Popularly known as the founder of the Emmaüs movement, Abbé Pierre, a French Catholic priest, gave his life serving the poor, homeless people and refugees. A man of virtues, Pierre renounced everything at the mere age of seventeen and set on the road to service mankind. He was also member of the Resistance during World War II, and deputy of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). Though founded in 1949, it was not until 1954 that the Emmaüs movement became popular. A radio announcement by Pierre calling upon the generosity of the French towards the homeless who were dying of cold made him popular overnight.
It became an international solidarity movement unlike any other. It is currently made up of the thousands of men and women whose work is motivated by the simple sentences: “serve first those who suffer most” and “fight against the causes of poverty.” The movement is made up of the 337 member associations in 37 countries. Their work includes an impressive variety of activities: rubbish collection and recycling, farming and livestock rearing, literacy projects, defense of human rights, training, housing, environmental protection, and healthcare projects.