If you saw the 2010 film, “Of Gods and Men,” you know the true story of the Trappist monks of the monastery of Notre-Dame de l’Atlas of Tibhirine in Algeria.
On the night of March 26-27, 1996, seven of the monks were kidnapped during the Algerian civil war. Although this wasn’t clear from the film, the monks were held for two months and were found dead in late May 1996. The identity of their killers remains uncertain to this day.
“The Last Monk of Tibhirine” is an account of life in the monastery today and of the lone surviving monk, Brother Jean-Pierre Schumacher, who escaped execution by beheading. If you read this book you will gain a better understanding of the events that preceded the martyrdom of the seven Trappists than one gets from the film — excellent though it is.
The book also includes first-person narratives from the weeks prior to the abduction of the monks, in letters written by one of the monks to a friend.
One of the authors, German journalist and filmmaker Freddy Derwahl, also quotes extensively from interviews he conducted with Brother Jean-Pierre, who recounts his memories
From the film one gets the impression that two monks survived by hiding under their beds, but in fact they survived because a local Muslim friend of the monks lied to the assailants, telling them there were seven monks when, in fact, there were nine. Thus, Jean-Pierre and another monk, Amadee, escaped, but the latter subsequently died of natural causes.
“The Last Monk of Tibhirine” is a gripping, inspiring page-turner and must reading for anyone who would be well informed about the the true story of the Trappist monks who gave their lives for the Muslim people they loved and cared for.
Finley is the author of more than 30 books on Catholic themes, including a bestseller, “The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those In Between” (The Word Among Us Press).
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103