Our Brothers of Atlas, Tibhirine Algeria

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On March 26, 1996, our brothers at the Trappist Abbey of Tibhirine in Algeria were kidnapped.  Two months later, on May 21st, they were killed, caught in the deadly strife between terrorist forces and the Algerian army. Dom Bernardo Olivera, former Abbot General of our Order, comments on their life and example:

After fifty years of silence, our seven brothers (of Atlas)… have become spokesmen for all the stifled voices and anonymous individuals who have given their lives for a more humane world. Our seven monks lend their voices today to me as well. They, and others like them, were living manifestations of the good news of the Gospels: a life freely given in the spirit of love is never a life lost, but one found again in Him who is Life… They showed that we must enter into the world of others, be that “other” a Christian or a Muslim. If “the other” does not exist, there can be no love of the “the other.” Let us learn to go beyond ourselves and to be enriched by those who are different… (
Quoted from Monks of Tibhirine by John Kiser, p.4-5)

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The story of Atlas and the Monks of Tibhirine is powerfully retold by the movie Of Gods and Men. It is a very accurate portrayal not only of the historical events, but also of the very deepest motivations of the Cistercian charism and witness to Christ.