A Life that went beyond all Borders

A particularly painful reality for her was the 'Iron Curtain' in Europe. As soon as she understood that the congregation was to be universal, Little Sister Magdeleine decided that countries behind the Iron Curtain were not to be excluded.

1956 On the road1956 On the road

There were communities throughout the world; only East European countries remained closed to any foundations. Since 1949 she had handed over responsibility for the Congregation to Little Sister Jeanne in order to be more readily available. On September 30, 1956, she set out to make her first contact with East European countries, and a year later she set off with the intention of remaining for good behind the Iron Curtain.

Little Sister Magdeleine decided to remain there in order to consecrate herself totally to the people of those countries. She had weighed her decision, but the sorrow at the thought that she might never see the Little Sisters again was nevertheless very great. She wrote:

'The dates of the 6 and 7 September are among the saddest in my life as a foundress. The crossing of the border into Eastern Europe seemed to forever put up a barrier between myself and the Little Sisters.'

In Russia with an Orthodox nunIn Russia with an Orthodox nun

When, following an unforeseen event, she came back from her journey, Bishop de Provencheres decided that in future she would share her time each year: half with the Little Sisters and half on the other side of the borders. With the exception of the year of the Apostolic Visitation, she would henceforth be each year on the roads of Eastern Europe. She made friendships, shared peoples' lives and prepared the way for the first foundations. I wonder just how many borders she must have crossed during those years, how many inquisitive looks she must have endured

In 1964 she went to Russia for the first time; 1979 saw her first journey to China.

For all those who knew how much the people behind the Iron Curtain were dear to her, who knew her action against every wall of separation, it was very moving to learn that it was precisely on the day of her funeral that the Berlin wall began to came down. As if her last border crossing, that which leads to life with God, had made those unjust walls between East and West lose their power forever.