At the suggestion of the Archbishop of Besancon, Mgr Dubourg and welcomed by Marthe Robin in 1950 in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the presence of Father Finet, as “a blessing from Jesus for the Holy Year,” the Gouille charity home was to appear in 1954 on the other side of the Doubs, at the foot of the Roche d’Or hill and bearing its name. For 30 years, Florin Callerand’s faith resounded there, proclaiming the Gospel with a prophetic, Johannine and Marian breath. Liberating words for an increasing number who hurried to the house to hear them.
“If your words are not incarnated in people, then you are a liar.” These words were spoken to Florin Callerand by Françoise Porte and the words were to become part of the story of la Roche d’Or in 1980. She then set about breathing fresh ideas into the community with a way of life embodying the words spoken there. This was an intense undertaking, over many years, that was both personal and community-oriented, developing an “evangelical community”, a real “education of happiness” of spontaneity, clarity, freedom defending the faith of the children of Mary.
When father Roger Robert arrived in 1983 as the successor-inheritor, a link of grace appeared between Florin Callerand, Françoise Porte and Roger Robert. Archbishop Mgr Daloz named them “the founding core” when he established the Community as a Public Association of the Faithful on 19th March 1993. Although la Roche d’Or has taken a diocesan canonic path, which is unique among these Charity Homes, it is no less deeply connected to its original intuition, at its core and in the hearts of every single member.
In 1998, the death of Florin Callerand revealed an intensity of presence in the hearts of his followers, which made the words he spoke palpable. Words he never stopped speaking throughout his life, on the Resurrection and the mystery of the Assumption of Mary as a permanent visitor at the heart of our consciences.
Born on 17th July 1917 in Maîche in the Haut Doubs, Florin Callerand spent his whole childhood there, experiencing events that were to shape his mystical, prophetic soul. His training at the great seminary of Besançon was interrupted by five years of captivity, these years were a profound experience of liberty for him. He was ordained in December 1946.
In 1950, when he was secretary to Mgr Dubourg, the latter sent him to meet Marthe Robin and Father Finet in Châteauneuf de Galaure. Moved by the Archbishop of Besançon’s initiative in this jubilee year, Marthe Robin exclaimed to Father Finet: “Father, this is a blessing from Jesus for the Holy Year!” That was the start of the Charity home in Gouille which came into being in 1954, La Roche d’Or.
On 1st November 1950, while Pius XII proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in Rome, Florin Callerand was overtaken by deep mystical experience, the Visitation of “Mary, so close in the Glory of the Assumption as a permanent visitor at the heart of our consciences.” This is the founding grace of the community, the grace from which Florin received the vibrant source of all his teachings.
In 1980, the arrival of Françoise Porte, and her investment in a fresh approach to community life, marked a turning point in Florin Callerand’s life and teachings and that of the community. In 1983, the arrival of father Roger Robert and his welcome as the successor-inheritor was a profound comfort. As the years passed with this intimate rejuvenation and the emergence of a new community life, his words were renewed with an intensely Johannine and Marian strength.
Driven by a fervour for announcing the Gospel, Florin Callerand did not stop building and speaking until his death. However, it was his intimate relation to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, that he lived out during his last months within the community, and he did so with great serenity. He died on 23rd March 1998.
The Lord will teach me how to be seen, as he has me see him in all things. Florin Callerand
Born in Madagascar, where she lived until the age of 16, Françoise Porte, maintained a great love of Africa from her childhood on Malagasy soil and a feeling of openness towards the diversity of people and cultures.
The trajectory of her life took her across different parts of the world which were always a great source of richness to her. An education in Social Sciences at I.E.S, then a position as an editorial secretary for the journal “l’Homme Nouveau” (The New Man), followed-on to intensive training, in particular at the final conciliary session in Rome.
From the age of 19, she frequented the Charity Home in Châteauneuf de Galaure , where she regularly met Marthe Robin . From 1974, touched by the breath of Charismatic Renewal, she became involved in the Catholic Communities for French speakers (today called Fondacio ), and became a trainer for PRH (Personality and Human Relationships) .
In 1980, when she met Father Florin Callerand, a profound renewal of community life at la Roche d’Or began. With it, a true refounding blew through the community, where its original inspiration found new pathways in a new community way of life, “living the gospel together.” She created her own “Heaven and Earth Alliance” sessions, which she led accompanied by Fathers Florin Callerand and Roger Robert until 1997.
Named moderator of the community during the canonical recognition in 1993, Françoise, alongside Florin Callerand and Roger Robert, became what is known by the Church as the “founding core” of the Community of La Roche d’Or.
After the death of Father Callerand, for whom she was the testamentary executor, she founded Éditions de la Roche d’Or (La Roche d’Or publications) and took on the task of publishing his work. From 2004 to 2015, she led retreats in La Roche d’Or and Fontanilles. She also took part in Father Roger Robert’s retreats in Fontanilles and inaugurated a new kind of retreat with him, where her intervention generated the profound task of integrating the word. In 2018, she resigned as moderator for the Community while continuing her work of publishing Florin Callerand’s works and her own work. In fact, she dedicated herself to passing on the charisma that’s so particular to la Roche d’Or, with a variety of new ways of engaging that sprung up around the community.
Every person is called to learn to live humbly what he announces, in other words with vulnerability and daring, whether that is a hidden ordinary life or a life exposed to the Gospel. Françoise Porte
Born in the territory of Belfort where he spent his entire childhood, Father Roger Robert studied at the little seminary of Luxeuil, then at the seminaries of Favernay and Besançon. Ordained in 1969, he finished his training at the French seminary of Rome…
Following a rich experience in his new parish of Besançon, he was appointed as Superior of the Luxeuil little seminary located in the ancient Abbey of Saint Colomban . Both an entrepreneur and a constructor, he contributed to its restoration and breathed a new breath of life into the seminary.
In contact with la Roche d’Or from the seminary, he became closer to the community from 1980. In 1983 he led his first retreats. In 1985, the Archbishop of Besançon recognised the call within him to join la Roche d’Or definitively: he named him as the successor to father Florin Callerand with his blessing.
Alongside Florin Callerand and Françoise Porte, moderator, he became what is known by the Church the “founding core” of the Community of La Roche d’Or. His presence contributed to providing each endeavour since the origins with deep roots, and using it to pass on the heart of Johanine and Marian heritage, which is the foundation of the Community.
With his dynamic approach, after the death of Florin Callerand, he undertook the huge renovation works at la Roche d’Or...and in 2003 the opening of Fontanilles, a new place for evangelical life in the diocese of Perpignan!
In February 2018, he resigned as the priest in charge of the community and handed over this responsibility to Olivier Sournia who was to be named by the Archbishop in June 2018.
He stopped leading retreats in August 2019 due to ill health.
Before each decisive step, I hear within me: I do not want to close the future! Roger Robert