2003 Dignitas Humana Award

Taizé Community Receives 2003 Dignitas Humana Award


Brother Roger’s call -- to create a community where simplicity and kindness would be lived out as Gospel realities –- took him to Taizé, France where in 1940, at the age of 25, he began to offer assistance to people suffering from the war and Nazi persecution. Daily solitary prayer was his foundation. Inspired by his example, a few brothers joined him.

In 1945 the brothers began to care for boys orphaned by the war; on Sundays they welcomed German prisoners-of-war interned in a nearby camp. Other young men arrived to help, and on Easter 1949, the first brothers committed themselves to celibacy, material and spiritual sharing, and simplicity of life.

Today the Taizé Community is made up of over 100 men from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds and representing more than 25 nations. By its very composition, the community is a concrete sign of reconciliation.

From early on, small groups of brothers have gone to live with those suffering from poverty or divisions around the world. They share their living conditions, to be a presence of love among the very poor, street children, prisoners, the dying, and those hurt by broken relationships and abandonment. Today, brothers live with the poor in Asia, Africa and South America.

From spring through fall, thousands of young adults from all over the world converge on the hill of Taizé. They are searching for meaning, for a voice in the church and the world. Together they embark on a common adventure –- the adventure of a deepening inner life and a readiness to work to make the world a better place.

Three times each day at Taizé, all gather to pray together in song and in silence. The Taizé Community offers a way to realize the intimate relationship between an experience of communion with God in prayer and personal reflection on the one hand, and an experience of communion among peoples on the other.