Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus and Nomadism

 1964 On a camping site in Russia 1964 On a camping site in Russia

To Eastern Europe

In the heart and spirit of Little Sister Magdeleine dwelt a love full of tenderness for every person whoever they are. Wherever she was an atmosphere of unity and peace reigned. She lived only for that silent but strong mission. This love found its source in the heart of the Tiny Child of Bethlehem.

From 1956, she felt impelled by God to bring her message to countries under Marxist regime. She was no longer Superior General and so she could consecrate herself totally to the Eastern European countries. There was no question in those days of establishing permanent communities. Little Sister Magdeleine therefore decided to travel from one country to the next, making friends and establishing links. Except for 1960, the year of the Apostolic Visit, she went to Eastern Europe every summer from 1956 to 1989, travelling in a Citroen mini-van transformed into a camper.

1956 Off to Eastern Europe1956 Off to Eastern Europe

She travelled through former Yugoslavia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and finally Romania and Bulgaria. She came and went year after year and created a network of friendship and made contact with bishops and priests, secretly preparing the way for future vocations. Her mini-van called the "Shooting Star" ended up by being well known to customs officers and border police. Every year for 33 years she always managed to get the necessary visas. She crossed Czechoslovakia 29 times, the USSR 18 times, Poland 29 times, Bulgaria 11 times. Neither age nor extreme fatigue ever stopped her. She died at the age of 91, three months after returning from her last tour.

 Chapel in the 'Shooting Star' Chapel in the 'Shooting Star'

During her 33 tours she spent the equivalent of 8 years of her life in the poverty of the restricted space of her rolling cell! Detached from every comfort, even the most legitimate, she transformed this nomadic life into a life consecrated to her one and only Love, Jesus incarnate in the tenderness of a tiny child and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, always present in her van. Bishop de Provencheres had obtained this permission from Pius XII himself. Concealed behind a little icon, itself hidden in the front cabin of the "Shooting Star", this Divine Presence was rarely discovered during customs inspections.