Hidden in God

Discovering the Desert Vision of Charles de Foucauld

Table of Contents

Read a Sample

Format: Paperback

Publication date: March 25, 2016

Also available from


Spirituality & Practice 2016 Award Winner.”

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858–1916) was a complex man. Born into French aristocracy, he floundered as a military officer, but rediscovered his Catholic heritage and eventually lived voluntarily as an impoverished priest/hermit in the Sahara Desert in Algeria. Foucauld wanted to emulate the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth and in doing so, left a spiritual legacy that attracted such figures as Dorothy Day and author, poet, and spiritual director Bonnie Thurston.

Published in celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of Charles de Foucauld’s death on December 1, 1916, Hidden in God highlights the profound conversion that led Foucauld to embrace the life of a hermit in the Sahara, where he was eventually murdered by a band of marauders.

Foucauld’s legacy is an enduring spiritual vision: believe in God, you should live for God and make him your reason for living. Drawing from his letters and journals, Bonnie Thurston explores how the hidden life of Nazareth brings the grace of great closeness to Jesus; the gift of the desert is the grace of complete dependence on God; and the grace of public life is the practice of charity and self-giving. Thurston adeptly demonstrates how these three locations are metaphors for states of spiritual life and ministry and how each one brings both a challenge and a danger. Words of wisdom from Foucauld, as well as questions to ponder and biblical texts to explore conclude each chapter.

Thurston shares how she became enamored with Foucauld for the passionate way he lived his ideals without regard for recognition or success. “I’ve fallen in love with a dead Frenchman who was a hermit,” she admitted to a friend.

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, also was attracted to Foucauld’s desert spirituality and wrote to Thomas Merton and others about Foucauld’s spiritual influence.

Product Details

Pages: 160

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594716591

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “Spiritual reading at its best.”


    “Bonnie Thurston has a rare gift of seeing the life of a saint through the lens of biblical wisdom and authentic spiritual insight. This lovely volume is not merely to be read, but to be made one’s own. This is spiritual reading at its best.”

    Lawrence S. Cunningham
    John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology (Emeritus)
    The University of Notre Dame

  • “A beautiful book.”


    “Bonnie Thurston’s beautiful book introduces Foucauld as a spiritual guide and companion whose wisdom speaks clearly to the rhythms of our lives and the needs of our time.”

    Robert Ellsberg
    Editor of Charles de Foucauld: Writings

  • “Pathway to a deeper relationship with Jesus.”


    “Bonnie Thurston offers fresh and honest insights into the spirituality of Blessed Charles. I found her questions at the end of each chapter a pathway to a deeper relationship with Jesus, even for a longtime member of the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”

    Rev. Jerry Ragan
    National Responsible of the Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests

  • “Loving insight.”


    “More than one hundred years after his death, Charles de Foucauld’s journey of grace continues to fascinate and inspire. With loving insight, Bonnie Thurston draws us into a way of living his spiritual experience.”

    Marion Rissetto, O.C.S.O.
    Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
    Crozet, Virginia

Related Products

A Book of Hours
Atchison Blue
Befriending Silence
Confessions of a Convert