Emmaus North East charity is set to embark on an exciting journey with the opening of a new charity shop in Jarrow, named “Lucie’s Legacy.” This name is a tribute to the life and work of Lucie Coutaz, a compassionate and dedicated individual who made significant contributions to the Emmaus movement. As we anticipate the opening on Saturday, September 16th, we think it’s important to reflect on Lucie’s impact and the enduring legacy she leaves behind.
Lucie Coutaz was a shining example of what it means to be an advocate for social change and a force for good. Her commitment to the Emmaus mission was unwavering, and her dedication to helping those less fortunate was truly inspiring. Lucie’s life began in Grenoble in 1899, Lucie battled five years of paralysis before recovering in Lourdes in 1921. During the Second World War she was a union leader for the French Confederation of Christian Workers and the office where she worked was used as a cover by the French Resistance. In 1943, Lucie agreed to shelter Henry Grouès (also known as Abbé Pierre) from the Gestapo, and this began a relationship that would last for almost forty years. Lucie was awarded the Croix de Guerre with bronze star in 1945.
After the war, the abbé took refuge in North Africa, but returned to Grenoble to find Lucie. He was now almoner of the “Maison du Marin” in Paris and asked her to accompany him there to work as his secretary.
Lucie became known as “Mother Coutaz” by the people in need who visited Abbé Pierre offices. During France’s exceptionally cold winter of 1954, the abbé appealed publicly for assistance, while Lucie looked after the day-to-day management. As a result, the first Emmaus communities were created.
Lucie dedicated her life to Emmaus, using her organisational prowess, discretion and leadership to grow the movement internationally. We are now part of an organisation that operates in 41 countries on four continents.
The opening of “Lucie’s Legacy” charity shop signifies a continuation of Lucie Coutaz’s impactful work. The shop’s name serves as a testament to her enduring spirit and commitment to the Emmaus mission. The shop will not only honour Lucie’s memory but will also serve as a hub for the community to contribute to the prevention of social exclusion and the ongoing efforts to support those who have experienced homelessness.
The shop itself promises to be a haven of treasures, where shoppers can explore an array of pre-loved items, from clothing and accessories to household goods and unique finds. All proceeds from the shop will directly benefit the programs and initiatives of Emmaus North East, ensuring that Lucie’s legacy lives on through the positive change the organisation continues to bring about.