Patrice de Mestral

He went to the United States to study economics at Northwestern University, but switched to theology after experiencing the stark reality of life as a part-time warehouse worker in Detroit. In 1973, Patrice de Mestral returned to his native Zurich, Switzerland to work as a Protestant pastor.

But very soon, he gained a reputation for being unconventional, and also ecumenical. Borrowing from an experiment started in the U.S., the Reverend Dr. de Mestral opened Switzerland’s first “coffeehouse church”. For two decades he was also a prison chaplain, and later became active in a project to help Albanians find a new start back home, after repatriation from Switzerland.

Now retired, Patrice de Mestral tells Bob Zanotti about his work, and philosophizes about the relevance of the Church in the modern world.