Little Sister Magdeleine's journey


1937 On Zerga with Anne1937 On Zerga with Anne In October 1936 a poor trio landed in Algiers: Magdeleine, her elderly mother who she could not leave behind and Anne a young woman who shared Magdeleine’s ideals and plans. As soon as they debarked a priest, Fr Declerq, asked them to set up with him a little centre for giving help to the local people in Boghari in the high plains, where he found them a place to live in the Arab neighbourhood. This centre was to bear the name of Charles de Foucauld.

It was there in the middle of a very busy life that Magdeleine had what she called ‘a very beautiful dream’. The infant Jesus entered her life in special way. She was very discreet in talking about such things but always insisted that the Infant Jesus was the real founder of the community and that spiritual childhood was the cornerstone of the Little Sisters’ spirituality. She said:

‘Besides founding a new community God gave me the task of making known the Infant Jesus given to us through Mary, his mother.’
The intense activity of the life at Bogari left Magdeleine unsatisfied. She felt that something essential was missing, the dimension of contemplative prayer.

1938 pilgrimage to the tomb of Br Charles1938 pilgrimage to the tomb of Br Charles To think and pray about this she decided to go on pilgrimage with Anne to El Golea where Brother Charles is buried.

1946 Fr Voillaume El Abiodh 1946 Fr Voillaume El Abiodh She met Fr Voillaume, the founder of the Little Brothers there and also Bishop Nouet who was the Apostolic Prefect of the Sahara, and was able to talk with him about her ideas.

When she got back to Boghari Fr Declerq’s sister had taken responsibility for the Centre and this left Magdeleine and Anne free to follow the request of Bishop Nouet to do a year’s noviciate with the White Sisters in Algiers. The Bishop wanted to welcome them into his diocese as religious sisters. He also asked Magdeleine to write a way of life for her future sisters.

And so it was that on 8th September 1939, a few days after the declaration of World War 2, Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus made her first profession in Algiers. This date became the date of the foundation of the Little sisters of Jesus.