Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus and Nomadism

First tent community

 1950 El Abiodh  tent 1950 El Abiodh tent

Bishop Mercier, the new Apostolic Prefect, decided that the formation centre for the nomad Little Sisters should be El Abiodh Sidi Cheikh. It was the heart of the nomad life for the tribes of the Oulad Sidi Cheikh, in the South Oran area of the Saharan desert, next to the Fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus where I was the Prior. The presence of the Little Brothers there for more than 15 years, had prepared the way.

After a period of trial, on March 11, 1950 her project for a nomad fraternity finally took root. It consisted in two tents: that of the Little Sisters and that of the chapel. Bishop Mercier authorised the keeping of the Blessed Sacrament after having visited the 'douar' of the Little Sisters on Holy Thursday, 1950.

A neighbour of the Little Sisters explained to the women of another tribe,

"They are Christian, they pray a lot and they also do everything like us: they gather wood and water, they card and weave wool, roll the couscous... and they love us. That's all."

Little Sister Magdeleine wrote:

"If you only knew what this tent means to me! I have longed for it for more than forty years. I think I was born with it. "