Former French jocist leader, Fr Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, was born 100 years ago today.
ATD is launching the 2017 STOP Poverty campaign on this day to mobilize people around the world to join its efforts to overcome poverty.
The campaign begins with events in Angers, France, where Wresinski was born; at the United Nations headquarters in New York City; and in many other places around the world.
Wresinski had a deep empathy for families in poverty because he was born into an immigrant family in a poor neighbourhood. In the excerpt below he talks about the difficulties he experienced as a young boy, and how living and working as a priest in a homeless camp helped him finally understand his troubled parents.
The violence and scorn Wresinski experienced as a child gave him a keen insight into what people in impoverished communities need and want. A man of extraordinary determination and tenacity,
Wresinski fought his whole life to defend people in poverty from the charity that humiliated them.
Wresinski’s genius was seeing that we must listen to people in poverty, whom he called “my people”, and follow their lead. At the end of this article is information on how to join ATD’s work and become involved in the 2017 STOP Poverty Campaign.