme Edmund Barbaro mends socks of monks 

Pere Albert Peyriguere, Her- 
mit of El-Kbab and disciple of 
Charles de Foucauld 

Mehdi Ben Barka and Dom Denis converse at Toumliline 

* * v. 

All has been at Toumliline 
since the death of his father in 

Architect Jean-Michel (in hood) confers with Marie-Antoine in \vorksho 

Berber chief greets Crown Prince Moulay Hassan at Toumliline 

Dom Jacques de Gharry 
strings wire at monastery 

Berber tribe fetes Toumliline visitors under black tents 

Outdoor Community Mass at Toumliline 


Marrakech and French-created lord of a million Atlas 
Berbers, to discredit the Sultan as compromised by "the 
atheistic and Communist*' Istiqlal. The Resident-controlled 
Moroccan press represented El Glaoui as spokesman for 
millions of devout Berber Moslems who were outraged at 
their spiritual leader's dealings with the "atheistic nation- 
alists." General Juin openly encouraged El Glaoufs verbal 
attacks on the Sultan whose "respect and traditional pres- 
tige" the Resident had sworn to protect. Then in 1951, 
using a carefully staged march of thousands of Berber 
horsemen on Rabat as a pretext, Juin imperiously com- 
manded the Sultan to sign certain dahirs into law. These 
decrees contained provisions which would in effect give 
France co-sovereignty with the Sultan. The alternative was 

What followed was indicative of the extent to which the 
central Parisian government had lost control of French 
policy in Morocco. Juin's ultimatum upset Paris. Foreign 
Minister Schuman's party newspaper condemned Juin's ac- 
tion and was promptly banned in Morocco. Schuman him- 
self, in an official declaration, defended the Sultan and 
ruled out any talk of abdication. The Resident General, 
however, went right ahead with his plans, confident that 
the powerful North African lobby in Paris could pressure 
any coalition government into inaction, if not submission. 
With El Glaoui's Berber horsemen surrounding Rabat and 
French tanks ringing his palace, the Sultan capitulated to 
Juin's demands "to avoid bloodshed." 

The repercussions in Morocco and the Islamic world to 
humiliation of a Moslem monarch were immediate. 


Moslem delegates to the United Nations had the Moroccan 
question put on the agenda of the General Assembly. The 
Moroccan French press nervously reported that "groups 
of natives are assembling silently in certain (Berber) lo- 
calities where they stand for hours near the offices of the 
civil authorities/* An anxious Paris government promoted 
General Juin to the post of commander in chief of NATO 
forces in Europe. To avoid any interpretation of this move 
as a sign of French weakness, Juin's supporters were able 
to delay his departure for six months. 

The new Resident General, General Augustin Guillaume, 
wasted no time in letting the nationalists know exactly 
where he stood. In blunt terms he warned them that "rough 
fighting is my business," and he promised to make them 
"eat dirt/' Tension between the nationalists and the French 
authorities mounted steadily during the very time prepara- 
tions were being made at En-Calcat for the monks' coming 
to Toumliline. 

After the 1952 Casablanca show of French force actually 
increased rather than decreased nationalist strength, 
French extremists decided to finish the job begun by Juin 
and hatched a new version of the old plan to oust the 
Sultan. Steps were taken to prepare world opinion which 
had reacted unfavorably to Juin's 1951 ultimatum causing 
the earlier plot to misfire. For example, in various American 
publications the Sultan was portrayed as a wily Oriental 
potentate luxuriating amidst hordes of concubines; as a 
medieval despot steadfastly blocking French-sponsored 
reforms; as a crypto-Communist ready to hand over to the 
Reds the $500 million string of United States strategic air 


bases in Morocco; as a backsliding religious leader whose 
antics had shocked and outraged his devout subjects. 

Father Martin's French tutors concentrated on the pic- 
ture of the Sultan as an oriental despot blocking democratic 
reforms. As one of them said: 

By the Treaty of Fez we undertook the protectorate 
to make Morocco into a modern state. But there exists 
an almost irreducible incompatibility between those 
terms of the Treaty which call for us to introduce 
reforms and those terms which guarantee the Sultan 
his traditional prerogatives. The principal and only 
real obstacle to progress in Morocco is the Sultan, or 
what comes to the same thing, his theocratic rule. 
Therefore, we must weaken and then destroy his po- 
litical authority. 

The Prior listened to this and similar lessons as a student 
would, asking questions but reserving judgment. He 
learned that the democratic reforms sponsored by the 
French authorities included plans for the election of mu- 
nicipal councils where both French and Moroccans could 
jointly control local affairs. The governmental dahir author- 
izing these elections was strenuously opposed by the Sul- 
tan whose signature was necessary for it to become law. 

However, the Prior's Moroccan tutor, Si Bekkai, had an 
explanation for this. Not only would the election of joint 
French-Moroccan municipal councils give the 350,000 
French equal representation with over 9,000,000 Moroc- 
cans, he told Father Martin, but worse still, it would seri- 
ously compromise if not destroy the sovereignty of Mo- 
rocco. Under the Treaty of Fez die French in Morocco had 


absolutely no political rights. They were visitors only, not 
citizens. Should the Sultan sign the dahir, Si Bekkai ex- 
plained, he would sign away the existence of a sovereign 
Morocco and the country would become, like Algeria, a 
colony o France. The Sultan sincerely desired political re- 
forms, Si Bekkai assured the prior. In his 1950 annual 
speech from the Throne, Mohammed V had insisted that 
~not for a single moment have we lost sight of the fact that 
the best regime under which a sovereign and self -admin- 
istered country can live is the democratic, such as we know 
it in the world today." 

Father Martin enjoyed Si Bekkafs visits. This former 
lieutenant colonel in the French cavalry who had lost a 
leg in the Ardennes retained his military bearing. He came 
dressed always in an immaculate white djeUdba ( a flowing, 
ankle length hooded robe), white heelless leather slippers, 
and a red fez. On his very first visit to Toumliline, Father 
Martin called a special chapter for his monks to meet the 
Pasha. In the refectory, Si Bekkai was given the place of 
honor at the right hand of the prior, a spot usually reserved 
for visiting abbots and bishops. In turn, when Father Mar- 
tin visited the Pasha in Sefrou, he was installed on the 
cushion of honor and proffered the choicest portions of 

Although his French and Moroccan sources pictured the 
political situation in contradictory terms, Dom Denis could 
not doubt, with but one or two exceptions, the complete 
sincerity of his friends. "I learned a very important lesson 
from this/* he recalls, "because I saw how it was possible 
for good people, sincerely religious people, to have a dis- 


torted view on things because of certain military or politi- 
cal preoccupations/* 

In working his way through the maze of Moroccan 
politics, the prior went often to see the Vicar Apostolic, 
Archbishop Lefevre. This gentle Franciscan, with the 
benevolent, paternal face, gave him much sound advice. 
He had given similar counsel to his diocesan priests in an 
explosive pastoral letter, dated February 15, 1952. In that 
letter he detailed the obligations imposed on Christians 
living in Morocco and outlined the conditions justifying 
their presence there. Stressing their status as guests, he 
called for sincere attempts to get to know their hosts. He 
cautioned Morocco's Christians, many of whom were em- 
ployers, to be particularly attentive to the demands of 
social justice. Referring to the political tempest, he told his 
priests, "now, more than ever, the ideals of justice and 
charity must be ours. We have not the right to be partisans. 
We must never forget that we are called to be the witnesses 
of Christ and to love all our brothers. The Christian must 
seek out and love justice, wherever it manifests itself. 
Nothing is more difficult, in times of crisis, than this objec- 
tivity and this serenity. That is why we must pray much 
and, in the midst of agitation, remain docile to the Holy 

The Prior's greatest source of information about the 
Moroccan scene, as might be expected, were the Moroc- 
cans themselves whom he came to know and respect. One 
young man, a son of a leading Moroccan theologian, spoke 
to Father Martin of a crisis facing the younger generation. 

"I wonder [he said] if you realize just how uncom- 


fortable the situation of a young Moroccan is. Take me, 
for example. I have a French baccalaureate plus a degree 
in French law. My father is a very cultured man, a scholar, 
but knows only things Arabic. In our house only Arabic 
may be spoken, not a word of French. This means that I 
am no longer able to feel at home in my own house. At 
the same time, I am no more at home in a completely 
French atmosphere. All this has happened to me as a result 
of what I have learned in your French schools. 

"Paradoxically [he continued] those same schools have 
given me a most vivid sense of being a Moroccan, of be- 
longing to a country. I love my country very much and 
feel personally humiliated when I see my country ground 
down under French control. All the reasons I have for 
violently opposing the French regime in Morocco have 
been taught me by the French. Yet, I will always be 
marked by my formation in French culture. I cannot re- 
turn to the ways of my father." 

In a Moslem country, this cultural crisis could not help 
but involve a religious crisis as well. The young Moslems 
had a religion which developed historically along with a 
complex of institutions and customs difficult to integrate 
with a modern Western secular civilization. What could 
they do? One might follow the example of some of the 
older generation, who expressed their fidelity to Islam by 
simply refusing to live in the political and social twen- 
tieth century. Or, remaining true to Islam, one might fol- 
low the nationalist hero, Allal al Fassi, and work for an 
Islamic renaissance. Still another possibility was to ape the 
secular aspects of the modern West, keeping only the ap- 


pearances of Islam demanded by the Moslem community. 
A more extreme step would be to embrace the atheism 
consonant with a Marxist view o the world. But however 
the Moroccan youth were to resolve their cultural and 
religious schizophrenia, one thing was apparent to Father 
Martin: their support of the nationalist movement against 
the French regime was total. 

After six months of acquiring an intensive political edu- 
cation, Father Martin could appreciate the suspicions of 
Toumliline's Moslem neighbors. Against the background 
of the "Berber Dahir" the coming of French monies to the 
very Berber town where the French had located their spe- 
cial Berber college would seem to be but another move in 
the protectorate's politique Berbere. And although at their 
inaugural ceremonies Abbot Dom Marie de Floris had told 
French officials of Toumliline's determination to be inde- 
pendent of the military, and though this had been the 
purpose of the Prior's not so gentle declaration on the same 
subject to the local commandant, Colonel Clesca, Father 
Martin understood that the Moroccans still identified the 
monastery with the French military. 


JL UNDERSTAND you monks are mixing in 

politics,** Colonel Clesca said to Dom Gilbert, whom he 

had stopped on a street in Azrou. It was the first week of 

July, 1953. 

The monk, cellarer of Toumliline, fought to keep his 

temper in hand as he asked the officer what he was talking 


"You know exactly what I mean, Father. You monks 

have been giving tea to the political prisoners working on 

the aqueduct in front of the monastery /* 
"One of them came to us for water . . .*" 
**. . . and you gave them tea. Who told you to?" 
The Prior. He said to treat them as guests.** 
"Guests! Why do you think I have a guard around them!" 
"Oh, but we gave tea to the soldiers, too.** The monk 

smiled just enough to infuriate Clesca. 

"One cup of tea, one spoonful of tea given to one of my 

prisoners is mixing in politics, the kind of mixing that hurts 


When Dom Denis learned of the conversation, he smiled 

at the cellarer and said, Tim very angry at you, Father.** 



Gilbert realized, smile or no smile, that lie was being repri- 
manded. "You should know I don't want you to get into 
street corner debates. Don't do it again." Dismissing the 
monk, he asked that he send the sub-Prior to him. 

The Prior explained, when Father Jean-Marie appeared, 
that the two of them were going to visit Clesca. He wanted 
the sub-Prior along to take notes. 

"But before we go see that the prisoners are given tea. 
This may be the last time they get any from us/* 

Father Jean-Marie decided to make the tea himself. He 
went through the refectory and into the kitchen, gathered 
together a number of small pots, filled them with water, 
then placed them on top of the cast-iron coal stove that 
ran the length of one wall. He followed this by rounding 
up the ingredients he needed: green Chinese tea, two five- 
pound cones of sugar, and the basket of mint bought by 
Father Gilbert that morning in Azrou. While the water 
heated on the stove, he took a huge pot from the wall, 
covered the bottom with tea and overlaid it with a springy 
bed of mint. Then he hammered the cones of sugar into 
small chunks and put these on top of the mint. Finally 
when the water boiled, he poured it into the pot. 

With Ali, the monastery cook, trailing behind carrying 
a basket of cups, the sub-Prior hauled the steaming pot the 
eighty yards from the kitchen to the road. The first cup of 
tea he gave to the chief of the Berber guards, Moulay 
Ismail, a bearded giant of six-foot-five, formidable with 
his white cotton uniform, red cartridge belt and sub- 
machine gun. 

The thirty prisoners put down their tools and gathered 


around the monk and Moulay Ismail. "You're early today,** 
one of them said. 

"We see Clesca in a little while/* the priest explained. 

"Say hello for me,** someone shouted. The group laughed, 
Moulay Ismail, the loudest. He waved in the eight other 
guards and told them to have some tea. 

The prisoners had been working in front of the monas- 
tery for a week digging a ditch for pipes that were to run 
water to Azrou from the spring of Toumliline half a mile 
above the monastery. Ostensibly they had all been ar- 
rested because they had signed a telegram to the President 
of the French Republic objecting to pressure exerted on 
the Sultan by two hundred and seventy French-appointed 
pashas and caids. The real reason for their roundup the 
total had included more than a hundred in Azrou was 
that Clesca had discovered the list of local cell leaders of 
the Istiqlal, outlawed the previous December. 

Looking around him at the smiling crowd of prisoners, 
Father Jean-Marie was once again amazed at the ability 
of Moroccans to live for the moment. They were enjoying 
the tea, the national antidote against the African sun, and 
this gesture of concern by the monks. But he knew from 
their blistered hands that they had had little experience 
with manual labor. They were teachers and merchants; 
one was even a hairdresser. The sub-Prior thought of the 
stories told him by Brother Marie-Antoine of his five years 
as a German slave laborer and wondered if these men faced 
the same hell. 

The priest left Ali in charge and he headed for the 


Prior's office. Dom Denis asked TReady?*" and the monk 

As they walked to the Peugeot 203, Dom Denis saw 
Father Gilbert patiently teaching Benedictine sign lan- 
guage to a deaf-mute Moroccan, boy just come to the 
monastery. Without breaking stride, he tapped Gilbert on 
the back of the head and said, *Tm still angry/* 

A captain showed the two monks into Colonel Clesca's 
office. The officer stood up and offered his hand to both 

"I was about to leave for the monastery/' he told the 


"I was just informed you gave tea to my prisoners again 
today/* At this point, Dom Marie took out a small notebook 
and a pen and sat down. Clesca, knowing the meeting was 
going to be a showdown, wondered if he should call in his 
aide to take notes, too. 

The Colonel looked the part he played: the tough mili- 
tary-civil boss of an area verging on revolution. He was 
tall and square built, and, for a man of sixty, in remarkably 
good shape. His eyes were black, his beard was black, and 
his eyeglasses were framed with heavy black horn. His 
bald head was as square as his body. Clesca, Dom Denis 
knew, was much more than the usual run of professional 
soldier he was intelligent, imaginative. He had been told 
about this man who was his own best intelligence officer, 
that he knew everyone around Azrou merchants, teach- 
ers, students, Berbers who came out of the Mils to buy and 
sell on souk day. 


The Prior knew, too, he had not gone as far as he might 
have, because in a class-conscious French army the Colonel 
was only the son of a school teacher and was married to the 
daughter of a Beaune lawyer. Dom Denis judged he just 
wanted to do his job as well as he could until he retired. 

On the other hand, the Colonel knew next to nothing 
about Dom Denis. He recalled only the Prior's naive re- 
fusal to have anything to do with French military in the 
event of an uprising and decided he would be harsh on 
the man. 

Dom Denis, though, didn't give the Colonel a chance to 
direct the conversation. "I understand you accuse us of 
mixing in politics." 

Clesca, taken off guard, answered, "I never said that/* 

"That's what Father Gilbert told me and I believe what 
he said,** 

**I did complain about your giving tea to my pris- 
oners . . .** 

**. . . and you said that was mixing in politics.** 

"I don't remember using the phrase.** 

"It's not what you said that bothers me. What bothers 
me is that you said it to Father Gilbert. I told you once 
before that I'm responsible for what goes on at the mon- 
astery. I don't want you to deal with me through inter- 
mediaries. I demand that you deal with me directly. I say 
this to you because I know you like frankness. It's what 
I like, too." 

"Of course I prefer to be frank. Now tell me, why do 
you give tea to my prisoners?** 

They were thirsty." 


Clesca's hand pounded the arm of his chair as he said, 
"Don't be naive, Father." 

"Is it naive to give tea to men who are thirsty?" 

"If they're political prisoners of the French and you're 
a Frenchman, yes, it's naive/* The officer almost shouted: 
"Do you realize the importance of what youVe done? I 
arrested those men because I got my hands on the list of 
men who head the Istiqlal around here. I had to arrest 
them. Many of them were men that I knew. And what do 
you do! You give them tea. You proclaim to the world 
that what I've done is unjust." 

"What I did I did out of Christian charity and not be- 
cause of politics." 

"But, Father, Christian charity doesn't preclude pru- 

"Every man I meet that needs help will get help." 

"You're wrong on that point, Father. Those prisoners 
don't need help. They're not suffering. I'm afraid you've 
been misled by Peyriguere. He's constantly chattering 
about French injustices in Morocco." 

"We're not talking about Father Peyriguere. We're talk- 
ing about your prisoners." 

'Well, they're not mistreated. I plan to pass judgment 
the day after tomorrow. They'll be back home in a few 

"All of them?" 

"Of course not. The more guilty ones will be sent to 
prison in Meknes for two years. What does it matter? 
You've seen for yourself that they're not badly off. Oh, of 
course, the police may have been guilty of some brutality 


toward them. This I don't know. The police always have 
their customs. This is inevitable/* 

"It seems to me a prisoner, no matter how he's treated, 
is bound to be unhappy because he's lost his liberty/* 

"You're still new in Morocco, Father. The prisoners are 
being fed and housed for nothing. They're happy." 

"How can they be when they're cut oE from their 

Clesca suddenly lost track of the conversation and half- 
muttered, 'Their families?" He slapped the arm of his chair 
again. "Their families! Now that we bring up the subject, 
will you tell me why the families of the prisoners walk to 
the monastery every day?" 

"They come to cook for the men." 

"You are naive, Father. By now there isn't a Moroccan 
within a hundred miles of Azrou that doesn't know what 
you've done." 

"A man shouldn't be separated from his wife and chil- 

"If you only knew how Moroccans treated their wives 
and how they changed them so easily. My wife has several 
women working for her who were sent away by their hus- 
bands. All a man has to do is to say *I divorce you' three 
times and the women are homeless." The Colonel walked 
to one of the windows in his office and looked out at the 
manicured lawn. "Prisoners are not unhappy with us. I 
always have gardeners who are in custody. After we tell 
them they are released, they always ask to stay/* 

The Colonel turned around and looked at Dom Denis. 


"Father, I insist that you have no contact with my prison- 
ers in the future. I want you to understand that." 

"Every time I see someone suffering, I will help. And if 
I do this, I will not be mixing in politics. 111 simply be 
doing my duty as a Christian.'* 

"All right, we understand each other," Clesca said re- 
signedly. 'Til take the prisoners some place else so that 
they can't have contact with you. I tell you, Father, these 
men can't distinguish between a charitable act and a po- 
litical one." 

"That's not my impression. You know yourself Moslems 
are taught they must give alms to the poor. Furthermore, 
they know us as marabouts, as men of prayer." 

"Nonetheless, you're damaging my position. Personally, 
as a Christian, I understand your attitude. But on the 
political plane, I disapprove." 

"I disagree. I don't think what we do contradicts what 
you do. We represent France as fully as you do. I think 
our presence contributes to friendship between France and 
Morocco. I believe this is true whether we give tea to your 
prisoners or receive, as we do, children from Azrou at our 

"I've heard of those children. I know that you even have 
some working at the monastery. I assume you're aware we 
arrested one of them the other day. He had broken into 
the kiosk in Azrou and stolen some French books." 

The Prior smiled as he exclaimed, "This proves his in- 
terest in literature." 

'They were cheap novels." 

"He has not yet developed discernment." 


"It will be good by the time he returns. 9 " 

*Tm sure he'll appreciate his education/' 

"I warn you, Father, that you must not proselytize the 
youngsters who go to your monastery. The law forbids it. 
And even if it didn't, the people here would kill you as 
soon as they found out about it." 

"Don't you know that all priests in Morocco are forbid- 
den to proselytize by the Church? We bear testimony to 
Christ and nothing more/* 

Clesca decided to bring up another subject. <tf Why is it 
that you have your French students waiting on tables when 
you have Moroccans in the refectory?" 

'It's good for them. They do it enthusiastically, too.** 

"Have any of the parents complained?" 

**None. In fact some have written congratulating us on 
promoting friendship between Moroccans and the French." 

**Make sure you don't promote this friendship by giving 
any more tea to the prisoners. Understand me: I forbid it." 

*Tve already told you that I will help any man who 
needs help/* 

<c You realise that if you interfere again, you might be 
deported back to France all of you monks.** 

*It*s all the same to me/* 

The Prior stood up and told the silent Father Jean-Marie 
it was time to go. Turning once again to the Colonel, he 
said, Tin sure you prefer this frankness to maneuvers on 
my part. And from now on, if there are differences between 
us, we will talk directly and not through intermediaries. 
Is that agreed?*' 



The car was halfway to Toumliline before Father Jean- 
Marie asked, "Is this the end of the business?" 

The Prior pretended shock as he mimicked Clesca: 
"Don't be naive, Father." 

Back in his office, Clesca began to write a report to his 
superior, General Roger Miquel, Chief of the Meknes Re- 
gion. He would state the facts and nothing more to his 
superior: the Prior was a tough one and he liked him, 

On August tenth Dom Denis found a note on his desk 
from the sub-Prior saying that an army officer, who wanted 
to remain anonymous, had come to warn the Prior. The 
note read: 

At the last meeting of the general staff in Meknes, 
General Miquel told of a report from Military Security 
in Paris that stated the Father Abbot of Toumliline 
had adopted the political ideas of Father Peyriguere 
and was speaking against the Residence and against 
France. The report referred particularly to an un- 
named monk of Toumliline who had attacked France 
in two different houses in Azrou. The general said: 
*Tf this is true, I will close the abbey in twenty-four 
hours." The official also warned we must be cautious 
about every visitor at Toumliline. They might come 
Just to make trouble for the monastery. He also says 
that in Azrou there is a secret policeman charged 
with watching Toumliline. 

After rereading the note, Dom Denis carefully scratched 
out the name of the officer who had spoken to Father 

That night in Chapter, Martin reviewed the Clesca inter- 
view with the community and told his monks of the warn- 


ing he had received. He thought it possible, he said, that 
Miquel himself had sent the informant to scare them. Then 
he said, c T)id any of you make a political statement in 
Azrou about France?" 

One monk suggested this charge might stem from a hap- 
pening at the sanatorium a month ago. Pere Peyrigu^re 
had been invited to speak to the patients there by Pere 
Placide, he reminded the Prior, and maybe it was Peyri- 
gu&re who had spoken against France. All agreed, how- 
ever, it was nothing said by anyone in the community. 

Four days later Martin wrote to General Miquel. He 
said he had heard Toumliline was accused by the Military 
Security in Paris of attacking France and the residency and 
quoted Miquel as having said, Tf this is true, I will close 
the abbey in twenty-four hours." Fearing summary ex- 
pulsion, he said, he had gone to Rabat and told Archbishop 
Lef evre about the accusation against Toumliline, and then 
with Lefevre's permission, protested at the residency 
against the possibility of Miquel acting on the basis of an 
unverified report. Dom Denis demanded to see the general 
in order to find out the precise accusations brought against 
Toumliline. "If these accusations are found to be baseless, 
the General must tell each officer who had been at the 
meeting at which Toumliline had been attacked of the 

It was a strong letter; so strong in fact that Martin 
decided against mailing it. Instead, he drove to Meknes to 
see Miquel. Father Jean-Marie was again in tow. 

As soon as they were led into the general's office, Mar- 


tin said: "Somebody has told us you are angry at Toum- 

The general sat down at his desk after greeting the two 
monks. "Angry? This is a strong word. To be exact, I have 
been disturbed about you/* 

Dom Denis ignored the remark. "It's been reported to 
me that you told several of your officers we have attacked 
France and the residency /* 

The general, exuding charm, smiled at the furious monk. 
"Those are grave charges, Father, and if I had had to 
formulate them, I would have been pained. Moreover, I 
would have spoken to you before this. But no, the report 
you heard is not true. I have been troubled, however, be- 
cause I fear that Father Peyriguere has had a bad influence 
on you/* The general's dark eyes never left the monk's face 
as he talked. 

The thought occurred again to Dom Denis that Miquel 
might have engineered this confrontation by sending the 
informant to him. First the report of MiqueFs fury at 
Toumliline, then the emphatic disclaimer, and finally the 
gentle hint that he should not associate with Peyriguere 
it was a classic police procedure for frightening a suspect 
and putting Tiim on his good behavior. But then again the 
residency, after the Prior had made his protest, could have 
told the general that, report or no report from Military 
Security, he was to leave the monastery alone. In any 
event, Dom Denis knew he had to keep his anger in check, 
for if Miquel was his enemy he would try to destroy him 
with his own words. 

Remaining calm was a problem for the Prior. He in- 


stinctively distrusted the general and disliked him, sus- 
pecting that at the very least he was trying to play him off 
against Peyriguere. Everything about the towering officer 
set him off. He sat in his chair, Dom Denis thought, as if 
he were posing for his portrait: casual, self-assured, his 
chest thrust out, his underslung jaw, permanently dark 
because of a heavy beard, jutting forward. Even the swag- 
ger stick that the general was toying with annoyed the 

'The subject of Father Peyriguere," the Prior said an- 
grily, "has nothing to do with why I am here. Let me 
repeat that I have been told you received a report from 
Paris accusing us of attacking France and the residency. 
Is this true? 9 

"It is absolutely false. IVe received nothing from Paris 
about you. But there is an incident in March that occurred 
at the sanatorium that disturbs me." 

"Yes, yes, I know. But we weren*t involved." 

"Just as I thought. But I did hear that Peyriguere had 
gone there at the invitation of one of your monks." 

"Not exactly. Pere Placide is a monk of En-Calcat, he 
is not a member of our community. But tell me what P&re 
Peyriguere supposedly said." 

"He said that if he were a Moroccan he would not like 
the French." 

"The sentence has been taken out of context. He was 
speaking to a French audience and mentioned that he 
often travels wearing a djellaba. And when he does this, 
he is always mistaken for a Berber. He said that French- 
men, when they see him, back away because they think 


contact with him would give them lice. And what he told 
his audience was that if he were in fact a Moroccan he 
would hate the French for this." 

The general exclaimed, "That is exactly the same 

"Not quite. It is even worse than the one you heard. 
Peyriguere had said, Tf I were a Moroccan, I would hate 
the French/ But please remember he was talking to a 
French audience and that he was referring to the French- 
man's contempt for Moroccans." 

"You don't know the man! In Ifrane recently he had the 
effrontery to preach an incendiary sermon against what he 
calls injustices in Morocco. And I was in the church!" 

"Incredible/ 7 the Prior said as he smiled for the first time. 

"Nothing stops him. He writes to Paris, to the Resident 
General, to the newspapers, to the Archbishop. I decided 
I had to put a stop to it so I complained to the Archbishop 
about him and suggested it would be better if he sent 
Peyriguere back to France. And do you know what hap- 
pened? The Archbishop told Peyriguere of my complaint 
and a few days later I received a violent, nasty letter from 
him. Of course, I did not answer. I forwarded the letter to 
the proper authorities." 

"General, we know very well that Peyriguere has strong 
opinions about the protectorate, but they do not influence 
us. He comes to Toumliline to rest and work. The Arch- 
bishop has asked us to receive him. Moreover, he is valu- 
able to us because he knows the Berbers better than any 
Frenchman in the country." 

"That is true." 


"But as for the accusation that we speak against France, 
it should be easy for you to establish the truth or falsity 
of this. Speak to our friends. Ask Archbishop Lef &vre. Ask 
Colonel de Tournemire." 

"Ah, Colonel de Tournemire. I have heard a report that 
he has 'evolved' and that he now shares the ideas of 
Frangois Mauriac." 

"What do you base this on?" 

"A report. In Morocco, my friend, one must be extremely 
cautious about everything one says. The smallest word is 
held up to scrutiny/' 

"Then you of course know about my differences with 
Colonel Clesca.*" 

<c Yes. He has written me about the tea incident. But don't 
judge him harshly. He is naturally a blunt man." 

"I don't mind his bluntness. But as I told him, he and I 
must be frank with one another. I demanded that he not 
deal through an intermediary with me as he did the other 
day when he complained to my cellarer, Father Gilbert. 
I told him that I am the superior and that I alone am 

"You were right to tell him that." 

"Do you also agree I was justified in giving the political 
prisoners tea?" 

**You were quite right in doing that.*' 

"You approve?" 

"Yes, just so long as there was no conversation between 
the monks and the political prisoners. This is forbidden. 
Did you speak to them?" 

The Prior decided to side-step the question. "Colonel 


Clesca said the giving of tea was political. You understand 
we cannot renounce our mission. We are witnesses of Christ 
and of the Church. If Moroccans cannot distinguish be- 
tween a political act and a charitable act, then we must 
teach them. We must begin now/* 

"Your position is very strong," the General agreed. It 
is unassailable.** 

"Then I may continue to do what IVe been doing?*' 

"If I were in your place, I would do the same thing/* 

"And you do not object that we receive young Berbers 
at the monastery?" 

"Oh, I approve absolutely. But don't make the mistake 
of trusting their word too much, nor of counting on them. 
They are capable of anything. You will be disappointed." 

"But we cannot be disappointed because we expect 
nothing. We are here as witnesses. We are here to give 
testimony to the charity of Christ.** 

"This is very beautiful. Then you are the only ones who 
will never be disappointed/ 3 

"General, I see that you approve of what we're doing 
and I won*t detain you any longer." 

"I approve of the tea. I also think that you ought to 
receive at your monastery any one you wish." 

"And in the future if there are any misunderstandings 
between us, we will deal directly with one another." 

"Yes. If I have anything to say to you, I will either call 
or come see you.** 

"Good. Intermediaries distort so easily." 

"This is not the first time IVe had to clear up a mis- 
understanding with a priest. And oddly enough they al- 


ways come around to the same point. They all ask the right 
to proselytize and baptize/* 

"We don't ask for that. We only ask for the right to bear 

"That is what Charles de Foucauld wanted. That is what 
Peyriguere says he wants, but because of his immense 
pride will never be able to do. Peyriguere wears the habit 
of De Foucauld, he claims to be his successor, but he does 
not accomplish the same thing, nor can he. De Foucauld 
had a formation. He was an aristocrat. He was an officer." 


JLHE tea incident, "a simple act of charity** as 
Dom Denis called it, had many effects. The most immedi- 
ate was that it satisfied their Moroccan neighbors that the 
monks were not, as they had suspected, French agents. But 
much more than this, the episode catapulted the monastery 
into the middle of Moroccan history. 

Three days after the prior's conversation with General 
Miquel, the French succeeded in their plot to depose Mo- 
hammed V, a plot that had aborted in 1951. This time the 
Pasha of Marrakech, El Glaoui, appeared with a petition 
demanding the Sultan's abdication. It was signed by nearly 
all of Morocco's French-appointed pashas and caids. 
(Among the handful of nonsigners was the Pasha of 
Sefrou, Father Martin's friend, Si Bekkai.) Once again 
lightly armed Berber horsemen "spontaneously** marched 
on Rabat and reduced the French force of tanks, machine- 
guns and jet planes to a state of self -proclaimed helpless- 
ness. The only way the French residency could honor its 
obligation to protect the Sultan, it said, was to fly him out 
of the country. Clad in pajamas, Mohammed V was 



whisked first to Corsica and then to Madagascar. His exile 
had begun. 

Unlike 1951, when General Juin gave Paris advance 
notice, the 1953 coup d'etat was presented as a fait accom- 
pli to Premier Laniel. Laniel did nothing to protest the 
maneuver. However, there was violent reaction in France 
to the development. It was led by Nobel prize winner 
Francois Mauriac and a group o Catholic intellectuals, 
among them the journalist Robert Barrat. Since their ex- 
pose of the real causes of the bloody Casablanca riots, 
these men had tried to awaken France to what they termed 
her dishonor at the hands of the colons in Morocco. Mau- 
riac became a household word in Morocco because of his 
denunciation of Guillaume. More than ever, he was re- 
vered by Moroccans, reviled by colons. 

Organized counteraction against the Sultan's deposition 
was cut short in Morocco by the roundup of several thou- 
sand Istiqlal supporters who were shipped without trial 
to join their leaders in large detention camps on the edge 
of the Sahara. Gradually, however, the Moroccan people 
united around the symbol of their exiled spiritual leader, 
even deserting their mosques where prayers were ordered 
said in the name of the French puppet, Mohammed VL 
Younger, more radical nationalists replaced the imprisoned 
moderates as leaders of Moroccan resistance and began a 
campaign of terror. The disemboweled bodies of Moroccan 
collaborators were found almost daily. French factories, 
farms, and crops were set afire, cafes and trains were 
bombed. Father Martin's cousin, General Marie-Antoine 


d*Hautevi]le, was among the French officers wounded by 
terrorist bullets. 

The Residency retaliated once again with mass arrests, 
curfews, and "interrogations" that often took the lives of 
those questioned. American readers were given an eye- 
witness report by Time correspondent Frank White of 
one French rattisage or roundup. He told of French 
troops surrounding a native quarter, dragging out every 
male except small boys, then forcing them to run one by 
one between parallel lines of troops who clubbed them 
with rifle butts. The Civil Controller in charge of the 
operation, a French veteran of thirty-three years in Mo- 
rocco, apologized to the correspondent, White reported. 
*We know these people," he said, "and to do anything less 
would be to invite further disturbances. 7 * White added 
a laconic note: "In the course of the roundup twenty Arabs 
died." In an effort to relieve tensions, Paris replaced Resi- 
dent General Guillaume in May, 1954, with a civilian, 
Francis Lacoste. 

During this first year of the Sultan's exile and the con- 
sequent terrorist activity, the atmosphere around Toumli- 
line was relatively calm. A French Army report on political 
conditions in the area commented: 

One cannot pass over in silence the influence which 
the Benedictine fathers have in certain areas. Their 
presence at Totunliline attracts to the monastery nu- 
merous French, Moroccan and foreign visitors, some 
official, some not . . . (The Benedictines') total ig- 
norance of the Moroccan mentality and the situation 
in Morocco caused them to make mistakes at the he- 


ginning and to do some surprising things. However, 
their repetition now seems remote. 

But with the Benedictine tradition of opening their mon- 
astery doors to all who knock, "surprising things" were 
never remote. One hot August morning in 1954, a new 
phase in the monks* relations with the Moroccans began. 
Brother Cyprian, the aging monastery gatekeeper, told 
Father Martin that Paul Buttin had just arrived. The prior 
hurried to the gate house. Buttin, a slim, erect French 
lawyer from Meknes who had spent thirty-five years in 
North Africa, had been a friend of Toumliline from the 
first days. An articulate Christian, he had for many years 
in books and articles attempted to define the Christian's 
responsibilities in North Africa. Father Martin had great 
respect for this man whose stand during the present crisis 
had cost him most of his European practice and social 
ostracism for his family. 

There was a Moroccan with Buttin. "Dom Denis," he 
said, "I would like you to meet a friend and colleague of 
mine, Monsieur Driss M'Hammedi." 

The Prior, though this was the first time he had met this 
dark, barrel-chested Moroccan, knew he was talking to one 
of the leaders of the Istiqlal. He was surprised to see him, 
since M'Hammedi had been arrested more than a year 
before and put into prison. Buttin, MTSammedfs lawyer, 
had often mentioned the Resident General's refusal to ac- 
knowledge Buttin's demands that the Moroccan at least be 
given a trial. The priest's face showed confusion. 

"It's all right, Father," Driss said. "I was released from 
custody and arrived back in Meknes yesterday." 


Buttin explained that the new Resident General, Francis 
Lacoste tie emphasized the word "new" had granted 
amnesty to many of the Istiqldl leaders held in Arbalou du 
Kerdous, a detention camp in the Moroccan Sahara. 

MTHammedi picked up the conversation at this point. 
"I wanted my first visit to be with you, Father. I know 
you are our friend." 

The Prior asked why he believed this. MHammedi 
smiled and said, "Tea." He explained that at the detention 
camp everyone knew of the tea the monks had given to 
the political prisoners: the word had been spread by the 
prisoners who had worked near the monastery. 

It was a little thing," Dom Denis said. 

"It was a little thing, yes, but significant. You showed us 
that real Christians rebelled at injustices in this country.** 

Over lunch in the Prior's office, MTHammedi told Dom 
Denis he also knew about his argument with Clesca and 
Miquel. The report, Driss explained, had come by tel6- 
phone arabeihe French talk at table, the servants listen, 
and what is found out in Azrou one day is known in Casa- 
blanca and Rabat the next and in every part of the country 
within a week. 

During the meal, Father Martin learned Driss M'Ham- 
medfs background. He was from Fez, the son of a doorman 
and a member of the tribe Beni M'Hammedi, whence his 
name. He had been educated in the local Koranic school 
until he was 14, when his father died. His uncle then took 
charge of the boy and sent him to the French lycee in Fez. 
With his baccalaureate behind him, he went to Rabat to 
enter the government service. Working in the daytime and 


studying law at night, lie was admitted to the bar. Driss 
organized a Moslem Boy Scout movement in 1937. The 
French authorities, however, afraid such an organization 
might turn into a training school for nationalists, discour- 
aged him. Driss then suggested his organization be incor- 
porated into the French Catholic Scouts in Morocco, but 
the authorities turned him down on the grounds the 
French scouts might attempt proselytizing. At the out- 
break of World War II they suppressed the Moslem Scouts 
completely. Driss joined the Istiqlal party when it was 
formed in late 1943 and was sent to organize the Meknes 
area. Operating both as lawyer and Istiqlal organize he 
had great success until the roundup of top Istiqlal leaders 
after the Casablanca riots in December, 1952. 

"I am free now," Driss said, "but not for long. Though 
the new Resident General has released some of us, I still 
live in Meknes under the jurisdiction of General Miquel. 
The general is looking for the slightest pretext to throw 
me into prison." 

As M'Hammedi and Buttin prepared to leave after lunch, 
the Moroccan told Father Martin that his six-year-old son 
Ali had begged him not to leave the house that morning. 
"Don't go, Papa," Driss quoted him as saying, "you will 
not come home again/* 

Father Martin saw Driss often after this first meeting. 
He considered him an extremely intelligent, openhearted 
man. They had many discussions on religious matters. 
Driss' "spiritual director" was the Grand Sheik of Islam in 
Morocco, the Fqih Bel Larbi el Alaoui, who was also, in 


a way, "spiritual adviser" to Father Martin on things 

In Rabat on business one day, the Prior was followed 
into a bookshop by a French Army officer, his friend, 
Colonel Devillars, director of the protectorate's Political 
Affairs Department. 

"Dom Denis, you see Driss M'Hammedi occasionally, 
don't you? Could you do me a favor? The Resident Gen- 
eral released Driss and the other prisoners in the hope of 
arranging a reconciliation between them and those Moroc- 
cans working with our administration. He invited them 
to dinner. The first time, the IstiqldL leaders came, but 
apparently they found it disagreeable since they did not 
come to the second dinner. Now, one of the leaders we 
cannot reach is Driss M'Hammedi. Could you ask him to 
see us?" 

"I'll speak to him about it, but if I do you must ask your 
chief, Colonel Hubert, to place him under the Residency's 
special protection to forestall any action by General 


The next morning Father Martin went to Meknes and 
told Driss of his conversation. "Talk with them," he ad- 
vised, "and maybe they can solve your problem with Gen- 
eral Miquel." He telephoned Driss' acceptance to Devil- 
lars and arranged a meeting later in the day. Piling into 
the monastery car, they drove to Rabat and met the Colonel 
at his home. Father Martin was a quiet observer as the 
French and then the Moroccan positions were defined. The 
Colonel suggested that Driss move to Rabat, where he 


would no longer be under Miquel*s thumb. Driss agreed. 

A short time later Father Martin was introduced by 
Driss to Mehdi Ben Barka, a thirty-four-year-old mathe- 
matics professor and the youngest signer of the 1944 Is- 
tiqlal manifesto. The meeting took place at a reunion of 
the recently released prisoners. The Prior met also Mo- 
hammed el Fassi, former Rector of the ancient Karaouine 
University and a founder of Istiqlal, and Captain Mahjoubi 
Aherdane, a Berber nationalist who later organized the 
Moroccan Army of Liberation. "It was/* Father Martin 
recalls, "a cordial, sympathetic meeting/* The most impor- 
tant event of the evening was that Ben Barka asked the 
prior to visit him at his home. He accepted an invitation 
for the next evening. 

"What can you do for us?" Ben Barka bluntly asked the 
priest as soon as amenities were over. 

"What do you expect me to do?** 

"We want independence for our country. But we feel 
we need the help of those who know the realities of the 
situation here and who are at the same time disinterested. 
Since 1920 and especially since 1951, Frenchmen and 
Moroccans have lived in worlds separated by passions and 
prejudices. I believe that among the French here our only 
hope is with certain Catholics. So I would like you to put 
us in touch with them.** 

"It's possible. But let me think about the best way to go 
about it.** 

His first step was to consult Archbishop Lefevre who 
told him to go ahead. Next he spoke to close French friends. 
They all advised caution because of counterterrorist activi- 


ties against those favoring Franco-Moroccan co-operation, 
pointing out that such groups as "The White Hand" and 
"The Anti-Terrorist Defense Organization" were now at- 
tacking and killing Frenchmen as well as Moroccans. 
( That July, for example, they killed three members of the 
family of a Casablanca attorney in separate bomb and 
machine gun attacks. His crime: he had assembled French 
and Moroccan business and professional men at his home 
to discuss ways of improving Franco-Moroccan relations. 
Even the new Resident General, Francis Lacoste, was not 
immune from verbal attacks. Violent tracts denouncing 
Lacoste's "criminal blindness' and his "policy of treason" 
were distributed by the tens of thousands. Singled out as 
particularly treasonable was Lacoste's release of Diiss 
MTHammedi and the other IstiqlaL leaders, and worse still, 
his desire "to begin conversations with these enemies of 
France and Morocco .") 

One friend Father Martin consulted was a wealthy 
colon who had been quite generous to Toumliline. The 
Prior telephoned to ask if he could bring Driss MTHammedi 
along. He wanted to see for himself the reactions of both 
the colon and the nationalist in this dress rehearsal for 
later meetings. The Frenchman received the IstiqlaL leader 
warmly. Driss sensed this acceptance and responded in 
land. The colons wife, however, gave Morocco's future 
Minister of the Interior a chilly reception. Father Martin 
noticed she tried hard but just could not overcome her 
repugnance at entertaining a "native** at her table. After 
the visit, the colon exposed himself to the double danger 
of terrorist and counterterrorist attack by accompanying 


Driss to the medina (Moroccan quarter) where he was to 
spend the night. Driss later told the Prior that the colons 
sensitivity to the traditions of Moroccan hospitality, where 
an invited guest is the host's responsibility both on the 
way to and from his home, put the seal on their new 

Encouraged by this, Father Martin organized the first 
meeting with the help of Raymond Fourquez, a wealthy 
young colon. He told him of Ben Barka's request and asked 
if he would come to the monastery for lunch with the 
nationalists. Fourquez agreed and was told to bring some 
friends. For the lunch the Prior ordered the monastery 
cellarer to forget the budget and to serve the best meal 
possible. Fourquez with two friends and Ben Barka with 
two nationalists arrived within minutes of each other. 
Throughout lunch, the conversation was guardedly polite. 
Later, over the cafe filtre and mint tea, the meeting went 
to pieces. 

The colons had brought up the difficulties they were 
having in getting co-operation from their Moroccan em- 
ployees. Ben Barka calmly said, "Then you had better 
leave the running of our country to us. We have only to 
give the sign and the people will co-operate." Father Mar- 
tin quickly brought the meeting to a close. 

Escorting the Frenchmen to their car, the Prior listened 
to their complaints. "The idiots!" one colon said. "They 
haven't the faintest idea of business management, let alone 
government. Heaven help Morocco if they ever come to 
power! They think they have but to snap their fingers and 
the country will run itself/* 


Father Martin returned to lead the Moroccans to their 
car. This time he listened politely to their complaints. 
"These Frenchmen are stubborn and conceited. They think 
we are incapable of running our own affairs. Such supe- 
riority complexes! It is painful to deal with such people/* 

The second meeting was at the home of Fourquez, who 
had invited the important colons of the Rabat-Casablanca 
region as well as Ben Barka, who came with a number of 
Istiqlal men. It, too, produced nothing. The third meeting 
was at the house of Si Nejjai, a Moroccan who had come 
to the earlier meetings with Ben Barka. An agricultural 
engineer who was later to be Minister of Agriculture, he 
had many ideas about evolving Morocco's agricultural 
economy but had gotten nowhere with the French authori- 
ties. Just before the meeting, Father Martin met separately 
with the two groups and asked them not to sabotage the 
discussions. To improve the chances for an understanding, 
he tried to explain to each side the difficulties of the other, 
and begged them to avoid incendiary remarks. Partly be- 
cause of this, and partly because they were beginning to 
know each other, the meeting began and ended cordially. 

Following this, the French colons invited Father Martin 
to meet some of their Moroccan friends, in particular a 
certain Pasha. The most important Frenchmen of the re- 
gion were around the lunch table. Father Martin knew of 
this Moroccan. The French had appointed him to office to 
embarrass the Sultan, Mohammed V, with whom the 
Moroccan had had a bitter dispute. Deeply committed 
to them, he was regarded by the French as a "true Moroc- 
can" and one of their staunchest allies. In conversation with 


him, Dom Denis learned that the Pasha was a frightened 
man. He felt that the days of French control were num- 
bered and would have liked to switch sides but was too 
involved to make the break. What most distressed the Prior 
was that his French friends were convinced that this fright- 
ened Pasha spoke for the Moroccan people. How could 
they possibly understand the men of Istiqlal? These friends 
of Father Martin probably thought the same as the French 
official who described the Istiqlal as "a collection of intel- 
lectuals with half-baked ideas about Western democracy 
and the French Revolution who have swallowed the Com- 
munist line and who are actually despised by their own 

These meetings continued on through 1955 and many 
ended the same way the first had, in recriminations and 
anger. However, they did bring together Frenchmen and 
top nationalist leaders and this in itself was remarkable. 
As Mehdi Ben Barka had said when he first asked Father 
Martin what he could do for them, the Moroccans had had 
few means of approaching the French in Morocco, and the 
talks between the two camps helped reduce the anti- 
Moroccan feeling of the French community and prepared 
it for the concessions ultimately made by the Paris 
government. Father Martin himself, when he arranged 
meetings between the Moslems and the French, took no 
active part in the discussions. He occasionally turned the 
talk to other subjects when the two groups would be on 
the verge of shouting, but other than that he smiled and 
kept his counsel. 

This was not true when he spoke to the French them- 


selves. When, at a luncheon, a group of Meknes business- 
men demanded to know why he was supporting the Mos- 
lems against the Christians, Father Martin told them they 
didn't know what they were talking about. The position of 
the Church on such cases as the Moroccans' demand for 
independence, he explained, was perfectly clear in princi- 
ple: peoples and nations did have the right to govern 
themselves. Thus, he said, it wasn't that Toumliline was 
going too far, but that most of the French in Morocco had 
little regard for Christian justice. 

This angered many of his French listeners, but did force 
them to reconsider their own position. After all, he was 
one of them, and more than that, he was a priest. After a 
lecture on Toumliline to six hundred student pilots at the 
Meknes Air Base, he asked the French Air Force colonel 
in charge if he approved what the monks were trying to do. 
When he answered by accusing the monks of being anti- 
colonialist, Father Martin deeply disturbed the officer, just 
as he had disturbed General MiqueL, by saying that the 
man did not know the difference between a political and 
a nonpolitical position. "In a given historical time, in a 
given milieu/' the Prior said, "colonialism may be good 
for a colonialized people. But the Church says that the 
aspirations of a people for independence are legitimate. 
After this principle is affirmed then we go into politics. It's 
the application of the principle that is a political matter. 
The principle itself is a principle of justice these people 
have the right to be independent and it is not a principle 
of politics. Should they or should they not be independent, 


this is a judgment that is within the competence of every 
single Christian." 

The Prior told his community about his conversation 
with the Colonel. He told them that what he had been 
doing had at least accomplished one thing almost acci- 
dentally, that it had won for them the affection of many 
of the religious leaders of the Moslem community. When 
he had begun to see the Grand Sheik of Islam in Morocco, 
the Fqih Bel Larbi el Alaoui, both Colonel Clesca and 
General Miquel had warned him that he was the worst 
enemy the Church had in Morocco. They told Father 
Martin of an incident during a lecture of Bel Larbi to 
students at the Karaouine University in Fez. The sound of 
a Catholic church bell drifted into the open courtyard 
where they sat. "There is your true enemy/' the Fqih 
^warned his students, "do not rest until it has been driven 
from your country.** After the Prior had become quite 
intimate with the Moslem theologian he asked him if the 
story were true. The Fqih readily admitted it, but added 
he had not then been able to distinguish between the 
Church and French authorities. "But now,** he said, "see- 
ing what you do at Toumliline has helped me to make that 

Still later, after many conversations in which each came 
to understand the essential inspirations of the other's reli- 
gion, Bel Larbi made a startling admission. "I would re- 
spect the conversion of a Moslem to Christianity if made 
in a certain way." He explained the qualification. 

"If a man is convinced of the truth, as you and I are, 
one measure of that conviction is his desire to share it with 
others. Thus I am sure you are as desirous of converting 


me to Christianity as I am to convert you to Islam. But 
such a desire must always respect the personality and 
liberty of conscience of the others. The conversion must 
not be by violence or argument but by the splendor of a 
life lived according to that truth.'" 

Father Martin told his monks of having met another 
religious leader, Mohammed el Fassi, at Ben Barka's house. 
This ardent nationalist, later Minister of Education and 
Rector of the University of Morocco, was from a patrician 
family of Fez that had been expelled from Spain by Isa- 
bella the Catholic in 1492. In a way, Mohammed el Fassi 
represented that segment of Moroccan Moslems intransi- 
gently hostile toward things Western. He had maintained 
this position in spite of taking his graduate work in Paris 
and even after rooming with a student, Jean Danielou, 
now a world-famous Jesuit theologian! But now he has 
completely changed his attitude, Father Martin said, be- 
cause of three things he felt demonstrated the Church's 
independence of French colonialist policy in Morocco. One 
was the pastoral letter of Archbishop Lef &vre to his priests 
in 1952 outlining the obligations of Christians toward 
Moslems in Morocco. Another was the national examina- 
tion of conscience taken by many French Catholics led by 
Frangois Mauriac. The final event was our giving tea to 
those political prisoners. 

"This breaking down of centuries-old prejudices," Father 
Martin concluded, "is one reason for our presence here. If 
in performing this work of Christ we scandalize Christians 
who would like the Church to identify itself with certain 
political policies, it is unfortunate, tragic even, but abso- 
lutely necessary. 5 * 


CUBING the early days of hectic construc- 
tion when the monks and local workmen toiled side by 
side to convert the school into something more like a mon- 
astery, Father Charles, the infirmarian, treated their cuts 
and bruises. The news spread and soon he had a clientele 
coining from Azrou and Berber villages twenty miles away. 
Most of the patients were women and small children. 
Their needs were obvious tuberculosis, malnutrition, glau- 
coma, poor hygiene but the monks had neither the sup- 
plies nor the medical competence to fill those needs. Father 
Charles had many years practical experience as a nurse 
but he was not a doctor. (This versatile monk had drawn 
up the architectural plans for the church at En-Calcat.) 
At the time Father Martin was considering the remote 
possibility of hiring a doctor the monastery actually had 
no money to pay for one a young French doctor, Gerald 
Martignac, asked to join their community. 

At first they received the sick in a passageway near the 
refectory. Soon the crowds grew unmanageable and the 
noise of Berber conversations and wailing babies shattered 



the monastic silence. The monastery's chronicle describes 
the situation on June 28, 1954: 

The crowds keep growing every day. Now we find 
the women lined up early in the morning at the foot 
of the stairs leading to our dormitory cells. They take 
their places with the tenacity of Londoners waiting 
for the royal coronation procession to pass. As we go 
to the refectory for breakfast after our Masses, the 
narrow passageway is overrun by Father Charles* 
clients. The little Moroccan boy charged with sweep- 
ing up the area is filled with joy at assuming the im- 
portant role of ordering all the women to clear a path 
for us. A few feet away at the edge of the forest 
donkeys and mules wait patiently for their masters 
and mistresses. 

It was not until 1955 that funds were available to build 
a separate dispensary for the patients who sometimes num- 
bered one hundred a day. Begun in April, the low four- 
roomed building designed by Brother Jean-Michel in local 
cedar wood and basalt rock was completed by July. Its 
location alongside the road and over one hundred yards 
from the Chapel shut off the unfamiliar sounds of women 
and children from the monastic cloister. 

Along with the dispensary, the monks built a home for 
their growing family of orphaned and abandoned Moroc- 
can children who began arriving in early 1953. After the 
first summer, the children returned to the monastery on 
school holidays for games, lessons, and meals. They would 
arrive early in the morning, usually in groups of twenty or 
thirty one day they numbered 187. Some would play soc- 
cer or checkers, others would ask the monks to hear their 


school lessons. At noon, as many as could fit ate with the 
monks in the refectory. The overflow would sit under the 
trees, four to a platter of tajine (usually a lamb stew) 
which they would eat with their fingers. Two Arabic- 
speaking monks, Father Gilbert and Brother Eugene, were 
given the job of looking after the boys. 

As these monks came to know the children, Father Mar- 
tin made a decision that committed the monks to a work 
they had not foreseen in coming to Toumliline. Soon 
twenty youngsters ranging in age from ten to fifteen years 
were lodged at the monastery. Father Martin became their 
legal guardian and assumed responsibility for their up- 
bringing. Four of the brightest were sent to secondary 
schools, returning Thome" to Toumliline for vacations. The 
younger ones were enrolled in Moslem primary schools in 
Azrou, hiking back and forth each day over the steep 
mountain short cut with their lunch and school books 
strapped to their backs. Older boys with no schooling were 
sent as apprentices to learn carpentry and gardening. One 
of these, an eleven-year-old deaf-mute, became Brother 
Jean-Michel's assistant gardener. 

For all these children Toumliline became the center of 
their "family" life. Father Gilbert was treated by the chil- 
dren with the same respect and docility reserved by all 
Moroccan children for their fathers, and he ruled them 
with a firm hand. With Brother Eugene though, the boys 
would cut up and act as with an older brother. 

From the beginning, the monks scrupulously respected 
the religious faith of these young Moslems. In fact, contact 
with the monks quickened the boys* own faith and they 


began, for example, to keep the month-long fast of Rama- 
dan at an earlier age than required by Koranic law. Some 
Azrou parents, whose children used to visit Toumliline 
during the day, sent a delegation to Fez to consult the Fqih, 
Bel Larbi, asking him if there was anything wrong or 
dangerous in allowing their children to visit these Chris- 
tian monks. "Not at all," the theologian reassured them* 
"They are men of God." 

Contact with young Moroccans showed Father Martin 
the dilemma they faced. Coining from families with tradi- 
tions unchanged for centuries, these youngsters suffered 
terrible confusion in the face of the new. One graduate of 
the Berber College in Azrou told the Prior he did not want 
to rejoin his family. His illiterate father was a mountain 
shepherd, he agonized, and his mother, like every woman 
of the region, lived out her life carrying wood and water 
for the family and weaving rugs. The young man, though 
he refused to go home, confided to Father Martin the fear 
he would lose his faith which seemed so tied to the ancient 

This contact with Moroccan youth was greatly extended 
in the summer of 1955 when a number of vacation camps 
were opened in the hills surrounding Toumliline. Students 
attending these camps came from as far away as Marra- 
kech, Casablanca, and Rabat as well as from nearby 
Meknes and Fez. They were French and Moroccan, Jewish 
and Moslem. Many of them would hike to Toumliline, eat 
their lunch under the trees, and then join the monks for 
coffee and conversation. The Moslem students delighted 
at the openness of the monks. For many of them, it was 


their first friendly personal contact with Frenchmen. The 
French authorities, however, were not at all pleased at the 
ardent nationalism displayed by these Moroccansthey 
were forever singing Istiqlal songs, even at Toumliline 
and after two weeks ordered the Moslem camps shut down. 

This order was symptomatic of the worse-than-ever po- 
litical crisis of 1955. The Moroccan terrorists stepped up 
their activities prior to August twentieth, second anniver- 
sary of the Sultan's exile. French counterterrorists grew 
bolder and, at least in Casablanca, operated with the com- 
plicity of the local French police. A French hero of World 
War II, Pierre Clostermann, who advocated "a dialog be- 
tween Moroccans and French," left the country after re- 
peated bombings of his home. A French lawyer, Jean- 
Charles Legrand, who had narrowly escaped a French 
lynch mob after defending some accused Moroccan ter- 
rorists, was arrested after he shot three French counter- 
terrorists when they attempted to assassinate him. Even 
after eighty murders attributed to counterterrorists in Casa- 
blanca, not a single arrest had been made. An American 
correspondent quoted one policeman as saying, "What? 
Arrest Frenchmen for killing these Moroccan pigs? They 
ought to be given the Legion of Honor!* 7 

They went too far, however, with the June machine gun 
killing of Jacques Lemaigre-Dubreuil, a personal friend of 
French Premier Edgar Faure and an advocate of a moder- 
ate policy of "evolutionary autonomy*" for Morocco. The 
Paris government began to investigate the Casablanca po- 
lice department and discovered that some of its top officials 
were key members of counterterrorist organizations. 


Shocked into action, Premier Faure replaced the well- 
intentioned but ineffectual Francis Lacoste with Gilbert 
Grandval as the new Resident General. 

Arriving in Morocco early in July, Grandval's first 
move was to discharge ten French officials of the protec- 
torate administration. Next, on Bastille Day, he declared 
a general amnesty, released hundreds of political prisoners, 
and promised to close down all detention camps. The 
French extremists reacted immediately, turning his per- 
sonal appearances into near riots. In Casablanca he was 
spat upon and manhandled as the police looked on. The 
French crowd shouted epithets like "Grandval to the 
gallows." In Meknes, the police even shot into a crowd of 
five hundred young Moroccans come to greet the new 
Resident General, killing thirty and wounding 250. Shaken, 
Grandval cancelled the rest of his inaugural tour and fired 
off a report to Paris warning that unless the French ex- 
tremists could be curbed and the deposed Sultan returned 
before August Twentieth there would be a general up- 

With French night patrols shooting anything that moved 
in the Moroccan sections of the larger cities, the Moslem 
students from the closed vacation camps were reluctant to 
return home. Having sampled the easygoing hospitality 
of the monks, they descended on Toumliline by the hun- 
dreds. The monastery^ guest cells and a converted garage 
were quickly filled and Father Martin had to borrow three 
large tents from the Beni M'Guild tribe. Chaplains from 
the American air and naval bases in Morocco arranged for 
the loan of surplus blanketsthe temperature drops forty 


degrees during the chilly mountain nights. Outdoor 
kitchens were set up and cooking chores were handled by 
the scouts among the students. Groups of thirty were ro- 
tated regularly so each could eat in turn with the monks 
in the refectory. But this created special problems because 
the monks keep silence while they eat, listening to readings 
from the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, Sacred Scriptures, and 
books of current interest. Father Martin called all the boys 
together and explained the reasons for this. After that, they 
scrupulously observed the rule of silence whenever they 
entered the cloistered part of the monastery. 

The Prior arranged with foreign visitors to Toumliline to 
meet groups of the Moroccan students at informal after- 
dinner teas. Foreign journalists, American servicemen and 
even an official of the Union Frangaise, France's postwar 
name for her colonial empire, took part in these exchanges. 
One popular guest was the director of a nearby Jewish 
camp who had newly returned from Israel. Several times 
his camp took in an overflow of Moslem students from 

In an attempt to satisfy the students* desperate thirst 
for learning of any kind, Father Martin organized lectures. 
Father Fulcran taught astronomy and took the boys on 
geological field trips. Father Pius taught a course on the 
history of music. Other monks lectured on their specialties 
and tutored some who had failed baccalaureate examina- 
tions. So intent were the young Moroccans, they even 
attended a lecture on some obscure nineteenth-century 
French poets. 

Meanwhile new developments on the political front 


threatened Toumliline. The French army had received 
numerous reports that a Berber "Army of Liberation** was 
being recruited and trained in the Atlas mountains. The 
chief organizer was supposed to be Mahjoubi Aherdane, 
the Berber nationalist and former French army captain 
whom the Prior had met at the home of Mehdi Ben Barka. 
In addition, it was rumored that representatives of the 
newly begun Algerian revolution were attempting to enlist 
this new army in a joint campaign to sweep the hated 
French into the sea. As Father Martin put it, 

Things were relatively tranquil for us because we 
were on excellent terms with our Moroccan neighbors 
in the Middle Atlas mountains. One thing troubled 
me, however. A band of these soldiers fired up with 
anti-French hatred could sweep up from the Moroc- 
can-Algerian Sahara and wipe out all my monks with- 
out our Moroccan friends knowing what was happen- 
ing. And while every monk retires at night prepared 
not to see the morning, I warned them of its imme- 
diate possibility. 

These reports of the formation of a Berber army par- 
ticularly disturbed the local French because their propa- 
ganda had pictured Morocco's four million country Berbers 
as staunchly loyal to France and bitterly opposed to Sultan 
Mohammed V. Should the Berbers make common cause 
with the more urban Istiqlal, it would mean a full scale 
war against the French. 

In Azrou, Colonel Clesca's men constantly patrolled the 
"hills around Toumliline looking for concentrations of Ber- 
ber horsemen. Occasionally they would ask Father Martin 


if he Md such or such a man at the monastery. One day 
when the monks were in chapel chanting the divine office 
a jeepload of armed French soldiers drove up to the gate. 
They piled out, guns at the ready, and headed across the 
monastery grounds. Father Gilbert, singing by a window, 
was closest to the chapel door. Stepping out of his choir 
stall, he bowed toward the altar tabernacle, turned and 
streaked out the door. Intercepting the men he furiously 
ordered them away. "No one enters this monastery carrying 
a gun!" he told them. 

Nationalist feeling was running high around Azrou, espe- 
cially among the Berbers. Propaganda was being fed them 
in Berber-language broadcasts from Cairo, Spanish Mo- 
rocco, and Hungary urging them to rise up against the 
French. Almost every tent and house had a battery pow- 
ered radio tuned to these stations all day long. When the 
men returned home at the end of a day, their women in- 
flamed them with the latest broadcasts. As one Berber 
horseman told his friend, Father Gilbert, "We have suf- 
fered enough at the hands of the French. We can take no 
more. Soon we will kill all Frenchmen." 

As the August twentieth anniversary of the Sultan's exile 
approached, Resident General Grandval shuttled back and 
forth between Paris and Rabat trying to convince the Cabi- 
net that some drastic, dramatic concessions had to be made. 
But a general strike, the ritual of August vacations, and 
a determined "Moroccan Lobby" prolonged the indecision 
of the government in its negotiations with Moroccan na- 
tionalists over the future of the exiled Sultan. For two dra- 
matic days, August Twelfth and Thirteenth, the Resident 


General pleaded with the Parliamentary Committee For 
North Africa, describing the highly volatile psychological 
state of the Moslem population and the significance they 
gave to "the fateful date/* August twentieth. He demanded 
a spectacular gesture toward Morocco before that date. 
The "Moroccan Lobby" representing colons and French 
investors in Morocco got support in their opposition to 
GrandvaTs proposals from conservative militarists who saw 
a terrible loss to France's military prestige in appearing to 
yield to a nationalist ultimatum. They calmly suggested an 
August Twenty-fourth meeting with nationalist representa- 
tives. Grandval returned to Morocco with his letter of res- 
ignation on Premier Faure's desk 

During the day of August Nineteenth there was calm in 
Azrou. It was a Friday, the Moslem Sabbath, but the 
mosque was empty. The faithful still refused to pray in the 
name of the new Sultan. The streets of Azrou were de- 
serted except for patrolling French dragoons. At his com- 
mand post Colonel Clesca dusted off his plans for the 
defense of the European community which he had outlined 
to Father Martin three years earlier. He was saddened, 
however, by the situation. Although he believed he had 
sufficient modern military force to deal with the local 
tribes, he had come to understand something of Father 
Martin's point of view. A frank and friendly man, he knew 
all the people in his territory, both little and big. He met 
them in the streets of Azrou and visited them in the coun- 
try. He had an awareness of their problems and a true 
picture of the political situation uncolored by official 
French propaganda. But while this big ruddy-faced 


Colonel agreed that the aspirations of the Moroccans for 
independence were just, he sincerely thought that the mass 
of the people were not ready for it. To this extent he felt 
justified in harassing the local Istiqlal members. 

Ironically, it was these same Istiqlal men who were busy 
that day touring the mountain areas, arguing with Berber 
leaders that now was not the time to strike. A premature 
rebellion, they said, would simply play into French hands. 
Throughout the entire Middle Atlas, however, the Berbers 
stood poised to attack. The night of the Nineteenth, the 
monks spotted fires blazing on the hills overlooking Azrou, 
the signal for the Berber horsemen to ride. "We went to 
sleep not knowing if we would live through the night,** 
Dom Denis says. 

Thanks in part to the Istiqlal, the Beni M'Guild tribes- 
men did not answer the call that night. Many other neigh- 
boring tribes did, though, and on the Twentieth Berber 
horsemen attacked the village of Oued Zem, about eighty 
miles southwest of Toumliline. Over ninety European men, 
women, and children were massacred. Khouribga, in the 
same area, and Khenifra, forty-eight miles from Toumliline, 
were also attacked in force. French retaliation was swift 
and severe. Four days later they had killed over a thousand 
Moroccans* French Premier Edgar Faure took to the radio 
and issued a call for 60,000 reservists to serve in Morocco. 

When Father Martin learned of the call to the colors he 
knew it could mean the end of Toumliline if those of his 
monks among the eligible reserves took up arms against 
Moroccans. The Prior called the community together and 
told them why he would oppose the mobilizing of anyone 


from the monastery. He said he would see the Archbishop 

He drove into Rabat by himself. When he sat down with 
Msgr. Lefevre he said, "Your Excellency, I will not allow 
my monks to answer a call to the colors that would have 
them fight against Moroccans/* 

The Archbishop informed the Prior some of his own 
priests had also been ordered up and that he had been 
considering what to do about it. 

The Prior in turn said, "It is preferable we act together, 
but as for me, I am irrevocably opposed to the mobilization 
in principle and I will not allow my monks to serve." 

"Take whatever steps are necessary. Do so in both our 

Father Martin went to the Residency office in Rabat 
which handled the mobilization and told the Colonel in 
charge that "I cannot have my monks respond to this call 
to arms/ 7 

The officer was shocked. "But mon Pdre, that is impossi- 
ble! While there are exceptions granted in certain cases, 
the law provides none for the clergy/* 

The priest turned to leave. "Colonel, I must honestly tell 
you that when I return to the monastery I will order my 
monks not to answer the call." 

"In that event you must see the new Commander in 
chief, General Miquel." 

Father Martin had not yet heard of Miguel's promotion. 
The former chief of all French forces in Morocco, General 
Duval had just been killed in an airplane crash while di- 
recting the attack against the Berbers at Oued Zem. The 


Prior was ushered into the general's immense office and 
faced his former antagonist across a long bare table that 
reminded him of a landing strip. This was the first time, 
he thought, Miquel looked completely at home. After they 
were seated, he outlined his problem to Miquel. 

The general paused before answering the priest. He 
could overlook the business of giving tea to the nationalist 
prisoners as the mistake of a naive monk, but he could 
never forgive the Prior for befriending his enemy, the 
IstiqlcH organizer of Meknes, Driss M'Hammedi. 

"Mon Pere, I cannot permit you to do this. I have great 
need of monks in my army. It is good for the morale of my 
men to know they have men of God serving beside them.** 
Miquel then began to lecture Father Martin on the im- 
portant role monks have played in the history of wars. 
After five minutes of this the Prior was furious. 

"I understand your point of view very well, general, but 
I have my own point of view as well. They are not the 
same. I have the responsibility for my community. I posi- 
tively refuse to allow my monks to answer the mobiliza- 
tion." The Prior turned and walked out. 

That night Father Martin flew to Paris and next morning 
was at the War Ministry asking to see Brigadier General 
Jean Lecomte. The general, however, was at Aix-les-Bains 
taking part in the government meetings with Moroccan 
nationalists negotiating the future of Sultan Mohammed V. 
His adjutant, Colonel Jarrot, received the Prior kindly. 

"My monks are being called to the army in Morocco," 
Father Martin began. "You know why we are there. There 
is an absolute contradiction. Our mission cannot be com- 


promised in this way. Therefore, I wish to inform the 
general that my monks will not serve.*" 

The colonel picked up a phone with a direct line to 
Aix-les-Bains and explained the Benedictine's position to 
the general. Lecomte came up with a compromise: the 
monks must submit to the mobilization, but they will re- 
main mobilized within the monastery. He then extended 
the ruling to all the clergy of Morocco. After the general's 
office had phoned Miquel in Rabat informing him of this 
arrangement, the exhausted Prior headed for home. 

Seventy-two hours later soldiers from Azrou arrived with 
orders to pick up the monks who had refused to answer the 
mobilization caU. The Prior excused himself for a moment 
and placed a call to Paris. Coming out of his office, he told 
the young lieutenant in charge what he had done, and that 
Rabat would be calling shortly to cancel his orders. At this 
a sergeant exploded. 

"How much more are we going to take from this monk! 
Let's not argue with him. Let's just hang him!" 1 

The sergeant meant it, for many of the French 
military at that time looked on Father Martin and the 
monks as traitors. When General Miquel later left Mo- 
rocco he spread many uncomplimentary reports about 
Toumliline, particularly among Benedictines in France. On 
a business trip to En-Calcat, Toumliline's sub-Prior, Father 
Jean-Marie, was surprised to hear one of the monks say, 
*We have heard of the dirty politics you are playing in 
Morocco.'* When Jean-Marie protested that this was not 
so, the monk replied, "You can't tell me anything I don't 
already know. My brother in the aimy is stationed in Azrou 


and his assignment is to keep track of your maneuvers." 
Most realistic Frenchmen, however, realized a mistake 
had been made in deposing the Sultan, and that his hand- 
picked successor, Mohammed VI, would have to leave the 
throne before there would be any peace. This was behind 
the French government's negotiations with Si Bekkai and 
other representatives of Mohammed V at Aix-les-Bains. 
The stalemate in those talks was dramatically broken when, 
in late October, El Glaoui, arch foe of the former Sultan, 
suddenly reversed himself and demanded his return to the 
throne. Mohammed V was flown to France from his exile 
in Madagascar and a great wave of joy swept his country. 
Delegations from all over Morocco headed for Paris to do 
homage to their exiled sovereign. 

Father Martin was in Paris the week of the Sultan's 
triumphant visit. A telegram arrived from Driss M'Ham- 
medi asking that he reserve forty-eight hotel rooms for a 
delegation from the Middle Atlas. The Prior not only found 
the rooms, he even rented a bus to meet them at Orly air- 
port at three o'clock in the morning. Many of Toumliline's 
closest friends were in the delegation, including the ven- 
erable Fqih Bel Larbi el Alaoui. Because of the FqiKs 
prestige he had been the only one of the Oulema to vote 
against the election of Mohammed VI, thus legally voiding 
it the Sultan granted his delegation an immediate audi- 
ence. The Moroccans insisted that Father Martin come 
along. He gently refused their invitation and explained 
why. "Up till now," he told them, "I have been helping 
some of my good friends in a private matter. To visit the 


Sultan at this time would mean participating in a public 
political action. This I cannot do." 

By now disorders in Morocco had become so widespread 
the French asked Mohammed V to return to the throne. 
His first government read like the guest book at Toumli- 
line: MTBarek Si Bekkai was Prime Minister; Driss M*Ham- 
medi was a Minister of State and then Minister of the 
Interior; Mehdi Ben Barka was President of the National 
Consultative Assembly; Mohammed el Fassi was Minister 
of Education; Captain Mahjoubi Aherdane was Governor 
of Rabat. 

Shortly afterwards, Prince Moulay Hassan paid a royal 
visit to Azrou, his first since his father's exile. Tents were 
set up in the center of town and Berbers descended from 
the Vn'lk to see their prince. The red Moroccan flag with 
its green star was displayed from every balcony and lamp- 
post. The French tricolor was conspicuous by its absence. 

A royal summons came to the monastery bidding Father 
Martin to come to Azrou. The Prior descended in a govern- 
ment car flying the royal flags. As he approached the re- 
ception tent, he spied a delegation of tihe local French 
population of small business men, teachers, and minor 
civil servants. Expecting to join them, he was surprised 
when the Caid of Azrou escorted him past the group on 
toward the prince. At this point a young French colonel 
marched out from the crowd, smiling and extending his 
hand to the Prior. 

Father Martin recognized him as the new commandant 
of French forces billeted in the area. He had come to 
Azrou several months earlier at about the same time 


Colonel Clesca had been transferred to another post. Ig- 
noring local tradition the new commandant had never 
bothered to call on the Prior and had made clear to others 
his low estimate of the monk's patriotism. Now, as he 
stepped forward with outstretched hand, he seemed 
anxious to appear before the crowd as an intimate friend 
of the Prior. Father Martin, however, turned inquiringly 
to the Caid who made a show of introducing the chagrined 
French officer to his countryman and co-religionist. 

Moving on, Father Martin was taken to a place alongside 
the prince. Moulay Hassan thanked the Prior in the name 
of the Sultan for the friendship and understanding the 
monks had shown Moroccans during the troubles. Royal 
protocol called for the prince to retire to the royal tent 
alone during the tremendous feast prepared by the Beni 
M'Guild tribe. However, he invited Father Martin and 
the government ministers present to share his tent. The 
frustrated Colonel ate in another tent with the French 

During the feast the prince recalled his earlier visit to 
Toumliline. He had dropped in unexpectedly one day in 
August, 1953, and been shown around the monastery. Si 
Bekkai had told the Sultan about Father Martin and the 
orphans, and the prince had come to see for himself. He 
had addressed these young Moroccans saying, "You can 
trust these fathers. Like true fathers they love you and will 
teach you nothing but good." These words spoken by a 
descendant of the Prophet and heir of the spiritual leader 
of Morocco's nine million Moslems, had brought tears to 
the eyes of the Benedictine monk. Afterwards, the prince 


made arrangements for his father to visit Toumliline the 
following week. This visit never took place because the 
following week the Sultan, accompanied by Moulay Has- 
san, -was flown off to exile. 

Many official feasts followed this one and in each case 
the same pattern was followed. A government car would 
call at the monastery for the Prior and he would be given 
a place of honor at the affair. Some Frenchmen reproached 
Father Martin for this and said that he was injuring the 
dignity of France by consorting with the Moroccans now 
in power. Father Martin's answer was always the same: 
"I am a guest in a foreign country, and if a government 
official invites me to dinner, I should go." 

Then the IstiqlaL party held a giant victory feast in 
Azrou. The chiefs of the party came from Casablanca, 
Rabat, Fez, and Meknes. The Prior received an invitation 
from its leader, Allal el Fassi, to attend. Father Martin sent 
back word to the most powerful political figure in the 
country that he would not. "Please tell Monsieur Allal el 
Fassi that I do not involve myself in politics. Tell "him also 
that I will welcome him at the monastery any time he cares 
to visit.** 



JLHE year 1956 brought a threat of great physi- 
cal danger to the monks of Toumliline. The French military 
had abdicated official authority in the country, but seemed 
half-ready to assert their strength if the Sultan failed to 
achieve civil order. Moroccan irregulars seemed constantly 
trying to goad the French troops into a fight. French sol- 
diers were being ambushed and killed around Azrou. The 
entire Middle Atlas area was in a turmoil. Travelling out 
of the area was a problem. Seven roadblocks manned by 
armed Berbers were thrown up between Azrou and 
Meknes. Going into the Middle Adas mountains was some- 
thing few dared to do. Rumors were constant in Rabat 
and Casablanca that the monks had been wiped out. 

Yet the tranquility that is the heritage of Benedict never 
deserted his sons in Morocco. One day Dom Charles told 
Dom Placide, the ebullient cellarer, that one of his patients 
that day at the clinic had been a Berber from the Moroc- 
can Army of Liberation. The infirmarian explained that 
the soldier had been shot in the leg during a skirmish with 
the French and that he had extracted the bullet. "He was 
so grateful/* Charles said, "that he wanted to know if he 



could kill one of my enemies for me. Even more than one 
if I wanted." 

"What did you say?" Placide asked. 

"I told "him, of course, there was no one I wanted lolled." 

"You told him that!" Placide shouted indignantly. "You 
should have referred him to me. I would have given him 
the names of our creditors!" 

Dom Placide, a native of Orleans, had taken over the 
job of cellarer the previous fall from Dom Gilbert, who 
was now forced to spend most of his time with the orphans. 
Placide had last been in Morocco the middle of 1953. It 
was then that he had flown back to his home monastery, 
En-Calcat, after recovering from a seven-month bout with 
tuberculosis. However, once back in France, he began to 
badger his abbot to assign him permanently to Dom Denis 9 
foundation. And finally when Rome raised Toumliline to 
the status of an independent priory, the Abbot, bringing 
along the happy thirty-three-year-old Placide, departed for 
Morocco to formally install Dom Denis as the elected Prior 
of Toumliline. Still Placide might not have been able to 
stay had not one of the Toumliline monks, Dom Ambroise, 
exercising his right, withdrawn from the Moroccan com- 
munity to return to En-Calcat, the monastery in which he 
had taken his vows as a Benedictine. With this, Placide 
petitioned the Prior for admission to Toumliline and was 

It was fortunate for Toumliline that he had been ac- 
cepted. For Dom Placide, a man who had found in the 
cloister the immeasurable room his personality needed to 
expand and express itself, was a born improvisor with a 


fantastic capacity for work and a willingness to accept any 
responsibility in any amount. Dom Denis, worn out by 
work and plagued by the need for money, recognized that 
the tall, i-Tn'n monk with the grey eyes and the constant 
smile was just the one to shoulder all the economic prob- 
lems of the community. 

As was the case with many of the monks of Toumliline, 
Placide had developed an impressive string of talents dur- 
ing his sixteen years as a Benedictine. He was an electri- 
cian, mechanic, fanner, writer, printer, editor, stonemason, 
builder, linguist, and bookkeeper. And what he may have 
sometimes lacked in finesse he made up in flair. Everything 
Placide did he did with speed and dash. Thus when some- 
one suggested that ninety-five miles an hour was not a good 
speed to travel along a Moroccan road, his smiling answer 
was: "There are only two kinds of drivers, those that fear 
and those that cause fearl" This attitude carried over into 
every one of his activities. For example, when ToumMine 
would have no money in either of the two banks it did 
business with, Placide would write out a check for what- 
ever amount was needed, explaining that "the banks and 
I have an understanding. They always honor my checks, 
no matter how much I am overdrawn. At the end of every 
month, I receive statements telling me how much I owe. 
This saves me the formality of a loan." 

Placide's hectic calm wasn't ruffled when the Prior in- 
formed him in March, 1956 that the Moroccan government 
had agreed to co-sponsor an international seminar at Toum- 
liline the coming summer. The purpose of the meeting, 
Dom Denis said, was to help repair the cultural ties be- 


tween Morocco and Europe that had been broken by the 
years of political unrest. The Prior asked Placide to handle 
all the details of the three-week seminar: invite a hundred 
or so participants, determine what lectures would be given 
and how they should be scheduled, and arrange the hous- 
ing and feeding of visitors. The Prior pointed out that the 
assignment would include building a lecture hall, a guest 
house, and a dining hall as well as raising the money for 
this construction. Placide and Brother Jean-Michel then 
figured out the buildings would cost seventeen and a half 
thousand dollars. The young cellarer wondered where he 
would get the money. 

In April a French industrialist promised the monastery 
the total sum. But later, when the buildings were half 
completed, Placide found out the industrialist had with- 
drawn his offer. "As builder, this did not bother me," 
Placide says. "We had already bought on credit the equip- 
ment and material we needed. But as cellarer I was 
shocked. I had to pay for everything/* 

Something much more crucial than money preoccupied 
Dom Denis the first half of 1956. It was lie survival of 
Toumliline. True, the Sultan had returned to his throne and 
the protectorate had been ended. Nonetheless, the chances 
of a military showdown between France and Morocco 
persisted. The French, reluctant to completely abandon 
this "conservatory of the grandeur of France** and anxious 
to flank an Algeria now suffering the agony of civil war, 
insisted on maintaining more than 50,000 troops in Mo- 
rocco. And while Mohammed V, who had no anny of his 
own, could do nothing about this, there did exist in Mo- 


rocco a non-French force dedicated to the expulsion of 
France from both Morocco and Algeria. This was the 
45,000-man Army of Liberation, constituted mainly of 
Berbers. This army was concentrated in the Middle Atlas 
Mountains. Its headquarters in the Azrou area was located 
on a farm adjoining Toumliline. 

Complicating the picture even more was the problem 
of the 350,000 French civilians in Morocco. Ninety thou- 
sand of them made up the backbone of the administrative 
and technical apparatus in the country. Understandably 
enough, both the French government and the Sultan 
wanted these 90,000 to stay where they were, the former 
because it did not want to see these people flooding back 
into France, the latter because he desperately needed them 
to run the country. But would these people stay this was 
the problem. Could they adjust to life in a country they 
no longer controlled? Did they want to adjust? And if they 
did stay, what guarantee would there be that once a 
Moroccan cadre was formed they would not be thrown 
out of their jobs? 

The Prior's position was that the French civilians should 
gamble on the good will and the good sense of the Moroc- 
cans. He pointed out that if the French in Morocco did 
not support the Sultan and affirm their faith in the future 
of his country, it could lead to the collapse of his govern- 
ment, the reimposition of the protectorate and then full- 
scale war between the French forces in Morocco and the 
Army of Liberation. 

To demonstrate what he meant, the Prior went ahead 
with plans to organize the annual Pentecost pilgrimage of 


French Catholic students to Toumliline. Patterned after 
the students* pilgrimage to Chartres in France, the Toumli- 
line pilgrimage had attracted hundreds of young Catho- 
lics in 1954 and 1955. Now when more than three hundred 
had signed up, suddenly the affair was off: the parents of 
the students feared that the Army of Liberation would 
attack the group. 

Dom Denis then had a notice, addressed to "Young 
Christians/' printed in the French-language newspapers 
of Morocco. It asked that the students 

. . . come to Toumliline to reflect on the meaning of 
your presence on Moroccan soil and to pray for the 
future of the new Morocco. Come in great numbers! 
It is essential for Morocco that understanding, gen- 
erous young Christians show the way to those who 
are disturbed, frightened, and discouraged. Come 
with confidence! You often hear it said the Middle 
Atlas Mountains are not safe. The monks say to you: 
"We live here; we invite you to come without fear." 
Our Moroccan friends know you come here to pray 
for them. They know this is your gesture of love for 
their country and their people. God will bless the 
faith and enthusiasm that you direct toward the wel- 
fare of the Moroccan community. 

Two hundred and fifty Catholics answered the appeal. 
On the eve of Pentecost buses left Casablanca and Rabat. 
At Ifrane early the next morning the 250 young men and 
women shouldered their knapsacks and started the twelve- 
mile march through the cedar and oak forests toward the 
monastery. As they sang the miles away, they saw armed 
horsemen riding the ridges above them. 


The Archbishop of Rabat greeted the students at 
Toumliline when they arrived at eleven o'clock, thanking 
them on behalf of the French of Morocco for making the 
pilgrimage. He led them to a spot in the woods a hundred 
yards below the monastery where a stone altar had been 
built and said Mass. By the time it had ended, a dozen 
armed Berbers had set up a perimeter around them. A girl 
from Casablanca asked Dom Denis why they were there, 
and he told her they had been assigned to protect the 

That night the 250 pitched tents around the monastery 
as the soldiers continued to stand guard. After Mass and 
breakfast, the pilgrims boarded the buses that had come 
down from Ifrane and headed back toward the coast. Just 
before she left, the girl who had spoken to the Prior pre- 
viously thanked him for arranging for the guards. "I don't 
know why anyone stayed away/* she said. She pointed at 
the soldiers: "With those men protecting us, we had no 
reason to fear the Army of Liberation/* 

"They belong to the Army of Liberation/* the Prior said. 

The Prior did not explain to her that the pilgrims* entire 
line of march from Ifrane had been patrolled by the Army 
of Liberation, nor that its men had guarded key points all 
the route from Rabat and Casablanca. This detail had been 
arranged by two friends of Dom Denis Minister of the 
Interior Driss M*Hammedi and Mahjoubi Aherdane, Gov- 
ernor of the Province of Rabat and principal creator of 
the Army of Liberation. It was Aherdane, poet, painter, 
ex-French Army captain, and most popular Berber in the 


country, who had actually gone to the Middle Atlas and 
had asked local commanders to guard the pilgrims, 

Another gesture made by the prior to promote friend- 
ship between the Moroccans and the French was Toumli- 
line's international summer seminar, a project that had 
Dom Placide frantic from March. This three-week affair 
started August Seventh, only hours after the lecture hall, 
guest house, and dining hall had been finished. That next 
morning the lecturers and students began to arrive. By 
midmorning the 120 registered members of the seminar 
were at the monastery, as well as 850 opening day guests, 
newspaper writers and photographers from European and 
Moroccan papers, and official Moroccan, French, British, 
Austrian, Swedish, Canadian, and American representa- 
tives. Ceremonies began with a huge diffa given by mem- 
bers of the Beni M'Guild Tribe. They set up their turtle- 
backed black tents, roasted sheep in mud and dung ovens, 
and sang the Berber songs their forebears had sung in 
Spain centuries before. 

In the afternoon, Dom Denis, standing in front of a 
microphone on the concrete speakers platform, addressed 
the crowd that packed the lecture hall, spilled out into 
the passageway, and into the covered entrance and garden 
that sided the hall. As water sprinkled into the blue-tiled 
fountain that separated the lecture hall from two adjoining 
conference rooms, the Prior bade everyone welcome. And 
then running true to form, he immediately defined his 
position and the position of the monastery concerning the 


When the Benedictine monks [he started], at the re- 
quest of Monsignor Lef evre, set out for Morocco they 
did not know the demands that would be made on 
them. They knew they would continue the life they 
had been following. For the monk, wherever he goes, 
always seeks the same goal: to glorify God as much as 
he can. St. Benedict in his Rule describes this ideal as 
a return to God, This involves the total gift of one- 
self realized progressively by submission to divine 
grace. The monk is the man who offers himself totally 
to the transforming action of God through His Church, 
and forces himself by means of the cloister to elimi- 
nate from his life any conflicting influence. 

He went on to add that monasteries were the Church 
in miniature and that they, like the Church, adapted them- 
selves in the countries in which they existed. 

In coining to Morocco [he observed] we did not know 
how the country would mold us, since it was so new 
to us, since we knew practically nothing about it 
We knew the Church already had its place here. Islam 
is tolerant; one could easily show that by the history 
of Morocco. We knew we would be well received and 
we were not wrong: the people of this country, as 
well as its great lords have devotion and respect for 
what is sacred. 

The Prior then mentioned the talk that Pope Pius XII 
and the Crown Prince Moulay Hassan had had in early 
1956 in Rome. This talk, the Prior said, resulted in the 
joint conclusion that "in the face of the harmful percepts 
of materialism, which are a threat to civilization, we wish 
to establish bridges between the Moslem and Christian 


Then the Prior explained: 

This is exactly what the Benedictines of Toumliline 
are trying to do in their own way. In other times peo- 
ple ignored each other, they lived apart, they suffered 
from the illusion they were self-sufficient and without 
need of others. And as one dislikes what one does not 
know, they hated each other. But today the wonderful 
ease of communication opens horizons; people are 
forced to see they depend on one another. They are 
forced to recognize what they have in common, of 
what is universal in each of them, and what ought to 
permit them to love each other. Similarly., each sees in 
greater detail and with greater clarity the gifts that 
are proper to each, those gifts received from God and 
developed by their ancestors. In these exchanges, they 
discover in others what might be called their mission 
and their vocation. 

After this, the Prior said: 

The Church wishes only to serve: to serve the faith- 
ful, whom she leads to salvation, insofar as they attend 
to her; to serve also the country in which she is situ- 
ated. In what way? That's the question I've often 
asked of our Moroccan friends. Give us contacts, they 
answered. That is, in fact, one of the great services the 
Church can offer you. She is from all continents. Seven 
hundred million Christians four hundred million 
Catholics are scattered over the world; she offers you 
the friendship, the peculiar and diverse riches of all 
the children of our common Father, the Most High 
God, Who is in the Heavens. 

From this point, the Prior went on to explain the circum- 
stances that led to the seminar: 


Last summer the monastery was full o Moroccan 
students from Fez and Casablanca, from the Kara- 
ouyine, as well as from lycees and Moslem colleges. 
We were obliged to improvise courses on subjects that 
interested them. This year we did not wish to let our- 
selves be surprised again. This gave us the idea of or- 
ganizing a summer seminar, then the idea of enriching 
it by having foreign students take part in it. His 
Majesty the King did us the great favor of wishing to 
preside over the honorary committee. 

Among the official members of the seminar, the country 
with the biggest bloc of representatives was Morocco 
with fifty-three Moslem Arabs and Berbers. France ran 
a close second with fifty. Then came Germany with eight, 
Algeria with three, the French Cameroons with three, 
Madagascar and Belgium and Holland with one apiece. 
The 120 had gathered at the monastery to discuss the 
elusive subject, The State. The students among them fol- 
lowed academic disciplines from law to physics to agron- 
omy, from mathematics to medicine to philosophy and 
theology. There were twenty-three nonstudents, including 
Mahjoubi Aherdane, Driss MTlammedi, Mohammed el 
Fassi (Minister of Education), Mohammed Ben Larbi el 
Alaoui (Morocco's leading Moslem theologian), Ahmed 
Balafrej ( Minister of Foreign Affairs ), Archbishop Amedee 
Lefevre, Father Jean Danielou, Louis Massignon, Louis 
Gardet, the last two being among the top European Orien- 
talists. There was also Madame Fatima Hassar, the head 
of the woman's branch of the Istiqlal, who spoke to the 
sessionaires about the need to emancipate Moroccan 
women from the social law that allowed her to leave her 


home only twice in her life, the day of her marriage and 
the day of her burial. 

The sessions themselves were divided into formal lec- 
tures in the morning, an afternoon of seminars, followed 
by entertainments in the evenings that included everything 
from Arabic plays put on by the National Moroccan 
Theatre to spirituals sung by the Cameroon students. The 
last evening's entertainment "crowned the whole session,** 
the feminist Fatima Hassar said. 

It had been organized by the Moroccans and con- 
sisted of Berber dances and songs. Governor Aherdane 
read his poems, and Minister Driss MTHammedi 
played the tambourine. Governor Aherdane also 
danced, and all the Moroccan students, as well as 
everyone else, joined in. In fact, one of the Benedic- 
tine fathers (Dom Placide) also danced with com- 
plete abandon. All who was there that evening 
brought away an unforgettable memory of what they 

In its essence, the seminar established the point that 
both the East and the West were traditionally concerned 
with what the state could do for the individual rather 
than what the individual could do for the state. Thus the 
Sultan when he spoke to the members of the seminar on 
closing day said: 

. . . this is the first international reunion of its sort 
held in an independent and unified Morocco. Our 
country is (for another reason) very happy and proud 
that the object of your preoccupations had nothing in 
common with the materialism so evident today. On 
the contrary, you have searched for the roads which 


lead to tihe spiritual values which truly permit human- 
ity to advance toward a better world. 
. . . you know that morality, virtue and love of country 
constitute the foundation of the state in Islam. 

The seminar had been interrupted occasionally by Dom 
Placide to introduce the sessionaires to the Morocco out- 
side the Azrou area. Once he drove them by bus to Fez. 
Another time they traveled to Ksar es Souk over a route 
that took them 220 miles due south of Toumliline, across 
the Middle and High Atlas Mountains, to the edge o 
the Sahara. 

The Governor of this region, the Berber Adi ou Bihi, 
was fighting with the Istiqlal because he thought it was 
trying to usurp the power of the Sultan. He also resented 
that the Istiqlal was sending in men as school teachers 
and administrators. On the sessionaires way to Ksar es 
Souk, the Istiqlal found out where they were going and 
arranged it so they would be met by their men. The 
seminar was famous in Morocco and they thought it would 
give them prestige in their fight against Adi ou Bihi if they 
entertained the sessionaires. So when they arrived, the 
Istiqlal asked if they would have tea with them at three. 
Placide accepted. Then Adi ou Bihi sent a messenger and 
asked them to be at his palace at three for tea. The monk 
decided they would go to both. 

When they were at the Istiqlal tea, attempts were made 
to detain the guests because of the invitation from Adi ou 
Bihi. But all drank their tea quickly and left for the pal- 
ace of the Governor. On the way, the young Moroccans 
in the group sang the Istiqlal hymn and then refused to 


accept hospitality. Placide and the others went into the 
palace alone. After the tea was finished Adi ou Bihi asked 
them to stop in at another of his palaces on our way back 
to Azrou but Placide refused. 

On their way back to Azrou the caravan did make the 
mistake of stopping at the palace of the Caid of Midelt. 
The Caid belonged to the Istiqlal. While they were having 
tea with him a huge crowd of Adi ou Bihi supporters 
surrounded the palace, shooting off guns, and shouting 
insults at the Caid. Forgetting the niceties of Moroccan 
hospitality, Placide led the rush to the buses, and with 
everyone aboard, they headed north again. 

The buses had just reached the outskirts of Midelt when 
they ran into a roadblock. Telling everyone to stay inside, 
and especially making it a point to ask the young Moroc- 
cans who had sung the Istiqlal hymn outside the palace 
of Adi ou Bihi to stay quiet, Placide hopped out o the 
lead bus. He was quickly surrounded by armed Berbers. 
Where was he going, they asked. When he told them, they 
asked where he was coming from. He said Ksar es Souk. 
"Do you support the Istiqlal or Adi ou Bihi?" they de- 
manded to know. 

The monk was worried, for some of the men at the road- 
block were so excited they were bouncing up and down 
like dervishes. Placide held up his hand and smiled and 
said, "I assure you, my friends, that I am an absolute neu- 
tral/' With this, he climbed back into his bus and ordered 
the driver to proceed. The Berbers stepped aside as the 
buses drove toward them. 

When the seminar ended, the Moroccan government 


asked the Prior to schedule another one for the following 
summer. There was only one obstacle; he had no money. 
It was more than possible, he knew, that he could persuade 
the French and Moroccan governments to entirely sup- 
port the 1957 Cours, but he preferred to have the monas- 
tery pay the bulk of the expenses. This would help attract 
those non-Moroccan specialists unwilling to lend their 
names and talents to a government-sponsored affair. It 
would also keep control of the session in the hands of 
the Prior. 

At this point the Prior decided to visit America. Sup- 
plied with a round-trip ticket to New York by a friend in 
Casablanca and armed with the names of internationally 
famous, and wealthy, American Catholics, he began to 
study English again. His tutor was a visitor to the monas- 
tery, a Belgian Benedictine named Father Felix Biolley, 
who had served for years in his country's foreign service. 
He set his departure date for October twenty-fifth. 

The timing was bad. Two days before all telephone 
wires running out of Meknes, which was along his route to 
the coast, had been cut, and there had been riots in the 
city. More than fifty French men and women were slaugh- 
tered in the streets of Meknes. 

The direct cause of this uprising was the capture of the 
Algerian FLN leader, Mohammed ben Bella, by the 
French. He had come to Morocco a short time previously 
to discuss the Sultan's plan for ending the revolt in Algeria. 
On his way back to his headquarters in Tunisia, the French 
crew of his plane landed in Algeria, where a team of 


French security agents were waiting to arrest him. When 
this news reached Morocco, the killings started. 

This alarming report came from Dom Edouard, the 
Prior's secretary, who had gone to Meknes on the Twenty- 
fourth on business. Edouard had quickly left the city when 
he noticed that no one was on the streets, surmising cor- 
rectly that the wrath of the Moroccans had been turned 
against the French because of the ben Bella affair. On his 
return to Toumliline, he warned the Prior that he had 
better postpone his trip for a while. 

The Prior would not hear of it. On the morning of the 
Twenty-fifth he said good-by for a second time and got 
into the monastery Volkswagen. A couple of minutes later 
he was seen by the monks closely examining the engine. 
He signalled Father Placide to him. 

'What's wrong with the car? It won't start/' 

Placide looked. "No spark plugs, Father/' he said. 

"Find Father Edouard!" 

A few minutes later Placide was back with the spark 
plugs and the Prior's secretary. Not a word was said as 
Placide put the spark plugs back in place. Finally Edouard 
asked if he could at least see the Prior got safely to Casa- 
blanca by driving there with hfm. The Prior said no. Then 
Placide asked if he could make the trip to the coast with 
Dom Denis. Again the Prior refused. "Nothing's going to 
happen," he promised. 

The road to the coast ran straight through Azrou. It was 
level until the Prior reached a point about five miles from 
the monastery, then it began to twist and climb toward 
the top of a plateau, to a point called Ito. Glancing back 


the way lie had come, he made out the red tile roof of 
Toumliline. Then the full sweep of the plateau came into 
view. The distant hiTls that bordered one edge of the 
plateau were white with thousands and thousands of pitted 
grey-blue volcanic rocks, making it seem as if they were 
covered with flowers. Some outcroppings that bordered the 
road looked like gigantic abstract sculptures. The Prior 
saw one man working a tiny patch of cleared ground with 
a wooden plow. And then he saw another one walking 
across the plateau toward the horizon. A turn in the road 
and the Prior came across a flock of sheep stained orange 
from the earth. Another turn and he saw a man beating a 
donkey that had fallen to the road. Finally he arrived at 
the town of El-Hajeb. He saw no one, the only living thing 
being a black and white goat that stood on his hind legs 
eating leaves from a hedge. 

The road took the priest through the wall that had once 
ringed the town and brought him to the edge of the Plain 
of Meknes. Off in the distance he saw smoke from a fire. 
On the outskirts of Meknes he discovered that the smoke 
came from a burning farm house sitting on a ridge two 
or three miles away. Then he passed another burning farm, 
this one only a half mile off the road. A second later he 
noticed that the house on the adjoining farm was also 
on fire. At that moment he saw two figures standing on 
his side of the road, just across from the dirt path that 
lead to this second burning building. One of them raised 
his arm in a signal for the car to stop. As the Prior put on 
his brakes, he noticed that they were two young Berber 


**We are going to Khemisset," one of the Berbers said in 
French, naming a town thirty-five kilometres from Meknes. 
"May we ride with you?" 

"Of course," the Prior said. "But what about those 

"They cannot be saved/* the same man said. "We were 
just there and we know." 

"But are there not people there?" 

"Nobody," the man said, and then in quick, guttural 
Berber, repeated the conversation to his companion, who 
apparently knew no French. The second Berber laughed. 

Denis opened the door for the two. The non-French- 
speaking one got in the back seat, the other alongside 
Martin in the front. Both thanked him for his kindness, the 
one behind reaching over and shaking his hand awkwardly, 
then touching his own lips with his hand in the Moroccan 
manner. The Prior introduced "himself as a monk from 
Toumliline. He asked if they knew the place and they 
said no. In turn they identified themselves as farm workers 
on their way back home. 

"Is there no work today?" Martin asked. 

"No work today, mon pre," the man next to him said. 
The man in back tapped his companion's shoulder and 
asked in Berber what they were talking about, then 
laughed again when he heard the Prior's question and the 
answer to it. 

"Why is there no work today?" Martin asked. 

"Because our patron is not home. He and his family were 
not there when we arrived this morning." 

"Which farm were you working on?" 


"The one where you stopped for us." 

"But that was one of the farms that was burning!" 

"Oh yes/* he said. Then he smiled pleasantly as he 
added, "We started the fire ourselves/' 

The French-speaking Berber translated for his friend 
in the back seat, who again laughed joyously. 

"And did you burn the second farm, too?" the Prior said. 

"When we could not find our patron, we went to the 
next farm to ask about him. The people there said he had 
gone away/* 

The man in the back punched his companion's shoulder 
and asked what was going on. He laughed louder than 
before when he learned the answer. 

"Then there were people in the second farm/* the Prior 
said. "What happened to them?" 

"We killed them, mon pere" 

"How many?" 

"Just two women." 

"Why did you kill them?" 

"Because they were French." 

At Khemisset the men got out of the Volkswagen and 
thanked the Prior courteously for the ride. As they dis- 
appeared into a store, the Prior drove on toward Rabat. 



LOUR story is touching, Father Martin, but let 
me show you something/* 

The Catholic board chairman of a tremendously success- 
ful American corporation leaned forward and pressed a 
button on his desk. "Please bring in the religious file/* he 
asked. A moment later his secretary appeared with a 
drawer full of cards. 

"Do you see these, Father? Each card has the name 
of a priest or nun who has approached me for money. 
What do you think of that?" he said triumphantly. 

"I think you must be very rich.** 

Father Martin had not realized -when he arrived in the 
United States that he was just one of 2,000 bishops, priests, 
and nuns 'who travel hopefully to America every year 
looking for money for their work. Like them he had sought 
out the same handful of prominent Catholics. Like most 
of them, he failed to get what he wanted. 

"Don't expect money from those people/* advised Bishop 
Fulton J. Sheen when Father Martin expressed astonish- 
ment at the apparent tightfistedness of wealthy Catholics. 



"There aren't too many here to begin with, and most of 
them are already committed to charities/' He explained 
that the bulk of the money he himself collected for the 
foreign missions came in gifts of one or two dollars. 

Although the Prior made absolutely no progress this first 
month in the United States, it was different in French 
Canada. Stories on Toumliline were featured in many 
Canadian papers and Father Martin was interviewed on 
radio and television. He also lectured at several univer- 
sities and spoke before religious, fraternal, and business- 
men's organizations. Students formed committees to raise 
money for a delegation of Canadians to attend the next 
International Summer School. Two medical students made 
plans to spend their summer vacations as volunteers in 
Morocco's understaffed hospitals. From his Canadian trip 
the Prior was able to send five thousand dollars to his 
anxious cellarer. 

But the disappointments continued in the United States. 
The well-to-do American Catholics he met were invariably 
enthralled by the story of Toumliline. They would ask him 
to dinner either in their town houses or at expensive res- 
taurants. Occasionally, they would take him to the theatre. 
They would then call or write him the following day and 
say how much they enjoyed his company, how worthy was 
the work of Toumliline, how unhappy they were for at 
the moment they could contribute nothing to his monas- 
tery. "I would have been delighted to have received just 
the price of the meal or the theatre tickets," Father Martin 
says. "I felt like a man who was drowning and suddenly a 


boat appeared. Then someone leaned out and pushed my 
head under the water/' 

Long after his good sense told him that he ought to 
accept defeat and go home, he stayed on in America. One 
reason was that he learned from Father Placide that the 
money from Canada had been spent to pay debts and that 
the monastery needed more cash quickly. Another reason 
was that he constantly ran into kindhearted people who 
would say to him, "Ah, but you must see Mr. X. He is very 
rich and very Catholic/* It would be arranged that Father 
Martin would meet Mr. X. at a tea or a dinner. Mr. X. 
would turn out to be indeed rich and Catholic and terribly 
reluctant to give the Benedictine a penny. 

And through it all, too, the priest kept running into the 
type who would help him . . . for a price. There was, for 
example, the Canadian businessman who sought hnn out 
and offered him $20,000 if he would sign a receipt for tax 
purposes saying that he had received a gift many times 
larger from the man. The Prior said he would think it over. 
The next morning he phoned the Canadian at breakfast 
and refused. The monk was conscience-stricken that he 
did not turn down the scheme immediately. By rejecting 
the offer, he was turning down the one sure chance he 
had to keep the summer school going. And he was not 
the only one to think that it was worth perpetuating. The 
State Department's John Bovey, Jr., Officer-in-Charge of 
Northwest African Affairs, wrote him, saying, "You are 
helping to create a means whereby Moroccans may acquire 
the knowledge for which they hunger and on which their 


survival and their friendship with the community of free 
men depend." 

There were, though, more pleasant episodes in his New 
World adventures. Once, for instance, he was standing 
on a street corner in New York waiting for a bus. He was 
nervous and ill at ease because he was late for an appoint- 
ment. Suddenly a red fire chiefs car pulled into the curb. 
The chief jumped out and said, "Hop in, Father/* Martin 
did as he was told. He supposed that there had been a 
disaster nearby and that a priest was needed. The chief 
turned and smiled, raising his voice over the noise of the 
siren and bell, "Where can I drop you off?" The astonished 
priest gave him the address. Before long he was at his 

Another incident that gave his spirits a lift came when 
he visited the Trappist monastery in Gesthemani, Ken- 
tucky. Father Martin had read The Seven Storey Mountain 
by Thomas Merton and wanted to meet this most pro- 
lific of American contemplatives. But even though he 
had a letter of introduction, it was the penitential season 
of Lent and the ordinarily strict regulations regarding 
visitors was even stricter. However, as head of another 
contemplative monastery, Father Martin was extended 
certain privileges. On a tour of the cloister with the 
brother in charge of guests, they came to a door be- 
hind which came the sounds of a typewriter. The brother 
said in hushed tones, "Father Merton is writing another 
book. Would you like to see him?" He gave three soft 
taps on the door. Immediately there were three loud 
answering thumps. Timidly opening the door, the brother 


asked Father Merton in sign language if he would like to 
meet Father Martin, Prior of a Benedictine monastery in 
Morocco. Yes, Merton replied in signs, but only if he under- 
stands our sign language. Father Martin soon discovered 
that the Trappist and the Benedictine signs were similar 
and they "conversed 3 * for an hour. Father Merton told 
Martin he had heard many good things about Toumliline 
and wrote on the backs of stray envelopes the names of 
friends who might help the Prior. 

Shortly after this the Prior received a letter from the 
sub-Prior, Father Jean-Marie, saying that some of the 
monks were demanding that he come home, that no out- 
side work should keep him away so long from his monas- 
tery, that his lack of success in America was a sign that he 
should abandon the International Summer School. 

The day the letter arrived the Prior had an appointment 
with the Jesuit anthropologist, Father J. Franklin Ewing, 
Director of Fordham's Institute of Mission Studies and 
also Director of its Research Services. Despondent, dis- 
tracted and lonely, he took the subway to the Bronx cam- 
pus of Fordham twice getting on the wrong train. As he 
entered Father Ewing's outer office, somehow the effi- 
ciency of the staff added to his sense of inadequacy. Finally 
ushered into the inner office, he saw the massive Jesuit 
enthroned behind a huge walnut desk. Wearing a deadpan 
expression, the American priest appeared formidable. The 
Prior wondered why he had come to see him. Soon he 
discovered the deadpan was a running joke Father Ewing 
played on the world, and he began to feel at ease. They 
discussed missionary theology and found themselves in 


complete agreement. So relaxed did Father Martin become 
that he confided his dilemma to Father Ewing: his com- 
munity needed him back in the monastery, but if he re- 
turned without funds they would have to abandon their 
International Cours, their orphanage, and possibly their 
dispensary. Thinking aloud in the sympathetic presence of 
Father Ewing, the Prior decided that Toumliline could not 
abandon any of these things. 

"Do you think I am right?" he asked the Jesuit. 

~You couldn't be more right if you were the Archangel 

Further encouragement came from Monsignor Edward 
E. Swanstrom, Executive Director of the American Bishops* 
Catholic Relief Services. The Prior had only three dollars 
in his pocket and owed a twenty-six-dollar hotel bill when 
he arrived in the Monsignor's office. Although the relief 
agency normally handled only shipments of used clothing 
and United States surplus food, Msgr. Swanstrom prom- 
ised Father Martin two thousand dollars in addition to 
surplus food. And then without saying a word, he opened 
his desk, took out a checkbook and started writing. 

"Here's three hundred bucks, Father. You can't travel 
around the United States on cigar coupons." 

At this point Father Martin decided to return to Mo- 
rocco. The gift from Monsignor Swanstrom deadened the 
feeling of defeat. But it was a defeat and he knew it. He 
had not raised the money for the Summer School. Two of 
his New York friends, however, persuaded him to stay a 
few more weeks. They were writing an article on Toumli- 
line for America, the Jesuit weekly, and had arranged for 


an interview by the New York Times. They were also 
busy lining up other magazine, radio, and television pub- 
licity for Toumliline. 

Almost simultaneously a Canadian friend. Major Gen- 
eral George Vanier, wrote to David Rockefeller. The Gen- 
eral, former Ambassador to France and Canada's present 
Governor-General, told him of Father Martin and asked 
that he see the Moroccan monk. The thorough Mr. Rocke- 
feller checked with the State Department and received a 
two page appraisal and endorsement of the International 
Cours. The banker then scheduled a half-hour meeting 
with the Prior. 

Father Martin's hopes zoomed. He realized he had been 
given a second chance. Arriving at the headquarters of 
the Chase Manhattan Bank, the Prior was ushered into the 
private offices of David Rockefeller. The banker, tall and 
smiling, greeted the monk in French and introduced him 
to his assistant, Richard Dana. The monk spoke of the 
banker's kindness in seeing him and then began his story 
of Toumliline. He told the banker why they had come to 
Morocco, what happened to them during the Moroccans' 
struggle for independence, the birth of the dispensary, 
orphanage, and summer school. The half -hour interview 
stretched into an hour and a half. After the priest had left, 
Rockefeller turned to Dana and asked, "What do you 

"He is one of the most impressive men I have ever met." 


A few days later the elated Prior met with three repre- 
sentatives of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The gather- 


ing, he was sure, was just a prelude to a grant to Toumli- 
line for the summer school. As the conversation gathered 
momentum, the priest suddenly thought that all the ques- 
tions were aimed at proving that Toumliline was not eligi- 
ble for a grant from the Fund. The frustration of months 
suddenly prompted him to remark, TE think that if I were 
not French and if I were not a priest, I would have no 
difficulty getting money from you." The meeting ended 
with the three Fund representatives saying to the dejected 
monk that they would be in touch with him soon. 

They were. Within the week he heard that David Rocke- 
feller would make a personal gift supporting the Inter- 
national Cours. The priest later found out that the Fund 
representatives had recommended this course of action 
after first confirming their suspicions that Toumliline could 
not possibly fit any of their current grant programs. 

Along with this news the publicity began to break at 
the beginning of April. The article in America and the 
interview by reporter Wayne Phillips in the New York 
Times were quickly followed by stories in Newsweek and 
Time and an article by the Prior himself in Jubilee. Many 
small gifts followed this publicity. Typical was the $35 a 
non-Catholic secretary collected among her fellow workers 
after reading the New York Times story. A private family 
foundation put up money to send any four Americans 
invited to Toumliline. An American bishop made the 
arrangements enabling a Princeton specialist on Islam, 
James Kritzeck, to accept Father Martin's invitation to 
deliver a lecture that summer. A haggard, exhausted, and 
richer Prior returned to his monks in time for Holy Week. 


The week before the opening of the 1957 International 
Cours was every bit as hectic as the first year's opening 
rush. Brother Jean-Michel fretted at the slapdash way 
Father Placide's builders were interpreting his meticulous 
plans. The new construction included a Secretariat build- 
ing and twelve concrete block chalets, each capable of 
sleeping ten students. Trucldoads of borrowed chairs and 
tables, mattresses, and blankets had to be unloaded and 
stored until the buildings were completed. A newly ac- 
quired generator, salvaged from a United States airbase 
junk heap, was coaxed back to operating efficiency by 
Brother Marie-Antoine who also strung the wiring neces- 
sary to connect the chalets with the power plant of the 
monastery. Brother Jean-Michel sulked for days because 
no one noticed that a workman had installed one of the 
colored abstract wall panels upside down in his modern- 
istic Secretariat building. 

Father Martin dispensed Father Placide from regular 
attendance at the monastic hours because of his crushing 
work load as Secretary of the Cours. He was responsible 
for meeting and transporting to the monastery the more 
than two hundred participants from twenty-six countries 
who were arriving different days at both Rabat and Casa- 
blanca. He also had to manage the diplomatic protocol 
involved in greeting Morocco's Crown Prince Moulay 
Hassan and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of the In- 
terior, and of Education. The Ambassadors of the United 
States, Great Britain, France, and Holland were also 

Before dawn on opening day, thousands of Berber men, 


women, and children began to converge on Toumliline. 
They came by donkey, by horse, and by foot. To while 
away the hours, they sang and danced. About twenty 
young tribeswomen would line up opposite an equal num- 
ber of young men and challenge them to a contest of song. 
The women, many with babies strapped papooselike to 
their backs, were cloaked in flowing, gaily colored dresses 
cinched at the waist, and wore silken scarves like turbans. 
At a signal from a toothless granny squatting before them, 
the young women, their faces and ankles tattooed with 
tribal designs, would sing of ancient Berber heroes, of their 
exploits in love and war. With the fingertips of one hand 
held before them lightly touching the fingertips of the 
other, the entire line would slowly undulate to the insistent 
rhythm of the drums in a refined version of the belly 

The young men were dressed in flowing white djettaba 
of ankle-length homespun, their shaved heads wrapped in 
white turbans, their bare feet shod in heelless, lemon- 
colored babouches. Alternating verses with the women, 
some groups sang hour after hour without letup. 

The crowds lined the road for two miles from the monas- 
tery gate behind rows of Berber cavalry in tribal dress 
seated in polished green and gold leather saddles. When 
Prince Moulay Hassan arrived at the monastery gate and 
accepted from Father Martin the traditional spimHing 
of rose water and the offering of dates and milk, the crowd 
roared its approval. TLong live Moulay Hassan!" "Long 
live his glorious father, Mohammedl" The Berber cavalry- 
men fired their ancient muskets into the air and the women 


let loose their spine-tingling, warbling "you-you" cry that 
defies accurate description. One tiny Japanese girl, stand- 
ing in the midst of the tumult, could only say: "I am so 

In his inaugural address, Moulay Hassan explained why 
he had asked Toumliline to devote the '57 Cours to the 
theme, Education. 

It seemed to me [he said] that this topic was the logi- 
cal corollary of last year's Cours on the State. For no 
man can truly fulfill his obligations to society nor fully 
enjoy his rights without education. I refer especially 
to education in a political sense, for this is the most 
urgent need in Morocco today. We must form good 
citizens who will have an awareness of the complex 
social, economic, and political milieu in which they 
live. And with Morocco preparing for her first general 
elections, I could not imagine a more timely or more 
important topic for this Cours than Education. 

After outlining some of the more urgent educational 
needs of his country, the Prince welcomed the participants 
in the name of his father, Mohammed V. "Feel at home 
in Morocco/* he told them, "for in truth every man of 
good will, every believer is at home wherever he is, be- 
cause for Christian, Moslem, or Jew, the whole world is, 
in a sense, the House of God." 

Afterwards, students, professors, assorted cabinet minis- 
ters and ambassadors, generals, lesser diplomatic officials, 
the Archbishop of Rabat and the Prince were the guests 
of the local Beni M'Guild tribe at a diffa under the monas- 
tery's towering cedars. All morning long, members of the 


tribe tad been slaughtering, dressing, and roasting sheep. 
The guests were seated in groups of eight around low cir- 
cular tables under huge tents. Everyone sprawled out, 
Moroccan style, on luxuriously thick multicolored Berber 

The diffa displayed the Moroccan's strong sense of hos- 
pitality. The Moroccan students attending the Cours care- 
fully divided themselves among the tables to instruct the 
foreigners in the intricacies of the traditional feast. First 
came the ritual washing of hands, especially important 
since eating was from communal dishes using only the first 
two fingers and thumb of the right hand. Tribesmen cir- 
culated among the groups sprinkling everyone with rose 
water. They were followed by others carrying deep basins 
and long-necked kettles of hammered copper. Hands were 
held over the basin, soaped, and rinsed, then dried on 
towels tucked in the red sashes of the white-robed water 
bearers. Round loaves of unleavened bread were passed 
around. For an appetizer, there were platters of skewered 
sizzling chunks of broiled lamb. The students watched 
their Moroccan guides tear off a tiny piece of bread to 
wrap around the hot meat as they slipped it off the end 
of the skewer. The next course was a whole roast sheep, 
one for each table. 

At one table the host was a bright eighteen-year-old, 
Mohammed Lamtiri-Larif. He cautioned the others to 
watch him closely to avoid burnt fingers. Swiftly, he 
peeled away the crackling hot skin. Then Lamtiri showed 
how to peel strips of meat with the fingers, and how to 
get the choice morsels down under the ribs. After explain- 


ing that it was the height of rudeness to refuse any food 
offered by a Moroccan host, he solemnly passed a huge 
joint to the tiny Japanese girl who "was so afraid/* She 
solved the dilemma by offering it, in turn, to a German 
boy on her right. 

She wondered at the absence of napkins. Once again the 
cue came from Lamtiri. Between mouthfuls of meat, he 
would pick off a piece of bread, transferring any excess fat 
from his fingers to the bread he then ate. He demonstrated 
another use for the bread during the next course of sliced 
tomatoes, cucumbers, and six different kinds of olives. 
With a small piece of bread held with the two fingers, he 
would pick up a mouthful from the nearest side of the 
communal dish. In this way, only his thumb touched the 
food, and only the food that actually went into his own 
mouth. The most fastidious diner would be satisfied with 
the almost antiseptic results of this method. 

Courses of ripe figs and four varieties of grapes preceded 
the staple filler of any Moroccan dinner, cous-cous. This 
is a mounded platter of semolina moistened with a hot 
sauce, sometimes containing skinned grapes and prime bits 
of roasted sheep. Sheep eyes were reported to be a great 
Moroccan delicacy so most foreign guests carefully in- 
spected each grape before eating it. As a concession to the 
non-Moroccans, spoons were provided for this course. 
They watched, fascinated, as Lamtiri would lift some of 
the grain between his fingers, drop it into his palm, and 
with a juggling motion gradually give it a roundish shape. 
Slightly smaller than a golf ball, it was then tossed into 
his month. 


When the tribesmen brought platters of cut up canta- 
loupe and watermelons, everyone was sure the end had 
come. It had, but only because Father Martin understood 
the capacities of his foreign guests and had asked that four 
of the courses traditionally served at a diffa be skipped. The 
washing basins and kettles came next and the feast ended 
with several glasses of hot mint tea. 

After f-Tifa exotic introduction to oriental pomp and 
color, one American professor, Daniel J. Sullivan of Ford- 
ham, was amused later that afternoon to see the Beni 
M'Guild tribesmen take down their nomadic tents and 
silently steal away in "job-rated" Dodge trucks. 

Even after the Prince, Archbishop, ambassadors and 
ministers and the huge crowd had left the monastery 
grounds, there was still plenty of color contributed by the 
200 "sessionaires* themselves. One of them, Professor 
James Kritzeck of Princeton, described it this way: 

There was a Japanese who teaches philosophy in 
Germany, a Dutchman who teaches Spanish in Mar- 
rakech, and a Spaniard who teaches music in Holland* 
There were poets, actresses, sociologists, theologians, 
photographers, seminarians, pharmacists, psychopa- 
thologists, and engineers. There were Belgians with 
Italian names, Arabs with English names, Germans 
with French names. There was a yellow-turbaned 
Moslem theologian from Fez who was actually a 
Frenchman, a folk singer in blue jeans who was a 
priest, nuns who were Protestants, and a Persian from 
Harvard. There was an Imam from a great mosque in 
Fez, the rector of the French College in Rome, and 
the son of the president of the World Zionist organiza- 


tion. There were great Arabists and little Arabs. The 
representation from the United States ranged from 
Princeton, Yale, Marquette, and Fordham to Batten, 
Barton, Durstine and Osborn. 

The next three weeks were filled with lectures, work- 
shops, and informal discussions on various educational 
topics from the Christian, Moslem, and Jewish points of 
view. The Christian position was outlined by Father Louis- 
Marie Regis, O.P. and Professor Olivier Lacombe, deans 
respectively of the Universities of Montreal and Lille. The 
Jewish conception of man and his educational goals was 
presented by Professor Emmanuel Levinas, Director of 
the Oriental Jewish Teacher's College in Paris. A young, 
ascetic-looking theologian, Othman Yahya, from the 
ancient Moslem University of Al-Azhar in Cairo, gave 
the Islamic view. And while they all touched on their 
common spiritual heritage from Abraham, each indicated 
in detail exactly where and how their respective view- 
points differed. 

Professors F. S. G Northrop of Yale and James Kritzeck 
of Princeton spoke on the interpenetration of Eastern and 
Western cultures. A French professor, Louis Massignon, 
who was a friend of the late Charles de Foucauld and is 
recognized as "Dean of the world's Islamicists/* was liter- 
ally surrounded by students from Arab countries for 
several hours after his lecture. A Japanese existentialist 
spoke on Occidental and Oriental humanism and a Swiss 
Dominican evaluated Marxist theories of education. 

One unscheduled discussion highlighted the second 
week of the Cours. It took place at one of Father Martin's 


daily after-dinner coffee hours, at which small rotated 
student groups had the opportunity to audit discussions 
of ambassadors, cabinet ministers and world-famous 
scholars. That morning's lecture had been given by Mehdi 
Ben Barka, President of Morocco's National Assembly. He 
had spoken of the newly founded University of Morocco 
and of the many problems involved in joining modern 
educational techniques to traditional Islamic instruction. 
He had spoken also of Morocco's crash program to reduce 
its eighty per cent illiteracy rate. Now, over coffee, he 
said he had received an invitation to visit Red China and 
inspect the Communists* experiments in basic education. 
He was anxious to go, he said, because of their apparently 
spectacular results in wiping out illiteracy among the 
Chinese peasants. If Morocco was ever to have a stable 
political life, it would have to educate its masses. "And," 
the nationalist leader added, "I am ready to use any 
methods that will produce results/" At this point an Indian 
psychologist, Miss Ika Paul-Font, related the disappoint- 
ments of an Indian team of educators who had visited 
China to learn the Communist methods. For nearly an hour 
the thirty other guests of Father Martin sipped their coffee 
and sat fascinated as the beautiful sari-clad Indian and 
one of Morocco's most powerful political figures argued 
the respective merits of a democratic and a totalitarian 
system of education. 

During the third week, the visit of the King's eldest 
daughter, twenty-seven-year-old Princess Lalla Aicha, 
touched off another colorful demonstration by the sur- 
rounding tribes. As on the opening day, huge crowds of 


singing and dancing people gathered at Toumliline to 
honor their royal family. The Princess lectured on "The 
Emancipation of Moroccan Women." Since 1947 her father 
had made her a symbol of that emancipation. Western- 
educated Lalla Aicha not only went about unveiled, but 
also made speeches calling on Moroccan women <e to par- 
ticipate usefully in the life of their country." She had 
shared her father's exile, the King gave Lalla Aicha the 
responsible job of heading the Entraide Nationale, the cen- 
tral administrative headquarters of all of Morocco's wel- 
fare agencies. The lovely Parisian-clothed Princess became 
a familiar sight speeding about Rabat in her white 
Thunderbird convertible. At Toumliline she spoke of the 
history of Morocco's emancipation movement and cau- 
tioned moderation in certain strongly traditional areas. 
For instance, she gave conditional approval to the con- 
tinuation of the Moslem tradition of polygamy. Moroccan 
students in her audience rose to their feet sharply question- 
ing her position. Their arguments ranged from the eco- 
nomicone inheritance shared equally by several wives 
perpetuated inefficient small landholdings to the roman- 
tic. The Princess retreated a little, but was in a delicate 
position because her father had recently taken a second 

In addition to attending lectures, the students spent the 
hot afternoons rehearsing for the many soirees folkloriques, 
studying flamenco dancing and Berber customs, or hiking 
down the mountain for a swim in the cold, numbing water 
of the spring-fed Azrou pool. There were also excursions 
to acquaint the visitors, and even some Moroccans, with 


the countryside. On the occasion of a visit to Fez most of 
tihe foreign students had an opportunity to sample Moroc- 
can cooking and home life as guests of their newly-made 
Moroccan friends. The 1956 trip to the desert was repeated 
but this time without the political troubles, for Adi ou 
Bihi had been arrested and sentenced to death for leading 
a revolt in his province earlier in the year. 

During the 200-mile bus ride to the Sahara, the students 
passed from the cool mountain lakes and majestic cedar 
trees of the Middle Atlas through the dry, flat steppes of 
the valley carved by the Moulouya river to the heights 
of the High Atlas mountain range. Here the hot travelers 
could feast their eyes on faraway snow-capped peaks and 
on the cool waters of the Ziz river as it plunged to its 
ultimate death in the Sahara. The road south follows the 
winding course of the river. The rock surfaces of the barren 
Trills that bracket the river were wrinkled and furrowed by 
fierce mountain storms. By contrast the lush river banks 
provide irrigated life to a string of settlements, each walled 
and fortified against marauders. The most spectacular part 
of the trip was the twenty-mile descent through the wind- 
ing Foum Kheneg, or Great Gorge of the Ziz, into the 
rocky edge of the desert. The walls of this canyon are 
variously brick-red, yellow, purple, and mauve. On the 
heights overlooking the gorge are a string of castles and 
lookout towers. For centuries their inhabitants lived by 
raiding the caravans forced to use this route from Tafilalet 
to central Morocco. 

Midway on the trip, in the remote walled village of 
Rich, a local official to whom Father Martin had done a 


kindness years before, transformed the scheduled watering 
stop for the caravan of buses into a diffa complete with 
whole roast sheep and watermelons contributed and pre- 
pared by the tribespeople. A Moroccan Army band that 
had traveled 150 miles played as the Governor of Tafilalet 
Province greeted the surprised prior. Father Martin was 
moved by the peoples* hospitality for it had not been a 
prosperous year for them and the feast represented real 

That night, after a swim in a desert spring, the students 
were guests of honor at another diffa in the oasis of Goul- 
mina. The entire population of several hundred gathered 
around the palm grove where the guests were seated on 
several thicknesses of Berber rugs. They sang and danced 
for hours to entertain more foreigners, excepting soldiers, 
than had visited their oasis in its entire history. The feast 
lasted past midnight, when the students decided to enter- 
tain their entertainers. German lieder, sixteenth century- 
Japanese love songs, Samurai laments, French peasant mel- 
odies, and a Gaelic hymn to Our Lady left their hosts a 
little mystified. The Americans quickly decided to give 
them something closer to their own music which is highly 
rhythmic and accompanied by intricate hand clapping. 
Smiling Berbers joined in the clapping to such songs as 
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Deep in the 
Heart of Texas. 2 * The Paris newspaper, Le Monde reported 
the delights of the desert people at the American profes- 
sors* singing "des melodies du Far West* 

Since there was no hotel in the tiny oasis, the guests 
from Toumliline slept under the stars on the thick rugs. 


"The boys slept on one side of the palm grove and the girls 
on the other/' said Father Placide, "and I slept in the mid- 
dle with a machine gun." As the rays of the morning sun 
stabbed into the grove they illuminated a scene which to 
Professor Daniel Sullivan seemed to typify the spirit of 
Toumliline's International Cours. "Without turning your 
head/* he said, "you could see Moslems prostrating them- 
selves in ritual prayer, a young Jewish scholar standing 
wrapped in his prayer shawl, and a Canadian Dominican 
celebrating Mass on a flat rock/* 

Although the lectures were an important part of the 
Cours, the most positive results were the mutual regard of 
Christians (Catholic and Protestant), Moslems, and Jews 
arising out of three weeks of close communal living. This 
may sound trite, especially in an age where avowals of 
universal brotherhood and interfaith understanding are 
often realized at the expense of honest and profound dif- 
ferences. Such sentimental feelings rarely outlast the final 
exotic meal or handshake. At Toumliline, however, Profes- 
sor Northrop, a veteran of State Department missions to 
similar intercultural gatherings, was impressed by the way 
the differences between the groups were profoundly dis- 
cussed rather than glossed over. 

By approaching the Jewish community, Islamic 
community, and modern French-Christian communal 
problems at the deepest cultural and religious level 
[he said] Father Martin and Father Placide have suc- 
ceeded in enabling the three major Moroccan cultural 
groups to sit down in a common room away from the 
passion of politics in the quiet of a monastery to reason 
together. While this does not mean that all the practi- 


cal, educational, and political problems were solved, 
it does mean, however, that each party is learning to 
look at the other in the light of the best traditions of 
each . . . clearly the Toumliline conferences constitute 
one of the most constructive developments in the con- 
temporary world. 

The Director of the Oriental Jewish Teacher's College 
in Paris, Emmanuel Levinas, put his finger on the reason 
for the climate of mutual understanding and love that ex- 
isted that summer at Toumliline. 

To a Jew [he said], men alone give meaning to a 
place and set its tone. In the majestic Middle Atlas 
setting of Toumliline, it is the Benedictines who give 
that meaning. For several weeks, students and profes- 
sors of twenty-six countries entered a society of truly 
free men, men who have true freedom of speech, that 
is, that extraordinary strength to call evil, evil, and the 
good, good. All dogmatics aside, here is a Jew who 
will say "Yes" to those Benedictine fathers. 



THE last day of the '57 Cours Father 
Martin called together all the Moroccan participants. 
Meeting in one of the conference rooms off the main lecture 
hall, he asked them to make suggestions for next year's 
Cours. This was in keeping with the international meetings* 
principal aim of serving the needs of Morocco's intellectual 
elite. After discussion, the Moroccan delegates unani- 
mously approved the subject of "Africa" for the summer 
school of 1958. 

The Prior agreed in principle to their choice. He knew 
that the subject of a unified Africa had been one of the 
three most popular topics for student discussion during the 
two-year history of the Cours, the others being Moslem- 
Christian relations and Morocco itself. While French spe- 
cialists spoke of two Africas, Black Africa, or Africa south 
of the Sahara, and North Africa, the African and Moroc- 
can students at Toumliline enthusiastically discussed the 
unity of Africa. Living on the same colonialized and under- 
developed continent they shared the same aspirations for 
political and economic independence. 



A graduate student in economics from the Cameroons 
stressed the cultural and geographical ties uniting Black 
and North Africa. "In coming to Toumliline for the second 
time/' he said, "my intention was to represent to Moroccans 
the interest that Black Africa has in the Arab world, and 
also the interest that a Catholic from the Cameroons has 
in the Moslems of North Africa." Another student, a politi- 
cal exile, stressed the oneness of Africa. 

It was not without emotion [he wrote later to Father 
Martin] that I set foot on African soil for the first time 
in ten years in coming to Toumliline. While it is true 
that I did not travel to my own country, nonetheless 
I felt I had returned to my native land, Africa. For is 
not Africa one and indivisible? To each of her chil- 
dren, Africa is the very center and, to use the imagery 
dear to our poets, the very navel of the world. 

There were more pragmatic reasons for the interest of 
some African students in Morocco. With their countries 
still under European control, they wanted to see how inde- 
pendent Morocco was handling its problems against the 
day when their own countries would face similar situations. 

Father Martin knew why the Moroccans were so keenly 
interested in the rest of Africa. They realized that as one 
of the first African nations to shake off colonial control, 
their initial experiences at self-government were being 
carefully watched by the others. Further, some Moroccan 
politicians led by Allal el Fassi were claiming Morocco's 
historic rights to territory as far south as Mauritania in 
French West Africa. Moroccan religious leaders were ac- 
tively interested in extending the Islamic penetration of 


Black Africa and were inviting delegations of Nigerian and 
Sengalese Moslems to Morocco. 

In planning the Cours with Father Placide, Father Mar- 
tin gradually evolved the idea of an International Center 
of African Studies to be established at Toumliline. It would 
comprise a large reference and research library, several 
conference rooms, and living quarters for visitors. As he 
conceived it, it would be staffed by a permanent librarian, 
historian, economist and sociologist. Rather than give regu- 
lar university courses, this center would serve as a meeting 
place for specialists, academic and governmental, to meet 
and discuss problems common to African nations. A min- 
ister of education from a country faced with a serious 
problem of national illiteracy might request a meeting with 
specialists from other countries who had developed effec- 
tive programs against illiteracy. Economists and govern- 
ment officials of preindustrialized countries would attend 
sessions at this center to meet specialists from Europe or 

To objections that this would simply duplicate existing 
facilities, Father Martin had a ready answer. Actually, 
there were few centers of African study. And they were 
either interested exclusively in a single colonial area, or 
were thousands of miles away in England, Canada, or the 
United States. And apart from geographical considerations, 
there were more cogent political considerations. As more 
and more African nations gained their independence, gov- 
ernment leaders would be reluctant to incur the political 
liability of sending their men to centers of study in the 
former "mother country/* 


As Father Martin saw it, however improbable Toumli- 
line's geographic location in the extreme north was, it ap- 
peared to be the logical place because, politically, the 
Center would flourish only in an independent country, as 
Morocco. And further, Toumliline already had the nucleus 
for such an institution in its own library's North African 
section, and in its experience running the International 
Summer School. Finally, Toumliline had demonstrated 
both its political neutrality and its ability to foster an 
atmosphere of good will in which genuine exchanges of 
opinion could take place. 

Convinced of the need for this center on theoretical 
grounds, Father Martin saw a number of practical points 
that had first to be considered. What did the world's aca- 
demic African specialists think of the idea? Where could 
the necessary funds be obtained? Finally, if there were 
such a center, would Africans from, say, Ghana or the 
Congo or Uganda make use of it? To get the answers to 
some of these questions, he sent his assistant, Father Pla- 
cide, to the United States. 

When he arrived in New York during a February snow- 
storm without hat or overshoes, wearing a white shirt and 
black tie, Father Placide looked more like a young semi- 
narian than a veteran of seventeen years in Benedictine 
monasteries. In fact, he had in his pocket a letter just re- 
ceived from his mother in Orleans, France, admonishing 
him to put on his rubbers when it snowed, and to wear his 
scarf and button up his overcoat against the harsh climate 
of North America. His irrepressible sense of humor fur- 
thered the appearance of boyishness and it was a rare 


meeting where he did not have his interviewers laughing 
heartily. However, his knowledgeable discussions of North 
African affairs with State Department and university spe- 
cialists quickly revealed another side to his character. In 
a letter to a friend of Father Martin, one professor at Yale 
wrote, "Everyone whom Father Placide met here was im- 
pressed not merely by his rare personality but also by his 
intelligence and wisdom/* 

Unlike the Prior's rambling visit of five months, Father 
Placide's two months stay was tightly scheduled by his 
American and Canadian friends. Apart from Holy Week, 
when he was the guest of Dom Damasus Winzen, Prior 
of the Benedictine monastery of Mt. Saviour at Elmira, 
New York, he spent four weeks lecturing in fourteen cities 
in nine states. He visited twelve universities and five chari- 
table foundations to discuss Toumliline's projected Inter- 
national Center of African Studies. During three weeks in 
Canada he lectured at four universities, set up the Cana- 
dian branch of The Friends of Toumliline under the patron- 
age of Cardinal Leger, and gave a series of talks on tele- 

African specialists in American universities were inter- 
ested in Father Placide's description of the proposed Cen- 
ter and thought it feasible. Professor Gibb, Director of 
Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and Profes- 
sor Brown, Director of Boston University's African Studies 
Program were especially encouraging. They offered the 
full co-operation of their respective departments with the 
new Center. (The State Department sent Professor Daniel 
McCall of Boston University in 1958 and Professor Albert 


Meyer of Harvard in 1959 to the International Cours at 
Toumliline. ) One point invariably raised by the academi- 
cians was whether other African countries would profit by 
such a center? 

This same question was raised by officials of the Ford 
Foundation. The only way to find out, Father Placide 
agreed, was to go and inquire. Accordingly an application 
was submitted to Ford to finance a trip through Africa to 
determine the feasibility of the projected center. The 
Rockefeller Foundation's African program was aimed more 
at "Black Africa/* but its officials indicated the possibility 
of help to the center's library. Two smaller private founda- 
tions approved grants to Toumliline. One sent the Jesuit 
specialist on American race relations, Father John La- 
Farge, to the 1958 Cours, while the Homeland Foundation, 
primarily interested in the field of agricultural develop- 
ment, made a grant to a dairy co-operative organized by 

One seemingly contradictory character trait of Father 
Placide was revealed during his American visit. This man 
who had developed to the highest degree the art of putting 
off impatient creditors and angry bankers was actually shy 
about asking for money. After his lectures when people 
came forward ready to contribute to Toumliline, he only 
took down their names for future membership in the 
American Associates of Toumliline. The money received 
in lecture and television appearances was consumed by 
transportation and living expenses. He would have ended 
his tour in the red had it not been for a gift from Msgr. 
Peter Tuohy, Director of the Catholic Near East Welfare 


Association, who had helped Father Martin the previous 

The last week of his stay was abruptly canceled when a 
letter from the prior ordered him back to Toumliline. The 
financial situation was disastrous, he wrote, and the worsen- 
ing Moroccan political climate had suddenly forced radical 
changes in Toumliline's summer plans. As cellarer of the 
monastery and secretary of the Cours, Father Placide's 
services were needed immediately. His last act in New 
York was, rather reluctantly, to write David Rockefeller 
outlining the precarious financial structure of the Cours 
and asking for an emergency gift. 

In London, between planes, he left information on 
Toumliline's plans for the Center with Darryl Forde, Di- 
rector of the International African Institute. ("He wrote 
and approved entirely our project for a Center of African 
Studies/* Placide said later.) In Rabat he was met by Father 
Martin who was on his way to Casablanca to catch a plane 
for Paris on a desperation fund raising mission. Driving to 
Casablanca the Prior got a full report from Father Placide 
on his American tour. In turn, Father Placide learned of 
the situation at Toumliline. "I discovered," he says, "that 
the financial situation was so bad that the Prior didn't dare 
write me about it. It was even more disastrous than when 
I left." 

As for the political situation, Father Placide had been 
aware for some time of a growing crisis caused by the 
IstiqlaFs drive to gain complete control of the government. 
In the last eighteen months the party had succeeded in 
gradually removing most of the non-Istiqlal cabinet min- 


isters. Then, on the eve of Father Placide's return to Mo- 
rocco, they brought about the fall of the government by 
their demand for an BR-Istiqlal cabinet. As Father Placide 
discussed the situation with Father Martin on the way to 
the Casablanca airport, no new government had yet been 

What Father Placide did not know, however, was the 
involvement of Toumliline in that political struggle. The 
Prior brought him up to date. Three Azrou students had 
asked to use Toumliline for Istiqlal-sponsored youth ral- 
lies. "I told them," Father Martin said, "that they were 
welcome to use our buildings but not under Istiqlal spon- 
sorship, for we would not link ourselves to any party .** 

The Prior told Father Placide the results of a visit the 
very next day to Mehdi Ben Barka (a member of the 
Executive Committee of Istiqlal} , to explain his refusal of 
the students* request. Ben Barka had accused the Prior of 
playing politics. Father Martin had assured him they had 
no political position. With his eyes flashing fire Ben Barka 
had looked the priest straight in the face and said, "In 
politics it is necessary to choose, mon Pere" 

"Ah, but we made our choice as monks long ago.** 

Ben Barka had then demanded that the international 
summer Cours be directed by the University of Morocco. 
"I told him,** Father Martin said, "that I could not accept 
this, but I offered to let the University suggest the subjects 
to be treated in the summer school, beginning with this 

"But we have already planned this summer!** 


"That is one of the reasons why I had you cut your trip 
short. As of now, our subject is the commune. They want 
us to explore the problems connected with the transition of 
a society based on tribal rule and custom to one based on 
the commune. Instead of 800 autonomous tribes, they 
plan to create 720 communes of from 10,000 to 15,000 
inhabitants as the basic administrative and electoral unit in 
Morocco. , 

Three weeks later, King Mohammed V broadcast a royal 
proclamation to his people outlining the steps he would 
take in transforming Morocco's absolute monarchy into a 
constitutional monarchy. In this Royal Charter he said: 

The evolution of the country has resulted in the dis- 
integration of the tribal structure which can no longer 
form the basis on which to set up representative or- 
ganizations. We have therefore considered it prefera- 
ble that the commune, which is a new social and 
political unit, should form the basis on which the rule 
of modem Morocco should be built. 

The new Moroccan government of May Twelfth repre- 
sented a victory for the Istiqlal. The only non-Istiqlal man 
in the Cabinet was the Minister of Health and he had no 
political ties. Two of the three Ministers who had promised 
funds for the 1958 GOUTS were out. Their successors added 
to Father Placide's financial headaches by not confirming 
their support until just before the sessions actually began. 
One bright moment in the cellarer's harassed life came 
when David Rockefeller sent them a gift matching his sub- 
stantial grant of the previous year. 

In line with Toumliline's plans for a Center of African 


Studies, Father Martin reorganized the summer school. 
Instead of one continuous session of three weeks attended 
by several hundred students, he proposed four concen- 
trated one week courses restricted to a smaller number of 
qualified scholars and students. But the tense international 
situation following the revolution in Iraq and the landing 
of United States troops in Lebanon almost caused Father 
Martin to cancel the Cours. Feeling was running high in 
Morocco and popular sentiment made it politically impos- 
sible for either the royal family or the cabinet -ministers to 
participate actively in the sessions. The prior decided to 
go ahead but without publicity. There was no opening 
diffa or closing audience with the King. The press co- 
operated and restricted itself to a few terse announcements 
in place of the extensive daily coverage of the previous 
years. The United States was represented at these sessions 
by Father John La Farge, SJ. and Professors Daniel Mc- 
Call of Boston University and Benjamin Rivlin of Brooklyn 

The political and economic situation of Morocco deteri- 
orated in the months following the Cours. A behind-the- 
scenes struggle between the right wing of the Istiqldl party 
led by Allal el Fassi and a left wing faction headed by 
Mehdi Ben Barka caused the new aH-Istiqlal government 
to collapse in November. During the ensuing month-long 
crisis there were serious tribal revolts in the Rif mountains 
and in the hills south of Fez. It was not until late Decem- 
ber that the King appointed a government composed 
largely of Ben Barka supporters, and the Royal Army 
quashed the revolts. 


The new leftist government had been in office only one 
day when France informed them of the impending seven- 
teen per cent devaluation of the French franc. Since the 
Moroccans had committed themselves to a program of 
"liberating the national economy from French economic 
colonialism/* they refused to devalue the Moroccan cur- 
rency. Overnight French capital investments in Morocco 
increased in French franc value by seventeen per cent. In 
the next few days nearly $100 million worth of desperately 
needed capital poured out of Morocco before effective 
controls were established. Half of Morocco's exports were 
priced out of their normal French market and the ranks of 
her unemployed increased alarmingly. 

In conversations with the new Minister of National 
Economy, Abderrahim Bouabid, Father Martin decided 
that the 1959 Cours could best serve Morocco by consider- 
ing the two themes "Economic Development of Pre- 
Industrialized Nations/* and "Human Values in Economic 
Development." Two separate ten-day sessions in August 
were devoted to these subjects. Fifty-six participants from 
eleven countries came to the first, while sixty-eight from 
fifteen countries assisted at the second session. 

Father Martin was pleased at the increased American 
institutional participation in the Cours. From the United 
States the State Department had sent Professor A. J. Meyer 
of Harvard. A private foundation grant administered by 
Fordham University sent two Jesuit specialists to Toumli- 
line, Father Edward Duff, sociologist and editor of Social 
Order, and Father J. Franklin Ewing, anthropologist and 
director of Fordham's Institute of Mission Studies. A 1958 


New York interview of Father Placide with the Foundation 
for Youth and Student Affairs bore fruit as they approved 
a $2,000 travel grant for students from "Black Africa." The 
five students, two from Dahoney, and one each from 
Ghana, Guinea, and the Voltaic Republic were carefully 
chosen by Fathers Martin and Placide. According to Prof. 
Meyer, they were among the most outstanding contributors 
to the sessions. 

Three deaths in 1959, however, brought sorrow to Father 
Martin. On April 26, Pere Albert Peyriguere died of a heart 
attack. This seventy-six-year-old disciple of Charles de 
Foucauld had welcomed the monks when they first came 
to Toumliline. He had shared with them his knowledge of 
and affection for the Middle Atlas Berbers among whom 
he had lived and worked for over thirty years. Father Mar- 
tin had often visited the magnificently bearded priest in 
the tiny village of El-Kbab. He brought medicines and 
supplies for Father Peyriguere's dispensary because this 
man perhaps the only non-Berber and certainly the only 
priest to become an elder of a Berber tribe shared the 
poverty of his adopted people. In turn, Father Peyriguere 
came regularly to Toumliline for confession and to work 
in the monastery's library in his attempt to compile the 
first Berber-language dictionary. 

Half of the monastic community, all that could be 
spared, joined the entire Moroccan population of El-Kbab 
in the burial procession. Archbishop Lefevre walked just 
ahead of the coffin which was held aloft by ten Moslem 
men as they negotiated the steep alleyways of the moun- 
tain village. The plain cedar box had only two decorations: 


a bouquet of flowers from the villagers and the red woolen 
heart and cross he had worn on his breast, the same symbol 
worn by Charles de Foucauld. 

On Peyriguere's death, Moroccan newspapers carried 
the following official communique: 

His Excellency Msgr. Louis Amede Lef 6vre, Arch- 
bishop of Rabat, commends to the memory and the 
prayers of everyone Reverend Father Albert Peyri- 
guere, who died in Casablanca Sunday, April 26 at 
the age of seventy-six. 

Born September Twenty-eighth in 1883, ordained a 
Catholic priest the eighth of December, 1906, P&re 
Peyrigu&re, after teaching twenty years in the Dio- 
ceses of Bordeaux, came to Morocco in November, 
1926, and from then on devoted himself with tireless 
energy to the sick and disinherited among the Moroc- 
can people, above all to the Berber people among 
whom he lived and whose language he knew so 

Tears will be shed for a long time by the tribes 
among whom he lived and who were profoundly at- 
tached to him. The poor above all will keep his mem- 
ory, as well as those who knew the work he had done 
for thirty-three years to promote peace and recon- 

The other two deaths resulted from an accident on the 
second day of the Cours. Returning from an errand in 
Meknes, Madame Barbara and Brother Jean-Michel were 
involved in a head-on collision with a heavy truck whose 
driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Madame Barbaro, 
who was driving, was killed instantly. Brother Jean-Michel 
remained in a coma for twelve days before dying in a 


Meknes hospital. Brother Gerald, the doctor, stayed and 
slept by his bed the entire time. Father Martin drove over 
twice a day to check on the condition of his monk. The 
loss of these two was a severe blow to the young com- 
munity. Sorrowfully, Father Martin chose some land be- 
hind the monastery's kitchen garden for the cemetery and 
by special dispensation buried Madame Barbara within 
the cloister. 

Madame Edmund Barbaro, the tiny "woman in black** 
who had given the Abbot of En-Calcat the brown paper 
package of seven million francs, had a special right to that 
resting place within the monastery. From the moment of 
her founding gift till her death, she had given her life to 
Toumliline. During those years in Morocco she gave the 
monastery well over $100,000. Most of the money went for 
the land around Toumliline and the thirty-four acre farm 
of St. Benedict in the valley of Azrou. Many times she 
helped the monks out of embarrassing financial jams. In 
19OT, just before the Cours opened, Father Martin was in 
Casablanca settling a hotel bill for forty of the invited pro- 
fessors. He discovered he had no money. As he was making 
explanations to the proprietress, Madame Barbaro arrived 
to taxi the Prior to another appointment. Sizing up the 
situation immediately, she walked up to the desk, pulled 
out her checkbook and asked for the bill. 

From the first days in Morocco, she had assumed charge 
of the monastery's laundry, darning the heavy woolen socks 
and mending the work-worn habits of the monks. They 
built a home for her just down the hill from the monastery, 
alongside the homes built for their Moroccan farmworkers. 


The house was simply and functionally designed by 
Brother Jean-Michel in Toumliline*s native field stone and 
cedar wood. He had also surrounded the house with banks 
of shrubs and flowers. Its living room was furnished from 
her Marseilles home and on the stone walls were hung origi- 
nals of French Impressionists. From her porch, Madame 
Barbara commanded a sweeping view of the hills behind 
and the valley below. The built-in shelves of her combina- 
tion library and sewing room were lined with hundreds of 
books that revealed the wide sweep of her intellectual in- 
terests. Alongside the traditional French devotional writers, 
there were the latest works on ascetical and mystical the- 
ology. Contemporary writers and poets outnumbered the 
many classical authors there. One special shelf contained 
volumes on art and architecture which were the occasion 
of many discussions with that outspoken art critic, Brother 
Jean-Michel. These two highly individualistic persons who 
met death together had shared a kindred spirit. He had 
accompanied her to Meknes that fated day so that the 
seventy-year-old woman would not have to make the trip 
through open country alone. 

The deaths of Father Peyrigu&re, Madame Barbaro, and 
Brother Jean-Michel greatly saddened the Prior. The 
deaths occurred just about the time that there developed 
a pronounced resentment against Toumliline on the part of 
some Moroccans. This was inevitable once the monastery 
became a sort of national institution, and the wonder of it 
is that the antagonism was not articulated sooner than it 
was. There was some talk that Moroccan support of the 


international Cours should be stopped. This was only talk. 
The resentment against the monastery can certainly be 
attributed in part to a Moslem disquietude at the very 
presence of the Church. Nothing could be more under- 
standable, given the 1,200 years during which Christians 
and Moslems viewed one another with suspicion and fear. 
The resentment against Toumliline was especially born of 
the maneuverings among Moroccan politicians once their 
country became independent, for there were those who 
took an anti-French, anti-Western stance. 

Perhaps the most influential of these Moroccans is the 
politician Allal el Fassi. Both as a theologian of Islam and 
as a Moslem political leader, he has preached an Islamic 
renaissance in the Arab world and in Morocco. In pursuit 
of this rebirth he has sought to discredit the impact of 
Toumliline on Moroccan youth. Although he was in an- 
other part of the world during Toumliline's first three years 
in Morocco, El Fassi discounted any assistance the monks 
gave the Moroccans during that troubled time. When 
asked if he thought Father Martin had contributed any- 
thing to the ultimate understanding between the French 
and Moroccan nationalists, he answered, "No, nothing at 
all.** To the question did he think the monks* coming to 
predominantly Berber Toumliline was a French political 
maneuver^ he replied, "Of courser In a similar vein, he 
viewed the annual International Cours as of importance 
only "to certain Roumi (Christian) elements in Morocco.* 
And although he cited Islam's traditional tolerance of non- 
Moslem religious institutions that make no attempt to 


proselytize Moslems, lie left no doubt in the interviewers* 
minds that he would like to see the monies out of Morocco. 

Not all Moroccans share this view. The most prominent 
Berber politician in Morocco, Mahjoubi, Aherdane, has 
been an enthusiastic supporter of the Cours from the be- 
ginning, "These international conferences have given us 
our window on the world," he said. When asked how long 
he had known Father Martin, he answered, "How long? 
I cannot tell you. When you love a man as much as I love 
Dom Denis, it is as if you have known him all your lif e/* 

An Istiqlal resistance leader in Azrou who had been in 
the work party outside the monastery that was given the 
mint tea, testified to the influence and example of Father 
Martin and his monks by declaring, "Toumliline helped 
us greatly in achieving our independence/' When someone 
suggested this was an exaggeration, he said slowly and em- 
phatically, "Toumliline helped us tremendously in achiev- 
ing our independence/* An Islamic theologian from the 
Karouine University in Fez, as rigidly orthodox as Allal el 
Fassi, once told Father Martin that the only thing missing 
at Toumliline was a mosque. "Promise me," he said with 
tears in his eyes, "that you will build one/* 

But what of the French community in Morocco? Their 
estimation of Toumliline is mixed. There are some whose 
resentment at the French loss of Morocco is transferred to 
the monks because they feel Toumliline identified itself 
from the beginning with the nationalists* cause. There are 
some friends of the monastery who feel that the monks 
have been taken in by the Moroccans. One cynical doctor, 


who has spent half a lifetime helping the Moslems, said, 
"The monks are fools. When their usefulness ends, the 
Moroccans will probably throw them out of the country ? 

Many in the dwindling French community, however, 
make Toumliline their spiritual headquarters. The monas- 
tery is the main retreat center for the priests of the coun- 
try. Every weekend the chalets built for the Cours are 
occupied by individuals or groups of men, women, and 
children on retreat. On school holidays French students 
meet with their Moroccan counterparts at Toumliline. 

Certain official attitudes were also inimical to Father 
Martin. There is a report in current French army files that 
Toumliline is actively supporting the Algerian revolution 
with supplies and money and is making the monastery- 
available as a rest camp for the FLN. This of course is not 
true. A possible explanation for the reports may be that 
Toumliline has distributed food and clothing to Algerian 
refugees living in squalor in eastern Morocco. This work 
is also carried on by the United Nations, the Red Cross, 
and other relief agencies. 

The Archbishop himself has gone on record as saying 
of Toumliline and Father Martin: 

I wanted Toumliline to be an example to Morocco 
just as the Benedictine monasteries were to medieval 
France. I wanted these Benedictines to be Christian 
witnesses of a life of prayer to an Islamic people who 
are a people of prayer. My expectations were great 
when these monks came to Morocco, and I have yet 
to be disappointed by them. As for Father Martin, I 


consider him an intelligent, open-minded, charitable, 
and totally dedicated priest and monk. 

And then he gave what he considered the key to the Prior's 
work in Morocco: 

It is obvious that Dom Denis loves the Moroccans and 
is deeply concerned about their welfare. But you must 
realize what it is that makes him what he is: in his 
dealings with Moroccans, he does not pretend to be 
anything but what he is, a French Benedictine. And 
this is one reason he is loved and trusted by most of 

A sharper picture of the Prior emerges when reports of 
criticism of Toumliline are made to him. Often he dismisses 
a report with a shrug and a smile. Sometimes he feigns 
surprise and says, "Is that the story he tells?" Or he asks, 
"Ah, but he has never been at Toumliline, so how could 
he really know what we are doing?** Only once did he 
react angrily to a canard spread by someone he had once 
helped. The story had to do with the political position of 
the monastery during The Troubles. His comment was 
short: "The man is a liar." 

But what if the Moroccans suddenly decided that the 
good done by the monks was outweighed by other con- 
siderations? Dom Denis's answer to this is simple: "Ce 
mest egale" If the Moroccans ever decide to suppress the 
Cours, or shut down the orphanage or take away the dis- 
pensary, he says, "It's all the same to me." He regards the 


services of the monks as fruits of their essentially contem- 
plative life of worship and prayer. If its interior life is in 
good health, he says, then all of the exterior work could be 
pruned away without damaging the monastery. And it was 
this position that prompted General Miquel to once say, 
"You are the only ones who will never be disappointed by 
what they do." 

But Dom Denis explains his own case eloquently. Here 
is his description of their work at Toumliline: 

You would like to know what the Benedictines of 
Toumliline are doing? I will tell you our story. We 
are Christians in a land of Islam. 

Islam has been in Morocco for more than one thou- 
sand years. It has profoundly marked the Moroccan 
people. It has brought them its language, it has or- 
ganized their family and civic life, it has shaped their 
spirits and their hearts, it has formed their religious 

For fifty years now men and women from France 
and Spain have lived among them. These people are 
baptized. They form a Church, the Church of 

How do the two communities co-exist? How do 
they react to each other? Are exchanges and mutual 
enrichments possible? Under what conditions? To 
what extent? 

During periods of optimism the two groups would 
establish relations and be amazed at the facility of the 
contacts and at the affinities discovered in each other. 
Even the differences excited a sympathetic curiosity 
and satisfied a taste for the exotic. 

Sometimes periods of discouragement would follow 
when each group would turn in on itself; the two 


spirits would be deemed irreducible. Then the thir- 
teen-hundred-year experience (of futile contacts) in 
the Near East would be evoked. 

A strange thing: there are self -isolated Christians 
living here who are ignorant of Morocco. They have 
lost sympathy for men. They judge they have nothing 
in common with Moroccans. 

Is that the position of the Church in Morocco? Is 
it only an island cut off from its surroundings? 

The answer is NO: The Church is situated on an- 
other, and more profound plane not touched by the 
changes of fancy. Its head, the Archbishop of Rabat, 
has tirelessly been teaching Christians for ten years 
that they have a "mission of salvation" to perform. 
Around him, priests and laymen are giving themselves 
wholeheartedly to this divine work. 

This is essentially the work to which Toumliline is 
dedicated. I remember how, during the vespers mark- 
ing our arrival, I was seized with the idea that we 
would offer to God the prayer of Christ in His Church 
for these, our as yet unknown neighbors. 

These thoughts were even more intensely present 
during our first community Mass in the land of Islam. 
Moved as newly ordained priests, it seemed to us that 
we were exercising for the first time the baptismal 
power of redeeming and saving souls with our Lord. 
We were here primarily for that reason. Here where 
a people lives apparently outside of the Redemption, 
our task is to place them in contact with it. And even 
if this people, faithful to the Koran, is invincibly ig- 
norant of this "good news/* and if the pressure of 
their surroundings renders them effectively unconverti- 
ble, they remain capable of receiving the effects of 
the death and resurrection of Christ. They remain 


open to grace and able to lead their lives as children 
of God. 

We understood from that moment that the princi- 
pal and most efficacious means of acting in conformity 
with our responsibilities as Christians was the Mass. 
Thus, even before we had become acquainted with 
any of our neighbors, invisible but intimate ties bound 
us to them. How could we have considered them as 
strangers? A living mystery united us to them within 
a supernatural kinship. 

This hidden work of redemption was completed by 
a more visible one. The monks lived under the eyes 
of the Moslem workmen with whom they worked to 
transform the original buildings into a monastery. We 
quickly realized that our actions, especially our col- 
lective actions as a Benedictine community, had value. 
If they recalled to Christians the sense of their life, 
they taught Moslems the meaning of the Church. A 
young man told me, TE had believed that all Christians 
were bad. I see now that there are some good ones. 9 * 
He was repeating, without realizing it, a judgment of 
the Prophet, who undoubtedly had been touched by a 
similar experience. 

**You will find that the nearest in affection 

to the true believers are men who say: 
*We are Christians/ This is because there are 

priests and monks among them who are not 

puffed up with pride.** 

This verse of the Koran, cited often by our Moslem 
visitors, offers us a singular indication of the power 
of witness. If we have obtained any grace for souls, 
they have felt inclined to certain modes of action that 
example alone could reveal to them. It is necessary, 
however, that the witness and examples be true. The 
organization and the activities of a monastery mani- 


f est the Church; please God, they give an exact image, 
however reduced in scale. The actions of each monk 
shows forth Christ living in him; but it is necessary 
that this be Christ as He is. In order to obtain some 
kind of accord, to break down the "wall" separating 
Islam from Christianity, is it necessary to water down 
doctrine to form a meld pleasing everyone? Moslems 
would refuse it. They reject everything that is not 
explicitly written in the Koran. From our point of view 
as Christians we don't think anything worthwhile 
apart from the presence of Christ. His words, His 
grace, His salvation. TLord, to whom would we go? 
You alone have the words of the everlasting/* (John, 

Shortly after our arrival, an important Moroccan 
invited me to lunch. After the meal he questioned me 
at length on our manner of living, our poverty, our 
celibacy, the care we were giving to the sick and to 
the children, our prayer. Then he asked me, << Why do 
you do all these things?** I answered him simply: "We 
are trying to continue on earth the life of Sidna Aissa, 
Our Lord Jesus.** He did not pose any more questions. 
He had understood. 

Are the Moslems a little anxious about our pres- 
ence? From the first days of our foundation, important 
people of the countryside came to Toumliline to meet 
us and to ask what we were doing. I must say that 
these anxieties and suspicions are not yet completely 
dispelled. When one speaks of the children we are 
bringing up, of the co-operatives we are trying to 
organize, or even of the International Summer School, 
they ask what we hope to accomplish ultimately. That 
is why frankness seems to me preferable to silence, 
which would leave the field wide open to doubt and 
misunderstanding. Let them be reassured. We respect 


absolutely the liberty of souls, freedom of conscience. 
But we would not be servants of God if we remained 
indifferent to their salvation. Whether they be Mos- 
lems or Jews, understand that we envisage the prob- 
lem solely within the perspective of our Christian 
faith, in the manner I have just briefly sketched. Are 
our Moslem friends astonished at this point of view? 
Not at all. They do the same thing themselves when, 
in order to signify that we are truly religious, they tell 
us, "You are true Moslems," 

As for the Christians, I wish they understood me 
completely. I recently had the opportunity to present 
these ideas to a group of French Christians of a 
nearby town. Their reactions surprised me. They con- 
cluded, not without a certain peevishness, ~You have 
come, therefore, to Morocco for the Moslems and not 
for the Christians." I asked them in turn, ~In what I 
have just related to you, show me what separates us 
from the Christians?" 

The monastic life? The monk is only a Christian 
who takes the steps to be more perfectly faithful to 
the obligations of his baptism. The aspiration to per- 
fection ought not in itself to distinguish him from 
other Christians. It ought to be common to them all. 
But he has chosen certain means put at his disposal 
by the Church in order to accomplish this more 
quickly and more surely. 

You object, what about the cloister! The cloister 
has as its only *nrn to shelter the monastic community 
from the contaminations of **the world." It does so in 
order to constitute an entirely Christian city, whose 
goals, spirit, organization, and activities are governed 
exclusively by evangelical principles. You find that 
tVns city is opposed to the one in which you live, 
which you are tempted to call the true city? Yes, with- 


out a doubt, to the extent that the latter is not inspired 
by Christ. For the Christian, the monastery ought to 
be a kind of pilot city. It stands there apart, to recall 
to him what ought to be the essential orientation of 
Iris milieu. 

Thus our open contacts with Moslems, far from 
opposing us to the Christian community in Morocco, 
unites us profoundly to it. The problems posed by 
our situation as Christians in a land of Islam are com- 
mon to all of us. Equally members of Christ, we have 
in Him the same vocation, the same responsibilities, 
the same work of salvation to accomplish, the same 
glory to procure for God. 


On November Twenty-third, 1959, Father Denis Martin, 
Father Edouard Le Bel, and Father Jacques de Gharry 
drove to Casablanca and boarded the ship Jean-Mermoz. 
Eight days later they reached Abidjan, the major port of 
the Ivory Coast Republic on the West coast of Africa. 

The monks drove north through a tropical jungle. A 
hundred miles beyond Abidjan the jungle ended and a vast 
savanna stretched before them. Stunted trees and yellow 
grass and dead blue volcanos rose up against the silver sky. 

After another eighty miles the Benedictines entered the 
city of Bouake. Here they were welcomed by a representa- 
tive of the local bishop. Five miles beyond the city the 
monks came to a small, abandoned stone building located 
on a rise of land dominating the savanna. 

Father Martin and Father Le Bel said good-by to 
Father Jacques de Gharry. The Prior promised he would 
send two other monks as soon as he reached Morocco. 

Toumliline had created its first African foundation. 

We come to Bouake [Father Martin saidl in the 
same spirit in which seven years earlier we came to 
Toumliline. With no preconceived ideas or definite 
plans, we come simply to lead our monastic life, to 
draw down from heaven God's blessings on this 

We do not come in great numbers. Our wish is 
African vocations to our Benedictine life so that soon 
this Ivory Coast monastery will find its proper African 
personality. Then, faithful to the desires of St. 
Benedict, the monastery will be a house of hospitality, 
offering to all who come peace and refreshment. 
Above all, it will become a house of prayer. 


Africa, unity of, 184-6 

African political uprisings, viii-ix, 

80-93 passim, 116, 147-8 
Moroccan independence, 123-4 
Moroccan uprisings, 4, 48-9, 
64-5, 78-9, 80-93 passim, 
130-1, 133-6, 137-8, 144 
See also Istiqlal 

Aherdane, Capt. Mahjoubi (Gov- 
ernor of Rabat), 118, 133, 141, 
150-1, 154, 155, 200 

Aicha, Princess Lalla, 178-9 

Altermann, Abbe Jean-Pierre, 6, 7 

America, 168-9, 170 

American Associates of Toumliline, 

Annual international summer semi- 
nar, vii, ix-x, 4, 146-7, 151-8 
passim, 164, 165, 167, 168, 
169, 170, 171-82 passim, 184, 
186, 187, 189, 190, 191-2, 193, 
194, 196, 197, 198, 200, 201, 
202, 206 

"Anti-Terrorist Defense Organiza- 
tion, the/' 119 

Aymard, Dom Pius, 49, 72, 132 

Azrou, 3, 5, 48, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 
70, 76, 77, 94, 95, 96, 97, 100, 
101, 103, 104, 115, 126, 128, 
129, 133, 134, 135, 136, 139, 
141, 143, 144, 148, 156, 157, 
159, 179, 191, 197, 200 

Balarrej, Ahmed (Minister of For- 
eign Affairs), 154, 171 
Banquet, Dom Roman, 11-2, 14, 74 
Barbara, Mme Edmund, 46, 196-8 
Bekkai, Si M*Barek, Pasha (Prime 
Minister), 80, 89-90, 111, 140, 
141, 142 

Ben Barka, Prof. Mehdi (Pres. of 

Nat 7 ! Assembly), 118, 120, 

121, 122, 125, 133, 141, 178, 

191, 193 

Benedictines, vii, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 

13, 30, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 50, 

51, 52, 54, 65, 66, 97, 113, 

114, 139, 145, 146, 152, 153, 

155, 167, 183, 188, 201, 202, 

203, 205, 209 
Order, 8-10, 11 
See also names of individual 

Beni M'Guild tribe, 77-8, 131, 136, 

142, 151, 173-6 
Beni MHammedi tribe, 115 
Berber Dahir, 84-5, 86, 87, 89, 90, 


Berber language dictionary, 195 
Bouabid, Abderranim (Minister of 

Natl Economy), 194 
Bouake (first Toumliline African 

foundation), 209 
Bovey, John, Jr. (U.S. State Dept.), 


Brown, Prof. (Boston Univ.), 188 
Buttin, Paul, 82-3, 114-6 passim 

Caid of Azrou, 70, 141, 142 

Carme, Brother Eugene, 49> 71, 

Caronti, Dom Emmanuel (Abbot 
General of Benedictines of 
Primitive Observance), 28 

Casablanca, 3, 30-1, 44, 58, 59, 67, 
78, 79, 85, 88, 112, 115, 116, 
119, 121, 129, 130, 131, 143, 
144, 149, 150, 154, 158, 159, 
171, 190, 191, 196, 197, 209 

chapel (Toumliline), 68-9, 72-3, 
127, 134 

Clesca, CoL Marcel, 48-9, 63-4, 72, 
74, 75, 76, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97- 
103 passim, 108-9, 115, 124, 
133, 135-6, 141 

clinic and dispensary (Toumliline), 
4, 127, 164, 168, 169, 202 

Clostermann, Pierre, 130 

coexistence of three religions, ix, 
129-30, 152, 173, 177, 181-3, 


212 INDEX 

coexistence of three religions 


199, 203-8. See also Annual in- 
ternational summer seminar 

Combes, Dom Gilbert, 5, 49, 50, 
59, 70, 71, 76, 94-5, 96, 98, 
108, 128, 134, 145 

communism and Communists, x, 15, 
23, 30, 64, 87, 88-9, 93, 122, 

Conspiracy of the Soutanes. See 
World War II 

converts to Christianity, vii, 84-5, 
124-5, 199, 205 

Coquin, Dom Mayeul, 49 

Dana, Richard, 169 

Dani<lou, Jean (Jesuit), 125, 154 

de Chabannes, Dom Jean, 49, 50, 


de Champlouis, Dom Victor, 49 
de Charry, Dom Jacques, 46, 49, 

50, 58, 209 
de Floris, Dom Marie (Abbot of 

En-Calcat), 5, 10, 13, 15-8, 

22, 24-9 passim, 41, 42, 44-7, 

49, 51, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59, 64, 
68, 69-70, 71, 72-5, 76, 78, 93, 

de Foucauld, Vicomte Charles, 38- 
40, 76, 83, 110, 177, 195, 196 

de Gaulle, Gen. Charles, 31, 86 

Depreux, Edouard (Minister of the 
Interior), 23 

de Tournemire, Dom Ambroise, 49, 

50, 145 

de Tournemire, Col. Guillaume, 42, 

43, 49, 59, 108 
dHauteville, Gen. Marie-Antoine, 

80, 112-3 

Doutte, Brother Cyprien, 49, 114 
Duff, Father Edward (Editor, So- 

cud Order), 194 

el Alaoui, Fqih Bel Larbi, 116-7, 

124-5, 129, 140, 154 
el Fassi, Allal, 85, 92, 143, 185, 193, 

199, 200 

el Fassi, Mohammed (Minister of 
Educ.), 118, 125, 141, 154, 

El Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakech, 
86-7, 111, 140 

En-Calcat (Frencb abbey), vii, 3, 
5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 
17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 
41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 50, 
51-3, 54, 55, 60, 61, 68, 71, 
74, 76, 78, 88, 106, 126, 139, 
145, 197 

Entraide Nationale, 179 

Ewing, Father J, Franklin (Ford- 
ham), 167-8, 194 

farm cooperatives (Toumliline), 4, 

189, 197 
Faure, Premier Edgar, 130-1, 135, 

Fez, 32, 34, 37, 66, 85, 115, 124, 

125, 129, 154, 156, 176, 180, 

Treaty of, 33, 82, 85, 89, 143, 


Foerster, Dom Anselme, 49 
Ford Foundation, 189 
Forde, Darryl (Director, Intl 

African Last.), 190 
ForcLham University. See Ewing, 


Fourquez, Raymond, 120, 121 
Free Masons, 15 

Friends of Toumtiline, the, (Can- 
ada), 188 

Gibb, Prof. (Harvard), 188 
Grandval, Gilbert (Resident Gen.), 

131, 134-5 
Guillaume, Augustin ( Resident 

Gen.), 34, 80, 88, 107, 112, 

113, 114 
Guillou, Father (Jesuit), 40-1 

Hassan, Prince Moulay, 141, 142-3, 

152, 171, 172, 173, 176 
Hassar, Mme Fatima, 154, 155 

INDEX 213 

Hebrard, Dom Fulcran, 49, 50, 51, 
53-6, 57-8, 59-60, 62, 68, 69- 
70, 71, 75, 76, 132 

Homeland Foundation, 189 

International Center of African 
Studies, 186-7, 188-9, 190, 

Islam, vii, 36, 37, 83-4, 85, 87, 92, 
93, 116, 124, 125, 152, 156, 
170, 177, 178, 185, 199, 200, 
201, 203, 205, 208 

Istiqlal (Independence Party), 86, 
87, 96, 99, 112, 114, 115, 116, 
117, 118, 119, 121, 122, 130, 
133, 136, 138, 143, 154, 156, 
157, 190-1, 192, 193, 200 

Jonquiere, Sub-Prior Pierre de la, 


Jubilee, 170 
Juin, Gen. Alphonse, 86-7, 88, 112 

Karaouine Univ., 37, 118, 124, 154, 

Kritzeck, James (Princeton), 170, 


Lacassin, Dom Odon, 49, 50, 56-7 

Lacombe, Prof. Olivier (Dean, 
Univ. of Lille), 177 

Lacoste, Francis (Resident Gen.), 
113, 114, 116, 117, 119, 131 

LaFarge, Father John (Jesuit), 
vii-x, 189, 193 

Laniel, Premier, 112 

Lebel, Dom Edouard, 49, 65, 72, 
159, 209 

Lecomte, Brig. Gen. Jean, 138, 139 

Lefevre, Msgr. Amedee (Arch- 
bishop of Rabat), 41, 42, 43, 
44, 45, 59-60, 68, 70, 71, 72-3, 
74, 75, 91, 104, 107, 108, 118, 
125, 137, 150, 152, 154, 173, 
176, 195, 196, 201-2 

Leger, Cardinal (Canada), 188 

Levinas, Prof. Emmanuel (Dir., 

Oriental Jewish Teachers' Col- 
lege, Paris ), 177, 183 

Lyautey, Gen. Louis Hubert Gon- 
zalve, 30, 31, 33-4, 39, 80-2, 

Lyonnet, Dom Charles, 49, 126-7, 

McCall, Prof. Daniel (Boston 
Univ.), 188,193 

maquis, 15-7, 21-2. See also World 

Marrakech, 80, 87, 111, 129 

Martin, Dom Denis (Prior, Toum- 
Hine), vii, 5-22 passim, 30, 
46-9 passim, 53, 59, 62-4, 68, 
70-80 passim, 89-115 passim, 
119-52 passim, 158, 171, 175, 
178-209 passim 
visit to U.S., 158-70 

Martin, Dom Jean-Marie (Sub- 
Prior, Toumliline), 49, 50, 55, 
57, 68, 69, 71, 79, 95-7, 102-5 
passim, 139-40, 147, 167, 171 

Massignon, Prof. Louis, 154, 177 

Mauriac, Frangois, 6, 108, 112, 125 

Meknes, 60, 62, 67, 70, 71, 99, 103, 
104, 114, 116, 117, 123, 129, 
131, 143, 144, 158, 159, 160, 
161, 196, 197, 198 

Merton, Thomas, 166-7 

Meyer, Prof. Albert (Harvard), 
188-9, 194, 195 

MHammedi, Driss ( Minister of the 
Interior), 114-8 passim, 119- 
20, 138, 140, 141, 150, 154, 
155, 171 

Miquel, Lt. Gen. Roger, 67, 72, 74, 
76, 103, 104, 105-10 passim, 
111, 115, 116, 117, 118, 123, 
124, 137-8, 139, 203 

Mohammed V, King of Morocco, 
vii, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88-9, 90, 
96, 111-2, 113, 121, 130, 131, 
133, 134, 138, 140, 141, 142, 
143, 144, 147, 148, 154, 155, 
156, 158, 173, 192, 193, 199 

214 INDEX 

Mohammed VI, 112, 135, 140 

Monde, Le, 181 

Moroccan Action, 85 

Moroccan Army of Liberation, 118, 

133, 136, 144-5, 148, 149, 

Moslems in a French culture, 91-3, 

129, 179 

Nat'l Party for the Triumph of Re- 
forms, the, 85 

Netcsweek, 170 

Northrop, Prof. F.S.C. (Yale), 4, 
177, 182-3 

orphanage (Toumliline), 4, 127-8, 

142, 145, 168, 169, 202 
ou Bihi, Gov. Adi, 156, 157, 180 

Pernot, Dom Placide, vii, 24-5, 71, 
76, 104, 106, 144-7, 155, 156, 
157, 159, 165, 171, 182, 186, 
187-8, 189, 190, 191-2, 195 
visit to U.S., 187-90 

Peyriguere, Father Albert, 71-2, 
76, 99, 103, 104, 105-7, 110, 
195-6, 198 

Pius XII, Pope, 4, 43, 73, 152 

politics (Toumliline) 

supposed anti-French, 23, 25, 
103-10, 138-40, 200-1. See also 
tea incident 

supposed anti-Moroccan, 63, 65, 
78, 83-5, 93, 111, 123, 198-200 

Rabat, 42, 44, 59, 60, 70, 71, 79, 
87, 104, 111, 115, 117, 121, 
129, 134, 137, 139, 141, 143, 
144, 149, 150, 162, 171, 179, 

Reder, Brother Jean-Michel, x, 5, 
50, 51-3, 68, 127, 128, 196-7, 

refectory (Toumliline), 71, 102, 
126, 128, 132 

Regis, Father Louis-Marie, O.P. 
(Dean, Univ. of Montreal), 

Rivlin, Prof. Benjamin (Brooklyn 

Coll.), 193 
Rockefeller, David, 169, 170, 190, 


St. Benedict, Rule of, 7, 9-10, 14, 

132, 152 

school (Toumliline), 68, 71 
Schuman, Robert ( Minister of For- 
eign Affairs), 27, 87 
Sheen, Bishop Fulton J., 163 
Sullivan, Daniel J. (Fordham), 

176, 182 
Swanstrom, Msgr. Edward E., 168 

tea incident, 4, 94-102 passim, 
108-9, 111, 115, 125, 138, 200 

Tessier, Dom Aime, 5, 49, 50 

Time, 113, 170 

Times, the New York, 169, 170 

Tuohy, Msgr. Peter (Dir., Catholic 
Near East Welfare Asso.), 

Union Franpaise, 132 
United Nations, 88, 201 
United States. See Dom Denis Mar- 
tin, Dom Placide Pernot 

vacation camps (Tournliline), 129- 

30, 131, 132 
Varguet, Brother Marie-Antoine, 

50, 71, 96, 171 

"White Hand, the," 119 

Winzen, Dom Damasus (Prior, Mt. 

Saviour, Elmira), 188 
World War I, activities of En- 

Calcat, 12 
World War II, activities of En- 

Calcat, 5, 7-8, 12-3, 14-22 


collaborators, 13, 23-9 passim 
See also de Morant, maquis 

Yahya, Othman ( Univ. of Al-Azhar, 
Cairo), 177