explorer and hermit. After some time in the French army, he explored Morocco. In 1890 he entered a Trappist monastery, but, desiring greater solitude, he left the Order when the period of his temporary vows was completed in 1897. He was ordained priest in 1901. Soon afterwards he went to Algeria, where he lived as a hermit, first at Beni Abbès and then in the remote Hoggar Mountains and at Tamanrasset. He was assassinated.
He composed rules for communities of ‘Little Brothers’ and ‘Little Sisters’, but no companions joined him. In 1933 René Voillaume and four other priests settled on the edge of the Sahara and adopted a monastic way of life based on his first rule. Since 1945 small communities have been established in most parts of the world. While maintaining a contemplative element in their lives, these ‘Little Brothers of Jesus’ seek to conform to the economic and social milieu in which they live; they mostly earn their living in factories, farms, etc., exercising their influence by sharing the life of those around them. With similar aims, the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart were founded near Montpellier in 1933, the Little Sisters of Jesus at Touggourt in the Sahara in 1939, to be followed by the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Gospel in 1958 and 1965 respectively.