ACI Newsletter – February 2020

Rutilio Grande, South Africa under apartheid, Future of work

This month we start off with news of the impending beatification of the Salvadoran Jesuit Rutilio Grande and his lay companions as well as the 75th anniversarires of several French YCW and YCS martyrs of World War II.

Plus news of two just-published books on the history of the YCW in Lille, northern France as well as in South Africa under the apartheid system.

Looking to the future, we have news of British primary schools adopting the SJA in their teaching of environmental issues and an item on the jocist-inspired Mondragon worker cooperatives.

Plus a very significant sermon from the Eucharistic Congress in Lisieux in 1937 in which Cardijn outlined his theology of work.

Stefan Gigacz


Rutilio Grande and lay companions to be beatified

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of the Servants of God Rutilio Grande García, a Jesuit priest, and his two lay companions, Manuel Solorzano and teenager Nelson Rutilio Lemus, who were killed in hatred of the faith in El Salvador on March 12, 1977, Vatican News reports.


Pope Francis approves Rutilio Grande beatification (

Children See Judge Act to repair our broken world

British Catholic primary schools are adopting the See Judge Act to teach children how to become better environmental stewards.

Plus news of two new books on the history of the YCW in northern France and in South Africa under the apartheid system.


British school children see judge act on environment (

Cardinal Tom Williams – 40 years a bishop

Retired Cardinal Thomas Williams of Wellington, Aotearoa-New Zealand, who credits his priestly vocation to YCW formation, has celebrated his diamond and ruby jubilees with the theme of thanksgiving and repentance, NZ Catholic reports.


Cardinal Williams credits YCW formation (

Books – Bonds of Justice – The Struggle for Oukasie

Here is a book that anyone interested in the work of the YCW in South Africa under the apartheid regime should read.

“Bonds of Justice: The Struggle for Oukasie” by Kally Forrest tells the story of the freedom struggle in the black township of Oukasie, north west of Pretoria, during the 1980s and 1990s.

This struggle was led by YCW leaders from the town, including Hlokoza Motau and David Modimoeng, and chaplain, French chaplain, Jean-Marie Dumortier. David was himself wounded in a state terrorist bomb attack and his wife, Joyce, killed as a result of their action.


Oukasie YCW and the struggle against apartheid (Cardijn Research)


Kally Forrest, Bonds of Justice: The Struggle for Oukasie ( (Kindle version only $A6) 

JOC Lille – 90 years

For those who read French and are interested in the history of the French YCW, this new volume, “Il y a 90 ans la Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne Ouvrière naissait à Lille” tells the story of the origins and development of the movement in the northern French industrial city of Lille.


Il y a 90 ans la Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne naissait à Lille (Institut d’Étude des faits religieux)


Mission Ouvrière Lille 

The future of work: The Mondragon example

Mondragón in the Spanish Basque Region is the largest cooperative in the world and one of the most successful companies in Spain. The workers of the Mondragón Cooperative own their company and make their own decisions. Today, Mondragón is not only a global player in a wide range of industries, but also a model for those who want to bring democracy and solidarity into our economic life.

When we think of cooperatives in general, housing cooperatives or, in rural areas, pasture cooperatives come to mind: small structures that play a subordinate role in economic life. It is a completely different story in the Spanish Basque Region, where the Mondragón cooperative is the most successful company and the largest employer in the region. But there is more: Mondragón is not only one of the largest companies in the whole of Spain, but with branches in 31 different countries and over 80,000 employees, it is the largest cooperative in the world.


Mondragón: One of the largest corporations in Spain belongs to its workers ( 

Cardijn’s theology of work: The workbench as an altar

“Without work, there is no host, no bread, no sacrifice; no altar, no basilica,” stated Cardijn in a famous sermon delivered at the Lisieux Cathedral during the Eucharistic Congress of 1937. “And even if a man’s mouth becomes powerless to sing praise to the glory of work, will not the stones of this basilica themselves sing praise to the glory of Christian work across the centuries?

“The Eucharist-sacrifice transforms each worker into a lay priest who can make his workshop, his bench, his table or his lathe into an altar,” he continued in a phrase that has become iconic.


Sermon at the Lisieux Eucharistic Congress ( 

French World War II martyrs

In recent weeks we have commemorated the deaths of YCW lay co-founders, Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet, who died in the Dachau concentration camp in January and February 1945.

However, there were in fact many more YCW and YCS leaders and chaplains, particularly from France, who died in the various Nazi labour, prison and concentration camps of World War II. (Above: Roger and André Vallée)


French jocist leaders who died in World War II camps (Cardijn Research)

ACI Brisbane hosts Vatican II participant John Maguire

ACI Brisbane will host former YCW chaplain John Maguire, who was appointed by Paul VI to be the “ecclesiastical assistant” to the lay auditors at Vatican II.

John, who was also present in Rome on the day Cardijn received his red cardinal’s hat, will share his reflections on Vatican II, the YCW, lay apostolate and on working with YCW pioneer, Pat Keegan, who was the first lay person to address the Council.

10.00am, Sunday 1 March 2020 10 Silene Street, Wavell Heights, Brisbane, QLD

Please RSVP: Michael Rice 0438 085 004 

The Leaven in the Council Book Project 

Once again a big thank you to all those who have contributed to our book fund appeal for the publication of ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz’s PhD thesis, “The Leaven in the Council: Joseph Cardijn and the Jocist Network at Vatican II.” Total donations now exceed $8000.

Once we have published the book in English, we will move on to prepare French and Spanish editions. Donations are still greatly accepted at our bank account below. 

Coming Events

Serving Our Communities with Courage and Compassion is the theme of a forthcoming Catholic Social Services conference to be held at the Catholic Leadership Centre, Victoria Parade, East Melbourne on 26-28 February 2020.

Basil’s Table – Banking on the future in a climate of change. Explore the issues with a different kind of banker – Rowan Dowland of Bank Australia, a cooperative bank.
February 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm $10 – $25 

Dates to Remember


Dr Claire Tran, IRASEC, History of the Vietnamese YCW and YCS: Dates and locations to be confirmed.


Building Bridges of Faith and Action Conference: Mount St Mary’s University, Los Angeles, 16-19 July 2020.

G'day 👋
Great to meet you.

Sign up to receive ACI's newsletter in your inbox, every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.