Raoul Follereau & AIFOAbout the person who inspired the birth of AIFO in 1961

Raoul Follereau 1963

AIFO was inspired by the French journalist and philosopher Raoul Follereau. There are many Raoul Follereau organisations inspired by him in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

You can discover more about Raoul Follereau and his ideas that continue to be a source of inspiration to AIFO's groups and its work today.

Raoul Follereau's Book of Love

In 1970, Raoul Follereau prepared a tiny "pocket-book" that included some key extracts from his speeches. This book was called "Le livre d'amour" (The book of love), like the first book of poetry collection by Raoul Follereau that was published in 1920. This book was later translated into English as "The book of love". After his death, this tiny pocket book was revised and updated, and some of Follereau's later writings were added. For AIFO's fiftieth anniversary, in 2011, another revised edition of this book was prepared in Italian. Finally another updated version of this book has also been prepared in English.

You can download this edition of "The book of Love" (250 KB, PDF). Some parts of this book may seem dated because they refer to the situation in Europe around the second world war, yet in terms of essential message of Raoul Follereau, they continue to inspire people working along with marginalized people all over the world against all the leprosies".

Follereau started his writings focusing on France and Christianity. With passage of time, as he traveled in different countries, his horisons expanded and during his last years, he guided his messages to people of all religions in different parts of the world. "The book of love" illustrates this journey of Follereau. Read this book to inspire yourself and to understand the ideals that motivated Raoul Follereau and that continue to motivate AIFO/Italy even today.

Some poems & prayers of Raoul Follereau

Most of the books and speeches of Raoul Follereau are available in French and Italian. A few works are also available in Portuguese but very little is available in English except for one book - The Book of Love. 

The first Book of Love was written by Raoul Follereau in 1920, when he was 17 years old. When the International Association of the Raoul Follereau Foundations decided to bring out a summary of his thoughts in the seventies, they decided to give it the same name, The Book of Love. 

We provide here some of his poems and prayers translated into English by Sunil Deepak.

Important note before reading the poems & prayers of Raoul Follereau: While translating these poems into English, we faced a dilemma - how to deal with the language used by Raoul Follereau? In nineteen fifties and sixties, when Raoul Follereau wrote them, it was common to use words like "leper" while referring to persons affected with leprosy. Over the past decades, organisations of leprosy affected persons such as IDEA have advocated for not using such words since they are derogatory and offend the dignity of persons. If Raoul Follereau was alive today, he would have surely listened to ideas and desires of leprosy affected persons and not used words which offend other human beings. Should we then change the words used by him and substitute them with others? After much debate, in the end, we have decided to leave his words as he had written them and add this explanation. 

Raoul Follereau in Bologna, 1976

Raoul Follereau with AIFO volunteers in Bologna (Italy), 1976


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