It’s very simple!

mallards_whitehall_brok“C’ EST TOUT SIMPLE” (Pierre Goursat)

As I sat by the brook, watching the crystal water rapidly flow over stones and pebbles, two happy ducks drew near and looked at me. Father Mallard had his shiny green neck proud in the light while Mother duck chuckled contentedly by his side.

I relished in the blue-violet mirror on the wings of the drake and in the subdued tones of brown and russet leaves with which our Creator had clothed the female. Those birds were simply perfect. They seemed to embody the words in Genesis: “and God saw that it was good”. Besides, they brought to my mind words that Pierre Goursat (the founder of the Emmanuel Community) liked to say:” You know, it’s very simple”.

There they were, a quiet reminder of the long poem of my years and marveled at God’s Providence.  As a boy, in the country, I used to keep ducks. Years later, on the Péniche (Pierre’s former home, now offices of the community in Paris) , I watched ducks and ducklings on the river Seine, while Pierre was adoring the Lord in the oratory. All the while one could hear the gentle clap clop of the water on the hull of the boat. And now, in Larchmont, God was sending those ducks by the brookside.

Last June, when I had inquired about my future mission in New York, Jean-Luc had merely answered: “You know, it is simple: to live the fraternity”. Very simple, indeed. And yet so obvious. Pierre never tired to remind us of Jesus’ Words: “Love one another….By this will everyone know that you are my disciples…(Jn 13:35).

Would big planning, long meetings, costly missions ever bring one soul to Christ, if the “love one another” was missing? Evangelization starts at home. Just as the heart pulses blood into our veins and organs, peace of mind and brotherly love radiate and attract. Pierre often reminded us of the simplicity of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Bethany.

As the ducks were gliding happily away on the running waters, I thanked Jesus for the beautiful humility of His presence. He was enjoying the sight of the ducks through my eyes, and I could hear Him chuckle in the voice of Pierre: “You see: c’est tout simple!”



Pierre Goursat, the founder of the Emmanuel Community,  was born on 15 August 1914 in Paris, he lived in the same city all his life. Pierre had a radical and simple humility. This humility allowed him to welcome different types of people and this richness later is what helped to begin the Emmanuel Community. To read more about Servant of God, Peirre Goursat, please click here.


  1. Marilys
    May 29, 2014    

    Fr. Dominic, we have to take you to the Bronx Zoo! It is a good reminder of the Lord’s creativity and simplicity!

  2. lafforest
    May 30, 2014    

    that’s a wonderful idea Marilys! When ?…

  3. lafforest
    June 24, 2014    

    when will that be ???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.