Martyr’s first anniversary – Jacques Hamel’s sister speaks

Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest murdered just after praying for world peace while saying mass a year ago, has become a ‘brother to all,’ his sister Roselyne Hamel says.

The two men who killed him claimed allegiance to ISIS.

“We certainly come with many emotions,” Hamel said on Tuesday, the day before her brother’s anniversary mass at his parish church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where he was murdered.

“But it is necessary for the memory of my brother and to explain why he left this world in such a tragic way.

“We must not forget that this priest died and that a few minutes before he prayed for peace for the whole world, for peace among peoples.”

Hamel says it’s “still a bit complicated” for his family to think of Fr Hamel’s beatification.”

She says her brother was “simple, peaceful and shy,” never looked for compliments or rewards “… if not with a ‘thank you’ or a smile, and knowing that he had done good to one person or another was enough for him to feel good.”

Hamel says her brother’s death has left them “with the vivid pain that never leaves us,” and a huge responsibility.

“After he passed away, the next day, we saw the strong message that went to all the faithful in the world and that this message will reverberate to believers and non-believers of all nationalities and cultures.

“We can say that Jacques, after this tragedy, became a brother to all,” she added.

Hamel has made it her life’s work to bring forth the message exemplified by her brother. She often meets with Muslim communities in France in search of “an encounter, and in order to share a better understanding.”


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