My Discovery of Little Sister Magdeleine

Saharan influences

It would have been impossible to write a biography of Little Sister Magdeleine without seeing the Sahara and the places that had played such a significant role in her life.

Before setting out, I at last found the time to read 'D'un bout du monde a 1'autre' and the 'Green Booklet'.
By comparing the events which Little Sister Magdeleine described during the time leading up to the 'Green Booklet' with its actual contents, it was possible to see, not only the divine inspiration of the Fraternity, but also the way in which the contents of the Booklet had been shaped by Little Sister Magdeleine's response, by her sensitivity, to the events of her life.
Thus, for instance, I traced - without trying to establish too rigid or logical steps - the evolution of her ideas from her desire to lead a contemplative life among the nomads and her experiences amongst them to the vision she offers in the Green Booklet of a new form of religious life, lived in the midst of the mankind, throughout the world, as 'leaven in the dough'.
In May 1941 in a letter to the novices in Saint-Foy she tells how the nomad men talked about her, thinking that she was unable to understand what they were saying. They said, 'The Sister will go to heaven like us even if she doesn't say the chahada, because she loves us so. She gives us corn, barley, work, she is a companion to us, she has become an Arab like us.'
In June 1942, having received a warm welcome in Brioude, Little Sister Magdeleine writes to the Little Sisters at le Tubet to remind them also of Charles de Foucauld's rule: 'With what love, respect, joy... with what tender eagerness we should receive whoever presents himself to us; every human being whoever he or she may be ... everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone... On receiving that person, we are receiving Jesus... And then, she adds, it ties in so well with Arab hospitality; they give everything that they have...'