25 Years After the Slaughter

Tibhirine Monastery. A revenant hope

The night between 26th and 27th March 1996, seven Trappist monks belonging to the Notre Dame de l’Atlas monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria, were kidnapped by terrorists. Their heads were found two months later near the town of Medea.
Twenty-five years after the massacre, despite the investigations and the rivers of ink paid – and the movie Des hommes et des Dieux, Grand Jury Prize at Cannes – the mystery about their abduction and murder has never been revealed.
But the Tibhirine monastery continues to live after such a tragedy. Not only in the memory of the last survivor, Brother Jean Pierre Schumacher, who now lives in Morocco – the other, Brother Amédée, died in 2003 – but also in the Algerian monastery, where father Jean-Marie Lassausse, a French priest, carried on for fifteen years the link with the Muslim population of the area, before leaving for the Chemin Neuf community. Today new safety problems make this presence quite difficult.
Father Jean Pierre, despite his age, continues to maintain a bond with these places and this history still full of mysteries. A sign of fidelity which testifies the possibility of encounter and dialogue with the Muslim world, through the simple and daily tools of work and prayer.