I owe everything to the JOC: Garrone

On 2 December 1962, Archbishop Gabriel Garrone of Toulouse, member of the Lay Apostolate Commission, responded to Cardijn praising his book manuscript.

“‘I owe everything to the JOC,” Garrone wrote, “through which the Church has re-presented its eternal message to us in the language of reality.”

He even suggested a subtitle for Cardijn’s book: “The secret of your life.”


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Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 8, Suenens vs Cardijn, Lay people in the frontlines (Australian Cardijn Institute)

A reminder from the publisher

On 13 November 1962, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Delarge informing him that his name was already on the list of invitees for the celebration of Cardijn’s 80th birthday.

She also responded to his gentle reminder that he needed an answer as to whether Cardijn wished to go publish his book with Editions Universitaires, noting that Cardijn was in Switzerland and Rome until the end of the month.

13 November, 1962

Dear Mr Delarge,

You will be pleased to know that your name was already on the invitation list when your letter of the 6th reached me. No doubt you are now in possession of the little card.

I understand your “reminder” gesture. This time, you’ve given us a bit of time to think and get organized! I can’t give you any further details yet, as the Monsignor is in Switzerland and Rome until the last days of this month. But it’s not impossible that I’ll be in touch with you at that time to discuss new pro-positions. Which is not to say that everything will be very simple, but in any case, business has been taking shape recently.

I look forward to seeing you on December 2 and, I’m sure, Monsignor Cardijn too.

All the best,

Marguerite Fiévez, secretary

Personal address:

7, rue Royale Ste Marie, Brussels 3


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Comblin’s book on the setback to or failure of Catholic Action

On 2 November 1962, Delarge wrote to Fiévez asking if he could attend the celebration of Cardijn’s 80th birthday on 2 December.

He also addresses the problem raised by the fact that Editions Universitaires had published Joseph Combin’s book, Echec de l’Action Catholique?, and asks for details of Cardijn’s views of the book.


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1962 11 02 – Delarge – Fiévez

Publish the book before the 2nd Session: Palémon Glorieux

On 28 October 1962, theologian Palémon Glorieux, who was now assisting Liénart as his conciliar adviser, responded to Cardijn’s invitation to read the manuscript of his book, recommending its publication “without the slightest hesitation,” and calling for it to appear “before the Second Session of the Council.”


Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 8, Suenens vs Cardijn, Lay people in the frontlines (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Cardijn asks Palémon Glorieux to comment on his manuscript

On 17 October 1962, Cardijn wrote to French theologian, Palémon Glorieux, who was accompanying Cardinal Liénart at the Council as his personal advisor, asking him to comment on the manuscript of his book.

Brussels, 17 October, 1962

Reverend Monsignor P. Glorieux,
Procurator of S. Sulpizio,
113, via Quattro Fontane,
Roma, Italy

Dear Monsignor,

Would you mind if I bother you? I tried to reach you at Lille; and Monsieur Dewitte gave me your address in Rome, encouraging me to contact you.

For three or four years, I have been asked to compile several articles that I have published on the apostolate of the laity and Catholic Action since 1935. Alas! my travels around the world never allowed me to complete the tasking of compilation and “aggiornamento”. Now we are about to celebrate my 80th birthday; the Council is about to speak, and the publishers insist that I no longer postpone the matter.

I had a search made for the articles which seemed to me the most characteristic. Mademoiselle Fiévez has linked them by a thin historical thread and the text, which is being mimeographed at the moment, and will be finished next Monday.

This is only a draft publication. Would you have the time and the courage to read it and could you give me your opinion confidentially? Can we publish it? Are there not serious omissions, too flagrant theological errors? Will it not seem like “figs after Easter”?

Before risking its publication, I would like to obtain the opinion of a very sincere and very sure friend. This opinion will decide on its immediate publication or its postponement till later in a more careful and better researched publication. Dear Monsignor, if you could promise to give me your personal opinion after reading the mimeographed text, by the first half of November, I will send you this text on Monday.

Please excuse my impertinence, and accept, dear Monsignor, with my prayers for the work with which you are so closely associated at this moment in Rome, my most affectionate thanks and the assurance of all my attachment.

Jos. Cardijn,
Chaplain general of the YCW

90, rue des Palais,
Brussels 3


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Publisher wants to meet Cardijn

On 1 March 1962, Jean-Pierre Delarge, manager of Editions Universitaires, wrote to Marguerite Fiévez, regretting that he had been unable to contact her and meet Cardijn during his recent visit to Brussels.

He signalled that he would be in Brussels on 27 March, asking if it would be possible to meet Cardijn in order to discuss his proposed book.


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Cardijn seeks Larrain’s views

On 15 January 1963, Cardijn wrote to Chilean Bishop Manuel Larrain, vice-president of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM), as well as a member of the Conciliar Commission on Lay Apostolate, seeking his views on his book manuscript.


15 January 1963


Several bishops who have visited me in recent weeks have told me a great deal about the importance of the forthcoming work of the Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity, which is to prepare the second session of the Council, and of which you are an authorised member.

That’s why, at their suggestion, I’m taking the liberty of sending you, under separate cover, the manuscript of a work I intend to publish shortly, which sets out my ideas on the lay apostolate, based on the experience I’ve gained in the course of my fifty years as a priest. Many of the points dealt with in this forthcoming work are obviously in line with the issues being addressed by the Conciliar Commission.

The book will go to press around Easter and will be given to a number of Council Fathers, but all those I have seen have assured me that it is highly desirable to communicate its contents to you without further delay.

You know how much importance I attach to the place of the apostolate in the Church, and I am more and more convinced that at this decisive hour, the future of the Church depends on this same apostolate of the laity, for a large part at least.

Please accept, Your Excellency, with my thanks in advance for the welcome you will give to my letter, the expression of my deepest respect.

Joe. Cardijn,

Chaplain general of the YCW

To His Excellency Bishop Manuel LARRAIN,

Most Reverend Bishop of and to

TALCA (Chile)


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Fiévez to meet publisher

On 5 January 1962, Cardijn responded to Jean Lannoye, explaining that he had “so much work” and suggesting that he could meet with Marguerite Fiévez to discuss the book project.


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Cardijn seeks advice on publisher

On 3 January 1962, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Jean-Pierre Delarge informing him that before making a decision about the publisher of his book Cardijn wished to speak to several of his advisors.

She offers to do her best to advance the project.


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A proposed publisher

On 31 December 1961, French industrialist, Jean Lannoye, known as the “patron social” – the “social boss” – wrote to Cardijn informing him that his son-in-law, Jean-Pierre Delarge, of Editions Universitaires, would be very happy to publish Cardijn’s proposed book, which he predicted would be very influential.


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Jean Lannoye, un ‘patron social’ (Retro Rixensart)

Jean Lannoye (Retro Rixensart)

Cardijn off to Africa for five months

On 10 June 1960, Marguerite Fiévez responds to Jean-Pierre Delarge telling him that Cardijn has just left for a five-month tour of Africa.

She also indicates that Cardijn had received a letter from “social employer”, Jean Lannoye, who had proposed a book on the JOC and on Cardijn.


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A book by Cardijn?

Cardijn had many things to do before leaving for Africa, one of which was to deal with a project to write a book to be published by the French-Belgian company, Editions Universitaires, which was directed by a French Catholic layman, Jean-Pierre Dubois-Dumée.

After two years of correspondence with the JOC founder, the publishers were frustrated by the lack of progress.

Jean Lannoye, a well-known Belgian Catholic figure, who happened to be the father-in-law of Jean Delarge, the editor at Editions Universitaires, now took the opportunity to press Cardijn further.

But since Cardijn had no time to reply, he left it to Marguerite Fiévez to do so.

“You are undoubtedly aware,” she wrote, “that a project was begun to respond to the desire of J.-P. Dubois-Dumée as well as many leaders and chaplains of the JOC, who wished to see established for those who come after us, the fundamental thinking of the JOC. I am in the process of completing the first chapters done by Mgr Cardijn.

“But he himself has always refused to look at anything that would speak of his own life published, particularly here in Belgium and France.

“Once the drafting is finished, we will see what the result is and that will perhaps be the time to rethink the problem,” Fiévez wrote.


Jean Lannoye (Connaître la Wallonie)

Jean-Pierre Dubois-Dumée (La Croix)

Marguerite Fiévez à Jean Lannoye (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

No autobiography for Cardijn

On 9 June 1960, Marguerite Fiévez replied to Jean Lannoye informing him that Cardijn had just left for Uganda.

She also explained that Cardijn did not wish to write an autobiographical book and informed him that Cardijn was already working on a project with Jean-Pierre Dubois-Dumée.


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Fiévez apologises for book manuscript delay

On 29 August 1959, Marguerite Fiévez responds to Delarge apologising for the delay because she had been in Switzerland convalescing on doctor’s instructions.

She says that she had promised not the draft of a whole book but only two chapters, which were nearly ready.

And she further explains and apologises for the difficulties of following Cardijn, who was always so “mobile.”


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A reminder

On 5 August 1959, Delarge writes again to Marguerite Fiévez seeking the first draft of Cardijn’s text that she had promised him for 20 July.


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Proposal to publish two books

On 11 June 1959, Jean-Pierre Delarge writes to Marguerite Fiévez with details of a proposal for two books by Cardijn, one on the JOC, and one on Catholic Action.


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1959 06 11 – Delarge – Fiévez

Let’s be realistic

On 11 November 1958, Marguerite Fiévez responds to JP Dubois-Dumée explaining that she is in the process of reviewing the first set of texts written by Cardijn.

“Let’s be realistic,” she says, adding that Cardijn is very busy and she herself very inexperienced in the matter of editing.


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When will the book be ready?

On 5 November 1958, Jean-Pierre Dubois-Dumée, former editor of Témoignage Chrétien, writes to Marguerite Fiévez saying that he had just met the editor of the “Chrétienté Nouvelle” series published by Editions Universitaires and asking when he could expect the draft of the book Cardijn proposed to write.


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Articles for a book

Responding to a publisher’s request to write a book, Cardijn asked Marguerite Fiévez to select and compile a list of key articles that he had written over the years that could form the content.

She did so around April 1958 as follows:

The following texts have been reread and re-studied, to then be integrated into the volume, with some adaptations:

Articles in Notes de Pastoral Jociste 1935: THE LAITY and THE WORKER LAITY

PRIEST AND LAITY IN THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH: Lesson to the priests of the diocese of Breda 1951. Original in Dutch

THE LAY APOSTOLATE – Theological Research Note 1951

THE EARTHLY MISSION OF MAN AND HUMANITY : Theological research note 1951

THE WORLD TODAY AND THE LAY APOSTOLATE : Speech at the world congress of the lay apostolate, Rome 1951


    THE FUTURE OF THE LAY APOSTOLATE: Note for the Secretary of State and the COPECIAL 1958

    PRIESTHOOD AND LAY APOSTOLATE: Article Notes de Pastorale Jociste, December 1934

    Cardijn responded approvingly:

    Extract from a letter from Cardijn to Marguerite Fiévez, around March or April 1958.

    The layout of the book is good. Perhaps add: “La JOC et la Paroisse” and the translation of a 1913 brochure. not the JOC. Perhaps communicate them also to the Dominican Father of the Holy Office in Rome. We will have time to talk about it.



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