Following Jesus of Nazareth

Dreams to reality

Madeleine Hutin finally went to Algeria as a result of a largely personal missionary vocation, knowing only that she wanted to live in the spirit of Charles de Foucauld and to be bound by vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. By the time she met Father Voillaume, founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus, for the first time in March 1938 at El Golea, and shared with him 'the intuitions she could not keep to herself' her vocation was beginning to crystallise into the idea of sharing the life of the desert people by actually living as they did in a tent. What she was envisaging was already different in its practical expression from the kind of cloistered life which Charles de Foucauld had provided for in his ‘Rule’. Rationally speaking her idea was total folly and yet the conviction at least that she was not yet fulfilling the more contemplative dimension of her vocation appeared like so many of the 'feelings' that were to follow, to be endorsed by God.  On her return from El Golea she found that the work she had previously been doing, providing food and medical care for the poor, was to be done by others. At the behest of the Prefect of the Sahara, she found herself completing a full canonical noviciate at Saint Charles-Birmandreis in order that she and her first companion might go into the Sahara as religious. Because also it was exclusively the vision that Charles de Foucauld had offered which called her and because she could not find that in any existing congregation she was, moreover, to commit to paper during that time her ideas and even the initial constitutions for a new congregation.