Joseph Wresinski (1917-1988)

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* Father Joseph Wresinski
* Human Rights and Extreme Poverty
* S.M. Miller on Father Joseph
* About F. Joseph Wresinski
* From F.Joseph Wresinski
Photographic library
* Places
* Portraits
Over Human Rights
* The Rights of the Fourth World
* The Urban Poorest
* People of the Fourth World
* The Driving Force for Human Rights
* A Challenge to Human Rights
* A Challenge to Human Rights in Our Time
* God’s Rights, Human Rights
* Indivisibility of Human Rights
About Science and Knowledge
* A Knowledge That Leads to Action
* A Lasting Alliance
* Defeating Extreme Poverty
* Science, the Poor Relation of Charity
* The Place of the Poor in Our Thinking
* Why Invest in Research?
* "His Life, Our Life"
* Chronic Poverty & Lack of Basic Security
* Curbing the Reproduction of Extreme Poverty
About Violence
* In the vicious circle of violence
* The Fourth World and Non-Violence
* The Violence Done To The Poor
Speeches and Messages
* A triple refusal
* Address to Young People
* An Appeal For Solidarity
* I bear witness to you
* On Solidarity with Immigrants
* To the volunteers.
Volunteer’s Meetings
* Why Choose Poverty?
* Do the poor have their own culture?
* Poverty and means of communication.
* A community of shared destiny.
* The Europe that Will Arise from Overcoming Poverty
Spiritual Writings
* An Advent Meditation
* The Family - A Place To Live The Gospel
* Universal Prayer
About the Children.
* Children of the Fourth World
Tomorrow Will Be different ( extracts)
* A Sister’s Love
* A Young Mother
* I’ve Been Waiting Too Long
* It’s Not Easy to Forgive
* Lord, I’m Afraid of You
* The Can of Peas
* The Children of The Market Place
* The Whole Family Was Afraid
* They Treat Parents Like Children
* Tomorrow Will Be Different
* Violet
* When Children Smile
* Who Will Roll Away The Stone
* You Know, Mom, I Really Love You!
Conferences and seminars
* Study session 13 and 14 Septembre 2013
Wresinski Colloquium at Sciences Po, Paris (F) 2008
An International Endeavor
* An International Endeavor
* People’s Initiatives in Bangladesh
Opening and plenaries
* Chronic poverty and exclusion
* Human rights and chronic poverty
Preparing documents and agenda
* Agenda and presentation
* Reading list
* Abstracts
* Workshops
* A 50-year fight against poverty
* Encounter with Joseph Wresinki
* Definition of Culture
* Poverty and misery
* Creaming the poor

On the Web

Father Joseph Wresinski

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Joseph Wresinski was born to immigrant parents in a poor neighbourhood of Angers, France. He grew up in a family which suffered from great poverty and social exclusion. In 1946, he was ordained as a priest and served in industrial and rural parishes where, right from the beginning, he related to the most deprived families.

In 1956, Father Joseph WRESINSKI was assigned by his bishop to be a chaplain to 250 familes placed in a emergency housing camp in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris. The families lived in quonset huts erected in a muddy field. He said about his years in Noisy-le-Grand: "The families in that camp have inspired everything I have undertaken for their liberation. They took hold of me, they lived within me, they carried me forward, they pushed me to found the Movement with them."

In 1957, Father Joseph WRESINSKI and the families of the camp founded the first association which was later to become ATD Fourth World. They replaced soup kitchens and the distribution of old clothes with a library, a kindergarden and a chapel. Joined by the first few volunteers, he soon created a research institute on extreme poverty which brought together researchers from different countries and disciplines.

Since it started, the development of ATD Fourth World has been inspired by Father Joseph’s own experience as a child in a poverty-stricken family and by his daily contacts with very poor families and members of the Movement’s Volunteer Corps.

Father Joseph’s firm purpose was to unite all sections of society around the very poorest. With this aim he met leaders of state, churches and international bodies from all over the world. He believed that every man or woman he met represented a chance for the poorest people and he was determined that ATD Fourth World would remain open to people of all cultures, faiths and races.

His appointment to France’s Economic and Social Council in 1979 was a significant step in his quest for official representation for very poor people. With the publication of the Wresinski Report in 1987, he succeeded in gaining recognition of the poor as partners in society.

On 17th October 1987, in the presence of 100,000 people from every social background and continent, Father Joseph WRESINSKI unveiled a commemorative stone in the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris. On this marble his call is engraved: "Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty."

Since then the commemorative stone has become a rallying point for people from all walks of life. They gather to bear witness to the very poorest people in the world and to make a personnal commitment to join forces with them in abolishing poverty and social exclusion.

October 17th was declared "International Day for the Eradication of Poverty" by the United Nations in 1992. In several countries, on the 17th of each month, people gather for a short commemoration in honour of people who suffer from extreme poverty, and to renew their commitment to them.

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