Little Sister Magdeleine and the Vatican

1944 Rome1944 Rome

Little sister Magdeleine's audacity in forging a new road in religious life always went hand in hand with her constant concern for complete transparancy and dialogue with the authority of the Church.

In 1944, overcoming every obstacle in this time of war, she arrived in Rome to present her 'dearest wishes' to Pope Pius XII.

She also presented her 'Pleas for poverty' and had the support of Cardinal Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

1975 Rome St Peter's Square with little sister Jeanne1975 Rome St Peter's Square with little sister Jeanne

Little sister Magdeleine requested that the Congregation be recognized as of Pontifical right. In view of this request, in December 1959, an 'apostolic visitor' was sent to examine the progress of the Community. When certain essential points of the Constitutions were questioned which she was required to rewrite, Little sister Magdeleine's faith was tried.

'I do it with all my heart so as to reconcile obedience towards the Visitor with the mission which the Lord has confided to me. More and more I think there are certain points on which I will never give way: total poverty, littleness, spiritual childhood, contemplative life.' (Letter, 7 April 1960)
However on the 18th June 1961, on the first day of the week for Christian unity, the visit ended with no essential changes and Magdeleiene confirmed as 'foundress' and 'mother.'

Her personal friendship with both Paul VI and John Paul II would be a great support. On the 28th September 1973 Paul VI surprised everyone with an unexpected visit.

Pope John Paul had come on many occasions to Tre fontane when a Bishop. On the 22 December 1985 he came as Pope and spoke to all the Little sisters gathered together.


1985 Tre Fontane, John Paul meeting with the Little sisters1985 Tre Fontane, John Paul meeting with the Little sisters

See also Vatican statements on the Little sisters of Jesus.