The monk visited Hungary several times, many of whose works can be read in our native language, and who, although he was born in Alexandria, also had Hungarian citizenship.
Henri Boulad, a Jesuit monk and spiritual writer, died on June 14 in Cairo.
"Father Boulad is already smiling at us from heaven. This morning he left Cairo with a clear mind and a drop of humor, but at the same time with a very happy peace, he returned to his heavenly Father and Master on the wings of the Mysterious Spirit... God rest our compatriot!" - said SJ Sajgó Szabolcs, director of the House of Dialogue, who hosted the Alexandrian Jesuit monk in Budapest as a speaker on several occasions.
Sajgó Szabolcs also quoted from this morning's letter to his good friend and spiritual child of his deceased religious:
"Father Boulad, a Jesuit priest from Alexandria, left us this morning at the age of 92. We all know, Alexandrian Christians, Jews and Muslims, what we owe to this big-hearted, tolerant and cultured man. I had the pleasure and honor of following him for many years and helping him with his project for a school for young orphans west of Alexandria (…) This is a great loss for all the Christian communities in Egypt. Our fellow Christians, Muslims and Jews were equally close to him and his teachings.”
Henri Boulad SJ was born in Alexandria in 1931, in a French-speaking Catholic family, to a Syrian father and an Italian mother. He entered the Jesuit order in 1950 and was ordained a priest in Beirut in 1963. He studied philosophy in France, theology in Lebanon, and psychology and pedagogy in the United States. He earned three doctorates.
Returning to Egypt, he worked in the field of youth education and social work, and became a leader of spiritual exercises. He embraced the lepers, and involved young people in his campaign. In agreement with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she did a lot for the poor in Egypt and then in Sudan.
"For his life devoted entirely to self-sacrifice" he received the French Order of Merit. From 1985, he became the head of Caritas in Cairo and vice president of the organization's Rome center. He often gave lecture tours in Europe. In 2007, in a private letter, he advocated the reform of the Church XVI. with Pope Benedict, but after the letter was leaked, he apologized to the head of the church. Henri Boulad is a well-known spiritual writer, many of his books have been translated into Hungarian.
In recent years, Henri Boulad has repeatedly warned that a much deeper internal crisis than the political, economic and migration crisis is grinding Europe, from which the way out can be Christianity lived on the basis of the Gospel. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán handed him his Hungarian citizenship card in 2017.