Robert Naoussi offered his life for the happiness of everyone around him.
It was October 1, 1970, 12:15 a.m. In the heart of a tropical night, the bells of the Dibamba leprosarium, in the west of Cameroon, rang out. Outside, the patients were singing and dancing. At the age of 23, Robert Naoussi had just given his soul back to God. “St. Therese of Lisieux came to get him,” Fr. Raymond, who accompanied him during his illness, would later write. It’s a joyful image of all that Robert sowed in that place, where an inexplicable peace still reigns today.
Robert Naoussi was born in 1947 in Cameroon into a poor family with a polygamous father. At the age of 7, he asked the priest of his village mission for baptism. His fervor surprised those around him. It was he who ran to ring the bells for prayer. He dreamed of entering the seminary, but his older brother was against it. Sent to high school far from home, he lived with a local. In the morning, when there wasn’t enough to eat, Robert often gave his share to his host’s son and left for school on an empty stomach.