Trappist Father Jean-Pierre Schumacher, the last survivor of the 1996 attack on the Tibhirine monastery in Algeria, died at the age of 97.
In a message released Nov. 21, the Trappist community of Midelt, Morocco, said Father Schumacher died shortly after receiving the anointing of the sick at the start of a Mass for the feast of Christ of the King.
“Ten minutes later, he gave his soul to the Lord. He left in peace, as he has been all his life,” the statement said.
Born in 1924, Father Schumacher first joined the Marist Fathers. After his ordination in 1953, he joined a Trappist monastery in his native France. In 1964, he was sent to the Monastery of Notre Dame de l’Atlas in Tibhirine, Algeria.
Father Schumacher, along with another Trappist monk—Father Amédée Noto—were the only survivors of a massacre when seven Trappist monks at the Algerian monastery were murdered by members of the Armed Islamic Group.
The seven Trappist monks were beatified in 2018 along with 12 other martyrs who were killed between 1993 and 1996, while Algeria was locked in a 10-year armed conflict between government forces and extremist Islamic rebel groups.
In an interview with Avvenire, the Italian bishops’ daily newspaper, published on the eve of the beatification, Father Schumacher said he survived the attack because he was carrying out duties in a porter’s lodge located outside the monastery.
“I heard noises. I thought they had come to take the medicine, as it had happened before. Then when silence returned, someone knocked on my door. I was a little scared, then I opened. It was (Father) Amédée, who told me, ‘They took our brothers away. We are all alone, you and I,’” he said.
Many many remember that the story of the monks was immortalized in the beautiful, haunting film, “Of Gods and Men.”
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…